ThisIsNotAScene got the chance to talk with vocalist and guitarist Masaki Murashita and drummer Travis Thune from Hemoptysis. They talked origins of the band name, state of thrash and much more.
First off thanks for taking some time to give the fans some insight into Hemoptysis. Misanthropic Slaughter being your first release, can you tell us something about the humble beginnings of Hemoptysis?
Masaki: Thanks for the opportunity! We are glad that you liked the album. Our drummer, Travis, and I formed Hemoptysis (he-mop-ti-sis) back in early 2007. I just moved out to Phoenix from Seattle, and was looking for musicians to start a band. I met Travis through our mutual friend. A few months later, we got a jam room and started jamming together. Our bassist, Sunao, was jamming with us once in a while and finally joined us as a permanent member in February 2008. We also had a different singer originally, but he decided to leave the band right before we hit the studio to record our first EP, “Who Needs A Shepherd?” I ended up taking on vocal duties while still playing guitar. We went through several different lead guitarists. There were times when we thought would we ever find the right guitarist. Luckily, we found our current guitarist, Ryan Miller, who has been with us since January 2010. He is a shredding monster who also plays in a band called Excessive Bleeding. We are tighter than ever and currently working on new material for the next album.
How did you arrive at coughing up blood as your band name?
Travis: We had a different name, originally. When we found out that an established band in France already had that name, we decided to name ourselves something else. We were having a hard time thinking of something that hadn’t been done before, so I asked my wife, who is a pharmacist that specializes in infectious diseases, to suggest some medical terms for us. She suggested a few words that sounded cool but had really disgusting meanings having to do with fecal matter. I didn’t want the band to be associated with fecal matter, so I asked her to try a little harder. The third or fourth word she said was Hemoptysis. It sounded cool and it had a cool meaning: coughing up blood. The whole band liked it, so that’s what we have been called ever since.
What is the metal scene like in Arizona? Did you have to take your music far to get recognized or do you have a fan base near your home?
Masaki: There are some great bands out here for sure. No matter where you are at, you have to work really hard to get your music out and get attention. Just because you write some badass songs doesn’t mean you will be able to make a career out of it. Of course, at the end of the day, it’s your music and you should be very proud of yourself for what you’ve done and accomplished, but fans are the ones who judge it and make you what you are. You’ve got to earn recognition by promoting hard to reach potential fans. We have a decent fan base here, but it took a lot of hard work to have people give us a chance.
I can hear many influences in your writings but rather than me speculate talk some about your inspirations for your music?
Masaki: All of us have different backgrounds and influences. I’m influenced by old school thrash bands like Megadeth and Old Metallica, yet I listen to a lot of different music and try to not limit myself as a musician. Travis and Miller are death metal guys, but Miller listens to all kinds of stuff, too, like blues and country. Sunao listens to non metal stuff, mainly, but when he does listen to metal, it is usually old Metallica and Suicidal Tendencies. Combining all of our effort together makes us sound unique. Miller describes our sound as a “Buffet of Metal”.
After this release I became an instant fan of Ryan Miller, how is he fitting in as the newest member?
Masaki: He has a lot of experience and he is a hell of a player. We can’t think of a better guitarist for this band. We are very happy to have him on board.
Travis: He will be adding more to the band’s new material, too. He wrote his solos on “Misanthropic Slaughter,” but he didn’t help create any of the songs because the songs were pretty much all complete before he joined. He is helping create some of the new songs and they sound killer!
Along those same lines how does the creative process work within the band?
Masaki: I mainly write the music and bring it to jam sessions. Then we cook it together as a band. Travis and I both write lyrics.
Talk for a bit about your artwork, I have long been a fan and consider artwork a vital part of any release?
Masaki: I’m with you! I remember buying CDs at stores just because they had badass artwork. Sometimes I lucked out, finding some awesome bands. Sure, there were times the record I picked up was total garbage, but at least you had fun while you are searching. It’s like a gamble, but it’s part of the excitement and fun times of being a metalhead, you know? I still go out to the record stores and dig through the shelves and buy records. Don’t get me wrong, music is the most important thing, but artwork is part of the album and package.
Travis: We used Evil Dave of Incision Tattoo in Glendale, AZ, for our artwork on “Misanthropic Slaughter” and on our “Who Needs A Shepherd?” EP from 2008. We knew his work because of what he did on the Vehemence CD, “God Was Created.” He is a really cool dude. We gave him the premiss for the artwork on both CDs and he went with it, giving it his own spin on it. The artwork he does always comes out better than you ever imagined. That’s why we keep going back to him for more.
What are your thoughts on the current state of thrash metal today? What about some of the UK and Portuguese bands influencing the genre? Personally I am a big fan of thrash and never ever considered it a dying part of the genre but I think I may be one of the few that holds this opinion?
Travis: Thrash is getting stronger. There is a resurgence of thrash in the U.S. so I’m not surprised that it’s spreading throughout the world. The stripped down, bare bones aggression of thrash is a perfect match for the current state of the world and the global recession. The same kind of recession happened in the 1980’s when thrash was big and now it’s happening again. We don’t consider ourselves simply a thrash band, but clearly, thrash is the biggest influence that you hear in our music, so it’s great that our biggest influence is becoming more popular again.
Along those lines, what are the newer thrash bands that you are following?
Masaki: Warbringer. Can’t wait to hear their new album.
Travis: I’m looking forward to the new Warbringer album, too. I love the progression they showed on their second album. I hope the new CD is just as good as that last one. The Absence is another great band.
What are your tour plans over the next 24 months, any plans to get out to Europe or the UK?
Masaki: We are focusing on US shows right now. Being an independent band without tour support, it is extremely tough to tour, but we are doing what we can. We definitely would love to tour Europe, including the UK. That’s our dream. Please buy our merchandise and CDs to help us get sustain. Without your support, we are nothing. Our official webstore is at www.misanthropicslaughter.com.
Time to wind down and maybe time for the most important question, who is your favorite character from Seinfeld? If I missed anything you want the fans to know jot it down.
Travis: We don’t watch allot of TV, but if I had to choose a favorite character on Seinfeld, it would probably be Kramer or that crazy dude that stalked Elaine and dressed up like a clown while singing opera music! Thank you for your support! (Of course for the you mean Joe Divola)