Soul Remnants are the death metal equivalent of great sex. Intense, passionate, exciting, after each listen to their excellent self released “Plague of the Universe” you’re gonna be drooling for more. The production is gritty, the songs are crushing, and the death metal attitude it reeks of oozes pure evil. If it were indeed great sex, it would be two hot lesbians straddling you cowgirl style and bathing your face in pussy juice. Holy. Fucking. Shit. Here’s singer Mitch Fletcher and guitarist Thomas Preziosi waxing on all matters br00tal from bromance to alphabetized CD collections.
I love what I’m hearing from your album. How did you and the band reach the level of songwriting and musicianship you guys are now in?
Thomas: First off, thanks, I am glad you enjoy it. We reached the level we are at just like most people have; through years of practice and dedication. I just try to make music that I enjoy and find thought provoking.
Mitch: For me it was just a lot of years loving metal, spending the last five in Soul Remnants, going to practice a lot and just trying to rip my throat out harder than I did the last time. I also tried to listen to stuff I liked a lot, tried to break it down and rebuild it, over and over again. I don’t know how to get good at stuff without just doing it a million times, so I only do shit I know I’m never going to get tired of.
Care to introduce the warm bodies in the band?
Thomas: Mitch Fletcher is the vocalist, and has been with the me working on this project the longest. Brett Jean played drums on the CD, but he has some issues right now that are preventing him from being in the band right now. It’s a shame because pound for pound with raw talent, this guy is amazing. Our musical paths may cross again in the future, but for now, we are auditioning replacements. For live performance, we have Ryan Murphy on bass and Dave Sluss on guitar.
Let’s delve into history now. Soul Remnants is not an entirely new project and the band has seen its fair share of ex members. How did this latest lineup come onboard? What is the glue that holds Soul Remnants together?
Thomas: I had a lot of material written over the years with this project in mind. It’s has just been a revolving door of people coming in and out, just playing their parts and moving along. It is very hard to find the right chemistry. A lot of musicians have not been serious enough to stick around. Brett has been a friend for a long time and his drumming really speaks for itself. I guess you could say I am the glue, but as long as Mitch wants to be a part of this band, he is welcome to. His contributions to what we do have been massive and as time progresses, I can only see that growing.
Mitch: Basically, if you show up and rip and fucking love death metal you stay in the band. Anything else gets the axe. Most people have left of their own accord, choosing to dwell in the gutter that exists below even death metal. I find it hard to imagine such a place…
Thomas, you’re also in Armory. How do you balance these two commitments? Has Soul Remnants and Armory ever shared a stage?
Thomas: It’s a lot easier than you might think balancing the two bands because they are so different. Armory only practices for shows we have lined up and to work on recording material. We rarely have regular scheduled band practice. It still takes up a lot of time but leaves plenty of room that way. Soul Remnants is more routine based. We get together often and rehearse and work on our music in a live setting. Both approaches work well, and allow for a less frantic schedule. We have never shared a stage, but that would definitely be a good time, and it’s bound to happen sooner or later.
Tell me about “Plague of the Universe.” Who wrote the songs, where did you go to record it, who has given it the best reception so far?
Mitch: Well I think the best formula always started with Tom playing some new riffs and whoever was on drums would start playing parts to it. Then I start yelling something and we just repeat that over and over again until the songs done. Tom usually has a pretty solid idea of what the song is going to be before he even shows it to anyone, often he even has drums and vocals worked out, the rest of us just maintain the direction and add whatever fits. We recorded with Pete Rutcho at Damage Studios. That was my first experience doing professional recording, and it definitely gave me an entirely new perspective. I also had a lot of confidence knowing I had Tom and Rutcho to call me on any bullshit that came out of my face. The best reception has been from the fans and members of other local bands that have heard it. Everyone has been really psyched on the sound, which is goddamn awesome.
All through the pre-production and recording stage for “Plague of the Universe,” was it 1000% focus on the part of each member or did the band prefer to take it easy and enjoy themselves?
Mitch: Ultimately it was fucking great recording, but there was really a lot of self induced pressure on my part. I heard how the guitars and drums were sounding, and I knew what Tom and Brett were capable of, and knowing that a lot of people will just toss something out if the vocals aren’t good gave me some anxiety. But ultimately when it came right down to recording I had to put all that shit out of my head and let the demon talk. Vocalists have to do a lot of psychological preparation that just isn’t even necessary when your holding a guitar or sticks.
Thomas: It was difficult at times, but it was great to be able to watch it take form. We all handled it differently. Brett had some moments of extreme frustration because of how hard he pushes himself, as did I. It definitely wasn’t easy, but I can say I enjoyed it, of course.
What’s going on in Soul Remnants lyrics?
Mitch: Lyrically, most of the songs are a collaboration. I think Plague of the Universe and Burning Reflection are the only ones that are mine alone, but I think even those had a couple outside influences. Most of my lyrics are more or less about the same thing, and somehow Tom and my writing style seems to just blend together. My parts are usually the ones that have something to do with destroying the false sense of self that dominates the majority of people’s actions on a daily basis. I also like to write about the freedom achieved by abandoning the notion that "light," order, and so called knowledge are greater and more powerful than death, chaos, and the unknown. Most people want to turn a blind eye to the brutality and death that thrives in our world, stuff their head up their ass and call it pretty. I’d rather sit on the edge of hell watching the flames, then go ask the burning corpses what they learned from it.
Why can’t there be a bit of Soul Remnants in Armory and vice versa? A little thrash would do nice amidst the epic ambience of the latter. Then again, this is just my opinion.
Thomas: They are just very different bands, top to bottom. The next Armory album has a lot more thrash than the first one, so hopefully that will satisfy you, hahahahaha! The influence these two projects have on each other is inherit. There is a slight bit of Armory in Soul Remnants, whether you can hear it or not because the bottom line of both bands is to make pure metal.
Can you positively confirm that Soul Remnants is in a league of its own in your hometown? You got a healthy death metal scene in your corner of the world?
Mitch: If by ‘league of our own’ you mean under the underground then yeah, we’re there all by ourselves. Honestly, we keep having line up trouble which keeps us from playing shows year round. And if you’re not playing shows then no one knows about you. There’s usually a few good metal shows almost every weekend, so being a metalhead in Massachusetts is pretty ideal as long as you know where to look.
Thomas: We tend to rip the place down when we play live, even though it’s rare. We are really obscure right now. There is an massive overpopulation of terrible metal bands that are popping up around our area, it’s just more inspiration to stay true to what you want to do though. The trend with a lot of music coming out right now is metalcore pretending to be progressive and just giving death metal an even worse name. It can be very distracting and annoying to people who get what true death metal about.
How do the five of you manage to get along? Any bromantic experiences that has drawn you closer?
Thomas: We just like to drink beers, whiskey, and rip up some metal. Keep it simple like that and we stray from problems, for a little while. If someone pisses me off, they know about it and either deal with it or get out.
Mitch: I think everyone really fell in love with me at our second show when I was so drunk I couldn’t stand up and ranted in between songs about how much I hate emo music. There was also that time our ex-bass player threw a punch at Tom and kicked his guitar and while Tom was trying to save it Brett choked the bass player out. After that we threw the kid outside and he somehow managed to beat the shit out of Tom’s car without anyone noticing until practice was over. Then there was the time our ex-guitarist stopped showing up to practice and I found out he checked himself into a mental hospital. And then there was the time one of the greatest drummers in the world quit the band to pursue a drug and alcohol career. Really it has just been about survival. Tom and I have been through a lot of bullshit together and I just want to see this thing to its end, whatever it may be.
Thomas: Like I was saying, we just deal with the bullshit and stay persistent with the main goal.
What pays the bills for you while your music is still at a stage where it can grow and improve, but not turn a profit?
Thomas: I work as a technician installing security systems. It’s decent work, but it’s just to pay the bills. Part of doing what you really want to is sacrifice, and this job is a placeholder for whatever I might do in the future.
Mitch: I get paid to do art for video games, which leaves not nearly enough time to do all the music shit I want to get done. I think there’s a general misconception that you hop in a band, put together an album and then you’re on a plane to Europe, but there is a ton of your own time and money that goes into it, and the only reward is the music itself. Death Metal is good like that, it keeps the people who are in it only for the money and fame dubbing those same shitty pop beats they’ve been re-playing since 1950.
With your own music already keeping your hands (and ears) full, do you still have time to just be a fan of everyone else?
Mitch: Hell yeah, the new Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Napalm Death, all that… going down to Maryland Death Fest this year… Autopsy will be there…There’s hardly enough time to be at all the shows I want to be, but I still get to the important ones. The only compromise I’ve had to make has been the mosh pit… My neck just gets too busted if I’m going nuts at practice twice a week, hop in the mosh pit for Morbid Angel, then break my neck on stage the next day. I don’t want neck or back surgery slowing me down, so I’m trying to calm down unless its a Soul Remnants show.
Do you listen to any artists outside heavy metal to inform your own musicianship?
Thomas: I am into a lot of different music. I would say about 70% if what I listen to is metal, and the other 30% percent are things like Frank Zappa, Buckethead, lots of classic rock bands, Thin Lizzy, Steely Dan. I am just a fan of solid, good song writing. I don’t listen to any current pop or anything close to what is mainstream. It’s cliche but the radio really is for shit. But anyway, a lot of these artists as well as classical music can provide ideas for composition, both structurally and melodically. Playing different styles of music has the same effect for broadening your horizons.
Mitch: For me, old Alice in Chains, old Guns n’ Roses, a little Zappa, some Rush, sometimes rock, the classical, the ancient metal
Thomas: Yea, that’s all good stuff.
Who were your references when it came to learning the nuts and bolts of not only recording original music, but marketing it as well?
Mitch: I try to just look at who has been doing it the best for the longest, and when you put that together the only real answers are Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Death, Deicide, Napalm, and all the others I’m forgetting. Marketing is truly a bitch, only for the rich, and controlled by serious douche bags, so its a rough gig to get into.
Thomas: We are just playing it by ear and realize that in this over-saturated market in our digital age, it’s not going to be an overnight process to gain notoriety. That said, all of you people reading this ought to be reveling in how elite you are finding such a gem in Soul Remnants, hahahahaha!
[Yeah, it’s a fucking elite album—ed.]
Who are your idols in the music business? Is there a model you’ve chosen that will work as a blueprint for whatever you want to achieve with your bass guitar?
Thomas: Chuck Schuldiner, Frank Zappa, Buckethead, Dave Mustaine, Steve Harris, Devin Townsend… I could go on all day. Basically I admire all these people who have had visions and the motivation to expertly carry them out. Without a doubt, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden is my hero when I am playing bass. When I first started playing bass, I learned Iron Maiden songs by the album and it still is something I love to play all these years later.
Care to introduce us to the band’s hardware? Are you coveting any new gear these days?
Thomas: Brett played a custom Premier drum kit on the album. I have a Marshall JVM 410-H head that I run through a Kustom 4×12 cabinet, sometimes two cabs depending on how much noise I feel like making. Add to that my Boss noise suppressor, a special overdrive pedal, a Morely wah or my Dimebag Darrell Crybaby from hell and that’s my basic setup. I also sometimes run it through an equalizer to fine tune sound. My bass rig is a lot simpler, as it’s a Hartke 4×10 cabinet and Hartke solid state head. That thing can take a beating and still keep on ticking, you’ve got to appreciate that in your gear. As for new gear, I have a new setup for multi-track recording so that should be nice for recording our second album demos. I don’t think that I will be producing any official releases myself anytime soon though.
Is your CD collection alphabetized? What’s rocking your world this month?
Mitch: Yeah, my CD’s go from A to Z, but that’s just the metal section. I have a bunch of other shit in boxes in the basement somewhere. I was really into the new Deeds of Flesh a couple months ago, got to hear the new Bone Ritual tracks that just came out, sounded incredibly raw and dirty. Latest Revocation is sick… I don’t know, time seems to just go by so fast lately I don’t even know what’s new anymore. The best Death Metal happened 20 years ago anyway.
Thomas: I can’t keep my stuff organized. The only time it’s in alphabetical order is when it’s on my mp3 player. I haven’t been keeping up with what’s new lately. I dug the new Obscura album when it came out. This month has had a lot of Dissection, Strapping Young Lad, Death, Immortal, King Diamond and Morbid Angel. So it’s been a pretty standard month.
What’s the best part of the day for you?
Mitch: 4 AM. I’m stoned and telling myself I should go to bed earlier and not turn into such a fucking maniac at night.
Thomas: Any time I can do something that I think is productive. I can not stand wasting time, even though it is unavoidable.
You’re a very busy man. The focus and dedication you put into your music is a positive indication of future success. What are some of your goals these coming years?
Thomas: Thanks, I hope you are right about that! My plan is to put together a line of shows for Soul Remnants over the summer and fall, while shifting gears towards our second CD. Armory is finishing up its second CD as well, so the next few years will hopefully involve a lot of live support for these latest efforts.
Too bad we gotta wrap. Thanks for the time. What’s it like inside your head?
Thomas: Inside my head, there’s a lot of blood and a brain, probably similar to what’s inside yours. Thank you for asking and thanks again for having us and sharing our words with some fellow metal fans. See you next time!
Mitch: Thank you for spreading the word. The inside of this brain is ugly and schizophrenic.