Indianapolis has become world renowned for its bands in the doom/stoner genre, but you might not know that we’re also home to some phenomenal death metal. One of the newer acts to hit our radar this year is Obscene. Made up of Indy scene veterans, they’re offering their own take on old school death metal with an unrivaled intensity. Front man and longtime scene supporter Kyle Shaw was cool enough to answer a few of our questions about the band, promoting shows, and more. But before we get to that, check out their new song “Body of Tears” off of their upcoming EP Sermon to the Snake! If this one doesn’t make you bang your head with your fist in the air, then GTFO!
Indy Metal Vault: Thank you so much for doing this interview. I think I’ve seen you at every show I’ve been to in Indy, but I don’t know a whole lot about you. What’s your background, and are you from Indianapolis originally? How did you get into music? Is there one band or album that was especially influential to you when you were younger?
Kyle Shaw: Thanks Bryan! I try to make it to as many gigs as I can, and have for over 15 years. Ultimately, I’ve just had an obsession with metal/punk for as long as I can remember. I’ve lived in the Indy area since I was 10. As a fan, I got into metal through the usual channels. I started off as a nu-metal doofus as a pre-teen and later discovered bands like Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Misfits, and Dwarves through friends and acquaintances. I delved deeper into the underground when I was about 14 after buying a copy of Metal Maniacs and reading about bands like Death, Marduk, etc. It all went downhill shortly after. If I had to pick a favorite record, it’d be Acid Bath’s When the Kite String Pops. It’s fairly divisive among a lot of my friends and peers, but it truly encompasses everything I’d want to hear in music. Dax’s lyrics are a big influence of mine.
IMV: You also do some concert promoting. How did you get started with that and what are some of the hurdles you’ve faced? What show are you most proud of putting together? What advice would you give to other promoters in Indy?
KS: It kinda started off as an accident, haha. The first gig I booked was for a band called Circle of Dead Children about 13 years ago. Throughout the years, I’ve steadily booked more shows, but I reserve that right for bands I’m either friends with or a fan of. As of late, I’ve been extremely fortunate, lucky, and privileged to say that both fandom and friendship go hand in hand with bands I try to bring. I’d be remiss to not mention friends like Jared Southwick, Jason McCash (RIP to both), and Adam Walker as people who have either shown me their ways or offered perspective I never considered before. There are some hurdles and headaches that come with ‘promoting.’ But in the gestalt of the real world, they’re marginal in comparison. To be frank, I barely consider myself a ‘promoter.’ If I had any advice to give, it’d be to only book something you’re passionate about. If you’re treating this as a career opportunity or easy capital, you’re in for a long and tough road. For better or worse, this city has seen its fair share of those in it for their own personal glory. Those people never last, and eventually slither away into the hole they came from. I think my favorite show was having War Master play a last minute basement show with Kvlthammer and Sacred Leather. It was in the middle of summer, and a packed basement full of beer drinkers and hellraisers getting loose.
IMV: Having supported our music scene for so long, what do you think of its current state? Do you think it’s gotten better or worse since you’ve been a part of it? What’s something that you think needs to change to make it better?
KS: Indy is a city that will always ebb and flow. There’s a lot to like, and there’s a lot to loathe. I find myself caught in the middle more often than not, which I suppose goes hand in hand with ebbing and flowing. A constant issue with Indy is always the lack of bands. Unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of people interested in this style of music residing in Indy. I’m limiting my answer to the metal/punk universe here. I don’t know about any sort of ‘mainstream’ metal bands doing whatever they’re doing, and that’s okay with me.
IMV: How did the Obscene come together? Were you in other bands together prior? The project was originally called Blood Chasm. Why the name change?
KS: Well, we’re just Obscene. 😉 We’ve all been in bands throughout the years in Indy, but never together. We changed the name from Blood Chasm, because there’s entirely too many metal bands with ‘blood’ in it. And one word band names almost always rule.
IMV: The track you sent us is pretty brutal and we’re really looking forward to hearing the whole album. What can you tell us about it and what was the recording process like? Do you have a release date yet?
KS: Sermon to the Snake is a 4 song tape release. The song in question is ‘Body of Tears,’ the opening track off it. The name was inspired by a recent Giallo film called The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears. The song itself has nothing to do with the film. It deals with questions ranging from mortality and how much time we realistically have left on this mortal coil. Lyrically, these are constant themes throughout the release. Musically, we try to run the gamut of early death metal from the US, UK, and Scandanavia with an emphasis on riffs and atmosphere ala Edge of Sanity, Asphyx, Demigod, Cianide, etc. Carl Byers of Clandestine Arts Recording engineered, mixed, and mastered the recording in a weekend that resulted in crushed beers and ripped hell. We’re aiming for a release between October/November.
IMV: I understand the band is going through some lineup changes. What’s next for you guys after that? Are there any plans to do a release show or a regional tour for the album?
KS: We’re in the middle of solidifying the changes and hoping to have a release show in December. We’ll see how it goes, as this is a very fluid situation. We’re hoping to do at least do some weekend warrior regional touring by early next year.
IMV: Any final thoughts or is there something that you’d like to plug?
KS: Hail and kill!
There you have it kids! Keep up with Obscene and their upcoming release Sermon to the Snake by following them on Facebook.