XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Tom: We have a record coming out July 21st and have a string of shows lined up after that. We also have been getting to work on a video for the track “Depravity’s Lock” off the new one. In the meantime, we are also writing new material. Band practice is too boring for us if we just rehearse all the time, we need to have a creative outlet or the band would be too tense.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Tom: This current lineup got together in 2011 or 2012. I started the band back around 2003 or so and it has been a constant in my life ever since. We have had a lot of different members trying to find the right chemistry, and this is the most stable the band has ever been. It is not easy finding people you can tolerate dealing with and be able to write with.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Tom: I remember when I was young, I would listen to my favorite music and think, “I need to be able to do that.” It is not too uncommon for music to reach people like that, of course. I just had this ambition to own a guitar, let alone be able to play it. Once I finally got my hands on one, I just had to rise to the challenge. It’s an ongoing learning experience, both personally and with the band.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Tom: There’s a decent amount of music in my family. Most of brothers, cousins, uncles and all that can hold a tune, so it’s probably in my blood. I have never had a lesson before. My older brother taught me a few basics on guitar when I first started and after that it was just learning on the fly. I ended up getting into bands with people that were way more advanced than me, and that lit a fire under my ass. I had to catch up or get left behind.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Tom: There’s no way to know for sure, so I can just speak for myself. There’s a strong message of inner strength to the band. I’m not sure if that’s apparent, there are definitely layers of meanings behind what we do. There is a great deal of horror, or misery in the world and we reflect that with a voice of power. This is not positive or negative, it is just raw, and given how disgraceful humans are, it takes on a darker tone.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Tom: Release this record! Do some tours! Cut another record! Do some tours! etc, etc.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Tom: Hard to say. I guess my goal is to take this band as far as it can go, without getting screwed over. The band exists because we love what we do, there is no other reason. Soul Remnants has always done things organically, and we continue to make progress as a band. You could say the long-term goal is to continue this path we make and take all opportunities we can to spread the word and make an impact.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Tom: That’s apples and oranges. Playing live is where all the excitement is, but the writing is the truly rewarding part. I could not have one over the other, they really balance each other out.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Tom: We have all kinds of themes in our songs. Some are based on life, some are based on fiction and some are complete abstract views on the ways of the universe. For example, “Voluntary Internal Erosion” is about a friend I had who could not cope with addiction, and “Symptoms of Death” is about another person I knew who’s death was a relief. Our new record, Ouroboros, is all one continuous story about enslavement, war, corruption and extinction set in an alternate future.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Tom: There are plenty of stories to tell, but the first one that popped into my head is from our European tour in 2015. We had a great show in Koszalin, Poland and the vodka was really flowing well. The locals and the venue were being very generous so I was feeling pretty good. I went outside for some fresh air and looked to my left and saw a ring of people, it looked like a fight was going down. Once I got down there I realized that there was a street style boxing tournament going on and my bass player Ryan along with some guys in the other bands were going round after round with some Polish dudes. Ryan was a mess the next day, but it didn’t slow him down. He used to be a semi-pro boxer so I’m sure he got his licks in, too.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Tom: Luckily, we haven’t run into any true psychos that I can remember.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Tom: Yes. They put up with riffs blasting from my old bedroom back in the day. I can’t complain, yea, they would
tell me to turn down a lot, but it was never anything more than that. They never had a moral stance against being in a band, or the type of music I play.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Tom: Symptoms of Death, Dead Black (Heart of Ice), Cauldron of Blood, Dissolving into Obscurity, Mental Tourniquet, Remembrance, Burning Reflection and Echoes of Insanity to name a few. It’s hard to choose, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Tom: Slayer, Megadeth, Dissection, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Death, Pantera, Frank Zappa and Buckethead are my biggest inspirations. Some of those acts are very different from others but they all have one thing in common: passion. They leave it all out on stage and that is what keeps me motivated.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Tom: Megadeth, King Diamond, Slayer, Morbid Angel, and Death in 1988. You said dream, right?
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Tom: Creating the three full length records is a tangible accomplishment. They are something I will look back on and have no regrets. There is no compromise with those, and that will be true of any album we do in the future.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Tom: I made the jump from Marshall amps to Mesa Boogie. Still using the Marshall cabinets though. I have an ESP Standard 7 string running through a Maxon OD808 and ISP Decimator up to the Mesa Dual Rectifier. There are some other special effects I use but that’s the meat or my live tone right there. It’s simple, and it’s crushing!
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Tom: The music scene is good, over-saturated, but good. There is so much bad music out there, it gets hard to find the quality in the sea of garbage. I can’t complain though, there are solid releases finding their way to me over time, so it’s all still there, just hidden. Too many nostalgia acts get the free pass though. We will probably never see an honest band rise to the top again, people are going to have to find that for themselves.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Tom: I am a painter, illustrator and sculptor. I plan on focusing again on my visual art once I am too old to write blasting death metal records.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Tom: Death metal with some black metal, thrash, and doom elements. A very heavy but diverse band within the genre, equally brutal and melodic. That sounds like a commercial or something, but hey, you asked!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Tom: Check out our new album OUROBOROS coming out July 21st on Lifeblood, Inc / Entertainment One Records. Get our other records and merch over at soulremnants.com! Thanks to all who have supported us over the years, we will see you in the trenches!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!