Dense, unfettered brutality. Their music will grab you and will not let go. After taking Austin,TX as residence in 2008, the South-American metallers known as Headcrusher have carved their place in the growing Texas scene. Their fast execution and ferocious delivery has taken their music to international stages in support of some of the best metal acts in the world. I had a chance to chat with guitarists Carlos Ramirez and David Coloma, as well as bass player Gustavo about the band and they gave me the latest updates.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Carlos Ramirez: We are about to release our newest album “Death Comes With Silence” produced by Jesse Gander at Rain City Studios in Vancouver, Canada. Also We are in the process of filming a new video clip directed by David Hall, plus We have a summer tour coming along very well. We’ll being touring Texas-Mexico and hopefully our country. Colombia starting in July 13 (dates are TBA).
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Carlos Ramirez: Since 2001.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Carlos Ramirez: Create music and share it with the audience, experiencing being on the road was an adventure that I always wanted to be in.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Carlos Ramirez: I had an undeniable feeling seeing my uncle playing bass with his metal band at my grandma’s garage, that was my first experience with music. It was loud and fun. They used to play Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies songs over and over. He was my first music teacher and I was very excited to form my first metal band after those first lessons.. Necrosis, Sickness, Hate, Hate Full Mind , Godsymmetry, Souldege were metal bands from Colombia that I joined before HeadCrusher.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Carlos Ramirez: We call ourselves Metal from the Mountains of Colombia.
Headcrusher delivers groove and South American rage.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Carlos Ramirez: Write more music, finding a unique sound it’s always a goal for us. Expand our horizons to new territories and cultures.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Carlos Ramirez: This a never-ending passion, I personally don’t like to have long terms with music. Music is a everyday for me, it has different changes and moods that I enjoy in its perfection. Keep writing and always trying to be original with our plans for the future. We like to keep it fun.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Carlos Ramirez: Definitely the behind the scenes is what I enjoy the most. Being in the studio is where all the magic begins, It’s like creating a monster in the lab, playing in live is where the adrenaline is at, the best!
XS ROCK: What are your songs about?
David Coloma: Kike our vocalist writes most of the lyrics. we cover diverse topics, some of them are about personal experiences, others about important issues or inspired by some of the negative aspects of our society. However for this album I feel the lyrics became a little more introspective. I went through a lot during the creation of this album.
I was very close to dying due to some unforeseen health complications. Had to go through numerous surgeries and spent a lot of time just recovering. I had to deal with some gruesome things and at one point it felt like I was in a tunnel far away from seeing the light again. That definitely put me in a different mindset. I definitely wanted to get better and overcome my situation. But at the same time I spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning of death, the process, the result and the consequences. I dedicated all my time and energy writing music, ideas and lyrics, among these I wrote the lyrics for Death Comes With Silence. I showed the lyrics to Kike, he liked them and the rest of the band thought it was a good concept for the whole album. If I was gonna die I wanted to put in everything I got. For me releasing this album is definitely closure.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
David Coloma: Summer of 2015, we were on tour, we just finished playing a show in a small town in Louisiana, I can’t remember the name of the town but I was loading out at the back of the venue, this guy walking up the alley approached me and asked me if I was interested in buying black powder, he was trying to sell me a couple rifles and guns
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
David Coloma: Not strange in a bad way but definitely never expected it, a fan asked us to let him propose to his girl during our set.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
David Coloma: My mom always supported me from the beginning, for my dad it was more of a transition.
He wanted me to play soccer professionally so I was totally immersed in training, practicing and playing tournaments.
When I turned 15 all I wanted to do was play guitar. So he wasn’t thrilled at the beginning but after a year or so he started supporting me and actually bought me my first electric guitar
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
David Coloma: From the new album some of my favorites are: A Plague Upon Us, Fatal Error and Trails of Devastation. From our older material probably: Prisoner Machine, Treeless, Swimming in a Sea of Death and Common Nonsense
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
David Coloma: Hahaha it was gradual, at the beginning was Gene Simmons, I was pretty young I watched a kiss concert on tv, I was probably 4, I thought it was so cool to see a grown up act like a super hero or a villain, flying around the crowd spitting blood and playing bass, I liked the imagery and show, when I was 8 or so got hooked on Slash and Guns n Roses, this time it was more about the songs and its elements. By the time I was 13 I heard Pantera. Dimebag’s playing was so electric it gave me goosebumps, I felt like he was playing all the right notes and at the same time incorporating all these crazy sounds, I also felt some sort of adrenaline and empowerment with his riffs, really changed me and actually made me want to play metal
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
David Coloma: This is a tough one, we have been part of some killer bills. But if I had to keep it to 3 bands that are currently active I would say: Gojira, At the Gates, Carcass
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
David Coloma: To have the opportunity to work and collaborate with some amazing and talented people that I look up to. Like Tue Madsen, Jesse Gander, Michael Panduro, Anders Bjorler.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Gustavo C: In this day in age is pretty hard to just live from music alone, and has become imperative to have a day job to supplement your income and to produce press records. Everyone in the band has a career or employment there are teachers, bartenders, and technicians and entrepreneurs in the HeadCrusher camp.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Gustavo C: The unending quest for tone…. We are very fortunate to count with the support of some very innovative companies that have quality products. We use mainly ESP Ltd guitars and basses plus some other jewels we’ve picked up on the way. For amplification we use Randall heads and cabs for guitars. My bass is run through an EBS Reidmar 750 and Ampeg 6×10 cab set up, with a Lone Wolf Audio plague rat in the signal chain for distortion. In the drum department for the album we used a 5 piece Yamaha Oak Custom set and, Sabian Cymbals, Trick pedals.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Gustavo C: Personally, I think we are seeing a new rise of metal. There are great new bands that are pushing the envelope and older bands are having very successful comebacks. I think metal as cultural phenomena is starting to be more accepted, and the music is more accessible. The new generation of metal heads getting into the bands their parents used to mosh to, it’s a beautiful thing.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Gustavo C: I like big butts, and I cannot lie.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Gustavo C: It is rather difficult to self-categorize our music without being overcritical. We like to let our sound evolve, and you can hear the change develop in our previous releases. For “Death Comes With Silence”, we went for a darker sound; distorted low-end to gnarly levels and keeping our death and thrash influences very close at hand. The songwriting process was different this time around and that impacted our general sound.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Gustavo C: We are embarking in a series of shows south of the border, mainly Mexico and possibly Colombia, this summer in support of our new album “Death Comes With Silence” which will be released on July 28. Currently we have some special pre-order packages available through our bandcamp site that will include aside from the new CD, a double vinyl of our previous 2 releases and 250g of some fine Colombian coffee. We have about 50 of those packages.