INTERVIEW: Christopher “Atomic Thrasher” Talks All Things INSINNERATOR!

There are so many underrated thrash metal bands out there these days it’s disgusting. To be honest bringing attention to some of these killer bands is one of the reasons I started Global Thrash Assault. Personally I feel the Dallas thrashers known as Insinnerator are one of the most grossly underrated bands in the entire “New Wave Movement.” The band has the riffs, the intensity and the passion needed to be successful and proved it on their ass kicking debut album “Stalagmite of Ice.” Insinnerator struck again last year when the band released the much anticipated follow up EP, “Hypothermia,”  which silenced critics and caused a few people to ask “where has this band been?”

Nowadays Insinnerator have been busy gearing up for their upcoming tour with Lich King, which is set to kick off in just over a week. Before hitting the road the bands founding member, Christopher “Atomic Thrasher”, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the bands early years, the Stalagmite of Ice album, Hypothermia and of course the bands upcoming tour. A huge “horns up” to the man for his in depth answers which made this the best interview that has ever been posted here on Global Thrash Assault. Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out Insinnerator on Facebook!

GLOBAL THRASH ASSAULT: Before we begin I want to thank you for taking sometime out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for me today. I can only imagine how busy you must be gearing up for your tour with Lich King.

CHRISTOPHER “ATOMIC THRASHER”: It certainly has been busy, but this is not problem! Sorry for taking so long to get to you, though! I’m happy you have given us this opportunity!

Before we get into the tour and your latest release lets start from the beginning. Insinnerator started way back in 2006 as a one man project. Tell me, how did it all start, what was your inspiration for starting a thrash metal band?

Man, what it really comes down to is that when I was in high school, all of my friends were into Trivium and As I Lay Cryi–I mean Dying, and all of that metalcore stuff. Yyyyeah, no thanks! I was always into Testament and Exodus-that’s the music that spoke to me emotionally. Thrash is the sound that I longed for until I found it. So they all expected me to conform to that sound, and I never did. They wanted to start a metalcore band, I wanted to play thrash metal. So I went my own way and formed Insinnerator! Best musical decision I could have made!

Was the transition from a solo project to a three piece challenging for you? If so in what ways?

It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. “Brutal” Ben and Juan “Speed” both knew the goals, the feeling, the intensity that I wanted from this music, so they were right on board with this. I always knew that I didn’t wan to do Insinnerator alone. I wanted to have real drums and play show and such. In addition to finding my amazing fiance, Maria, finding those two was the best thing that could have happened. They gelled right in, and our musical understanding of each other has been one of the main factors into getting us where we are. Their chemistry worked perfect with mind, and since our goals are the same, it makes playing in this band fun!

A few years back Insinnerator released their debut album, Stalagmite of Ice. What was the writing process for the album like? Did one man bring all the material to the table or was it more of a group effort?

It was certainly a group effort. We all brought our own ideas to pieces or sections of pieces that helped give it its own flavor, maybe help it transition to another section, those kinds of things. Typically, one of us startes a piece, and that one member writes until he exercises all of his ideas, hits a road block, or can tell another member of where he wants it to go, but maybe has ideas for another piece so he’s handing it off. So that’s how it becomes a group effort, and because we all have our own feeling in the music, it becomes the Insinnerator sound. We all have that one golden rule: make it as intense as possible. Even in melodic sections, it has to grip the listener and force them to be engaged. We’ve always written as a team, though, and I think that is what gave “Stalagmite of Ice” such a great feeling.

How long did the writing/recording process take from start to finish for Stalagmite of Ice?

YEARS! But I’m glad it did. If we had recorded that album in 2008, it wouldn’t have nearly been as crafted as it was. Speaking for myself, I had a lot of growing to do on the guitar before I was ready to record a full length, and you can hear a clear indication of the growth of how we write songs now. “Money For A Good Mood” and “Face The Insinnerator”, while I love both of them, don’t have as much content as “Evil Spirit From Beyond” or certainly “Children of the Cult”. So I’m glad it took awhile to record, so we could be prepared and write the best thrash metal we possibly could!

Stalagmite of Ice definitely has an “old-school” feel to it. What are some of your influences as a band?

Oh man, how much time do you have?! I could go on for days! Testament, Slayer, Voivod, Exorcist, Exodus, Demolition Hammer, Possessed, Forbidden, A.R.G., Silent Scream, Dark Angel, Death Angel….I better stop there or else I won’t be able to!

When the album was finally released how was it received by fans and the media?

Thankfully, tons of people seemed to enjoy it! I was fully prepared for people to say “DERPRETROTHRASHDERP”, but luckily we didn’t really get that! We put a lot of time and effort into “Stalagmite of Ice”, so I”m glad so many people saw that. There was some complaints about vocals and some production parts, but I love the vocals and I love the production. I want to thank everybody who has heard “Stalagmite of Ice” and supported us! You guys are the best!!

Stalagmite of Ice featured a ton of killer material. If you had to chose, what would be your favorite track off the album?

It’s a tough one, but I’d have to go with “Children of the Cult” or “Stalagmite of Ice”. I enjoy playing those ones a lot live, they have a lot of intensity behind them and I think the audience can feel that, as well. But I love every track on that album!

After Stalagmite was released Insinnerator did an east coast tour with Terrorist. Overall, how was the tour?

It was a blast! One of the best times of my life! So much amazing music from the bands, and great crowds and people! My only complaint was that we weren’t home for when the Mavericks won the title (we got to see it though…and I cried a lot). But it was a blast. Terrorist is one of the  best bands in the New Wave of Thrash Metal. Punishing riffs, great energy, and the best guys in the world who will always have your back. I love them to death, and doing our first full length tour with them was an honor.

Was there any show in particular that stood out? Any crazy stories you’d like to share?

There are quite a few that stand out, actually! Chicago was, by far, the best! We played in this tiny upstairs apartment, but that didn’t stop the crowds from going crazy! Savagery and Smash Potater were also two of the best thrash bands I have seen. Their energy was incredible, and they are amazing guys! New Jersey was awesome, too! We finally go to meet and see our long lost brothers in Condition Critical (who we may have some plans with soon, if you catch my drift!!) They blew all of us away, and Zamboni was great, too! And of course, playing Canada with Lich King was amazing. WE GOT TO PLAY WITH THE PILEDRIVER!!! One of the best nights of my life!

As far as stories go, I can’t go into to much detail because I dion’t know if it’s resolved or not, but I can say that filthy, bug-ridden house in Baltimore has a few more problems than some paint on the walls…

After your east coast tour things in the Insinnerator camp seemed to slow down however the band was very much active working on the next release, Hypothermia. Was the writing process for Hypothermia any different than on Stalagmite? If so, how?

No man, it was still a group effort! I think we matured as musicians and now have longer songs with more sections (which is sometimes ANNOYING TO WRITE!!!), but in terms of composing the EP, it was the same strategy we used fro “Stalagmite of Ice”.

I gotta say, Hypothermia is a huge step up for Insinnerator, the album absolutely rules. Going into the studio what were you guys looking to achieve as a band?

Thank you very much for the compliment, my dude! I really appreciate that! I think going into the studio again to do “Hypothermia”, we just wanted a meaner, more intense, more atmospheric and more punishing Insinnerator. We wanted to sound fuller, tighter and faster. We wanted to take everything that made “Stalagmite of Ice” and kick it up ten notches! I hope we achieved that!!

Again I can’t say enough good things about Hypothermia. Tell me, how was the album received by fans and the media? Did the album attract attention from any labels?

Thank you so much, man! “Hypothermia” was once again well received it seems! “Brutal” Ben stepped up his game ten-fold for this EP, so I haven’t really seen complaints about his vocals this time around. He did incredible! I’m so happy that so many people have enjoyed “Hypothermia!” Thank you to all who have gotten it and supported us! We wouldn’t be whee we are without you all!

How long did the recording process take for Hypothermia? It seems like the album was released right after it was announced the band was in the studio.

Ahhhh, that was all part of the plan! I know we announced it in early December (the same month it was released), be we had actually recorded it back in August in about 10 days! After that, we just had to press it and such. We just wanted to do that short hype period because we didn’t want to keep everybody waiting! A lot of people were asking when we were going to put out another release, so we knew that since everybody was waiting, we should surprise everybody with a quick promo period, so it doesn’t take six months from announcement time to release date!

Again I love the entire album and I’m sure you feel the same way but I gotta ask, what’s your favorite track off the album?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say “Elemental Ice Dragon”. That is certainly the grand opus of the EP, but looking back at the patience I had to have with myself to write that one, it’s very pleasing to hear that outcome. Juan and Ben really helped breath life into it, as well. I love every track on there, but that one stands out the most for me.

Shifting gears now, you guys are touring with Lich King in a few weeks. If I’m not mistaken the two bands have been friends for a while, Tom Martin even did the artwork for the two Insinnerator releases. On a scale of 1-10 how hyped are you guys to be touring with the mighty Lich King?

Beyond 10, dude! I can’t believe they have stuck by us for so long and have given us this ultimate opportunity to be on the road with them. They are my friends and brothers for life. They’re the best! I can’t thank them enough for this massive opportunity!

Lich King are touring in support of their latest album, “Born of the Bomb.” What do you guys think of the album?

By far, their best work. I can’t say enough good things about it! It has amazing energy and intensity, has both their comedic and serious side, and some new feeling that they hadn’t played with yet. Certainly the best album of 2012!

Do you mind giving us the tour itinerary for t hose who may not know what it is?

Lets see, I believer it’s:
4/11 – Arlington, TX CD Warehouse
4/12 – Houston, TX The White Swan
4/13 – San Antonio, TX The Ten Eleven
4/14 – El Paso, TX House show
4/15 – Flagstaff, AZ OFF (if someone can help with a show, we’d really appreciated it!)
4/18 – Mesa, AZ The Underground

Is there a particular show you’re looking forward to playing?

Oh man, I can’t WAIT for Houston, San Antonio and El Paso. The line ups look so amazing, and there’s already buzz from those crowds in those cities, so I can not wait to get there an give them out best performances that we can!

A lot of people don’t realize how much work and preparation goes into touring. Is there anything you learned from your east coast run with Terrorist that has helped you prepare for your upcoming run with Lich King?

Certainly! Just have a back up plan. If you have the day off, try to figure out something to do before you get there, so you’re no just baking in the sun for 12 hours a day. If you know somebody close by, see if they want to hang. And, oh yeah, bring more money than you think you need..

Do you guys have a set list “set in stone” or can fans expect to hear/see something new every night?

We have out normal ones we always play, but will also have some additional songs that we swap out depending on the audience of if somebody wants to hear a certain song. But it wouldn’t be an Insinnerator show if we didn’t play “Children of the Cult”!

I know Tom from Lich King is in love with the Insinnerator track “Children of the Cult” and really you can’t blame the man, it’s a killer song. Is there a particular track or tracks you want to hear Lich King play on tour?

Thank you so much, dude! I would love to hear songs like “Predator”, “Combat Mosh”, “Reavers”, man they have so many killer ones. It’s so hard to make a good Lich King set, because you have to make like 10 in your mind and then carefully pick, all of their stuff is just amazing.

What can fans attending the shows expect to see? What is an Insinnerator show like?

They can expect our best, and they can expect us to play our hearts out. We love music and playing music, so we want to give the audience a punishing performance with a ton of aggression. You can expect speed, violence and THRASH!!!!

Shifting gears now, what does the future hold for Insinnerator? I hear you guys are already working on new material for the next release, is this true?

100% true, man! This next on will be another full length and have more songs than “Stalagmite of Ice” had! It’s feeling pretty good right now, a lot of energy, structures and atmosphere is being played out. There’s certainly somethings that we have to go back and clean up on in a few pieces before they are really good to go, but we’re getting there! We’re also messing with more instrumental stuff this time around, which I’m a big fan of. I hope people enjoy what we have planned, we’re trying to make the best thrash metal we possibly can! We’re trying to get into the studio again this summer, but we’re no going to rush any of this song writing.

Is there a chance for another Insinnerator tour after your run with Lich King?

It’s early in the works, but yet, we hope to go further west this summer with our long lost brothers that I mentioned above! And hopefully something early next year as well with some awesome Dallas bands!

You guys are from Texas which is one of the largest states in the country. What’s the metal scene like down there? Can you name some killer bands people should be listening too?

Man, Texas is doing GREAT right now! Witchaven and Exmortus (love you dudes!) were hee this past weekend in Dallas, and the scene here was awesome, it was like a great big family! DFW bands people should check out are Power Trip, Steel Bearing Hand and Toxifix. All are amazing bandds that have the brightest futures ahead of them. Other Texas bands are Terrorist, Hexlust, Aggravator, Social Bomb, Owl Witch and Army of Drunks. Check them all out, you will NOT be disappointed!

I really appreciated you taking time out to answer these question for myself and your fans. Is there anything you’d like to say before we wrap things up?

I would just like to thank you for giving us this great opportunity to do this! Global Thrash Assault is one of the best things to happen to the New Wave of Thrash Metal, please keep doing what you’re doing! And, of course, thank you to all of our amazing fans and supporters out there! With out you, there is no Insinnerator. Thank you all so much for supporting us, thrash metal and music. You guys are all amazing and we can’t wait to perform for everybody on this upcoming Lich King tour. Thank you all so much! Love you all!

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