KAMPlifornia - Shawn Cameron (Carnifex)

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Shawn Cameron is the drummer for the San Diego-based deathcore band Carnifex. The band recently headlined the Death Metal Rises tour, which also featured fellow heavies I Declare War and Rings of Saturn.

On June 7, Shawn was gracious enough to sit down with KAMP's very own Debased God before their show at Red House Studios in Walnut Creek, CA.

Read as Shawn talks about Carnifex's new album, shows that don't always don't go their way, band news, and stirring up controversy for Slayer fans!

Debased God: How is your guys' summer going so far?
Shawn Cameron: So far it's going alright. We're doing a nice regional tour. The crowds have been pretty good.

DG: About that, you guys are on tour with I Declare War and Rings of Saturn right now. I've seen longer tours with lineups that weren't half as awesome as this, and you guys are keeping this one so short. So why only California and Phoenix?
SC: (laughs) Well, we just did a US tour with All Shall Perish, and we did like, two California dates on that. Originally this tour was supposed to go all the way up the coast to Oregon and Seattle but, somehow it didn't work out that way. So yeah, this is pretty short. I'm kinda bummed though because everybody's such awesome dudes and great bands. I really actually wish this was a whole US tour.

DG: Did you guys try to get on Mayhem Festival or Summer Slaughter at all?
SC: Every year. (laughs) I dunno, we're the red-headed stepchild of the metal community, I guess.

DG: Well, you're bound to get on there one of these years.
SC: Right. (laughs)

DG: Your latest album, Until I Feel Nothing, has been out for a couple of months now. Have you been getting a good response from the touring cycle so far?
SC: Yeah, most of our fans loved it. It's just poorly promoted by our label, and a lot of people are still finding out that we have a new record out, and it was released in October.

DG: Wow. I was actually at your show the last time you played in Tucson with Throwdown and First Blood. That one got cancelled because some guys were fighting during First Blood.
SC: Yes! The show got shut down as we were about to go on.

DG: Yeah, that was really shitty. I was looking forward to seeing you guys.
SC: Yeah yeah, there was a lot of people there. That was one of the better shows on that tour. It was a huge bummer... Actually, last night, we weren't able to play either in Santa Maria. There was a problem with the venue owner keeping all the door money and not paying us, so we had to leave.

DG: That really sucks, I'm sorry about that. Wow... Well, I noticed that there wasn't a lot of time between your last two albums. Have you started writing the next one yet?
SC: Actually yeah, we have most of it written. We have an 18-month album cycle, so we should be releasing the next one in the late spring of next year.

DG: Anything you can tell me about that one?
SC: It's more of what we do. We're trying to do different things but we're still keeping it heavy and keeping it fast.

DG: Do you at least have a name yet?
SC: Uhhhhh, I don't know. Scott (Lewis, vocalist) comes up with all the names. I learn the names of the songs probably a month after we record it. (laughs)

DG: Well, on Until I Feel Nothing, you guys experimented a lot more with orchestral and atmospheric arrangements. Do you think you're going to expand on that at all?
SC: Yeah a little bit. We're still going to keep that stuff just because we have a lot of black metal influence and we don't all just listen to metal. We have a lot of different influences, so we do like the feel that the orchestral arrangements bring. We'll still have that stuff that gives it a whole new element.

DG: Very cool. So have you ever written any songs that were really really difficult for you to master?
SC: Yeah, the whole Hell Chose Me album. (laughs) I wrote a bunch of drums that, at the time, I was like, "Yeah, this will be sick!" and then actually trying to play it was pretty difficult. Now, I'm trying to write more difficult things but still trying to keep it within the limits I know I have. Playing the new stuff isn't too much harder.

DG: What's been your favorite song to play off the new album.
SC: Off the new album? Probably "Dead but Dreaming." I like playing that song a lot, and I play it really well.

DG: That's actually my favorite song off that album.
SC: Oh, thanks! I actually wrote that song.

DG: Oh awesome! So for the bonus track on Hell Chose Me, you guys decided to cover "Angel of Death" by Slayer. Was there anything that drew you to that song in particular?
SC: Yeah. They're a thrash band, so I like being able to take bands' stuff and making it our own, which we were able to do because they're fast and heavy and we were able to make it a little faster and a little heavier. We chose that song because we're a deathcore band and it would be a more controversial song. Half the people would be like, "Oh, that's so sick!" and the other half would be like, "How DARE you cover Slayer!" (laughs) We all really like that song, and I haven't seen Angel of Death covered as much as, say, "Reign in Blood" or other songs, so it was a different one.

DG: Just out of curiosity, was it Scott or someone else who did Tom Araya's high-pitched scream at the beginning?
SC: That was actually me.

DG: Wow... I did not see that one coming.
SC: (laughs) Yeah, anything that's not screaming is usually my voice.

DG: Alright, well do you guys have any other plans for this year after you're done with this tour?
SC: Yeah, we're going to do some festivals in Europe in July, and then in August we're going to South America with August Burns Red and The Ghost Inside and playing a few shows down there. But after that, we really don't have any plans at all.

DG: Alright, well we'll see what the future brings. I just have two more questions for you and then we'll wrap this up. When you guys are getting interviewed, do people always ask you how you got your name?
SC: Yeah.

DG: Are you glad that I didn't do it now that this interview's over?
SC: (laughs) YES. You can look it up on Wikipedia.