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Bill Steer Carcass – Interview
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BillSteer Carcass

It wasn't that long ago that Australia had the privilege of experiencing Carcass on tour, less than a year ago actually and now they return this time opening for another legendary band - Napalm Death. The British invasion is set to kick off in Perth in April for a nationwide tour so we caught up with Carcass guitarist Bill Steer to discuss the upcoming shows and and a little about the band's future.



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Andrew: So the first thing I wanted to talk about was the big tour coming in Australia. Now you were here not long ago, just last year actually so is this becoming an annual thing for you guys? Haha!

Bill: Yeah haha I don't really know how this came up so quickly but we're really happy about going back. We love it down there, got a lot of good friends and the crowds are killer. But I guess you have to look at this trip as being more about Napalm (Death) because officially they're headlining this thing and I guess we're an addition to the bill. So yeah it's a little bit different for us because we're not closing, we'll be playing a slightly shorter set but I guess it will still be hopefully around the hour long mark. Yeah just excited, we've only done one trip so far this year and that was India and we're about to go to Greece shortly so we're still kind of getting back into shape really.

Andrew: Yeah we're excited that you guys are coming back again because I remember catching one of your shows last year and it was absolutely phenomenal so it's great to have you back again. Have you guys toured with Napalm Death before?

Bill: Well I guess if you look back at the early 90's we did play with them in the States. I'm trying to think if that was the last time but it goes back a long way. I guess they've been through a number of changes and so have we. I was in Napalm (Death) in the 80's and there's only one person in the band that currently was in that group while I was a member so they definitely had quite a history.

Andrew: Now you're last album "Surgical Steel" which was a great album and received great reviews and all that kind of stuff. Looking back on that album now, how do you feel about it? Are you still proud of it?

Bill: Yeah I wouldn't use the word proud haha! That's a little...I guess the best way of putting it is we're reasonably satisfied with it, the record represents where we were at that time. Of course there's things we criticize about it and that's only natural and I think if you're 100% happy there isn't much incentive to do anything again in the future. That's music for me is you are always striving towards something and you never quite get there but part of the fun (is) to try something and I guess at the end of it you kinda assess how close you got to what it was you wanted sonically. And with this thing I would say we got reasonably close and next time, if there is a next time, I guess we try and learn from any mistakes or whatever we picked up along the way.

Andrew: So does that mean there are doubts as to whether there will be another Carcass album in the future then?

Bill: Well no, provided we're all still alive yeah I would imagine there would be another one.

Andrew: I personally loved the album and we would love to see Carcass make another album. I remember asking Jeff (Walker, vocalist/bass) when that album came out what was the main reason you guys decided to put another album out and it was actually you that instigated a lot of it. Can you elaborate a bit more on the feeling at that time on what you wanted to do to get the band to get into the writing and recording mode again?

Bill: Sure, it was just a gut feeling for me in all honesty because I had been the last person to get onboard with the reunion idea. I was very resistant to that but then once I got past whatever issues I had and started playing with the band again and loving it, it seemed natural to me that the next step would be to gradually start creating new music. So as far as my desires to do this album, that's how far back it goes right to the beginning from when we reformed. But in a way those hopes were just shot down very quickly because at that time we had Michael (Armott, guitar) and Daniel (Erlandsson, drums) in the lineup from Arch Enemy and they made it clear that they had no wishes or intentions in that direction whatsoever. So as long as that was the lineup, we weren't going to be doing an album. It really only became an issue for Jeff and myself around 2010 when that sort of all petered out and we had a choice really to just leave it or carry on and from that point onwards we were completely free to make new music. There was nothing that was going to hinder us.

Andrew: And now that you've played these songs live in the last couple of years, have you found the songs have naturally changed over time or have you pretty much been sticking to how it played out on the album?

Bill: Well it's interesting that you mention that because we have modified the arrangements slightly when playing these tunes live. It's nothing drastic, it's recognisably the same songs. It's just a couple of little differences to how we deliver those tunes in front of an audience. I think it's a fun thing to do because I guess if you look back on the golden era of heavy rock music, all the bands did that whether it was an extended version or having a segway between 2 tunes or whatever. You just wanted to feel that the live experience was something a little bit different so I guess there's an element of that going on.

Andrew: Is that a common thing with the band as well? Do you find a lot of the older songs have had the same kind of thing happen?

Bill: Just slightly, it's really organic. It's down to how things feel. Sometimes a song works perfectly as it is live and you don't touch it, other times you might mess with an introduction or an ending or only play a portion of a tune. It's just down to how everybody in the band feels and the only way to learn abut how to treat a tune is to go out there and play it in front of the crowd and you pick up very quickly on what works and what doesn't.

Andrew: The other thing I wanted to ask you was since you guys reformed and you've done a number of tours, do you find touring to be a lot more fun now as opposed to the earlier days?

Bill: Haha I would generally say more fun now. Partially because I guess at this stage you tend to be more grateful for anything good that happens. When you're younger if you don't have much to compare it to, there is a tendency to get things out of proportion, maybe complain a bit. Because when we started this band we hadn't had jobs, Jeff and myself were both early school leavers and then we just wandered into playing in bands and before you knew it, we were travelling a lot and making records. We were very fortunate but we just didn't realize how lucky we were.

Andrew: So I guess there's an appreciation for what you got now as opposed to the early days I guess.

Bill: Yeah.

Andrew: The tour you did here last year like as I said it was a great tour. Was there any memorable highlights? You must of had a great time on the tour.

Bill: Yeah I mean I have to be honest with you, a trip down there is always brief because obviously it takes a day just to fly and then once you're there you are only there in each town for a day and then you're up at the crack of dawn and flying off to the next location. So you never see as much as you want to. I guess over the years I've spent a fair bit of time in Sydney and Melbourne and I love those towns but then I also love other bits of Australia. With New Zealand I'm really glad to be going back this time because that was fantastic on previous occasions. It's fantastic to do the gigs but it's fustrating as a visitor because you just want to experience more and it's all too brief but I guess we have to remember why we're there in the first place!

Andrew: And like you said, you're opening for Napalm Death so your stage time won't be as long as last time. Is there anything that you plan on doing while you are in the country this time around?

Bill: No I think we'll just take it as it comes really. Our good friends Brad and Dysie will be looking after us. For me if I get to go to a couple of nice pubs and go for a walk around town maybe, that's enough haha!

Andrew: Haha OK so after the tour what's in the cards for Carcass for the rest of the year?

Bill: Well I think while we're in that part of the world we're going to be doing a bunch of gigs in Asia. I guess that sort of takes us through to the beginning of summer, as in the UK summer...whatever there is of it and we got a bunch of European festivals. Personally I'm keeping my fingers crossed a bit that things don't get too hectic because it would be quite nice inbetween these festivals to get a little bit of work done regarding the next album. Down to myself I've already been jamming quite a bit but you don't like to force these things, you create when you feel ready. It's very early days on that one but I think when you're doing festivals you have the luxury of being at home for an average of 4 to 5 days a week. That's brilliant but I think we want to make the most of that (and) actually get some work done.

Andrew: Yeah definitely, hopefully we get to see another Carcass album in the future. We're looking forward to seeing you guys with Napalm Death in April so thanks for taking the time to chat with us, it's been an absolute pleasure!

Bill: Alright thank you!

NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS and Extortion performing at:

April 16th - Perth, Capitol, 18+
April 17th - Melbourne, Prince Bandroom, 18+
April 18th - Sydney, The Factory Theatre, 18+
April 19th - Brisbane, The Hifi, 18+
April 21st - Valhalla, Wellington, 18+ SOLD OUT!
April 22nd - Valhalla, Wellington, 18+ (No Extortion)
April 23rd - The Kings Arms, Auckland, 18+ (No Extortion)

ALL AUSTRALIAN SHOWS - - paypal only

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on March 19th 2015