Utter Trash

* The basics – who is everyone/what do they play? How/when did the band get together? Anyone in bands prior to Soulless that people might have heard of? Other than the new CD, what recorded material has the band released?

Jim Lippucci: Soulless arose from the ashes that our drummer Chris and I were in called Bloodsick. Once were the only two original members remaining in the band we decided to move in a slightly different direction and get a new name. We have a self released CD, “The Darkening of Days” and appear on a whole bunch of tribute compilations. Soulless members have been or are in bands such as Integrity, Ringworm, Domestic Crisis, Nunslaughter, Holy Ghost, Schnauzer, The Spawn of Satan, Ascension, All that is Evil, Caveman, Descension, Decimation, and Goosebread and the Hydrogen Jukebox

Wayne Richards: Soulless formed in autumn 1996. I was jamming in Spawn of Satan (a thrash band which still thrashes with Dora on drums), a couple rooms down from where Chris, Jim and Jerry (original Soulless guitarist) were working out some songs. I was asked to join (which I did immediately after hearing a 5 song rehearsal tape) and we worked shit out from there. First show for Soulless was January 1997.

* Although there are certainly extreme/death metal elements to your sound, there’s also a bit of melody, and the vocals are more prominent than in a lot of the typical extreme bands. How would you describe your sound? What artists have influenced you the most?

JL: I would say we are basically a thrash band and are very much influenced by early thrash – Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, Exodus and such but definitely show some influence from bands like At The Gates, Arch Enemy and such

WR: Soulless is a thrash band that combines elements of early 80s Bay Area and German Thrash with early 90s Swedish Death Metal. Primary legends responsible for the Soulless sound: Slayer, Kreator, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Sodom, Exodus, Celtic Frost, Forbidden, Voivod, Entombed, Dismember, At the Gates…

* On a related not to the previous question, do you think metal has become too compartmentalized into sub genres and confined by arbitrary rules?

JL: At times I feel metal has lost some of its freedom and nonconformist attitude. People are becoming too concerned with trends and fashion. All that matters is the metal and the individual expression.

WR: The reason metal exists is because bands wanted to break the mold of mediocrity and normalcy, break all the rules to create something new and original and not be confined to anything. Metal has always been about being faster, heavier and louder than anything else. Sabbath to Priest to Motorhead to Maiden to Venom to Slayer and Metallica to Kreator to Entombed to At the Gates. These are metal bands. The shit that you hear on the big radio stations is known as “gay metal” to the people who know what metal really is. I do not know if Metal has become too compartmentalized (if this is a word), but it certainly has become diluted and reduced to talent less chug riffs and rappers. Rap/Metal (which is now the biggest genre) is the gayest shit I have ever heard, and now it’s pop culture. When you here something that is metal, you know it’s metal…It should not have to be grouped into certain categories…If its metal; it’s good…If there’s a fag rapping on it…it’s not metal, but it is gay.

* Maybe I’m exaggerating because I live here, but it seems like Cleveland is a major metal city. Aside from you guys, Breaker, Somnus, Abdullah, Boulder, and others all have national distribution and play out of state shows. Is Cleveland where the next big metal movement will come from?

JL: It does seem we have a wealth of metal…as far as the next big metal movement coming from here it’s hard to say and depends on whose standards it is judged by. Bands like Mushroomhead, Switched, and Chimaira all have major deals while many underground bands like Keelhaul, Nunslaughter and others have a very loyal underground audience worldwide. Perhaps we are in the midst of the next big metal movement.

WR: Cleveland is a great city for Metal; that is for sure. But I do not see a metal movement coming from this city. If there is to be a metal movement, it would have to be a nationwide reckoning. The good metal bands from Cleveland are talented old school thrashers, but if there is going to be a metal movement, that would mean there would have to be a mainstream revival of old Thrash and Heavy Metal music, which unfortunately will never happen.

* Rather than try to pretend I have no morbid curiosity, I’m just going to ask about the leg straight out. If I’m being an insensitive prick, just say so, but how did it happen? I noticed at the Studio A Rama show you were jumping around as much as any front man. Is the prosthetic designed to take the abuse? Are you the “Six Million Dollar Man” of metal?

JL: I lost my leg to a very rare bone disease at the age of nine. Fortunately I have had access to some of the most high tech prosthetics that out country has to offer. These are the limbs that you see people with actual drive and determination using to run marathons and climb mountains. I generally use mine to walk into and out of bars and frighten small children. The leg was actually a lot less then $6 million…I guess I am the $17,000 man of metal.

WR: Leave him alone.

* Tell me a little about your lyrics. Do you have any sort of message, or do you just try to find something that fits the mood of the music? Do you approach the songwriting process as a band, or does everyone write individually?

JL: Yes

WR: From what I gather, all of Jim’s lyrics are centered around his hot ex-girlfriend and all of their struggles to form a normal, long-lasting relationship built around a mutual respect for one another striving to gain peace, love and trust. Usually Corrick or I have some riffs which are developed into songs for Soulless, and much, much later Lippucci finally writes lyrics to the song.

* Recording the new album – Where did you do it, and how long did it take? Was everything written prior to going into the studio? How much of an impact did the producer/engineer have on the final result?

JL: We recorded at Mars studio outside of Cleveland with Bill Korecky. We go into the studio very well prepared. We pretty much produced the album, but Bill always is there to provide us with a fresh opinion from outside of the group, which is very helpful.

WR: Overall, the recording process was comprised of approximately 15 full days of work. I am sure we will never, ever record anywhere but MARS. We have a phenomenal relationship with Bill Korecky (who is a damn genius when it comes to engineering a metal record), which will never be severed because Soulless has gained that level of peace, love and trust with Bill. Bill does have his opinions, which frequently become the focus of turmoil for the band…but there are those rare occasions of joy when we get to completely shut him down.

* Tell me a little about the label/distribution for the new CD.

JL: The Record will be released by WorldChaos Production, a newer metal label from Japan specializing in excellent thrash. It will also be distributed by MNW in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. WorldChaos generally licenses their releases in different territories throughout the world. It usually takes a couple of months after the Japanese release for these deals to get rolling. We hope to have some major distribution in the US in three to six months

WR: Indeed. We already have good distribution set to pounce on Japan and Europe, but the distribution in the States will depend on how well “Agony’s Lament” does overseas. We hope to have something lined up here shortly after the record is released abroad.

* What out of state shows/major opening gigs have you played? What was the show you most enjoyed? Any good humorous anecdotes (yeah, it’s a pretty broad question, but run with it if you can)?

JL: We’ve opened for bands like Incantation, Nile, Morbid Angel, and Dismember and done shows in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, but I don’t really have any good stories. A drunk guy wanted to beat up one of our friends in Indiana for singing Alice Cooper’s “I Love the Dead” during karaoke night. He thought that was a bunch of bullshit

WR: OHH…That show in Indianapolis (The James Murphy Benefit, which was fantastic) I ate 23 pieces of pizza after we played. Before the show, a bar across the street had free hot dogs. I had 4 of those. The local Indiana chicks were all over me. The gas expelled from my ass in the van was unreal on the way home… One time on the way home from playing a show, Dora shit his pants in Parsippany, New Jersey…wiped his ass with a sock and kept the undies (KISS boxers…obviously irreplaceable)!

What are your main goals as a band? Would you be happy with “cult” status, or do you want to reach a wider audience eventually?

WR: Soulless originally set out to get signed, a goal which we have finally achieved. Our next goal is to eventually tour Europe (most importantly) and the United States. Selling thrash records isn’t our #1 priority, but we will continue to release quality thrash albums for years to come. In a sense we are just getting started with this metal entity known as Soulless, so hopefully, we will be around for quite a while. Personally, I am looking forward to touring Europe more than anything. It’s important to us to give the European audience a good dose of Metal…since they still love it and have been providing us with phenomenal metal for such a long time.

JL: Tour, release albums, drink beer, get some sodomy…as far as cult status goes, I don’t know…it doesn’t’ fit in with my lifestyle of debauchery and excess. I may actually start my own cult some day. I’ve always longed to be worshipped…

* Anything I didn’t ask that you want to throw in, feel free.

JL: Check out our website, www.soullessdomain.com and our label at www.world-chaos.com. Come to our shows and buy us beer and share your dope and women.

WR: Metal, Beer and Women are the basic needs for Livin’!