Coffin Carousel's Howard Discusses the Death and Dead of the In-Between

Coffin Carousel has the perfect way to describe themselves it goes as far as saying that they are too heavy for punk, not brutal for metal, and too many hooks for rock, with being too original for pop. So what genre are they actually well horror punk rock of course! Indeed Coffin Carousel's horror infused style takes the likes of the horror genre, except above the rest and others who have done it prior. These guys have got it all under wraps in terms of horrifying the listeners with their musical approach and appeal, in the shape and form that is their album "Between Death & Dead". Frontman vocalist, guitarist, and song writer Howard Von Noise, discloses the details of this album, it's accompanying singles and video choices, to the other plans of mayhem that these guys plan to embellish.

1. What role do you play in the band?

HVN: I am the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter.

2. Why go with a band name like Coffin Carousel? How is a coffin a carousel?

HVN: The band name Coffin Carousel came from an early song demo working title. I give random names to all the demos I work on so I know what song is what…I had another band name in mind at the time early on, but one day I was opening my Pro Tools sessions to work on my demos and saw a song with working title ‘Coffin Carousel’. For some reason it just popped out to me that day and I thought it was a great original name with a negative/positive connotation to it. It had a spooky/kooky feel to it also and felt a perfect fit to the sound of the demos. A Coffin Carousel could paint the picture how we are all spinning on this planet which is the Carousel…a ride, and the Coffin is the reminder that life is short and that we all pass over to the other side at some time to leave this planet, a death. So I guess this could be a planet in that perspective as a massive Coffin Carousel…hope that makes sense. But really, it just sounded cool and felt right for the music I was writing.

3. What has influenced your sound and style?

HVN: Mainly 90s heavy music, Roadrunner bands that broke big like Fear Factory & Machine Head. Metallica’s Black Album, the Misfits albums ‘American Psycho’ & ‘Famous Monsters’, Nirvana and Foo Fighters, Korn, Slayer, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Anything breaking and original caught my attention growing up and discovering music early on.

4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

HVN: Initially I write songs from an experience or a perspective from an experience I would like to share or just release from my mind. I like to have a positive undertone but sometimes getting to the positive you have to deal with the negative. I mainly sing about a time or the feeling I went through that I feel can be shared to help someone else maybe experiencing that simular feeling or going through something simular and guide them to see and feel positive about themselves. There has been some lyrics I wrote initially not really understanding the meaning myself but have come to later find an understanding maybe I was meant to understand later in life. Some songs also don’t really have a certain meaning, I just put parts of lyrics from songs that didn’t make it past the demo stage into one song and it sometimes finds its own meaning.

5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

HVN: I always start with guitar riff ideas or a groove that pops in my head. I build up the song musically first with the guitars building the chord progressions and locking down an awesome chorus. In the demo stage I program some basic drum beats out in Pro Tools to build up all the song accents that work with the guitar riffs and map out the song. Then I demo in the bass guitar to bridge the guitars and notes in to sync with the drums to strengthen up the rhythm section. Once I have a song working I write vocal melodies and then the lyrics just flow out once the melodies are in place for me. Once everything is working and sounds right I just keep listening to the song to feel if anything pops out like sounds, extra guitar parts or other parts that can be added to make the song feel more complete and ready to record.

6. How would you describe your style of horror punk rock to someone, because it is not like your typical horror punk style is it not?

HVN: Well the Coffin Carousel has undertones of Horror Punk. It’s not totally horror punk, I wouldn’t call it that either. I have always labelled the band’s sound as ‘Doom Pop’. Because the sound is thick and heavy like a doom band but is also filled with pop vocal melodies and sounds. The band’s sound is not brutal for metal and it’s way too heavy for punk so it doesn’t sit in either genre to me. I like to infuse horror sounds and soundscapes so that’s what maybe gives the band’s sound a slight horror punk feel. But I just like writing dark heavy music mashing punk, rock and metal together and writing well written songs for the spooky kids…Same way Tim Burton makes movies for the spooky kids.

7. Why did you go with the three songs that you did in terms of releasing them into singles and or videos off "Between Death and Dead"?

HVN: Well ‘Majestic’ was a great action packed heavy hitter hard-core punk anthem with a furious song structure. I wanted to have it known that this album meant business and that it was not anything like the previous material that the band had released. ‘The Crawler’ was another choice as it was a hard hitting exciting song with some fast grooves and catchy vocals, I felt ‘The Crawler’ would open up listeners to the new material to be a step up again vocally. ‘Skull Candy’ is a great groove monster with a super catchy chorus and the song feeling is huge overall showcasing a bit more of the heavy modern rock element over ‘Majestic’ and ‘The Crawler’. 

8. Your upcoming album "Between Death and Dead" will receive the Friday the 13th treatment and release, did you do this on purpose once finding out about said date?

HVN: Absolutely! For a horror influenced punk/rock/metal album release what better date to have it drop that Friday 13th. As soon as I saw there was a Friday 13th in October it just had to happen this year. Or wait it out till April 13th 2018.

9. What is your thoughts and opinions of the Friday the 13th day, do you believe in it or just like it, what makes it appealing to you guys?

HVN: It’s just all fun and for the horror element for me. It’s just another day really. I believe we all create our own experiences and reality so if it’s an unlucky day for some, maybe they just need to create a positive day for themselves.

10. What is your favorite and least favorite song off "Between Death and Dead"?

HVN: My favourite song is ‘Beyond The Plague’ and least would be the cover song ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ only for the fact it didn’t quite turn out how I was planning it would, but I finished it off anyway and added it as a bonus track for fun. I released it mainly because a good friend said I was being over critical with myself and people would like it. It’s a secret/hidden track on the deluxe edition CD/DVD for that reason as well.

11. What can the fans expect from the new album?

HVN: I hope fans can hear the song development style progression and music growth. I spent a lot of time to make sure the songs sounded the best they could so I just hope people enjoy listening to them. Fans can expect catchier songs, faster songs, heavier songs and more excitement in the band’s sound. There is an energy and fury amongst the songs which sounds new to the band which will come across new sounding overall weighting up against previous releases.

12. What was the writing and recording process like for the album?

HNV: I started demoing songs for the album in 2012 and spent two years working on 22x songs. I had a good friend record all the drums for me for those 22x songs in early 2014 and I spent the next two years again finishing off all the guitars, bass guitar and vocals at certain points that I had time and the budget available to complete everything. I spent the second half of 2016 mixing with Neil Kernon. He would mix the songs at his studio and send me bounces of each song via file transfer to make notes on till we got them all sounding right. I took a good 3-4 months to mix with that process but it was great to be able to work with Neil Kernon again and have him mix the album. He really listened and understood what I wanted to capture with the Coffin Carousel mixes and lifted the band’s sound to a new level with the album mixes. Alan Douches mastered the album late 2016 and I sat on the album for about eight months to try plan the best way to release it. 

13. Why do you think people should check out your new album once released?

HVN: It’s original and sounds nothing like anything else out there musically atm. It’s completely fresh and full of passion and energy that I believe will give music fans an exciting and fun time listening to it. If heavy music fans can just take 45 mins out of their lives this October to check it out and listen to it from start to finish that would mean so much to me as an artist.

14. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?

HVN: Well the band has a unique sound and I didn’t want Coffin Carousel to sound like any other band. I saw a quote from Phil Anselmo years ago that he suggested new bands take their favourite 40x bands and make their band’s sound reflect the influence from all 40x bands and that would give every band their own sound…I couldn’t agree more, I am not influenced by just 2 or 3 bands, creating a band like that wouldn’t give it an original sound…I listen to so many sub genres of heavy music, punk, rock and metal that Between Death & Dead is one massive cooking pot of sounds I love and heavy music elements I want to keep alive with the band’s music and make it stand out as a special album that is original and has positive purpose lyrically and lasts the test of time. 

15. What does the rest of this year have in-store for you?

HVN: Getting Coffin Carousel out playing on the live scene here in Australia to support the album release before looking at dates internationally and travelling to either Europe or the U.S. I have another 3x music videos planned for the album post release that I want to start filming soon also which will keep me very busy for the rest of 2017 for sure.

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