Agoraphobic News: In 2010, you joined Revocation, one of the best thrash metal bands that emerged in the 2000s. That must be something! Share some details about it.
DH: Sure, I was a huge Revocation fan when their "Summon the Spawn" demo came out. I knew them through some mutual friends and knew they tracked two guitars in the studio but only Dave played guitar live. I took it upon myself to learn as many songs as I could off the first album and then told them I wanted to join. They tried me out and shit just worked out. I'm still happy jamming with them today.
Agoraphobic News: How do you handle playing in 2 bands?
DH: Well, Oleg makes things easier on artificial brain because we used to just sit around on hiatus every time I left. Now that I have a fill-in, the momentum keeps going and the rest of the band is happier. But to be honest, being in two bands consumes a huge portion of my free time. That's not a complaint though, I love it.
Agoraphobic News: It’s pretty cool to see Artificial Brain opening for Revocation. How helpful can that be?
DH: Well I don't know for sure. It's always cool playing to a packed house. We had hoped to play with Revocation since we started the band in 2009, which was a good 6 months before I joined revo.
Agoraphobic News: Are you playing 2 sets in that case?
DH: Yeah I did. It was hot up there.
Agoraphobic News: Artificial Brain is pretty much a young death metal band that emerged from NY. Can you tell us the story about the band’s formation?
DH: Sure, Sam, our bassist, and I have been friends for years and wanted to do a project together. Jonathan, our other guitarist, brought Keith to the table, because they were longtime friends, and it just ended up gelling pretty quickly. When we added will to the lineup we knew we had something cool.
Agoraphobic News: Butchering Cosminc Giants EP was released in 2013, and it really differs from its successor, Labyrinth Constellation. The former is a great fusion of black, thrash and death metal. Was the variety of subgenres focus of Artificial Brain the main goal of the band back then, or it is an unwritten rule that the band follows even today?
DH: We did sound different back then. Our sound was kind of more all over the place. I think with LC we sort of found our sound and ran with it. Of course, now we are taking that sound elsewhere. (Slightly) When speaking of EP, i really have a feeling that the band was more open to radical shifts music-wise.
Agoraphobic News: Labyrinth Constellation sounds more chaotic and dissonant. It reminds me of Baring Teeth to some extent. Still, old school influences are also present in songs like Worm Harvester. What did you aim for this time?
DH: Worm Harvester began as my ode to Dismember but a few of the riffs kind of went in a different direction. I do like Baring Teeth a lot but I wouldn't say they influenced my writing at the time. Labyrinth Constellation is very much Deathspell Omega and Abigor if they were death metal bands, mixed with whatever else inspired us in our history of listening to metal.
Agoraphobic News: I was blown away by a scream in song Frozen Planets and it doesn’t sound like Will’s gutteral vocals at all. Who was behind this devil’s work?
DH: That would be Paulo Paguntalan from Copremesis/Gath Smane. A good friend of ours. I'm sure we're gonna ask him to do more guest vocals on the next record.
Agoraphobic News: Album cover clearly depicts the band’s lyrical themes of apocalypse. Who did it?
DH: The artist was Paolo Girardi. We love his artwork, but its funny you say that because Will often remarks that the album cover is so different from his lyrical themes. But to me, the vibe of the album cover works with the sound of the record.
Agoraphobic News: If I’m correct, your debut album was engineered and produced by Colin Marston (Behold the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Gorguts) Are you happy with final product?
DH: Yes we are. It came out raw but not weak, clear but not over produced. Colin had some great ideas too that I think made some of the best parts of the record even better. It was a pleasure working with him and we all respect him as a musician.
Agoraphobic News: How much time have you spent writing and recording music? I started writing pretty much as soon as I started playing guitar. It may have taken me ten years to write a good song but I'm glad I got all that practice in as a kid. I've been playing guitar and writing music for about 19 years.
DH: What seems to be the most exhausting part of being an underground metal musician nowadays? I dunno, it can be literally exhausting to sleep in the van a few nights in a row and wake up with a sore neck and back, but it's so fun that I don't even care. Of course there are struggles, like, if I had an office job I'd have my own baller apartment and a bunch of possessions and a reliable schedule and income flow, but then I wouldn't have the chance to see the world playing rock and roll. I'll be near-broke and do what I want over working a job I hate for good money just because a bunch of people tell me I'm "supposed to".
Agoraphobic News: Who are your biggest metal/non metal influences?
DH: Nirvana, Metallica, Meshuggah, Death, Abigor, Deathspell Omega, Gorguts... plus whatever else. Lots of black metal. Rhinocervs records type stuff. I love Led Zeppelin and King Crimson, ELP, and I have a huge collection of video game soundtracks. I think playing nintendo as a kid and hearing the 8 bit soundtracks led me to eventually dig distorted guitars.
Agoraphobic News: What have you been listening to lately?
DH: Publicist UK.
Agoraphobic News: Are you playing guitar on a daily basis?
DH: Yeah I usually do. Sometimes after a long tour with Revo I'll come home and not touch a guitar for a few days. That gets me out of the routine of playing the setlist and makes it easier to clear my head and write. Writing is what I spend most of my time on, I'd rather be known as a guy who writes metal songs than a dude who shreds (I'll admit that I barely can) and can't write shit.
Agoraphobic News: You did a show with Baring Teeth, Pyrrhon and Gigan in Austin, Texas. Have you ever thought of touring with these guys?
DH: Yes, well we did actually tour with Pyrrhon and Gigan, although Oleg was filling in at the time. And yes, we'd love to tour with Baring Teeth as well.
Agoraphobic News: Gorguts’ Obscura is the best death metal album in the universe. Do you agree?
DH: I love Obscura but I think From Wisdom to Hate rules. They kept the weirdness and made it catchy. That's fucking difficult.
Agoraphobic News: Got anything to say about Steeve Hurdle?
DH: He was extremely talented. Sad that he went before he could do more.
Agoraphobic News: You had guest appearance in Elementary, modern version of Sherlock Holmes. How did that happen?
DH: A writer for that show bought a shirt from us and gave us that offer. Of course we said yes.
Agoraphobic News: And btw, who is that Asian guy that joined A.B. at Saint Vitus Bar on vocals ? (jan. 25th 2014) He totally nailed it.
DH: That was Paulo, who you were wondering about earlier. He is the sickest.
Agoraphobic News: Are you writing riffs for the upcoming record?
DH: Yes we have lots of material in the works. We've been playing a new song, "Vacant Explorer" live, and we may add another new one with the working title "Tenth Dimension". I want to write at least 15 songs before we hit the studio so we can pick the best ones.
Agoraphobic News: Last question is traditionally stupid – Metallica or Megadeth ?
DH: Metallica, hands down, for me at least. Not to say that I don't love Megadeth, I just dig Metallica's songwriting more.