Interview by Tony CannellaHailing from Los Angeles, California, Butcher Babies have just released their debut album “Goliath” which promptly landed at number one on the Billboard Magazine Heatseakers chart and now they are a part of the touring Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival which is blazing a trail across North America. The band – which consists of the duel lead vocals of Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein and Chrissy Warner on Drums – have been creating a huge buzz on the tour and have become one of the most anticipated bands on the bill. Following their live performance at the Hartford, Connecticut stop of the Mayhem Festival, co-lead vocalist Heidi Shepherd and guitarist Henry Flury were nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions. Here is what they had to say… How have things been going on the Mayhem Festival so far?
Heidi: This was better than we expected, especially today in Hartford. Every time we’ve ever played in this area the kids go crazy, but today was above average.
Henry: I don’t know if it was the dust or the gravel or just a combination, I mean yeah, talk about mayhem, it was just a dust bowl. It was a cloud. It was fun.
Heidi: It’s been like that every day – I mean, today they really brought it – but every single day it’s been amazing and I don’t want it to end. This is a dream come true.
Henry: This is a fantasy for us. We wake up every day and we’re like, ‘yes, this isn’t a dream, it’s still happening’. (laughs)Your debut album, “Goliath” just came out. What can you tell us about it?
Heidi: “Goliath” is something that we’ve been writing for years now. Even before the band started, we had written elements to the album and put it forth with the band. It’s definitely a different sort of album. It encompasses all different kinds of metal. I’m a new metal kid; I love Slipnot, Korn, Limp Bizkit…
Henry: I’m more on the technical side. I like Meshuggah and Pantera. Carla, she’s like old school metal, she loves Iron Maiden. Jason our bass player is into death metal, he’s into Cannibal Corpse and Death.
Heidi: …And Chris loves Marilyn Manson. We have different kinds of metal on this album. We all wanted to really show all of our influences and it kind of came out unique in that way, because we weren’t emulating one certain type of thing, we weren’t trying to hone in on one type of thing. We really wanted to make a diverse album, where there’s something for everybody and we feel like we accomplished that with “Goliath”. Sometimes you hear about some bands lose their creative control when they signed to a major label. For us, we didn’t lose any; we had full creative control with this album. This is honestly the Butcher Babies; this is who we are and what we sound like. You can also hear the evolution of the band. The second and the third song we ever wrote as a band is on the album and then the last song that we wrote is on the album too. You get to really hear the different sounds as we grew as a band.“Goliath” debuted on the Billboard Heatseakers chart at number 1. That must have been a pretty cool feeling.
Henry: Yeah, it’s shocking. For us, that whole week we were on pins and needles, because we had no idea. This is like the final exam of years of preparation – getting a deal, writing the songs, making the albums and playing the shows. The first week is kind of like well, did you reach those fans?
Heidi: Are we going to be accepted? Is it something that people are going to like? We didn’t know how it would do. We were surprised, because you don’t know how the fans are going to react and if people are actually going to buy the album, and if they are even going to give you a chance.
Henry: Our TM wakes up, he’s like, “do you want some good news this morning?” I’m like, “Yes”, he’s says “do you want to hear the numbers”; I’m like, “No!” (laughs)
Heidi: That morning they told us it was number one on Heatseakers. We were like “What!” (laughs)Can you see that you’re building a bigger fan base on the Mayhem Festival?
Henry: Yes. Everyday seems to get more and more intense. It really does. You can feel it, it’s definitely getting crazier.
Heidi: This is the first time we’ve actually played in front of a full crowd of straight metalheads. I mean, we’ve played with Otep, we’ve toured with Manson and we’ve done some other things. Even the Download festival didn’t feel like the Mayhem Festival feels. These kids and these people, regardless of what they do during the day, what jobs they have, what they look like, they’re all here for one reason and that’s to rock the f**k out.
Henry: They’re standing in line. I was walking by and the people in line are just going crazy. That gets us pumped up and I’m like, “okay, I need to start warming up and get ready because it’s going to be a crazy day.”I took a walk by your merch stand and your line was longer than any other bands.
Henry: It’s pretty, pretty nuts.You toured with Marilyn Manson. How did that go?
Heidi: It was awesome. It was a great tour. It was the middle of winter.
Henry: Imagine the opposite of this.
Heidi: We were all the way up in Canada. You know negative 40…
Henry: …Saskatoon, Moose Jaw…
Heidi: It was an incredible experience, though. We wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. We definitely learned a lot about ourselves, we learned a lot about our show. It was a dream come true.
Henry: He (Marilyn Manson) was really good to us; their people were really good to us. We really got along with them. Their fans really appreciated us as well.Are there any bands you’d like to tour with?
Heidi and Henry (simultaneously): Slipknot!
Heidi: We all have that exact same answer, Slipknot, Slayer.
Henry: Oh, Rammstein.
Heidi: Rammstein would be a good one too.
You guys played the Download Festival in England. How was that?
Heidi: Yeah, the Download Festival was a lot of fun. We were still a new band. It was last year and we were a completely different band at that point. We have definitely grown in the past year, so much. We were probably like a seventeen year old child at that point (laughs), and now we’re into our adulthood as a band. That was a great experience to go over there and play in front of the European crowd. It was really cool.You didn’t even have anything out at the time, right?
Henry: We had an EP. That had just come out. The thing is, that was kind of the beginning of the change for us. When we did that, we were really starting to come together as a band and it wasn’t until the Otep tour when we really started to gel.
Heidi: And we’re still growing. We’re only four years old, so we’re still growing.How did Butcher Babies first get together?
Heidi: Well, Carla and I were in a Punk/Metal cover band prior to this and we met in that band. We just decided, you know what, we wanted to do something original, something different and heavy, so we quit that band and created Butcher Babies. We found these boys through mutual friends. Carla and Henry have known each other for around ten years and Jason and Chris are best friends, they’ve been friends since around ’96 or something like that. So for us, if we all had mutual friends, somehow we ended up in the same room. I don’t even know how it happened, but somehow we all ended up in the same room and it was magic.
Henry: Yeah, we really clicked right away. We all had the same vision and the music started to come together right away. We started writing. It was very effortless, very organic. We didn’t have to think too much about what we wanted to do; we just wrote and had fun.How do you feel your label Century Media has been in supporting the band?
Henry: They’re a family. The thing is Century Media would come to our shows, we knew the people there, we were fans of theirs and they were fans of us. So there was this mutual relationship that we formed, so when we finally inked a deal we walked into the office and we were like, “hey guys.” (laughs)
Heidi: They’re definitely family. They’re very supportive. I don’t know very many labels that are that into their bands and you can tell that they really like us. (laughs)
Henry: They’re also local, which is really cool, because if we ever want to go bug them, we just knock on their door.Your band name Butcher Babies is from a Wendy O’ Williams song. Is she a big influence?
Heidi: Absolutely. I mean the band’s name is Butcher Babies and her single is “Butcher Babies”. The original attire with the nipple tape that we wore, Wendy O’ wore that almost her entire career. For us, that was a huge influence; Carla and I are both Wendy O’ fans. She really paved the way for females in metal, but not just females in metal, females in any sort of genre. Just to go out there and do what you want regardless of what anyone says, and it’s crossed over to the guys too, no one can tell you what you can and can’t be, she really started that and we really wanted to continue it. It’s funny because last night we were on the Dimebag bus and we started playing the Plasmatics and we’re all dancing around singing to the Plasmatics doing Black Tooth Grin shots and it was just a lot of fun because we all have that unique flavor in common. We really appreciate what she started and we’re all here to kind of further what she stood for.There is a lot of buzz about your stage shows. How would you describe it?
Henry: Energy, just chaos. Especially today, bodies were flying everywhere, we were flying everywhere, we’re out in the audience and the audience is coming back at us. It’s just nuts.
Heidi: I always jump into the crowd, always, every show I jump into the crowd, but today I crowd surfed, I was like, “I can’t help it!” (laughs)
Henry: It was getting a little nuts, the barrier was starting to break…
Heidi: …But it was so much fun. We have this energy about us where we play every show like it’s the last show we’re ever going to play. Just like you should live everyday like it’s your last day, we really take that into our music, because we’re so incredibly thankful to be here. We’re not little kids who were given this opportunity. We’ve worked our asses off, we’re well into our adulthood and we’ve worked out asses off to get here as adults and every single show we play is just the best day of our lives.What are your plans following the Mayhem festival?
Heidi: We can’t say exactly, but we have a couple of things in the works. We are doing the Aftershock festival with Korn and Megadeth. That’s on September 14th and then we’re playing Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare, that’s this big huge haunted house thing that he’s doing – fifteen days of it, but we’re doing October 26th and we’re playing with Motionless In White in Pomona, California. And the rest of it is under secrecy.Do you have plans to go back into the studio, or is it too soon?
Heidi: Not yet. I mean, we’re always writing, but we’re definitely not going to be thinking about it for awhile.
Henry: We’re going to be out there getting in front as many people as possible. We’re probably going to be doing that for awhile. We’re not going home just yet.
Heidi: The second album will come probably next year.We’ve come to the last question. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. In closing, are there any messages for the fans?
Henry: Thank you.
Heidi: Yeah, I mean it’s been a lot of years in making friends and fans. We’ve had a lot of dedicated fans and friends who have supported us throughout the years and waited so long for this debut album, so for us it gives us a sense of family. We just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for sticking by us.