Full Of Hell are an active and adventurous band. Scene Point Blank caught up with the group on the heels of 2017's new album, Trumpeting Ecstasy, for a few words with vocalist Dylan Walker. Discussing the new album, his motivations, and how he spends his time when he's not on the road.
Scene Point Blank: Can you give us some insight regarding your perspective on the band's musical development? Where you’ve come from and what’s led you to where you are.
Dylan Walker: It's been a pleasure making music with these guys. We started the band when we were all very young, not knowing exactly where we wanted to go with it, but always having some kind of vision for the project. I think over the years everyone's gotten to be much more proficient in their respective roles. It's honestly never been more exciting to play live, record, and write.
Scene Point Blank: Talk to us about the aesthetic of noise and why it functions as a prominent component of your work.
Dylan Walker: "Noise" has always been an important component for us because it helps to remove the barriers that you'd be left with when using traditional instrumentation (guitar, bass, and drums). All of the genres that we flit between are supposed to be sonically extreme and there is no better way to create something extreme than adding harsh and strange textures to the music. Basically, it takes away some of the limiting nature of the normal band set up.
Photo by Reid Haithcock
Scene Point Blank: Your trajectory has been as compelling as it’s been consistent. How much of that would you attribute to the group sharing similar influences and thus having similar goals sonically?
Dylan Walker: Spencer and I are kind of like band dads, in that we set everything up and handle all of the big plans for the band. Dave joined when he was very young at 15 years-old, so at the time I think his role on the back end was a bit smaller. He always shared musical interests with us and shared our vision, so as time has gone on he's definitely had a more active voice in things. I don't think it would have worked if there was a person within that didn't have the same end goals in mind. I joined with Spencer because of his drive and our similar interests. The band simply wouldn't have come to existence if not for that base level of understanding.
Scene Point Blank: Speaking on that, what goals do you hope to achieve in a creative sense and what can we expect from Full of Hell in the future?
Dylan Walker: All that I hope for is that we can keep writing albums that we want to hear. What that could mean remains to be seen, I guess.
Scene Point Blank: Tell us about the production experience of the new record. What did Kurt Ballou’s experience bring to Full of Hell that didn’t exist before collaborating?
Dylan Walker: I don't think he did anything drastic. He's a very proactive engineer and he's always there to give advice (compositionally or otherwise) and I think that was most helpful for me, personally. He had several suggestions on vocal patterns and placement, which was helpful. On a compositional level, he definitely helped us when we were building the more industrial based track on the record. He's a master of helping just enough, without being overbearing at all.
Scene Point Blank: The album artwork is absolutely beautiful. Is this the second time you’ve collaborated with Mark McCoy on visuals? Did you have a conversation about the cover art prior to the finished design?
Dylan Walker: Mark is a brilliant artist with a very distinct style. I don't want to encumber his vision, so all we did was provide him with the title and lyrics. He drew his own conclusions from there, and I think it's a perfect visual representation of the album. We trust him to provide that and I feel really lucky to have him making our album art, because I'm a big fan!
Scene Point Blank: Can you elaborate on the lyrical content on Trumpeting Ecstasy and what inspires you to write in general?
Dylan Walker: There's nothing specific that inspires me to write, I think I've just always written. For Trumpeting Ecstasy, I put together several brother-sister (2 part) narratives to create more of atmosphere than a simple message. There is a message but I don't really like spelling it out for people. I think it's a special thing to find meaning in writing like this, find what they will.
Scene Point Blank: What is currently challenging you?
Dylan Walker: Overall, we live pretty simple lives. We're 20-something white males in America. Our challenges are nothing worth mentioning.
Scene Point Blank: Is there any music, film, or literature that you’ve been into lately that you’d like to recommend?
Dylan Walker: I had a good moment with Ben Wheatley films. I've been listening to Loss, Artificial Brain, Silver Mt. Zion (always) and Joanna Newsom.
Scene Point Blank: How do you spend your time when you’re not working on music? What matters to you outside of this?
Dylan Walker: What matters to me outside of this band is my home in the woods and my family. When I leave tour, I just want to go home and be alone. I want that to be safe.
Scene Point Blank: Do you have any thoughts or feelings that you’d like to air out about the current political climate in the US or maybe just about society in general?
Dylan Walker: We are living in a toxic era of fear and ignorance. Human beings are naturally fearful and ignorant. I think this kind of thing is very cyclical but it's hard to say what's to come next. When the right comes to power, people tend to die. I wish for a world where people can just live in peace and let others live, but it's not possible. I think it's human nature to kill each other.
Scene Point Blank: Is there anything else you’d like to say or promote?
Dylan Walker: Stop talking shit on things you don't enjoy and go find something that you do.