I became a Cain Cressall fan about 30 seconds into seeing his performance with The Amenta last year. His wicked stage presence really hooked me, and I went on to name him one of my Top 10 Standout Musicians of 2009 That Aren’t Household Names Yet. So obviously I’m thrilled to bring you the below interview with Cain, fresh off several shows with The Amenta in Australia opening for Behemoth and Goatwhore.
HardRockChick: What were you like as a kid? What kinds of things were you into?
Cain Cressall: Not much has changed. Art, music, horror, cartoons.
HRC: When did you first get into music? Did you/do you play any instruments? What was your first band like?
CC: I first became obsessed with music when I saw the video for AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock. I never took up any instruments until much later in life. I play some guitar and keys, purely for writing & toying with ideas. My first band sucked. They were a sloppy Metallica cover band with a handful of awful originals. I got kicked out after about 6 months.
HRC: I read that you also draw- can you talk about that?
CC: My first passion was for drawing. This began way before I ever became obsessed with music. My subject matter usually revolves around the macabre or ghastly self portraits. I don’t draw so much these days but have been aching to get back into it.
HRC: I also read that you are a horror film expert. What is it about that genre of film that attracts you? What’s your short list of must see horror films?
“I recommend that all parents introduce their children to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) at an early age.”
CC: I wouldn’t say expert, just an avid enthusiast. I have been obsessed with horror since I was very young. Among my greatest admired directors are Dario Argento, David Lynch, George A. Romero, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock. I recommend that all parents introduce their children to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) at an early age. That film will always have a very special place in my heart. The Shining also had a particularly memorable impact on me as a kid.
HRC: How did you form your band, Malignant Monster? What is your vision for the band?
CC: No particularly interesting origin story. Just trial and error, trying to find the right players to suit the direction. My vision is a new strain of musical sickness founded on good old fashioned extreme aggression. A celebration of ugliness and perversion.
HRC: It seemed like you took on vocal duties for The Amenta right before embarking on the U.S. tour with Vader. How did you acclimate to the role, and how did you feel about the tour?
CC: Yeah, the guys had shared a stage with Malignant Monster the year before, over on my side of the country (I’m from Perth, Western Australia, the other guys are from Sydney on the East Coast). They liked my band & we hit it off really well, so they asked me aboard when their previous vocalist left the band.
The tour was very successful for us. I don’t think we could have asked for more satisfying outcome, considering we are fairly unknown in the US.
HRC: It seems that everyone who’s seen you perform walks away saying that you have a truly amazing stage presence. Where does it come from? What goes through your mind up there? How much do you pay attention to the crowd’s reaction to you?
“I pay total attention to the crowds reaction because they’re half the fucking show.”
CC: Thank you. I’ve always loved theatrics and character in live music, from Alice Cooper to modern day extreme metal spectacles such as Mayhem. I guess, as with most performers, it’s just an excellent outlet for self-expression.
I pay total attention to the crowds reaction because they’re half the fucking show.
HRC: I’ve heard great things about the metal scene in Australia. Besides your bands, what are some others that you recommend checking out? Also, does the negative sentiment about the future of the music industry pervade over there as much as it does here?
“We generally seem to have a great kind of underdog determination.”
CC: There are always great bands coming and going over here. Some prominent ones really causing a stir at the moment would include Psycroptic, Ruins and Portal. Other bands including The Amenta members include Norse and Pain Division. Being so isolated over here from the global metal scene, we have a general kind of acceptance that the industry is a cunt and that we’re in such an inconvenient location that it seems crazy to get too caught up in that kind of sentiment. We generally seem to have a great kind of underdog determination.
HRC: What are your future plans with both Malignant Monster and The Amenta, and anything else you might be working on?
CC: Both bands are working on new albums which are intended for release early 2011. I am very excited about the progress of both these productions.
HRC: Any final words for the readers?
CC: Take care and I look forward to screaming at many more of you next year.