Carnifex Put Fans First On "Decade of Despair" Tour

After staying off the road during 2013 to write new material, Carnifex reappeared like a phoenix with last year's Die Without Hope. So the San Diego-based death-metal group begins a new chapter with a healthy appreciation for their very patient fan base, and a sense of thankful acknowledgment to those who have stayed the course.

Now embarking on a lengthy and impressive tour that brings them to Scout Bar tonight, dubbed "Decade of Despair," Carnifex boasts support from two noteworthy deathcore bands: Black Tongue and Lorna Shore. Surely, a ticket to meant to draw in people who can appreciate a good guttural death growl, this show will no doubt be a metalhead favorite. Eager to reconnect, lead singer Scott Lewis talks about his renewed effort to reach out to fans and display Carnifex’s gratitude.

Houston Press: Really glad to see you guys survived 2013. You’re touring with Lorna Shore and Black Tongue, and now you’ve signed with Nuclear Blast Records. This is clearly a new beginning for Carnifex. So what does the future hold?
Scott Lewis: We’re doing this "Decade of Despair" tour celebrating ten years of Carnifex. We will be heading to South America, Europe…a total of 11 countries immediately following our 3-month cross country tour of the states.

I see the tour circles the coasts and the dates are back-to-back. Is that exhausting?
It’s pretty standard for us. We may take a day off here and there for travel time.

What can we expect from the tour? Anything special to look forward to?
Overall, I think it’s a great package. We’ve got a lot of really good bands that put on really great shows. It’s should be an exciting thing. We’ve got a set list planned that’s really good — songs from all albums, you know, favorites from across the catalog.

Sounds really cool…
Yeah, this tour is really for our fans. We appreciate them and they’re really the main reason we even write songs…That’s how we designed it. The whole focus of the tour is to make the great show for the fans. We had the idea of putting on a really great show just for them, we want them to have fun, you know? Make it really worth their money and time to come out and see us. We want to excite them…give them a show they could remember for the rest of their lives. I mean if nobody wants to see us, what’s the point, you know?

I love that. What a great idea to really center a show around fans — where you’re not the focus, but really an event that caters to what the audience wants. A great concept, really…
Yeah…and [we] tried a lot of new stuff and we’ve added stuff and instruments and new layers…

New instruments? Like, the piano on “Dark Days”?
Yeah, exactly. [We] want each song to have a uniqueness and stand out. Like the guitar solo on “Hatred & Slaughter,” more stuff like that. More of the same concept of Carnifex, but unique and very different.

So, it sounds like you’re well-rested after the hiatus...
Yes. You know, when we took the break, or hiatus, or whatever, Things had just gotten to like, a bad place for us. I mean, we had really never anticipated a successful band, you know? We never thought like, ‘Hey, we could do this for a living.’ We were all working. I had kind of given up [on music] then, I met some people. Suddenly, we were gaining momentum and we had no big plan for it. It was total chance. Then, we had incremental steps, tours, then a label, suddenly we’re doing all these tours and then burnout. We’re on the road having these legal issues with contracts. It just got to the point where it was making us all miserable. Number one, if I’m not making any money, do I really want to do this? Number two, I literally can’t do this. It’s just not sustainable.

Wow. That sounds incredibly heartbreaking. Knowing you’ve put all your time and energy into the band to find out it just can’t work.
Yeah, and during 2013, you know, I did a lot of thinking. I guess, what it is they say, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'? I just realized, ‘Wow. That [band] is actually a major part of my identity.’ Finally, the legal stuff turned over in our favor and financially, it became much more sustainable.

Thank goodness! Or we’d all be without you.
Music is an awesome expression. People take it in, they either love it or hate it. We’re spoiled with that [response]. I know not everyone loves us. There was a lot of people [saying], ‘All those metal bands sound alike.’ I get that and hopefully, that’s not us. We try to change it up.

Speaking of change, what does 2016 hold for Carnifex?
Well, obviously a lot of touring. I think, January through February, we will be finishing writing, or at least at the halfway point. After the New Year, we want to take two months and hopefully finish up by end of February or March.

Summer tours? Metal Fests?

What’s in your CD player right now?
[Laughs] I don’t even own a CD player anymore.

Yeah, that’s more like it. Um, let’s see, new Ghost stuff, Black Dahlia, some Bring Me the Horizon, you know, I try to listen to everyone.

Favorite bands?
Nine Inch Nails is huge for me. Trent Reznor has been a big influence. I guess Marilyn Manson, too.

Did you catch the Manson/Pumpkins tour this summer?
Yes, I did. It was a good one.

Yeah, I kinda feel like Manson should’ve headlined that.
Me too! Manson put on a really entertaining show. I love the Pumpkins and I have the utmost respect for them, but it just felt like, ‘Hey, watch us play our instruments.’ Like, it wasn’t a show.

Yeah, I think Texas fans are pretty blunt, many just walked out on Corgan. He called them out on it, too.
No way. What did he say?

He called them, “Posers.” Their guitar player [Jeff Schroeder] called them “week-nighters.”


Carnifex, Black Tongue, Lorna Shore and The Last Ten Seconds of Life perform tonight at Scout Bar, 18307 Egret Bay Blvd. in Clear Lake. Doors open at 6 p.m.
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Kristy Loye is a writer living in Houston and has been writing for the Houston Press since July 2015. A recent Rice University graduate, when not teaching writing craft or reciting poetry, she's upsetting alt-rights on Reddit.