Blood and guts down in Kentucky: Interview with Cropsy Maniac
Interview by Kenneth Gallant
HMS recently had the chance to chat with Aaron Whitsell, a good 'ole boy from Kentucky exhibiting a penchant for melody and a taste for blood. Now the dude's not a vampire per se, but he does satiate his thirst for the red stuff by binging on horror movies and playing guitar in his band Cropsy Maniac.
What's not to like about that? In fact Aaron's a man after my own heart, given his taste in movies and music, so we connected recently on FB because of it. I took some time out of my busy schedule to chat with the man about the band and learn of all the details over the upcoming EP due out shortly from Deadbeat Media.
So sit down and read on:
HMS: I have asked this question to others before, so I want to know how long you have been a horror and metal fan. What's your earliest memory of becoming one?
Aaron: I first got into metal when I was about 9 from seeing video's on MTV. Bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Motely Crue. So this just evolved into liking heavier bands over time. My love for horror films started from staying the night with a buddy of mine around the same age. We watched Night of The Living Dead and Halloween one night and my love and addiction grew from there haha. I was hooked!!!
HMS: Who came up with the idea to Start Cropsy Maniac?
Aaron: I originally came up with the idea for a band named Cropsy Maniac. Kevin Herr (guitars and bass) and I started writing some riffs trying to figure out the exact style we wanted to go with. We wanted to do something similar to bands like Fondlecorpse, Frightmare and Lordgore, but trying to add in our own style. It was really tough until we hooked up with Street Trash Travis and Kevin Reece. Best thing that could have happened for us!!
HMS: Kevin and Travis have been in the band Blood Freak previously. So what is going to set Cropsy Maniac apart from that band?
Aaron: Well first I do have to say that Neil Smith is a huge influence on me because of my love for the bands he's been in. I think we have our own sound going but definitely have some influences from the early horror grind bands. I just think we really have our own sound compared to Blood Freak. Only similar thing I'd say is our love for horror films and maybe some of the vocals because Kevin Reece sang on the "Mindscraper" album.
HMS: You play guitar and bass, so what kind of gore imagery propels you when writing songs?
Aaron: The power of Cropsy compels me hahaha Nah honestly I guess just having the right mindset with how our songs have turned out helps me more than anything. I do however after watching certain films get inspired. Like with the movie River's Edge. We watched this movie one night and mentioned doing a song about it. And two weeks later we had it done and also had some awesome guest vocals by Mr. Roger Beaujard of the legendary MORTICIAN!!!
HMS: How did the deal with Dead Beat Media come about?
Aaron: Well basically I started talking with Jill on FB and bands got brought up and I mentioned Cropsy Maniac to her. She said she'd really love to hear it so I sent her a couple of demo tracks. After hearing the tracks she said she'd love to have us release something on Deadbeat and here we are. Jill has been super supportive from the get go!!!
HMS: What's your favorite horror film, or even gore scene?
Aaron: Ah there's so many hahaha!! I have to say The Burning!! I love the raft scene where Cropsy puts those shears to work hacking and stabbing haha. As far as gore though I'd go with Dead Alive aka Brain Dead because the gore in that film is the best I've seen!!!
HMS: What type of metal do you listen to? Do you have a favorite genre or specific album that turns your crank of late?
Aaron: I listen to old school heavy metal, thrash, death metal, grind, and some black metal too. I have a soft spot for death metal and grind mostly. I've been jamming a lot of Humanity Delete and the new Coffins lately. Very good stuff!!!
"I have a soft spot for death metal and grind mostly."
HMS: What does the future hold for Cropsy Maniac?
Aaron: Well we have two splits lined up and will be writing songs for a full length as well. We have a split with Kam Lee and Mark Riddick's band Grave Wax as well as a 7" split with Rogga Johansson's Revolting. We're super excited about doing these splits with such great bands!!!
HMS: OK this is the final question so let's have a bit of fun with it. On the night the world is coming to an end, what do you do?
Aaron: Haha - ok first I grab my wife and get busy hehe, then I get as buzzed as possible , pop in a horror film , crank up some metal and party hard until it's over!!! \m/ Cheers!
You can listen to Cropsy Maniac's album here.
Cropsy Maniac's main man Aaron Whitsell sent me these tracks to review and boy does it not disappoint. There are 5 tracks on this EP (currently gone to press at Deadbeat Media) and featuring a gory cover by the great Adam Geyer to boot. If you go onto the band's Facebook page the music is described as a new kind of slasher grind, and upon devouring these five tracks that's a dead on description for my money's worth.
Clocking in at a deadly fast time of eight minutes and thirty seven seconds, Shear Terror keeps it short – ALA Reign in Blood and strives to keep it bloody and vicious at the same time. With song titles like: "Dawn in the Rotting Paradise", "I Strangled Mine" and "Shear Terror" you know you are in for a chunk blowing affair with this outfit. I think my favorite track here is "Creepy Things" inspired by the ultra-low budget splatter flick called "Things" from 1989. The band even went so far as to create a video utilizing clips from the movie, so if you want to see blood splattering attacks, decapitations, spewing gore and weird creatures galore then check it out; the music fits perfectly. I guarantee this will go over well with the gorehounds who dig this genre of horror metal.
In addition to Aaron, Cropsy Maniac managed to snag Street Trash Travis and Kevin Reece (ex-members of Blood Freak) to bring into the fold, along with longtime friend Kevin Herr. These four dudes embrace the gore and know how to ply their trade to music that is thrashy-grind at its best. The band has even managed to enlist Kam Lee (ex-vocalist of Massacre) to design their first ever t-shirt and it just feels like this group is off to an amazing start. I highly recommend this EP for fans of Fondle Corpse, Frightmare and Blood Freak, but it will also appeal to those ardent gore seekers who dig bands that revel in this type of horrific imagery. Check 'em out and I dare say and you won't be disappointed.
Kenneth Gallant, HMS