WTF do we have here? We have an insanely awesome interview featuring Dave Buschemeyer of SPREAD THE DISEASE. Unholy hell yes, this band was so before their time! Their brand of fucked in the head totally deranged Black Metal-infused Hardcore has stood the test of time and then some! I want to say thank you to King of the Monsters for releasing their comp LP TRAGEDIES on vinyl! Also thank you to Dave for taking the time to answer our questions.
Take us back to your childhood—what music did you hear around your home, booming out of the cars in your hood, or in your headphones?
I was lucky enough to be exposed to everything from Roy Orbison to Electric Light Orchestra to the Beatles. My parents loved the oldies and were also kinda hip with newer music. I still have a certain love for ABBA, simply because being a 70’s and 80’s kid, those songs are in my DNA. I would turn those large speakers together and lie down on the floor, blasting vinyl records every chance I could get.
If you put three songs from the Spread the Disease catalog in a time capsule to be opened 60 years from now, what songs would you put in there, and why?
I’d have to say that 2 of my personal favorite STD songs are from Sheer Force Of Inertia. At that point in our existence, we had really come into our own as a hardcore band that was heavily influenced by Black Metal. We weren’t afraid to add some melodicisms to the heaviness. Perhaps before that album we were interested in being crushing. It was the Sheer Force era that contained a lot of our experimentation. We were using a lot of samples and field recordings to flesh out a bit of a different aesthetic. Those two songs are “The Bastard Standard” and “Electron Compulsion Theory”. The last song would be Her Severed Head from “We Bleed From Many Wounds”. We felt confident in our creative approach with that song and that first full-length. It was slightly less raw, perhaps a bit more put together, but it still hit hard.
What two albums had the biggest impact on Spread the Disease r before y’all started Spread the Disease?
Great question. For us, the one album that really set us off and lit us up was Cradle Of Filth’s “Dusk And Her Embrace”. I still listen to that album and wonder how to harness the ability to write a perfect record like they did. It may not be considered Kult by some diehards, but I just don’t care. That album is so great. Secondly, and a little closer to home, we were heavily influenced by “None So Vile” by Cryptopsy and even toward the end of STD, “Whisper Supremacy” was monumental for us, not to mention a complete eye-opener with Mike DiSalvo destroying it on vocals. Of course, we didn’t sound like those bands, and honestly didn’t have the same skills as musicians, but there certainly was the feeling that we wanted to create that was directly linked to them.
I love your songs “CHECKMATE” and “FILTH” — Can you break down the creative process of these songs and the headspace you were in?
Thanks! These songs were our early attempts at creating what we hoped was something new. We weren’t interested in the same tropes that our peers were into. The Slayer worship in hardcore rose to such heights, and we were somewhat put off by it. We were kind of fearless in a way as young kids and the music reflects a youth hell-bent on being as unique as we could within heavy music.
What were some of the lyrical inspirations for Spread the Disease?
While I can’t speak for Ben on this, I do know that he was a voracious reader, and often his lyrics were difficult to understand. I always chopped it up to… artistic license. But generally, I know he was interested in exploring topical issues like freedom, but more often they would be presented in a personal/ political way that sounded more like poetry. Ha ha. That’s the best way I know how to describe that. He always seemed to be reaching forward toward the next thing and I think his lyrics held that elusive quality to them.
Outside of Metal and Hardcore, what genres influenced y’all in the 90’s?
For me, I was a Metal kid who discovered punk and hardcore in the late 80’s. By the time the ’90s rolled around, not only was I deeply entrenched in hardcore, but I was developing a real love for Industrial music like Skinny Puppy, early Ministry, Front 242, etc. But, If I’m being completely honest… as a band, we probably listened to Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins the most. It was a real clash with everything else, but it made sense because we were all so different from one another, and we all loved multiple styles of music. I mean I listen to jazz and avant-garde classical music as well as current metal like Gatecreeper. How it is now really is a reflection of our openness to lots of genres back then. We were not elitists about it. We loved all kinds of music.
Can you describe the creative arc between We Bleed from Many Wounds and The Sheer Force of Inertia?
With Sheer Force, we wanted to try and write more in-depth, longer songs and we had some limitations. Having members break away to pursue education became the ultimate end of the band, but it also motivated us to really dig in and create something that we thought was worthy of a final release. It also allowed us to try out new things, like sampling, to add to our aesthetic. The main difference is that we weren’t throwing parts together like perhaps we had done previously, but we were asking ourselves, “Does this truly work for the song?” And that’s a much different mindset that asks those kinds of questions.
When you look at y’all’s Hellfest 99 performance, what comes to mind as you watch the footage now?
Ha ha. I watch that now and wonder how we didn’t get beat up. The piss and vinegar in the attitude was obnoxious. SMH
Can you break down the creative process behind the song “Shatter The Bolt”? It’s such a disgusting anti-ballad!
Yeah. That’s a cool way to describe it. I remember thinking at some point while writing the album, “We should have a part where we’re doing some picking, but there’s screaming over the top.” The idea for me was to juxtapose something gentle and possibly pretty, but definitely more subdued with some ugliness. That was a very creative time for us. We allowed each other to really bring almost anything we wanted to the table. And this compare/contrast style of doing things is how I’ve created the majority of the music to this day right up to the new Omen Astra material.
I just want to say thank you for this feature/ article. It’s quite humbling and I feel a real sense of gratitude being able to talk about this time in my life where the music was everything to us. And for me to have the trust of these record labels to release our music, is really quite amazing. I just want to thank all involved in bringing this raw, early blackened hardcore material together in this format. I’m beyond stoked.