Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Parasitic Skies interview with Vocalist: John Raftery. July 8, 2010.

Vista: Hey John. Can you gives us just the basics...Who's in the band & who does what? 

John: Mike plays guitar, Bo plays bass, Austen plays drums and I sing.

Vista: Give us a history of the band? Year started, ex-members. Also, tell us what has been released so far & what's still available? What label is the 7inch on? 

John: The band started at the end of 2008 I guess, after our old band broke up about half way through a month long tour. When the PS started it was Mike and Andrew who I was in This Time Tomorrow with playing guitar and drums, and Brian playing bass. I didn't want to play music anymore so I wasn't involved. Eventually I changed my mind and they were having trouble finding a singer so ended up joining. Now Andrew plays in a band called Not Sorry and Brian just started a new band. Austen joined right before the East Coast tour with Eye of Judgement where we had their bass player Luke filling in. There was a ton of fill in bass players before Bo joined. This is the best line up so far, I'm really into it. Last year we put out a 7" called Embers and our full length called The Descent just came out on CD, I think it'll be a couple months for the vinyl. All of it is still available on Seventh Dagger.

Vista: What are your thoughts on the Vegan Straight Edge scene these days? I know many years ago, there were many sxe/vegan bands. Also, how do kids perceive you guys? I mean, years back kids would kinda feel segregated from sxe bands, etc. Do you see that happening anymore or have attitudes changed to the point of all types of kids getting into your band, regardless?

John: A few years ago there was a bit of a Vegan Straightedge resurgence here on the West Coast with bands like Seven Generations, Gather, This Time Tomorrow and Tears of Gia. It was cute but I feel like everybody who's still playing music from that scene is playing much better music now. Much more mature- more individual thought. Dustin and Randy from Gather are in a new band called Lockstep, I think they're the best band in hardcore right now. In my opinion that hasn't ever been the case with a Vegan Straightedge band in the past. People are definitely a little put off by us being Vegan Straightedge, but it seems like they're starting to relax. I think people should feel segregated from Straghtedge bands, if you wanna feel included you should go to church.

Vista: Tell us what kind of topics you are dealing with, within the lyric?

John: Most of the songs have the same themes, I think the most constant subjects are power, fear, degradation, defeat and extinction. I think these are the most constant  subjects in the world we live in as well.

Vista: Vocally, who are some of your influences? I'd also like to know who are some influences to the other band members?

John: I think it goes without saying I like bands like Integrity, Catharsis and Gehenna. I've always liked lower gutteral vocals, I don't think there's enough of it in hardcore. 

Vista: I know you guys did a tour that made it out to the East Coast. What memories stick out from that tour? Also, how long was this tour, where what states did you guys hit & favorite states played?

John: The tour was only 14 days, I think. We went as far South as Greensboro, NC and as far North as Albany, NY. I love North Carolina so that was a highlight for me. Real nice people. Southern hospitality is not a myth, a kid there gave a home to an injured dog we found on the freeway. A lot of the shows fell through so we did a lot of hanging out in New York, I had a great time doing that and now live there. We were touring with Eye Of Judgement from the Netherlands they're great dudes and I learned their language over the campfire just like in the 13th Warrior. EOJ broke up but most of them are in a new band called Starve that is really good.

Vista: Have any of you guys been in any other bands prior Parasitic Skies?

John: Mike and I were in This Time Tomorrow together and we played in a couple bands together before that too but nothing of note. Bo played in a band called Strength to Endure from AZ who later all moved to Seattle together. He also Sings in a band called At the Mouth of Hell. 

Vista: Tell us what's up with the Hardcore scene up there in Seattle? When I think of Seattle, I always think of Undertow! Is that band still talked about there? Also, what bands should we be aware of & any actual fanzines floating around? Where are the best places that are doing Hardcore/Metalcore shows in your area?

John: I think up until recently there was always a really big band in Seattle, right now there are a lot of bands- and a lot of good ones but no huge band that ties it all together. Yeah, kids will always love Undertow there. Envision is a great Northwest band right now, also Losing Skin from Spokane rips. As far as zines go I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse.

Vista: Parasitic Skies...Where did that name come from & what does it represent to your band, if anything?

John: The name came from the Swarm record. That record's whole vibe was just so perfect. Like "fuck everything" constructively.

Vista: I see that you have a demo for download on your band-site. What are your thoughts on the entire world just getting music for free? Is it "just the way it is" & does it have any effect on a band, such as yours?

John: Sure it has an effect on us but that's the way it goes. You just gotta change with the times. I download other peoples music so I don't care if people take ours. I think people should just be better at charging money at DIY shows and then it won't matter that everyone gets your records for free. I hate donation shows for touring bands. You can't pay for gas with idealism. Sorry, I realize that wasn't the question.

Vista: What do you guys have planned for the summer/fall {2010}? Any tours coming up? 

John: We're doing a West coast tour with One Choice from CA in August. After that we have stuff in the works but nothing is set in stone yet.

Vista: I was checking out your merchandise on your site. The shirt with the peace sign in barbed-wire, with Jesus hanging upside down on it is INSANE! Who did that particular artwork & who did the art for the "Embers" 7inch? What does the artwork represent to you & does it tie into the lyrics or over-all theme of what you guys are about?

John: The Jesus/peace sign design is an old Nausea thing. Danny from Seventh Dagger had been wanting to do the knock-off of it for a while but until us it didn't really fit any of the other bands he was putting out. The Embers art was done by John Twentyfive who plays in Not Sorry from Seattle. Imagery wise I think it ties in pretty well to the themes in the record. 

Vista: You guys seem heavily influenced by Metal. Give me your top 5 metal bands/albums of all time!?

John: In no particular order (and this is as far as their influence on me, not the world)... 
At the Gates.

Vista: Outside of playing in the band & everything that's involved with that...What are some of your interests & hobbies?

John:  I try to keep it limited to just tattooing which is what I do for a living. I also watch more movies than I should.

Vista: John, thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview. I appreciate it. Is there anything else you'd like to say? What's the best way to get in touch with you guys?

John: Thank you for having me. The best way to get a hold of us is Facebook or email

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