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Interviews

AMERICAN HERITAGE comment on their final album

“Prolapse” follows AMERICAN HERITAGE‘s incredible 2011 album, “Sedentary” and may well be their final release given that vocalist/guitarist Adam Norden left the Chicago-based outfit following the recordings of this new effort. To say they will be greatly missed, would be an understatement specially knowing they’re about to release their most impressive work to date. Tearing through 9 tracks in 33 minutes (3 of them cover songs of BLACK FLAG, DESCENDENTS, and GIRLS AGAINST BOYS’ originals), “Prolapse” is frantic and vicious, a boisterous collision of mathcore, sludge and noise rock elements.

Learn more about their story in the official press release note below and scroll down to read the full interview with Scott Shellhamer.

AMERICAN HERITAGE has relentlessly dispatched their ripping concoction of technical, mangled metal/hardcore backed with their cynical, lowbrow music and human relations, both on record and on the stage. Their self-titled 1998 debut EP released on The Rosewood Union was chased by the full-length, Why Everyone Gets Cancer, released in 1999 on the same label, and their Through The Age Of Quarrel And Into The Era Of Putting Up With It album released in 2001 by Troubleman Unlimited, and then the Bipolar album through Escape Artist in 2004. Two subsequent albums on Translation Loss followed — 2006’s Millenarian and 2011’sSedentary, the latter released in Europe via Solar Flare Records — among EPs on Class-B Records, Delboy Records and more including split 7″ releases with Thee Plague Of Gentlemen, Mastodon and others. Their most recent Sedentary album, recorded while the lineup was void of a full-time bassist, included guest contributions on each track, involving their partners in crime, collectively hailing from Sulaco, Murder Construct, Exhumed, D.I.S., Fight Amp, Nachtmystium, Buried At Sea, Mastodon, Primate, Lioness, Sweet Cobra, Dark Fog, Plague Bringer, Black Cobra, The Swan King, Beak, Surachai and others. On the road, AMERICAN HERITAGE has toured and performed alongside the likes of Baroness, Black Cobra, Floor, Mastodon, Pelican, Burnt By The Sun, Misery Index, Coliseum, Dysrhythmia, Saviours, Origin and countless others.

Following the departure of original guitarist Andrei Cabanban back in 2002, through a continually revolving array of bassists, AMERICAN HERITAGE has been steadily comprised of drummer Mike Duffy, vocalist/guitarist Adam Norden and guitarist Scott Shellhamer, and for the past several years, completed by bassist Erik Bocek. This lineup raided SOMA Studios in March of this year with producer Sanford Parker, with additional recording by Che Arthur and Mike Lust, to record their sixth full-length,Prolapse. Once the caustic madness of the bruising album was recorded, Parker mixed the final product, the thirty-three minute album displaying some of the band’s most diverse material to date. After the recording of Prolapse, core member Adam Norden left the band, and after eighteen years of abuse and racket, this move makes it foreseeable that this will be the final album from AMERICAN HERITAGE.

Hey Scott! Thanks a lot for taking some time with IDIOTEQ. How are you? Where are you at the moment?

I’m at home in Chicago.

You’re on the verge of unveiling your 6th record called “Prolapse” later this month. How does it feel to almost have it out?

It’s always a good feeling to finally get to share what you’ve been working on in the practice space and the studio with others. Sadly though, it’s looking like this will be our last. So it’s really a mixed bag. I always figured we’d be a band until one of us got killed by death.

Is it really your final recording? Are you parting your ways? Why?

Looks that way. Adamn quit the band before we recorded Prolapse but stuck it out until everything was done. He had some personal changes and being in a band wasn’t fitting into his life anymore. I suppose we could always go back to being instrumental or get a different singer, but it sort of seems like it’s probably a good time to just put it to bed.

Were there moments in the studio where you looked at each other and got emotional because of that fact? :)

I was feeling a lot of conflicting emotions at the time. I really loved being in this band and the friendships that it helped keep alive. Knowing that it was most likely over was weird after doing this for so long.

AMERICAN HERITAGE

Are there plans to book a final tour in early 2015?

We haven’t ruled it out.

Ok, so back to the album, it’s obviously got an even broader range of subgenres and influences than your previous efforts. Did you go into the writing process with any specific goals for “Prolapse”?

I don’t really see it that way. I see it as a continuation of what we were doing on Sedentary. I don’t think we’ve ever really gone into the writing process with an agenda. We just play what we like. I’m sure whatever we happen to be listening to at the time influences us in some way, but if it does seem more diverse, it’s probably just the stuff we grew up with coming through a little more.

Was there a concept to the album? What’s going on with the themes and lyrics on “Prolapse”?

I don’t believe that this record had an over arching concept. But to be honest, I really couldn’t tell you. Adamn wrote most of the lyrics.

How about the cover art? Tell us more about the photo. Where was it taken and how does it connect to the core of this effort?

The painting on the cover was done by A.W. Sommers. I was a big fan of her work and got in touch with her to see if I could use that specific piece. It had an uncomfortable feeling to it that I thought fit the feel of the record well. I’m very pleased that we got to use it. I urge your readers to check out more of her work here.

AMERICAN HERITAGE cover

Ok, so let’s close it up with some final thoughts on the band and its 18 years of existence. What’s your best memory of being in AMERICAN HERITAGE?

Touring Europe in 2002. No question. Despite the fact that I went out on tour with a hernia and had to lay flat on the van floor to not be in pain, it was by far one of the funnest things we’ve done.

And what’s the most difficult thing you have been through as a band?

Right now. I still don’t know how to cope with the death of the band really. It’s just fucking sad.

What other musical projects are you active with? Any idea what’s next for you guys?

I have a project with Botchy from SWEET COBRA called DISSIDENT REGRESSOR. We have an EP that’s in the can and are currently trying to figure out how to release it. I’m working on a new project with Bill from INDIAN / LORD MANTIS… but that’s kind of on the back burner at the moment since he’s been out on tour. I’m playing drums in a noise rock band with members of MARES OF THRACE and LING LING called WASPKEEPER. We recorded an EP last week but still need to do the vocals. I don’t think Mike, Adamn, or Erik are up to much musically these days as far as I know.

Ok, Scott. Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers at IDIOTEQ?

Farts are funny and poop comes from butts.


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dave@earsplitcompound.com

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