Fresh off the release of the new amazing Horror Punk / Psychobilly / Death Rock compilation album “Horror Punk’s Not Dead!” on We Are Horror Records and just in time for Halloween, we have teamed up with the label and a couple of bands involved to give you a solid update on the current state of the genre and, as always, serve a plethora of related bands and albums recommendations to get you flooded with more under the radar acts worth a check!
28 tracks in total, including the spoken word intro and 19 of the tracks being exclusive to the compilation, “Horror Punk’s Not Dead!” is a real treat for fans of the creepy punk rock splinter that we are love to explore, especially this time of the year. The compilation features tracks from The Ghoulfather, Voice of Doom, Silent Horror, Won’t Stay Dead, Siblings of Samhain, Pumpkin Guts, Damage 66, Boogeymn, The Tomb of Nick Cage, Evelyn’s Casket, Ripsnorter, Robby Bloodshed, Dickie Devil and the Deviants, The Whiskey Bats, Grave Corps, Chaneys, The Tomb Tones, Grave Robber, The Deathtones, Ghosts on Tape, Chesty Malone and the Slice ‘em Ups, Horror Story, Los Morts, Midnight Haunt, Five Cellars Below, Bat Thorn, Diechotomy, and 5¢ Freakshow.
Horrorpunk’s Not Dead!, Vol 1 is available on Bandcamp, and limited CD through We Are Horror Records.
The label came into existence out of necessity on October 2nd (2022), when its founder, Dan P., needed a vehicle to release (initially) this compilation ‘Vol. 1’. “I have already had a bunch of interest from bands in working together and releasing music! I’m currently in talks with 5-6 bands, but it’s all very hush-hush right now!” – he reveals.
Asked about the origins of his new label, Dan says that Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! is originally a radio he created and presented on Moshville Radio in the UK.
“Initially doing a show every Monday evening, it quickly morphed to include a YouTube channel, where I speak with bands within the scene!” – he explains. “The idea to do a compilation came to me earlier in the year.. I was inspired by the compilations of my youth.. (think, Punk-O-Rama, This is Horrorpunk!, and the Fat Wreck Chords comps..) I want to show case (as the name says) that Horror Punk is indeed.. Not Dead! The scene is alive and well, and most importantly thriving!”
We sat down with our guests from some of the spooky bands (listed below) to discuss the compilation, the state of Horror Punk and Psychobilly in 2022, and a lot more!
- Dan P. – We Are Horror Records (New Record label from the creator of Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! specialising in Horror Punk, Deathrock, & Psychobilly (based in the Midlands, UK)
- Billy Ray Butcher – Siblings of Samhain (Horror Punk based in the Midlands, UK)
- Kym Trailz – The Tomb of Nick Cage (Paranormal horror rock meets new wave, from New Orleans, USA)
- Ryan Zellmer – Boogeyman (New sounds from the darkness, hailing from Arizona, USA)
- Evil Heim – Voice of Doom (NY/NJ, USA Horror Punk / Hardcore)
- Saffron Lair – Won’t Stay Dead (Grungy horror pop punk from Chicago, USA)
- Billy Bones – The Deathtones (Horror punk out of Pennsylvania, USA)
Hey guys! Pleasure to have you here on IDIOTEQ. To start off, please share your take on the Current state of Horror Punk and Psychobilly in 2022. Give us your perspecitve on the evolution of the genre and how thriving it is nowadays.
We Are Horror Records: In my opinion horror punk is going through something of a resurgence these past couple of years. I don’t believe that the scene has been as active as it is right now since the horror punk boom of 2000 – 2006.
The “heavy hitters” for the most part, are still around and leading the way, but the main difference between the new bands of past and present, is the young, up-and-coming bands already see the merit in sounding good, through making professional sounding recordings or whatever that may be. They have the hindsight of around 30-40 years of horror punk to learn from! I’m very excited about the scene right now, and seeing where the next ten years will take us!
Billy Ray Butcher: Horror punk has grown exponentially over the years. There are some great bands out there, with a lot of cross promotion, support and interaction akin to any era of the punk movement, but on a worldwide scale.
Kym Trailz: I think the horror punk and psychobilly scene of 2022 is the most vibrant and united I’ve ever experienced. I credit that to bands, promoters, labels and fans that are all working together to make it something really special. Rarely do you see a scene so full of camaraderie and mutual support. We are so honored to be part of that. It was really hard to discover bands that used scary visuals as a backdrop in the past. Now anyone can join in and that’s why it’s unique.
Ryan Zellmer: It seems to me that horror punk and horror music have been growing quite a bit over the handful of years. There are many players like Horrorpunks Germany, Horror Punks USA, and Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! that really help spread the Horror Punk message. This has introduced new people to the dark magic of horror punk music! The horror punk genre seems to be quite friendly and accommodating among bands and fans. It’s cool to see how horror music has broadened its musical horizons, too. There are several bands doing great work in the horror music genre.
Evil Heim: The myspace, second wave of Horror Punk in the late 90’s and early aughts produced some quality acts, who managed to create really good songs all their own. However, since then there seemed to be an explosion of young Horror Punk bands trying their hand at the genre. Some good, some.. not so much. I mean, how many songs does there need to be about Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers? In their defense, it’s not easy to replicate the hook latent formula of Glenn Danzig’s writing. Just ask Jerry Only(!)
I feel as though we’re a dying breed, at least in the NY/NJ area anyway. Many have called it a day, most recently Darrow Chemical Co. I really can’t speak to anything Psychobilly, but I do recognize it as a sub-genre or a cousin to Horror Punk. It certainly has it’s place, It’s just not my cup of tea.
Saffron Lair: I like to use the term “spooky bands” as an all-encompassing way to describe music that falls under those categories. I see a lot of variety and genre-bending in these scenes nowadays. Of course you still hear major influence from bands like The Misfits, Nekromantix, etc. but I feel like there’s room for a lot more musical experimentation in the genre now.
It seems like there’s plenty of spooky bands, (we’ve made a lot of connections online) but they’re all spread out around the country (and around the world). We’ve made some horror punk friends in the Midwest, (mainly Ratbatspider and Slaughter Party from Wisconsin) but I don’t feel like Chicago itself has a huge horror punk scene. When national psychobilly or horror punk bands come through on tour, there’s a good turnout, but we struggle to find local bands that are similar to us. We’d love for that to change; if you live in Chicagoland and love spooky music, start a band!
Billy Bones: The current state of the genre is a tricky thing to comment on. There are lots of really cool bands out there writing high quality, fresh material, but I think without the help of like-minded individuals and organizations like “Horrorpunk’s Not Dead!” and “We Are Horror Records” we, along with our peers, would find it increasingly difficult to get our music out there to a wider audience. Every day online I see another small potatoes show being played at some far flung pub for the same 15-20 barflies. Every day I see another band (far more popular than us) having to cancel gigs because of lack of pre sales or overall attendance. Things have changed drastically since Covid. For a whole year people discovered that they can have just as much fun for less money watching concerts at home and I think a lot of bands are still trying to find their footing in this new world where the internet is king and well attended live shows are a dying breed.
Awesome. So let’s talk abut your contribution to the Vol. 1 compilation project. Please expound a bit on how you got involved and this particular track you contributed.
We Are Horror Records: I am the creator of Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! radio show / podcast, and recently formed We Are Horror Records as a vehicle for this compilation, and the ones to follow! The idea for the compilation can to me a little while ago, I really see the merit in CD samplers and compilations. Thinking back to my youth, the majority of the bands I discovered and most of my musical tastes today were formed from such albums! I want this album to stand as a showcase of horror music, and also pay homage to the great compilation serials of the past (think, ‘Punk-O-Rama’, ‘This is Horrorpunk’, etc). I’m excited to be able to bring all of these awesome bands together, even managing to wrangle a few exclusive tracks!
Billy Ray Butcher: Siblings of Samhain became involved with the project through a long-standing relationship with Dan P. We loved the idea of contributing an original track and we had an outtake from our latest album that was perfect: a cover of our Canadian buddies’ 5¢ Freakshow.
Kym Trailz: I reached out to Horror Punks Not Dead! because I really liked their spirit and support. Working with them has been fantastic every step of the way. Our track features one of our favorite local punk acts, Death ED. We’ve been friends for decades, but have been disillusioned by being considered outcasts in a predominately southern metal community. We are the weirdos for wearing strange costumes, having outrageous stage shows and drawing on goth and punk influences. We wanted to express a desire to go forward in “Killing the Scene” by standing our ground with our vision and collaborating with other musicians. You build your own scene by refusing to conform, deconstructing norms and creating something new.
Ryan Zellmer: Dan from Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! was kind enough to reach out to us for a song. We happened to have a song called “Legacy” we had recently resurrected. It just so happened Dan reached out at that time! All of our songs follow an original story we concocted and “Legacy” explains some of the history behind the introduction of the evil presence we call ‘the Phantom’. It was fun to do a song that serves as a prequel to “The Devil’s Song” and our self-titled first album.
Evil Heim: We (Voice of Doom) just so happened to be in the middle of working on a new song that we didn’t exactly know what to do with. So the timing was perfect when Dan from Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! asked if we had anything. Lead guitarist Frankie Fender came up with the main riff and working title ‘Feed the Flame’ while John Steele polished the rest of it off. Lyrically, it sort of morphed into this haunting, winter’s tale, about a distraught man who’s believes his recently deceased wife or a malevolent spirit is visiting him. Are they one in the same?
Saffron Lair: Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! started featuring our songs on their radio show a few months ago, and since then they’ve been incredibly supportive of us.
Our contribution ‘The Blood That Sewers Drink’ is an outtake from our recording session for ‘Purgatory’. We had it set aside for use on a comp or special release, so when Dan reached out about ‘Vol. 1’, we jumped at the chance to share it.
Billy Bones: Our contribution to the compilation is an unreleased song called “The Asylum”, which is now part of a trilogy of songs we will be publishing throughout the coming year. Either we got a message from the guys at Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! or we reached out to them. It’s been so long I can’t remember, but they said we could submit a published or unreleased song, and as we’re constantly writing and producing, (we release new music monthly) we quickly penned and recorded “The Asylum” in about a week or so, did the mixing and mastering and sent it along
Ok, so let’s dive into your project. Please give us a quick introduction to your band, tell us about your current releases and plans for the coming months.
We Are Horror Records: We Are Horror Records is a brand new UK based record label, specialising in horror punk, deathrock and psychobilly. I’m already in negotiations with a few bands and talking through some ideas with them, so watch this space, there’ll be some announcements soon!
Billy Ray Butcher: Siblings Of Samhain have a brand-new album out “Tales of Love, Death & the Macabre”. If anybody purchases a CD copy, it features an exclusive bonus track: a cover of “Ghost Town” by The Specials. Look out for a surprise on Halloween too…
Kym Trailz: We are The Tomb of Nick Cage from New Orleans, Louisiana. We love drawing on the local folklore of the region, UFOlogy, cryptozoology, bizarre legends, conspiracies and the paranormal. Our influences range from punk to deathrock, metal and new wave. We call it “Old World Horror for the New World Order.”
Ryan Zellmer: I am Ryan, guitar player and song writer for Boogeyman. Jason is the singer and songwriter. My brother Eric plays drums. The three of us make up Boogeyman. We are currently in the studio tracking our second full length album. We released our first full length album May 2021 and the companion story, called “The Devil’s Song”, in September 2022. We wanted to write songs from our own original material. Otherwise, we have been working to bring Boogeyman to the stage. It is looking like we may be a 6 piece when that happens.
Evil Heim: Voice of Doom first had a short-lived stint in 1986, “Got the band back together” in 2014 and continue to produce original Horror Punk to this day.
Our most current EP ‘The Blood of One’ is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, etc. We have two upcoming shows. One on October 29th w/ Robby Bloodshed at Parkside Lounge [317 E Houston St, NYC] and December 18th at The Bowery Electric [327 Bowery, NYC]
Saffron Lair: Won’t Stay Dead formed in Chicago in 2017, and we play driving, melodic punk rock, blending catchy hooks and harmonies with macabre lyrics. We use “horror punk” as a broad label; our influences range from pop punk to grunge to riot grrrl.
We released our debut album ‘Purgatory’ last October, via Don’t Panic Records and Distro. Those songs are a collection of everything we’d written since starting Won’t Stay Dead, much of which had been previously recorded and released.
We are currently preparing to record our second album, which takes our core sound and incorporates some goth and post punk influence. These are all new songs written specifically for this release, and we’re so excited to share them with the world.
Billy Bones: We are “The Deathtones” from Milford, PA (about 40 minutes away from Scranton, of American “The Office” fame.) We are a 5 piece horror band that covers a wide spectrum of the horror genre; from serial killers to classic slashers to famous authors and novels. Pretty much, if it can be considered horror, we write about it.
I can’t even tell you what we have coming up release-wise, as by the time this interview comes out we will already have released more music, haha. Your best bet would be to stay tuned to our social media pages. We’re very active and do all of our announcements from there.
Can you recommend some more Horror Punk and Psychobilly acts, both bigger and up and coming, worth a check in 2022/2023?
We Are Horror Records: At this moment in time, bands I am obsessed with and recommend checking out are; Darker Days, Won’t Stay Dead, Robby Bloodshed, Siblings of Samhain, Voice of Doom, Boogeyman, Evelyn’s Casket, The Deathtones, Doomsdale High, to name a few! If you’re REALLY interested in finding new horror music, just listen to the Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! Radio Show, we showcase new music every single show!
Billy Ray Butcher: 5¢ Freakshow deserve way more attention than they get. Perfectly blending horror punk and pyschobilly into singalong, catchy tunes. Plus they’re awesome guys!
Kym Trailz: Some of our current favorite bands are The Immortalz from Austin, TX – who I think have created an entire environment with their presence. I’m also excited by the dark, spooky sounds of Pumpkin Guts. The legendary 45 Grave will always be a huge influence. All of these bands are active and creative and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future!
Evil Heim: Look no further than the bands on this latest ‘Horrorpunk’s Not Dead!’ Compilation. Some of these selections have given me hope for the future of Horror Punk.
The scene may be small, but maybe we as fans prefer it that way, under ground yet undead!
Ryan Zellmer: Hailing from Arizona, we share the state with Calabrese and Zombeast. I am concerned Calabrese no longer has their oldest brother, Jimmy, singing for them anymore. Seems Zombeast is working on a new album. So we will see. I think the singer of the Rosedales also lives here in Arizona. I am a big fan of the Rosedales and it would be cool to do something with them as well! We would love nothing more than to see a Rosedales, Calabrese, Zombeast, and Boogeyman bill here in the near future!
Saffron Lair: Dead Living are good friends of ours from Chicago. Not horror punk EXACTLY, more dark garage punk, but definitely on the spooky side.
Billy Bones: Okay, so, bands that I would suggest… In no particular order: The Crimson Ghost out of Italy. I really dig their sound. Chiara has a killer voice and they have a cool classic horror punk style.
Won’t Stay Dead from Illinois, USA. Another female fronted band that really “slaps” as we say here in the States. They’ve been around for a while, but Grave Robber will always be one of my favorite horror bands. That vintage “Misfitsy” vocal style and their driving sound is really cool.
I know they’re not considered horror punk, but I’m a huge fan of power metal and the German band Powerwolf really blends horror, thematic metal and power metal into a very unique sound.
Over the past year I’ve been really getting into one of our album mates, 5¢ Freakshow. Straight up, no chaser smash mouth horror punk.
There are so many more, but I’d be here all day rattling them off. Oh…there’s this really sick band called “The Deathtones” you may have heard of. Them too 😂