Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers recently had the opportunity to speak with up an coming Scottish metal artist James McBain of Hellripper about his current album and what is in store for him in 2017.
Metal Mofos: Tell me about what Hellripper is. How did you get started?
James: Hellripper is a project of mine that mixes first wave black metal with speed and thrash metal. I started it in 2014 as a solo project as I couldn’t find anyone else that was interested in playing similar music.
MM: Did you record all instruments on your newest album Total F**king Mayhem? What instrument is your favorite to play?
James: I record all instruments and program the drums. Guitar is by far my favourite instrument to play. I feel it’s what I am best at.
MM: You have a unique sound in this day and age. Your influence from Venom and Bathory really shine through. What’s the secret of the lasting influence of these bands from the 1980s? Shouldn’t we all be influenced by bands from the early 21st century at this point?
James: They are influential because they were the first of their kind and because the music is just that good. I am influenced by plenty more bands including many “newer” bands but I channel those influences for other bands that I am in. There is plenty of great music being released at the moment that people could be, should be, and are influenced by.
MM: Could you please tell me a bit about your song writing process? What comes first? The riff? Lyrics? Solos?
James: In most cases, I come up with a riff and gradually expand on it until I have a full song on guitar. The drums are written alongside the guitar parts. I then write lyrics and add lead guitars in no specific order. There are a few cases in which I have came up with lyrics for a chorus or whatever and used that as a basis for the song but in general, the guitar is first to be written.
MM: What’s your favorite Hellripper song?
James: That’s a tough one haha. I think it would be either Total Mayhem or Mephistophelian Dreams. Those two are in my opinion the catchiest and most memorable songs I have.
MM: Can you tell me a bit about your lyrics? They mostly deal with themes like black magic and other Occult or Satanic themes. What influence has that had in your life? Or are the lyrics just meant to provoke controversy?
James: Yeah, the lyrics usually deal with black magic and occult themes. I throw in a bit of horror movie-style violence too. These things have played no part in my life whatsoever, but they are not meant just to provoke controversy. I feel these themes work well with and fit this type of music. Fast, violent, dark and in some cases, fun.
MM: Total F**king Mayhem is a compilation of previous EPs, correct? What can we expect from your full length album due out in 2017?
James: The compilation contains the first EP (The Manifestation of Evil) and the 3 splits that I released in 2015 and 2016 with Batsheva, Kriegg and Acid Cross and Fetid Zombie. Those are all great bands by the way, check them out if you get the chance. The new album is a slight change in style actually or rather it amplifies some aspects of the previous output and has less of some other aspects. There will be more of a thrash sound present and less of the punk side. I’m almost finished with the recording actually and I am really happy with how it is shaping up.
MM: What type of gear do you use?
James: For recording guitars, I use a Gibson Explorer and Marshall JCM900. I don’t actually own a bass at the moment so I have used a few different basses that friends have let me borrow. I used an Ibanez BTB for most of the old stuff I believe and for the album I have used a P-Bass copy.
MM: Can we expect any show dates next year?
There will definitely be a number of shows next year. Nothing has been confirmed so far but if you follow the Hellripper page on Facebook, you will be able to see anything we announce.