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Fun Fun Fun Fest Interview: Inter Arma

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By Andy O’Connor

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 21, 2013

Richmond, Va.’s Inter Arma are definitely a metal band – full stacks, long hair and beards, and . But what genre of metal are they? They’re from the South, but they don’t go for the same groove-laden tropes laid out by Pantera and Crowbar. Black metal’s tremolo riffs crop up, but Inter Arma aren’t necessarily theatrical. While they go for post-metal in long song lengths, the “metal” most outweighs the “post” part of the equation. Psychedelic? Not so, even if they do sell tie dye shirts here and there. It’s a tough question, and one that’s best left unanswered. Inter Arma have been on tour constantly since the release of this year’s Sky Burial, their latest through Relapse, having come by town for SXSW and on a support slot for KEN Mode at Mohawk back in July. They’re not the lackadaisical types who seek rest. Their set at FFF Nites should prove as much.

Vocalist Mike Paparo answered a few questions for us about Inter Arma’s sound, Richmond, and their ideal touring vehicle.

Austin360: Inter Arma’s sound is an amalgamation of black, sludge, doom, and a host of different metal forms. How did you arrive at this sound?

Paparo: The sound arrived to us, dictated by a preterhuman intelligence in a fashionable European quarter of Cairo, Egypt during early April of 1904.

How is Sky Burial an evolution from your previous material?

The songwriting has definitely grown and matured. I feel like Sky Burial is more cohesive as a whole than Sundown is. With Sky Burial there is definitely more attention to atmosphere and such, something we just didn’t have the resources to do with Sundown. But, don’t fret fans of Sundown! To quote a Sky Burial review I read: “Inter Arma is still as unfocused as ever.” Sorry we STILL don’t narrowly stick to one ridiculously named heavy metal sub-genre, internetwarriorguy!

Richmond has a history of turning out some pretty interesting bands. What do you make of the scene there?

What do I make of the “scene” here? It’s killer, that’s what I make of it. I’m proud of our filthy city. Richmond has an incredible array of top notch bands right now. The city is literally brimming with them.

Subquestion to that question: Is Lil Ugly Mane the greatest rapper of all time?

There is a YouTube video of Lil Ugly doing his thing at something called Twerk or Treat and he is sporting an Incantation “Entrantment of Evil” long sleeve. Does this answer your question?

How was your SXSW? Did you blaze it up with Snoop Lion and sign a deal on a Torchy’s receipt?

From what I can remember it was a booze-fueled Hell-ride straight into one of Austin’s pristine gutters. Free Tito’s for bands at an afternoon showcase? Sure, why not! Going to sleep at 8 a.m. after an epic bender when your load-in is at 11 a.m.? Count me in! No Snoop Lion sightings unfortunately but we definitely did some day drinking at Torchy’s. We even got some free shoes at the Mohawk…I’d say our SXSW was a success.

Inter Arma have been constantly touring throughout 2013. Does the band eventually plan to live in an RV ala Jucifer?

We have been saving up all of our money to purchase a Soviet Cold War era dump truck (preferably a KrAZ 256B) to start touring in. Not only can we fit all of our gear in the dump, but we can live in it too. It’s top speed is probably a solid 45 mph, we won’t have to use our trailer “The Sugar Shack” anymore and, most importantly, we’ll be able to transport a mature Yak with us comfortably…a lifelong dream of [bassist] Joe’s [Kerkes].

What does drummer T.J. Childers REALLY carry in that large stick of his?

It’s all speculation at this point. It could be a number of things. Feel free to ask him, I’m sure whatever answer you get will be entertaining. Maybe even informative. Just know that the stick is sacred to us. Do not mock it, for you know not the power that it holds.