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KNAC.COM Exclusive: An Interview With Metal-Shredder Curran Murphy of Aggression Core/Annihilator

By Eden Capwell, Contributor
Wednesday, January 22, 2003 @ 12:57 AM

Murphy Juggles Aggression Core

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This may come as a surprise to some, but Curran Murphy is a highly underrated guitarist. He is vastly under appreciated as a musician, and someone who continually contributes to the world of hard music. A metal animal that has yet to get to get his just rewards and full recognition. His day will come though, and I think it’s going to be soon. Having recently recorded with Annihilator on their latest, and ninth album, Waking the Fury. It is arguably some of the heaviest material that Annihilator has recorded to date--full of speed, fury, and old school thrash. He tours with Nevermore as the second guitarist, and has his own band that makes some damn good metal, Aggression Core. If that weren’t enough, he produces, does some film work, and has his own studio. His schedule sounds exhausting, and will include a performance with Annihilator at the Bang Your Head Festival for 2003. A live disc is forthcoming for Annihilator (March, Double Live Annihilation), and a whole new release from them again in September of 2003.

As is evidenced in the questions below, he has a huge sense of humor. He is also a genuinely nice guy, who treats his fans with the utmost respect. I have witnessed this first hand, and have enjoyed every high-energy live performance I’ve seen from him.

KNAC.COM: Tell me about working with Pure Sweet Hell. They said the recording went off flawlessly, and you worked tirelessly to pull the most out them. How was it for you to help produce their first demo?
CURRAN: It was fun! Working with a world class drummer and funny guy like Van [Williams, Nevermore] didn't make the 16 hour days seem all that bad. The songs were great and Loomis [Jeff, Nevermore] came out for a solo, and I also dropped in a few noodley notes of my own for the guys as well. They are already talking about coming back in for a new set of songs after the new Nevermore is tracked. Repeat business must mean I did something right.

KNAC.COM: Aggression Core has a new website now -- why the need for a brand new one? What evil and sinister elements are you guys going to throw down on unsuspecting visitors?
CURRAN: The old site was tired and we needed to shake things up a bit -- so we pulled the old one down and had a really good friend of ours, by the name of Dustin, working on it for us. He also helped with my computer at the studio when it would freak out or not work the right way. As far as what is going up will be new artwork, new pics, a new video for a new song I just wrote, video stuff from the road, new music. You name it, all kinds of things are going into the site. I really want it to be interesting and a cool place to surf. There will also be links to my studio site with music of all the bands I have tracked and also links to Annihilator and Nevermore…. yada, yada.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned recently that you have some new Aggression Core MP3's that you're working on and mixing. When will they be posted?
CURRAN: They’re done -- it’s just a matter of getting them set up on MP3.com. Lots to do and not enough time.

KNAC.COM: Do you have an idea when we'll be getting another Aggression Core release? Tentative recording date, or any working titles or ideas you want to talk about?
CURRAN: The new record will be called The Endless War Between Us. Our records and songs are staying really personal to us. We do a lot of looking inward for lyrics, and subject matter. We really are not that political or anything. We have a set of six new songs and this is the list…

1) Endless War Between Us
2) God Less America
3) The Righteous One
4) Crashing Down (big rock metal Opeth ballad)
5) Sins Of The Faithless
6) untitled

KNAC.COM: It's nice to see that Aggression Core releases are going to be sold through the UltimateMetal forum -- is that a great help in getting your music out?
CURRAN: Yes, Matt at ultimate is a really great guy. We love the site and hope that it will get some more people into Aggression Core and what we are doing!

KNAC.COM: You've somewhat announced your new drummer for Aggression Core -- as a knuckle dragging Neanderthal, Mini Gene Hoglan. Now that's a great combination! I think. What's his name, and what is he bringing to the table?
CURRAN: Actually all drummers are knuckle draggers! [Laughs] Just kidding all! Drummers are monsters to begin with; I mean they hit shit with wooden sticks for fun. How strange is that? I just sacrifice small animals and chase walnuts. [Laughs] Just kidding on the walnut thing. Okay now to answer the question, my good friend Steve Fornier has been filling in for Aggression Core for the past six months. He is one of the best death metal drummers I have ever seen. Right up there with Hoglan and Christi. But he hates my music [Laughs]; it just isn't heavy enough for him. He has his black/death metal band that he just loves! So I have a permanent member who we just had come into the fold and his name is Henry Rice. This guy is a 5-foot tall muscle man behind the drums. His timing and phrasing is killer and I can't wait to track him at the studio and then drag him out on tour! He is a really good guy!

KNAC.COM: How the hell was it to share the stage with Nevermore recently?
CURRAN: It was great! Aggression Core has always been the kind of band to blow up a stage and leave a big FUCKING hole in it for lesser bands to fall into. And we did just that both nights with Nevermore. BUT, they are such a great band that they stand right over the hole and tear the rest of the building down with it! In short it was a blast to play two shows, in two amazingly killer metal bands in one night!

KNAC.COM: How hard was it to do double duty for both Aggression Core and Nevermore on the most recent two shows you guys did? [Curran played as the second guitarist with Nevermore, and did his own set with his other band.]
CURRAN: I need to start jogging!

KNAC.COM: Do you still consider yourself a part of Nevermore, in some way, shape or form?
CURRAN: No -- I never was. I guess the fans saw it that way, but the truth is I was a hired guy. They paid me to come out and play for them, but they didn't seem interested in wanting me to be a permanent member, so in came Annihilator. Things have finally become cool between myself and Nevermore. Good enough. [Laughs]

KNAC.COM: I read a recent interview with Jeff Waters. He said you're the fresh blood for Annihilator! He said you're the fire, the youngster, the spark. He also said that you'd done a few of the solos for the current Annihilator release [Waking the Fury. One of Curran’s standout solos is on “Prime Time Killing.”] So any thoughts on his feelings about you, your contributions to the band -- your solos?
CURRAN: Jeff is an amazing guitarist and a great guy. A little silly perhaps, but that is what you need to survive in this business for sure. My contribution to Annihilator is to make everything as heavy as I can. To jam and play killer guitar for Jeff!

KNAC.COM: What are the differences playing live with all the bands that you've been involved in? You must have a hectic touring schedule coming up soon. Glutton for punishment?
CURRAN: Nevermore has very set things for the show, stand here, move here, when this happens ect., ect., ect. They are really trying to project an image and a vibe. Annihilator is more old school, they get up, and we play a blister thrash set -- have fun and laugh the entire time, we love to play and tour. Aggression Core is a full on assault for everyone playing -- and killing themselves up on that stage. Every night we go up we need to prove that we are the most over the top fucking metal band out there. Some nights we do it and some nights we miss, but we always seem to have a good show and people dig it.

KNAC.COM: Most people are not aware of how much you contribute to the world of hard music. You can produce, you have a studio, I believe you do some filming... are there any other projects that you're involved in that people don't know about??
CURRAN: No -- I have my own studio called Smiley Sounds Studio, I think it is the best metal studio in the world -- just my opinion. I record, write, and play in Aggression Core, I play and record for Annihilator, I play for Nevermore, I do some video post work at my studio and that is it!

KNAC.COM: That’s enough!

KNAC.COM: Wanna name some of the releases out that are rocking your world? You know, the ones that flatten your balls, and make you wanna slam yourself again the nearest wall.
CURRAN: The new Arch Enemy, the new Soilwork, the new Tori Amos, anything by Sting and that is pretty much it.

KNAC.COM: Aside from Aggression Core, do you want to plug any of your favorite, up and coming local bands?
CURRAN: I am so out of the local scene here in Seattle -- I just don't know any of the bands out there. [He’s being a smartass]

KNAC.COM: You've worked with some great musicians, but who else would you really get into working with?
CURRAN: Any killer drummer, Hoglan, or one of those cats. Dudes who are so good it hurts to watch. I would love to work with Warrel [Dane] in a situation away from Nevermore -- that would be cool. I just love great musicians -- guys who can do their thing and still give you more than what you thought possible.

KNAC.COM: Who are your influences as far as a guitarist, or even a songwriter?
CURRAN: Tori Amos, Sting, anything Swedish metal, Jazz, and Classical. Good musicianship!

KNAC.COM: Is metal a frame of mind, a way of life, or an alter-ego?
CURRAN: Metal seems to me to be all of those things. I live for metal, but I love all music. When I play, I'm in a frame of mind for metal -- when I'm in the moment I don't feel like Curran Murphy. I feel like some fucking freak metal guitar player, who is lucky as all hell to be where he is right now!

KNAC.COM: Thanks Curran!
CURRAN: Horns up and keep the metal flowing!

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