In the spotlight for this week’s Meet The Band is the Minneapolis experimental doom group Livid. Beneath This Shroud, The Earth Erodes is their debut album. Vocalist/guitarist Cole Benson, guitarist Swen, bassist Chad Padelford and drummer Tim Leick introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Livid.
Chad Padelford: I had retired from playing music after I got sober. I was working with Tim and over the course of a year or two of persistence, he talked me into joining his instrumental project he had with Cole playing drums. We spent a lot of time talking all the music we liked, and one day at practice Tim and Cole switched spots. Cole just started playing a riff. I think we played that riff for over an hour. After that we decided to keep going with it.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Beneath This Shroud, The Earth Erodes.
Cole Benson: Like most of our songs, the writing process starts with a single riff. From there, we’ll usually play multiple renditions of the song live before it’s complete. If it doesn’t feel right live, it’s usually back to the drawing board. During the first recording session, we tracked “Nothing” and “Sins of God.”
Tim was all kinds of sick, and had a nasty fever, but he kicked the fuck out of his drums. We were able to nail both songs in two takes. The second session was a lot easier, no one was sick and we were able to track “Descend,” “The Fire” and “Into Nothing” along with all of the lead guitars. Vocals came later, as they always do. I usually have to sit on the lyrics for awhile before I’m happy with them.
How would you characterize the band’s style/sound?
Chad: I’d be lying if said I don’t think about that. I’ve tried to nail down what sub-genre we’d go in. I can’t. I think I’m just to close to it. We don’t really actively try to get a certain sound. But, we don’t actively try to be unique or original. Usually we just start with a basic riff and start playing it without a plan. Everyone then start adding effects, embellishes, etc. Sometimes it feels like automatic writing. Just close your eyes and play what feels right. The end result feels more genuine and honest.
What inspired the album title?
Cole: We didn’t have a name for the record after it was finished. I remember spitballing ideas via group text messages with the band. I wanted the name to capture the overall feeling of the record and Beneath This Shroud, The Earth Erodes fit the bill for us.
How did you come to sign with Prosthetic Records?
Chad: Steve Joh had reached out to us about doing a release. We figured it would be with Warcrime Recordings, which was exciting because I’m mildly obsessed with Corrections House. At the time we had no idea he was with Prosthetic. After some time went by, we got to know him better, even spending time at his house. Once we were ready to record, the suggestion of signing with Prosthetic came up. We decided to go for it. Steve has become a pretty important person to the band. I kinda think of him as our own Shirley Partridge. So, most things he suggests, we trust him.
What are your goals/expectations for the album?
Chad: This band has already surpassed my expectations. The shows we’ve played, bands we’ve gotten to know, everyone at Prosthetic, it’s been incredible. At this point I just really hope people enjoy the album and we continue to play such great shows and hit as many cities as we can.
What has been your most memorable Livid live show?
Chad: I would have to say playing with Bell Witch was incredible. That band is on a different level. The Cobalt with Mantar show was intense and I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Tim Leick: Opening for Bell Witch at 7th Street Entry. They killed it and were great to hang with! And Swen had recently joined making us even heavier!
Swen: my most memorable live show was probably opening for Bell Witch, or maybe Samothrace. Both bands got me through some rough patches in my life and are pillars in my personal hall of favorite music. I don’t always remember everything, but it was very strange to be aware of the memories being created while we were playing these shows. I still feel very blessed.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Chad: Currently I’m in the process of booking a couple weeks through the Northwest in October.
You changed the lyrics to the album after the 2016 election. How would you evaluate the first 6 months of the Trump administration?
Cole: I’ll try to keep this short. In late 2015, my partner was diagnosed with Stage 2 brain cancer. It was catastrophic news, and flipped my whole world upside down. After brain surgery and months of treatment, she’s healthy thanks to really good health care. Watching the people in the White House attempt to put together a new “Health Care Plan” is really fucking stressful to say the least. Livid will continue to write really bleak music about the current state of our country until this nightmare is over.
What’s the metal scene like in Minneapolis these days?
Chad: There’s a lot of great bands around here. In the past, the city has been pretty dominated by punk, hardcore, crust and hip hop. There’s been a burst of new metal bands over the last few years. Roar of the Underground on KFAI is a newish radio show that does a great job of featuring local metal bands new and old. It’s a great time to love metal in Minneapolis right now.
Tim: I think MSP has a heavily underrated heavy scene. Any given night of the week you can catch a solid show. I’m anti-social so I sit inside and play video games, but I know they are there! I appreciate them from afar.
Swen: Metal scene is poppin! There are lots of big shows coming through here but you always hear the headliners complimenting local openers in a very genuine way. Also a lot of musicians are playing in multiple bands so there is quite a bit of cross-pollination between genres.
Who are some other bands from there we should check out?
Chad: There’s so many good bands popping up around here. Some that I’m really into are Ashbringer, Ulkum, Former Worlds, False, Pestifere, Cloekwohlv and Circadian Ritual.
Tim: Seedship, Former Worlds, Highgraves, Cool Dog, to name only a small handful of the sweet peaches that call MSP home.
Swen: This is going to be hard to make this short, but: Feral Light, Sunless, Seedship, No Funeral, Former Worlds, Ulkum, False, Grogus, Pestifere, Aetheric, Despise, Ashbringer, Cool Dog, Cokskar, Bisento, Scaphe, Cloek Wohlv and Blood Folke.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Chad: Always a lot of Elton John and Bolt Thrower. For newer stuff, Mare Cognitum, the new Ulver, Black Tomb, Cultes des Ghoules, All Hell, Extremity and Marissa Nadler.
Cole: I’ve had Boris’ Amplifier Worship playing in my car for two years. I love that record. I’ve also been really into Rosetta’s UTOPIOID and Below’s Upon A Pale Horse.
Tim: To Pimp a Butterfly and Damn. by Kendrick Lamar, and Lost Ages by Bereft
Swen: I am listening to Hell, Plebian Grandstand, Gorguts, Deathspell Omega, Nidingr and Northless
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Chad: We have a split LP coming out soon with local doom buddies No Funeral on Live Fast Die Records.
(interview published July 15, 2017)