The 'Artificial Brain' of future metal
No, not that Will Smith. Hailing from Long Island, New York, metal band Artificial Brain has quickly garnered worldwide attention in the metal scene for their destructive blast beats, pulverizing bass lines, dissonant riffs and gurgle-frog vocals unheard of since the pioneering days of Demilich.
This past Saturday, I got the chance to interview the vocalist of Artificial Brain, Smith, at Obnoxious Noise Fest in Amityville. We discussed Artificial Brain’s beginnings, the metal scene and what the future holds for them.
Hofstra Chronicle: How did Artificial Brain come to be?
Will Smith: The other four guys, Sam [Smith], Dan [Gargiulo], Jon [Locastro] and Keith [Abrami] started it and they were looking for a singer for a while. I actually found them through a mutual friend, Paulo Paguntalan, who does vocals up in Canada since I’m not allowed for legal reasons. This was probably around 2009 when the band started.
HC: You guys are making your long-awaited return to your homeland of Long Island; tell me about this homecoming of sorts.
WS: It feels great, man. It feels awesome. We’re surrounded by friends and bands that we’ve looked up to. We’re playing with Dehumanized, Pyrexia, Internal Bleeding, all strong Long Island/Queens bands that I personally grew up watching. My first death metal show actually was in 1997 in this same building. It was called Crawdaddy’s back then and Internal Bleeding played then too, so it’s really special.
HC: You’re sharing the stage with legends like Dehumanized as well as up-and-coming bands like Locus Mortis. How does it feel to be in the position you’re in right now?
WS: It’s a dream come true for me. Death metal is my life. The bands I grew up watching I admire a lot, and Locus Mortis, I’m friends with those guys, and they’ve progressed a lot in terms of their sound and they just played a killer set. Ground also played a killer set. Being sandwiched between these up-and-coming bands that are working hard and these legendary bands that I’ve looked up to, it can’t get any better. It’s what you work hard for.
HC: Moving towards your studio work, “Infrared Horizon” was a massive and fulfilling follow-up to “Labyrinth Constellation.” What are your favorite tracks from those albums and why?
WS: Thanks for the compliment. Any song that connects with the audience. “Worm Harvester” from the first album we bring out on any set list because it always brings on a great crowd reception. The title track, “Infrared Horizon,” and “Static Shattering” are two tracks from the new album that I love. The songs I love are the songs that translate to the most energy onstage.
HC: I understand Keith was not able to make it due to touring conflicts, how did you guys end up choosing Kenny [Grohowski] as the fill-in?
WS: It wasn’t really a long list or anything. We knew Kenny. We’ve played shows with Imperial Triumphant, who he plays for. I was lucky enough to do guest vocals on Imperial Triumphant’s new record, so we have a relationship with them. He was one of the first people we were going to ask. Luckily he could do it, and the rest is history. We’re really looking forward to playing with him today, and I think our fans will get something that’s true to the records and to what we do, but also with Kenny’s personality.
HC: I saw on Instagram that Keith posted that album number three is in the works. Can you give us any more info on Artificial Brain’s future?
WS: Right now, they’re working on it more than me because they’re just writing guitars and handing it off to Sam and Keith so they can respectively iron out the bass and drums. Dan does a lot of recording demos with a drum machine on his computer, so I’ve heard some of that. We’re just going to build on what we got and if you liked our stuff before, you won’t be too disappointed. And if you hated my vocals before, you won’t like them now.
HC: Lastly, what advice can you offer to young upstarts in the metal scene/music industry as a whole?
WS: Well, in the metal scene or in anything related to what we do, don’t look for the money. Go to school or find a trade or do something where you can get time off once in a while to go away on tour. Or be one of those guys that’s a session drummer, a producer or somebody that can make a living because playing death metal, it’s very difficult ... Have some integrity, value the friendships, the camaraderie, the art. If you play a show where not a lot of people show up and you don’t make any money, that’s not what’s important about it. The importance is that you have some good times, you know? Lastly, treat your fans like your boss. Always remember who got you there and remember who appreciates what you were trying to do in the first place.