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Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky Interview

A Conversation With Guitarist Ian Sturgill


Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky

Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky

Nuclear Blast Records
Updated May 06, 2009
The previous band guitarists Aaron Haines and Ian Sturgill and were in together had a really long name: Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus. Their new band has an ever longer one: Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky (or SWWAATS for short). Their debut album is a mouthful as well. Death metal guru James Murphy (Death, Testament) produced The Grand Partition And The Abrogation Of Idolatry, an extreme and intense slab of death/grind. Sturgill gives us the scoop on the band’s name, their debut CD and many other topics. And make sure to read the end of the interview. I always ask if there’s anything else they want to say, and most interviewees say nothing or just plug the new album. Sturgill, however, had a lot to say.

Chad Bowar: How did the band get together?
Ian Sturgill: SWWAATS formed in late 2006, shortly after BITGOTA had dissolved. Aaron and I decided to keep playing music together, so we found some guys who wanted to do the same type of thing, and everything pretty much expanded from that.

What inspired the band name?
William Burroughs wrote a piece entitled "Apocalypse." The name is lifted from that work. The name is also inspired and supported by a healthy amount of paranoia.

Describe the sound of your debut album The Grand Partition And The Abrogation Of Idolatry.
Very violent, bleak and unrelenting. There are no "pretty" sections on this album. It's god-awful ugly front to back. Fast, brutal, and pissed. There is an element of atmospheric influence that takes a few close listens to appreciate because it's swamped in blasting metal insanity.

Are there any particular lyrical themes throughout the record, or does each song stand alone?
Each song tells a different sort of story but all of the lyrics fall into the same general intellectual framework. I would delve deeply into this but part of our "theme" is promoting the act of reading and defining what you read in your own way. We encourage everyone to do this not only with our lyrics, but with everything they ever read.

How did you decide on James Murphy to produce?
James was a great choice for his impressive quality, creative thought process and proximty to our hometown of Tampa, Florida. We are extremely lucky to have worked with him on this record, as he was able to create exactly what we had in mind for this album.

What is his producing style, and how did you enjoy working with him?
James is a very thorough producer. He works closely with the band and is open to lots of crazy ideas. He is also very good at capturing the best possible performance. Working with him was a blast, very productive and an awesome learning process.

How did you come to sign with Nuclear Blast?
I would have to chalk it up to an even mixture of hard work and sheer luck. We're very honored.

The CD has been released in Europe. What has the early response been like?
We have received great reviews and wonderful messages from fans expressing their satisfaction and it's awesome. We are leaving in about 48 hours to go to Europe and find out first-hand what the response is like! We’re extremely excited.

What are your expectations for the album?
To tell you the truth, I try and steer away from expectations as they can cause major disappointment. All I know for sure is that this album is something we all felt that we had to do and I feel that we did it to the best of our capabilities, and I hope that you all enjoy it.

What are your upcoming tour plans?
The next four weeks for us will be on the Thrash and Burn European Tour with Bleeding Through, Darkest Hour, Beneath the Massacre, Carnifex, and Arsonists Get All The Girls. After that we come back to the States and Canada for a long stint with Abigail Williams, Goatwhore, Abysmal Dawn and Daath.

What has been your favorite tour so far?
In summer '07 with Maruta and The Network. There was starvation, desperation, broken equipment, bloody knuckles, liquor and barbeque at the KOA. It was a struggle from start to finish, but it was good friends and good times.

What are your van essentials?
Music, ramen noodles and chopsticks, a pillow of some sort, a hat, baby wipes for quick hobo-showers and at least 100 cigarettes.

What are the largest and smallest crowds you've played in front of?
SWWAATS has yet to perform to a crowd larger than 400 people. Our first show on the Thrash and Burn tour is sold out, and the venue's capacity is 2200. We've played in front of as little as 6 people, and that's including the club staff.

What was the first metal concert you attended as a fan?
Metallica on the Sad But True tour. I was 11 years old.

How did you get started in music?
Music was something that I refused to stop doing from an early age. I picked up the guitar at 8 years old, didn't really take it seriously until the age of about 15 or 16. My parents were always listening to music and I just took to it very naturally.

Was there a song or album that inspired you to want to perform music?
Huge influences of mine in youth were Faith No More, Deicide, Metallica, Cannibal Corpse, Ministry and Anthrax.

What was your first band?
A crusty punk band called Harmful Impurities. I was the singer. It was short-lived.

When did you decide music would be your career?
I cannot remember ever making that decision. I think I just sort of went for it instinctually.

What’s currently in heavy rotation on your CD/MP3 player?
Gojira – The Way of All Flesh, Tool – Lateralus, Roger Waters – Amused to Death and Irreversible – Sins.

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