By Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
Back in June, Karina Utomo from High Tension mentioned to UB that she was collaborating on a grind/death metal/lounge project with a composer called Peter Shallmin, who reportedly took his dwelling in the deep Siberian tundra. Peter had recruited several other vocalists (including Danny Lilker of Brutal Truth and Dave Ingram of Benediction and Bolt Thrower), and was planning to release music under the moniker of Stench Price. To accompany the record, Peter asked an artist, a filmmaker, and a GIF-artist (alright) to contribute visuals – and every element fucking rips.
The EP is due to come out at the end of this month, so UB took the opportunity to correspond with the mastermind behind this mammoth project.
Stench Price seems like it would have involved an enormous amount of effort in both planning and execution. What inspired this arguably crazy idea?
True said! Enormous and time consuming deal I ever had in music. The deal I wanted to realise one day. A titanic effort throughout one year and the most expensive (regarding forces, time and money) project I did so far. To set up hard tasks is a core of me. Living so far in Siberia I did a lot of international projects through the decades and I still believe that the music is the first and the foremost. It’s so exciting and challenging to unite creative people from different lands and it always turns into unexpected result. In the case with Stench Price, it raised higher because the final line-up is killer with the legendary artists and heavyweights in the history of metal as Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault), Dave Ingram (Benediction), Rogga Johansson (Paganizer), rising stars as Romain Goulon (Necrophagist), Max Phelps (Cynic), Karina Utomo (High Tension) and Shawn Knight (Child Bite). The geography spread so wide, including practically all continents like Russia (Siberia), India, France, UK, Sweden, USA, Australia, Japan, Colombia, and Canada. To say accurate, the Stench Price family is truly cosmopolitan, bound more than 30 creative minds around the globe from the different spheres of music, art, video and journalism. Оn the top of expectations (and I still can’t believe), the final touch done by the hand of the real Master, the living legend of the mixing console, knobs and faders Mr. Tom Morris from the mighty Morrisound Recording Studio. In the very beginning there were no any other way – Stench Price must be done at the Morrisound! It was worth all the effort!
How did you get the wheels turning on it?
It went out natural, the composing process between me and my all-time ‘partner in crime’ Max Konstantinov was like, “Hey, let’s bring the good old-school death / grindcore… let’s jam and recollect the spirit of the good old days when we were those young guys with guitars in the very first days of our basement rehearsals! Just press record!” I brought my unreleased bossa-nova stuff and we began to toying with ideas. After a few days we’ve recorded enough material to work with. My more than 10 years of experience working with musicians around the world, plus my main international bands Escapethecult and Kamlath with artists from different countries have helped me to find a contact quickly. The music speaks for itself and there were no difficulties with the agreement on artists participation in Stench Price.
Where does the bossa-nova influence come from?
The initial idea originated in the early 2000s, when I was young and unstoppably experimental, surfing though many heavy styles as a composer, bass guitar player, drummer and vocalist. Being a longtime collector of Caribbean and Latin American (mostly Brazilian) music, my portfolio has a serious foundation since 2004 in writing music at the junction of the lounge and bossa-nova, which I implemented on my own label Kolonki Recordings in collaboration with worldwide artists. The idea was to see raw and scathing death metal and grindcore fused with the soothing warmth of bossa-nova and lounge music. In the debut EP, I desired to show a symbiosis of most intense fury, chilling atmosphere, which is inherent in bossa and lounge. In this maze of surprises there is a balance of what could unexpectedly happen from the top of the cliff, a rise of emotions, a peak in time that is interrupted by the unpredicted and most atypical way. As usually say – after a storm comes a calm. Just in our case (I mean the music of Stench Price), it happens more often.
Why the choice to have multiple guests, rather than a single singer?
Different tracks, different approach, different single meaning joint with an artist’s personality. It was important to hear what they say being in another vibe, direction, style. All vocalists involved got their freedom – you can say everything you want, show your thoughts and emotions, write your own story and perform it as you feel it.
Were you in contact with any of your vocal recruits prior to working on this stuff?
No, it was not required. I’ve provided them with final instrumentals. Usually I work this way in the case of extreme music vocalists – they need a complete track to understand the structure in full. Later when the vocals are delivered we can share ideas regarding the additional arrangements if necessary.
Did you have particular people in mind for the songs?
Yes. At the very beginning I knew which one of my favorite singers I’ll offer this or that track, moreover the songs were written with the feeling that the exact vocalist sings in exact song. I considered that the person could be busy with own things, band, tour or for other reasons, so I always have a ‘dreamlist’ of minimum two artists per song. Only three vocalists I really wanted to have on the board could not attend because they were full in the exact time frame, but I have an agreement with them that we will work together in the near future. You know what to expect from a legend, you want to feel their brand touch as you’ve heard it on your old favourite album and now you are simply stoked hearing them in your own music. Goosebumps! I was so happy to discover new names, I was blown away! Karina Utomo and Shawn Knight are so inimitable, super talented. They are the artists with truly gifted spirit!
The art and videos that have accompanied this release seem meticulously planned and executed, and almost give another layer of meaning (or at least mystery) to the project. What drove the decisions you made for the art direction?
All projects I run are always precise from planning to execution. The visual part is very important to me. Every single aspect has its own place and meaning. First off, Stench Price imagery should be old-school looking, hand drawn. Second, visuals must be attractive and recognizable ‘on the distance’. Third, being weird musically, all our illustrations should be simple and fun with a touch of humor.
How did you become aware of the work of Scorpion Dagger, MiraiTachioka and Xul1349?
Such amazing talents they are! Anatol aka Xul1349 – my long-term collaborator in other projects – he knows how picky I am, how long I can overthink, he has a sixth sense delivering stunning illustrations and in most cases it’s complete so there’s no need to edit it further. James Kerr, a true digi-genius under the moniker Scorpion Dagger, has created a series of three quick appetizers of collages from Renaissance paintings. Our fist time cooperation together and it went smooth. We both enjoyed of making it. To find a right video maker was a painful research through many months. Mirai Tachioka is another ‘planet’ I was really happy to discover. I was seeking for a jaw-dropping scenario for the debut single. His talent is so unique. I think you’ll agree only Japanese do bizarre things better!
Which was the first song you wrote? How was that process?
The first song was “Living Fumes” and all further tracks on the debut EP stayed in the exact order of composing. So you can catch some development of the project. It was quite interesting to work with ‘Tight’ Romain as we called him. He is a top-notch drummer and can easily perform anything you want. We were on the same loop in making an old school-styled drums with rough and natural form like it was Terrorizer, Naked City, Defecation, Righteous Pigs in their best nineties shape without any modern influences, from one take with errors and stuff.
Are you interested in playing live as Stench Price?
I considered and still count it as a studio project. To release some stuff and to see what it will bring. All depends on the actual public demand. It’s a kind of challenge to our Indian label Transcending Obscurity to sign Stench Price. It’s rather difficult to predict the success or failure. We do it honest and want to be heard wherever possible.
Is there a second release on the horizon?
Yes. Next EP we enter you into the Samba field! The hypnotic vibe of a Brazilian carnival with a with its hot atmosphere, excitement and passion of intense powerful batucada percussion beat and unmerciful grindcore.
Where does Stench Price sit on a continuum of grind and art?
Probably Stench Price will be bizarre and weird to someone’s ear but that music is sincere. Today’s music already transformed, dissolved and interlaced with many styles, ideas sometimes are just crazy but soon it will be regarded as normal/usual. We did a tricky thing mixing bossa and grind, however, we are all involved happy with the result. Creative minds are unstoppable, music develops itself and time to time with a serious assistance of crazy mastermind it becomes an award ART status. No doubt Stench Price will continue an investigation on the crossroads of styles.
Take a listen to Stench Price, and get a copy of the EP here: