The latest album from Richmond, Virginia’s Inter Arma is Sulphur English. Frontman Mike Paparo gives us the lowdown on the record and other topics.
Chad Bowar: Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Sulphur English compared to previous albums?
Mike Paparo: We’ve grown tired of the complacency and homogenization of the heavy metal scene so this record is our way of saying fuck you to all of that.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Recording drums in the same studio where Shania Twain recorded was pretty cool.
What’s more challenging for you to record, harsh vocals or melodic singing?
Melodic vocals are always more of a pain in the ass. Having to sing in key and on pitch is always a challenge regardless of who’s singing.
What inspired your lyrics this time around?
The ignorance and false sense of entitlement of human beings.
How has the band’s sound evolved from Paradise Gallows?
We’re just better musicians and songwriters than we were before and I think that shows.
How does the band’s popularity/awareness in Europe and elsewhere in the world compare to North America?
We definitely do better in the States because we’ve toured here pretty extensively and so people are much more aware of us. That said, Euro shows get better and better with each subsequent tour over there.
With four albums under your belt now, how challenging is it to come up with a set list, and does it change from show to show within a tour?
Oh, it changes nightly. I go fucking crazy if we have to play the same set over and over. I also think it adds to the spontaneity of our live shows which is always a good thing, in my opinion. Yeah, it gets harder as we have more material to chose from to pick out what to play. If we have a 30 minute set in an opening slot we can really only play three songs so that makes it even more difficult.
Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
Lots of places! Asia, Australia, South America. I wanna play in Egypt in front of the pyramids like Slayer!
What’s the most unusual venue you’ve played?
We played on a farm in Gigors, France. In the middle of nowhere. It was weird as shit and awesome.
There are numerous vinyl editions of the album available. Are you a vinyl collector?
Nah, I’m too poor to collect records.
Bastard Sapling’s Facebook hasn’t been updated in a few years. Is that band on hiatus, or has it split up?
B-Sap is on an indefinite hiatus.
Read any good books lately?
I’m in the middle of Going To Meet The Man by James Baldwin. It’s only taken me a year to read that much of it. I can read, I can read, I can read, I can read! (Personal and the Pizzas, anyone?!?!)
(interview published April 12, 2019)