Outer Heaven Interview

Outer Heaven
Relapse Records

Pennsylvania’s Outer Heaven recently released their full-length debut Realms Of Eternal Decay. We chatted with vocalist Austin Haines at their recent Montclair, New Jersey show.

Tom Campagna: Tomorrow is a big day for you guys, with the release of Realms of Eternal Decay. How are you feeling about it right now?
Austin Haines: We are definitely feeling good about it. The response we have gotten so far is worlds beyond what we have expected to get for it. Relapse plays a big part in that with everything they have done to promote the record and promote us as a band. To also have that kind of response and for us to transition right into a tour like this with good bands and friends like we have in Full of Hell is a big deal for us and we are psyched to have people hear the music.

Where would you say your influences come from for this album, more so the classics or are there local bands that influenced you as well?
When it came to Realms we had a sound in mind that we were looking for, the biggest one was Morbid Angel, especially the Steve Tucker era, some mid era Cannibal Corpse like Vile, Demilich, Gorguts, and some Pennsylvania bands like Incantation and Rottrevore. Pennsylvania had a sound back in the ‘90s and we tried to let it influence us since it is where we live. When people say things like Florida death metal, certain things come to mind or in today’s scene with Bay Area death metal. We would love to be a band people think of when they bring up Pennsylvania death metal, especially since we draw so heavily from local PA bands.

I felt like I heard a lot of Human when I listened through the album.
It’s funny that you say that because out guitar player Jon Kunz, who writes more of the technical stuff’s favorite Death album is Human.

As a listener I felt that.
It’s interesting that it came across, because you are of the first people make a connection to that album and not Death in general.

In that same breath it could well be Pestilence’s Spheres as well.
Funny that you bring that up, since we just put together a list for Metalsucks and it was a list of our influences and Spheres was on there. We really wear our influences on our sleeves.

This current tour is 12 dates with Full of Hell, so you are spending a lot of time in your tour van. What has been playing in the van?
Lately Horrendous, Suffocation specifically Souls to Deny, Fleetwood Mac, our record once in a while, Cynic Traced In Air, Thin Lizzy who our guitarist is a huge fan of. There is so much great music and you forget how truly great a record is and in the last two weeks that was Souls to Deny for us. That’s kind of what we’ve been jamming.

Have you toured with Full of Hell before?
No, but we have known them for a long time, even predating Full of Hell and since we are both active it made sense to tour together.

Aren’t Full of Hell kind of tour warriors themselves?
Even before we toured with them, we were big fans of their ethics, the way they do everything is just unbelievable, so self-sufficient, so dedicated to what they do, they’re really the perfect model on how you take your band from DIY to something gigantic without sacrificing who they are. It’s another reason we are on this tour and they also understand that there is a business side to this tour thing. But turning a profit is never the intent, if you do this and break even plus have some fun, then it is well worth it.

It is great to see these scenes come out and support bands and also to see growth within a scene.
We see it in our own scene, bands helped us to get started and we are trying to return the favor for other bands, for example Replicant who are from New Jersey and we played our show in Philly with them last night. A band that we don’t think really gets their due, so we are trying to spread the word. Putting a band like that in front of a larger audience can help get them seen. I want to help friends’ bands rise up with us. Code Orange did it for us.

Oh yeah, they’re getting big out of that Pittsburgh scene.
Yeah, I did some roadie work for them before they even got on Deathwish. Then we released our demo and Agent Orange pushed it and our label got it released. But that’s what got us noticed.

Kind of like what Gene Simmons did for Van Halen way back when. This is on a much smaller scale, but it happens everywhere.
What things people have done for us, we try to do it for them. Some bands might even be better than us might not have caught on yet, might not have met the right people, we try to push to the guys at Relapse.

(interview published October 29, 2018)

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