Skeletal Remains is a killer death metal band from Whittier, California. Pretty much they have been wrecking necks in Southern California and beyond since 2011. They released their first album in 2012. Then they went on a break but in 2015 I started to see them pop up on show flyers and they were making waves and releasing a new album. This album is Condemned to Misery. Which has to be one of the best death metal albums I have heard from a new death metal band in a while. Since their album kicked my ass I figured I should get an interview with them. I got into contact with Chris and this is the product of the phone call we had. For some reason there was some technical problems on my side and like one question got all messed up and I wasn't able to hear what was said. But from memory it was about cassettes and we both agreed on how early death metal albums sound awesome on that format but to the interview!
MW: Hey Chris, how are you doing?
Chris Monroy : Good man, pretty good.
MW: So let’s go back to how Skeletal Remains started how did you guys form? What is it out of highs chool how did it all work out?
Chris Monroy: So pretty much, I don’t know if you know but I also play in Fueled by fire so I was pretty busy with that. One of my longtime high school buddies came up to me and he was trying to start a death metal band and he asked me for some help to just get it started so yah I helped him out. We went to the studio recorded 3 tracks. 3 originals and a cover and that's when the original guitarist Mike who asked me to help start the band left the band. So it was me, Mike, and Chris who recorded the demo but when Mike left I ended up finishing the demo with the drummer. The demo was pretty much done so we decide to just released it we didn’t just want to leave it sitting there and not push it. So we released it and a lot of people enjoyed it and that’s when I figured we had something good going so I asked two of my good friends I've known since high school to help me out on guitars and bass and Yah, man that’s pretty much how it started but it was nothing serious for me at first since I was so busy with Fueled by fire but people really enjoyed it and we got offered to tour Europe, yah man it’s all history from there.
MW: Your guys originally name was Anthropolgy correct?
Chris Monroy: Yah, that was the original name when me and Mike started the band then once Adrius and Adrian came in the band they the idea to change the name they had started a band some time ago with the name of Skeletal Remains but it never really took off or did anything with it because they were so busy with personal stuff so once they brought the name to my attention I was like yah man that actually fits better. So yah we just ended up using that name and we listed the demo under that name. So they came in right before we released the demo.
MW: Last year you guys released Condemned to Misery and you guys did a release show at the Black Castle how was that show?
Chris Monroy: it was actually really cool one of our friends helped us put that show together. She does the Born For Burning shows at the Black Castle but I don’t think the black castle here in La but I don't think it's open anymore but yah man it was actually a great show and a great turn out and we sold a lot of merch it was cool.
MW: How has been the general feedback to the album? I think it kicks a lot of ass!
Chris Monroy: Yah, it’s been good man a lot better than our first album a lot of people say it’s a step up from the first album and we’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback and a lot of people enjoy we’ve been selling a lot of merch we pressed a lot more copies for the second album then the first album yah it’s selling a lot of people enjoy it.
MW: I actually thought you guys broke up I remember hearing many years ago the first album on YouTube and I liked it. I was glad to see that you guys were releasing a new album.
Chris Monroy: After the first album came out we did the European tour and then came home and wrote the album and then we went on a break because our drummer quit so it took us a long time to find a replacement since we were looking for someone who was going to play the songs right and the way we wanted them to sound so it took us along time until we finally found somebody that’s probably part of the reason we took so long to release the album and all that. Because we had actually recorded the album with our old drummer completely it was done but we weren’t happy with the way it sounded and how everything came out so we had our good friend do drums for the album and we re-recorded the whole album so all that took us along time to do. That’s why we were kind of on a big break for a while.
MW: Didn’t you guys get Carlos Cruz to do drums on this album?
Chris Monroy: Yah, Carlos Cruz, Warbringer and Hexen presence. He’s a good friend of ours and he went ahead and did us a favor playing drums for the album. It was a lot better than we expected.
Chris Monroy: I guess it would have a lot to do with Carlos playing drums for the album he brought in some cool ideas during the recording process. When we recorded Beyond the flesh and the first demo we just went in there and jammed the songs this time it was a little bit more professional we had a click track and everything was on time so that was a big difference from the first one. That’s pretty much it we recorded at the same place everything was kind of similar I think Carlos made a big difference compared to Beyond the flesh. Condemned to misery was recorded a lot faster he just kind of shot through all the tracks in one day and it was just a faster process..
MW: How did you guys get Sign with F.D.A Rekotz
Chris Monroy: Yah, their a German label we actually got contacted when we released our and he was interested in releasing our demo on tape so that sold out in like the first week I think I can't remember and he was very happy with the way things went and he brought up the idea of possibly releasing an album. We kinda had already had the idea to release an album out selfs so it all worked out. But that’s pretty much how we released the album he gave us a 2 album contract and then we did these two albums and the demo as well.
MW: You guys seem very popular in Slovenia and Czech I saw some videos and some articles and people were saying shows were sold out and it looked like the crowd was going nuts!
Chris Monroy: Yah, Europe especially Eastern Europe we have a pretty good fan base. Just Europe in general I think are fanbase is great. It’s pretty shocking how many fans we have out there but yah we have an Ok following here in LA but definitely Europe is the place for us.
MW: It’s kind of weird with the United States I noticed, not all the time but people won’t support American bands which is kind of weird to me I don’t know why.
Chris Monroy: Yah, exactly I feel the same way it’s kind of awkward and I don’t know why it’s just the way it goes. People don’t support the local bands much I think it has to a lot with being part of a trend or following what other people say instead of supporting the music . Yah, it’s weird I don’t know how to explain that but I know what you mean I see the same thing.
MW: Musically a lot of people are going to say off the bat Pestilence but I definitely hear you guys have your own Identity, but what are some other bands that have influenced you
Chris Monroy: Yah, like you said definitely Pestilence pretty much the early 90’s extreme stuff Morbid Angel, Deicide, Death of course umm some Canadian stuff like Gorguts but I would say the main, main influences would be Pestilence, Gorguts, Death and Demolition Hammer.
MW: Yah Demoliton Hammer kicks ass! What I love about your guys sound is your able to be technical but you also keep the headbanging riffs and memorable songwriting.
Chris Monroy: Yah, that’s what we kind of try to shoot for of course we want it to be technical but at the same also want it to be catchy you know like music that makes you band your fucking head!
MW: I have to admit I’m a bit of a Martin Van Drunen fanboy so when I heard your vocals I was immediately sold but what are some of your biggest vocal influences
Chris Monroy: Well definitely Martin Van Drunen, John Tardy of course from Obituary Marc Grewe from Morgoth . Chuck of course um let’s see who else. Well that will definitely be my top influences but I also like max otero from Mercyless the French band. But my main influences it would definitely be Chuck, Martin Van Drunen, luc lemay and John Tardy. Those guys are like legends to me and when we did our first European tour we played Party San festival in Germany and I’m not sure if it was for Grand Supreme Bloodcourt or one of Martin’s bands but they played the day before us and at the festival we got to hang out with him backstage and drink beers and he told us some really cool stories about seeing Metallica for the first time it was cool Marc Grewe came on stage and sang a Morgoth song with us that was really cool it meant a lot to me being able to share the stage with someone who is such a big influence
MW: What are some of your biggest guitar influences
Chris Monroy: Guitarist Jason Becker would probably be the number one. James Murphy you can probably hear a lot of his influence on our songs Chuck Schuldiner of course, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert Andy le roque.
Chris Monroy : This dude from Mexico, Mario Lopez. He did this artwork that caught my attention. There’s this Belgian band Evil Invaders I don’t know if you heard of them. I believe it's for their second album and I really liked the artwork so I found out who it was and I hit him up and thought he had a pretty cool style which had the more of the old school style in the 90’s. So yah we gave him ideas of what we wanted it to look like and we gave him some lyrics and he pretty much came up with it and we were really fucking happy with the final product we think it looks freaking cool.
MW: You guys are playing a Festival soon with Sadistic Intent is that correct? Isn’t it in Oregon?
Chris Monroy : Yah, we are doing the Oregon Famine fest that’s with Sadistic Intent and Coffins that’s in Portland, Oregon and we’re playing a show with Sadistic Intent in LA at the Complex and that’s at the end of February 26 or 27th but that’s with Sadistic headlining.
MW: You guys are also doing a tour with Sakrificer right?
Chris Monroy: Yah, maybe like ten dates we start in Oregon for that festival then we play Oakland. Then we drop off the tour but then we come back play Bakersfield, Anaheim and then LA with Sadistic Intent.
MW: I guess I should ask for the East coast fans is there any plans to play over their?
Chris Monroy: We plan to but for now were just going to do a small tour and I’m pretty sure we will. We have had a good response from the east coast to come out and play but it’s kinda hard you know especially with not having tour support from the label it’s kinda hard doing it on your own but I’m sure sooner or later we’ll get out there.
MW: I bet this is a hard question but what are some of your favorite Death metal albums?
Chris Monroy : Oh man… Spiritual Healing is one of my favorites. Consuming Impulse from Pestilence of course. Cause of death Obituary umm let’s see the Deicide. Deicide – Deicide, Gorguts – Considered dead, umm shit man there’s just so many good ones out there Morbid Angel - covenant . Entombed – Left hand path is a really good I like the Swedish stuff of course. Carnage – Dark recollections as well
MW: That’s an amazing album!!
Chris Monroy : Yah it is man, also Cancer – dead shall rise that’s a fucking great album as well umm let’s see. A lot more I just can’t think right now but that’s a lot of good albums right?
MW: Yah, a lot of good albums! When you guys right music how does that work? Do already have ideas or do you just jam it out?
Chris Monroy: It’s a little bit of both actually because most of the music is written by me and Adrian the lead guitarist and me and him will sit together and write and play in front of each other. Show each other riffs that we have and that’s how usually the songs are put together. Or We usually have half a song and then I show It to the guys that’s how it starts from there and the people put in their input and then that’s how the song comes together that way. There are sometimes I have sat down and wrote a whole song I took it to the studio and we just jammed it out. For the most part it’s just me and Adrian and that’s how it gets started.
MW: This is probably a hard question since they’re all your songs but what songs would you say work the best live?
Chris Monroy: Definitely, Euphoric Bloodfeast because it’s so heavy umm also Viral Hemorrhagic Pyrexia also Extirpated Vitality from the first album Beyond Cremation is another one because it’s aggressive and to the point and it sounds good to me live. I like all of them in general but those are some of my favorites to play live.
MW: Yah, I saw you guys twice at the Born for burning and I saw you guys at the Show your scars fest. Both times you guys kicked ass!
Chris Monroy: Yah, the recent one with Repulsion that was a cool show man. That was one of our first times playing a big place we usually play small venues here in La that was the first time playing a bigger venue. There was a good amount of people and overall it was a good show.
MW: I always thought it would be so cool to use “Fire in the sky” in a death metal video. So I have to admit seeing you guys use it I thought it was pretty sweet.
Chris Monroy: Yah, cool man definitely. The song was based on that lyrically. Yah, we just had an idea to record footage of us jamming and then we used some clips from the movie and I think they did a really great job and it came out really good.
MW: I’m out of questions so thank you for your time..
Chris Monroy: No worries man.
MW: Any last words for the fans?
Chris Monroy : thanks for taking ur time to read this interview Keep supporting the band and we hope to play for you all someday!