Straight From The Vault: An interview with Detroit Metal Punks CHILD BITE

Detroit’s Child Bite are the current leaders of Hardcore Punk and Metal. Their live stage shows may leave you breathless and confused, but after discovering the band you’ll be hooked to their sound, as if it were a musical drug and you were prescribed a bottle of the Michigan uniqueness to ingest everyday for your entire life! Negative Noise is a phenomenal (Phil Anselmo of Pantera’s label) Housecore Records debut that is bound to shake the underground metal scene to it’s very core and expose all the faux bands all over the world! Their most recent release  “Burnt Offerings: Covers And Rarities 2010 – 2017″ also recently dropped via Housecore Records. A double CD set brimming with off the wall punk and metal covers! Enjoy this Faygoluvers exclusive with Frontman Shawn Knight and Guitarist Brandon Sczomak of Child Bite, conducted at the back of the Pub Station in Billings, Montana!

*Note* Guitarist Brandon Sczomak has recently left Child Bite before this FLH exclusive became published*

Chad Thomas Carsten: How did growing up in Detroit influence who you are today as a recording artist today?

Brandon Sczomak: I’m just laughing because that’s a hard question.

Shawn Knight: I mean I guess it’s a type of thing like as opposed to if I grew up somewhere else, and I don’t know what it’s like to grow up somewhere else because I only fucking grew up there. But I mean there is always a lot of really good local bands in the scene. And I mean we all grew up like in the suburbs kind of surrounding Detroit. You know it’s a little more of the suburban part.

CTC: Like Warren, Berkley, places like that?

Shawn Knight: Like that, yes! I grew up in White Lake Waterford kind of area. And Plymouth.

Brandon Sczomak: The west side.

Shawn Knight: Yes. And just doing a little local band stuff which I assume is similar to most other little town local bands, but once we got into like the city and started like being a band and in Detroit – it’s just like a ton of awesome bands there! Like the local scene, it’s really top notch.

CTC: Yes, I agree. Especially Wilson. They’re a great band from Detroit!

Shawn Knight: Yes, we are friends with those guys. Chad Nicefield and I; we work together on booking some stuff. And you know Wilson is fucking cool, man! Chad is a really good guy.

CTC: So why the name Child Bite? What’s the story behind how you guys came up with the name?

Shawn Knight: The name is pretty random. I don’t remember but I technically came up with it but I don’t remember exactly how. I think I was eating some Kinder Bueno chocolate and that got me on the kinder track. And then I was like, “oh yes we are not German, we might as well have an English name for our band”. But anyways, that wasn’t how we decided the name. I came up with a few names and two other dudes that were in the band at the time came up with a few names. And we made little ballots and we sent that around to I think maybe fifteen of our friends that we like really respected their opinions and they were like cool and creative dudes. And I said “rank all of these names.” and they all ranked all of the ones that we sent and Child Bite was at the top.

So then we are like, “Cool! It’s not our fault somebody else picked it.” “We’re good to go and we don’t have to think about this anymore.” It was the beginning of many Democratic processes that we have had in place to avoid having to have dumb arguments, where like basic decisions end up being made for us by voting or something like that, and they’re like, “well that’s the way it is so let’s not talk anymore.”

CTC: I never heard that one before, that’s a first. Why should rock and metal fans attend a Child Bite show?

Brandon Sczomak: Because it’s interesting and it’s not like any other shows that you’re going to see out there. It’s his own special little thing you know. One of the most common reactions that I see out in the audience is kind of like a mixture of like confusion and laughter almost, but not in like a comedic way, just more like the, “what the fuck am I seeing?!” *Laughs*

Shawn Knight: Something a bit different. We do tend to kind of be the – we mix it up a little bit for people, or if your head is a little itchy and you want to know the reason to scratch it we can help you out with that.

CTC: What was your first initial reaction when Housecore Records invited you to come on board to release your Negative Noise album?

Shawn Knight: Well we were involved a little earlier than that and it was basically I was doing some artwork for the band, I do graphic design so I do art stuff and a lot of the Housecore stuff. And I was already involved with the label that way, and we were at a show somewhere. I think we saw somebody with an Anal Cunt patch on their jacket and we started you know we were bullshit joking about like, “Well? Oh we could make this instead of the AC, we could make it CB and we could make a fucking sticker of that” or whatever, just something like some little dumb idea that we tend to take those dumb ideas and carry them as far as humanly possible.  So then it got into like, “Maybe we could learn some songs and we could do like you know do some AC covers?!” That would be kind of weird, especially for us. And then we are also like, “Well maybe it wouldn’t be me singing on it?” At the time I played the guitar – so like maybe we would get like a guest vocalist?! And my head goes back to being a boy around the time of whatever mid 90s when the album The Great Southern Trendkill came out, which was in 1996.

Reading the headliner notes and remembering that Seth Putnam (RIP) did a bunch of backup vocals on that. And also the same year AC put out a record called Forty More Reasons to Hate Us and I remember in the credits of that Phil did some of the back up vocals. I put two and two together that they must have been buddies of some sort, and I was like well Phil would probably be the perfect guy. And I was like, “I don’t know him but my friend is his close friend and maybe we could see if he’s interested”. So we just went and learned the tunes and recorded them and sent them over to Phil, for just like a little five inch five song thing. And he said, “Do you want to spend five minutes of your life screaming on this for no good reason because you don’t owe us shit?! Go for it! And if not we totally understand.” And for some reason he found the time to do it and then since then we have been doing a couple of records with him.


* Shawn Knight of Child Bite Live in Billings, Montana Photo By Artistic Vision Photography*

CTC: How did you guys come up with the album title for Negative Noise? What inspired it?

Shawn Knight: I think it was a failed voting thing? Or we were going to do our own voting, because we used the same process that I told you about the band name. We used to do it for like every album name. Like we would keep it internal though we would like each come up with names, and then send them around to each other and we would have this big list and we would rank them and that’s how we picked the name. And I think for Negative Noise, Sean Clancy, our bassist before he cut off the voting process and before he even came up with stuff, he’s like, “Hey guys I have got this name that’s been floating around in my head for a while and I think we should use it for our album” and blah-blah-blah.

Brandon Sczomak: He was so excited about that specific name over everything else, that he was like, “No we are changing the process! We have been doing this for ten years, we are doing something different and this is going to be it.”

Shawn Knight: Yes, and unfortunately you have the wrong couple of guys here because he is the one that named it and we never bothered to ask me why. And I don’t know. So that will be the next interview the next time we come to Billings, Montana.

CTC: Now for those who have never heard the record. How would you describe the album in terms of your favorite horror movie icon?

Brandon Sczomak: I would have to go with Freddy!

Shawn Knight: How would I describe our album in terms of our favorite movie icon? I mean I would love to do some sort of combo of like maybe they’re having some sort of weird orgy, and it’s like Freddy is fingering Jason and Jason has got the mask off and he’s eating out Michael Myers and the like The Tall Man from Phantasm is filming the whole thing. And maybe Pumpkin Head is like in the classic peeking out and jerking off. Leather face wasn’t invited he’s at the bar drowning in sorrow and he’s pissed that nobody wanted to bang him.

Chad T. Carsten of Faygoluvers with Child Bite Photo By Artistic Vision Photography

CTC: How did Negative Noise challenge you guys artistically different from past records?

Shawn Knight: One thing that was different on this one than any other record that it was our first time having a producer and doing that with Phil Anselmo. So what was different about that is that we recorded down at his place.  Since we have never worked with somebody like that, we didn’t know how deep his fingers were going to get into the pie or whatever. So we basically had to write the songs and be happy with them but also not be so tied to them exactly how they were, in case we get there and Phil’s like, “This part sucks. I am cutting that shit.” You know what I am saying?! So we had to be like open-minded but we also had to be very comparative, which is kind of strange kind of middle ground because that’s the main difference I can think of.

Brandon Sczomak: I mean other than just scheduling kind of stuff where our drummer lives a couple hours away. So we are doing stuff more in like chunks of – come and go hard for a couple of days and take a week off and go hard for a couple of days and take a week off. Instead of just like, “Oh we will get together once a week or whatever and we will write it over the course of the couple of years” and this was like a month or a month and a half, and just got to cranked it all out and get it done!

Shawn Knight: We do pretty much everything we do and we are kind of a one-track minded band where we work on things in very concentrated periods of time, you know like on tour we can’t do what some bands do where we are not like writing songs – like, “Oh we are getting home from tour and like hey we have half of the new album written.” like it just doesn’t. There is no room in the band and there is no time or whatever usually we don’t even have this much space to hang out. So yes, we are just packing it all in and having the drummer learning stuff, and going home he has another drum kit back at home so he can just like go home and listen to demos that we’ve recording and practice to that stuff so when we get together we are kind of all prepared.

 

CTC: Which song is viewed as the harshest song on your vocals from the album?

Shawn Knight: I am trying to think what would be the harshest on the vocals.  I mean the one that when you do live and you can watch and maybe see what happens but they tend to run out of breath the most in the first song “Death Before Dementia”, and it’s the most – we refer to that type of song as like a “blaster” where it’s pretty fast and short and relentless. Luckily when you are recording, you can do things in pieces. You know you are trying to get the best take – like when they were recording the vocals for instance for the thing and we basically – it means that I have got the mic in front of me and the engineer is sitting ahead of me like he had the control board or whatever, and then Phil is sitting directly behind me on the couch – like with headphones on and my lyrics in hand and he’s paying attention. And then so I sort of flub of word or it’s not articulated right or whatever he will like, “whoa-whoa-whoa” and stop the presses or whatever. So we very much microscope on all of that and making sure that everything is good as possible. And that also means that you can take advantage of the recording process where you can like just write on one line anytime if you want.

You know if you listen to Pantera records, he does that all of the time where it’s like you can tell because the lines – like the first line and the second line is kind of overlap a little bit you know and he ends it and he’s like, “Uhhh!” – and the next lines are distorted and they are kind of doing that kind of thing, but obviously you can’t do that in one take so we do a lot of that kind of stuff. So I mean recording wise it wasn’t too bad, but then the true test is when you have to do the songs live, and you are like, “Oh shit I kind of painted myself in the corner with this one and there is not many spots to breathe!” and then you figure it out, you know. So I guess I would say that one.

CTC: And what would you say is the most personal song on the album for you?

Shawn Knight: I am thinking because I want to give you a good answer, but I don’t know if I have a good answer. I mean it’s hard to rank them. I mean for me, I wrote all of the lyrics so they are all personal on some level. Whether it’s just like my take on a topic you know or something that’s going on in my life, but there’s one I think I feel like there is more about thoughts on social stuff. I can’t really tell you one that’s more than the others, man. It’s pretty even across the board. I’m sorry.

CTC: That’s alright. If you found out that you only had one hour left to live, which album would you choose as your final album to listen to?

Shawn Knight: I mean definitely not one of ours, are you talking about ours or any album?

CTC: Any album.

Shawn Knight: Okay that’s better, yes. One album that I would listen to when I have one hour left to live? I am thinking again. I want to give you a good answer. I don’t want to give you some bullshit. That’s real tricky man, but give us the next question and then we will throw on that answer.

Brandon Sczomak: It’s like Family Feud when they get the hard question, they pass.

Shawn Knight: We’re passing but then we’ll come back around with an answer.

CTC: Totally chill. The other one is what do you want to accomplish with Child Bite in the next five to ten years?

Shawn Knight: Well we have been pretty lucky to be doing the tours that we have been doing where we are like a support band for Super Joint. And this is our third tour for Super Joint. I believe that we are doing a fourth one in the Fall so that’s one of the benefits of being on the label and working with him, and is that you know we can just give him the sad puppy dog eyes and Phil’s like, “Alright come on tour with me.”And then bands like us would tour with like Voivod and Negative Approach. A lot of amazing bands that we were like, “Holy shit I can’t believe that we’re able to do this!” I mean I don’t have any really illusions about us you know being Buckcherry or something one day. So I am pretty happy with what we have got going on I think we are kind of counting our blessings being that kind of like open or middle band and just being able to go out and not have the pressure of being a headliner just being able to go out with bands that we respect and look up to, and get to keep putting out records.

Brandon Sczomak: We’re peaking right now.

Shawn Knight: Yes. But basically it’s all downhill slash uphill from here. Depending on which way you would interpret that.

CTC: Just wherever the road takes you pretty much?

Shawn Knight: Yes, and we have to answer that final record question. I am going to say “Make It Big” by Wham -let’s go with that, man! That’s the one that’s got the “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and all of that stuff. I was thinking maybe I will listen to something like late era Johnny Cash and it’s like super depressing, but you only got one hour to live and that may be the happiest record I can think of and is that Wham record.

Brandon Sczomak: You should probably think about Chickenfoot too.

Shawn Knight: The Chickenfoot! I might have to check out the Chickenfoot. But what I am doing is I am saving them for that last hour like I am never going to listen to them until I am about to die. So I guess we will probably maybe I will put on both of those records at the same time and have some sort of weird girl talk and that shit happening in the headphones. That sounds like a pretty amazing way to end my life.

CTC: Do you have a choice, Brandon?

Brandon Sczomak: Smash Mouth “All Star”! On repeat! *Laughs*  

Shawn Knight: *Laughs* Yes, that’s the one he is going to listen to. Just the single pressed. On repeat, man! Until the fucking giant comet in the sky crashes down and the deep impact occurs.

CTC: Any final shout outs before ending this interview?

Shawn Knight: No, man. That’s it. Thank you!





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