Interview: Matt Pike

We're still recovering from the face-melting awesomeness of High On Fire's recent Australia/New Zealand tour, but for anyone suffering withdrawals, here's an in depth, two-part interview with frontman Matt Pike, where he chats to The Void AU's Christina Rowatt about High On Fire, Sleep, and, well... pretty much everything.

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Part 1

Matt Pike of High on Fire and Sleep chats to Christina Rowatt about High On Fire’s intricate, cathartic new record, emulating his favourite guitar players, the story of his incredible tattoos, the musicians he internalised as a baby, the boundless narcissism (and voyeurism) of the internet age, living in the moment, dealing with the death of dear friends and the inimitable Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, real-life dark shit, growing up with Eyehategod, the evolution of Corrosion of Conformity and jamming on new material with Sleep. Features footage of Sleep and High on Fire at the Manning Bar in Sydney. This interview is also featured on the brand new Riffing With Christina podcast.


Part 2

In the second half of the interview, Matt Pike of High on Fire and Sleep chats to Christina Rowatt about recording vocals for Luminiferous sober for the first time, how the band has evolved to be "progressive, and aggressive" players, the magic of Charles Bronson, how Dave Mustaine set up Metallica's sound, meeting ZZ Top, Britney Spears' possession, how new song The Sunless Years describes his evolution into another shape, and more.


Matt Pike on Sleep

Matt: Those tours were really short but I really like getting together with those guys because I love the shit out of them and our crew. It’s just funny the whole time … it’s a blast hooking up that many amps and playing … a lot of people don’t get Sleep but it’s like we can do whatever we want

Christina: And people still love it.

Matt: And people still love it. And the people who don’t love it? Don’t fucking go. Why are you even fucking critiquing it if you don’t understand it … it’s a fucking really weird band, that’s just the way it is … it’s supposed to send chills up your spine or it’s supposed to completely confuse you ... Sleep just keeps doing it’s thing.

Christina: What is it doing? Do you guys spend much time on it?

Matt: We jam a lot.

Christina: Are you going to make a thing? Make a thing!

Matt: There’s some things in the works but I’m not going to elaborate because that gives me a deadline. I don’t want to have a deadline on it. I want to work really hard on it … its needs to blow everyone’s head off. Some of it’s halfway there, but that’s all I’m going to say.


Matt Pike on thrash, glam & Dave Mustaine

Matt: The difference between glam rock, what was going on then, and the thrash metal guys who were coming into that LA scene, that Bay Area scene, and there’s this competing force because it’s still metal but some are long hairs and some are just not wearing lipstick and they’re concentrating on their riffs. That’s where Testament came from, Possessed, Dark Angel, Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax. All that stuff was coming from that integrity of not having anything.

Christina: [Penelope Spheeris] closed the [Decline Of Western Civilization]  movie on Dave Mustaine and fought for him because she’s a punk rock person.

Matt: Dave Mustaine is a fucking innovative guy for that era. I don’t think Metallica would sound like Metallica without Dave Mustaine. I don’t think a lot of people would be doing jugga-juggas if Dave Mustaine hadn’t set that Metallica stuff up. I can tell by his playing … I know the songs he wrote in that band.