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I've been a growing fan of Soulscar since their 2000 demo Abandoned. Their latest release, Victim Impact Statement, was one of 2004's very best. I figured it was the right time to get ahold of founder/vocalist/guitarist Andrew Staehling for a few questions.

Wayfaerer-So how does it feel to finally be signed to a label (though I admit this is kinda old news)?

Andrew-It feels very good! To put it simply, you're taken a lot more seriously when you're on a label. This has meant increased awareness in terms of more interviews, reviews, etc. in the big mags, which is very cool.

Wayfaerer-What made the decision to go with Galy Records?

Andrew-Galy is an excellent independent label, the best metal label in Canada in my opinion. Eric Galy takes the time to do things right and he runs a great operation, so we were stoked to get an offer from them.

Wayfaerer-You gained a "full time" band between Character Assassination and Victim Impact Statement. How did you come across the new additions?

Andrew-A friend of a friend mentioned that he knew a good metal drummer who would be a great fit for us. We auditioned Igor and immediately knew he was the guy for us. Within weeks, Igor brought in Stas to try out for second guitar, and it went really well, so all of a sudden we had a full band for the first time ever.

Wayfaerer-How did this affect the songwriting process?

Andrew-I still take care of writing the music, but it's great to have 3 guys adding their own killer solos, fills, etc. on top of the songs. Lyric-wise, Brent stepped up big time on VIS and made a big impact(!!!), which was great because I'm not so keen on writing lots of lyrics.

Wayfaerer-What is one word you could use to describe Victim Impact Statement?

Andrew-Tasty! Seriously, I'm not sure, something that conveys the songs being boiled down to the essential thrashin' elements.

Wayfaerer-I've seen many positive reviews of VIS so far, how does it feel to get this critical acclaim?

Andrew-It's great to hear that people dig the stuff! The best reviews so far though, have been a couple of critical ones which have further inspired me to make the next album that much better.

Wayfaerer-Do you feel that Soulscar is finally starting to get noticed more in the metal realm?

Andrew-I think we are, though very slowly. We'll see what the coming months of big magazine coverage do this time around to get the name out there, and hopefully more people will check our stuff out.

Wayfaerer-You've added a number of clean vocals this time around, where you afraid of people who would cry "sell-out" or that you were mainstreaming your sound?

Andrew-I knew it would come up from some people, but it didn't affect my arranging of the songs. This time around, there were many melodies which were best suited to a clean singing voice, so that's what we did. Next time around looks like a bit more ultra-guitar-melody land, but there will be a few cleans in some very choice spots!

Wayfaerer-Some of the lyrics seem a bit more "personal" in VIS, am I correct with this assumption?

Andrew-I think they are a bit more personal than last time, but that's not too hard to achieve since the last album was not personal at all. With 3 people writing lyrics on VIS, we definitely got a good range of emotions and stories going on.

Wayfaerer-Do you have a favorite song off of Victim Impact Statement? Which one?

Andrew-Tough to say, probably 'Cast Aside' because it's quite different and has some of my all-time favorite melodies/solos that we've done.

Wayfaerer-I was checking out your live journal for writing "album #3", how is the writing coming along at this point (last entry was X-mas time)? What can we expect next time around?

Andrew-Writing is done for now! We have 15 songs to pick from, so we're going to work at whittling down to the very best stuff and go for album #3 with 9-11 songs. This time around, you can expect longer, less predictable songs, with an extremely big focus on riffs and guitar melodies. The goal is to make album 3 better than VIS in the way VIS was better than Character Assassination.

Wayfaerer-When do you guess we'll be able to hear "album #3"? Some of those tenative songtitles are great by the way (Stripper, Candythrash, subliminal messaging about the possible demo song rerecording).

Andrew-All of the songs have been recorded demo-style by me so that the other guys can learn them and take part in the song elimination vote we'll have to get the songs down to the best ones. I would say first half of 2006 for the release of album #3, but we'll start working on it as soon as May or June of this year.

Wayfaerer-Any chance you'll be getting some shows outside of the Vancouver area in the near future?

Andrew-If so, they won't be far away. With my family/work obligations, I have no money or time to set off on any grand touring adventures.

Wayfaerer-Describe the Soulscar live experience for us....what songs have you been playing off VIS?

Andrew-It's a relentless festival of aggressive metal! We have a tendency to play everything quite a bit faster, so it's pretty intense stuff - no long bullshit sessions between songs, etc. So far, we've played Unmade, Hell Bitch, Without a Shadow, Ultimatum, Regressor, To the Pain and the title track live. Gotta play the new stuff lots!

Wayfaerer-What's the best and worst thing you've listened to so far in 2005? Anything else that you are particularly looking forward to this year?

Andrew-Best so far would be Masterplan, with secondary nods to Defleshed, Soilwork, and Scar Symmetry. Disappointments have been SYL and Rapture. Really looking forward to the new Freak Kitchen.

Wayfaerer-What is the most "headbangable" riff you've ever heard (or written)?

Andrew-Heard : Too hard! off the top of my head, the beginning of "World of Lies" by at the gates

Written : Fuck the cliches, the new songs for album 3 are all about injecting each riff with enough wicked headbangingness to melt your neck. If you were here right now, I'd play you the demo versions.

Wayfaerer-What do all of you do when you aren't thrashing it up as Soulscar?

Andrew-Me : Husband, Father, full-time job, watching good movies, beer+metal.
Brent : Works full time, teaches bass.
Igor : Full-time student, plays in another local band
Stas : Works full time, music music music!

Wayfaerer-Anything else you'd like to mention to the harm.us readers?

Andrew-Keep reading Harm, it's a great site! Thanks to Wayfaerer and Harm for the great support, and go to www.soulscar.comand check out some of our new songs!!!

February 21, 2005
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