High Times: A Conversation With Cannabis Corpse Vocalist Landphil

Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for the very first Artist Spotlight column of July. We received such a positive reaction to our piece with Tombs’ Mike Hill last month that we decided to make this series a regular part of our content programming. This edition still dwells in the world of metal, albeit a completely separate subgenre, but in the weeks and months to come we will highlight voices from around the music industry. If you have any questions regarding the content of this blog, or if you would like to learn more information about the services offered by Haulix, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Every now and then a band comes along that defies all logic. They may have a silly name or wear ridiculous outfits, but when you cut out all the marketing trickery they still produce great music that more people need to know exists. The problem, which many of these artists encounter again and again throughout their career, is reaching a point of popularity where people can see past the jokes and appreciate what’s really taking place inside each song.

Enter Cannabis Corpse. After forming in 2006 as a pun-laden tribute to the metal gods known as Cannibal Corpse, the group quickly began developing a following that allowed them to have an identity all their own in the world of death metal. Eight years and a handful of releases later, the band is still going strong and still releasing pun-filled material that is far more satisfying than their jokey titled may lead you to believe. Their new album, From Wisdom To Baked, offer some of their best material to date and one of the best album covers you will see all year. You can view that artwork below:

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Pretty great, right? These guys know how to nail a parody, but they also create killer music that would sound just as great regardless of the art or track names, which is why I knew after hearing From Wisdom To Baked that the time had come to feature them on our blog.

The interview below took place earlier this week between myself and vocalist/bassist Landphil. You may know LandPhil from his work in Municipal Waste and Iron Regan, but for the purposes of these feature we stuck mainly to Cannabis Corpse and the band’s journey from a group of friends playing in an apartment to a critically acclaimed death metal band that understands how to inject humor into their work.

For more information on Cannabis Corpse, be sure to visit their official Facebook page. You should also pick up From Wisdom To Baked, which is available right now. Regardless of your stance on marijuana, I think it’s safe to say everyone could use a little more metal in their lives.

H: Hello! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Before we begin, please take a moment to introduce yourself:

CC: Hello my name is Landphil I play in the bands Cannabis Corpse, Municipal Waste and Iron Reagan.

H: I’m excited we finally have the opportunity to make this interview happen. I’ve been listening to the new record for a couple of weeks and really like the direction you’ve taken now that you, LandPhil, have taken over vocals. I know Andy was not involved in the early days of the band’s creativity, but I am curious how you feel your creative process has changed, if at all, in the time since he left the band?

CC: It has been a long time since we had the old singer in Cannabis Corpse. At least two years gave gone by since the change was made. Now that I sing in Cannabis Corpse it allows me to produce the music at a much faster rate. I do not have to wait for anyone to keep the ball rolling, I am a workaholic and this fact plus having the luxury of a home studio has increased my creative output 100%

H: How did you feel about taking over vocal duties? Did you initially consider bringing in another member, or was the plan always for you to step in?

CC: The original line up of Cannabis Corpse before blunted at birth had me as lead vocalist, we have gone back to the original vision. In hindsight there is a part of me that wishes I would have taken care of the vocals since day 1. I love nit picking the vocal performance and making sure everything is exactly the way I want it. This was something that was hard to do when I wasn’t the one doing all the instruments.

H: I’d like to step back a bit and talk about the band a bit more broadly. We like to use a bit of each interview to discuss the business side of things and I think your group has a one of a kind story. You’ve been at this since 2006, and every time you put out a new release it seems you stir up a bit of a viral sensation around the latest weed pun you’ve put to good use. Did you ever think this project would see the kind of attention and buzz it has built over the better part of the last decade?

CC: Yes of course! I knew since the moment my brother and I came up with the name that it would stand out and people would appreciate the humor. We had a good feeling that the name would get people talking,
The titles to the songs and albums are what connects us to the death metal community. People can feel like they are a part of band because we encourage their participation in creating these song titles. The humor in our band is very important to the overall vibe. The viral aspect of Cannabis Corpse should tell people that there is a very strong marijuana culture out there.

H: Your band was created as a heartfelt tribute to Cannibal Corpse, but over the years you have developed an identity and following entirely your own. What has been the most difficult aspect about getting your music out there and having it taken seriously? Do you even worry about that kind of thing?

CC: I am not worried about being taken seriously anymore. I think people should just relax and appreciate Cannabis Corpse for what it is. I know that anyone that likes death metal can appreciate the time and effort it takes to write and record an entire death metal album, including the artwork which is just as important to us. At this point all of my musical projects are signed to highly respected labels, I think my music is getting taken seriously as a whole by this point.

H: Have you spoken to anyone from Cannibal Corpse about your project? If so, how did they react?

CC: I asked Paul from Cannibal if we could go forward with this project before we recorded the first song. He was like “sure whatever” I don’t think we realized how far we were going to take this thing. All the Cannibal dudes are super down to earth and approachable. I appreciate everything they have done to get me excited about music. And I also appreciate the positive things they have said about the band too. It is not uncommon to see one of them wear a Cannabis Corpse t shirt. That is like a dream come true for me.

H: Puns run rampant throughout your song and album titles. I know you just put out a new album, but are there any titles you’re kicking around that have yet to find a song or album to call their own?

CC: A ton of song titles didn’t get used on this record, we generally come up with a big list and pick the ones that make us laugh the most.

H: Are you active in any efforts to legalize marijuana, or have you ever put thought into doing so? Music can be a powerful force for change.

CC: We have touched very lightly on this subject in our music, maybe a death metal band is not the right choice for a marijuana advocate, I am however a poster child for weed being a creative stimulant and also weed killing a lot of brain cells.

H: Do you think we will see weed legalized anytime in the near future? The tide certainly seems to be changing, but I’m not sure how fast.

CC: We have made significant steps towards legalization and it is a good thing for sure. The money generated by legal weed would be staggering, the government has to see the benefits of the extra income.

H: If you were to try and start Cannabis Corpse today, what would you do differently, if anything at all?

CC: I would not have had a lead singer on the first couple albums. I would have kept the band in the “family” I have learned a lot over the years on how to survive on the road and keep relationships healthy with band mates. In the early days I was very driven to do something special and I would push to get the best out of everyone around me. Some people are not wired that way and only react negatively to being pushed creatively, this causes tension. In hindsight I would have searched harder for people to collaborate with who shared my drive to work as much as is needed to achieve our mutual musical goals.

H: When people come to you and ask what advice you can offer on making a career out of music, what do you say to them?

CC: My main piece of advise is to tour like crazy. Everything that has ever happened for us in our musical career is because of getting out there and playing shows all year round, no one is interested in pushing a weekend warrior type of band, the bands that can prove themselves on the road are always going to be in front of the pack.

H: Let’s get back to the band. You’ve all made name for yourselves in projects outside Cannabis Corpse. Is it a struggle to find time to work on the band as a result? I know it has been three years since your last release.

CC: Sometimes it can be. I plan my year out way in advance including time for recording/writing ect. I can only do so much at one time so I have to go where the best offer is. I love being able to live off of the music that I am making and appreciate everything that I have earned, I plan on taking this as far as I possibly can.

H: What are you most proud of on From Wisdom To Baked?

CC: The thing that I am most proud of on From Wisdom To Baked is collaborating with so many musical Greats like Trevor strnad of black dahlia and Ralph Santolla. But the biggest thrill of them all was getting Chris Barnes to sing on a song, he is of course one of the all time greatest death metal singers that has ever existed. Getting the chance to work with him has been a huge thrill. He has been one of the nicest dudes ever to Cannabis Corpse, he also loves smoking weed so singing on a Cannabis Corpse song was a no brainer!

H: I know you’ve got a slew of shows lined up in Europe, but can North American fans expect a Cannabis Corpse tour before 2014 is over?

CC: We are hoping to get out there as much as we can in 2014, we have a small batch of shows booked around Denver black sky festival in Denver Colorado.

H: For those who have never caught you live, what should people expect when they attend a Cannabis Corpse show?

CC: Total sadistic reefer worshipping carnage.

H: We are two years away from your tenth anniversary as a band. Have you given any thought to how you might celebrate?

CC: I feel old! It seems like yesterday I was in my buddies kitchen recording Blunted At Birth on an 8 track. 10 years of Cannabis Corpse seems so crazy to me. I hope I can keep it going for another 10 years. It would be hilarious to be as prolific as Cannibal is.

H: Okay, this is getting pretty long. I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with us and wish you the best of luck in the months to come. Before I let you go, do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

CC: I want to thank everyone for listening to my music. I appreciate the fans coming to the shows and showing us support, without them I would not be able to do this.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.