An Interview with Steven Rathbone of LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR

Interview by Mike SOS - November 2004

Lair of the Minotaur is a relentless metal band whose old school influences run the gauntlet from Celtic Frost to Slayer. Playing with the passion and conviction like it was 1983 all over again, the molten trioís blistering debut on Southern Lord, "Carnage," has been unleashed for all metal mongers to pine over. When speaking to guitarist and singer Steven Rathbone via email, we touched upon his metal upbringing, as well as his plans for LOTMís worldwide takeover. How did Lair of the Minotaur form?
Steven Rathbone: In early 2003, my other band, 7000 Dying Rats, decided to not play live any more. This gave me some time to pursue LOTM, which is an idea I had for a long time. Pelican played 7000ís last show and little did I know that my old friend Larry was their drummer. We started talking at the show, and I told him about LOTM soon after that. Donald James had played guitar in 7000 and so I asked him to play bass. The line-up was set and the evil commenced. When did you discover metal music?
Steven: My older brother had all the old KISS albums, so I grew up listening to them. The first album I ever bought was KISS "Alive II." I was probably six years old and I bought it with money my aunt gave me for my birthday. Then a friend of mine turned me on to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Venom, Dio, etc. I used to think that ďIron ManĒ was the most evil song ever. Then I got into Slayer, Celtic Frost, Kreator, etc. Iíve always loved metal. And horror movies. How has growing up in Chicago influenced your music?
Steven: Well, I actually grew up in Detroit. Iíve lived in Chicago for about eight years now. I think the biggest influence Detroit had on me was the attitude. There is definitely an attitude in Detroit that you donít get anywhere else Iíve been. Itís hard to explain. Anyone who has grown up around that area will tell you the same thing. What was the easiest song to record? Toughest?
Steven: Most of the songs were recorded in either one or two takes. My vocals went very quickly. We recorded the first six songs in November 2003. Then the other two were recorded in June 2004. The day before we were scheduled to record the two tracks, we were on our way to Indianapolis to play the Templars of Doom fest. And our transmission took a shit on us about an hour outside of Chicago. We ended up having to miss the show, stay the night in "who knows where" Indiana and pay a lot
for a new trans. There wasnít much to do while we waited for them to fix our ride. So we just sat outside the transmission shop on the grass, talking all day. There was a cool breeze so we didnít notice the sun beating down on us. Anyways, by the end of the day, we all had brutal sunburns. We looked like lobsters. We had to drive back to Chicago and record that night in much pain. So Iíd say that was the toughest. But we survived Ö until the skin cancer sets in. Greek mythology plays a huge part in your lyrics. How did this interest come about?
Steven: Iíve always been interested in it. I used to play Dungeons & Dragons as a kid. "Clash of the Titans" is one of my all time favorite movies. Thereís a lot of evil shit in those stories. I think thereís enough bands writing songs about Satan and serial killers. How did you hook up with Larry, the drummer from Pelican?
Steven: Iíve known Larry for awhile. We used to work at a Whole Foods Market together. We would always talk metal and shit. When I saw him at 7000ís last show, I didnít know he was Pelicanís drummer. I had heard good things about them, but hadnít heard them at that point. I was surprised to see him. I didnít know he played drums either. Anyways, I was really blown away by them and I knew he liked Slayer, so he was the first person I asked to play drums. What bands influenced the sound of the band?
Steven: Celtic Frost, Slayer, Venom, Carcass, Entombed, Sabbath. What's your Top 5 metal albums of all time?
Steven: Slayer Ė Reign in Blood / Hell Awaits (close tie)
Celtic Frost Ė Morbid Tales
Carcass Ė Symphonies of Sickness
S.O.D. Ė Speak English or Die
Morbid Angel Ė Blessed are the Sick When I'm not playing, I'm...?
Steven: I do web graphic design/ photography for a big museum in Chicago. I also do freelance composing for TV commercials. Youíve probably heard my music if you watch TV. Iíve done spots for Ballyís Total Fitness, General Motors, Super-Nintendo, etc. It pays the bills. And I watch a lot of horror movies. What are some of your current favorite newer metal bands?
Steven: Usurper, Cianide, High on FireÖ What was your most memorable show and why? (either playing or attending)
Steven: Probably would have to be the last night of Zoots in Detroit. It was a popular little place for shows in the mid-Ď90s. 7000 Dying Rats and Anal Cunt played their last show. Iíve never seen so much destruction in my life. There was a point while we weíre playing that I looked out and I couldnít believe what I was seeing. It was just pure mayhem. I donít think there was a piece of furniture left unbroken. The night ended with the owner on top of the bar with a gun, screaming at everyone to get out or heíll shoot them. What's on tap for Lair of the Minotaur? Tour, another CD, video, etc.?
Steven: Weíre planning to tour as much as we can. Iíve already got about seven of the songs for the next record written. Itís fucking brutal shit. We definitely donít let up on the onslaught of "Carnage." As far as a video goes Ö Iím not sure. I would never want to do a video where we lip sync. It would either be a live vid or maybe something animated. How do you feel about the current state of metal music?
Steven: In a weird way, the songs on "Carnage" are a reaction to the current state of metal music. I wasnít really hearing the kind of metal I wanted to hear. So I wanted to make something pure. Not metalcore. Not hardcore. Not stoner rock. Not death-metal. Not doom. Not grind. And sure as hell not nu-metal. FUCKING METAL! Something for the headbangers. What's you advice to aspiring musicians?
Steven: Learn carpentry or something: thereís too many bands already (just kidding).

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Revised: 31 Jul 2018 23:38:09 -0400