Billy Keeton - Skrape

January 26, 2004

Tell me about Skrape.

We started in '97. We're based out of Orlando, Florida. We're all from different places though. Two records in. Our first record was New Killer America. The new record which hit the shelves almost a little bit more than a week ago is called Up The Dose. We just put one single out and the new one is going to be called "Up The Dose". That's where we're at.

You guys did a tour with Pantera, Slayer, and Morbid Angel back in 2001. Seems to have been a rough one.

Yeah, definitely. We did what we did. That's been a long time ago but it was a good tour for us. Made a lot of friends and basically cut our teeth and set ourselves up for the next one.

What was it like being out on the road with Phil Anselmo?

Awesome. Good guy. Had a lot of fun with Phil.

Some of your songs have been used in video games.

Absolutely. "Waste" was on one of Tony Hawk's skater games. I don't know which one it was but it got put out actually on that game. I think the year that single and that record was out. That wasn't just recent. That's been there for a while.

I guess in 2001 as well.

Yeah, absolutely.

You also did a gig in Korea. How did that go?

It was awesome. We played in front of 30,000 or 40,000 Koreans. We've been to Japan too. We have a lot of fans over in Asia. We do really well over there.

I noticed Korea is becoming a major part of the music scene.

Yeah, they like it.

You guys changed guitarists and you have a new guy named Randy Melser.

Yeah, Randy Melser. He's from Indiana originally but he lives here in Orlando as well. We've known Randy since the beginning. Since we put Skrape together way back in '97. We were friends with Randy and we knew how talented he was even way back then. As we started to have problems with our original guitar player Mike, we knew that the only obvious choice was Randy simply because he was part of our musical family and knew all of our music and was already well prepared to just step right in. It was an obvious choice and it made a huge difference on the way that the new record sounds.

You used producer Jimbo Barton and you recorded your record in Miami, Los Angeles, and Orlando. Why so many different places?

Well, we tested our drums in Miami in a really well known place where we could get the drums and capture them correctly. Obviously that's one of the hardest parts as far as the sonics of a record go. You want to start that and if that's really great, then the rest of it is real easy. We started in Miami because unfortunately things didn't quite work out for us in Orlando so we went to Miami. Then everything else is here in Orlando basically at our own studio and we stuck everything else in with Pro-Tools there and we mixed in Los Angeles at Track Records.

Tell us a bit about the new record, Up The Dose.

Up The Dose is a collection of our best work really in a nutshell. Those songs came from the well of our souls. We were going through some dark times during that time period and the record is pretty indicative of all of that and at the same time it shows a nice growth spurt for the band too as artists. We didn't want to make the same record twice so in essence that is what Up The Dose is.

You tried some new stuff on this record.

Slightly. The songs came from the same source, however we were determined to make things different and to make it sound more unique.

Between 2002 and 2003 you'd written more than 40 songs and you finally chose 11 of those. Are you going to use the other songs on the next record?

Absolutely. Those songs will be there in the Skrape catalog. We're such really good writers and it's really easy for us to come up with material so who knows what will happen with a lot of those tunes. They're there. We can definitely go back in and dissect a lot of that material and come up with a handful of new, great songs or something. Absolutely.

You did a video for a song called "What You Say" which was also on New Killer America and used some Japanese animation. Are you going to do that with some of the songs on the new record?

I don't know. We'll see. Surprise, surprise, surprise. I can't lead on too much.

When you did that one video with Japanese animation, where did you get the idea to do that and how difficult was it?

It was really simple. The guy that directed and shot the video for us is a really, really great friend of ours so we all had a chance to make a video. We paid for it ourselves to make it exactly like we wanted to make it and utilize all of our resources and Japanese animation was just one thing that this particular individual was good at.

Are there any tracks on Up The Dose that you really dig performing?

Yeah, absolutely. The track called "Ocean" is one of my favorite songs to perform live.

Some of your musical influences range from Frank Sinatra to Ozzy Osbourne. You like a really wide array of music.

Yeah, absolutely. Those are just a couple of the guys I really dig. My collection is pretty broad. That's why when people ask me who my influences are, it's really hard for me to say. I love music. I love performers. I love performing so I relate to so many of them.

On this new album, you stayed away from keyboards. It was basically guitar oriented. Do you feel that there isn't enough guitar in current bands? I think that's what I miss most. Not enough emphasis on guitar.

It's really hard to say. There's so much music out there. There are so many bands out there. It's hard to say who's lacking what or who needs what nowadays because everybody's doing it. If one band's not doing it than some other band is. More guitars? Maybe. I like guitar heavy records.

You guys were out on tour with Sevendust and Life Of Agony?

We're not doing the Life Of Agony tour. That tour for us is not happening. We backed out at the last minute and mainly did it because of some other plans that came across our desk and we're going to be doing some new things. Getting ready to shoot a video for the song called "Up The Dose" which is currently getting prepared to be launched at radio. Got a tour supposedly in the works for towards the beginning of March. An undisclosed top secret tour that we will let everybody hear about here real soon.

I was rather disappointed that you guys weren't coming through town like you were supposed to.

We've been to Dallas four or five times in the last six months. Nah, I'm kidding. We came through Dallas maybe three times in the last couple of years so we'll be through Dallas again. We'll have to see on this new tour. We love coming to Texas. Texas rocks. We've got friends in Texas. Vinnie and Dime. We love those guys. Any time we drive through that area, we're always stopping by and visiting the Paul brothers.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I think you covered everything. I do this every day so I got to keep it real like it is. We're happy where we're at and we hope that individuals like yourself and many, many more really tap into this new record that we wrote and really see it for what it is. That it is a different piece of music that's out there and we'll see what happens next.