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We've always known Prophecy as a brutal death metal band from Texas. But you came to life as a band far from Fort Worth. Actually, in another state. Did this relocation as a band have anything to do with finding new members in Fort Worth? Would you mind talking about these earlier stages? “James: …When the band started in 1991, I was living in Shreveport, LA and we were not death metal. Actually, I hadn't heard of death metal at that time. I didn't really know any of the bands into death metal. So, when Prophecy started in 1991, we were a thrash-speed metal band. I was one of the vocalists and our bass player, Sam King, was the other vocalist. And we were a four piece.  And the band played in the Shreveport City area of Louisiana for the first three-and-a-half years of the existence of the band. So, from ‘91 to ‘94. And in 1995, I met Joe “Boogie” Dunlap. Everybody knows him as “Boogie.” And he just happened to be living at his sister Alice’s next door to where I was living in Shreveport. We met and decided to move the band to Fort Worth and reform it as death metal. Boogie already knew Phil Holland, because he was in Internment, and they were friends; he had done artwork for Internment. So, he introduced me to Phil, and Phil joined the band in ‘95 and then we put out our very first release It shall Come to Pass in March of 1996 on cassette, a five-song cassette EP. And yes, it was a hard time, but there's nothing easy that's worth doing. Everything that's worth doing is going to take a little bit of struggle. But I'm a firm believer in whatever you believe in, you don't give up on. That's never an option. And that's why I'm still here. Hopefully many more years, to 30 years and counting…” 

 

30 years playing brutal Death metal is a major accomplishment, and a big congrats on that. So, when you look back in time, would you have picked another genre, or would you have done things in a different way? “James: …I wouldn't have done anything differently. The whole reason why I was completely intrigued by death metal to begin with, is because it was a challenge. And I'm always up for a challenge. That’s one of the reasons why I love Mozart, because it is such a challenge.

As a part of the 30th anniversary celebration, you guys prepared a lot of shows at several venues with a lot of bands. Would you mind giving us a quick review of what has happened at these shows? “James: …Every show basically was a celebration of our 30-year anniversary. Our vocalist Drew always made it a point to point out to the crowd that we're celebrating 30 years of Prophecy, and he would always point me out because I'm the original founding member of the band. You know, he'd make that known to everybody that didn't already know that, and of course all the bands that played with us. We're very thankful and grateful that they were supporting us and celebrating our 30 years together. Thank you for everyone that has ever supported us, not just this year, but all the years behind and all the years ahead. Thank you…”

 

Is Prophecy Records a do-it-yourself attempt to have full control over the band’s production, distribution, and gigs? Is the band a full-time responsibility or a hobby after three decades? “James: …Yes, Prophecy Records started to basically maintain control of the band's future releases, recordings, promotions, distribution, and all the above. It wasn't something that I set out to do to begin with. It was basically a turn of events, a happy accident if you will because it wasn't planned, but it was necessary. For sure, at the time in 1996, it just made sense. Of course, we would love to have the support of a major label, and that is to come…”

 

Most of your recordings have been released under Prophecy Records, which is operated by you. Do you think that being signed to or releasing your music under another label—let's say Metal Blade or Relapse— would have helped the band receive more recognition than it has today? James: “…Yes, of course it would have been better for us to have had a major label such as Century Media, Relapse, or Metal Blade to release our music, but it just hasn't happened yet, so that's the reason why I've been doing it. I didn't really have a choice. Not to mention, it just seemed logical given the circumstances. So, that's why I did it. The future I can't really speak a lot about, but just to give you a brisk, brief description of the future. We will be doing many things next year and beyond, and that's about all I can say. I can't say too many details.  Of course, there will be tours and shows, but I can't give other details than that. But yes, to answer your question, it would have been better, but it hasn't happened yet, the key word being yet…”

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Congrats on the new video! Where did you shoot “Thy Reach Within”? It has more than 15 thousand views and good comments on YouTube. What can you tell us about this video—the idea and the making of it? “Trevor: …The narrative scenes of “Thy Reach Within” were filmed in the Highlands of Scotland, where Braveheart was filmed, or at least portions of it. Paul did all that with a drone. He got an actress whose name I can't remember? He brought the whole video together and especially with the stuff that he ended up shooting over here in Texas with us. It really made it look better than anybody that I know could…”

 

We came across a statement from your current vocalist; he said in an interview that he was a follower of Michael Jackson, and so are we. This statement shows a lot of musical flexibility, and this acknowledgement of other artists is highly appreciated, especially in the brutal death metal scene that has such closed standards sometimes.  Allen: “…I've been in the band playing bass since 2011. I know all the lineups were great. The different influences, different playing styles, and you can tell all the CDs have different vibes to them with different members. I know Drew and Trevor bring in a really young energy if you know what I mean. I grew up listening to stuff my dad exposed me to, like CHICAGO and STEELY DAN, THE BEATLES. I know Drew mentioned Michael Jackson. I listen to Michael Jackson a lot, FOREIGNER, FLEETWOOD MAC, stuff like that, PINK FLOYD. Then I started getting into metal, got into Iron MAIDEN, METALLICA, and SLAYER. Right now, I'd say my three favorite bands of all time are probably IRON MAIDEN, CANNIBAL CORPSE, and DYING FETUS. I like PANTERA, you know, all the good stuff, but I do like all kinds of music. As long as it's good stuff. I listen to musicianship, stuff like DREAM THEATER, even FATES WARNING. And I can't mention SLAYER enough, but yeah, it's a good thing man…”

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You've been on the road for 30 years, and I guess that this gives you experience in and knowledge about the Texan metal scene. How do you see the style’s evolution, the death metal evolution nowadays if you look back and you compare it to the past? James: “…The evolution is obviously inevitable and we're happy with it. It's a combination of old school and new school, as they say, and we love what we're doing with it. We love what we're coming up with. And, of course, it's trial and error, but that's with anyone. If you don't already know what you're doing, you're making [an] attempt, and if you don't like it, then you try again. We are definitely happy with the evolution within the band. Thanks to Trevor, our drummer, and Drew, our vocalist, being the younger ones in the band. They have a variety of more of today's influences. That is part of the magical potion, so to speak, or combination. That gives us that not, so to speak, not so expected writing style. Our bass player, Allen Culmo, my old school brother, Bill Engfer, and myself have older influences. Well, Bill is late 40s or early 50s and Allen is early 50s. And with Drew and Trevor being the younger, newer influences, it gives us a good combination. We’re happy with the evolution. For sure, and we hope and really feel like that. It's not just really about hearing it, it's about feeling it, because music is a feeling. I'm not the only one that shares that opinion. It's just the way it is. 

 

Hey guys, you have been living the best moment so far, and that's why I want to ask you this question. Are all the members deeply involved with PROPHECY these days? Would you say that this is the best lineup ever? James: “…Yes, all of the band members of PROPHECY are deeply passionate about everything regarding the band. As far as the members go, they're 100% all about PROPHECY. Our drummer Trevor fills in for many other bands. He just wants to drum, you know, and I totally understand that. It's the passion of the music, passion of your instrument. He fills in with many other bands on tours and shows, even recordings. And also, Bill and Allen have like a side band that they jam in. They play shows locally and out of town. Drew, he's actually got a whole career going in the film industry down in Austin, TX. If you're not familiar with Texas, it's pretty much in the center of the state. Dallas- Fort Worth is north in the state. Anyway, everybody stays busy and 100% into the band, and that's just amazing to me. I feel blessed to have my brothers in the band. And nothing against anyone who has ever been in the band in the past. Not at all. I'm thankful for everyone that has ever been in the band and helped get the band to where it is today. Because this has never been a one-man band and it never will be; just because I've been in the band since the very beginning, doesn't mean that I'm the manager or leader, or whatever. I'm just 100% passionate about PROPHECY and that's why I'm not going to stop. And as I've said and will continue to say, I won't stop until they throw the dirt on me…” 

 

What else do you have in mind for 2022? What can we expect from Prophecy once the pandemic is over and all hell breaks loose? Drew: “… Keep writing. We've definitely got some new music heading your way, new music videos and all that, but I feel like we really just kind of stick to what we like and what we love, which is to perform and play new music. So that's kind of cool and feel like that's what drives us. We're not going to do the same thing for too long. We don't want to get stagnant. In fact, I think all of us are already starting to feel in it pretty hard now in approaching 2022. After Foreseen Scriptures in 2019, we definitely make new music, a lot more shows and more videos…”

 

Thank you, guys, for bringing back a great song like “Our Domain” to this new album. Those 14 minutes of appreciating the support from fans, crew, and followers at the end… It's unique. It shows that true nature of the band. Thank you so much for this interview, and now let's finish this one with anything else that you would like to share with your followers. James: “…I got that idea of a hidden thanking track from my old school brother Chris Pervelis of INTERNAL BLEEDING. They did it on one of their earlier releases and I just thought it was really cool. It was a really cool idea. There's been a ton of bands that re-record their music and release a song or whole entire release again, but when I first noticed it was my brother Terrance from SUFFOCATION because they had done it several times in their earlier releases, so I have to give credit where it's due. Chris gave me the idea of a hidden thank-you track, and Terrance gave me the idea of re-recording a song and re-releasing it on the next release, or a future release at least. So, I just thought those were just really cool ideas. The thanking track that we did on “Our Domain”, it was us being goofy and thanking everyone for their support and help. And it was just fun. We had fun doing it and so we wanted to show our thanks and also be goofy doing it because if you're not having fun, then stop doing what you do. It's that simple…”

Drew: “…Thank you so much for doing this interview. Thank you to everyone who reads it and thank you for everyone who buys our stuff or comes to our shows or supports us in any way, that is awesome. That is what we love to do. We're going to keep doing it, but it feels good being compensated for it. Not played to empty crowds. So, genuinely, the fans make the band, so thank you to all fans. Thank you for doing this interview…”

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