The Chad Chad vs the Virgin JJ
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
An interview with Oppress the Tyrant vocalist Chad Umphreys by JJ Frederick
Back on August 16th, 2019, I had a quick chat with Oppress the Tyrant vocalist Chad Umphreys, in the luxurious parking lot of the Lookout Lounge in Omaha, Nebraska. Being a gonzo journalist for the illustrious zine Slime and Grime and hobnobbing with rock stars isn’t all fun and games. Believe it or not, it’s hard work, but so is being the front man of the best (and possibly only) slamming brutal death metal band from the Niagra Falls of South Dakota, i.e. Sioux Falls. To be accurate, Oppress the Tyrant is a Great Plains spanning project, including members from not only Sioux Falls, but also Omaha. They have been a prolific outfit this year and are really ramping it up after the lull that followed their solid debut Vicious Maligner, released on their label Twin Town Tyrant Records, available right now on bandcamp.com.
Amongst the swank backdrop of a sketchy Chinese restaurant, a closed beauty shop, and a carpet of discarded cigarette butts, Chad and I discussed the meaning behind his band’s cryptic name, the state of slam death in the year of our Lord, two thousand nineteen, and what lies ahead for one of the most brutal bands in close proximity to the muddy Missouri River. This little chat followed Oppress the Tyrant’s set at the Vanderharr Family Benefit Show, which featured some of the area’s finest heavy bands and raised some moolah for a good cause. Enjoy!
JJ: ...I'm here with Chad from Oppress the Tyrant, and we're gonna do a quick interview here. What's up Chad?
Chad: What's going on?
JJ: Alright, so I just checked out your set. That was pretty good!
Chad: Thank you!
JJ: So... You guys, would you say [your style] is brutal death, slam style band?
Chad: Yeah. We were a lot more slam when we started, but we've kinda progressed [to be] a little more technical, brutal, just kinda moving away from the slam a little bit. Still keeping the slams and stuff, you know, just going more into a brutal style.
JJ: What would you count as some of your influences, like what's kinda the vibe you're going for?
Chad: Ah, shit, there's a lot of stuff we like. Like Cerebral Bore, Devourment, you know Cannibal Corpse of course. You know? Shit like that. Just anything really heavy and fast. Lots of blast beats, lots of good riifs.
JJ: So is there kinda like a story behind the name of the band, Oppress the Tyrant? What does that represent?
Chad: I'm not sure. Alex came up with the name for that, and I really don't know. It's a cool name.
JJ: It is really cool! It's got kinda like a juxtaposition, ironic in a way - "Oppress the Tyrant," right?
Chad: Yeah, I mean that's kinda what I took the name as. It's just that simple, whatever the tyrant may be, whatever is trying to hold you back, hold you down, or whatever.
JJ: So I've seen you guys at a few shows, most recently at Xenofest at the Forte Music Hall here in Omaha. That was a good show.
Chad: Yeah, that was fun!
JJ: So what do you see going forward for Oppress The Tyrant? What is your aim, what are you trying to do, and what's on the plate for you as far as recording, touring, all that stuff?
Chad: We're currently recording a 5 song EP. We've got guitars and drums done for it. Just have to do bass and vocals. [We're on] Twin Town Tyrant records. We're hoping to tour next spring and just keep grinding, you know? We're working on new stuff, we've got some new members: Conner, our new guitarist, he's been in the band since April . Neil [bassist], this is like his second show with us. We're just trying to work everyone in and work on the newer sound with the new members.
JJ: Neil is your bass player, right?
JJ: Like his style playing live is crazy, because it looks sloppy, but he's on point. He's laying down that line as he's beating the shit out of that bass!
Chad: Yeah I'm diggin' it! We're probably gonna have to keep him around, he's a pretty good bassist.
JJ: I like it! ...So there's been some talk for a while about how slam is a dead genre. What do you got to say about that?
Chad: It kinda was for a little bit, it seemed like it was kinda dying. It's really picking back up again, it's becoming really popular, people really like it. I don't see it going away any time [soon]. Caveman slams will live forever!
JJ: Right! It's easy to get into…
Chad: Yeah, it's never going to go away. That's pretty much the way it is with any genre, it has its ups and downs, goes away, comes back. Black metal was hated for a while and now everybody raves about it. It'll die down a little bit, but it will always come back.
JJ: So, thanks for this little impromptu interview Chad, any little plugs you wanna throw out there, and last comments you have before we finish recording?
Chad: Just thanks to everyone for their interest in our band! We're on Twin Town Tyrant Records, be on the lookout for our EP, we should have that out by the end of the year, if not, the beginning of 2020.