During the late ’90s and early ’00s, industrial metal outfit Skull Fuckers Incorporated was a huge success all through the Midwest. Then they disappeared for 15 years. Not long ago, they resurfaced, releasing a new album, First Penetration.

Renowned for their theatrical, albeit macabre, live show and a crazy party lifestyle off stage, Skull Fuckers are back with a vengeance – not only an album but with a live-action television series in the works, along with new music coming down the pipeline.

V13 spoke with vocalist/guitarist Jay Reiter about Skull Fuckers Incorporated’s return, his gear, and the band’s recording techniques.

After a 15-year break, Skull Fuckers Incorporated is back. What motivated the return?

“We’ve always wanted to hear our music professionally tracked. Back in the day, we were always dealing with basement-level recordings and shitty demos. I know I personally thought our song ‘Nightmare’ had the potential to be a hit. But there’s no way a band is going to get any serious traction without a professional radio-ready mix. And we were always lacking in that department. The timing was right, and the situation arose where getting a studio-produced record was very realistic.

“I got in contact with Crotch (our original singer) and Jacob (our most recent drummer) and asked them if they wanted to record our entire catalog in a pro studio setup. It was a big undertaking and a huge commitment, so neither of our bassists from back in the day were able to commit, but Crotch and Jacob were all about it. Unfortunately, Crotch had to bow out of this whole ordeal due to personal reasons, but he blessed the current incarnation with his approval.”

Who is in Skull Fuckers Incorporated, and which instrument do they play?

“That’s a tricky question. In the studio, it was me (guitar and bass), Crotch (vocals), and Jacob (drums). Then Crotch left, and I took over vocals. Then for music videos, I hire musicians I’ve jammed with in other bands and projects in the past. The latest S.F. Incorporated video – ‘Nightmare’ – has a member of Skrog in it, for example. I’m currently piecing together a live band for touring.”

Skull Fuckers Incorporated ‘First Penetration’ album artwork
Skull Fuckers Incorporated ‘First Penetration’ album artwork

How did you get started in music?

“Music runs in the family. My grandfather played guitar and bought all of us grandkids a guitar when we were born. I was the one who stuck with it. I got serious about playing at the age of 14, though. A buddy of mine taught me the power chord, and away I went from there!”

What inspired your new album, First Penetration?

“This album is the very first grouping of songs we ever wrote. When this recording project was being discussed, the idea was to track every song we ever did. Including the cover songs we did. We wanted to be known as an all-original band, but at first, we only had a few songs written. And everyone was hot to get on the road and play as fast as possible, so we chose a few cover songs to insert into our set list to beef it up.

“Plus, cover bands were really big in our area anyway, so it just made sense for us to do that. We collectively agreed that there were three phases of the band. Each phase would constitute its own album. So, ‘First Penetration’ is the first phase of Skull Fuckers Incorporated. We’re currently in the fourth phase. There will definitely be at least two more records released in the future going over the second and third phases of the band.”

Let’s talk gear for a moment. Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?

“I’m a minimalist for my rig. I’m not a fan of using a lot of effects and pedals. I own three Halo guitars, two Mosers, a BC Rich Warlock, a Fernandez, a Kerry King V, and a Gary Holt ESP. Both those last two are autographed by the members of Slayer themselves, so they’re retired to just wall ornaments now. All of my guitars have been hot-rodded and modded to some extent. They all have Seymour Duncan Blackouts, and most have had a Kahler bridge installed. I do have a Morley wah pedal that I occasionally use, and that’s really about it for pedals.

“Live, I’ll add a tuner, a volume, and a wireless adapter to the pedal board.  I currently use Monster cables, but I’ve been giving Mogami some thought. My amplifier is a one-of-a-kind handmade 50-watt amp. It’s amazing. The guy who built it mixed the Skrog album I did several years ago. He and I will be releasing a limited run of these amps in the very near future. I make my own cabs. I currently use a two twelve cab with one Vintage 30 in it, and the other a Creamback. Live I’ll probably have those two different speakers into their own respective cabs. I’ll play through one – probably the Creamback – and the other guitarist will play through the other.”

Skull Fuckers Incorporated
Skull Fuckers Incorporated

Are there any special recording techniques you use in the studio?

“Yes. The name of the game is creating our own sound. I know every single metal record is trying to sound like a Meshuggah record. Clanky, mid-rangy bass, extremely compressed drums with the kick at eleven, and buttery smooth guitars with just the right amount of chug. Fuck all that shit. I want deep lows, crunchy guitars, and a Townsendesque wall of sound. It’s classic industrial metal with a modern feel. Getting our heads right is a big part of it too. You gotta feel the music. Not just perform it.”

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?

“What I’m feeling the day of writing has a lot to do with my writing technique. If something really bothered me in the news, then that goes in. If someone specifically pissed me off, then that goes in. If I’m feeling goofy or funny, then that goes in. Skull Fuckers Incorporated is a very mood-based band.”

What can you share about your writing process?

“Usually, a song starts with me and the drummer. Either I’ll have a riff, or he’ll start a beat, and that leads to a part. Then we feel out the next part and see if the two parts play well together. Then we write a third, and at that point, we kinda know what the chorus will be, what the verse will be. Then it’s a matter of filler. Do we want an epic breakdown? Or does the song need to speed up and get faster? The lyrics usually come last.”

Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?

“I wish I could say, Slayer. They were killing it. Then they up and retired. Bummer. Honestly, a lot of bands from my era are huge right now. Ministry is out touring big bills, Pantera‘s a thing again, Rob Zombie, Metallica… That’s reassuring. The music that motivated me to do what I’m doing is still relevant and crushing it today. As far as smaller bands, Born Of Osiris, Sleep Signals, Bloodgeon, and Casket Robbery, to name a few.”

What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs?

“I am working on putting a live show together. We’re going to do a CD release of First Penetration for those who still want to physically own their music. I’m putting together a five-episode TV show that tells the story of when the band first started. I’d like to start shooting that before the end of the year. Our next record will be released in January. It’ll be a remix album of First Penetration. I may do a live album to go with it and do a two-album release just so I can call it Double Penetration. That’s an opportunity I can’t pass up.”