By JOSHUA “Prometheus” SCAFIDI
If you’re an avid horror geek, such as myself, then chances are you’ve heard of Ice Nine Kills by now. The band has been described as many things, such as metalcore, post-hardcore, melodic hardcore, etc. – but the band has described themselves as theatricore. If you’ve ever been to an Ice Nine Kills show, you know just how spot-on that is.
For the uninitiated, Ice Nine Kills last two albums, The Silver Scream, and Welcome to Horrorwood, both feature songs all about your favorite horror movies. Tying in to, and providing a story behind the albums, they have a string of music videos, two graphic novels, “Inked in Blood,” and “Inked in Blood 2 – Once Upon a Crime,” as well as a new full-length book that just came out titled, The Silver Scream – A True Crime Novel. Coming soon is the second year of their horror convention in Danvers, MA, from September 8th to September 10th, Called The Silver Scream Convention. Yeah, these guys have been busy. Like all that wasn’t cool enough, they also happen to be touring with the one and only Metallica, and soon to be hitting the road with In this Moment.
Somehow, with all of this going on, horror-fanatic (seriously), and Ice Nine Kills frontman, Spencer Charnas, found some time for us to chat about everything they have going on right now:
Hey man, good to talk to you!
So, it’s the second year of The Silver Scream Con. We were promised the sequel of our dreams. What can we expect?
Just that! It’s awesome, and it’s good to be doing it again this year! Ticket sales, I just checked, and we’ve already sold more tickets than we did by the end of the convention last year. The lineup is fantastic, such a great mix of people who have played some of the most iconic characters in the history of slashers.
So, where did the idea for The Silver Scream Con come from? How it did all come together?
I’ve always been a huge fan of conventions growing up going to Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA. That was obviously a big influence for us. It just seemed like the perfect thing for our band to do. Our fans are so supportive and always looking for in-person events to attend that aren’t just an Ice Nine Kills concert. It seemed to be the perfect timing and the perfect thing to do on the North Shore.
It definitely filled the void left when Rock and Shock shut down. Last year was awesome, I’m excited for this year.
Thanks, man! We teamed up with two very smart guys, George and Mike, who are involved in Astronomicon in the Detroit area, and they’ve just been so helpful in guiding us. So, even though we’re still a new convention on the street, we have some pretty experienced people behind us.
Now you’re from Swampscott, MA, originally?
That’s right! That’s why I love doing the convention on the North Shore. It’s the place to be. Growing up there, and being so close to, and eventually living in Salem, and all the horror culture there. Like Spooky World was a huge thing for me growing up. It just made sense. It’s our home town.
Speaking of Salem, MA – I was just there recently and saw the billboard for the convention.
That’s awesome. It’s so cool. The first time we had a billboard in Salem was last year, and this year I think we have one in Danvers, or Peabody, as well. So, we have two out there. It’s really exciting. I don’t know if it necessarily equates to more people going, but just having that – it’s like credibility. It makes the whole thing feel big.
Okay, so Ice Nine Kills, you guys have a ton going on. The 2 Silver Scream albums have been killing it. You have the novel out now, “The Silver Scream – A True Crime Novel.” The convention is coming up, there are two tie-in graphic novels, and you’re touring. Let’s start at the beginning, though. The music. Tell us a little about Ice Nine Kills. How did it start, and how’s it going?
I started the band, man, over twenty years ago when I was in high school. It started off as a punk, kind of a Ska band. That was one of my first loves in terms of genres, that whole Southern California, Epitaph Records scene. Reel Big Fish, NOFX, Blink, obviously. Those were the very early inspirations for the band, and I’ve always loved horror. So, although the band was more punk, we definitely had some horror references here and there. Like on our first full-length album, there’s a Dr. Loomis quote, and there’s a song with a reference to “American Psycho.”
Then, as I started to get into heavier music, the band kind of morphed into something a bit scarier sounding, so bringing in my other true loves, horror and musical theater, seemed like the perfect natural progression, and here we are. Now we write stuff about horror movies, and it’s just a ton of fun to perform.
Now, Ice Nine Kills live shows aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill performances, either. It’s legit theater.
Well, thank you very much. I think that’s what we strive to do, so I appreciate that.
Do you have a theater background?
No, I mean, I was in some stuff that I had to be in growing up, like in middle school. I always enjoyed the theater. Seeing “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Les Misérables,” as a young kid had a huge impact on me. Those are still two of my favorite musicals of all time, and “Grease.”
So, let’s talk a little about this full-length novel you guys just put out, “The Silver Scream – A True Crime Novel.” How did that happen?
Yeah, it’s really an exciting thing for us. I think one of the main influences when it comes to our self-referential INK (Ice Nine Kills) universe, would be “Scream.” Gail Weathers was a character in “Scream,” who was a journalist and she would write books about the previous movie. She wrote the Woodsboro Murders, and it was turned into “Stab,” right? We had a character in The Silver Scream Pt. 1 universe that was a reporter, Roy Merkin. He’s seen in a few of the videos sort of giving exposition to what’s going on, and in the music video for “It is the End,” he wraps up the whole story in terms of who was framed and who died.
When Rare Bird, a really great publisher, approached us about doing a book, I thought it would be a really cool idea to have the book written from Roy Merkin’s perspective, as if he’s a real journalist. He’s supposed to be like a trashy Geraldo, kind of meets Bill O’Reilly-type news pundit. So, that’s how the book is written. It’s so funny because we’re seeing some chatter like it’s exploitative to women and says all these horrible things. Duh, that’s the character! (Laughing.) So, it doesn’t really bother me because we were hoping it would ruffle some feathers, in terms of people that don’t get what we’re doing. We’re very lucky though, our fans – our true fans, they get what we’re doing, and they get the satire behind it.
Now, you do a little acting in the music videos.
I try, man. I never had any training or anything. It’s just me watching other movies. I’ve always been the kind of guy who remembers all the dialogue in my favorite scenes. I don’t think that I’m by any means a great actor, but it’s a lot of fun, and hopefully, I’ll get better at it!
What’s next for you, and Ice Nine Kills?
Well, we have pretty much the whole next twelve months planned out. We’re on The M72 World Tour with Metallica, and we’ll be doing many shows in between those dates. We’re co-headlining with In This Moment, which will sort of wrap up the year for us. We’re working on new music. We’ve got a deluxe version of our album “Welcome to Horrorwood,” coming out in October. It’s going to have a brand new song on it and a new music video that will wrap up the “Welcome to Horrorwood,” story. Bill Mosely returns for it. Ricky Dean Logan and Scout Taylor Compton both return. It’s a great exciting time, we’re just stoked to be building up the lore behind what we’re doing.
Now you’re also involved in a Spooky World documentary that’s coming out, can you tell us a little about that?
That’s really exciting, too! Spooky World was such an early influence on me in terms of horror, and theatrics. Basically, I heard it was being made and about a year or so ago I reached out to them and told them how excited I was about it. They became familiar with the band and they wanted to get me involved. I did an interview for it, and I’m working a little behind the scenes on the marketing of the film. Super nice guys, producer Anthony Landry, and David Bertolino – who created Spooky World. I had the privilege of seeing a rough cut, and anyone who loved Spooky World and remembers how special it was, or anyone who loves haunted attractions in general, they will find it compelling.
I met Kane Hodder at Spooky World, back when I was a kid. It was such a special place for horror fans.
Anything else you want to mention?
We have sort of our own like, “Dateline,” type thing coming out about Roy Merkin, and “The Silver Scream” novel. It’s called “American Case File,” which is a nod to “Jason Goes to Hell.” We’re wrapping up editing on it now.
What was it like playing with Metallica?
Incredible, man. They’re one of my favorite bands of all time. I saw them in ’96, or ’97 in Boston, and it stuck with me so vividly. It’s such an honor to be asked by one of the greatest bands of all time to come play with them. It’s been one of the best experiences of my life. Just so humbled and appreciative of them. To the band, to their whole camp, really. Even the crew and management have been so nice to us. They come to our rooms and say hello. They’re just normal dudes, who happen to be insanely talented.
Spencer, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.
Thank you, buddy.
The Silver Scream Convention will take place Friday, September 8th – Sunday, September 10th at the Double Tree North Shore, in Danvers, MA 01923 – with a live performance by Ice Nine Kills Saturday night at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium, in Lynn, MA. Tickets for the concert are as of now, sold out. Tickets for the convention are still available online at the time of writing, but probably not for long! We hope to see you there.