Doom Lit Sky knows they’re breaking up soon. April, to be exact. Yet they still gather religiously three times a week in drummer Cameron Olson’s basement bedroom — among Iron Maiden flags and unsold CDs and T-shirts — to run through their set, practice, experiment with new songs. By 8 o’clock on the dot, their guitars are strapped on, a Four Loco and a couple of Red Dogs freshly cracked. This is just their ritual — what they’d do if they never played any shows. Metal — blackened grindcore, specifically — is what they love. No one plays this kind of music for nine years who doesn’t love it.
Since their quick start as a duo in 2001, Doom Lit Sky has been the steady project of locals Cameron Olson, Justin Ray, Kyle Ewegan and Jeff Huttenmaier. It was what stole Huttenmaier away from his former band, Everything Beautiful, and what Olson kept returning to after both Pathos and Obstruktor broke up. The band’s done what many Spokane bands haven’t: toured numerous times and put out two albums — In Ruin and last year’s Archaic Immolation.
Just a week before their final show (well, they’re pretty sure it’s the final one), we sat down with the band to talk about how extreme metal will never be widely loved, who’ll pick up the slack when Doom Lit Sky is gone and starting a metal softball team.
INLANDER: When you started Doom Lit Sky in 2001, what did Spokane’s metal scene look like?
RAY: [laughs] We’re still playing in front of the same friends we were playing in front of then.
OLSON: There’s just a small group of bands that play extreme metal. We’ve all kind of been known to trade members now and again. As it’s been stated before, the metal scene in Spokane is very incestuous with its members.
Extreme metal is pretty out there for a lot of people — is it harder to be out on a limb in Spokane?
OLSON: We always had a better reaction from out-of-town shows. Seattle, Portland. But we don’t play music for other people. If we wanted to do that, we wouldn’t play metal. We just love metal and like playing — it’s not about playing big shows, it’s about hanging out and writing music that you enjoy yourself. There’s bands that go out there and say they want a bunch of friends on MySpace and want people to wear [their] T-shirts. We like to play f---ing metal, we’re not about marketing. We’re not about image. We don’t care if people think we’re the greatest band in the world.
RAY: I think the coolest thing about being in this band, all in all, was not having to pay to get in to cool shows.
OLSON: Oh, and we opened for Anthrax once.
Any good stories from all those years?
OLSON: Well, there was one time we played Mootsy’s, and Justin was drunk and dropped his pick and I don’t think he even noticed.
RAY: That was one time. OLSON: His amps were behind the drums so I just went “click” — it took him a little while to notice they were off.
RAY: I knew that was going to get brought up.
OLSON: When we fi rst started, [Doom Lit Sky] was just a two-piece: Justin and I. We always had parties here on New Year’s Eve.
RAY: I was working down at the porn store right over here, so I just came, pounded a couple beers and played.
OLSON: He was in a white button-down shirt and slacks.
EWEGAN: Come Halloween, he could pull off a pretty good missionary with that uniform.
Do you think other local bands will pick up the torch for extreme metal?
OLSON: There are bands here that haven’t been around long that will probably be around for awhile. Rutah. Age of Nefi lim and Zingaia.
HUTTENMAIER: I think there will always be a scene here — it just won’t be a big one.
So why the breakup?
OLSON: I joined the Navy. I enlisted for a minimum of six years as an air rescue. Doom Lit Sky is really the only thing I feel like I’m leaving behind. They’ll probably all do something, though.
RAY: [shakes his head] Like drink more. Start a softball team. Maybe take up whittling.
Doom Lit Sky plays with Rutah, Age of Nefilim and A Cryptic Ending at the Knitting Factory on Friday, Jan. 22, at 7 pm. Tickets: $5-$7. Call 325-SEAT.