Scott McPherson is an illustrator and artist by day. His work has included cover art for Antwon Nature and Author & Punisher. He was also in grindcore and death metal bands back in his native Kansas such as Diskreet and Christ Hate.
With his newest project, Sinkshower, McPherson is combining his talents in both visual and musical arts, while also poking fun at metal’s obsession with all things old and obscure.
Sinkshower isn’t really a band, or at least it wasn’t when McPherson first started sketching the logos. It was just a logo for a phony band. He would doodle a new logo just about every day. To the untrained eye, the logos would look nearly identical. However, each had its own flavor, akin to the nearly indecipherable black metal logos populating the landscape today.
He’ll be showing his band logos at a release party for Sinkshower’s “long lost demo” at Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake on Friday, Aug. 28. While the store has a lot of record release parties, this is their first gallery showing.
The Sinkshower project dates back to McPherson's days in art school, when he created a jacket patch for the fictional band. “I haven’t completely investigated their backstory to its full potential yet,” says McPherson. “At least for this show, the idea is that they’re a black metal band from the '80s who have been around forever. This is their discovered demo.” He wrote and recorded the "lost demo" tracks by himself a few months ago.
“Metal is almost like a contest,” says McPherson. “If you discover a band that no one has ever heard of, you're on top of the game. If they've been around since the '80s, even better.” He wanted to capture some of that retro-underground essence with Sinkshower while also poking fun at the obsession. “I want people to be fooled into thinking this is a band from the '80s. The most underground band ever,” he says. “I want people to be tricked into believing this is real.”
Equally part of the joke is the tendency for metal logos to have a certain kind of uniformity. “You’ll see a flyer for a death metal festival and all the band names just look like blobs,” he says. McPherson wanted all the Sinkshower logos to be subtly different, but very similar even when put next to each other. “They’re like snowflakes,” he says.
McPherson was also inspired by what he calls the “documentary culture” of metal. “Every band that's been around for 25 years has some documentary to over-glorify them,” he says. He likes watching metal documentaries, but he’s interested in this tendency to mythologize the obscure past of metal.
While he’s played in bands before, this is his first time going it completely alone. “I don’t like dealing with other band members. I just reached a point where I decided to do it all myself.” This places him squarely, if strangely, in the “one-man black metal band” craze that includes Alhambra’s Xasthur, though that’s now an acoustic project.
Sinkshower's music certainly nails the lo-fi qualities of ur-black metal, most of which sounds like it was recorded in a tin can. The aggression comes through, but there’s a certain lack of seriousness (one of the tracks is called “Came Penis,” another is “Millennial Euphoric Badassery”) that tips his hand.
So is this just a one-shot deal or the start of something great? “It's not really set in stone,” McPherson says. “The next thing I do with them might be more death metal or might be more thrash metal. It just formed more naturally, and what I thought would be fun to write.”
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He might also want to come up with a new name. After Friday, every metalhead in town will be in on the joke.
The Sinkshower cassette release and art show takes place at Vacation Vinyl on Friday, Aug. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m.