Cough | Interview with David Cisco


Consisting of bassist/vocalist Parker Chandler, guitarist/vocalist David Cisco, guitarist Brandon Marcey and drummer Joseph Arcaro, Cough is a doom-collective from Virginia whose music deeply embodies the terms anguish and suffering. Their second album and first for Relapse Records “Ritual Abuse” once again jolts the spirit with their lugubrious songs blending slow-grieving riffs with tormented vocals.
In the e-mail interview below, David Cisco discusses the troubled times Cough have crossed before the recordings of “Ritual Abuse” and more.

How was the writing process for the new record like? Was there any extra pressure given it was the first record issued by Relapse and consequently would attain a bigger exposure?

“We didn't begin writing ‘Ritual Abuse’ with Relapse in mind. We intended to outdo our previous work since we lost our singer. The writing process was gruelling however. It seems we wrote songs between hospital visits.”

What were your first reactions when Relapse approached the band with a record deal?

“Well, we all felt a great relief. We put the entire recording fund up front ourselves and luckily Relapse bailed us out.”

How has it been working with Relapse? Have you noticed a surge in interest in the band since then?

“It's been great so far. Their promotion is incredible and we've seen the impact of that on the road. We just got off a 5 week full US tour and it was very difficult keeping merchandise to sell.”

I know that “Ritual Abuse” follows the band’s debut record “Sigillum Luciferi” released thru Forcefield Records in 2008, yet the information regarding the band’s genesis and prior endeavours is scarce, do you care to tell us how did Cough started?

“When Cough formed we were all much younger and happier. We were listening to bands like Cavity, Goatsnake and the Melvins and we wanted to be the heaviest band in Richmond. I think you can really hear those influences on the ‘Kingdom’ EP. We never thought it would become the monster it is today.”

The new album was released in October and since then Cough already embarked on some tours. Now that you have a little distance from the new songs, do you have any new feelings about them, how’s it working out live?

“We normally include ‘Northern Plague’ in the set but that's it for now. We've talked about playing ‘Killing Fields’ again but it gets tricky when you lose a member. I think we've progressed musically since then and it's easier just to move forward.”

The most immediate song on the record and possible your entire discography may very well be “Crooked Spine” where a dark and sorrowful atmosphere contrasts with soothing vocal melodies. Sounds like your very own Black Sabbath’s “Solitude”, that was a different and new approach for you guys right?

“That song was written on acoustic and was never meant to be a Cough song. Joey heard me playing it in my room one day and persuaded me to bring it to practice. So we tweaked it, gave it a little Sabbath treatment and there you go. I like how drugged out it turned out to be."

Why did you call it “Ritual Abuse”? When you were writing the lyrics for the album, was there an underlying theme that you were calling back for every song?

“The title is a reflection of the writing process which I've already hinted at. We lived in a filthy, unheated warehouse during the winter of 08. Some of us were unemployed and the climate drove us nearly insane, some closer than others. Most of the lyrics on ‘Ritual Abuse’ are about the experience there.”

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Photo by Diana Lee Zadlo |


  1. I like these guys. They’re an absurdly heavy and depressive doom band.

  2. One of the best bands to come out in awhile, right up there with BLACK COBRA ,STRONGHOLD CRVSADER and HOWL,can't wait to see them with BUZZOVEN