Phobia interview

Phobia band logo

Originally published in ‘zine issue #35, 2006

One of the stalwarts of the grindcore scene, California’s Phobia has completed and released only the latest of their several full length albums, Cruel. Here original member Shane McLaughlan speaks of his group, starting with covering a change within the ranks, that of long standing bassist Bruce Reeves exiting Phobia and his replacement.

“Yeah, we have someone playing bass right now and he will be doing shows with us,” says Shane, adding that the band also has a new drummer. “But things are going great as of now and even working on a split at this moment with Pig Destroyer.”

As Shane admits, this isn’t the first time Phobia has had to deal with a personnel issue.

“Oh yeah. Every band has their problems and with us it’s always been a drummer. I don’t think the bass position is that difficult because I have played bass on the last three recordings we have done, which were Get Up And Kill, the split with Skrupel that’s coming out, and will probably be out by time this hits, and three cover tracks for the Unreality compilation on Deep Six, and I played for more than half of the new record. Steve [Burda, guitar] played the other half. So the bass player we have now actually writes and is way more productive as a member. And he is only helping us out at this point, so it’s no real big loss. As a friend and long time Phobia member it is, though!

Phobia performing live

Moving back to the drum position, Shane explains that new guy Danny Walker will be in the band for the long haul. “As long as there is time he is 100 percent down, but he has another band that he has and that is taking off really well, so things may slow down. But that’s okay. We have done a lot and proud of it and will make time to make some noise!”

Cruel is an improvement compared to Phobia’s past releases, according to Shane.

“I think in production wise definitely 100 percent. We went to a bad-ass studio; we have a kick ass producer named Scott Hull.”

As the vocalist, Shane is trying his hand at somewhat of a different tack with the lyrical content on the new album.

“But I’m also touching issues such as vivisection and songs like that which I have voiced on in years. I think my lyrics are more simple and I like that more––straight to the point. So I don’t look at it as an improvement or anything; just look it as the way it is, and it works.”

We’ll be able to see how things work on Cruel since the Willowtip label has released the album. Shane comments, “Things are going good at this point. We have ran into some problems getting this record done, over budget and shit like that, but it’s all worked out. If we are going to work together, these trials will show if there is going to be compromises and communication, you know? We have a decent relationship as of now and I’m cool with that.”

Considering all of Phobia’s releases it’s safe to assume that Cruel will be recognized as a grindcore album.

“I guess it’s a grind record; maybe it’s a punk record. We’re punks, so we play punk rock. I really don’t give a shit what it’s suppose to be. It’s a new Phobia record. It will smash you!”

Phobia performing live

Whatever the style, Phobia is holding on to it and striving to improve within it, as Shane explains:

“You can play many different types of blast beats; with a good drummer you can do many things while playing fast, and you will hear this on the new record. I believe, don’t fix what isn’t broken, so there will be fast beats for sure. You can count on that!”

And finally, by way of demonstrating part of Phobia’s global view, although you’ll find Phobia’s website information at the end of this piece, “we need a PO Box. Still have lots of fans around the world in third world countries, or other places stricken with poverty that don’t have use of a computer––or do they not count?”

Contact Phobia at and watch for the new album at ■

Photos taken from


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.