In the underground horrorcore hip hop scene, few bands have been able to make a mark as quickly as Ohio’s Alla Xul Elu have. The unholy pairing of Alla Xul Elu’s Billy Obey, Joe Black and Lee Carver have raised the bar to almost unmeasurable heights for any band swimming in their wake.
Coming off the success of their Billboard charting debut from Majik Ninja Entertainment, Alla Xul Elu’s The Almighty injected some much needed macabre and horror into today’s music scene. Stalking the stage in horrifically deformed masks, they spit lyrics referencing classic horror, murder and the occult. When I was granted the opportunity to sit down with these up and coming horrorcore legends, I was beyond stoked.
I was pretty sure one of two things was going to happen when the band agreed to meet with me. Either I was going to get an amazing interview or I was going to be murdered. Either situation seemed completely plausible. I am happy to report that I escaped unscathed. Below is our candid, hilarious, and humbling conversation that took place.
Wicked Horror: How did this unholy trinity come together? How did you guys first hook up?
Joe Black: We were separate entities at first, we just kept doing shows together. What is was for me, was I watched a set, and I was like “Damn Bill”. Bill had already knew about them, I didn’t. Because I don’t listen to music at all.
Billy Obey: I saw him doing his dance on stage.
Joe Black: With his hand on his hip?
Billy Obey: Yeah. I said he is fat enough to be in this group. So we hit him up (Joe), and we linked up, and he was already doing his own thing on the solo tip. We’re lifelong friends, damn near lifelong.
Joe Black: It feels like it’s been a whole lifetime.
Lee Carver: Destiny brought us together.
Joe Black: It really did though. Destiny on Xbox One *laughs*
Lee Carver: The wicked s**t. Our collective love of the wicked s**t, the genre, the magic.
Joe Black: But it was literally meant to be.
Lee Carver: Yeah you know when you meet people, there’s like a harmony, with like your interests, where you been, experiences. Like we’re cut from the same cloth. And I think that applies to like, there’s a lot of people, who have never heard of us that could relate to everything we say, if they’re open minded because they’ve been where we’ve been. We just present it in a different way. They might not be ready to ingest that s**t.
Joe Black: But we’re gonna make them ready!
Wicked Horror: So Alla Xul Elu isn’t that Sumerian for God’s of Evil rise?
Joe Black: It’s a loose translation. I kinda pieced it together because we were called Maniacs before. I’ve always had a lifelong obsession and passion for Howard Phillips Lovecraft and everything Lovecraftian and ancient occult stuff. We wanted to keep the AXE in the band name, so I crafted an acronym from well, Sumerian pretty much. But yeah it’s a loose translation. It doesn’t translate exactly to Gods of Evil Rise but we want it to, so now it does. But it stems from Sumerian and our love from H.P. Lovecraft.
Billy Obey : Sumerian motherf**ker, do you speak it!?
Joe Black: We’re Sumerian Americans. But it was also inspired by Ghostbusters as well. We are all three die-hard f**king lifelong Ghostbusters and Evil Dead fans.
Billy Obey: I’ve got the logo tattooed on my leg. So what’s your favorite Ghostbusters ghost that’s not Slimer?
Joe Black: The Librarian for me.
Lee Carver: You know what mine is? No bulls**t. The Scoleri Brothers from Ghostbusters 2.
Joe Black: They we’re actually scary dude! They we’re f**king scary for real!
Lee Carver: That s**t was dope. I love it. The art, style, all that s**t.
Wicked Horror: The Almighty actually hit on Billboard, it was number 65 on Top 100, 47 on Emerging Artists, 15 on Independent and 7 on Heatseekers. When making the album did you guys perceive it getting so popular so quickly?
Billy Obey: That’s dope to hear someone say it like that.
Joe Black: I didn’t even know that. I kinda did. I mean it was so anticipated, I mean like the die-hard kids, the Xuligans if you will, were gonna f**king love it. It’s geared straight to them you know what I mean. It’s like our core audience we were trying to appeal to and it just worked out to where everybody f**king liked it.
Billy Obey: To go back to the first question, destiny. We’re meant to be here. We’ve only just begun.
Lee Carver: I firmly believe that we make music for ourselves, and like I said going back to that, the Xuligans are the people that are cut from the same cloth. Like I guarantee me and you have a s**t ton of the same interests. I just met you but I saw that you were repping an Exorcist shirt, I got a Tarman shirt on. Whether we went to different kinds of schools or whatever, or have different backgrounds, or you might have had a horrible family life and I had a great one. But those nucleus core beliefs and interests of people of our ilk and our music is always gonna resonate with people like that.
Joe Black: It’s always gonna resonate with the wrong side of the lunch table, the outcasts.
Billy Obey: I didn’t necessarily know that it was gonna resonate with everyone like it did, but we’re here for a reason. I know that.
Joe Black: Just the beginning man, we’re keep growing and keep growing. Especially around the waist area.
Billy Obey: We’ve only just begun
Lee Carver: We don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. People are always like “Man you guys work hard and you know the shows”, that’s great and I love it when people praise us but they have no clue what our workload looks like right f**king now. We are about to nuclear annihilate the f**king underground.
Joe Black: About to microwave it.
Billy Obey: 65 Top 100, lets go Top 20 next time.
Joe Black: That would f**king magical for the underground for a group like us, that started literally at the f**king bottom, no shortcuts to hit Top 10 to 20 on Billboard. That’s never been done before that I know of.
Lee Carver: I can firmly sit back and say that we’re at the point in our careers where everything we talked about is starting to come to fruition. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good, because I’ve had to stand by, we’ve all had to stand by and say “this is what we’re gonna do” when we weren’t necessarily facilitating it like we are now.
Joe Black: So what he’s saying is, busting makes us feel good.
Wicked Horror: On the album you have a song called Venomous. The Venomous 5 that is referenced in that song is a collaboration between you guys and Jamie Maddrox and Monoxide from Twiztid. Is that something you guys are interested in pursuing for like a whole album?
Joe Black: Interested yeah, that lucky? I don’t think so.
Billy Obey: Its actually just a dance group on weekends, we go out and we cut loose and have fun.
Joe Black: As of right now it’s just a song. But who knows what the future will bring.
Billy Obey: Who knows what 2019 will bring? You never know.
Lee Carver: I have said this though, many people have asked me about the Venemous 5. And I’ll say this, if you want it, be vocal about it. Everyone has social media. Let it be known.
Billy Obey: Let motherf**kers know.
Lee Carver: Let the record show that I formed a snake with my arm. Huge shout out and love to Maddrox and Monoxide from Twiztid.
Billy Obey: Yeah huge shout out and love and respect to Jaime Maddrox and Monoxide.
Joe Black: Forever! Undying gratitude from us.
Lee Carver: They put a lot of faith and confidence in us and we’re happy where were at.
Wicked Horror: Who influences you guys musically?
Billy Obey: Phew, that’s a lot of people.
Joe Black: For me musically, its not so much musically. A lot of people maybe want to do music and s**t but there are only a few groups that actually influence like the way I want to write. Or the way I want to sound. But theres not many.
Billy Obey: To name a few ICP, Twiztid, Dark Lotus, Slipknot, Korn, Flatlinerz, Wu-Tang. Top of the head.
Joe Black: I agree with everything he said.
Billy Obey: 110%. If you don’t hear that in our music you’re probably deaf.
Lee Carver: Nothing ever influences me like, things influence me to want to create stuff but nothing influences me, like guides me, like the old school underground s**t that I think we all came up on. Like my power rankings is like House of Krazees, Twiztid, everything from that era, just super influential on all of us I think.
Joe Black: We’re working with the people that influenced us, it’s insane.
Lee Carver: Yeah it really is just like surreal. Just a dream come true honestly. As cliché as that s**t sounds, it’s the truth though.
Joe Black: I never at any point in my life thought that we’d be on Billboard charts.
Lee Carver: That’s the true testament of the nucleus of the Xuligans we’ve built. Our army is amassing.
Billy Obey: Very reminiscent of the Juggalo days. I think the Xuligans are the new school juggalos. Maybe not even new school, the xuligans are juggalos for sure. It’s just the new era of them if you will.
Joe Black: I’m tired of the politics type juggalos too. Like there less politics in this pool right now.
Billy Obey: Big influence musically is the creepy crawlers commercial from the 60’s.
Lee Carver: Dude you better believe it. One of my biggest musical influences is The Rock- afire explosion, isn’t that their name?
Joe Black: Don’t forget about the Chuck E. Cheese band.
Lee Carver: That’s what I’m saying.
Billy Obey: Huge shout out to Rockapella. My first concert ever.
Joe Black: Carmen Sandiego?
Billy Obey: Yeah YouTube that later Xuligans.
Wicked Horror: What’s been your biggest obstacle to overcome so far as a group?
Joe Black: Being fat.
Billy Obey: Yeah that pretty much sums it up being fat and Joe Black.
Lee Carver: I think our biggest obstacle will always be trying to get people to open their minds and see that we’re just not a walking gimmick.
Billy Obey: Yeah a lot of people like to take us for face value…
Lee Carver: And I don’t blame them.
Billy Obey: When you listen to the lyrics and s**t you understand there’s more to it.
Lee Carver: We don’t ever fault people for feeling the way they feel about us.
Joe Black: Just give it a chance. If you don’t like it after you’ve actually f**ked with it alright so be it. At least give it a chance.
Billy Obey: Yeah digest it fully. Sit down with it, turn the lights off, spark you a joint up and see what’s up.
Joe Black: We’re best digested with headphones. I think all music is though. But Billy likes to put a lot of extra tidbit tastes of flavor in the background of s**t so.
Billy Obey: You never know what you might hear underneath an A.X.E. track.
Wicked Horror: Obviously the horror influence and love is strong with the band. Just listening to various songs you can hear references to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Evil Dead, Pet Sematary, Halloween.
Joe Black: It’s the basis of everything we do.
Billy Obey: That’s why were here. Horror is life man. We go to conventions. I remember me and this guy, we’d hook up an old school box TV in his backyard and we’d watch VHS horror movies sitting outside.
Joe Black: Watch that old school Necronomicon.
Billy Obey: Yeah we wore the Evil Dead VHS out, like that was a staple growing up.
Joe Black: 4’o clock in the morning, all night all summer. Every night, all summer.
Billy Obey: Evil Dead 2 is my all time favorite. Yeah, we go to horror conventions, like we live and breathe this s**t. I love horror movies, that’s my go to.
Wicked Horror: What drew you guys to horror?
Joe Black: It’s been a family passion of mine. My grandma, everyone from my grandma to my parents they all consume horror. That’s always how its been. My grandma had a massive f**king horror VHS collection. And they would scare me with movies and s**t. It used to be a fear, but now it’s became a love, so here we are.
Billy Obey: What drew me to it was like the special effects side of it. Always loved watching behind the scenes and the extra s**t they put on a movie. But just thinking about how that is done inspired me a lot.
Joe Black: I love all movies, but horror is my main foray but I love all movies. I’m a movie guy through and through.
Lee Carver: I was a latchkey kid, you know. I had a lot of HBO movies that were taped onto VHS tapes, and those were like my genesis and I just fell in love with horror. When I was a kid I heralded the thought that like all the other kids were super mean and into like the f**king Rocketeer and s**t and I’m just like, I just like Jason cutting people’s heads off. I like demons, I like gargoyles, I just like the horror s**t. I just always have. But it’s also like the anti-hero aspect of it too is what draws people too it.
Wicked Horror: So the stage look, is that an obvious nod to Leatherface?
Billy Obey: I mean it is called Forever Face. So yeah absolutely for sure.
Wicked Horror: Best horror film of all time?
Billy Obey: Evil Dead 2.
Joe Black: The Exorcist.
Lee Carver: Evil Dead 2.
Billy Obey: See and that’s why initially we got along. He won my heart with that. And my favorite zombie movie is Return of the Living Dead.
Joe Black: I hate to say this, Dawn of the Dead remake. I think it’s a masterpiece, and then Return of the Living Dead for sure.
Billy Obey: The remake is really good. I like the original Dawn better just because its nostalgic.
Joe Black: The soundtrack for the f**king new one just grabs me every time.
Billy Obey: When I was young and the idea of a mall being full of zombies, I’ve always been a kid who liked to shop for toys and s**t so zombies, toys, mall.
Lee Carver: Return is a comic book come to life through the colors and everything.
Billy Obey: It’s Tarman all day.
Joe Black: He’s such a small part of the movie though.
Joe Carver: But he’s iconic looking. I mean the flannel shirt zombie in Dawn of the Dead is in it for like 5 seconds but he’s on the g*damn cover.
Joe Black: Part 2, not so great. When the bully kid dies, and the death rattle is f**king terrifying. That was disturbing man. Other than that I didn’t really like it.
Billy Obey: And the model of the dog and s**t.
Joe Black: All cut in half, that s**t’s awesome. We also drank alcohol with Clu Gulager from the movie.
Billy Obey: He was a cool guy.
Joe Black: He died right in front of us. HE DID!
Billy Obey: Send more paramedics.
Joe Black: Send more whatever the f**k he was drinking , holy s**t!
Lee Carver: We keep touching on this theme, but I think people that love horror so much usually come from some sort of loneliness.
Joe Black: Like I said we’re the s**tty side of the lunch table. We’re those kids and we make music for those kids, and we’re always gonna be those kids.
Lee Carver: And now we’re coming into a time where people are saying “oh horror is dope” and it’s cool now. It truly is our time to rise.
Joe Black: Now evil and all this s**t is becoming part of the mainstream and truly accepted. We’ve been that s**t since birth. So now we’re gonna grip that s**t by the balls and take it over. Used to just be Halloween we were accepted. Now it’s pretty much all the time
Billy Obey: Halloween is 24/7, 365, 1031 everyday.
Wicked Horror: What’s your favorite song to perform live?
Joe Black: Well we don’t do my favorite song live anymore. Mine would be ‘The Trunk’. I just like the way people always bounce and react to that the best. I love seeing people bounce to our s**t. Especially fat people because every bit of them bounce.
Billy Obey: I’m partial to Dead. I like ‘Dead’ a lot just because of the zombie aspect. ‘Dead’ and close second is ‘The Axe is Family’.
Joe Black: I would just like to go on record and say when we were touring, I didn’t like the song and now I f**king love it. Dead is quickly becoming….Sold my Soul too. Sold my Soul should be on the list because performing that with his verse, I love that s**t.
Billy Obey: Who knows, maybe our favorite we haven’t performed yet, we’ll find out soon enough.
Wicked Horror: What’s your plans for 2019?
Joe Black: Taking over the f**king galaxy.
Lee Carver: There’s a new A.X.E. album on the horizon like really, really soon. It’s gonna make people s**t that we’re coming out with a follow up to The Almighty this quickly. Kind of making me s**t actually.
Billy Obey: It’s pretty much a companion record. If you’re a fan of Necronomichron and you like what we did previously, we like to think its akin to that. Mixed with a little bit darker overtones.
Joe Black: That pretty much sums it up.
Wicked Horror: Lastly and the most important question. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
Joe Black: Yeah it is.
Billy Obey: No.
Joe Black: How is it not?!?
Billy Obey: Just because it takes place over Christmas…
Joe Black: There’s a lot of references!
Billy Obey: I don’t think it is a Christmas movie.
Joe Black: I’m going with yeah. There’s too many Christmas references.
Lee Carver: You wanna hear something really bizarre? I’ve never seen all of Die Hard 1 but Die Hard With a Vengeance is one of my favorite action movies of all time.
Joe Black: That’s a great one dude. I prefer part one but that one’s f**king fire.
Billy Obey: F**k everything though. The real question is, have you guys played the Die Hard video game?
Joe Black: For Gamecube. The first game I ever heard the word f**k in. I loved that s**t!
Lee Carver: I want to start this rumor right now that Joe Black is in fact the kid in the denim venom jacket in The Gate grown up.
Joe Black: I really am. My parents say that s**t to this day, seriously.
Lee Carver: And his parents are dead.
Joe Black: Yeah they live in a hole in the backyard.
It takes a lot for me to sit up and take notice of a new band and Alla Xul Elu has grabbed me by the jugular. Any fan of classic horror, underground hip hop or bucking the mainstream will find something to love. Immediately pick up their debut album The Almighty and introduce some good old fashioned evil to your ear holes. You can follow Alla Xul Elu on Facebook, Twitter and on the web. Check them out when they hit the road soon for the Axe is Family Tour 2019.