Sink Shower: Meet the Dude Who Continues to Draw the Same Brutal Death Metal Image Over and Over
LA! Come to his one-man art show tonight.
Los Angeles, CA: The interior of Vacation Vinyl looks like a scene from Dexter. The record bins and display tables are covered with clear plastic sheeting, like Michael C. Hall is about to stab some unwitting villain in the chest for crimes against humanity. In a few hours, a painter will arrive to give the walls a fresh coat so the artist known as Sink Shower (a.k.a. Scott McPherson) can cover them with death metal logos. And not just random death metal logos by preexisting bands: About 60 maddeningly intricate variations of the same death metal logo—his own—in a multitude of sizes. What began as a one-off project at a Lawrence, Kansas, art school has recently taken on staggering OCD proportions, with McPherson posting dozens and dozens of multi-colored, generally unreadable versions of the Sink Shower logo on social media. This Friday at Vacation, he’s taking it to the next level: To accompany his first one-man art show, McPherson will debut Sink Shower’s death metal demo tape—all instruments played by McPherson, who did time in extreme metal bands back in Kansas and used to run a screen-printing company out of a garage in San Diego with the bass player from Cattle Decapitation.
Noisey: What are the origins of Sink Shower?
Scott McPherson: It pretty much all started when I did this project in art school back in Lawrence, Kansas, where I had to cover a jean jacket with a bunch of patches. I was basically just making up band names and hand-painting each patch. I made up the name Sink Shower out of the blue, because if you tour in a metal band, you take sink showers on a fairly regular basis—which I’ve done. [Laughs] But I think everyone who’s into music does this: You sit around with your friends and make up band names. So I did that, but I took it a step further.
Then there’re all these documentaries that have been coming out about bands like Pentagram, where there’s this rediscovery of an old band. I think that’s great, but there’s also a silly side to it because I feel like a lot of music fans get into a pissing contest about what’s the oldest, most underground band, you know? If you were the first person to find this band, then you can show off to all your friends. I find that a little silly, so I’m trying to present Sink Shower that way as well. The band has been around since the ’90s, I think, but I wanna keep it vague. [Laughs] It’s an undiscovered band.
So, wait: Are we not supposed to say it’s you?
That’s a good question. This is all so new to me—this art show is the first thing I’ve done for it—so I’m letting that unfold. I’m kind of acting as the curator of the show, but I’m also releasing these two Sink Shower songs on a cassette, and inside the cassette it does say, very small at the bottom, that I play all the instruments. So on the surface it’s presented as a real band, but if you read the fine print, you’d be able to figure it out.
But the logo came first.
Right. As an illustrator, I’ve done a bunch of different album covers and freelance stuff like that. I started drawing these logos over and over and over again. That came from seeing those logo books that artists like Mark Riddick have put out. I thought the aesthetic of seeing so many of those logos on one page was really cool. So I just kept cranking logos out. The concept with the cassette came later.
But instead of doing different band logos, it’s just the same band name over and over again.
Yeah, all of them say Sink Shower. Some are more readable than others.
Is that a competitive thing among extreme-metal logo illustrators—to make logos as indecipherable as possible?
Yeah, that ties into the whole pissing contest I was mentioning earlier about “I found this band first.” There’s also a pissing contest about “the most brutal logo.” So that’s definitely a concept of Sink Shower—to see how far I can take it. Each one I do, I try to push it further and further, almost as if I’m in some kind of contest.
How many times do you think you’ve drawn the Sink Shower logo?
Probably about a hundred. The show will probably only have about 60 because there’s some I look back on, like, “I fucking hate that one.” But in total, I’ve done about a hundred since New Year’s. The one I did in art school was the beginning of Sink Shower back in 2010, but I didn’t do any more logos until late last year because I was so busy with the screen-printing business.
Tell us about the Sink Shower cassette. There’re two songs, and you play all the instruments?
Yeah, I played everything and recorded and mixed it. It’s two songs but it’s continuous. There’s feedback after the first song and it goes straight into the next song. They’re each about three and a half minutes long. I recorded them in June specifically for the show. We’re gonna have a listening station set up so people can check it out. Since there’s only two songs, it might be kind of annoying if they just had them playing on a loop over the shop’s sound system. After the show, I’ll probably put them up for free on sinkshower.org.
The songs are called “Millennial Euphoric Badassery” and “Came Penis.” You’re gonna have to explain that.
First of all, they’re just funny. And I like funny, over-the-top death metal titles, like the stuff on the first Cannibal Corpse album. I used to be obsessed with this Dimmu Borgir record called Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, which I thought was the most epic name ever. So “Millennial Euphoric Misanthropy” is a funny update of that title. Also, while I was writing this demo I had a prostate infection. I even had to record a lot of the drums while I was still in a lot of pain. So I decided to call the song “Came Penis” because that’s how my dick felt at the time. [Laughs]
You used to play in death metal bands, didn’t you?
I was in a death metal band called Diskreet. I hate bringing this up, but it was spelled with a “k.” [Laughs] They started out as a Hatebreed kind of band by a bunch of rednecks back in Topeka, Kansas—which is where I’m from, too—and I think they started when Korn and Limp Bizkit were big. I joined later, around 2006, and by then the music had turned into something completely different. I was super into the music, but me and the other new guy were always kind of nudging the drummer, like, “Maybe we should change the name!” [Laughs] I was on a five-song EP with them and then quit. I was also in a black metal band called Christ Hate for a little bit.
So what’s next? Is Sink Shower in danger of becoming a real band?
I don’t know if you saw the band photo I did, but it’s just five different photos of me Photoshopped to look like a band. [Laughs] So I’m probably gonna start doing more photos like that. I’m gonna add some fictional members, but I do wanna eventually start performing live, so at that point I’ll need some session members who can dress up as me. [Laughs] The whole point of this is to see how far it can go before it’s out of control.
Sink Shower’s one-man art show opens at Vacation Vinyl in Los Angeles on Friday, August 28 at 6 PM.