"All religions are a force of evil in the world."
"We're probably way more likely to have some fundamentalist Christian from Kansas come and bring a semi-automatic to a show than have some terrorist from the Middle East come and get us." We're halfway through the conversation with Thy Art Is Murder guitarist Andy Marsh and the topic has delved deep into the touchy region of religion. Thy Art Is Murder is a band of ever opinionated members, and Marsh comes across as hyper intelligent to the point of being intimidating to talk to. "We aren't anti-Muslim, but we are anti-theist so I guess you could say we are anti all religion. All religions are a force of evil in the world," says Marsh.
The band do not mean to oppress those who follow religion, but to expose the flaws and fallacies of their doctrines. "Absolutely," continues Marsh. "Freedom of choice is paramount, but your choice can still be fucking stupid!"
Thy Art... have recently released their well received and topical album Holy War, and despite the release coinciding with the announcement that the band have been banned from some Anaheim and Florida venues, the record has actually received more positive responses than negative. "They have some sort of criteria for bands who won't be able to play at venues on property owned by Disney. We're one of them, so we can't play in Anaheim or in Florida. It's kind of annoying because they are both pretty big places to play."
This might be concerning in terms of lost revenue, but it doesn't change the effects the album has had on fans, as Marsh explains: "We did get a lot of kids from an Islamic background that were supportive of the record. They basically said, 'You are chastising the radicals and the fundamentalists in IS and ISIS. Islam doesn't stand for this and I don't stand for that as a Muslim, thank you for criticising these points.' So many people are afraid to do this because they get labelled a bigot or some kind of xenophobic person."
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If you're not familiar with Thy Art's lyrical content, here is an in-depth explanation of their single Holy War, courtesy of Marsh. "The single is inspired by a book called The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie," he begins. "A lot of Muslims took offence to it. A government sect from Iran, which is a very Muslim country... have an army called The Army Of The Guardians. This is a line in the song, 'The Iranian army of guardians'... It's an army that's duty before anything else... is to uphold the Sharia law. If a person does something bad against Allah then he can be killed because this army is beyond common law. They sent a bunch of these guys out to try and assassinate [Rushdie] — he gets put under protection. They did eventually assassinate two interpreters that were involved in interpreting the book... I thought it would be ironic to write a song that would inspire a kind of cyclical, serendipitous version of that; to make a song that was a story that might offend people who are Muslim into trying to assassinate us because of a song that was written about them previously trying to assassinate a creative. That's a pretty long explanation — I've never had to explain it like that before. That's how it kind of came about."