Interview with Lout and Abominatrix
Interview conducted by Cluedo
Date online: August 6, 2005
Demontage. Drunken, drugged-out, sarcastic and callous miscreants of the highest order. Read on as we catch up with two of the three Demontage Bastards – The Spatilomancer of Satan (Lout) and Abominatrix. They are the Living Dead, behold their awful cries.
What does DEMONTAGE represent? Please tell us more about your music and worldview.
Lout: The name itself, admittedly one of my favourite band names (suggested by Abominatrix based on the Dr. Who book of the same name), has various meanings, all relevant to the band's "image" or theme. The most apparent meaning to an English speaker is the combination of "demon" with "montage", more or less perfectly conjuring up the type of image we aim to create. Demontage also means, in both French and German, "deconstruction" or "disassembly". When I discovered these additional meanings we had already settled on the name, so I was very pleased to learn that it was even more intimate with the anti-establishment, self-righteous individualistic and somewhat-nihilistic approach that we take. Musically, DEMONTAGE is intended to be what many of the greatest "2nd wave of BM" acts were-that is, an elaboration on the simple styles of the Forefathers. We try to maintain the sincerity of the "old-school" (i.e. 80's BM) while bringing something new into the riffs and making more challenging compositions/song structures. As for worldview, I am always refining myself as a thinking individual, and my beliefs are always subject to change, but I will always resist the conformist doctrines that we're all surrounded by. I have faith in logic and reason rather than anything divine, but I also feel a spiritual force in many of the things that inspire me. I have allegiance to little of anything or anyone but my self, as my self is that which I know best and with most sincerity. I think the ego is one of the most important human virtues, and it must be cultivated in a well-balanced way. I find self-indulgence to be very important, since I'm not a deist and I don't believe in an "after-life"-but that doesn't mean that I have no care for the future beyond my own life. When I say "Hail Satan" I mean "Hail Me" and "Hail the black Earth". "Satan" is only the blanket term given by the pious to the Earthly pleasures and the Ego, and I use their term simply to make a bolder statement that more people will (mis-)understand.
Abominatrix: I stole the name from a Doctor Who book. However this pilfering of names from all kinds of sources is fairly commonplace, and I'm rather proud of this one! What it represents is a catharsis of emotion; unfettered zeal and playing to the max. Yes, we're in it for a very visceral sort of enjoyment, I think the Lout summed this up quite well. There is only the Earth and the lives, fleeting and easily crushed, that we are "given". We owe it to ourselves to be the greatest possible until our candles are snuffed..the greatest hedonist, the greatest intellect, the greatest naturalist, murderer…what ever sets your fire alight!
What happened to GAURHOTH? What drove you to form DEMONTAGE?
Lout: GAURHOTH suffered from too much ambition and too little action, but also from the emergent desire to do something less "modern" and "trendy" (ironically these were the things that I most wanted to avoid when I began the project with T [a.k.a. Draugluin]). It also suffered from volatile relationships between certain band members. I had some new musical interests in common with Abominatrix at the time, and we wanted to explore some different types of Metal that were far removed from what GAURHOTH was doing by then, so originally "Retroexorcism" and the concept of DEMONTAGE as a group was a "side-project", I suppose.
Abominatrix: I like the Gaurhoth songs. A couple of them have even been cannibalised into Demontage tracks. I still listen to some of the second wave Scandinavian type stalwarts fairly often and I found that Gaurhoth's music was compelling. Wasn't very involved in the songwriting or anything like that though, they just told me what to play and I did my damnedest, which wasn't much because my drumming was even more shit then than it is today!!./^é
Cynics could see DEMONTAGE as merely a "tribute band" to early Black and Doom Metal. Is this an accurate assessment? What is your response to this accusation?./^é
Lout: Those who, for e.g., consider DARKTHRONE a "tribute" to BATHORY and CELTIC FROST, or VARATHRON a "tribute" to MERCYFUL FATE, could certainly consider us a "tribute" to various early bands, yes. But as I explained in (1) above, we are trying to add something more to the early foundational styles. I also feel that DARKTHRONE, continuing with one of the examples I gave, was doing something more than merely "cloning" Quorthon's and Tom Warrior's bands.
Abominatrix: We like to stroke bands of the past every now and then, and sure, there are parts of our songs that even make us say, "hell, that sounds like Master's Hammer" or "Black Sabbath!", but we pay homage in a respectful way, and I hope those bands would agree even if some of our detractors might not! Anyway, the release of "Sacrilege and Miscreancy" will banish many of these thoughts.
How is the search for the new vocalist going? Have you decided to stick with the current lineup? Are there any plans to recruit a second guitarist?
Lout: At this point the search for a new vocalist is essentially on hold. We're open to anyone who wants to approach us, but right now the focus is on the new recording, and it's certain that I will do the vocals for it myself. When that's complete, we might resume the active search for a vocalist. I should clarify that I do enjoy doing the vocals and that I would still be singing at times even if/when we get an additional throat. The current line-up is the same as it was for "Madness Disease" and will be for "Sacrilege 'n' Miscreancy". Yes, we plan to eventually recruit a second guitarist. However, I'm very picky about guitar playing and I have had trouble jamming with other guitarists in the past. While it's not necessary for recording purposes (I'll record multiple guitar tracks for the new album myself), we all feel a second guitarist would add a certain strength to our live sound at the very least. Temüjin, though, acts as a second guitarist with his bass in many ways, much as with many three-piece Metal bands.
Abominatrix: The Lout's vocals improve all the time. I think people will be pleased with the new vocal approach; it's much more varied and potent than it was on the previous recording. Those who have seen us play live already know this. I might do some backup vocals every now and then. Essentially, we're content with things as they stand now, but there will probably be some changes in the Demontage camp after the recording materialises.
You seem to have a favourable approach to drug use. Would you care to comment on this and does it have any impact on your songwriting process?
Lout: We're not big drug-users in fact, but we do indulge in the more minor types a bit. For a while I really found a lot of inspiration while smoking, but now it's more of a sentimental thing rather than a real inspiration. I guess it has had a bit of a long-term effect on my outlook and even the way I think of putting songs together, but most of the DEMONTAGE songs were written without the immediate influence of any drugs.
Abominatrix: I don't think this is a "band stance" that we all agreed upon, but I'm certainly in favour of the use of certain drugs and narcotics. I don't think drugs are a direct inspiration: rather they catalyse various already existing stimuli and distort/warp them into something new within the brain, often with compelling results. This is why I feel a unique connection with artistic things under the influence of THC, both creating and imbibing with my senses, not to mention the wild and superior ego the power of a great mushroom trip can give, to name some examples. Actually I'm quite fascinated by narcolepsy in all its forms; have been thinking of penning down some of my thoughts on the subject as lyrics to later songs, but we shall see. It's more of a personal thing than a band philosophy, I guess. As for Demontage, we're into being free and wild, knocking back the pints (but then, what metal band isn't) and soiling our reputations if not our pants! I often smoke a bowl before drumming for I find the creative spark sometimes really takes us places at such times. Whether it is imagined or not, I get a sort of metaphysical hard-on from the power involved in being a battery basher!
Some of your recordings thus far have been from live shows. What does it mean to you to play live?
Lout: As far as I'm concerned this band will always perform live while it's still kicking. This type of music is well suited to the live show, and we sound basically the same live as on record, I think. I still go to a fair amount of local Metal shows, and I'm still very excited by seeing good bands perform. So, I want this added dimension for our band, as well. We "released" some live recordings to the (internet) public so that non-locals could hear how playing live is a big part of our project, and because a couple of our songs have been updated and the changes can be heard by the discerning ear on, for e.g., "Heavy Metal Monsters" (see "Carrion Race"). It has also been a way to sample songs from the upcoming recording.
Abominatrix: We haven't all told had a great deal of live experience yet, and honestly I like the fact that we don't fall over ourselves to play shows. Actually I find most live metal in this city to be pretty goddamn boring with a very few exceptions, and although I've only been out of here a few times to see good metal I have to say that the Toronto crowd is mostly shite too in comparison. We have our fans, though, and it feels good to have gained a small cohort of supporters both inside of Toronto and elsewhere. I'm very excited, actually, about the upcoming new recording and am eager to see what waves it will generate if any.
Most critics have acknowledged the fact that while the Madness Disease Rehearsal Demo showcased good songwriting and musical creativity, it was let down by the production values. Was this a route you intended to take? Will this be "corrected" on future recordings?
Lout: I agree that the recording quality was lacking, and no, it certainly wasn't that way intentionally. We left the mixing up to someone else, and with our lack of experience I'd say we were too quick to accept what was presented to us. My main problem with the sound on Madness Disease is that there is a strong echo or reverb effect added to every instrument, while I think it should have been limited to the guitar only. This echo effect really drowns out the already low-mixed bass guitar sound. The vocals were also too variable in volume, even between songs (quieter on "Retroexorcism" than the rest for instance). Future recordings will indeed sound much better in terms of recording quality.
Abominatrix: Bah, the recording was cheap and easy; we did it in three hours or so plus additional time to add vocals. All things considered I guess it is allright, but I have no desire to listen to it these days as the songs generally sound better now. We've simply had a lot more practice as a band, my drumming is better as is the Lout's soloing, etc.
In one of my past conversations with Abominatrix, I was told that one of the members of RAZOR (Rob Mills if I'm not mistaken) was to play a part in the production of the next demo. Will this materialize? When can we expect new output from DEMONTAGE?
Lout: I'll let him comment on the first part, heh heh. Right now I don't know who else will be involved with the production. You can expect new output before the end of the year for certain, but hopefully a lot sooner. We're still refining little bits of the new songs from time to time, though, so we aren't ready to record right this minute, honestly. I think it's wise (albeit a little frustrating) that we're taking our time and making sure the circumstances are right. We want this next recording to be a huge step forward, and there are many ways to improve on what we've already put out.
Abominatrix: I think that was a case of "putting the cart before the horse" if you know what I mean. Now I can comment a little more on this, because what with all the computer problems and crud I have been having lately I'm having to send you these answers again and I can add in the fact that the recording is now underway and will be completed soon. The drummer from local thrashing maniacs Rammer is doing the engineering/mixing for us, and he definitely knows what he's about and what a good sound for this type of music really means. So in the end, despite a few frustrations and delays, I think we got the best deal we could hope for.
Are you on the lookout for a record label? Do you think it is necessary to be signed to one?
Lout: It's not necessary to be signed to a label, especially these days, but of course it would be nice to have someone take care of a few things for us. It is also a nice concept to ally with an organisation that puts out quality material, to associate oneself with a good cause and to wave the banner of something worth shouting about. Since it's pretty much official at this point, even though the recording has yet to be made, I may as well announce it: our next output entitled "Sacrilege 'n' Miscreancy" will be released as a "pro-CDR" (factory-pressed, full layout, regular jewel case format, etc.) through Unsung Heroes Records (www.unsungheroesrecords.cjb.net)!
Judging from your music and outlook, one would think that you have firm roots in first wave BM and Doom. What do you find striking about these two genres?
Lout: Speaking for myself, I definitely take a lot of inspiration from the older foundational acts, especially in recent years. Early Black Metal and Doom Metal is often really exciting and unique sounding even in the modern-day context of over-experimental, faux-avantgarde, hardly-Metal-anymore genre-transcendent bands. I like Real Metal that sounds powerful, bold and confident while at the same time understands the concept of restraint and humility, and the vast potential of "simple" sounds played with a unique attitude. This is why old bands of the 80's like MERCYFUL FATE, (pre-'86) SLAYER, HELLHAMMER, AMEBIX, SABBAT (Jpn), DESTRUCTION, DEATH SS, VENOM, INFERNAL MAJESTY, MANILLA ROAD, PENTAGRAM (USA), and LEGEND (UK) are so important to me. However, I also love to hear innovation, and some of the unique sounds that came out of 90's Metal and are still showing up here and there today, are also fundamental to my Metal worship. Hence, I also listen to a lot of stuff like ROOT, MORTUARY DRAPE, BURZUM, MASTER'S HAMMER, VARATHRON, GRAND BELIAL'S KEY, JOYLESS, BIFROST, MORNINGSTAR, GRAVELAND, SAMAEL, HAIL, LUGUBRUM, ROTTING CHRIST, AMON GOETH, and etc etc etc… there is a nearly infinite amount of variety if one digs deep and I can't even begin to summarise all the stuff I love to listen to here and now.
Abominatrix: No point in spouting a band namedrop list here. My favourite band is Manilla Road, and I definitely share the Lout's taste when it comes to most metal, though perhaps with a smattering extra of doom because I have worshipped at the altar of doom longer than I have embraced metal! Bands like Reverend Bizarre, Orodruin and Pagan Altar definitely excite me very much, too. I just got back from seeing Orodruin and RB in New York and it was the most exciting and powerful show I've been to in years. Never too slow!!! But Demontage will never be straight doom, I think, although we'll probably incorporate a great deal of influences from the doom genre.
To an outsider, the Toronto Underground seems to be fairly closely knit. Does this assumption hold true?
Lout: I can't really compare the local "scene" to other scenes, since this is really the only one I know something about the dynamic of. Actually, there is a lot of disagreement and separation of "camps" around here if one takes everything into consideration. There are only a few individuals who truly participate in the "scene" for the love of Metal only and will, for instance, attend both an ANVIL show and a GBK show! I'm not trying to speak for others' tastes in Metal here, but I think my hypothetical example serves its purpose. I'm proud to say that I'm one of the few who would (and I did) attend both and not pin myself down to a certain clique. I apologise if I misinterpreted your question.
Abominatrix: Nah, I'd say for metal at least Toronto suffers greatly from a lack of real motivation or interesting bands, and people feeling the need to pander far too much. It is rare these days for me to feel really inspired to go to a show. There are a few bands though which we definitely respect and admire, both from a musical and ideological standpoint..but I could count those bands on the fingers of one hand.
What has been the general response from the Toronto Underground to your recordings and live performances? Are you pleased with what you have accomplished so far?
Lout: Generally anything anyone has approached us and said is quite positive. That's usually the way it goes, however. I think we haven't exposed ourselves to enough of the local scene yet to get a good idea of just how much dislike there might be for our music. When we started out, we figured we'd be mostly laughed at or despised, but myself I've been surprised at the "success" of our public foray thus far. This doesn't bother me like it might bother some kind of nihilist or elitist, though. I welcome the appreciation of others, as I too feel that DEMONTAGE is a great band that deserves attention! We have a long way to go, but I am pleased with what we've accomplished already, yes.
Abominatrix: I only must add that at the last show we played, a sort of benefit gig for the studio we rehearse in, most of the attendees were "pop punk" kids and they were so put out and off by our music. I thought it was great!
Is following in the footsteps of pioneering bands from Toronto a burden or blessing for the DEMONTAGE bastards? Does it even matter to you? What inspiration (if at all) do you draw from your city from which crawled the likes of ANVIL, INFERNAL MAJESTY, SLAUGHTER and PILEDRIVER?
Lout: If anything I'd say it's a blessing, since the history of great Metal bands in this city ensures that there will always be some good Metal-heads around who know how to recognise the good stuff when it comes around. It's also kind of inspiring to inherit a little bit (however small) of the legacy that those local bands built—meaning that this city does have a Metal tradition because of those old acts and that we're experiencing today's generation of it for ourselves. However, I wouldn't say that we're particularly fashioning ourselves after those local bands more so than bands from elsewhere in the world.
Abominatrix: Yeah, despite my comments above I do think Toronto has a strong tradition of producing a few really excellent bands every now and then. Of course most of this was in the 80s, and both of us were too young at the time to be appreciative. In retrospect, though, we love all those bands, but I don't think we're particularly indebted to them musically….more to their legacy in keeping metal alive in this definitely anti-metal clime, I suppose.
What does the future hold for DEMONTAGE? Are there any side-projects planned?
Lout: The future is glorious, and I can say that because I intend to make it so! I don't believe in fate or destiny, so I can allow myself to be this egotistical, heh heh. On a serious note, the somewhat-immediate future holds a second demo/debut album called "Sacrilege 'n' Miscreancy", and hopefully a bunch of live shows to follow its release. I've already talked and made tentative plans with a nifty local (London, ON) band called BURNING BLADE for a joint show sometime soon, and I'd like to share a stage with GOAT HORN and RAMMER one day as well. As for future releases, well, I have already written guitar and in some cases lyrics for many new songs, and the follow-up to the upcoming album looks to be a Real ass-kicker! Sacrilege 'n' Miscreancy will probably have even more variation in style and vocals and you'll hear us move in a bit more of an "occult" sounding direction at times (for those who understand what I mean by this), and the one after that will be a little different too. For instance, I think by the time the third studio release comes out, at least a few listeners will be able to understand why I have compared our work at times to MASTER'S HAMMER, GBK, and MERCYFUL FATE (it's not that apparent on Madness Disease, any way).
Abominatrix: We will definitely forge ahead. I think it's been a bit slow for us, but it doesn't bother me much as I know we have the capability of bringing great feats to light with this band, and they will happen! as for projects….well, we joke about this sort of thing all the time, and the Lout has got songs and half-songs written that probably wouldn't fit so well in the Demontage environment, so it may happen one day. Personally, I'm mostly interested in playing in a traditional doom band; I just need to find like-minded individuals around here! However, one of the greatest facets of Demontage is that we don't limit ourselves much. People say, "oh, true metal is so boring and elitist" but what they don't understand is that there's so much more to explore and great sounds to be tapped, and you don't need a horn section or your girlfriend to moan into a microphone to find them.
Thanks for sharing your time with us. Please feel free to add or clarify anything you wish.
Lout: You're welcome, and thanks to you and anyone else reading for your interest. Forget "suicide BM" and instead worship yourself for SATAN! Enjoy yourselves, and if you know what's best for you, bang 'til death!
Abominatrix: Look out for the miscreancy! and our next assault, which I am already quite excited about. Thanks for your support and interest in doing this interview. It's our first real one and an interesting and thoughtful experience! Hail!
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