Tuesday, 12 August 2014

INTERVIEW: Demencia Mortalis

Demencia Mortalis are a metal band from Roudnice nad Labem, Czech Republic. They combine an operatic female vocal with doom metal to create an atmospheric and chilling, yet beautiful effect. The band were featured on the site back in July.  Here we have an interview with front man Head, where he talks about the band, the album, what the future holds for Demencia Mortalis and gives us an insight into the Czech Republic's underground metal

Can you tell about Demencia Mortalis? 

We‘re a metal band from the Czech Republic. We’ve been on the scene since 2006, we’ve released two albums and an EP, with songs combining death metal, gothic metal and doom metal. We love playing gigs, because that’s when we can vent the energy and connect to the listeners directly.

Can you tell us a little about each member of the band?

Zelior is the lead guitarist and founding member of the band.  He is also the writer of most of the music. His appearance is our great asset, ladies simply love him.

Comatt joined the band a few months after the inception as a second guitarist, and he joined the band specifically because he really looks like Brandan Walsh of Beverly Hills 90210. Later on he even learnt to play the guitar, so we decided to keep him.

Monika is the soprano voice, and does not listen to metal at all, however, she is an incredible dedicated band member and despite the fact she has no idea who Opeth are, she loves being in a metal band.

Jaymz plays the drums and he is pretty much the same as all the other drummers – he occasionally doesn’t drink and changes his socks every Christmas.

Jimmy plays the bass and works as a lawyer, which logically makes him the least popular member of the band, and that has nothing to do with the fact that he plays the bass.

Ari is the youngest in the band and has replaced our first keyboardist who left to have a baby. She’s a music student and her contribution to songwriting and musical arrangements helped to reshape and improve the sound and will become even more important since Jatic, the violinist, left the band 3 months ago.  This has left the band with seven members, as it appears to be mission impossible to find a talented and metal-oriented violinist.

And there’s me, Head, the growler and manager, who joined the band after my students at grammar school invited me to join their band. I’m also the lyricist and mother in the band.

What inspired the band name Demencia Mortalis?

It was a quick alcohol-influenced idea, there’s nothing behind the name, it just sounded cool to Zelior when he was 17 and started looking for a name for his future metal band.

How would you describe the bands sound?

Well, that’s a tricky one… We don’t care much what or who we sound like, the music is pretty much a combination of our musical tastes. In the early years we used to label ourselves as gothic metal band, but in reality we’re very distant from the gothic culture. We like developing dark atmosphere, that’s the focal point of our songwriting, no matter whether it is a fast aggressive song or morose metal ballad. We have been repeatedly told by the reviewers to “decide what we want to play”, but we’ll keep on combining different music styles because we don’t care about the labels.

Your album The End is Nigh was released in February this year.  Can you tell us about the album?

Lyrically, the album deals with death, pain and the negative role of religions, especially Roman Catholicism. God is a placebo and afterlife is nothing but a method of controlling the herd, and the delusion of a deity protecting you and forgiving your sins is simply immoral. A painting “Hel – God Of Death” by Sandro Dragoj, Prague’s decadent painter and supporter of Demencia, was chosen to illustrate the theme as the cover artwork. Zelior and Comatt wrote the songs with large contributions from all band members, and I have provided the lyrics.

There are nine songs at the album, ranging from short, aggressive blasts (Sore) to seven-minute long compositions (Abandoned). The album musically sums up four years of rather painful song-writing and internal tensions, which eventually led to the violinist leaving the band two months after the release.

What motivates you to make music?

Well, basically it’s a great hobby. We love playing gigs and hanging out together, we’re good friends and the band is a kind of added value. The Czech club scene has been declining over the last four or five years, but even when we play for twenty people, we always enjoy ourselves. We will never earn money by selling our music or travel the Europe on a tour bus, but playing together is and will always be our motivation.

Which artists have influenced you?

Personally speaking, Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy and Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride were the role models for me in my teenage years, however, there were so many bands and musicians who have inspired me as a musician – Orphanage, The Gathering, early Theatre Of Tragedy, and I simply must mention the raw and pure talent of Mike Patton of Faith No More – he is the real god!

What do you enjoy most about playing live and which Demencia Mortalis song do you most enjoy playing?

I love venting the fury and sorrow that normally stays dormant somewhere at the back of my mind. Growling is a powerful way of singing and I normally need to drink about two litres of water during a gig and after the last encore I need to sit down for half an hour and catch my breath, but that’s exactly what I love about it – sharing the energy with the audience is an incredible experience. My favourite song is 'The Call', I really enjoy doing the vocals for this track, there’s a strong, rhythmical chorus and an atmospheric middle part where I can unleash what rests within me.

Inspired by a recent guest article on Femetalism, I am interested in finding out more about the metal scene in other countries. Can you tell us about the metal scene in Czech Republic?

The metal scene here definitely has many underrated bands who deserve much more attention and a contract with a major label - Silent Stream of Godless Elegy, Root, Panychida, Cruadalach, Interitus, Isacaarum, Secret Of Darkness to mention just few of them. The club scene is buzzing with hundreds of bands, I totally recommend visiting http://bandzone.cz, the most vibrant portal for Czech bands of all genres.

Festival season has also what to offer – Brutal Assault has grown into the most interesting extreme metal festival in Central Europe, hosting stars such as Slayer or Motorhead last year, Masters Of Rock for melodic metalheads and Obscene Extreme as the cherry on top, probably the most free-spirited festival around the globe.

What’s next for Demencia Mortalis?

Bright future, we hope. We’re going to play a lot of gigs around the Central Europe in autumn, we’re going to start writing new songs and hopefully release an EP within a year, with more balanced material and even better sound engineering and mastering than the previous one.

Huge thanks to Head for taking the time to talk to Femetalism about Demencia Mortalis. We are looking forward to hearing more from you guys in the future and wish you loads and loads of success. 

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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.