Hey Paul! Hows things? Thanks heaps for taking the time out to do this interview. It’s insane being able to interview a member of the legendary Disembowelment!
Hey Becs, Most things around here are pretty cool; it’s a pleasure to do this interview for you.
Firstly, Relapse Records has just reissued all of your work; with some extras included on a third disc. Why has it taken so long for this reissue to come about?
I'd say it's partly our fault and Relapse not having us high on the priority list which is fair enough considering we are NOT an active band. I think what happened first was Relapse got intouch with Renato and he basically told Relapse that he didn't want anything to do with the re-issue, but for Relapse NOT to touch his artwork. Then Jason was in touch with Relapse and any correspondence was really dragging out and nothing was moving on re-issue front. Jason got a little impatient and gave up. I then stepped in, sent a few e-mails to Matt from Relapse and things were dragging out again and I then decided just to call him and basically tell him "What's the deal here? Are we going to do this re-issue or what?" So I put a bit pressure on Relapse and Matt assigned Jonathan Canady the task. Thankfully he is a major diSEMBOWELMENT fan. So he understood not only what I was trying to capture, but he gave me his opinion as a fan as well, which helped a lot. Jon was awesome to deal/work with. He was under a lot of pressure to work on the active bands which had priority, but he spent a lot of his spare time on our project which I am grateful for. I guess another reason for the delay was 'what' we were going to use for the re-issue. At first it was going to be just re-issuing the "Transcendence..." release. Then we thought we might have a 2nd disc and have "dusk", the MBR comp track and demo 1. But then we somehow found an unreleased version of “Spirit of the Tall Hills" and a rehearsal Necrovore cover (Slaughtered Remains). This added with the 2 other rehearsal tracks we already had in mind; we decided to make a 3rd disc as part of the limited edition. So this dragged out the process aswell.
The anticipation for the reissue has been pretty crazy. Did the cult status that Disembowelment seems to have grown come as any surprise to you?
For most part of it, it did. I heard from other members that there was still a bit of a following, which I didn't really follow up on to see if it was genuine or not. Then I got a few comments here and there when I was at gigs here (in Melbourne) that a number of people considered disembowelment one of their all time favourite doom acts or were a major influence to them. There always seem to be questions about what other members are up to these days. And finally there were times people did ask about the re-issue, but to be honest I didn't think the anticipation was that high. So the cult status still baffles me a little as I think it is a big call and we don't really deserve cult status here.
Prior to Relapse, were there any other labels interested in signing or releasing Disembowelment? Did you guys have any established following pre-Relapse?
As we did a comp track with MBR, they were interested in doing a full length. We had our hesitations as we thought we'd hang out and try and find something better. I believe Wild Rags were interested back then. They didn't have a good reputation back then. And there were many, many small labels which were interested as well.
How did the Relapse deal come about?
The Relapse deal came up in 2 step process. First we passed on X amount of copies of our 2nd demo to many labels out. Relapse was interested in releasing our 2nd demo. We changed a few things as we got the demo re-mastered and added one other tune releasing the "dusk" EP. Once Relapse released "dusk", they wanted more material. We came up with enough to record an album and Relapse agreed.
Musically, I think it is way more diverse and dynamic. Although at times the basic songs which stand out are not as prominent or heavy generally speaking. Musician-wise the players out there are totally unbelievable. Comparing the Melbourne scene back in the late 80's to early 90's to now is a massive difference. On a local front I found that maybe 50%-60% of guys playing in bands could play back then. Today I find it's more like 80%-90% of guys in bands can play instruments. Not only that, speed-wise it's jumped up many notches which is incredible. Maybe I'm getting old! Or maybe that's why there are more bands out there using drum machines? However another major element I believe has changed is the ground breaking factor. Back then there was Napalm Death and Repulsion coming up with this new style of Hardcore/metal which was 10 times faster than the standard stuff. The WOW factor was very high as it seemed so over the top back then. Now it's just almost stock standard. Even when Morbid Angel came out, there was so much anticipation then and when it finally came out, it was like where did these guys come from and many bands did their best to emulate them. I also find that there are way more styles or genres of Extreme metal nowadays. I don't think there was the label or genres/music called Goregrind, U.S slam death metal or Funeral Doom.etc.
How would you describe Disembowelments sound?
Do you think it would be easier for a band like Disembowelment to exist in today’s scene compared to back then? Is that sound still relative?
Good question. I'm not really sure because I don't really keep up with the scene that much these days.I probably follow the occasional death metal / grindcore band. Otherwise I don't really follow doom bands or stoner bands etc. If someone recommended certain funeral doom material, I'd be more than happy to check it out. Because the genres have split in so many ways in the Metal scene nowadays, it probably would be easier in some ways. Is the sound still relative? Well I'd say Yes. Reason being is that one, because we could potentially fall under different genres it might be accepted in some circles rather than just one. Two, I still believe that our sound hasn't outdated that much and would still generate some interest.
Inspirations in Disembowelment’s sound? Where do the ethnic/religious? themes/chanting come from sometimes used in the recordings?
Probably more a question for Renato. But I'd have to say that he always had an interest in ambient, atmosphere sounds. With that he really moved into the Middle Eastern sounds and culture. Renato wrote 99% of the material. These sounds started to creep in later on when we released Dusk. What of your recordings would you say you were most happy with? To be honest I felt that our recordings got better and better. But at the same time, I guess this went with the flow of each release and what we were looking for at the time. After demo 2 (deep sensory procession into aural fate), I thought we finally had something which was going to take us to the next level. It's funny because the 'Transcendence...' album could've had a real mechanical sound to it if we let our sound engineer (Doug Saunders -R.I.P) drive this one. We had major issues convincing him to go for the sound we were after.
What are your views on Australian Music? Do you see being from Australia a disadvantage/advantage in music?
Australian music is quite healthy all round. Although we don't have the capacity or following of people to have huge metal festivals like in Europe. I see Australia mostly a disadvantage in music because of the distance to Europe and the U.S, which is a shame because I believe we have quality bands here.
Are there any particular bands coming out of the International and Local scene that you get into? Do you keep up with new bands coming out?
International bands I'm enjoying at the moment are Putrescence, Engorged, Kill the Client, Shape of Despair and still enjoying bands like Phobia, Immolation, Incantation. Locally, I'm enjoying Roskopp, Kutabare, Fuck I'm Dead, Injury to Eye, Captain Cleanoff, Undinism, Intense Hammer Rage and Abominator.
What would be your Top 5 bands of all time?
Tough question as I'll base my answer on consistency through the years and the fact these bands stayed true to their styles. Here goes: Immolation, Incantation, Death (R.I.P), Autopsy and Napalm Death (Lee Dorian era).
Do you have any other projects planned? If so, what sort of direction will it be going in? Will you guys ever play live?
The project I am a part of at the moment is with Matt (disembowelment bassist) and it is a band called PULGAR. We play old school death/grind stuff with hints of old school thrash. At this stage I guess we're just getting together having jam and playing some old sounds we love and grew up on. Not sure whether Pulgar will play live or not. As far as diSEMBOWELMENT playing live, 2 words - NO CHANCE!!!
Well I think that pretty much wraps it up, theres a million things I could ask you but I think I’ll leave it at that for today! Thanks again Paul! Are there any other comments you’d like to add or anything further you have to say?
Thanks Rebecca for your interest in diSEMBOWELMENT. It was a pleasure doing the interview. Please continue supporting the scenes out there as it's amazing to see how healthy the scenes are after 18 years.