14. 2. 2016UNDERGANG – We'll keep on pestering the world for years too come, we wound remains open and infected!
Interview with David Torturdød from death metal band UNDERGANG.
Hi David! UNDERGANG isn't much well-know band in Czech Republic. So, can you introduce your band please? Who are members of UNDERGANG and how did you get into old school death metal?
Hi there, thanks for inviting us into Fobia zine! UNDERGANG was formed in the early summer of 2008 by the same 3 members we still are today. Originally we intended on being a 5 piece but the other two members never showed up to our first rehearsals, so we just made it work as a 3 piece and have never looked back after that decision. We all had played in various bands beforehand, in all sorts of various sub-genres of extreme music, but intended on fulfilling our desire to perform death metal with what ended up becoming UNDERGANG. We played our first local show in September 2008 and recorded our debut album "Indhentet Af Døden" over the winter of 2008/2009, which ended up released in January 2010 on London based death metal label Me Saco Un Ojo records (the labels second release, actually), a label we still work close with to this day, after having released another album on Xtreem Music from Spain. We have covered a good deal of ground around the world on tours and single shows in our 8 year lifespan as UNDERGANG and have 3 albums behind us and a 4th one in the making currently. We've all listened to all sorts of extreme music since our early teens and death metal was one of our favorites and the reason why we started this band.
Why do you play just this saprogenic old school death metal? When I listened to UNDERGANG for the first time, immediately, only one name was on my mind - AUTOPSY!
The early sounds and ways of death metal what the kind of death metal we got introduced to and the kind of death metal we still prefer, so it was natural that our brand of the deadliest metal came out sounding a bit aged and conservative, I guess. AUTOPSY has always been a big influence on us and if I personably should point out my single favorite death metal, there's no questions asked that it's AUTOPSY. They are in my humble opinion the definition of what death metal should be and sound like; heavy, twisted, ugly, memorable and with a sick and depraved lyrical universe. To me death metal is all about the power of the riff, "skills" and speed doesn't impress me much if it's not build around a strong guitar riff, no matter what instrument you play.
You´re exist on scene for 8 years. One year after forming the band you released first album "Indhentet af doden" and this album is on high level. Was it the first experience with recording or you had some other experiences from previous bands?
Oh, we'd all recorded various releases before that too in past bands, but personally it was my first time recording an actual full length album, so it was a little special to me though it took place in a cold rehearsal space where our friend had put up his studio, in the middle of the winter. We used to smoke heaps of weed and drink heavily back then, so my memories of the whole process aren't that clear anymore, but we had a great time as I recall it. It still puts a smile to my face thinking of how the hell A. Dødshjælp pulled off playing the piano intro to "Englemagersken", as he's was HAMMERED drunk at the time when the recording of that took place, haha. I'm glad to hear you like "Indhentet Af Døden" sounds good, it was really a try-out for us to see what we could do with the possibilities we had to record. It was also the first death metal album our friend and engineer, Morten, had worked on.
The second album "Til Døden Os Skiller" followed up in 2012. Can you compare your first and second albums? Morbid death metal domineers, but can you say to me some fundamental differences?
We still worked with Morten on "Til Døden Os Skiller", but at the time he had just recently moved into an actual studio in Copenhagen's northwest area, called Subversive Studio. So the recording took place under a little more professional settings though still through a thick weed haze, not any less from Morten's side. I'm not very satisfied with the sound on the second album, though, as Morten got kicked out of the studio before we got around to finish the mix, so we had to master the album ourselves based on the last rough mix we got off him before he was thrown out. That still bothers me today a little, as I'd wish it sounded heavier and with more audible vocals. But then again, fuck it, it's still represents us at the time and adds a bit of extra history to the album, I guess. Besides that part of ti, I think we pretty much still delved in the same preferences and influences as we had on "Indhentet Af Døden". The "Til Døden Os Skiller" had a bit more variety to it though.
In your discography we can find split album "The Dead of Winter" with American band FUNEBRARUM. This record was released by South Bohemia label Doomentia Records. How did Youcame to cooperation with FUNEBRARUM and why did you choose just Doomentia Records?
It was suggested that we should do a split between the bands, as we were going on a European tour in February 2012, so we quickly recorded a new song we had written for that and so did FUNEBRARUM. Since Morten had gotten kicked out of the Subversive Studio and he still didn't have a new place to work, nor really was to be found at that time, we had to look elsewhere to record the song. We got another guy called memo offered to try and help us, another cat all new to recording death metal, in a studio mainly recording punk and rock bands, a bit lofi as I recall it. The song came out pretty crude and rough sounding, but I still quite like it. I believe the decision to have the split released by Doomentia came form the label themselves along with a deal struck out by FUNEBRARUM and Daniel of Killtown Bookings who booked the tour. It also served as a way to financially support the tour as all the money from the band royalty copies sales went into covering flights for the yanks. I've always really liked the work done by doomentia records so there was no hesitation from me to work with them on the split, they also offered to release an album for us back then, but we were already decided on returning to me Saco Un Ojo records and Dark Descent records, when our contract with Xtreem Music expired after the release of "Til Døden Os Skiller".
Now I'am coming to your last album "Doden lager alle sar" from last year. Great album, I am feeling absolutely fair work. Death metal in 100% pure form. How do youjudge this album? "Doden lager alle sar" is in top group of the best death metal albums in 2015 for me.
Thank you very much, very pleasing words to hear you treasure the album along with your 2015 favorites in death metal. Personally I think it's the best sounding album we have done so far, there's always some things use wish to change in hindsight but with "Døden Læger Alle Sår" I have the least of them compared to our earlier recordings. We actually enjoy it so much that we've decided to record the next album in Earhammer Studios again. To compare "Døden Læger Alle Sår" to our past two albums I'd say that we've thrown in some more doom-ladden parts and more grinding parts as well. I also changed my ways of doing low vocals a bit and moreorless completely kept away from doing high vocals on this one. And of course the fact that we had grown as musicians compared to past recordings as well.
UNDERGANG mixes influences of American and Scandinavian death metal schools. Do You agree with me? There is always something in your music from bands like AUTOPSY, but I hear also an old Swedish classics like NIHILIST, ENTOMBED or DISMEMBER. But I feel a bit doom metal too. This elements are so much audible for example in song "Døden Læger Alle Sår".
We get influenced by all sorts of various geographical origins of death metal, really, of course the US and Scandinavian ones are in there in a heavy dose, Iagree with you on that. not that much the Swedish though, not intentionally at least. I've always been more fond of the Finnish death metal sound, it's a bit darker and brutal sounding to me, which I really like. A band that always have been a big influence on us, that much people doesn't seem to recognize, is CARCASS. The British doom death metal scene in general too, like older MY DYING BRIDE, PARADISE LOST and DECOMPOSED.
Album "Døden Læger Alle Sår" has properly hard, dirty and heavy sound. Did you want to leave typical sound of UNDERGANG during recording and move on and try something new? Is it finally sound according to your imaginations?
Pretty much, I'm rather satisfied with the outcome of the recording at Earhammer. We don't really think that much about changes, evolution and such, in the end it always comes out sounding like UNDERGANG no matter what we try, haha. It's our gift and curse. But we always aim for the heaviest and darkest thing we can get it to sound.
You´re three players in the band. How do you create new songs (process of composing music)? Is it team work or only your job?
I usually write most of the riffs on my acoustic guitar at home and then try to organize and order of them into a song and then take it down to rehearsal where A. Dødshjælp and I make it work as a complete song. We then teach it to K. Ondsind on bass, he mainly plays along to what I do on guitar. It's the way we've always wrote our music, besides the occasional sudden creation of songs at rehearsal when ideas pop into my head. But that's only a handful of our songs that has happened like that, but those are often the most fun onset create and to play. Like the two faster ones you hear on side A of our 7" EP "Søm till Din Ligkiste" from 2013.
lyrics are in Danish, it´s fine! Why do you prefer your language (Danish) but not classic English like most bands? Can you tell me universally which themesdo you explore in your lyrics?
When we started up the band and decided on a Danish word the name of the band, it seem like the natural choice to sing all in Danish too. We didn't expect people would care about what we did, especially not from outside of Denmark at the time, so keeping all the lyrical content in Danish seemed fitting and not much thought went into it. I had also mainly wrote lyrics and sung in Danish in the bands i had been in before UNDERGANG, so it was a little easier for me too, though written lyrics in Danish that doesn't sound cheesy is no easy task. Not that I'd claim that i do so all the time either, haha. I do enjoy a nice slice of cheese every once in a while, heh. The lyrics mainly deal with brutal and dark matters surrounding death in all it's forms, from various acts of dying to colorful descriptions of the decomposition process of human bodies.
Your records are release on vinyls, CDs and cassettes. Which format is the most favourite for you and why? I would like to know your opinion on actual trends of digital format and streaming on internet?
Vinyl and cassette are my favorite formats for music. I still use my walkman on a daily basis when biking to and from work, rehearsals and such and at home I enjoy putting on a LP more than CD's. My LP library is also 10 times the size of my CD collection. When I do illustrations or answer interviews (like now, listening to Alice in chains, actually) I tend to play music from my computer. It's mainly to keep the flow going naturally and not having to stand up every 15-20 minutes to turn the LP / tape. I take great joy in buying albums on LP formate so one can really take in the work presented on album covers by the artists, as well as being able to sit/lie with a bit sheet of info, lyrics and credits. The internet has brought align a lot of practical sides to the music scene, along with the degradation of record sales, in my opinion. So it's a bit weird, not really sure what to think of it, but I try to embrace the time we live in and I do use streaming services of music online too. It's also a good way of discovering new music fast and free. But I also do blind purchases based on album covers occasionally still too. Trends are not something I care nor see much of, I try to avoid spending too much time on the internet in general. They come and go and I can't really keep track of it, neither do I really care. I've never been cool, haha.
UNDERGANG played with several legends - for example AUTOPSY, REPULSION or BRUTAL TRUTH. How does it feel, play with this legends on the same stage? Is it your top dream as musician?
Playing with AUTOPSY was a dream come true, they were also super cool cats and we still stay in touch every once in a while. REPULSION were great too, also a special thing for me as I've loved that band for years. I'm also part of the growing pack of fiends with the REPULSION melting head tattooed, got it on my left hand, hah! It's always cool to be able to share stages with bands you've enjoyed for a long time, especially when they also turn out to be good people. But generally I always check out all bands we play with, new or old, at least for a few songs. Always like hearing and discovering new bands. My musical dream is to be able to play the music I like, with people I like and tour and get to experience things all over the world. Luckily I'm able to do so with UNDERGANG, so I consider myself a lucky man.
You played in several countries. UNDERGANG will play on Europe "Maryland" Death Fest too and you played in Russia some time ago. How look like your gigs in Russia? And what Russian fans there? I would like to know which your gig was the best in your history and why? Do you remember it?
I've been partying a bit too hard at times and did my share of stupid things in my life, so a lot of fun things have probably sadly been forgotten. I usually don't know what to point out when asked questions like this, but I have fully enjoyed pretty much everything we've done and a good 95% of all shows we've played. Those where I've been too fucked up, sound sucked and myself generally sucking mainly being the 5% left out.
Russia was sick! Oleg of Ritual Booking did a great job and even had to find a venue for the Moscow show a few days before the actual gig, as the church apparently had the first venue declining doing the show after some threats, or something like that. He treated us very well and either personally took us around town and had friends doing so. We met some super cool cats there, sure hope to go back and see everyone again at some point. The gigs themselves were mental! Probably the most crazy reactions we ever had from an audience at our shows. The bands we played with also pretty much ruled, which was awesome! Check out MORBITAL, PYRE, GROND and CHAOSBRINGER if you can! Netherland Death Fest should be fun as well, looking forward to meeting up with a lot of friends from all over the world there as well as seeing some sick ass bands throughout the weekend.
Describe to me your metal scene in Copenhagen? (I think mainly attendance, number of concerts, etc.). Can you recommend me some interesting bands from your scene?
It really various, the shows I go to or I play at my with my bands are often not that well attended here in Copenhagen. The interest in death metals aren't as grand as one could hope for these years in Denmark. A t least when it comes to attending shows that aren't MORBID ANGEL and the likes of bigger scale bands like them. We did have a 110 person capacity show fully attended last night playing with DEIQUISITOR, though. One never really knows what'll happen, though you do your share of flying handing out flyers, putting up posters around town and such. Luckily there's some good people I know that are willing to help with that occasionally too, which I'm grateful for. There is a lot of shows in Copenhagen these years, the past 5 years or so there has been a bit of an explosion in the amount of shows, it seems. It's cooling down a bit as well and i also think there being so many gigs has hurt the general attendance at them, as people can't afford all of it nor necessarily feel like going to 3-5 shows a week every week, haha. I used to do that but even I can't keep up with that anymore, definitely slowing down these years myself too.
As for recommendations I'll just stick to the death metal ones, as that's my alley and probably what these readers are interested in, so check out "newer" bands like DEIQUISITOR, WURM'S TONGUE, DWELL, THE VEIN, REVERIE and PHRENELITH (another local band I play in).
In February you´re going to play two gigs in Czech Republic (Břeclav and Písek). So what can we all expect from UNDERGANG? :-)
YES and we're very much looking forward to playing for you as well! I have good memories form our one past Czech gig in 2012 in Breclav, also organized by Jozka who's been cool to invite us over for these two shows now (thanks to everyone else who has been helping out so far!). We don't do anything special, I guess, but you'll get some energetic deliverances of one of the ugliest death metal outbursts this side of the moon, sonic decomposition the only way we know how to do and deliver it.
These concerts in Czech Republic you will play together witch your friends DEIQUISITOR. We have little informations about DEIQUISITOR. Could you indruduce simple this band, please?
I like this band a lot, probably my favorite death metal band to have come out of Denmark in newer time. They started out in 2013 from the ashes (asses?) of black metal underground friends BLODFEST and have since released a demo, a MCD and just now for this tour their debut album. All on Danish label Ancient Darkness Productions. The two main members have being playing underground extreme metal for over two decades now and have played in several killer bands throughout the years. Their music is simply put punishing death metal, lots of blasting beats over memorable riffs and covered in low growls occasionally supported by higher screams. Like us, they are three pieces band and their gigs are usually brutal and intense. I actually believed I've seen all their shows, well a handful of them, so far.
You had album released last year, now UNDERGANG plays some concerts. What do you planning now and in nearly future? Some long tour, next album, etc...?
Right now we're trying to promote "Døden Læger Alle Sår" with tours and some festival gigs, currently we have our 7 date tour in germany and Czech in February, then Netherland Death Fest, Doom over London, a local show and then a 26 date US tour in July with SPECTRAL VOICE, followed by a weeks recording session for a 4th album in Earhammer Studios in Oakland, california. So a lot of cool things coming up for the first half of 2016 is already planned.
Thank You so much for your time and answers for Fobiazine. See you soon in Písek! Old school death metal forever!! Best regards!
Thank YOU for taking the time to write this interview and help spreading the music of UNDERGANG in your country. Best wishes for you and your zine in the future. See you soon! Thanks to you out there for reading this interview and to everyone who has helped us in anyway in our 8 years of a being a band and everyone who buys our music and comes out to our shows. We'll keep on pestering the world for years too come, we wound remains open and infected. Long live the new flesh!