GARROTED are a Death Metal band based out in Massachusetts who recently put out their debut EP release via Dark Descent Records. We are speaking with the band about their journey so far, music, influences, their future ideas and so on. Excerpts:
MJM. Hello, how is everyone doing at the Garroted camp? Give us a short introduction about your band.
Garroted: We are doing well for the most part. There are many shows on the horizon for us, and preparations for our upcoming recording session have been quite promising. We play pure ripping death metal to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in the vein of Morbid Angel, Atheist, and Timeghoul. We have been playing music in one form or another since March 2011, but we did not play shows under the name Garroted until late 2014. Our demo is a collection of songs written between late 2013 and 2015. We started playing covers and one (horrible) original song, but much has changed since then.
MJM. You guys released your debut demo this year. Tell us more about it; the songwriting and recording process.
Garroted: The songwriting took place over a long period of time, and was less focused and refined in the past than it is now. We have always paid strong attention to the details of the riffs, and so on the demo, the focus is mainly on riffs and transitions between them instead of how they develop into an overall greater structure. Of course, we were quite young, so some of the ideas in hindsight seem a bit juvenile. Overall, the focus of the music is changing riffs, and while the riffs still change and not many parts repeat, it is more deliberate than before. It was also our first time recording, so it was quite an informative learning process. We hope to carry that experience into our upcoming recording session. We also did not really have finalized lyrics or vocal patterns until around two weeks before recording the vocals, so Dan did an excellent job with the limited amount of time available to him. The actual recordings took only four days altogether, and were overseen and engineered by our good friend Sean Hart of Crippled Beggar and Alcyone. We will be working with him again for our upcoming session.
MJM. What is the lyrical theme of the demo? Is it based on any concept?
Garroted: There is not an overall unifying concept that ties all the songs together, but overall, it is mostly themed around Lovecraftian references, particularly in the first two songs. Basically, short stories which were written from that perspective. Overall, there’s not much more to it than what you read on the page. I think the lyrics for A Ritual Profane are the best and express what we want to the furthest extent, which is to have the lyrics sound like “scenes” or images depicted in the music, and vice versa.
MJM. Your music has a lot of old school technical death metal sound. What are your influences?
Garroted: Morbid Angel, Slayer, Timeghoul, Demilich, (early) Emperor, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Adramelech, Demigod, (early) At the Gates, Shub Niggurath, Autopsy, (early) Darkthrone, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Suffocation, Mayhem, Immolation, Incantation. Our music may not necessarily sound quite like these bands, but the lessons we have learned through our continued enjoyment of these bands has informed our songwriting process and artistic conception. For musical influences outside of metal, artists like Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Deep Purple, Camel, Brian Eno, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Johann Sebastian Bach, Perturbator, and Georg Philipp Telemann are prominent sources of inspiration.
MJM. With so many death metal bands coming up these days, how challenging is it to keep the music original and fresh?
Garroted: It’s quite hard. However, we believe that one can always learn lessons from the music of the past, and that there have been ideas expressed by the old masters which were not fully formed and could be expanded upon. This, in our vision, is what continues the hope for the future as well as the most relevant pursuit of the present. Having an open mind and being receptive to all musical ideas is a part of it, as well as not only listening to death metal music. That’s about it, really. We try not to pay attention to what other modern bands are doing and only focus on our own music as far as songwriting goes. That’s not to say that we do not listen to modern metal music, but we do not seek to imitate it.
MJM. Your music displays a strong command and technical playing abilities. Since how long have you been playing your instruments?
Garroted: Everyone has been playing for at least five years each, but some have been playing for longer than that; for me (Steve) it will be seven years on the drums this coming July. I began playing music two years before that, so close to nine years overall. Jerry has been playing since he was four years old, so fifteen years altogether. Ray began when he was twelve and has been playing for seven years. Dan started doing vocals five years ago, but came into his own around two years. All began when we were in grade school at differing points.
MJM. You have announced the recording of your new EP would begin in January and we can expect the release in spring. What can we expect from the new material?
Garroted: Duelling guitar solos, more technical riffs, more diverse and intense vocals, different tones and mixing, noise guitar solos, an improvised drum solo, harmonized guitar solos, odd time signatures, more unification of narrative and themes in terms of riff construction and songwriting. Longer songs with more space than before, and we’ve also considered recording certain parts without a metronome (on the demo every part was recorded with a metronome). The ending section of the last song will also feature more improvised jazz-oriented playing, which we believe has not really been done extensively in metal before. We plan to explore this further on future releases. We also declare that this new material may not sound anything like the material we come up with after this; it is simply the material that we have come up with at this particular time.
MJM. Your first release was a demo and now you would be releasing an EP. Why do you prefer demos or EPs over an album? When can we expect a full-length release by Garroted?
Garroted: Well, there are lowers expectations for a demo or EP than a full length. We have high ambitions for the album, and would prefer to take our time developing our sound (tone, technique, tonality) and various songwriting ideas. So at this particular juncture we would prefer to commit to something that is less demanding (in terms of length, artistic conception, etc) overall to allow ourselves to gain experience developing the ideas we would like to express more fully on an album. Our intention is for the quality of an album to be absolutely peerless, and do not want to rush it. We are not really sure when a full-length would come out, but it would not be until next year at the earliest. We plan to compose at least one or two more releases prior to beginning the true work for that either a split, or an EP, possibly one of each. We are also writing new material at all times and do not stop, so we may potentially write something in the next month or so which could eventually find its way onto an album. You’ll have to wait and see.
MJM. You have been working with Dark Descent records to put out your first copies of the demo. How did this happen? Will the band be signed with the label for future releases?
Garroted: It happened under somewhat unusual circumstances. I contacted him via Facebook and told him to check us out if he had the time, and he mentioned that he had already heard of us and would be interested in putting out the demo on tape. I then sent him our materials through email and the process was begun. It was a rather simple process overall. We have not discussed any formal agreements as far as signing to the label goes, though, and do not want to submit any claims that such a thing is set in stone. We will see what the future holds.
MJM. Recently you played live with the mighty Blood Incantation and Nucleus. How was the experience? Which was the most memorable gig you have played?
Garroted: That certainly was the most memorable gig we have played thus far. It was truly an incredible experience. It must be said that the members of both bands are kind people and interesting to talk to. I found Paul Riedl of Blood Incantation to be an intelligent and thoughtful guy; I spoke to him for about ten or fifteen minutes after the show, and the things he said in even a casual conversation were quite illuminating. Speaking of which, Blood Incantation, in particular, delivered one of the absolute tightest live performances we have ever witnessed. Their tone was amazing, and their performance was close to flawless. Nucleus and Forced Asphyxiation were great as well. Overall, an amazing night! We owe our thanks to Kevin Ord for putting us on that show.
MJM. Tell us about your upcoming shows. Do you plan to do any international tours soon?
Garroted: International shows will take some time. However, we have booked a regional tour from New York to Baltimore for March 12-18, and are working on scheduling a full east coast tour in July. We are also playing a few upcoming local shows: February 3rd in Allston, MA, February 16th at ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, MA and February 25th in Providence, RI. Two of those will be at DIY spaces. Anyone interested in coming to those shows should contact us privately for the addresses. We are also playing with Nile and Overkill at the Worcester Palladium on Friday March 10th and with Desolate at Ralph’s Rock Diner on Thursday March 30th.
MJM. Thanks for doing the interview. Any final words for our readers?
Garroted: We appreciate the opportunity to express our thoughts and intentions. Anyone interested in keeping up to date with the band should follow us online!
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Aumkar Lele (Metaljesus Magazine)