DEAD CONSPIRACY is a name that I even remember from back in the fanzine days. So to say that they have been round the block a few times is to put it mildly. So why aren’t the band the greatest metal entity today? Read this interview to find out. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
I am getting older and my memory isn’t what it used to be but I do remember reading about you guys in fanzines in the late 80s. Don’t remember if I ever bought a demo from you. So what is it that has kept your spirit up all these years?
Eric D. Ha! Yeah, memories fade for sure. Really, we just stayed active musically during the years DC wasn’t together. We never really broke up, we just moved away from each other and formed other bands. Things just fizzled out. Years went by and we knew we had more to write in the style we began with in 1987. We have been together longer this time around than we were in the old days.
Today there are no real distances between people thanks to internet but I get the feeling that because of that people are even more territorial today and just fancy bands from a certain city for example. Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
MIKE: There will always ne regional differences with people. Every town, city, state has a different method of communicating, their own “slang” terms and what not. Some have “accents” that identify as to where they are from. In the end, just as with anything else, we are all the same. Especially with metal heads. It’s just a big ass dysfunctional family! haha. Being from California, I get it, as far as being the victim of jokes and the way outsiders view those of us that are from the L.A. area especially. Like we are all a bunch of freaks and weirdos out here that surf all day and say DUDE every 5 seconds. I myself don’t view anyone differently and I have MANY friends from all over the states and even the world and I view them the same. There will always be those who come from a “cool city” like NY, LA or London that have an elitist attitude and look down upon those who might come from a small town somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but for the most part, I don’t see that type of attitude very prevalent in the underground. For example, I can use the lack of coverage of bands from big, even huge cities like Chicago or Houston, that have been ignored for years. Cool cities with killer bands that don’t get the deserved recognition. I always find it fascinating when a band comes out of a small town, or an area that has a small metal scene. Although on the other hand, some labels tend to use their city or region as a breeding ground to sign bands/artists. Some labels will also tend to sign bands/artists from a certain city or region as well. One of the most underrated and under appreciated underground music scenes in both the history of punk and metal has been Portland, Oregon. The very scene that spawned this band that I’m screaming for and doing this interview with.
You guys have released numerous records over the years. How do you follow up on the previous one without repeating yourself, or getting lost like for example Metallica did/do?
Eric D. I think taking a break for a number of years helped. The inspiration that fired us up originally is still there. The creative process is fun again and the love for old punk and metal has never died.
How important is identification, that people instantly know that it is DEAD CONSPIRACY?
MIKE: Dead Conspiracy was one of the first bands to get faster, heavier, push the boundaries of how this extreme music could be played. There are now thousands and thousands of bands that followed with this formula. It is nearly impossible to stand out in the sea of madness. I would say that the song writing by these old goats has a bit of a nasty as fuck hardcore/punk edge to it that stands out for me. My froggy fucking vocals also might set us apart a little bit, at least on this album! hahaha. Dead Conspiracy has a way about writing their songs too, as I discovered when tracking my vocals for the album. It’s kind off the usual method of “song structures” and again, has that kinda weird way of hardcore/punk songwriting where there are NO set time signatures. It’s fucking great though. It proves that bands like Poison Idea and Final Warning were and are just as important to the influence on Dead Conspiracy as Death and Sodom are.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
Eric D. All the original demo’s were recorded in analog. I’m not an engineer but my understanding is that it has more to do with the mastering process. If you look on a wave file on a studio computer and compare most new metal to old analog recordings you will see how clearly different they are. The modern bands have had their signals compressed to the point where the wave looks like a hack saw with tiny little teeth representing the dynamic sound range. This was started in an effort to make recordings louder. If you look at the a wave file of an AC/DC tune it looks like an earthquake read on a seismograph! Huge waves, big open sound! This went away as vinyl declined. We record digital and master for vinyl, doing everything possible to keep that big sounding dynamic range.
Having been around since the 80s you too have seen how the sound of metal has changed. I listen to all metal even today and even though I love death/black metal I still return to my roots as often as I can. How do you view your sound? How does it measure up to all the young kids with all their wizardry?
Chris Carey- Well the minor key is still relevant as hell. Whether it’s Bach, Black Sabbath, or Bathory, there is something about the minor triad that is really evil sounding. What all those cats knew how to do was blend major and minor riffs to expand their sound for total majestic power. It’s overdriven rock’n’roll, that is how I would describe our sound. Don’t get me wrong we are a death metal band, but the term ‘death metal’ has become so broad as to what people consider it to be, let’s just say we have nothing in common with most modern death metal. Sonically, I relate to some of the more grim sounding black metal that is out there for overall feel, too old-too cold…..Bahahaha! We do have some great young bands out here in Portland like Raptor, Uada, Sarcologos, Rotting Slab there are so many bands everywhere! Mike Abominator might be able to keep current, I don’t.
Words can be the strongest weapon there is so how important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
MIKE: Words are a strong weapon indeed. There are no messages. But the lyrics are very important, to help paint the picture that the music is also conveying. The music and lyrics have to match so those visions can enter one’s mind. For me, death metal shouldn’t be too fancy or “thought provoking”. This isn’t a biology class or a math exam. I’m not trying to become the next philosopher here. DEATH itself can be a deep and complicated topic with endless possibilities of discussion and examination. So death is what I write about, in one form or another. Stories based around it. How it happens. The feelings inside leading up to it. Nightmares about it. Actually DOING IT and writing about killings and murder. It can be serial murders or mass killings. The end of the world. It’s all there. One just needs to grab it. I have embraced it and enjoy writing about it.
My fave album cover is still Bathory’s “The Return”. So simple yet so powerful. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
Eric A: “The Return…” is a perfect example of dark metal cover art, you have to listen to the record to know what the full title is. Quarthon was the master! Bestial Lust (Bitch), Born for Burning, The Return Of Darkness And Evil. Fucking classic. Art and metal are both a driving force in my life personally. I draw inspiration from the album cover concept art master’s ; Derek Riggs, Joe Petagno, Jamie Reid, Edward J. Repka, Dan Seagrave, Pushead, Dennis Dread, T.J. Barber & Eric A…Just to name a few.
When you play live what kind of feelings do that bring forth? What kind of emotions run through you when you see that people know your songs?
Chris Carey – I just let loose when we are stage. I become possessed by the music. There’s nothing like a good Dead Conspiracy show to get a big circle pit going. I like seeing a few rows of headbangers in the front and chaos everywhere! I like my friends to have a good time, if you know what I’m sayin’. When people in the crowd know the songs, well, that makes it all worthwhile.
What do you see in the future?
Eric A: What do I see in the Future? Basically it’s more Death, Sodom, Destruction. The future is rife with foul matter from across the board for, Dead Conspiracy, to prey upon.