DEMENCIA MORTALIS is not a Czech death metal band despite the name. what follows below is a discussion I had with the band on different topics. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
-Finding a name for a band is trickier than deciding what genre to play, in my opinion, however, we found a neat think to assist us – alcohol. How exactly the name “Demencia Mortalis” came up is already shrouded in history, however, the name is easy to remember and can be hardly confused with any other band name. Secondly, despite the fact most of us are college-educated people, whenever we meet for rehearsing or a gig, our combined intelligence drops to zero, so there is more to the name than originally intended.
-We formed in 2006 as a gothic/symphonic metal band, originally with 8 people in the line-up that involved two vocalist, keys and a violinist. We never really stuck to any genre, we just compose songs that fit our individual tastes, which means there are elements of death metal, doom metal, gothic rock or even thrash metal in our songs. We have realaesed two albums and an EP so far, the latest studio release being “The End Is Nigh” album from 2014. We love playing gigs and share the energy with the crowd, when a show gets intense, than it’s like magic to us.
-I don’t think we can name one album or artist, mainly because we never played cover songs in the very beginnings of the band, and even though we do share some of our personal favourite artists, our individual tastes are so different that we are hardly linked to each other as music consumers. Even the genre we play did not arise from a discussion or looking for particular sound, Zelior, our lead guitarist and main composer, simply brought in a riff or a tune and we simply developed it to incorporate all the instruments, and it wasn’t until that moment that we realized, hey, that probably sounds like gothic or symphonic metal. Personally speaking, my greatest influence is definitely My Dying Bride, I look up to Aaron Stainthorpe as a unique talent.
-Czech extreme metal scene is overcrowded with DIY bands, which makes the scene clustered and hard to follow. There are only very few bands that won a contract with a label and can actually afford a hi-tec studio, which of course affects the overall impression of Czech scene. Czech listeners hardly ever pay for music and basically rely on pirating stuff on the internet, which weakens the scene furthermore. On the brighter side, there are so many talented bands in the Czech Republic worth listening to and the quality of DIY recording has been increasing steadily, so I’m not really complaining, music is a hobby and the scene is kinda tight, musicians stick together, organise UG gigs and festivals and there are couple of events in the region totally worth going to – Brutal Assault, Obscene Extreme, Metalgate Deathfest… Demencia has been an active gig organizer, we love arranging gig exchanges with bands both from within and outside the Czech Republic, metal music is supposed to bring people together and we are happy to be a part of it.
-Until 2014 we have been a band of eight musicians, so it definitely feels like being a part of something bigger. Managing so many band members is an exhausting chore, there have been so many disputes and bickering about things related to the band, about the genre, about the gigs, about money, about rehearsing, about this and that, but no matter how bitter these fights could have been, the moment you play the first accord of the first song, you feel that these guys and girls are your comrades and you become one organism that shares the chemistry and the vibes. Yes, then it feels like you are a part of something of higher importance, too bad this feeling doesn’t last long, usually only until the moment it is time to drink up the beer and load the gear onto a vaN.
-The cover artwork of our “The End Is Nigh” album comes from Czech decadent painter Sandro Dragoj, it is a fragment of his panting “Hel – God Of Death”.The cover looks a bit scary maybe, however, it fits the overall atmosphere of the album, which contemplates the meaming of life and worships Death as the ultimate solution to whatever problems we think we are facing. Darkness, death, suffering and all the related themes and images are so typical for the genre that you can’t really use kittens for an album cover. My favourite album covers are definitely My Dying Bride – The Dreadful Hours, Type o Negative – October Rust, Satyricon – The Age of Nero – and Moonspell with their The ButterFly Effect album cover that actually has butteflies on it!
-Digital does not kill music. Servers like Bandcamp that offer honest, easily accesible services to bands are a good proof that you can sell your own music and don’t need labels to do it for you (and keep a huge proportion of the margin, of course). Unsigned bands have so many channels nowadays for music distribution than ever before, and if bands complain they no longer profit from their music it is usually because they are simply not good enough. Unfortunately, lots of webzines only accept physical copies for reviews, and this is utterly flawed. Pressing CDs and printing booklets doesn’t cost peanuts and I have no idea what difference it makes for a reviewer to listen to a CD or lossless FLAC files. Sure, it feels nice pretending to be a badass influential reviewer, but relying on an outdated platform is just nuts.
-Well, we have been organizing gigs for quite a while now, basically as gig exchanges which lead to a series of minitours with bands that feel the same about playing live as we do. There isn’t much chance for us to get to large open air festivals, most of the prestigious events only grant slots for two or three top Czech bands to play and getting a slot at a festival abroad is something that only happens once in a decade. Fortunately, there are still many clubs around the region that support metal music, the clui scene is very active and we are proud to be a part of it.
9. we used to take live gigs as a party until we realized how badly we play when we drink, so now we keep sober until we finish the last song, than it turns into a party. I’m the oldest in the band and the only one with family, so I’m usually the one who drives and drinks coke the whole night, but I don’t mind, there are lots of emotions in my lyrics, lots of negativity which I went vent while I’m on stage, and after a gig I don’t normally feel like partying.
-We have just started composing new songs, so hopefully there will be a new recording soon, but we haven’t made any real plans yet. I’ve already outlined the lyrical concept, but it’s a long way to go. We hope to stay together, we hope to finally shoot a video for one of our songs, and I hope to meet you all guys at our 2016 World Tour – let’s see which of these plans eventually becomes reality-