Danish death metal, thrash metal or deathrash. Call DEUS OTIOSUS what you like but great they are nonetheless. Read this interview with Henrik and then go and check the band out if you already havenät done so. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
I’ve recently noticed an increase in the number of death metal bands that come from Denmark. Any explanation to this “Explosion”?
Henrik: ”It’s a deathexplosion!” Like The Crown would say. No, I don’t really know. Everyone has their own reasons, I presume. But there’s been the old school death metal-trend, and there are also a bunch of new bands coming playing fast/brutal death metal. Maybe there’s a death metal trend in Denmark right now. But it’s the same for other styles of music like hardcore/black metal. So it might also just be part of the ongoing tendency of these latter years: Evermore bands and fewer listeners.
What does it mean to be a band from Denmark today? Where do you fit in with the competition from all the other Nordic metal bands?
Henrik: To be a band in Denmark today means to be one in a million. It’s actually quite odd that it’s so lustrous to play in a band still today, since there are more bands than listeners, but somehow it still is. It’s all about supply and demand really, and still more bands supply even though there is little to no demand. Compared to the other Scandinavian bands Denmark is a bit behind. We have fewer bands with widely recognized names. But I suppose for the great majority of bands there’s not much difference between Danish and other Scandinavian bands.
Is Deus Otiosus a death metal band, a thrash metal band or are you deathrash?
Henrik: I wouldn’t know, you tell me! The other day one of the guys from Corpus Mortale called it death heavy metal. First time I’ve heard that, so everyone has their own thing that they call us and that’s cool. Personally I’ve always just thought of it as death metal, but I don’t really care about what genre it is. I just care about making the music as good as I possibly can! So others can decide if we’re deathrash or whatever. I’m just glad there are still differing opinions on that, ‘cause that means we are more difficult to pigeonhole.
What’s so great about death metal in 2013? What can you do today that hasn’t already been done?
Henrik: I don’t know what’s great about death metal in 2013. Morbid Angel and Macabre are great! If they are death metal indeed. But why couldn’t death metal be great again? We just need to reinvent that which has been lost. The reason the classics of death metal were so good, the reason that so many more people listened to this stuff in the early days is that the music was creative and the songs were good. We need to be creative and write good songs again. Not worry about how to play by the death metal rules. That’s why I said I don’t care about genre. There are only two types of music: Good and bad. And that, which should be the very core of things, seems to have been pushed into the background, in favor of other things, like “Who sounds most like Entombed” or “Who is the fastest/most technical” etc.
Where do you look to for inspiration? What has been/is the greatest inspiration all categories?
Henrik: There is so much. I find inspiration in the greatest minds and artists through the times. It might be death metal like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Pestilence. Or it might be other music like Danzig, Judas Priest or W.A.S.P. Or it may be writers like H. P. Lovecraft and Nietzsche. Especially reading has been a great inspiration to me as of late. My head sometimes spins after reading a short story of Lovecraft. “When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of spring’s flowering meads.” This is taken from Lovvecraft’s unfinished story “Azathoth”. It’s more inspiring than all but the very best of music.
How pleased are you with your new album? How does it differ from the previous one?
Henrik: We are very pleased. I think “Godless” is a natural continuation of our debut album, “Murderer”. We try to take everything from the first album to the next level. Better, more memorable and catchy songwriting. More variation and dynamics, more details and ideas. Just more of everything really. And that is still our goal for the songs we’re writing now. To keep pushing our songwriting forward.
What is the significance of the album cover and the album title? How much does the art have to fit with the title?
Henrik: The artwork and title (“Godless”) add new meanings to eachother. The original artwork by Gutave Doré illustrates hell, while in our interpretation it shows earth. People are reaching for the above, but there is nothing up there and no way to get there. It certainly illustrates and adds to the title and atmosphere perfectly.
How hard is it to come up with song titles and lyrics? Do you follow a formula?
Henrik: Writing music, or any other kind of art, is a balance between invention and repetition. So in a way, you could say there is a formula, or a structure in our songs. There are verse and chorus. But there are also a lot of other things, and ways of combining and breaching these patterns. A definite formula for me is that I must start with a core, something central to the song. A chorus, a main riff, a dynamic, an overall structures, or several of these at once. I don’t just start with the first riff and go on to the second. I have to have an overall idea for the song and where it should go. After that, the components are thought out and put in place one after one. So that’s my formula or way of approaching songwriting. There’s nothing wrong with formulas by the way, as long as they are coupled with creativity and don’t become dominating. With lyrics I usually also come up with a couple of central lines, maybe a title and then build from there as the work progresses.
What has been the greatest achievement so far?
Henrik: Our two albums, “Murderer” and “Godless”. To create this music from nothing and create an end result that can last through time. We’ve had some good concerts as well, but the greatest achievements for me are the albums that still last and will be with us in the future as well. These are milestones for us and no one can fuck with that.
Where do you see the band going? What would be the ultimate achievement?
Henrik: The ultimate achievement would be to create the perfect album. To make a classic to rival the death metal classics as we know them – even if it would not be recognized as such by the listeners. For example “Reinkaos” by Dissection was a perfect album and a classic that was certainly not recognized as such by most.