With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to DISMAL. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-Actually, it was not very difficult to find a name, although there were several ideas, in the end we decided on Dismal because it symbolically represents what we are trying to do musically, right now. For us, Dismal, beyond its etymological meaning, is a state with which one confronts his own existence; that is to say, one becomes the fateful, the boredom and the mortuary.
Regarding the importance of finding “the right name”… we do not see it very importantly, a band is an organic being that feeds on the experiences of its members, an entity that evolves – it is in constant movement; then, perhaps that name that represented it at a certain moment, may not do so years later. But that name can persist out of habit or commercial terms. It is just a matter of raising your head and see how many bands from the old “undeground” have sold, but they keep their name. Finally, what defines you is not your name but what you do.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-We don’t have “musical heroes”, but we clearly have a tendency towards some bands more than others, for example: Coven, Angel Witch, Mefisto, Witchfinder General, Nihilist, Candlemass, Repugnant, Absurd Existence, Vampire, In Solitud, Saint Vitus, Archgoat , The Obsessed. And it is impossible to deny its influence on our life or on music.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-It is certainly a different form of composition, where you have to consider quite a bit the silences, the subtle nuances, and all those new ways of working with the harmony; but we do not believe that it is “a different way of thinking” but rather of posing the expression. We have participated in the extreme metal scene for years, but the fact that we are playing slower now does not imply that we have modified our cognitive functions or our neural networks (haha). It is as simple as when your buy a new instrument and your hands have to adapt to the new morphology of this new instrument.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
-We don’t really plan to play live in the near future, it has been suggested to us, but it is not our intention. For the same reason, we have not thought about a presentation or staging. We are not interested in showing ourselves that way at the moment.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-It is true, it is impossible to be 100% satisfied. And yes, there are certain things that we would like to improve, but what is done is done. However in our next work we try to enhance those shortcomings, keeping that murky and cadaverous sound; that nostalgic essence very from the 90s.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-Well, we have mainly dedicated ourselves to uploading some content on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, but we have not done much further. On the other hand, the label (Australis Records) has been in charge of doing its part very well. Although we have also been contacted by fanzines from the print media, to be able to appear, whether in reviews, biography or interviews. The truth is that we are not in a hurry or have great intentions to become massive, but we try to have the best will when they show genuine interest in what we do.
To me art work can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-It’s hard to define a great cover, because like all kinds of art, appreciation is subjective. For some it may be great and for others, real shit. We believe that what is really important is the existence of an intention behind art, be it a photo or an abstract painting, but that there is complexity and unification between cover art, musical expression and lyrical expression. There must be an alchemy between these factors, to have a living result that speaks for itself.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-We would not know if we are part of a national scene, they have not yet given us the certificate that acredits being part of something (haha). But definitely, the existence of a national or local “scene” helps a lot for a band to project itself to the rest, however, it is not something crucial for its development. In Chile it is extremely difficult to expand musically, especially since there are always those closed groups that use the music of others for their own benefit, profiting from the bands and using the word “undeground” as an advertising slogan. What you really have to ask yourself, as a musician, is about the motivations that lead you to make music, and from that point of view you don’t need any “scene” to do what you like. You don’t need anyone for to express the shit inside you, but if you want to be an egocentric celebrity with a smell of bussinesman… go and sell mugs with your band’s logo at Christmas or does spam on social networks with the offer of t-shirts + CD of your band. But that is another topic and not related to music.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is you experience with the live scene?
-We have had no problems at concerts, at least not with our other bands, and in general they have been good experiences.
On the other issue, hopefully people have stopped going to concerts. With the advent of digitization and the comfort as the pillar on which modern man carries out his life, clearly, laziness has triumphed; People are sloth to lift their butts off the desk and spend money to go to a place to meet a couple of bands, especially if they could be quietly at home knowing twice as many bands and for free on YouTube. Even so, the experience in a recital is priceless, especially when you go to see a band that you really like.
Nowadays people no longer seek the experience of feeling live music, they do not seek interpersonal interaction with new people, those new unexpected learning. People flee from the uncertainty that means leaving the comfort zone (from the cave at home) and instead they exalt the number of bands that managed to memorize from the metallum encyclopedia or show off the vinyls that they managed to buy on ebay, obviously, everything registered with a cute selfie, for Facebook. Today going to a recital, for them means sharing an endless number of “instagram stories” recording a blurred stage and a fully saturated audio. That is not looking for an experience, that is promoting banality.
Although it is possible that after the coronavirus, social behavior changes slightly, at least for a time.
What does the future hold?
-In this moment we are still moving the EP Memento Mori, and in a few months it will be released in professional cassette format under the Australis Records label, which is quite satisfying. And in the long term, we are already completing the models of what will be a new album, which we plan to have ready by the end of 2021.