What is Exmortis up to today? Is it just a name to be nostalgic over?
-BW) Well, Exmortis is a name that is back for good. There are plans to release at least one CD each year going forward. These CD’s may not be full length and could be as little as 4 songs or 20 minutes but at least they’ll continue to be released. You can look at the nostalgia of its early days I guess but I’m not looking back there unless to re-record some of the old material. For that I would use Aantar Lee Coates to fill in on drums since he’s the only remaining member of Exmortis available to record plus he live no more than a 10-15 minute drive from me. There have been 2 Exmortis releases this year (2011) which were both compilations but on December 20, 2011 an EP titled “Resurrection…Book of the Dead” will be released by Xtreem Music out of Spain. This will be all new material with and intro and outro and 4 songs in between. It’s kind of like a demo but being officially released by a label. From the people eho have heard one of the tracks they seem to like it so I’m happy about that.
Back in the late 80s/early 90s where did Exmortis fit into the US death metal scene? Were you second or third generation death metal?
-BW) In the late 80’s I would say we were 2nd generation Death Metal. Where we fit is simple where everyone was in that time period. It was a changing time for us all in the underground. Everyone knew each other and highly respected one another. The US Death Metal scene was comprised of a handful of good bands and had a great impression on what came out of the European market at that time as well. At the time I had bands like Nihilist and Unleashed on my snail mailing list and they would write me telling tales of how much they like Exmortis. Man, I didn’t think anything of it at the time but look where they are today. Still cranking it out one day at a time. Anyway, Autopsy was just emerging as well and Chris Reifert was a good friend to all. His influence on the scene made it a better place to be at the time. Therefore as I said, Exmortis was 2nd generation.
Today’s death metal bands have a veritable smorgasbord of death metal to be inspired by. What bands influenced you in the beginning?
-BW) The bands that had the greatest influence on Exmortis were Death, Possessed, Destruction. Kreator, Slayer, ect. At the time there weren’t that many bands out there having success in the market so most people had never heard of them. It wasn’t until the late 80’s that more bands of sound structure started getting signed and releasing albums.
I tried looking up Oakdale, PA/Frederick MD on my cell phone. It looks like it is small towns far away from any decency. What kind of reactions to your music did you get from the local metalheads? What was the closest big city with any kind of vital metal scene?
-BW) That’s a good question. In Frederick, Maryland there was no real metal scene unless you wanted to talk about glam metal. There were a few of those. hahahaha… The closest metro city to Frederick was Washington, D.C. D.C. wasn’t much of a metal town either but drew crowds from all over the region to see shows. It was at that time that people started getting together and getting to know one another. After which people started setting up shows for all of the bands in the region to play. Granted, we were the only Death Metal band to be playing music out of Maryland with the exception of another band called Mal Feitor who never really had a full line-up from what I can remember. In the city of Frederick there were some high school friends that started a couple of bands but none of them were Death Metal. There was a bands named Internal Void which got a lot of attention and release one Album I think and a band called Pendulum who were pretty much a cover band who played Metallica and Pantera. When I moved to Oakdale, Pennsylvania Exmortis had already broken up as a whole band. Oakdale is a suburb of Pittsburgh which had some great bands. Derketa, NunSlaughter…
How hard was it to get the band started with the right people? Extreme metal back then wasn’t as big as it is today. People stuck by hard to their old NWOBHM albums.
-BW) It wasn’t too hard to form our band as Chris and I had already been jamming for a while and I had written a few songs already. In the autum of 1987 Lee Coates and Ted Hartz entered the picture and as we got the songs down tight Mike Simons flew in for the vocals around the first of the year. It wasn’t long after we formed as a four peice unit without mike that Ted left the band because of personal issues. So when Mike came in we practiced as much as we could with complete dedication with the exception of Mike only showing up maybe 25% of the time. Anyway, we recorded the first demo “Descent into Chaos” in July of 1988 (Roughly 8 months after forming as a whole. The rest is history I’m not going into at this time. Read the bio on www.exmortis.us if you want to know the entire story.
As far as I remember there was a buzz going for Exmortis. You released a couple of demos and Eps but nothing seemed to happen after that. What went wrong and if given the opportunity what would you have done different?
-BW) You are correct, 2 demos (Descent Into Chaos and Immortality’s End). “Immortality’s End” was released on black vinyl by CCG Records out of the U.K. Demo #3 turned into an EP release titled “Fade From Reality” by the cult Rage Records out of New York. Chris Wiser’s Exmortis went on to release a demo titled “Butchers of the Urban Frontier”. I should also mention the Exmortis was on countless compilation releases throught 1989-1990. What went wrong… Another good question. To put it bluntly, Exmortis lost its place of practice and we didn’t find a replacement. This was weeks before we were supposed to play the Michigan Death Fest which would have probably moved us up another notch in the chain of US Death Metal bands but it didn’t happen as I canceled. Yes, it was my call but it had to be done because we were out of practice and would have made complete fools of ourselves if we had played. It’s not like Exmortis was ever known for it’s stellar live performances either. Anyway, that’s what happened and I got fed up so I moved to Pittburgh to start over. That’s when the Fade From Reality EP came out (no more than 6 months of me moving). What would I have done different? Well, to start off, I’d have pushed a bit harder to find a place to practice. No one else was doing it either but if I would have found somewhere to rehearse then we would have kept churning out music and would have gotten signed quickly. After all, I’d been talking with Monte from Road Runner just a month before but we lost the battle to Immolation who has went on to become a cult legend in my opinion. They haven’t sacrificed anything to be where they are now.
If everything had gone according to plans where do you see Exmortis on today’s death metal map?
-BW) If plans had happened the way I wanted them to then Exmortis would be on the top of the lines with Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel. I feel that to be true and straight from my heart. People thought of us that way back then and the movement would have continued to build.
What kind of aesthetic did you subscribe to for the image of Exmortis? Did you have any plans as to how to present the band?
-BW) There were no plans. But I can tell you that we would have never started sporting the leather and spikes which most bands eventually did. To me that seems weak as it portrays something you are really not. Most of the people you see on stage do not dress that way when they aren’t touring or taking promo shots. They look like every day people. It’s nothing more than an image. About the only thing I could see us doing is wearing all black and white as that’s the sign of true Old School Underground. I believed to be comfortable. Hell we used to wear shorts and cut off tee’s on stage. No images, just straight out people playing aggressive Death Metal.
Was there even any sort of death metal image back then? As far as I remember it was pretty much t-shirt and jeans that ruled the look.
-BW) That was it, plus shorts as I mentioned in the last question… hahahaha. There were no leather and spikes/studs. At least not wear I come from.
Is there a future for Exmortis in today’s death metal scene? To my ears the old tracks still stand up to today’s death metal sound.
-BW) Yes, the future holds a great promise for the name Exmortis. As mentioned there will be at least one release each year until the day I die. I’m not playing around anymore and really mean it. I’m not in it for any money cause I know lots of acts that are signed that don’t make squat… If there was money then I would never have to work and live like Nikki Sixx… hahahaha. This is a lessson to all you kids out there who think they are the next Morbid Angel or Cannibal. You are most likely mistaken because in this day there is way too much competition. Plus most of you sound alike and don’t stand out with your own identity. Sorry, but that’s the brutal truth. Hey, wasn’t that a band name? hahahaha… Anyway, I’m happy that some people out there still listen to old Exmortis. Granted we are mostly old or just respect what the scene was like back then. To you, I honour and cherish your good thought and intentions. Thanks you all…