US death metal really rips a new one. Some really cool stuff from KALOPSIA. And no, I will not have Kalops for dinner. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
What might sound good in one language might be funny in different. Your band name is similar to the Swedish dish “kalops”. Not something you’d like to name your band after. How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
Matt: Well kalops is a traditional Swedish beef stew (thanks google!), so I think it fits! We bring a hearty helping of death metal to any pot luck dinner haha! We went through a lot of names before settling on Kalopsia, so it was hard for a time, but at the end of the day, it’s more important to let the music do the talking. I wasn’t thinking about internationalization back then, I was just trying to get a record done. But now I’m hungry…
To me there has always been a difference in the how death metal sounds like depending on where in the States it comes from. You had the gritty, bass heavy NY sound and the technical twiddlediddle Florida sound for example. Where do you see your sound fitting in?
Matt: I agree 100%. For Kalopsia it’s all about, incorporating different ideas to make something interesting. “Scorched Earth and Blackened Skies” from our new album, “Angelplague” showcases the technical chops of Florida death metal, the knuckle dragging brutality of Northeastern US hardcore, and the melodic sensibilities of the early Gothenburg sound. The songs share a through-line of those styles, but each one is different, so depending on your taste, you’ll like some songs more than others.
I don’t understand those saying that they don’t listen to music because they don’t want to be affected by what they listen to. To me making music is taking this and that pieces and putting them together to make them your own, but how hard is it to do so? How much work goes into coming up with songs?
Matt: I listen to music every day. No single band or album is going to derail my creative vision. Between Kalopsia and Ruinous, I’ve always got something going on.
How hard is it? Writing is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get. You’ll have good days and bad days. Some days you’ll throw everything out, other days you’ll strike gold. Just keep working and you’ll get there. You have to persevere through the bad days to get to the good days.
I have been a metal head since 1982 and when I look back I feel like I was a part of the Swedish death metal explosion even as just a fan. It makes me feel that I am part of something bigger.When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
Matt: You know, music has exposed me to so much more of the world than I would have experienced otherwise. Trading cds with labels in Japan, working with artists from Sweden, Croatia and Indonesia, playing with local bands in Europe, sending packages all over the globe… it’s so cool to meet people with such different lives, but with this common thread of music. As a fan there are bands I love from all over the world. I feel like I’m one link in a chain that wraps around the world. Gotta say, I’m jealous of someone who saw the rise of both thrash and death metal, as well as the resurgence of each.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
Matt: I mean, cool artwork is cool artwork. I love when talented people create compelling visuals that fit with my vision. It’s tremendously satisfying. As far as looking the part, we have to use one of the photos where we all have our serious faces on. It’s harder than it sounds!
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
Matt: Over the years I’ve learned that most fans don’t really care all that much. For me it matters a lot, cuz I’ve always been the type to sing along, but apparently that’s not so common. When I write, I want the lyrics to match the atmosphere of the music. So it has to sound good screamed! From there I can take some liberties with form and structure. Every song should have a catchy vocal hook. Something to remember. And then it’s about exploring different ideas, experiences and feelings. I really enjoy it. It can be incredibly cathartic.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
Matt: No. Albums are important for people who want albums. But singles were what the music business was in the 50s and 60s. If an album is great, it will create a compelling listening experience that you want to take the whole ride. If it’s just a mishmash of songs, people will cherry pick their favorites and ignore the rest. I focus on writing and releasing albums, not songs.
Where will the future of format end – digital versus physical verses whatever?
Matt: I think we’re going to see this go back and forth. Everybody streams now, but as a fan, having something to hold in your hands is special. So we’re seeing the resurgence of vinyl. It’s proof that people want something permanent that they can hold. At the same time, streaming is a great way to discover new music, and sample stuff. Back in the day I would carry around a bag full of cds, now my phone holds tons music. The music industry, like the video rental industry, needs to adapt to the changes in technology and consumer behavior.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
Matt: We are looking to do more shows than ever before in support of our new release, “Angelplague.” When you come to see Kalopsia, expect a full on assault of downtuned guitars and blasting. Once we start, it’s all business.
What lies in the future?
Matt: Kalopsia’s new album “Angelplague” is coming out May 19th, and are currently booking shows in support of that release. A vinyl reissue of “Amongst the Ruins” is in the works, featuring an all-new mix and master. We have four new songs for a future next release. So we’re going to be very busy through next year at least. All the latest info will be on our website, http://kalopsia.org. Outside of that, I predict flying cars, the robot uprising and a new kind of ice cream that actually burns calories! So the future is looking bright… for our robot overlords. Thanks for the interview!