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Interview - JUNGLE ROT - We live in a mad world.

Interview with legendary death metal band JUNGLE ROT.

Answered by Dave Matrise.

Translated and questions prepared by Petra, thank you!

Hello JUNGLE ROT! How are you guys? I am listening to your fresh record over and over again, and it is crushing my bones. Did it fulfil your expectations? Tell our readers about your feelings shortly after release.

Dave: Hi I’m doing good. I’m glad you like the new release. I’m very happy with the way everything turned out on our latest self-titled release. I knew we had something good this time around, but I wasn't sure until I heard the voice’s of the fans first telling me how they felt as well. It’s been nothing but positive feedback and a lot of talk of album of the year. That makes me happy to hear. 

Why is the album title JUNGLE ROT? I think band used to release such self-titled record as a new beginning usually after the reunion or on the band anniversary. However, not even one case is yours, so why?

Dave: We were all sitting around one day trying to come up with a name for the new release. We all started to throw out names for it but nothing was working. I said to the guys why not just self-titled, JUNGLE ROT. I said to them we did all these great titles in the past but never one just called Jungle Rot. After 25 years now and having ten CDs out we have earned it in a way. I feel the name should be able to say it all from this point in our career. 

I really like the cover art; it is let’s say more “modern” perhaps more suitable for some technical death metal band as Faceless or Artificial Brain. All of your covers have a connection with the war and at the first moment I did not see any war-like picture at the new record, but after better looking I finally saw cartridge belt and gas mask, so... Do you still cooperate with an artist from previous records?

Dave: Yes, we always have some kind of war like theme going on I guess. On the new cover its our best one yet. It’s a soldier rotting away in a water hole in the jungle. Gyula Havancsák is the man behind the sick cover work. We have done the past 5 covers with him and each one is better than the last. I don’t know how he does it we just send him a title we are thinking about going with and he nails it every time. He is a real talented person that loves what he does and an all-around great guy. 

I noticed that you miss a drummer. In the past, a lot of drummers were exchanged in the line-up. Is the situation still same or you already have the full-time drummer?

Dave: We are working with a great drummer now named Spencer. We really like him a lot. For the past 8 years or so we’ve been hiring on drummers for certain things like recording and touring purposes. We really don't want another member currently because it’s easier to just hire someone on and not have to deal with any drama or personal issues from having another member in the band. 

I don’t want to talk about the topic in your lyrics; because it is known that your albums are more or less about war. I am more interested in the problematic of holding and using the guns by civilians in America, in general. Maybe it can be misunderstood image of your country here in Europe, but I think in America is very usual to have a gun for self-defense, but often it can bring more violence and more accidents to regular people. What do you think about it? It is right when whoever owns the gun?

Dave: That’s a very touchy topic. Myself, I am in the gun trade and make a living from guns with my day job. I feel it is one of our biggest rights to own and protect ourselves if needed. There are always going to be bad people out there trying to steal, rape, and murder other people. We all work too hard for what we have, and we will defend ourselves and our properties if needed by using our rights to do so... I do believe in all background checks on all people trying to buy guns. It’s a mad world.

You are part of the metal scene more than 20 years. Could you compare the scene now and in your beginnings? Was it more coherent, stronger? Sometimes I think that now the metal scene is more split, contains a huge amount of styles and fans instead to be the friends in metal, they often can’t find a way to talk to each other due to differences in the favorite metal music (for example prog death metal / old school death metal fans). What is your opinion?

Dave: To me the scene had always been the same, but I do know what you mean by being more split and divided today. It’s a different scene today then back in the day. There wasn't so many bands doing what we have been doing when we started so it made it more special I guess to hear and appreciate it more when you saw it live. Today it is over saturated with so many genres of bands called this and that, I don’t think kids know what to like anymore. In the end its all metal to me.

I am sure that you are the metal fans too. Do you still go to concerts and support bands? What was the last album you have purchased? What have you been listening to recently?

Dave: Yes, I am. I try to make it to a show when every I can these days... The older you get it gets harder to make them all, but I try my best to support what I can. I have really been into the band Skeletal Remains and Necrot as well. They are both bringing back that old-school style and keeping the flag flying high. 

When metal bands generally from the US compare the concerts in America and Europe, usually the European shows win. Do you have a similar opinion? Why is it like that? Which concert was one of the best for you and why?

Dave: I think the concerts, they are the same. It’s usually around 250 kids coming out to the shows on both sides. What makes Europe so special is the festivals and so many of them. In America, we don’t have too many festivals that will book death metal or underground music. It is almost all corporate radio shit music playing all the same festivals year after year. To me a festival is about seeing and discovering a new band for the first time. One of my best concerts was just recently at Heavy MTL festival in Montreal Canada this past summer. It’s something I have been waiting to play for many years and I finally had the chance to so. 

I saw your show at Brutal Assault 2013, and it was amazing. However, from that time I didn’t notice some of your tour somewhere near. Are you planning to visit European stages again? 

Dave: Cool, that was an amazing time as well and a big milestone for the band to play it. We have been trying to get back over to Europe for years, but we never had a good booking agent to do so. Now we our working with a real agency, Mad Touring, one of the best in all of Europe. We are working on stuff now with them and will be touring Europe in the summer of 2019 along with a festival run as well.

I am very curious, whether you have some unusual hobby/work? I am sure that you don’t play the instruments all the time. What are actually your jobs in regular life?

Dave: Yes, I do. On my off time of touring I work as a hunting guide. I’ve been guiding hunts for over 30 years now and love every moment of it. Guiding a hunt is a very special thing. It’s almost like a dream come true for some of my clients. A lot of my hunts are first-time hunters that have been waiting and dreaming of this day their whole life. I take them out and make their dreams come true. It’s something they remember for the rest of their lives.

Try to imagine that you play your very last show on the stage. Where should be this concert, who should attend this show and which song would you like to play like your last one in your life? And your last words?

Dave: Hmmm, I'd say Wacken Open Air fest. I would have all my family and loved ones along with our label being there to help celebrate our career together. I’d play the song Demons Souls for our last song ever. It was the first song I ever wrote for Jungle Rot when I first started to play so it seems right to end with it as well. My last words would be “careful what you wish for because dreams do come true”. 




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