sobota 13. října 2018

Home » » Interview - MONSTROSITY - We're just perfectionists and sometimes perfection takes awhile to find.

Interview - MONSTROSITY - We're just perfectionists and sometimes perfection takes awhile to find.

Interview with legendary death metal band from USA - MONSTROSITY.

Answered Lee Harrison.

Translated and questions prepared by Duzl, thank you!

01. DEADLY STORM: After long 11 years from your last album, you've released last week an album called "The Passage of Existence" at Metal Blade records. What was the reason it took so long? Have you been so busy acting in other bands, you just don’t want to be hurry up or just you don‘t have material or inspiration? 

LEE: Well we didn't start writing until 2011. Eyes Upon The Abyss was the first song I wrote for the new album. I did a demo for it and sent it to Matt Barnes and he took it and stepped up the riffs. It still has the same melody but the riffs are a little more involved. The second song was Kingdom of Fire and that is a song that we played a lot in the band room together to work out the parts. We took it apart and rewrote it a few times as well. That's something we like to do and this is one of those songs. We got to a point where we had the songs it was just a matter of getting things set up with the studio so it was around 2015 when we started tracking the drums. The other bands really didn't effect Monstrosity it was just us sorting out everything involved with getting it recorded. It always takes awhile to get things together but this time was definitely longer.

02. DEADLY STORM: When did you decide that it was right time to write a new Monstrosity album and how long did the material take to originate? How was the whole process of creating new material? Somewhere I read that you recorded and mixed in three different studios, what is the truth about it? 

LEE: We did the drums at Audiohammer in Sanford Florida. Its just North of Orlando, FL about 20 minutes. The room was a log cabin that had a great sound and we spent a week or so on doing the drum tracks. I had guitar tracks that I played along with so it was pretty much Jason Suecof and his assistant with me playing the drums. We spent a lot of time figuring out which toms sounded the best and we had like 20 Zildjians that we traded back and forth and we would record a little bit and then compare it to what we had before so we could see which cymbals sounded the best. It was tedious but we took our time and made it happen. Once we had good drum tracks I took that back to Tampa and Mark started applying the tracks we already had on top of the drums. In the end he ended up replacing it all but we started with that as a basis. We did all of the strings at Marks studio Ascension Sound and then from there we did the vocals down at Obituary's studio down in Gibsonton Florida. Its about a half an hour from me (Tampa) and they were set up for doing vocals which we weren't so since they had offered I took them up on it. It worked out pretty good. I know Mike Hrubovcak was stressed because we only had a certain amount of time for his vocals but we got it done.

03. DEADLY STORM: I have to say that definitely a great job! The album is straightforward but dynamic at the same time. It has quite a lot of organic sound and the lyrics go in the footsteps of the old Monstrosity ... are you satisfied with the result and what is the feedback about this album from fans and metal media? 

LEE: Like I said we spent a lot of time on the tones and the bass turned out great. That was always a complaint with previous albums regarding the bass so I wanted to really address the bass with this album. I think over all everything has its place in the mix so you can really turn it up and it still sounds good. It doesn't bog out. As far as the reaction I  think we had just about starved everyone for new Monstrosity so the fans were actually pretty rabid when we posted the first teaser video. I guess it did help us to go away for awhile and kind of have a "comeback" even though its not like we stopped. We're just perfectionists and sometimes perfection takes awhile to find. All the artwork issues and the label business added to the time it took for us to get it finished but everyone loves the album so that is nice. I can definitely notice a difference with this album compared to previous ones so that is good. We've always had good reviews, but I just think everyone is tuned in now so we can reach a bigger audience with social media everywhere and all the streaming access people have these days. I know we are exposed to more people with sites like YouTube and all that.

04. DEADLY STORM: What do you consider as a strongest point of MONSTROSITY, both musical and lyrically speaking? 

LEE: At this point I think our songwriting is our focus. We want to have an album that has peaks and valleys. Not just a switch you turn on and every song is the same. So when I put the final album together I try to have variation and things going and moving on places to visit. I look at it as a whole and it is so cool being able to hold the vinyl after all of the ideas are compiled and see it as a complete package. It wasn't easy but we made sure the music and songs were there and just hope for the best after that. Mark Lewis did a good job on the mix working with us on dialing in the bass. we probably drove him nuts but the results speak for themselves.

05. DEADLY STORM: Can you evaluate how your writing style has changed since the beginning of the nineties to your current creation? 

LEE: Well I think on Imperial doom we had a balance of the brutal style and a little bit of technical thrown in for good measure. With Millennium, I had a new guitarist in Jason Morgan where the sky was the limit. The guy was a monster and I wanted to take full advantage of that by writing songs like Fatal Millennium, Dream Messiah, Devious Instinct, 
Manipulation Strain etc. Those songs, as great as they are, just don't go over well in a live context. They were too busy and off in too many directions. Its cool for the sake of that but we wanted to back off of the technical and mix back in the brutal edge. We try to find the perfect balance because we still love playing the crazy odd time stuff, however, we try to keep some hooks and memorable parts and just keep it punishing. So after Millennium we wanted more of a mix of the two styles and of course we have some doom parts here and there. Jay Fernandez brought in the more melodic style on In Dark Purity with Suffering To The Conquered and Angels Venom. So after that it has been about writing songs that have that balance of brutal, but with killer playing and hooks. From the new album a song like the Hive has all of the craziness. Its got all that, where as a song like Cosmic Pandemia is just straightforward and pounding.

06. DEADLY STORM: What about the experience you had absorbed in the last years, while recording, writing and producing your own music. What type of good and bad experiences can you tell us about this type of work? 

LEE: Its all still a learning process. When recording I come up with little experiments and things that I am attempting to accomplish. Every show there is something I learn and apply to my routine. The technology is always changing so you have to keep up with that, it's not always easy. It's always something. It is a little better now with the mixing of the record. We let the engineer get it to a point of near completion and then send it to us to hear and we make suggestions from there. Instead of sitting there while they EQ every tom and we deal with the tedium. We were younger on our older records and felt we had to oversee every step of the process but now we have a better idea of where we are heading with things so we can just wait for a completed mix and then adjust from there and pretty much it was the level of the bass on this album. It was loud originally, however, we felt it stepped on the guitars too much so we went back and forth several times dialing it in and it works. The end result is great. I know Mike Poggione is happy about it so that's good. I don't want people to feel like they're being buried, but in the past the bass was mostly following the guitars so we couldn't turn it up or it would just be the same thing just with more mud. That isn't any good, so this time we wrote bass parts that fit the drums and the keys of the riffs, but had their own thing going instead of just everything one big "unison". It made the songs pop more and add new dimension. We didn't try to over play it either. We wanted to keep it all solid and not trying to play a bunch of garbage that is impossible to play and doesn't come out right. We made sure every part had its own things going on while not distracting from anything.

07. DEADLY STORM: What are your closest plans? Can we also look forward to a European tour with the new album? Do you have already any offers? ... In addition, in less than two years Monstrosity will celebrate the 30th anniversary on the metal scene, do you plan some activities or celebrations? Have you already thought about it? 

LEE: No really haven't thought about the anniversary but that's cool. Our hope was to tour with the albums release but our singer Mike had some scheduling conflicts so we've pushed it all back to after the New Year. Were discussing with our agent what, when, and where so hopefully something will solidify soon. I've been ready so hopefully it works out. As far as releases we recently had the catalog remastered by Alan Douches who did the Death remasters. On top of that and separately, we recently transferred the 2 inch reels from Millennium, In Dark Purity, and the Slaves and Masters demo. So I've just been playing around with the tracks here in my studio and hopefully I can get Suecof to remix them at some point and eventually do a deluxe package with the original mix, the new mix and a disc of demos. We have the material and the tracks are there with those records. Of course it won't be anytime real soon since we want to focus on the new album and Metal Blade is doing the Spiritual Apocalypse and Rise To Power reissues first so we have a little time to figure it all out. ..But I am working on it all behind the scenes plus my plan to re record the Imperial Doom album and finally get a good recording of that. Something we can be proud of instead of the version that came out. I know people love it but it sounds horrible and we're the first to admit it. So we want to rectify that and its out there on YouTube for people that like the original. So I'm just trying to get the catalog upgraded as much as I can. 

08. DEADLY STORM: Each of you is active in at least two or five other bands, do you think it is possible to be devote absolutely to a few projects or do the projects rob a time of each other? How do you manage to synchronize your time together, are there clear rules which bands have absolute priority when you are planning something? 

LEE: You know amazingly it all works. Some of the projects aren't fully functioning or are still getting things together so it doesn't really take any time. In the case of Mike Hrubovcak he lives in New York so he has a band there in New York to work with. There's actually plenty of time for all of these projects believe it or not. I try to deal with guys who are professional musicians who like to do music and that's in their blood. They can walk in and play the songs the way they should be and then go back to whatever else they're doing. A project like Lavoizen which is my solo rock project is just an experiment for my vocals and focusing on that part of my influences of where I grew up. More on the rock side of things but the cool rock that is heavy. And that is a big learning experience for me and seeing where I can go on that end of my musicianship. Its fun for me so its what I do. I don't work a day job. I play music for a living so I try to take advantage of the extra time and try to fill my head with different recording techniques or a Photoshop trick or do something that enhances my music one way or another. Some guys are just drummers and they don't do anything else. I recommend learning as many instruments as you can which helps you on your main instrument. It just does... Anyway, back to the "does it interfere"?. So far, no ...and we actually have a replacement for Mark English for when and if the Deicide schedule conflicts with ours. I kind have a short list for all the positions to be honest. The band has survived with completely different line ups and we use different guys depending on what is happening and I think the fans understand that this is life and I just expect it at this point. Someone can't make it or they have something else so I have several players we rotate through it just depends on what is happening. Our bass player lives in the Ukraine now so I already can see us using a different bass player for a US show. We're just taking it as it comes for now. We only want to play good shows and not every dive bar in every back woods town. We did that and it didn't get us anywhere. We want to step up the quality of the live shows on our end too. With lights and sound gear, nice PAs and not some crackling speaker garbage. We're just trying to be a little more strategic in the shows we do and not just take the first thing that is offered. Its just not worth making the band look bad when the stage isn't sufficient or some other issue. We want the fans to be blown away not underwhelmed. Its like anything you've got to put in the work and the due diligence so we try to keep up with the latest gear and whats happening with the sound. We want to sound like the album and then some.

09. DEADLY STORM: You are basically veteran of the death metal scene when you look back at your beginnings and compare it with today, do you think the scene has become a closed matter and is setting limits or is there still place for development and progress? 

LEE: There's always new talent coming up so there's always something to look towards. I think the death metal stamp has been set and now any new band doing it will be seen as retro or some mix of death and black metal. It can get confusing. I think there is a lot of new talent out there snd they seem to take from a lot of different styles. That's what I'm seeing. There's just a flood of music out there so it really is hard to keep up with everything. There's so many sub genres and as with everything there is good and bad you just have to figure out which is which. Monstrosity were there from early days and we've played all the clubs: the CBGBs, the Whisky A GoGos, the Z7s, theTrocaderos, The Riviera Theaters, The Masquerades,... We've played some good tours and our thing now is to step it up and take it further and just bring these songs to life in a killer way. 

10. DEADLY STORM: Thanks a lot for this interesting interview Lee! And the last words for all old and new fans of Monstrosity all over the world are yours .... 

LEE: Thanks for the interview. Hope to see everyone on tour. Remember to check out the album and if it doesn't grab you the first time give it a few more spins it will grow. Trust me!! Check out the new album The Passage of Existence, check out the reissues of Spiritual Apocalypse and Rise To Power, check out our new exclusive t shirt design at Look for us on tour after the New Year!

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