Don Gates interviewed by PSL
What made you, Jay Fernandez, Jeff Acres and Scott Reigel start up the band again?
Well, it started with Jay and I working together on an instrumental project, but the more involved we got the more we noticed ourselves writing music in the vein of Brutality. We contacted Scott and Jeff to let them know we intended to add some additional work to our instrumentals on the Screams of Anguish album and things just kind of took over from there.
I guess it's obvious to ask why drummer Jim Coker isn't a part of the line-up?
When Brutality broke up in 1997 Jim and the two guitarists that played in the band at that time decided to start up Contorted. We did contact Jim to see if he would have an interest in joining the original line-up, but he felt that with how busy Brutality could become and how busy he already was with Contorted that it would be too much for him to bite off, so he decided to stay working with Contorted.
Have you found a drummer to complete the line-up?
Yes, Earl Zambella is our new drummer.
I've been following the updates on your Facebook page and it seems that things are more and more starting to take form. Could you say a bit about what is in the works?
When the band reformed and each of us began researching more and more into the amount of fans Brutality still has. We realized that there is a large and loyal following. So, we have been doing more merchandising and promoting the music. We are also working on a compilation project consisting of the fans favourites as well as a few new songs to be titled Orchestrated Devastation. Moreover we've booked our first show for October 13, 2012 here in Tampa. It will be the first time the Screams of Anguish line-up has performed together in over 19 years. We also have hopes of releasing a brand new full-length album within the coming year.
Do you expect to go on tour at some point?
As far as touring goes it's going to be a touch and go situation. We are however hoping to venture into the festival circuit as we all do have families now. Touring is not our primary concern, but by all means a goal to conquer.
I understand that you've begun to write new material. Is it too early to talk about what to expect of the music?
It's never too early to ask, I would expect the music to be in the vein of Screams of Anguish. I mean, it's almost the same line-up that wrote and recorded that album. Plus we all have more than 20 years of ideas bottled up, so it's bound to be an amazing piece of work.
How do you go about writing music? Do all of you contribute?
Yes, each and everyone in the band contribute to the song-writing. Whether it's a song written by Jay, Jeff, Scott or me, we all have input. We write entirely as a band.
Do you find most of the inspiration in death metal or do different kinds of music interest you as well?
Absolutely not, we all have an open mind and listens to all genres of music. It can be anything from country music to classical, hip hop or old rock n' roll.
The band tried to reform around 2002, but things didn't work out. Are you sure it will be different in 2012?
All we can do is hope for the best, but every attempt to reform after 1997 was never done by original members. This will be the first time the original line-up from the first album has come together as a band, as well as family and friends.
Jeff, Scott and Jim were like the core line-up on the three albums. Why was it so difficult to hold on to the different guitarists?
The song-writing consisted of the band as a whole on Screams of Anguish. Without that line-up the sound and the heart was not there.
Why did you and Bryan Hipp leave the band?
I left the band after When the Sky Turns Black was released because I realized the total lack of support from Nuclear Blast Records, and it was becoming increasingly hard for the band to run itself. I had a wife and an infant and could not drop everything for the band. Bryan left the band for similar reasons.
You left the band earlier, but what have you all been busy doing after Brutality disbanded around 1997?
Well, I myself moved to New Hampshire for 13 years and ran a business. Scott married and moved to Georgia. Jeff also got married and started a family and a business. Jay has continued to do session recording and became a tattoo artist. He too has a family.
I know Jay has contributed a bit to the song-writing in Monstrosity. Besides Jay has any of you been playing music after Brutality broke up?
Yes, Jim Coker and I both did a short stint in a horror punk band called The Gravesiders. I did session work of different genres, and Scott and Jeff have lived their lives normally.
I regularly visit various death metal forums on the internet. I've noticed that Brutality's music is often posted or talked about. Does it surprise you that there's an interest for the band in 2012?
No, not really. When Screams of Anguish came out we were ahead of our time, it still hold up to what has come out today. If anything our following has only grown.
There's a boxset out containing various demo and live recordings. Is that a bootleg or an official release?
This is an official release from Area Death Productions, with full permissions from the band.
Tampa and Florida in general was like the hotspot of death metal around 1990 and home of band such as Nocturnus, Morbid Angel and Deicide, to name three. How was it to be a part of that era?
This can't be described in words. It was very competitive really. Friendships were formed that stand true to this day. Knowing we were part of that era and knowing that we have been a part of what has inspired so many more sub-genres of death metal is an honour.
Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Yeah, we would like to thank the fans or the support that they have given us over the course the past 25 plus years. They have been through thick and thin with us, but never gave up. The numerous failed attempts to bring Brutality back has never settled kindly with us and we are pleased to finally be able to make it happen the right way. We thank our families and friends for always believing in us as well. None of this could have happened without all of them behind us. We also thank you Per for allowing us to tell a little piece of our story. May peace be with everyone.