Martin Rosendahl interviewed by PSL
How are things in Copenhagen these days?
Things are a bit hectic right now. Lots if stuff needs to be done prior to the release of the new album. We're also rehearsing with new members getting them in shape for some serious gigging. Furthermore we're doing a reunion next spring with me and Brian's old band Iniquity. That is taking a lot of time and effort as well. But it keeps us in shape which is good. Being busy is a positive thing when it comes to playing music.
It's been almost five years since A New Species of Deviant. What have you all been doing the past five years?
Well, during the long time in between the last album and this one we haven't been lazy at all. First we lost a few members and it took almost a year before we could start touring in support of A New Species of Deviant, but as soon as we had a complete line-up we've been playing shows like crazy. More than 60 shows has been played from late 2008 to early 2011. Including a full European tour supporting Nile, Krisiun and Grave, a small Scandinavian tour along with Insision and of course a shit load of festivals and local shows in Denmark. So a lot of hard work has been done during those years.
How would you describe Fleshcraft in comparison to A New Species of Deviant?
First of all we finally got the massive yet dynamic production which we've always wanted thanks to Tue Madsen's young sound prodigy Jakob Olsen. Material wise we were going for a more catchy and straight forward approach without loosing the finesse. A task I personally think we've accomplished. The songs are more focused and to the point where we in the old days were trying to get a bit of everything crammed into every track. So all in all it's quite different from earlier material, but still having the initial Corpus Mortale signature intact.
Do you feel you've matured as song-writers on Fleshcraft?
Definitely yes. As I mentioned earlier the process has been way more focused than ever before. Also the songs were all written within a shorter time span than on the earlier albums where the song-writing was spread over several years. Also we're getting older and know what works for us and in which direction we want to go.
How do you go about writing music? Do all of you contribute?
Usually all members contribute to the song writing, but for various reasons of a more personal character this album has been an exception. I've been writing all the material for FleshCraft except for two songs in which Brian and Andreas participated. Of course Rasmus has been giving it a lot of input in the rehearsal phase, but all the raw structures and the riffs has more or less been a solo thing on my part. It wasn't meant to be like that, but that's how it turned out in the end. I seriously hope that we'll go back to a more band-like approach on future material since it's really hard work to do everything single handed.
You've re-recorded "Seize the Moment of Murder" for Fleshcraft. Why is that?
The reason is simple. "Seize the Moment of Murder" was only released on a limited 7-inch vinyl so we felt that all the "regular" fans should have a chance to get it on CD or mp3 without having to accept a bad copy of the vinyl. Also the version on the EP is not the greatest performance so I felt it was in it place to re-record it and getting it done the way it was intended.
Do you solely find inspiration in death metal or do different kinds of music interest you as well?
I can only speak for myself on this one but I get my inspiration from all sorts of genres. I get so much death metal in the rehearsal room, at shows and when going to concerts so when I'm home death metal has to share the time on my player with everything from blues & rock music to electronic music and hip-hop. I listen to most genres and I never deny good music just because it is labelled a certain style. It's hard to say exactly which bands or genres that inspires me, but most of the ideas just pop up in my head and then I grab the guitar and make them into riffs. It can be everything from a hip-hop bass line to some electronic sounds to a lead guitar lick. So it's hard to pinpoint it 100%. So I guess music in general is what inspires me.
What inspires you lyrically and is there an overall red line in the theme?
Just like with A New Species of Deviant and most of the debut as well, serial killers and their handicraft is the lyrical themes of the new album. Hence the title FleshCraft. So there's a definite red line there. All lyrics are about killers, the murders they commit and also the psychology behind their acts. A subject I have and always have had a great interest in. Actually I blame it on my mom as she was the first one to tell me about serial killers when I was a kid [laughs]. She has a great interest in murder and horror so no wonder it has been contaminating my innocent mind early on.
How much work do you put in the lyrics?
Quite a lot actually. I read loads of books on the subject and watch all the documentaries and movies about murder I can get my hands on, and I've been doing that for many years. So whenever I find a particular interesting case I write down a line here and there while studying the case. In the end I usually have a lot of good lines which I can pick, add or delete stuff until it form a good vocal structure for the particular song. That means I always have loads of lyrics lying around just waiting to be used whenever a song is complete. The most important thing though is to make the vocals catchy so it's nice to have a lot of material to edit until everything is just perfect.
You've used a variety of studios to record the CD. Is there a story to that?
[Laughs] Well, the main reason is that we're poor so there wasn't much choice. No seriously, we agreed early on that we wanted Tue or Jakob at Antfarm and JBO Sound studios to record the drums and do the mixing as we wanted the perfect result this time. No corners were cut. We've used the Starstruck studio at earlier occasions so we knew that we'd get a good product from there as well. Also we live in Copenhagen so it wouldn't be too convenient only to record in Aarhus.
Fleshcraft was recorded between February and May 2011. How come it's taken almost a year to get it completed?
We recorded the drums in the Antfarm swimming pool in February. Then we recorded all the strings at Rasmus' place, since we were going to re-amp the guitars that was an easy task. But when you have unlimited time you tend to get lazy, but also picky about the takes so that part of the recording took way more time than initially planned. I think we started in March and we weren't through until around the beginning of July. When the strings were finally done I went into Anders Lundemark's Starstruck studio to do the vocals. The studio is located in the same building as our rehearsal space, making it easy to do sessions after rehearsals and such, plus the fact that the studio has some of the best and priciest equipment in the country assuring us that we would get some good material for the mixing sessions. After the vocal sessions we went back to Aarhus and Antfarm to mix the songs along with Jakob Olsen, who did an amazing job. All in all it took about nine months from start to finish and to delay things further Jakob had to remix the whole thing which meant we didn't have the final master until December, 11 months after we recorded the drums. It's worth mentioning that we took all the time we wanted to make sure nothing was done with any haste or pressure. We only recorded when people felt on top of things, making sure nothing was accepted unless everybody was satisfied. That also meant that we had a lot of small breaks in between sessions. Also we played around 10-15 shows in between sessions resulting in even more breaks.
I understand you have inked a deal with Deepsend Records. Could you tell a bit about that?
We had offers from several cool labels, but in the end Deepsend Records gave us "an offer we couldn't refuse", quite a generous offer actually. At this point before the album is even released we already have a very good communication with the label manager Graham which is a very dedicated guy. Quite a different situation from our old shitty label Neurotic records which was impossible to work with. So we're really looking forward to work with a label that actually want to push things further rather than just being a leech sucking us dry.
Has it gotten more difficult to find a good label these days?
Hmm, I think it depends on several things. For a debut band I think it has been become very difficult indeed as most labels don't dare to try out new acts. But we're in such a lucky position that we already have established our name through the two first albums and tons of live shows. So as I mentioned we'd received quite a few offers where we could pick the one we found to be the best. So we've never really had difficulty getting album deals, but I know from friends that it can be quite hard. I guess it also depends on the product. If you have a good record to shop around it shouldn't be a problem.
Who is doing the artwork for the record?
Remy of Headsplit Productions is taking care of the artwork.
Do you think it's central that the artwork fits the music and lyrics?
Absolutely. In our case it's all about murder and killing so that's an easy task I think [laughs]. Just throw some skulls in there, several limbs and a shitload of blood and then you pretty much got it.
Do you have any concerts planned and do you expect to tour outside of Denmark in support of Fleshcraft?
After the release in early January we have a lot of shows coming up. First off we're touring Denmark with maybe a few shorter trips outside as well, also playing a few festivals which are already booked, but aren't official yet so we can't mention any names. South America might be an option too for early 2013, but it's too early at this point to say anything. After Denmark has been taken care of we're going to do a full European tour supporting one or more of the bigger acts. We hope all this can happen within 2013 and I can't see what should get in the way of those plans.
When you're not playing music what do you do for a living?
Carlos is a professor at the Copenhagen University teaching about social matters to foreign student - he's originally from Mexico, but is now living in Denmark permanently. Brian and I are currently unemployed, but it looks like we're both going to attend school next year. I don't know specifically what Brian's plans are, but I'm going to go for a graphic design / web design degree.
What do you think of the current Danish death metal scene? Has it become better or worse?
I think it's up and down... within the last few years a lot of cool bands have split up such as Exmortem for example and Koldborn are dead too or at least laying extremely low at the moment. But we still got a few cool ones left such as Dawn Of Demise, Spectral Mortuary and The Cleansing. A few young acts are popping up now and then, but most of them don't last for more than a few years before disappearing into oblivion. Regarding shows I think it has become a little better every year for some time now. There are many shows being played all over the country and usually the attendance is quite good, and that is really important I think. Probably the most important thing when it comes to this type of music. So all in all it's quite nice at the moment, but of course from a pessimistic point of view it can always get better.