This multi-national outfit totally blew me away with their "Dark Regions" MCD and therefore an interview was more than necessary. This is oldschool Death Metal the way you need it. Andrés, the mainman behind DARKCREED, is also the leading figure behind the soon to be released compilation vinyl called "Resurrected In Festering Slime" through Soulseller Records. So you see, there’s plenty to talk about and Andrés had a good day considering the length of his answers, haha!
Hello Andrés, how are you? Anything important you want to share at the beginning?
"Not bad, relaxing at my sofa, drinking a couple of Bitter & Twisted and listening to some nice shit such as TRAUMATIC Demo ’90, NECRONY Demo’91 among other rotting and stinking stuff whilst I’m trying to answer this interview properly. Hmm… there is nothing really relevant to share at the moment so let’s move on."
What’s going on in the DARKCREED camp these days? Any sensational news?
"Well, sensational news, I really don’t know if they really are, but we’ve got some to tell concerning to the forthcoming future of DARKCREED in the course of next year. First of all, Jonas Stålhammar of BOMBS OF HADES and Viktor "Valmer" Eriksson of FERAL are recently part of the definitive and official line-up. Both of them will take over the guitar and bass issues, respectively. We’re currently working on our first and probably ultimate album called "…Is Dead And Always Has Been Dead". This is certainly going to be the climax of DARKCREED’s existence as all of us are very keen and thrilled to bring out the maximum of all our potential musically speaking with the exclusive aim to explore rotting and stinking confinements which are located somewhere in our morbid and fucked-up cerebral cortex."
How many interviews have you answered and how’s the response on "Dark Regions" from the media and the fans so far? Are you satisfied?
"We’ve just answered one interview for Abhorrent Decay zine (AT) managed by Thomas Heumesser. We decided to be interviewed by Thomas due to the fact that we know he is a truly die-hard underground Death freak, who is truly supporting the scene without taking any economical advantage or opportunist intentions from that. In reference to the response of the media for "Dark Regions", I have to confess we’re kind of uneasy with compliments, just simply because we steer clean of playing the wrong game of being subjected to slavery by ballslicking or misjudging comments from any fucking yuppie out there. But all in all, we’re amazed and content with all the great response from all those morbid souls, who feel some connection with us through our music. Surprisingly, we’ve received great feedback and truly total support from those real architects and contributors of the Death Metal scene such as Jonas Stålhammar himself, Anders Jacobsson, Jörgen Sändström, Kentha Philipson, Joacim Carlsson, Ola Larsson just to mention a few, whom we were in our teenage days influenced by."
My first contact with DARKCREED was your "Dark Regions" MCD… As far as I know DARKCREED was founded around 1994 and already released 2 demos "In The Blackest Eyes" (1996) and "Spiritual Blindness" (1999). Tell us something about your early years and those 2 demos.
"DARKCREED is an old project formed in 1994 by me and Miguel. I was 14 years old back in the day, when I was searching for the right people in order to found a formal oldschool Death Metal band into the veins of the same bands we have always been swayed by such as AFFLICTED, CARNAGE (demos), NIHILIST / ENTOMBED, NIRVANA 2002, MACABRE END / GOD MACABRE, NECRONY, TRAUMATIC and few others more. Unfortunately, things were quite disappointing in the beginning since I was rejected due to my fairly young age by the majority of the people who were and are still corrupting the Death Metal scene in Mexico City. However, Miguel came into the picture when my encouragement was getting overwhelmed with frustration and lots of blur of images in my mind were rushing by. We had previously met on a popular music flea market called "El Chopo" in Mexico City couple of years earlier, where we used to hang out and trade all kinds of Death Metal stuff, but particularly Swedish Death Metal. In fact, if my memory is not failing me NECRONY was the main reason that caused our tight friendship since this band completely dragged our attention by its musical, lyrical and visual concept. So by the time Miguel was working on FOETICIDE as one man project band soon after the departure of two ex-members, so the overall situation was not so great for him at all. Despite of that feeling of a thousand pounds of shit over us, I purposed him to spawn DARKCREED by recording a 6-track demo, which all the music, lyrics, artwork, and so forth were done by me alone. Miguel believed without thinking twice in the project, so bringing the memories into focus all was moving up through the gears with DARKCREED at this point. We recorded the first demo "In The Blackest Eyes" at M.A.T. studio, which was a four track Tascam portastudio during September 1995 and April 1996. The demo was released in 400 cassette copies by Undying Records, my own childish label. Technically speaking, the music of this demo is primitive and unskillful but the truly old spirit of Death is certainly into there guided by our naiveness, rabid impulsion and spontaneity. Broadly speaking, the music of this demo is very into the veins of FURBOWL, AFFLICTED, XYSMA, MACABRE END and GOREMENT. We are very proud of this demo and we know we did the right thing at this stage. Two years later after getting good response for the first demo by the local media, we wanted to perfect our craft by doing the things our own way but inviting some musicians who don’t deserve to be even mentioned. The intention of the invitation was merely to bring DARKCREED to the next level by closing those technical gaps in the drums and the guitars solos clearly evident in our first recording. The result of this aforementioned invitation was our worst mistake ever in our entire musical career in DARKCREED, because we just obtained from them backstabbing and an overwhelming bullshit around the recording of the second demo "Spiritual Blindness". However, this story has been buried into the deep pits of crap whereabouts those miserable rats come from. In conclusion, if you are willing to scratch the putrid cadaver of our early years in order to get to know DARKCREED in more detail I strongly suggest you to stick with our first demo only."
I’m a little bit confused as I read that you were founded in Mexico, but from what I know you are living in Scotland now. You also lived a few years in Berlin and now you are living in Edinburgh. How does that work for DARKCREED when talking about song writing and stuff like that?
"Miguel and me together had been carrying out everything concerning the songwriting issues until now. In reference to the lyrics, I’ve been the only dedicated freak working in this department. In general, there are not specific procedures how we usually approach the song- and lyrics-writing but I can tell you the spontaneity and the avoidance of over thinking are the only two rules which DARKCREED lives by. Actually, we’ve come up with all the songs and lyrics contained in the "Dark Regions" EP and the song for the R.I.F.S. compilation ‘Shattered Entrails’ in the very, very last minute. This doesn’t mean there is lack of dedication and commitment in here but we realised this is the way that works out for us the best. As you have mentioned, I’m currently living in Scotland and for about 8 years in Europe, obviously it’s been impossible to bring up DARKCREED as a formal band throughout all these years, but paradoxically the current situation itself has allowed us to bring back our music to the scene with considerable initiative and flair in tackling the difficult task set that until now we have succeeded in. The way we work consists basically in sending the files of our own guitar and bass riffs back and forth between Miguel, Jonas, Viktor and me, respectively. We discuss the structures and the concept along the shaping of the songs. Once we put all the string music down, J.C. comes into play by adding his catchy and tight Thrash sound drumming, as you know he’s the drummer of the infamous Thrash band STRIKEMASTER, so he cannot even subconsciously deny his roots into our music. Finally, I write the lyrics at the very end just a few days before we enter the studio. The lyrics are mostly based on several horror stories from my scrapbook which I use to spend several hours of my spare time working on them. So as you can see there is no rocket science in here at all, but everything simple and straightforward."
Your other members are Miguel Angeles (who also plays in FOETICIDE) and J.C. Chavez (who took care of the great and tight drumming on "Dark Regions" and plays in STRIKEMASTER). Recently, I read Jonas Stahlhammar (BOMBS OF HADES) and Viktor Eriksson (FERAL) joined DARKCREED. This doesn’t make it easier for you as a band, right?
"Not at all, if we consider DARKCREED as a studio band. We’re taking our chances in using technology which enables us to be in tight communication although physically we’re all of us thousand miles away from each other. Obviously, the task isn’t simple under these circumstances but we’ve succeeded so far, you know, the fact of creating great stuff with the sole purpose of praising Death, makes it all worth it."
What was the reason why you asked these 2 guys to join and why not looking out for some serious musicians in Edinburgh?
"Because Jonas and Viktor know perfectly what I want for DARKCREED musically and conceptually speaking. Besides, we have the same vision of what Death Metal is meant to be and reciprocally dig what every one of us is doing in our corresponding bands. Apart from that, there is not a real oldschool Death Metal scene in Scotland so far, except that one provided by our good pals of BONESAW from Aberdeen, who thought the oldschool was going to die with them at all."
I never saw any pictures of your band or the members. Why don’t you place pictures of you on your myspace-page?
"We don’t display any band photo, since we’ve been totally stuck with the idea that the music and the artwork must talk by themselves and nobody is going to change that. The situation of the scene – if I can call it like that – looks quite uncertain, the balance of the strength of Death Metal is overwhelmed and skewed way towards the poser’s and impostor aptitudes. If you really care about our look, well we don’t, actually we don’t even give a shit how you look like. Contrariwise, we appreciate and recognize your truly and honest support by promoting bands who encompasses a certain underground scene, and this absolutely meaningful and authentic rather than any fucking poser’s aptitude. We believe in actions and facts and not in futile vanity, false glory and fake trendy bullshit."
"Dark Regions" is a killer recording with great ideas, perfect drumming, great guitar riffs and on the top great vocals from your side. Would you call DARKCREED original or how would you describe the brand of Death Metal you are playing?
"Nope, we’re not reinventing the damn wheel. DARKCREED was born to pay homage to the few bands we’ve stuck with along the ride of the last 19 years. We play Death metal what we like and know to play. This does not mean we’re running out of creativity in doing our music since this could be kind of awkward of being fucking copycat’s wannabes. In contrast, we know we’ve notched and often even improved the sound of those bands, who gave us several years of joy. We’re confident we’ve crossed now the boundaries between the retribution and the self-creation of the Metal of Death by taking steps on our own whilst we make it from a point of enjoying."
Please tell something about the recording process of "Dark Regions". Seems to be quite complicated with recording one part in Mexico and the other part in Sweden. Explain
"Miguel owns his proper and recently improved recording studio called M.A.T. studio, which is located in the outskirts of Mexico City. He’s had a great deal of experience in recording a bunch of Latin American Metal bands in the last 18 years, so this time the things were much easier in order to obtain much better production in our sound. J.C. and Miguel recorded the drums and the strings down there, whilst I recorded all the vocals at Off-Beat studio in Stockholm. The mixing and mastering were engineered by Anders Eriksson, who plays an enormous role not only in our final sound but in the band itself. He also did some backing vocals on ‘Deathless Ones’ at some point of the fun. I’ve learned lots of things from him in terms of recording, sound production and even in the vocal performance. Needless to say, we definitely consider him part of DARKCREED’s line-up. To me he is currently the most talented sound engineer for Swedish Death Metal by far, since he doesn’t stick with cliché sound such as those provided by Sunlight, Unisound, among others. I’m stating this with facts; just take a shot on the sound of the last albums of GENERAL SURGERY, VICIOUS ART, and some stuff of THE PROJECT HATE, and you’ll hear and recognise all of them are awesome but distinctively genuine."
I think one of the most positive things in DARKCREED is that you don’t sound typical Swedish nor American, perhaps a little bit British which is meant positive. To which scene do you count your band? What are the influences DARKCREED are taking? I know from you that you are a huge fan of the old Swedish growlers as Joakim Bröms (most important if I’m correct), Axelsson/Liiva, L-G Petrov, P. Boder, McWilliam, J. Larsson. As I said you don’t sound typically Swedish though the Swedish scene might be the biggest influence, right?
"To be honest with you, we don’t ask ourselves this sort of questions about which scene DARKCREED belongs to, but it’s evident that we’re profoundly into the veins of the Swedish oldschool scene from 1988 to 1993. Even though, just few bands of this era are the common denominator of our musical taste. Which bands am I referring to? The same ones I mentioned in the answers of the previous questions above. Yeah, you’re right. Joakim Bröms has been my greatest influence all these years in terms of growls as well as the other growlers you’ve cited subsequently. In addition, I also forgot to mention Nicke Andersson on the ENTOMBED album "Clandestine". Undoubtedly, he did the motherfucking mother lode on that album, despite he don’t accepts it."
Let’s go back to your new members: how did it happen that you got Jonas Ståhlhammar from BOMBS OF HADES and David Nilsson from FERAL as session musicians for the song ‘Shattered Entrails’ and how did you manage the recording process as they obviously are not living close to you?
"I have a great relationship with Jonas and David, probably the closest one from anyone else in the scene. Furthermore, I consider Jonas a musical genius since he’s capable of playing and performing incredibly well all kinds of instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, mellotron and so forth. To tell you straight, he and Nicke Andersson are the persons who I admire the most, musically speaking. So you can imagine I fucking flipped over to share our music with Jonas, and even more to know he is officially part of DARKCREED now. Likewise, David Nilsson is a very good friend of mine and without a doubt the best growler of this "new" generation of bands by far. The recording of ‘Shattered Entrails’ was carried out under the same procedure used for the "Dark Regions" EP, but with some little drifts in between. I sent my corresponding guitar riffs to Miguel afterwards he combined his riffs with mine and shaped the whole song in a couple of days. The strings and drums were newly recorded at M.A.T. studio in Mexico. Jonas recorded the lead guitars at Studio 7komma2 in Västerås, Sweden. About the main and backing growls, I recorded them this time at Split Level studios here in Edinburgh, Scotland whilst David recorded a part of the main and backing growls at Riverhill in Skellefteå, north Sweden. The non-nearby location challenge was finally succeeded by sending all the files to Anders who honed the craft right to the end with his magic at Off-Beat Studio in Stockholm."
I already saw a sketch and the final drawing for the next DARKCREED output. For this cover you got in touch with Ola Larsson who took care (among others) of the cool covers of TRAUMATIC’s demo and their 7"EP. Was Ola your first choice and what do you think about the final result?
"Ola Larsson certainly did one of the most impressive covers in the history of Death Metal for our upcoming album. Ola hadn’t done any illustration cover for a Death Metal band since NECRONY and TRAUMATIC back in the day. The process to come up with the cover painting was relative longer than expected for Ola and me – we are talking about 5 months approximately. But once we both stared at the final version we knew that all the time invested was worth. We’re and particularly myself very proud of this happening due to it was my dream since I was 14 years old that Ola’d have done the artwork of our most important release and the dream came true. Besides, a truly and great friendship between Ola and myself was born, and surely this isn’t going be the last time to work together."
What’s next for DARKCREED?
"The first and ultimate album "…Is Dead And Always Has Been Dead". This time we’re going to come up with something really off the wall in the mouth of madness such as murky stark landscapes of zombies SS style but less Gestapo more fetishism and macabre merging together into pits of big bloated blocks of malformed hunks of flesh and hooks in hand, an so forth (absolutely – Frank). We’ll select the most repulsive and stinking tracks without thinking of fitting in or being approved by the wise ones charlatans self-called Metal experts. Our needs are evolving and turning even more violent trying to find the right way of flaying completely the skin and flesh of rotten corpses offfrom the sewage. I really don’t want to anticipate the plans but the only thing I can tell is there’ll be a bunch of people involved in the recording concerning the vocals… a truly pit full of fucking demons shredding the decayed souls of the weak!"
Another topic: you recorded the mentioned song for the compilation LP "Resurrected In Festering Slime" which is coordinated more or less by yourself alone. Why did you decide to manage this compilation on your own and why don’t you release it by yourself. Please take the opportunity to speak some words about this upcoming release and the goal behind it!
"Resurrected In Festering Slime" was born by the urge of spreading the audible hell with the truly aptitude of the Death Metal scene. Everything started in February of 2008, when I realised the majority of bands is currently playing the wrong game by preaching lots of fake and dishonest bullshit through the media – I’ll explain more in detail about this situation in your following questions later on. However, there are very few but still Death Metal bands which aren’t dragged into it and discern perfectly and follow the real path of utter Death. So I decided to create something extraordinary exclusively with and among the closest friends-bands of DARKCREED putting the notion to the test by the ground rules of Death Metal if we really are all of us capable of dealing together to materialise our unique and final cause; a milestone in the entire Death Metal history that resurrects the old spirit of the truly scene. In fact, the name of the compilation is an allusion of the epitaph found on the gravestone that appears in the front cover of the irrevocable and most important icons of the Swedish Death Metal, the "Left Hand Path" album of ENTOMBED which recites "Rest In Festering Slime. Here Burns The Souls Of A Thousand Generations…", so we are leading the resurrection of all those festered souls, who were slumbering during the last 20 years. Why did I decide to introduce Soulseller Records into the picture instead of releasof R.I.F.S. by myself? Because Jorn (Soulseller Records’ owner) and I have very good communication and mainly because we both share the same vision of what Death Metal is meant to be. Besides, he’s been very supportive with all my ideas about how to address DARKCREED and R.I.F.S. in terms of promotion and distribution, you know, prioritizing the underground selectivity instead of commercial prostitution."
Would you mind writing a short review about this compilation release? Which are from your point of view the most outstanding songs on it!
"I don’t need to be a political animal in here by saying all the songs contained in R.I.F.S. are equally outstanding, but honestly if you consider yourself a die-hard oldschool Death Metal fan you’ll discover by shuffling or listening back-to-back to R.I.F.S. through your stereo or i-pod that all the songs are undeniably awesome and there is not even one average song. The compilation clearly encompasses a proper introduction, intermezzo and culmination of an obscure ritual of evil and Death."
What is your personal opinion about compilations at all? I mean, does it make sense to spend such an effort on such a project when every 2nd fanzine already carries free edition bonus CDs with tracks from several outfits on it. What’s the difference with "Resurrected In Festering Slime"?
"R.I.F.S. is going further beyond the music and compilation release itself, because even though we know all the songs contained in the compilation are top notch, it’s the first time in the fucking history of the Death Metal that a compilation project’s been done exclusively by and among the bands participants. Each band was assigned to carry out a specific task related to the release of the compilation as well as every single issue was democratically discussed and solved. For instance, Kriss & Sven of EVISCERATED did the entire artwork and the layout for the vinyl, respectively. David & Viktor of FERAL, Michael of RAPE PILLAGE & BURN, Jocke & Juck of MR. DEATH took over the promotion in a very selective way through webzines and metal forums, Julian & Kent of UNSPOKEN created the official digi-flyer, and the list can go on and on. Therefore, every single input was given with tremendous initiative and care, so no single detail was overlooked. Hence, we’re all of us very proud and flatter ourselves for R.I.F.S. because we certainly know this happening will never be repeated so the ritual will be immortalised and always remembered by ourselves and the next generations to come. So I barely believe those fanzines and labels you mention above can be even close to achieve what we did and in the case they want to be copycats, well I can ensure you that whatever they do, it will be pretending and perfectly awkward… a waste of time."
Projections Of A Stained Mind
"The mother lode of all the Swedish Death Metal compilations without a single fucking doubt, and those who are against what I’m saying here, I can just realise two things of them; either they are completely blind covered retards or just they ignore what the Swedish Death Metal is all about."
"The first milestone of the pre-Death Metal, the ignition of the eternal black fire of Death."
"Great compilation but I feel some lack of commitment and dedication from the label on the release itself especially on the crappy mastering that severely damaged the final sound of some great songs such as ‘Ashes Of Mourning Life’ from GOD MACABRE and ‘Mastication’ from CREMATORY. Besides, a couple of tracks of some average bands were added just to fill the format such as ‘Disembodied’ from ROTTREVORE and ‘Revel In Extinction’ from HYDR HYDR."
"Although the mighty bands of DISSECTION and EUCHARIST appeared in this compilation, the Death Metal scene was decayed and drowned at this point (i.e. 1995) into a huge swamp of crap surrounded by dishonesty, wanker narcissism, Metal impostors and commercial fucking prostitution."
The Wine Of Satan
"I just stick with THE BLACK and MORTUARY DRAPE from this compilation. Why just this ones? Because musical and conceptual speaking, just very few Black Metal bands from that era really got my attention."
What do you think about the current situation that more and more oldschool Death Metal bands pop up each day? Which are your favourite ones of those and which are those to forget?
"Hmm… it’s kind of hard to answer this question in a few lines, so I prefer to say all what I think about it over the next one. My favourites "new" bands are first of all the R.I.F.S. league and some few others more, but in particular order who’ve gotten more of my attention are BOMBS OF HADES, DEATH BREATH, TORTURE DIVISION, TRIBULATION (Arvika), EVISCERATED, FERAL, RAPE PILLAGE & BURN, GRAVELESS, MORBUS CHRON and MAIM. Concerning to those bands to forget, I’ve zero interest in mentioning them."
One strange thing I recognized with all these "new" oldschool bands: the bands in the early nineties took it really serious and some of them where and still are quite successful. It seems as they wanted to make a living of their music. Those newcomers don’t take it that serious compared to other bands from other styles. Can you share this impression?
"As a matter of fact yes! As you mention some Death Metal bands which started in the early nineties have followed the left hand path with total commitment and dedication along all these years, which is fairly opposite to what the newcomers seem to be doing by now. Nowadays all is happening too fast; anyone has fortunately broad access of information through the web and the power to create lots of things by using software without having outstanding technical skills. The evident overpopulation of bands from any musical genre is the result of the aforementioned fact, and there is nothing wrong with that, but what really gives me the creeps is the fake attitude and the empty intentions of doing the things. Unfortunately, there’s lots of new pseudo-bands formed by groupies, who’re playing the wrong game of wannabe celebrities and leaders of tomorrow into the scene even though they completely ignore the roots and ground rules of the Death Metal itself. But they’re not the first groupies to take credit for someone else’s work due to there were lots of them especially in Sweden during the golden era (1985-1994) as well, you know, just taking the advantage of being Swedish but musically they were just bad or too bad I would say."
I see in you a huge fan of the old Death Metal days! Tell something about it! Where you an active tape trader back then or did you miss those days and are discovering those glory days now?
"Yeah, I’ve been a huge Death Metal fan since I was 12 years old (1991), but was never a huge tape trader back then. However, I had always the biggest tape trader from entire Mexico; Jose Adolfo of Distorted Harmony Records as my personal Death Metal guru who opened up the magnificent door of Death Metal for me. Besides, he is my best Metal friend and certainly is the one who knows more about Death Metal than anybody else down there. I’m pretty sure anyone who truly was into the tape trading of oldschool Swedish Death Metal back in the day surely must know Adolfo. On my side, I was just a kid writing and sending my hidden cash for demos, E.P. and T-shirts to Swedish bands such as NECRONY, TRAUMATIC, GENERAL SURGERY, AFFLICTED, ENTOMBED, etc. So I’m not really a newcomer discovering the glory of these days recently."
What do you see as the major difference between the recordings of the early 90s and the current releases (even if played in an oldschool way)?
"I think current releases have the great advantage of getting better technology in terms of sound production, but in contrast most of them are meaningless conceptually speaking and this is considerably worse than the poor sound of any band back in the day. Most of the patterns of Death Metal music have been created about 20 years ago and there is anything wrong to use them for creating and performing new songs by following the same vision from those frenetic kids who created with rage, adrenaline and dedication such bands like DEATH, AUTOPSY, ENTOMBED, CARNAGE, CARCASS and all what Death Metal is about. Once the "new" bands emerge into this vision the reality of the Death Metal scene will reinvent itself again discovering and exploring new repulsive and deep confinements, which the predecessors weren’t capable of finding them and exactly at this point the legacy of Death will be once again retributed."
Andrés, it’s time to come to an end now. Hope you enjoyed this interview? I hope I didn’t forget anything? The last words are yours!
"Thanks for supporting the Death Metal scene and for trying to maintain its legacy intact in the way you’re doing it. Be very fucking selective and strict with the bands you’re in touch and promoting since there are very few but fucking great bands who deserve more attention but are still remaining into deep stinking sewages, living among heinous rats, moulds and rotten carcasses. Spread the fucking disease until you’ll be consumed by total fuckin’ death!"