DETERIOROT is one of the bands that I learned to know simply by chance while checking out some reviews on this website to keep myself a little bit up to date. I got a taste of their stuff by listening to a MP3-file on their official homepage and I can describe my listening-experience only with these four words: I was fucking crushed!!! DETERIOROT play sinister & blasphemous old school Death Metal the way it has to be. Their full-length debut CD "In Ancient Beliefs" is out now on WW3 Records and it’s great. So I didn’t think twice and contacted Paul Zavaleta (vocals / guitar) and here’s the result…
DETERIOROT are around since the early 90’s, but still quite unknown over here, so I think it would be good if you would sum up your band’s biography and line-up and tell me what you have released so far! Also the bands you played in before starting DETERIOROT would be interesting?
”Myself – Paul Zavaleta guitar / vocals and Jon Brody drums, formed DETERIOROT in 1990. We jammed for nearly a year together and wrote a few songs. In the middle of 1991 we had Jim Hoffman on bass and Will Kuberski on guitar. We recorded a rehearsal demo and landed a deal with Afterworld Records who wanted to release a 7"EP. We recorded it but the label was no more and it was never released. A few months later we recorded a low budget demo simply called "Demo ’92". The Spanish label Drowned Productions then signed us for a 3 album deal and released a 7"EP entitled "Manifested Apparitions Of Unholy Spirits". A few months later Dave Rotten from Drowned Productions informed me that Drowned is out of business. After receiving the worst news of our lives, we decided to put DETERIOROT on the shelf and go our own ways. After 6 years I decided to start writing music again and contacted Jon Brody and we talked about recording an album. I then got in touch with Dave Rotten of Repulse Records and he signed us to a 2 album deal. A year later it was released by WWIII Records in the USA. Repulse has not the finances to release it in Europe. Now they sold our contract to Candlelight and Plastic Head for release in Europe.”
Then I would like to know what’s the latest news in the DETERIOROT camp! I know your latest album "In Ancient Beliefs" and like it a lot. My personal fave is ‘Eternal Darkness’ with its slight reminiscence of old DEATH and its diversified song structure, inclusive a short acoustic guitar part. But how did press & fans respond on it and what are the next steps in DETERIOROT’s blasphemous conquest!
”We just finished recording a cover of SLAYER’s ‘Read Between The Lies’. It will be released on a Slayer tribute album on WWIII Records (aren’t they getting tired of that??? Who needs all this tribute-shit, especially in case of SLAYER I think there are more tributes around, than they have released official albums – Stefan). Our next Album "The Faithless" is almost complete. All the material is done for it and recorded. So far the press and fans have responded greatly. The press has recognized that we are devoted to playing Death Metal in its true format. We bring that spirit of before back to the forefront.”
What can you tell me about the recording of "In Ancient Beliefs"? How did you get along with your producer? How long did it take to record the album?
”I produced the album along with Jon Brody. The album took around 3 months to record in total of around 60 hours of studio time. I was able to experiment a lot with layering multiple guitar tracks to thicken the sound and was able to learn a lot of things I did not know before. I ended up recording the entire rhythm tracks plus the solos. Our other guitarist was only able to record 3 solos on the album during 2 different sessions. We definitely made great friends at the studio and will always work there.”
It is obvious that DETERIOROT have their origin in early 90’s Death Metal, but I think that you do not only have US-Death Metal as main influence, but also parts that remind of the Old Swedish Style (e.g. CARNAGE or GRAVE). Would you agree to that? What would you say are your main musical influences, your roots???
“I definitely love that whole Swedish early 90’s scene. Entombed, Carnage, Unleashed, Cemetary, Grave, Edge of Sanity. But I also like other stuff too. I really love the first AUTOPSY album "Severed Survival", to me that is one of the heaviest and timeless classics of all time. Also early AMORPHIS "Privilege Of Evil". So the really dark parts of that have influenced me in my writing. I wanted to mix that with my BOLT THROWER and DISMEMBER influences. I think the end result is just more interesting and it ends up reaching a broader amount of people and tastes. If you like 90’s European Swedish era like Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, Grave – you will like this album. If you like Death, Immolation, Incantation. You will like this album. If you like My Dying Bride, Abhorrence / early AMORPHIS, early PARADISE LOST (1st two albums). You will like this album. I listen to all these bands and wanted to play in all those styles. So my writing is a mix of all of that.”
The lyrics of your "In Ancient Beliefs" CD are very dark and gloomy to me and not only of the blasphemous, hateful kind. In additon to that they are nicely free of gore or satanic clichees as well – really great stuff . What can you tell me about their origin? Are they based upon personal experience or have they a cultural, philosophical background as well? Who’s responsible for them and what do you want to deliver with them, has DETERIOROT a certain message? How or where can you inspire yourself best (any special locations or atmosphere you need to write those lyrics)???
“I write all the music and lyrics. Some are personal feelings and thoughts I have. Some are fictional stories as in ‘Unholy Return’ which is a story I created about the second coming of Jesus Christ. But this time this Jesus is an Evil Unholy Christ and leads an uprising in Heaven to bring the world to an apocalypse. I don’t believe in religion of any kind and to me all those stories of the bible are just very creative stories and made up fictions as in the story I created in ‘Unholy Return’. The music and lyrics are such different writing process. They both have equal importance. I find lyric writing much more challenging to me than when I write riffs. When I play guitar and write riffs, it flows very naturally out of me. When I write lyrics, I have to dig deep within myself and in my past and put that into words almost in a way of a poet. Or I have to think of stories as a true writer should. Not just write a bunch of senseless gore words put together that don’t end up making any sense at all.”
What do you think about the US Death Metal scene at the moment? I think it has a lot of strong bands, but many tend to do this extreme Death /Grind like BRODEQUIN, which I’m not very fond of, it lacks of darkness and emotion. What do you think about this development?
“As far as new Death Metal is concerned. I don’t think I have heard any extreme Grind / Death Metal from the USA that is worth it for me to listen to it a 2nd time. BRODEQUIN sounds like the same band I’ve heard a million times.”
What’s your opinion concerning US Black Metal or Black Metal at all? Our European scene is still quite big, but it gets weaker and returns to the underground. The US Black Metal Bands are very good in my eyes (e.g. SUMMON, BLACK WITCHERY, WIND OF THE BLACK MOUNTAINS), what do you think of an upcoming US Black Metal scene? What bands do you like, which not? Did you ever think about bringing Black Metal influences into your music?
“Abazagorath is a US Black Metal band for everyone to look out for. I’m not a fan of much other US Black Metal. As far as influences go. I will only allow true darkness to influence my writing. My own mood, thoughts and creativity are what come out. I don’t need to add labels to it. I never say I am gonna let trends influence me. Just what comes out naturally from me.”
How are the relations between the bands in the US? Do you support each other or are there intrigues among the US bands as well? (here in Germany I sometimes think, that the intrigues and rumors are more important than the music, what definitely is the wrong way!!!) Are there any bands you dislike or even despise, bands you think that are bad for the scene and the underground???
“Ceremonium has always been very difficult to work with. Poor attitudes! I always help them and they always turn and fuck me over. I will never deal with them again. They think they are huge Rock Stars and they are nothing. No label is even interested in them.”
Tell me something about your live experience and gigs. In your biography I read that DETERIOROT played with cult acts like OBITUARY or INCANTATION. With what other bands did you play and how did you get along with each other? Are there any funny or shocking anecdotes?
“Actually, I do have a funny story to share. We had played a big show in 1992 with Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation and a few others. After our set, a fan was praising our performance and asked me if I wanted a beer. I was chatting with this guy for like 10 minutes and he asked me if I was looking forward to seeing Malevolent Creation live. I said "HELL NO – THEY SUCK. I can’t stand that style of Death Metal like Cannibal Corpse, Monstrosity, Deicide and all that Bay Area Thrash sounding Death Metal." He then said "everyone is entitled to their own opinion". Afterwards he asked me if I wanted to hangout on the bus with him and his bandmates. I was confused for a sec and then he told me he was in Malevolent Creation. I tell you – I felt like such a jerk and a real asshole! He was a really awesome person and to this day I still feel bad about saying that. I think that is probably the funniest story I can share with you.”
What does a DETERIOROT show offer the fans? With what bands do you wish to play, but probably never get the chance to?
“Deteriorot always guarantees a true dark and haunting live set! I wish I had a chance to play with Autopsy. They played in our in area in 1994. But by then, we had just broken up.”
What are your musical favorites at the moment, the latest albums you bought, your alltime faves? Are there any new, talented underground bands you can recommend?
“Well, I’m a true Metal head from the 80’s. I’m not just into underground. My faves of all times will always be all the 80’s releases of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer. In the 90’s it has to be Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Entombed, Abhorrence (demo & 7"EP).“
Death Metal is in my opinion not only an extreme musical genre, but also a way of life, do you agree with that? If yes, how do you live "Death Metal", what do you think Death Metal is about? What attitudes do you connect with it? How long are you interested in this type of music? What do you think is the most important in being "Death Metal"?
“To be Death Metal you have to be true to the core of it what it is – "Metal". I will always be Metal and stay Metal. I will always have long hair. I worked in big corporations with a suit and tie. I never had any company say to me that I have to cut my hair. So people that do it and say it’s for their job are posers. I will never conform to what society says is normal. Fuck them! I hate people that are ignorant and have Death Metal only attitudes. They believe that it is weak if they let anyone know that they listen to old Metal like MAIDEN or SLAYER. That is pure bullshit and only posers that are not true Metal think like that. You have to respect ALL METAL THAT IS REAL!”
Is there any chance to see DETERIOROT live in Germany once in a while or is a trip to Europe still wishful thinking? What are your next live gigs?
“I don’t think there is any chance to see us in Europe. It’s been my dream for years. But the only way would be if a promoter is interested in paying for our trip to come and meet all my European Metal brothers.”
So Paul, this is all for now, massive thanks for your cooperation! Now it’s up to you to find some last words, add something I forgot, your contact address / email address and so on!!!
"Thanks for the interview Stefan. If anyone wants to write to me. You can at Deteriorot@aol.com or visit www.deteriorot.com or write to the address below:
c/o Paul Zavaleta
185 Paterson Avenue
Paterson, N.J. 07502