What have you guys all been up to until FUNEBRARUM finally got together in early 1999? Any bands / projects you’ve been involved in previously already? How did the first incarnation of the band actually get together then?
Nick: "Daryl and Dave have been in the Black Metal band, Abazagorath since 1995… and I’ve been in the Doom band, Evoken since 1992. We basically met through going to local shows; the Enslaved / Absu show back in 95 was where finally got to talking about all the old-school Death Metal bands and how great the scene was back in the brutal days of 1990 / 1991. It was suprising to see that there were people in my area that were still into that sound even 8 years ago. From there we became better friends, hanging out more often and getting the ideas together for our band that we wanted to start. Due to both our main bands being busy; we couldn’t find much time to dedicate to it; but eventually we got it together and recorded our first demo. Other bands we’ve been involved in include: Mephitium, Funereus, Putrifact, Citizens Arrest, Taste of Fear, No Restraints, Forced Expression, SunCycle, Ertzi and the Winners, Fungod and Mushroom…"
It seems that this constellation worked out pretty well right from the start as it only took you one month until you were ready to record your first demo "Triumphant Ascent". So, was it clear for all of you in which musical direction you wanted to go right away?
Daryl: "Yes, after a few discussions we knew right away which direction the band would be heading. We were negotiating for a while on which style to play. We ended up going with mellow Australian pop with demonic choirs, moog synths and slide-whistles."
It’s pretty obvious that you are heavily influenced by the oldschool Death Metal sound that was going on in Finnland and Sweden in the late 80s, early 90s and you even name bands such as Demigod, Macabre End, Nihilist, Traumatic, Crematory, Funebre, Disgrace, Demilich, Abhorrence, Rippikoulu, Carnage etc. as sources of inspiration. What is so fascinating for you about these type of bands and why do you prefer their stuff over the Death Metal that came out of the UK or the US for instance?
Daryl: "You can’t deny the fact that we draw inspiration from the ancient Death Metal bands but we like to think that we are incorporating our own sound and ideas into the music as well. We got into these bands through tape-trading, underground zines and letter writing not through some fucking message board or online shit. I wouldn’t say we are facinated by these old bands. We’ve been listening to and enjoying them since the early 90’s and still do. You don’t hear this kind of music anymore. It’s the essense of true underground Death Metal we felt was missing and needed to be brought back (from the dead!!) We also like plenty of US bands like Autopsy, Righteous Pigs, Slayer, Death, Morbid Angel, Terrorizer and U.K ‘s Bolt Thrower, old Paradise Lost, Carcass, My Dying Bride, Napalm Death, Lord of Putrefaction etc. We also like real Black Metal, Doom, Thrash, Heavy Metal and Stoner rock… We dislike rap-influenced, suffocation-wanna be, groove-laden, spin-kickin, hyper-technical new kid death? or even worse Intelli-Grind, Math-core, Point, Click, Grind played by gay looking college kids who worship at the gates. FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is commercialized trend garbage created by idiots, wimps and fucking posers!!! KILL THEM NOW!"
Most of those bands have ceased to exist rather quickly or drastically changed their style of music over the years… What do you think was the reason for that? Is the very brutal underground Death Metal style too limited maybe?
Daryl: "You’re right. There was a definite pattern happening there… First they were extreme brutality then they quickly became mature psychedelic rock or a tripped-out prog band like: Xysma, Afflicted Convulsion, Convulse, Beherit, Belial, Amorphis and Nihilist. I guess when the Death Metal scene became trendy (just like Black Metal has) alot of these cool bands decided to try something new. I can understand why a band or musician would want to change after playing the same style. We intend get heavier and more destructive with each release. What we are doing will never become trendy because Funebrarum and Eviscium are the only US bands playing in this style… After a few Funebrarum albums maybe we’ll finally form the psychedelic stoner rock band we’ve been planning, "Mushroom"… oh yeah!"
What do you think of a band like DEMIGOD for example, who still use their old moniker, but musically have become a totally different type of band already?
Daryl: "Demigod? Dedicated fan here. I still listen to all their old stuff (even rehearsals). The new album "Shadow Mechanics" was not the shining comeback I was expecting, yet it’s not that bad of an album. There are some cool and interesting riffs on it. For the most part you can still tell it’s Demigod (even though Esa Linden and Seppo Taatila are gone). I think topping the "Unholy Domain" demo or "Slumber Of Sullen Eyes" album would be an impossible task. It’s really cool they are still around. More power to them and the Finnish Death Metal scene."
To get back to your debut demo… tell us a bit more about it, like which songs were featured on it, when and where you recorded them and how well the tape was received? Did people appreciate the fact that you were musically trying to come up with something again that was already long gone or did they have problems with your overall style?
Nick: "The tape had 3 songs: ‘The Depths Of Misery’, ‘Kingdom Of Suffering Souls’ and ‘Abandoned Gods’. The tape was not widespread; only a few copies were given out but the overall response was very good. After the total stagnation and over-exposure to all the technical, mathmatical, intella-grind, rap-core, Suffo-clone Death Metal bands out there; the true die-hards did rejoice that the TRUE, ancient Death Metal spirit was alive and well after all… Those who do have a problem with it are probably 15 year olds who think Death Metal started 5 years ago."
After the release of the demo your original drummer Dario Derna left the band and got replaced by Brian Jimenez… What was the reason for him to quit and how did you hook up with Brian? Did it take you long to find someone again who shared your musical vision of brutal Death Metal?
Daryl: "Yes, after the release of our demo Dario moved away making it impossible for him to continue with the band. He was also the original vocalist for Abazagorath and keyboardist for Evoken. His departure led to a major disruption in both line-ups. We soon found found Brian, a great drummer who was really enthusiatic about playing Death Metal (a rare thing in our area) but maybe a bit too enthusiatic? After a while things went sour, he got annoying and left the band."
You started rehearsing together for a while and then finally played a bunch of shows… Haven’t you been playing any gigs previously, when Dario was still in the band?
Daryl: "We never played a gig with Dario on drums. That would have been great because he is an excellent drummer. He played drums on the demo and that’s it."
Considering the fact that you’re still a rather unknown act, how did you get the opportunity to share the stage with bands like Mortician, Impaled, Mayhem, Exhumed and so on right away?
Daryl: "Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this… We had to rough some people up to get these gigs. Nick threw a guy down a flight of stairs. Dave threatened a few known families. I put in call to Will Rahmer’s brother, Johnny and we got the shows, no problem. It’s who you know in this fuckin’ business,right? Speaking of Exhumed… Matt Harvey of Exhumed has been supporting us through various mentions of FUNEBRARUM in thier interviews and such. Hails to EXHUMED! Matt, Col and company for the support! Beers next time!"
In early 2000 you finally recorded your debut CD "Beneath The Columns of Abandoned Gods", which only features five songs, but comes up with a playing time of about half an hour… So, do you consider this to be a full length release? And if so, did you already have any problems with distributors or mailorders who would prefer to sell it for the price of a mini album?
Daryl: "Yes, it’s a full length album. We did have enough material to record a few more songs yet our budget was limited so unfortunately you only get the five tracks. We have had nothing but positive responses so far. According to Roy / Necroharmonic the record is almost sold out."
I suppose when you recorded the material, there wasn’t any label interest yet, was it? So, why did you take the risk of a self financed release as opposed to shop your demo to every label there is?
Daryl: "We recorded a demo that ended up sounding good enough for an album release. We financed the recording ourselves and received little interest beyond Earache, Primitive Brutality (the label of Roger Beaujard / Mortician) and Roy Fox’s Necroharmonic Productions.The other labels didn’t work out for whatever reason. Roy made us an offer and the rest is history…"
Tell us a bit more about the Offstage Recording Studios and its engineer Edward Kleyner… How did you find out about that studio?
Daryl: "Well, some people consider Eduard Kleyner to be the Russian "Tomas Skogsberg of New Jersey". His studio Offstage Recording is located within Backstage Studios, a rehearsal space in New Jersey we use all the time. We also live very close to this place so it convinient… It’s a pro studio with new equipment (and good Vodka). Ed has a solid grasp on the Death Metal production and sound. It’s not really his specialty however he did a great job with our material. For all aspiring bands looking for a kick ass recording. check it out: www.offstagerecording.com."
Any bands that have been recording there previously already? Are you satisfied with the album’s final outcome?
Daryl: "Abazagorath has recorded a 7" there and will return for a full length album "Sacraments Of The Final Atrocity" in April. Unhallowed recorded their new album there. We are satisfied with the "Beneath…" album yet like with anything you can always do it better. We have just remastered this album once again for a vinyl LP release which will include two rare bonus tracks, one demo and one rehearsal track… this LP destroys the CD version! Buio Omega Records from Italy will release the album soon with limited t-shirt available, sticker and poster… www.buio-omega.it."
Did you actually release it on your own already, prior to getting interest from Necroharmonic, or did you just use the recordings to shop around for a deal?
Daryl: "Yes, we did. Prior to the album’s official release we distributed close to 50 ultra rare limited press die-hard edition CDR copies to people at shows, labels and friends. Came with different cover, title and heavier mix…The LP version sounds better than this…"
Which other labels showed interest in the band and what made you go with Necroharmonic Productions in the end?
Daryl: "Earache and a few others showed interest in us yet we never pursued them. In the end the choice was clear… Roy / Necroharmonic is an old friend of ours and is a person who knows and appreciates our music. Support his label. Roy and I are currently working on a new project called Gorebitch… grinding splatter porn gore similar to Gut, old Mucupurulent and Impetigo… www.necroharmonic.com."
In your biography is mentioned that the record was originally entiteled "Tombs Of Sleeping Darkness"… What made you change it into "Beneath The Columns of Abandoned Gods"?
Daryl: "After painting our album cover whose theme was based on the lyrics "Beneath The Columns Of Abandoned Gods" we decided to change the title. We almost called it "Satanic BaphogoatMetal Necroslaughter"…"
Why did you re-mix the whole recordings again, prior to the release?
Daryl: "There were some aspects of the recording we wanted to change like the acoustic guitar and bongo drums, coconut hits etc. With the upcoming LP version we can finally put this record to rest…"
What about the lyrical side of the material? Do you also follow the lines of the old masters when you write them? Give us a little overview about their contents and the sources of inspiration (books, movies, whatever…).
Daryl: "When you say "old masters", are you referring to people like J.S. Bach, Michelangelo Mozart or Albrect Durer? If so, YES I do follow them. Our lyrics are really deep and introspective delving headlong into mind boggling topics such as tombs, rotting graves, moaning corpses, putrid stenches and rising deadly mists… Most of these were inspired by bad Italian horror films, H.P. Lovecraft, ancient occultic manuscripts and my own depraved imagination of lust and evil. Our next album’s lyrics will slide from silver tridents like the rotting intestines of god. I’d also like to mention and thank Jukka Kolehmainen / Abhorrence for giving us his ‘Adoration Of Abscessed Cadavers’. Some of Nick’s new lyric titles include: ‘Perish Beneath’, ‘Accursed Premonition’, ‘Cranial Infestation’ and ‘Incineration Of Mortal Flesh’."
Not only musically, but also visually you obviously try to come as close to the old masters as possible and the whole packaging of your debut CD, as well as the bandlogo deliver exactly the same old feel, which is great! And I even noticed that you were responsible for all the artwork yourself, so tell us more about all this – have been drawing underground logos / covers for a longer period of time already? Any bands, labels, zines or whatever that have used your stuff?
Daryl: "I have been interested in art and drawing for many years. Recently I’ve begun to take on more professional graphics jobs creating album covers, logos, 3D animations, layouts, web designs etc. I have done graphic / artwork for Moribund Records (Summon "And The Blood Runs Black" CD-cover / layout), Necroharmonic Productions (CD layouts / banners), Realms Of Darkness (CD layouts), Midnight Records (Llogo) and Blackened Moon Records (promotional / ad materials). For more info regarding graphics or logos contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Only a true old (school) master could have detected the homage to Funebre in our logo!! Thanks for the compliment!"
There’s also an ad on your website, saying that you’re looking for a new drummer. So does that mean that Brian is no longer with you? Tell us more about the current situation in the band?
Daryl: "Yes, Brian left the band two years ago. He joined a gang and disappeared. Nick, Dave and I have been writing new material as a three piece. It’s working fine yet we need a drummer to complete the line-up, play shows, tour Europe etc. A friend of ours from Boston, Justin Detorre played session drums on the EP recording (thanks guy!)."
What about that FUNEBRARUM / CADAVERIZER split 7" EP? Tell us all details about that, like how you hooked up with Midnight Records for that, when it will be out, which songs will appear on it on so on?
Daryl: "Wes Rhodes (Midnight Records / Cadaverizer bassist) contacted us about a year ago with an offer to do a split with his band. Unfortnately they broke up a few months later, due to the other members lack of commitment. The whole project was in toilet until Wes came up with enough money to offers us a full 7". I have just mailed the layout and master tapes to him today so it should be out soon. This record features two newly recorded versions of album tracks ‘Dormant Hallucination’ and ‘Adoration Of Abscessed Cadavers’. The listener can expect a solid production of heavy old school brutal Death Metal… Full-color gatefold 7" EP featuring original coverart by Dan Seagrave, limited colored vinyl (glow in the dark) plus a vinyl sticker… For ordering information contact Wes at: email@example.com He has a new band called AK-47. Evil satanic Thrash… demo soon."
Ok Daryl, I’m running out of questions now, if there’s anything else you’d like to mention, feel free to do so now. All the best and keep on writing those killer Death Metal tunes!
Daryl: "Thanks for the cool interview and support. Your zine shreds! Hails to Wes Rhodes / Midnight Records, Mark Mastro / Eviscium, Michele Toscan / Buio Omega Records. For band info, t-shirts, merchandise write to: Thergothon1@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. STAY DEATH! Upcoming releases: FUNEBRARUM – "Dormant Hallucination" 7" EP (Midnight Recs 003), FUNEBRARUM – "Beneath The Columns Of Abandoned Gods" LP (w/ bonus tracks) out soon on BUIO OMEGA RECORDS (www.buio-omega.it) FUNEBRARUM / EVISCIUM – Split 10" LP coming soon on BUIO OMEGA RECORDS, Eviscium featuring Mark Mastro (ex-Rottrevore) in February 2003. Funebrarum line-up: Nick Orlando – guitars Daryl Kahan – vocals, Dave Wagner – bass.