Hails! Tell us how did you get into Death Metal and how did UNDERGANG come together?
"I think I got into Death Metal in the late 90s,when I was searching for the most extreme and brutal music and Death Metal pretty fast became one of my favorite genres. UNDERGANG was started in the late spring of 2008, after the demise of REALM OF CHAOS, a local Metal / Crust band we’d all played in beforehand. I guess it’s the same old story, we wanted to play the heaviest music around and thought all the other bands around sucked, haha. So we started jamming and discussed how we wanted the band to turn out. In late August 2088 we’d written around 5 or 6 songs and we played our first live show. It was a basement show, arranged by me, around the touring Canadian band LIMB FROM LIMB in inner city of Copenhagen. It went pretty well and we recorded a single demo track, ‘Evigt Lidende’, to show what we could and gain more gig-offers. From then on we’ve played a lot of shows, mainly inside of Denmark, but we hit the roads of Germany for weekend-tours 3 times, one time alone, one time with local grindsters DEAD INSTRUMENT and last year with Japanese Doom / Death fanatics ANATOMIA."
Why did you decide to play this kind of Metal and what in your opinion makes you stand out from other new bands that play oldschool Death Metal?
"Besides the fact that we’re better than the rest? Haha, nah… I guess what makes us stand out from the other underground Death Metal bands these days are our sheer rotten heaviness and that our lyrics are sung in Danish. There haven’t really been any Danish band around before playing as heavy and rotten as us, so locally it gives us kind of an advantage as well. We’re not trying to claim that we’re pioneers in any way, we just know how we want our Death Metal to sound and stick to playing that. Death Metal kicks ass and how been my favorite genre from an early age, so it has always been my "dream" to play it as well. Combined with my love of horror movies, perversity and everything grotesque you’ve got a pretty good picture of UNDERGANG."
The album "Indhentet Af Døden" was recorded in your rehearsal room. Was it intended to be released as a debut album? Can you share some insight into recording process?
"Yeah, ever since the beginning the intension was to have "I.A.D." released as our debut album. It wasn’t exactly our rehearsal room the recordings took place, but in a rehearsal room connected to a friend of ours who ran his recording business in a rehearsal room at that time, on the other side of town from us. We then hung out there for around two weeks or so, recording what was to end up as "I.A.D.". everything from basis recording to mixing and mastering took place in that room. Okay, I’m lying…We added the sample in the beginning of ‘Englemagersken’ at home on a computer too. I then started making 100 copies of the recordings on tape for promotion. We wanted to find a suitable label to release the s.o.b. on vinyl and planned to send out those promo tapes in the search for that. We did however end up being contacted by Jesus of what was to become Me Saco Un Ojo records offering us to release "I.A.D." on vinyl for us. At that time I’d almost finished the promo tapes, so we decided to just give / trade / sell the tapes away as a teaser of what was to come, as we decided to work with Me Saco Un Ojo records on that one. The tape had rather poor sound, so it’s great to finally hear it on vinyl and CD today, hehe."
First "I.A.D." was released on LP format. How did the deal with ME SACO UN OJO Records come about? Are you satisfied with how it came about?
"Guess I kinda answered a little bit on that in the question above. We got a mail from John of EVOKE saying that he had a friend starting up a label and he was interested in releasing our debut on 12" vinyl. As that was exactly what we were looking for, I started writing back and forth with Jesus of M.S.U.O. Records about how everything then should take place and such. We’ve had nothing but good experiences with him and his label, cool and reliable guy. I think the record looks and sounds great, so we’re still cheering in the UNDERGANG-camp due to that. We’ve recently talked about doing a 3rd pressing of the record and it looks like it’s gonna take place this summer. So to all of you who didn’t get it in the first two rounds, save up and buy 10 when the new pressing is out!"
After the LP there was one year before the CD came out on Xtreem Music. Why it took so long and how did you get in touch with them?
"If I remember correct it was Dave of UNCONSECRATED who introduced our promo tape to Dave Rotten of Xtreem Music. Awestruck he then wrote us offering to do the CD-version of "I.A.D." and a contract of both vinyl and CD versions of our second full length. As we liked several of the bands on his label and he gave us a good deal, we decided to join forces with Xtreem Music for our first two abominations. The reason the release of it didn’t take place until February this year, is that I was standing alone with everything that needed to be fixed for it. It seems like it should’ve been around a few months after the vinyl-release in January 2010, but I had very little time on my hands to finish up the needed things for the CD-version. Having my computer crashing, deleting everything I had for UNDERGANG didn’t help either. But rather late than never is the CD out now and have been so for around two months now. Unfortunately there has been a mistake made on the first 3 tracks on the CD, with the tracks being cut wrong. Doesn’t really seem like people are noticing it that much, but as long as you hear the whole bastard in one take, you’re not going to notice it as it at least doesn’t skip or anything. If there ever comes a need for a second pressing of it, the label has promised to have it fixed then, no bad feeling towards Xtreem Music or anything!"
Tell us about new songs that you wrote after the album and what are your current / planned releases?
"We recently finished the recordings of our second full length and a single track for our upcoming split 8" with ANATOMIA. The new full length features 8 rotten hymns to misery and putridity, the songs are a little longer than previously and even though I sound like a broken record, it’s going to be heavier than "I.A.D." as well. Both LP and CD versions will be released by Xtreem Music, the LP has been discussed about being released late 2011 and then the CD will follow in the beginning of 2012. The split with ANATOMIA will be released by Me Saco Un Ojo Records sometime this summer if everything goes as planned. All artwork will be done by me. Besides that M.S.U.O. Records and Dark Descent Records will be releasing a flexi 7” featuring the track ‘Hævntørst’ previously released on the Baphometal Records compilation “Voices Of Death”. The EP will also work as promotion for our upcoming Westcoast tour with ACEPHALIX. We’ve also just released a two track promo tape for our upcoming second full length "Til Døden Os Skiller", most of the tapes will be send to the US for our tour, but I’ll keep some copies in stock at home, so if interested get in touch."
I was floored by the fuckin’ heavy production and sound of "I.A.D." Did you have an idea about the sound you wanted to achieve before going to record the album or was it more spontaneous?
"I think it kinda just developed that way from how we played and the heavy down tuning. But we’re very satisfied with the outcome of the production. Very raw and filthy compared to most Death Metal releases the last couple of years."
How about live shows? Do you play often? What’s your standard deal to play live?
"Yeah, we do play live quite often actually. It’s mainly local shows with either friends bands or when there’s a cool touring band coming to town. We like playing live as it gives good flow to our main playing and it gives a bit more than just being in the rehearsal room playing your ass off, haha. So we tend to play a lot of shows a year. We usually just ask for coverage of our travel expenses to the venue, a plate of food and as many beers as we can get our sticky, hairy hands on. It mainly about having a good time and hopefully being able to witness some other cool live acts. Witnessing an UNDERGANG live show is like being run over by a slow-moving bulldozer, so not many people survive our shows…But the few who have, seem to dig it, hehe."
What’s you opinion about filesharing? Would you rather like MP3 were never invented?
"Nah, I think mp3s are good in its own way. Personally I like being able to check out "new" bands or records, before actually purchasing the product. I still blindly order demo tapes, without knowing very much about the band necessarily, but only by description sounding like something I’d dig. But for full lengths etc. I almost always try checking a band out from downloads before buying it. I mean, if the band actually have made a good record, I’m going to buy it and support them, so I’m not a part of that download-hysteria some people tend to have. I don’t understand downloads you have to pay for though, I find that pretty ridiculous. I don’t use mp3-players or iPods and such, as I still carry my Walkman along everywhere, so I don’t use the format that much I guess…You get the point."
What’s your take on the extreme Danish Metal scene? Is it possible for a Death or Thrash Metal band to survive solely from the music? How is the Death Metal scene in Copenhagen?
"I don’t think there’s any extreme Metal band in Denmark who can survive solely of their music (I might be mistaken though), at least it’s not anything I’m really aware of. It seems like the scene is very much alive but it’s mainly overproduced shitty Death Metal or pussy Black Metal coming from these regions these days. The Death Metal scene in Copenhagen has a little to offer, some bands I do care for locally are STRYCHNOS, CORPUS MORTALE and DEUS OTIOSUS. Can’t really think of any more on the top of my head. Most of the Death Metal bands around here tend to play the overcrowded scene of SUFFOCATION-worshipping brutal thing and they don’t really do that very good in my opinion. We did have some good Death Metal bands in Denmark several years ago though, bands like DETEST, CORPSE VOMIT, EXHAUST, INFERNAL DEATH etc. I hope for a blooming of more "old" sounding bands, but it might be a long wait…"
What are your favorite movies? Do they have a big influence on UNDERGANG’s lyrical themes?
"I’m a big time horror fan, I love a lot of the old 70-80s horror flicks in general. I never grow tired of movies like "Re-animator", "Braindead", "Horror Express", The Deadly Spawn", Tombs Of The Blind Dead" etc. and even the more goofy stuff like "Critters", "Gremlins" and "Frankenhooker" and such. A lot of the gorier movies have definitely had their influence on my lyrics for UNDERGANG, as the lyrics tend to be pretty gory and retarded. I don’t put that much work into the lyrics for UNDERGANG though, I pretty much just write what ever I find suitable for the song written and then all the horror-junk just seems right for it. I mean, Death Metal is supposed to be around death, ain’t it?"
That is for sure. So can you translate song titles from your debut album for those who don’t speak Danish?
"I guess I could give them a translation. It’s rather roughly translated though, as some things are difficult to find the exact word for in English: ‘Englemagersken’ = ‘The Angelmaker’ – about the only real massmurderer from Denmark, Dagmar Overbye, who took young mothers children up for adoption, killed the children and took the money for herself. I think there’s a body count of around 30 kids. ‘Opslugt Af Mørket’ = ‘Devoured By Darkness’. ‘Evigt Lidende’ = ‘Eternal Suffering’. ‘Indhentet Af Døden’ = ‘Caught Up By Death’. ‘Forkullede Rester’ – kinda translates into something like ‘Charred Remains’ which seems kinda dumb, as it’s unintentionally a translated AUTOPSY title, haha. ‘Dødshymne’ = ‘Hymn To Death’. ‘Tvangstanker’ = ‘Obsessions’. ‘De Dødes Passage’ = ‘Passage Of The Dead’."
Which 3 albums would you recommend to our readers? Do you keep in touch with other bands playing oldschool Death Metal? Do you agree that a site like Myspace really pushed a lot of great and unknown bands from the underground?
"Yeah, Myspace was a good thing for promoting your band for sure! Lately as they redesigned their website I think they kinda killed themselves in that way though. The new layout is a mess and terrible to work with. Still it works most of the time, when you surf for new bands around. I do stay in touch with a series of international underground bands, I try to use as much as possible of my little spare time to follow the scene. I could recommend a shitload of killer albums, but I’ll try to dive into the list of bands perhaps not that many people know of and stick to a list of 3 newer demo-releases: NETHILITH – "From Nothinness". Great obscure and twisted Death Metal band from England. Extremely guttural and rotten vocals and killer memorable riffs. Released not to long ago by Emptiness Productions from Finland. Total support! GOREPHILIA – "In Death". Newer Finish band, great songs and low-end vocals. Apparently their second demo, though I’ve newer heard their first. Released recently on tape by Me Saco Un Ojo Records. Definitely recommended. ANATOMIA – "Human Lust". My favorite Japanese band. Probably got way more attention than the two before mentioned, but I have to give them a hand up as well because this demo rules. It has a few years on its back by now but I believe it’s still available. Absolutely crushing Doom / Death Metal!"
Last year you had Kill Town Death Fest going on. Can you tell if this is going to be a regular thing and how did it come about? Do you think festivals like that can attract a lot of people?
"It was a great experience to arrange the Kill-Town Death Fest in 2010, to us in the festival crew the fest was a great success. A lot of people showed up and supported the Death Metal underground and everything went as good as you could have hoped for. It was a lot of work for our little group, but hundreds of volunteers made it possible to make the whole thing a success. There was a turn-up around 500 paying participants, if I remember correct, and that was pretty good to us. It was kind of a shot in the dark to take the chance of doing a festival solely with underground, and mainly new, Death Metal bands, but all the bands kicked ass on stage and was very pleasant to deal with, the atmosphere overall was great. After the festival was over we sat down and talked about whether or not we should try to pull this thing off as an annual event and decided to do so. the last half year has however proved that people in the group couldn’t take the time off this year around and/or dedicate as much time and effort needed to this again for 2011. I, amongst others, pulled out of the group due to too many things going on in our personal lives to be able to dedicate the time and work needed, to make the festival again, but at the moment the group is getting together trying to work out what is going to happen for this years fest, as several bands has already been booked and a few funds have been granted to the initiative. News on that should be revealed soon, I think we’ll try to end it with a smaller fest."
What would be the best drug to die from?
"I think it’d go for heroin. A nice, smooth sliding way out of this rotten world… But I’ll probably just die from boozing, haha."
OK, thanks for your time answering these questions, anything you want to throw at the readers, you can fuckin’ go.
"Thank you for doing the interview, cool to not answer the same questions over and over again. Stay stoked for our new releases this year and forth. For info on merch and whatever, feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ROT, Uaaaaaarghh!!!"
Thanx a lot to David for anwering these questions and go check them out NOW or DIE!!!
Mindaugas “Plix” Lapinskas