Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
De ProfundisPrevious Next
author EW date 30/08/14
The British underground metal scene has been busy in recent years spewing out a number of fine acts worthy of international attention and at the more technically minded end of the scale are Londoners De Profundis. With the band having recently played at Bloodstock Open Air I caught up with vocalist Craig Land and guitarist Shoi Sengupta before their show at the more intimate surroundings of the Camden Underworld in support of Malevolent Creation for this informal chat around their recent festival experience, an upcoming album, influences and thoughts on giving away music for free:
Craig: It was by far the worst gig of the shows so far.
Shoi: Yeh, the Bloodstock monitoring guy came and asked what we wanted beforehand but when we were playing there was nothing that we asked for coming through, which on a big stage like that [the Sophie Lancaster stage] is really annoying. I thought we played well but the problem with festivals I’m discovering is that the bands who play them week in week out are used to that kind of environment a lot more. Although having said that I spoke to Sakis from Rotting Christ after they came off saying the same.
RF.net: I’d argue certain sounds work better for that environment. Take Amon Amarth who have made themselves a lot more accessible, no doubt partly through being on festivals all the time, whereas the really fast, extreme stuff doesn’t tend to work in massive rooms.
Shoi: True, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Amon Amarth had their own monitoring man there as well, playing the kind of show they have I wouldn’t be surprised if they had an entire crew in place.
RF.net: And how about your preparation for the show, were you happy with that?
Shoi: It’s funny as we were really geared up for Bloodstock but then the whole preparation for this tour came on board, and suddenly we had loads of logistics to sort which took away our minds, especially as our drummer couldn’t make the tour so we had to get a new drummer sorted as well so with all this other shit going on it was a bit of an anticlimax really.
RF.net: With fewer tours happening during the summer that could work in your favour…
Shoi: Yes and the selling point there we’re playing main support which was the big selling point.
RF.net: Does this mark a first full European tour for yourselves, are you playing these places for the first time?
Craig: No, no!
Shoi: We’ve done a Rotting Christ tour, plus Marduk & Immolation and Ragnarok as well, plus a few random shows.
Craig: On that, it makes a massive difference where you are on the bill cos if people don’t know you then you automatically get respect the higher up the bill you are so playing right before the headliners is perfect, especially if the gig is running late and people start buggering off before the headliners finish, so this is just what we want and need at this stage.
Craig: That’s all cos for a while we thought "fuck the UK" after playing some of the shittiest venues, playing to nobody…we ended up thinking, ‘what's the point?’ So that has all been good but we do need to build up the fanbase in our country and it has been kinda starting from the beginning again but at least we have better material that we can actually work with this time.
RF.net: For me the biggest change is the production style, which is smoother and less jagged, similar to the mid-era Death you have taken your cover version from.
Craig: Funny you say that cos we’re going to get it remixed for the album as it contains elements we don’t particularly like, especially the drums - we find them a little bit too harsh.
RF.net: Interesting. I'm very fussy about production and I like that you have this style that is easier to get into than "The Emptiness Within".
Shoi: What becomes apparent is that as a band you’re a little bit at the mercy at what is going at the time - we wanted the drums to sound pretty organic but I don’t think people today are very used to that. So in some ways the EP is a little raw sounding but we’ll have to polish it off the for album as people are not that used to real drums anymore.
Craig: We’ve had all kinds of differing opinions on what people do and don’t like but this new one will be a more stripped down version of "The Emptiness Within”, without any of the shitty clean vocals and a bit more brutal!
RF.net: Musically though it stands you apart from the predominant death metal sounds of today…
Shoi: I think that is because of the lack of hooks in death metal today. Look at an album like Death "Leprosy" which is brutal as fuck, it was one of the first growled vocal albums but it still has a lot of melody as otherwise people don’t come back to it.
RF.net: All these ultra-brutal bands of today are too easy to replicate as well, when so few offer anything interesting or new.
Shoi: I think part of that is a lack of confidence. I know that having grown up as a musician over the years, that inserting melody is somehow exposing yourself, thinking am I bit of a wimp or something here.
Craig: After the tour’s done we’ll sit down and look at pushing it a little bit more but we’ve been too busy with other stuff of late. But we’ll work out on that soon with a view to releasing it early next year.
RF.net: So if you’ve got it all written what’s the general direction of it?
Craig: It’s pretty much like "The Emptiness Within" but with shorter songs which get to the point quicker, it’s heavier through a slight down-tuning.
Shoi: The addition of Paul made a big difference as it’s more technical as well than before; I really had to up my game big time for this one.
Craig: I’d rather self-release it than just do it online. For me I always a want a physical copy whether it’s my own band’s CD or anyone else’s.
RF.net: The notion these days is that the likes of Spotify helps people discover acts, to then go to their live shows, buy a t-shirt etc. I myself beg to differ on that to an extent but do you feel that discovery mechanism works to get people to shows; is it worth giving away your music for free given that is essentially expected of bands these days?
Craig: I would say ‘no’, as you’re taking the value away from it. When you used to have to hunt albums down and you finally got it in your hand, it meant so much, you’d listen to it over and over and read the lyrics, but now these things are just a commodity. The downloading of a whole discography prevents someone from really listening to the stuff, which for a band like us means you’re probably not going to get us. As for getting extra people to the gig….I don’t really see that.
Shoi: My previous career in sales taught me that you don’t give away for something for free. It tells people that your time and effort aren’t worth anything.
Craig: It’s similar to why we don’t play shows at the Unicorn anymore [a pub venue in Camden, London which is always free entry] cos when you later ask someone for £3 to see you they don’t want to.
And with that the pair had to dash off to begin sound check for a show you can read all about here.