Decibel magazine conducted an extensive interview with MORBID ANGEL members David Vincent (bass, vocals) and Trey Azagthoth (guitar) for the cover story of its July 2011 issue. A few excerpts from the article follow below.
On drummer Pete Sandoval’s current status after undergoing extensive back surgery to repair a prolapsed disc:
David Vincent: “The doctors told him he would probably feel better in six months, but that didn’t happen. It’s not even about the pain going away — playing drums is not a relaxing job. I think right now he’s able to get up, pop a couple of pain pills and go about his day — go to the store, do a few things around the house, light stuff like that. It’s an entirely different thing for him to be able to sit behind his kit, and we understand that. Nobody’s rooting for him more than we are, but I’d like to see a little more improvement than what I’ve seen.”
“[Current MORBID ANGEL drummer] Tim [Yeung] brings a lot to the table. I like him personally, and he’s a damn good player. He’s not Pete, though. There’s only one Pete, and obviously I’m not happy that Pete has had some of the physical challenges that he’s had. Obviously Pete’s not happy about it either. But it’s out of my control and it’s out of Pete’s control, too. We want him to have a speedy recovery, and anything I can do to help him is on my list of important things.”
On the six songs Trey wrote for MORBID ANGEL’s new album, “Illud Divinum Insanus”, which will be released on June 7 (one day earlier internationally) via Season of Mist:
Trey Azagthoth: “I did some that could be considered more traditional, and then I did some real exploratory-type stuff. As far as the traditional, I’d have to say the inspiration came from vintage big-band swing, but done in a more extreme fashion. It’s swing, but at a high tempo. Even the stuff that has blast beats and real fast double-bass, the way the melody plays off the beat, it has a swing to it. But that’s really not that new for us, because even songs like ‘Blasphemy’ [from ‘Altars Of Madness’], that was one pretty much a waltz, but with blast beats. Even ‘Rebel Lands’, from ‘Blessed Are The Sick’, had a swing to it. So, that’s not new for us, but I maybe found a different way to do it with these new songs.”
“I did three songs [‘Too Extreme!’, ‘Destructos Vs. The Earth/Attack’ and ‘Profundis – Mea Culpa’] that were definitely a whole new approach. One was based on industrial hardcore, one was based on speedcore and one was based on terrorcore, which are inspirations I’ve been getting into lately as far as electronic music. I’ve been exploring that stuff for quite a while now because I’m always trying to find new flavors, new movements, new patterns. I like to keep it fresh, because that’s what keeps it exciting to me as an artist. So, on those particular songs, the guitars are acting more like what synthesizers would do in electronic music, but it’s guitars with interesting effects.”
On leftover new MORBID ANGEL material that hasn’t been released yet:
Trey Azagthoth: “We’re gonna throw those out later this year or at the beginning of next year, but they’re also inspired by electronic music. I have one inspired by blackbeat music, and that could later be remixed by a producer who does, say, dubstep, or whatever’s gonna fit best. I’m basically just trying to explore music and push boundaries and create something new, which is something that we’ve been doing anyway.”
On whether they are concerned that MORBID ANGEL fans might not necessarily be psyched about “Illud Divinum Insanus”‘s techno-industrial sensibilities:
Trey Azagthoth: “I’m not worried about it at all because I don’t do it for others’ approval. And I think all the real fans of this band understand that already. We don’t check into the scene to see what scene people accept or don’t accept. Me and David did an interview when ‘Altars’ came out where I said the same thing: We don’t check into the latest book of cool to figure out where we’re gonna go with our stuff. We look inside ourselves, and I think that’s what fans of the band have come to expect. And I think they appreciate that, because they know it’s as real as it gets.”
David Vincent: “When we first came out with ‘Blessed Are The Sick’, people thought it was really different. It took them a long time to embrace it. And that’s fine. After everyone bagged on that record for two years and subsequently started sounding like that, we got signed to Warner and everybody’s immediate comments were, ‘Sellout!’ But then ‘Covenant’ was the fastest, angriest record we had done. So, we challenge ourselves musically and we challenge our listeners. There are plenty of bands that have a really simple, easy formula, and you can predict exactly what you’re gonna get on every record. We’ve never been that way, and there’s no reason to start now.”
“The way we go about doing what we’re doing now is no different than the way we went about doing ‘Altars Of Madness’. We played the shit out of our instruments, tapped into our creativity, and delivered. And that’s exactly what we did on the new record. We could’ve gone back through our catalog and said, ‘OK, this song and this song did really well for us.’ And then we could’ve just rewritten them. But we didn’t do any of that — nothing like it. We grew once again. It’s not that big of a change, but people are gonna hear things they’re not used to hearing. And like I said, it’s still very extreme.”
Decibel magazine’s entire cover story on MORBID ANGEL can be found in the July issue, which is available on newsstands now.
To order a copy, visit DecibelMagazine.com.