De Profundis have, as Carlsberg would say, probably released the best UK death metal album in years with Blinding Light of Faith through ambitious Indian record label Transcending Obscurity. I wrote in my review that De Profundis have released an album that has put them at the forefront of the UK extreme metal scene and listening to the material time and time again, it’s easy to see why. I managed to catch up with guitarist Shoi Sen where we talk about lyrical themes, the state of the UK extreme metal scene and the creation of the album that will surely lead De Profundis to bigger and better things. Please read and support the UK underground as De Profundis and so many other UK bands deserve your time and recognition for the musicianship on show here.
Our questions were answered by guitarist Soikot Sengupta.
Simple things first – where are you guys from and how did you meet?
I am from France but have lived in the UK since 1994. Craig is from South Africa and emigrated here in the early 2000s. The rest of the band are from around London. So now we are pretty much a London band.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
De Profundis is a death metal band that knows how to mix up the best element of death metal whilst keeping a progressive sound. I can’t say we’re unique, that’s up to our fans to say that!
How often is the band able to get together and rehearse and where do you meet and practice?
We tend to rehearse once a week at my studio in West London. All our equipment is set up there so it’s great we can just plug and play. Ahead of tours we tend to meet up more often.
Your logo has changed to that of a more old school death metal logo. It’s clearly showing a new image for the band in terms of their sound. Do you feel that the band has achieved the sound that they have been looking for?
The Blinding Light of Faith is the kind of album I have dreamed of making since I started playing metal. We all felt we needed to change the logo, have a revamp to mirror the way the music is going. The old logo just didn’t match what we were musically.
Thankfully in the last few years you have had a solid line up within the band. What would you say is the reason behind the stable line-up and how do you keep it that way? Are there times of disagreements but are they more constructive now than before?
We actually get along really well musically and personally. We are generally on the same page when it comes to making decisions. Honestly, we are blessed to have the current line-up, which wasn’t the case with past line-ups.
How were the songs on the new album composed? Do all the band members contribute or do one or two of you do the main song writing?
Generally, Paul and I will come up with riffs and then we will work on them together in the studio. These days I tend to come up with more complete ideas for songs whereas Paul will bring in killer riffs. Craig is usually the person who thinks of arrangements. There are also some songs on this album that started out with some drum beat first or bass lines. So this was a band effort for sure and it has always been the case.
You are about to embark on your first headline UK tour in a number of years. How are you feeling about this?
Really looking forward to it, the album was finished and ready last May so we’ve been sitting on these great songs for a year. It’s about time we take them out there and defend this album live. It’s been a while since we did a headlining UK tour so it will be nice to have a longer set to play with our own gear. We are also really looking forward to bringing Formicarius with us on the road, it’s going to be a blast.
De Profundis have had the pleasure on embarking on recent European tours with some big names, including Taake, I Am Morbid and Necrophagia. Firstly, how were those experiences for you and secondly, what did you learn from the more experienced individuals and bands while on tour?
We’ve been fortunate enough to tour with some great bands over the years and with most of them we have stayed friends. We were a little worried about touring with I am Morbid as David Vincent is such a legendary figure and we didn’t know how he would be as person. I have to say that he is one of coolest guys in the business. Whenever I need some advice business-wise I know I can turn to David. To be honest, pretty much all the bands we’ve toured with bar one have been great including Malevolent Creation who sometimes had a bad reputation – it was all rubbish, great guys all around! Taake on the other hand has to be worst band we’ve toured with, just unfriendly and disrespectful!
How have the reviews been so far of the new album The Blinding Light of Faith?
We are really delighted with the reviews all around, we knew we had a strong album in our hands and it’s awesome to see that it’s hit the mark with the press. Now let’s see how metal fans take it, that’s the ultimate test!
You have just released a lyric video for the track “Godforsaken”. With your last couple of releases, you have released an official video from the album. Are you looking to do the same with the new album?
Actually, for this album we are planning on release a lyric video for every song. We have commissioned the great Andy Pilkinton of Very Metal Art.
You are currently signed with Kunal and Transcending Obscurity Records. How did that come about and are you happy with the way things are going so far?
Our management has been in touch with Kunal for some time, and when he heard he wanted to sign us. Around the same time we could see that a lot of great death metal band were signing with him so we thought this would be a great move especially sharing with other like-minded bands. So far it’s been great, Kunal is really pushing all his bands and being based in India he is showing other bigger European labels how it’s done in 2018.
The lyrical themes for the new album are not against one religion but religion as a whole. With the band having a multi-cultural background, was it surprising that each member feels comfortable writing about such themes?
Like I said we all get on fantastically well in this band not just musically but also in our views of the whole world generally. Part of the reason we decided to forge forward with this theme when Craig brought it up is we felt it would be refreshing for a band with a multicultural background to tackle a topic like this. All five of us have major issues with organised religion and what it makes people around them do and that’s the theme of the album. The music needed a hard topic and this was it, if some people are offended by it then so be it – this is death metal, it’s meant to provoke.
One of the many highlights that I will be putting in my review of the album is the vocal performance of sole original member Craig Land. Is this due to the fact that the band has been together and they know each other strengths and weaknesses as well as him progressing as a musician?
Craig really wanted to come out all guns blazing on this album with his vocals as he was always unhappy with his past vocal performances. This time we recorded the drums all together live. The vocals Craig did during those sessions are pretty much what ended up on the album. So instead of being by himself in a room after we’d all recorded our parts he was there with us. It gave him a more live feel and it shows in his performance. I am very happy his performance is getting noticed, he deserves it!
Other highlights of the album are the progressive riffs from yourself and Paul. Having worked together in previous bands, is it fair to say that you feed off each other in the studio?
Paul and I have been working together since 2013, we’re really close. We’ve done other projects like our Maiden, Priest & Sabbath tribute so we understand each other really well. So, yes, when we bring riffs we tend to feed ideas a lot. For this album we had vowed we would be pushing the guitars a lot and I think we have succeeded in that.
How hard is it for an extreme metal band like De Profundis to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non-stop in order to bring money back into the band?
It’s never easy, fortunately we all have another job. Four of us teach music as our main earner. I don’t really anticipate De Profundis to become our main earner, we are now finally breaking even generally compared to losing money. Hopefully we will be making some money in the future but trust me we don’t do this for money!
Historically, the UK has had a tough time when it comes to being internationally recognised in terms of extreme metal compared to Sweden and Florida for example. Yes, there are Carcass and Cradle of Filth but what is it, do you think, that prevents British bands from reaching the next level?
I am so fucking fed up with people just looking at Scandinavian bands as the beacon for extreme metal. The UK has great bands as well but we just don’t get the financial support from the government like Scandinavian bands get. Just being on tour for UK bands is harder so it’s not a level playing field and I don’t see this changing with Brexit around the corner. We anticipate things to get tougher for us to tour in Europe.
Following on from this, De Profundis have gone from self-releasing their own first album to now being on an internationally renowned label. All the hard work is beginning to pay off, but what do you think De Profundis need to do to maintain and build on this recent success?
We need to continue releasing albums at a regular interval. Also with this album and all the videos we will be releasing it will allow us to keep the momentum going for the next 18 months.
What would be your plans for the band in 2018?
We have a lot of touring planned, we plan to play as many cities and town across the UK. We’re hoping to finalise a European tour very shortly. Watch this space …
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
- Death – Symbolic
- Judas Priest – Painkiller
- Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time
- Metallica – …And Justice for All
- Morbid Angel – Covenant
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
We’ve known Moshville Times for some time and we are always grateful for the support you’ve given. We look forward to seeing your team at Bloodstock!
The Blinding Light Of Faith is out now via Transcending Obscurity Records