Interview: Xavier Aguilar of Inert

After reviewing their debut album Vermin recently, Inert warranted an interview after listening to what I called “homage to all aspects of the good side of the death metal scene in the early 90s“. Full of blast beats time changes and groove, Vermin certainly should send some shockwaves in the death metal underground. I caught up with highly talented and original member Xavi discussing the recording of Vermin, touring to promote the album and all other things Inert. Thank you, Xavi, for the interesting interview and best of luck to you and Inert.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We are a from everywhere hahaha even though the band is mainly located in Stockholm (with our singer living in Barcelona), we have four different nationalities in the band: Chilean, Catalan, Brazilian, and Swedish.

How long have you been playing together as a band?

The band started as a distance project between Gustavo and me (Xavier) around 2015, and our first EP and album were written and recorded like that, without rehearsing together a single time. However, Gustavo and I had been playing together for quite some time in other bands before forming Inert so we already knew each other well. Nowadays Inert has become a four-piece band though, and we have started rehearsing kind of regularly.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

I wouldn’t say that our music is truly unique because that’s something very hard to achieve nowadays. However, I think that with our latest album we achieved to sound a bit different than most of the recent wave of old-school death metal releases. We play heavily 90s influenced death metal, but we try to make it sound fresh and contemporary. We don’t put any barriers to ourselves when writing stuff though, if there’s something we like, we use it, we don’t say things like “no man, this is not death metal enough, throw it away”. We just try to write music that we would enjoy listening ourselves.

You have recently released your debut album Vermin. How does it feel to get the debut album out there for the masses to hear for the first time and how have the responses been?

It feels really good! This album took a great amount of sweat and blood so being able to finally release it feels great. Besides that, we took a slightly different path in Vermin (compared to our previous EP Obliteration of the Self), so we were a bit nervous on how people would take it. But the response has been great so far, lots of people and media liking it.

You have released the album through Neckbreaker Records based in Germany. How did you manage to get the album released through the label and how has the support been so far?

We have been already working with Neckbreaker for a long time. We got in touch when we were looking for labels to release our first EP. Actually we got in touch thanks to a guy from another label who didn’t like our EP for his roster, but who thought that we would fit perfectly in Neckbreaker. Since then, we’ve been working together. The label released a vinyl version of our debut EP on 2017 as well as different merch during 2018. The truth is that we love to be part of the Neckbreaker family. Martin, the guy running the label, is a die-hard collector and music nerd, so everything he does with his label comes from the passion he has for metal, and that makes his work with the label truly authentic and honest.

Being active for a few years now, how would you say it compares to that of your earlier material and do you think you have found the sound you strive for or will Inert continue to keep experimenting?

I think that our latest material is much more crafted, more mature, a bit more complex than our earlier one. The songs are more technical, much faster. Actually, writing these songs made us push our boundaries with our instruments.

No, I don’t think we have found our sound yet. I don’t know what the future will bring but I’m sure that our next album will be somehow different to this one. People evolve and so does the music of a band. In addition, we like to experiment a bit with our music because it is boring to repeat the same album every time, even though there are many bands doing that hahaha

Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Inert now a band where all members contribute to the songs?

In Inert, I write all the music, and Gustavo writes most of the lyrics as well as his vocal parts. In addition, we produce our music ourselves. Furthermore, with Vermin we took a step further and I was in charge of recording and mixing the album at my own studio (the SpareRoom Sound Studio). So this album is pretty DIY.

Paolo and Martin entered the band when the album was already written so they were not able to contribute much to the songs, however, they gave their personal touch to all their parts.

Being a four-piece when the album was recorded and having different musical influences within the band, was there sometimes a lot of negotiating with the music or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?

We write the music we want, there’re no big discussions around that. Well, that, and the fact that when we became a four-piece all the music for the album was already written by me, so there was no room for negotiations anyway!

Is there a main lyricist within the band? What are the lyrics from the album based on?

Yes, Gustavo is the main lyricist. In general our lyrics reflect our thoughts on stuff we usually dislike of our current society, religion, politics, etc. Our new album Vermin is actually a concept album on mankind and its self-destructive behaviour. Through the album we explore some of the darkest corners of mankind, for instance, greed, violence, deceit, baseness, etc… Most of the time we express all these concepts in our songs with metaphors cause it’s much more fun. For example, take our song “Rotten Corpse Feast”, if one reads the lyrics it could be a song about zombies, but it could also be a song about a certain state where certain politicians and a certain king are taking advantage of a rotten system to do whatever they want while getting their pockets full.

Now that you are four members and could indeed be called a band, are there plans in the future to do select tours in the near future?

Yes, there are! We are working on booking shows to present Vermin during 2020.

How hard is it for a metal band like Inert to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?

The current climate makes things really hard for bands, but I think it’s always been like that. In our case, Inert is something we do for passion. What I mean is that we are working hard to take Inert as far as possible, sure, but we do it because we like to do it, we are not stressed about touring non-stop and selling stuff to get money into the band. Actually, most of us are old farts hahaha with family, kids, steady jobs, etc., so touring non-stop, for example, is off the table right now. Thus, surviving for us is quite easy in that sense, we just keep doing what we love without any pressure, write and play death metal, and we’ll see what the future brings. Our youth dreams of becoming rock stars are far gone (laughs).

Before the internet, magazines and fanzines were the places to find out about new bands and trends. Now publications are replaced with thousands of websites catering for all genres. Do you think that some of the passion has been lost or do you think that the internet has been a good thing for music and Inert?

It’s hard to tell whether the passion has been lost or not. It’s true that in the fanzine era when extreme metal was emerging, everything was new, metal music was evolving so fast, with many new genres appearing (thrash, death, black) that it was a very exciting time to be. Probably we remember those times as more passionate and authentic for that reason, because everything was new and exploding, and because it was not as easy as today to find out about new bands or music. Besides, old times always seem better, don’t they? hahaha

Now it’s a great time for music though. There’s never been as much metal as today. The current technology advances are allowing anyone to record music with quite a decent quality at their homes. In addition, the Internet has given people the power to release and promote music without the need for any label. So now it’s easier than ever to put music out there. However, this comes with a cost too. First, the market is overflown with music and bands. There are so many releases every week that it’s impossible to keep pace with all of them. For bands, that means that it’s really hard to get your music heard, really hard. And second, having such a great amount of music at our hands is changing the way that people listen to music. Nowadays the attention span is shorter than ever. People listen to half a minute of a song and then they skip to the next one (probably from a different band). It’s not like before, when one would buy an album and listen to it dozens of times. So albums are becoming less and less important. Thankfully the metal scene is quite conservative in that sense, and albums are still very relevant there, and that’s great cause we think albums are great.

Whether if the internet has been a good thing for Inert, I don’t really know. We tried our best to push our new album out there as much as we could, trying to reach new fans. I think we did a decent job, but as I said, it was really hard, uncountable hours were spent just contacting people, sending emails, doing promo, etc, etc.

What are the rest of your plans for 2019?

Rehearsing and booking gigs for 2020.

Being from Spain/Sweden, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend?

There are many local bands both from Sweden and Spain we like a lot. For example, from the local scene of Barcelona (and surroundings) we would recommend Graveyard, Foscor, Osserp or Vidres a la Sang. From Sweden, Wretched Fate, Crawl, Vanhelgd or Gods Forsaken.

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?

Oh man, that’s a tough one! It’s really hard to choose just 5 CDs. Besides, for a party I would bring mixtapes rather than CDs, so instead of telling you 5 CDs I’ll tell you what I would play to have the PERFECT party (laughs) I would start to warm things up with some new blood, playing bands such as Gatecreeper, Phrenelith, Necrot, etc. Then, when things get started and beer starts to flow like an overflowing stream, see what I did there? (laughs) I would start with some classics to put people into party mood. Bands like Morbid Angel, Slayer, Dismember, Death, and Entombed. Afterwards, it would be time for some real party music. Don’t get me wrong, I love death metal, but death metal is not party music. Now it would be time to play stuff like Poison, Scorpions, Europe, Alice Cooper, Manowar, Judas, Mötley Crüe, that kind of 80s stuff. Everybody loves those 80s classics. That’s party music! And that’s when the party really takes off. (laughs)

Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?

First of all, thanks to everyone who made it this far (laughs). I would like to thank as well the Moshville Times and Ricky Fleming for giving me the opportunity to talk about Inert here.

As a last message, well, just listen to metal and have fun while doing it! That would be it. And support the scene too of course! Buy stuff from the bands you like, go to gigs, or just share stuff from those bands in your social media to help them spread the word, cause the scene is not only the bands, the scene are all of us, and only helping each other out we’ll keep it alive. Cheers!

Vermin is out now

Inert: official | facebook | bandcamp

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments