Interview: Deus Mori

After reviewing their recent EP Umbra Mortis, I felt that I had to get in touch with Deus Mori and see what their message is, how their songs were constructed and the plans for the future. Hailing from Manchester and with the band being only two years old, to have this much talent in their infant years bodes well for their future. Enough of my ramblings, enjoy this interview and good luck to Deus Mori. See you on tour sometime soon, hopefully!

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Mostly Greater Manchester, but Krosis lives in the Derbyshire countryside and Dødsklokken is from the blasted wastelands of Stoke.

How long have you been playing together as a band?

It’ll be 2 years in summer.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

It’s hard to put into words if we’re honest. It seems to be a sound born from the vastly different musical interests of the individual members, but joined by a mutual love of black metal.

Recently you released an early taster, “Under the Sigil of Death”, a prelude track to the EP Umbra Mortis. How does it feel to get the new song out there for the masses to hear for the first time and how have the reviews been so far?

We had a few setbacks prior to the release, some bigger than others. Finally after a lot of work and pain, we had the finished EP ready to release. It feels fucking good to get our music out there to the people that have been asking for it.

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

This new EP has more of ourselves in the music. During the writing and recording, all the members of the band were affected by some pretty serious losses. That pain and anger is all there.

Black metal in the UK have had mixed results in terms of success over the years. Ask any metal fan about black metal and they would say it came from Norway. Where would you say Deus Mori come in and while success is maybe not a motivator for the band, what are your goals for the band?

We come in right here and now. We never set out to copy other bands. There are many out there and undoubtedly do it better than we could. The music we write is a reflection of each of us, the way we grew up and the places we’ve lived. The sound that we have is what we believe, personal to us. Individual. As for motivation for the future? We want to continue to play as many different venues as possible, cover as many countries as possible and write an album that will make you bleed diesel and shit bullets.

How good would you say the current UK black metal scene is? Is there a good wave of black metal coming out the UK in your opinion?

The UK scene at the moment is honestly rammed with talented black metal bands. The recent rise in popularity has introduced a lot more people to the genre as a whole, which in our eyes is a good thing. Some elitists may argue that underground is Trve Kvlt, but who the fuck doesnt love to see a venue full with the audience tearing each other apart? We do.

Before this fucking virus, how often were the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio?  Where do you get together and record?

We usually practice once a week together, but most weeks we have shows too so we try and balance that out. So far we have recorded solely at John Thompson from Nekro Drako and Reign of Erebus’s home studio, which the exception of the the drums. They were recorded at Silver Lining Studios in Denton.

How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Deus Mori a band where all members contribute to the songs?

A mix of both. Some of our tracks have come from a state where most of it was written by one person, but then we all put out our own spin on with how we write the parts for our respective instrument and we’ll all make suggestions and modifications if we feel it’s needed. That’s how something like “Under The Sigil Of Death” came about. Other times its much more organic and we’ll start from one or two riffs and build a whole song from that with us all writing sections and arranging the song as a collective. That’s how we wrote Umbra Mortis.

Is there a main lyricist within the band? What are the lyrics for Umbra Mortis based on?

The lyrics are shared between Dødsklokken and Enecate, some are a collaboration between the two, others were written by them as individuals. Primarily our lyrics are a mixture of the rage, pain and anguish of War and a hatred of all religion, but Umbra Mortis has a defining story running through the whole EP. If you want to know the story, then decipher the lyrics and discover the tale they tell.

Being a five piece band and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?

We all are on the same page we would say. There are musical influences that we all have as individuals which wouldn’t always match up if we tried to put them all in together, but we all collectively know what will and won’t work for the sound we have and the songs we write. We add our outside influences to help make things interesting and come up with new ideas, say sticking in some death or extreme metal elements here and there, but we all agree that this is a black metal band and that’s a key force that directs our writing and keeps things focused.

Personally, one of the things I love in a band is having more than one vocalist as it adds so much more to the song and message. What made you have three vocalists who contribute and was it purely by accident or what the band wanted when formed?

When Deus Mori first formed it was just Krosis, Enecate and Skogen. We didn’t have time to secure a committed full-time vocalist before our first gig supporting Zornheym the following month after we formed, and so we asked Dødsklokken to stand in on lead vocals with Enecate providing backing vocals. We were then offered a show in July which Dødsklokken was unavailable for, so Exigne stepped in. We were torn between who to ask to join full time as both had proven themselves and we worked very well with both. We had planned since forming the band to add a second guitarist at some point in the future, so we asked Exigne to join on guitar duties and also backing vocals. Not long later at Twatterfest 2018 we debuted our 5-piece line up, which was a huge milestone for us.

How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on more bigger tours and further afield in 2020 if things better?

It’s tough, not only with jobs with conflicting schedules but also family arrangements. But we’ve made it work. Last year from spring to summer we rehearsed and played most weekends in a 7/8 week period, which was bloody hard work but absolutely worth it for the experience, honing our craft, the new fans and friends we made and for getting our name out there. In terms of the future, we have our eyes set on breaking into the London scene, and eventually playing shows abroad (promoters, hit us up).

How hard is it for a band like Deus Mori 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?

Not easy, like it is for most bands our level. Expenses and fuel alone eat up a surprising amount of revenues that you make on merch and fees. However, fans and gig-goers have been fantastic to us since the first day we started selling merch and we’ve tended to go through of our stocks pretty damn quickly. The responses at shows that we get make it all worthwhile, and we’ve worked with some fantastic promoters who’ve kept us fueled, fed and watered and paid us for our shows which has helped us survive and to keep doing what we’re doing.

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 far from refuge?

The Internet has made it possible for bands to reach far and wide, spreading a sickness across the globe when previously, it would have been confined to the underground scene. The passion hasn’t been lost, it has just evolved to reach a global audience. The more people that hear our music, the more it inspires the band to write more brutal, more torturous music.

Unfortunately due to the virus situation, are you looking at new ways of getting your music out there?

Since the virus fucked up our physical release (as our manufacturers had to stop business due to the lockdown), we decided to treat the fans by putting our first EP And From the Trenches Bore Darkness on Spotify and other streaming sites alongside releasing a digital version of the new EP. The minute we can get our physical CDs produced we’ll be getting them out there.

Being from the Manchester area, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend and give a shout out?

In terms of the Manchester black metal scene, Argesk are very good friends of ours and they’re about to drop they’re debut album very soon. If you count the Lanchasire area in general as local then there’s also Andracca we’d like to recommend and give a shout out too. We’ve also played with blackened death metallers Cadaver Soiree many times and they’ve put out a filthy debut album that you should definitely get your ears wrapped around.

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?

  • Gojira – From Mars To Sirius (Skogen)
  • Barshasketh – Barshasketh (Dødsklokken)
  • Strapping Young Lad – City (Exigne)
  • Dimmu Borgir – For All Tid (Enecate)
  • Motorhead – Ace of Spades (Krosis)

Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?

Dig in deep because this War is far from over, we will be issuing orders to storm no man’s land as soon as the plague passes! Also, wash your bastard hands!

Umbra Mortis is out now

Deus Mori: facebook | bandcamp

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