INTERVIEW: Necro Deathmort | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Since releasing their critically-acclaimed debut album This Beat Is Necrotronic in 2009, duo Matthew Rozeik and AJ Cookson have continued to conjure up funereal, industrial beats alongside dub-infused electronica and experimental flourishes with just the right tinge of heavy metal. This month sees the release of EP2, the latest instalment in a trilogy of innovative, thematically intertwined and labyrinthine releases that shows off the sonic depth of a band who consistently astound and puzzle critics in equal measure. Not bad for a duo who, by Rozeik’s own admission, “didn’t set out to even start a ‘real’ band.”

Listening to Necro Deathmort’s latest EP is a bit like hearing the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Eraserhead if Vangelis had added a dose of his fluid synths to the soundtrack and invited Tony Iommi to provide a smattering of face-melting riffs. There’s a definitive reason why EP2 in particular sounds so claustrophobic. “This record is themed around the various layers of the ocean, with each track representing a deeper layer,” Rozeik explains. “We were inspired by reading about the dysphoric zones of the deep sea, the areas where light does not penetrate: these zones are inhabited by many strange creatures and we wanted to create a narrative story around this.” This goes a long way to explaining why listening to EP2 is like a sonic representation of gradually drowning in oppressive doom; even their own press release describes EP2 as a ‘crushing behemoth’ of a record. “I will say that this record is probably a bit more doom metal-sounding than our other albums,” admits Rozeik, “but all three EPs are heavily inspired by 70s synth bands and film soundtracks.”

Still, it must occasionally get tiresome hearing your musical baby being constantly described as doom-laden and I wondered if Rozeik ever became frustrated with the portrayal. “We probably do sound bleak to most people if they’ve never heard Swans or Khanate,” he laughs. “We do sometimes feel it’s a little restrictive when people focus on trying to find new ways to describe us being dark or bleak,” he admits, “but 90% of our music is dark and bleak, so I should probably just accept it!”

For a band that have already released highly acclaimed LPs in the past, it seems unusual that the duo would put out a series of much shorter works. As it turns out, there is a reason for everything in the Necro Deathmort universe; Rozeik and Cookson deliberately planned the series as a method of exploring a greater range of sounds. “We have such a wide palette of influences and sounds that it’s really hard to not want to explore these sounds in more detail than is possible in just one track,” Rozeik explains. “Some records need to be 30 minutes, some 50. We only want to make records that work within the context of themselves, we’re not so concerned with our catalogue ‘making sense’ to people and making it easy to pigeonhole the band.”

 

Necro Deathmort by Luana Magalh∆es 2

 

Despite the slightly disparate musical directions of each of the EPs, Rozeik explains that there is still a loose theme tying the trilogy together. “They each have a theme of exploration, both sonic and literal,” he explicates. “EP1 was about science and micro-biological exploration, EP2 has a deep sea exploration theme and EP3 is about space travel.” Rozeik also explains that he and Cookson never work on single tracks at a time: “We don’t really work on a track-by-track basis. We usually have a theme and try to write music specific to that theme. It’s how we keep ourselves inspired and we find it pushes us to try new things out rather than follow the well-worn path.”

Rozeik seems to want to keep evolving the sound of Necro Deathmort in an attempt not to be pigeonholed. I wondered if he was slightly disillusioned with the state of the industry, which leads to creating such a complex and transcendental web of sound. “I think a lot of the problem with the music scene today is that many people don’t value original sounds or experimentation,” he says. “We haven’t really been embraced by any scenes or trends and haven’t been hyped by anyone, so we’ve managed to just do our own thing without any distractions or worrying where we should take things.” Rozeik also appreciates the continued support that they have received through all of their sonic mutations: “thankfully, most of our fans have been very open-minded and supportive.”

The duo are already working on the final instalment of the EP trilogy. In yet another attempt to deviate from the “well-worn path,” Rozeik notes that the sound of EP3 is “completely different” to its predecessors and could surprise a lot of their fans. “It’s sort of Krautrock inspired,” he explains. “The songs are a lot more colourful and much less dark than the previous two EPs. The three records together give a much more complete picture of NDM as a band than an individual album does.”

Given Necro Deathmort’s penchant for the abyss, maybe we shouldn’t expect EP3 to be filled with breezy pop hits, although a tribute to everybody’s favourite Greek composer isn’t out of the question: “Vangelis rules. I Can’t Take It Anymore is an atmospheric masterpiece.”

Necro Deathmort release EP2 via Distraction Records on 10th November.

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