Monday, June 10, 2019

an interview with Deus Vermin

Leeds' Deus Vermin released their debut Monument to Decay last year, and have been busy spreading their discordant melange of death and black metal through the UK since. As a fan of all things fast and grim, I reached out to the band to find out more about their history and intentions. Guitarist CG was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Deus Vermin?

Deus Vermin is a collective of individuals who are wanting to create music that reflects the negative aspects of humanity. The whole concept of the band from the outset was to form not only a band but an idea, the idea that humanity overall is in fact a parasite on this Earth. Since the dawn of man people have leached every resource our environment has to offer without maintaining any of natural order or balance.

As a result of this resources have gradually became fragmented and scarce, which in turn has driven us to commit such atrocities as warfare on a global scale and this isn’t a new thing. The same story has continued for generations and appears to be never ending. 

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band - when did you form, and what brought you together?

Deus Vermin as an idea was originally formed in 2014 when CG started trying to shape a sound for what was to come, the project originally had other members during its inception, and it had a completely different sound to the Deus Vermin of today. Some of the original members went on to form other great bands such as Vacivus. 

Deus Vermin was then revisited later, CG moved to Leeds and in 2017 through mutual friends LM joined the group and helped add polish to some of the ideas that had already been in the works, most of which are on MTD. LM’s style is rather unconventional as he comes from a different background to the rest of us and his range as a musician has consistently expanded. 
 GH came into the picture as soon as he got chance, as we needed a player who could play blast beats hard and take an idea, expand on it and add his own signature take on what would eventually become an essential part of our sound.

AS joined on bass as we wanted someone who thinks outside of the box in terms of song writing, arrangements and a unique bone shattering tone, he also is working on other aspects to our future releases that are his footprint on the body of work. 

AL joined the band after CG and AL had worked on music previously and knew that his voice stands out from a lot of contemporary vocalists with diverse range, completing the quintet and laying down the final piece of the “puzzle” as you see it today.

DoC: Deus Vermin is described as "black metal influenced death metal". What elements do you take from the two styles, and why does the mix appeal to you more than either genre by itself?

That’s an interesting question, we describe ourselves as this as we feel that we shouldn’t get put into a box, many class us as DM, others as BM. The whole idea from the outset was to mix the melancholic melodies and off harmonies of BM with the brick wall ferocity and playing style of DM.

We generally find at shows that after we have played people find it hard to describe our sound as each part is different to the last and we want to keep it that way so that we don’t feel like we’re regurgitating what came before every two years like so many bands have in the past.

DoC: Based on your demo, it seems you arrived at your sound immediately. Did you have a clear sense of what you wanted Deus Vermin to be when you formed?

The demo was released at the time when Monument To Decay was all but finished, although hadn’t been through the recording process for it yet; we wanted to release something short so people were aware that we existed, and something was coming. The demo was recorded in the space of about 8 hours, bar vocals which were recorded separately.

The demo came out to praise from bloggers and fans alike, which was a great start; it had a raw energy to it more than likely due to time constraints but translated well onto the recording itself. Tom Wright did an incredible job on the recording; he certainly captured what we wanted to project.

There was a lot of preparation that went into forming the sound of the band, as a group we are self-critical, things can always be made better, more ferocious, more miserable. This is how we aim to progress moving forward. 

DoC: Tell me about your first album Monument To Decay. Where was it recorded? What was the writing process for these songs?

MTD was recorded at Vagrant Recordings by a Mr Tom Dring, he is a professional. Tom has this uncanny ability to catch a bands intention and get it down on wax. The recording process for this was over two sessions, both equally as intense as the last. It came out exactly as we wanted, just enough clarity to hear the riffs but with a layer of dirt to give an overall sense of what we are.

The writing process for MTD was over a few years, a lot of it was sending demos around members, getting into a room together and hammering it out; the entire aim from the outset was to make MTD a completely impenetrable wall of riffs. Judging by the feedback we have received we certainly achieved that lofty goal. 

DoC: What can you tell me about the lyrics and themes of Monument To Decay?

The lyrical themes of MTD are a mixed bag, more than one member contributed towards them to give a different feel to each track; the overall themes are dread, hatred among man and the chaos of life in general, and an overarching theme of an inevitable trajectory of disrepair.

DoC: You've been quite busy playing live shows throughout the UK. How important is the live experience for you? Do you have any plans to play overseas? 

Live shows are certainly what we enjoy most about being part of this project, this is why we try to provide a minimal look to our stage show, it allows the music to become more powerful as well as creating an atmosphere leading to an uneasy feeling amongst all the feedback and noise.

All we can say at this point in time with regards to overseas is that we are talking to people and getting further with our long term goals. Europe, Japan and the USA are our aspirational locales but like every other band that has existed we have to take it one step at a time. 

DoC: What is the scene like in Leeds, and how does it differ from others in the UK? Would you say that your environment influences your music? 

Leeds in general has a very unusual scene mostly since it is so multi-cultural, we have people here from all over the world and a lot of them are University students, this brings an interesting mix of sounds from different places. The metal scene isn’t as big as some places in the UK as it is known more for punk and hardcore at this point in time, but we can say without a shadow of a doubt that there are enough metal bands and fans here to pack out any of the many venues. Our personal favourite being Temple of Boom, the atmosphere and overall vibe of the place is very DIY and incredibly well put together. 

The landscape of Leeds is certainly a major influence ,whether it be the lush natural landscape or the post-industrial look of the city and surrounding areas - the place has so many different things going on it’s hard not to feel inspired just from walking out of your front door. 

DoC: Who do you see as your peers (in the UK or otherwise?)

We feel that there are a few bands in the UK to pay very close attention to at the moment, the aforementioned Vacivus, an incredible band with an earth shattering set of songs that you can either stand and nod your head to or jump head first into the pit. 

Calligram, our previous show partners. This band is by far one of the best bands in the UK, if you haven’t seen them live, you’re missing out. Whether it be the more sombre sections where you can really take in the mournful overtones of the picked-out guitar lines to the full-on brick wall riffs fuelled by vitriol, you’re going to have an experience. The lead singer of these guys turns into Mr Hyde as soon as the set starts, even to the point of leaving the venue, mic in hand belting vocals out in the street. If you’re in his way, just make sure you don’t have a full drink in your hand, you’re more than likely going to be wearing it.

Geist are a great band from Durham, if you really enjoy angry as well as melancholic d-beat riffs and raging vocals with serious subject matter, these are the guys for you. The drummer absolutely knocks it out of the park with how hard he hits, and the whole ensemble is an unmissable watch. Their stage show sets the tone for their incredible sets.

Hundred Year Old Man, a post rock band from Leeds. They have constantly been playing shows for many years and they have never missed a step, with layer upon layer of instrumentation and interesting use of effects creates a special blend of low tuned riffs mixed with interesting lead lines along with a thick overarching viscosity. Brilliant band.

Goblin Smoker, another band from Durham who have been in our sights for a while, their crushing sludgy doom riffs and tormented vocal delivery make them ones to look out for in that respectable scene; they only have one release, but it’s worth every second of its 24 minute length. Clearly for those who worship amps and Indica.

Haar from Scotland are one of the most talented sets of musicians we have ever had the pleasure of watching - the completely out of left field riff structures and mind-boggling complexity of this band is so humbling to hear. If you like your black metal with a side of unpredictability they’re worth travelling for, their live shows are rare so if you get the chance don’t miss them.

DoC: What's next for Deus Vermin?

We are currently working on new material like all bands should, trying to work out the next phase in the sound is always a difficult one as we like to try to keep things fresh so we are attempting to add new ideas into the mix, to help carve out the path we have already set in motion.

We also have a vinyl repress of both the demo and MTD coming out on Goatprayer Records at the end of the month.

This year we are going to be playing with:

Noisem - Leeds Temple of Boom 18/07/2019

Hexis - Leeds, Temple of Boom 17/08/2019

Hexis - Manchester Rebellion 18/08/2019

Byker Grave Festival – Newcastle

Star And Shadow Cinema 29-30/11/2019

Deus Vermin on Facebook

Deus Vermin on Bandcamp

Deus Vermin on IG

Deus Vermin on Youtube

Monument To Decay through Goatprayer Records

Dischord Progressions:

catching up
with Nucleus