Wednesday, February 3, 2021

an interview with Dira Mortis

Readers of this blog know that I love me some Polish death metal. Dira Mortis fit that description - but unlike the hyperblasting style associated with their country, their use of doom and groove is more akin to the classic Florida sound. Founder/guitarist Leszek Makowiecki was kind enough to answer my questions about the history of Dira Mortis and their recently released third album, Ancient Breath of Forgotten Misanthropy.

photo by Marcin Studzinski

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Dira Mortis - where are you from, and how would you describe your band in 5 words?

Hi Adrian. We come from different cities, Dira Mortis was founded over twenty years ago in southern Poland, in the small town of Gorlice (where I was born), and only in the first period of activity band was from Gorlice.

All current members came from outside my region due to the fact that somehow we didn't have people who shared my fascination with death metal to really get involved in it. I am the only member from Gorlice, the rest of the band (that is Vizun, Mścisław, Jakub Brewczyński) are people from Lublin, and this has been the case for over years. To sum up, I go to the guys for rehearsals.

Five words to define our band ... I don't know , maybe Old School Death Metal Forever.

DoC: Please give a brief history of Dira Mortis - when was the band created, and what did you set out to accomplish?

The story at its best is in our bio, but of course I will answer.

The band was formed at the end of the Nineties. In 2001, I had a few songs ready and we [called ourselves] Revulsion, which started our journey. The beginnings were terribly difficult, but I had a lot of determination and I believed that we would be able to appear in the undergound - and we did. A dream come true. I liked sending CD packages and trading for other recordings. Reading a positive review of our recordings motivated me to take further action.

The intention from the beginning was clear that I wanted to play death metal, that I want to be everything as possible that I had at my disposal at the time, and ultimately to have a means of expressing my emotions, the way of perceiving reality, not forgetting my love for the genre itself.

DoC: Poland is a hotbed for metal, but unlike the fast/thrashy style usually associated with Polish death metal, Dira Mortis has extended slow, mid-paced, and groovy sections. What led you to adopt this approach? What bands would you say influenced you the most?

Poland has indeed released many great recordings into the world over the last three or four decades. Dira Mortis is extensive and the length of our songs may actually surprise some, but when you turn our recordings on, I don't think you [get bored]. Something influences me all the time, today it is everyday life, behavior and human thinking that pisses me off all the time. However, when it comes to music only, there is a lot of it, but I must admit that the foundation is Autopsy, Obituary, Sepultura, Kreator, Sodom and many more, but I think what I mentioned is a good [start].

DoC: Tell me about your songwriting process - do you write as a group, or does one member create most of the riffs and arrangements?

It's always the same, I write all the songs, and have an outline of the drums in my head; with this I go to Lublin to [work with] Vizun, and we do the rest in the rehearsal room - we discuss, arrange, etc. Then we go to the studio, record our parts and we send it to Mścisław; he comes to the studio, plays the bass, then composes solos that we record [before] the vocals. Mścisław is a session bass player only. Normally, Mścisław is the second guitarist live. At the end, the singer records his own [parts], so I think quite traditionally.

In the end, everyone is very important and [contributes] a lot, but I think the [majority] depends on what Vizun and I do in the rehearsal room.

DoC: At the end of 2020, you released your third album, Ancient Breath of Forgotten Misanthropy - where was it recorded? How long had you been working on it? How would you compare it to your previous albums?

Ancient Breath... was created over three years; I started writing it in 2017 and it took us a while, because in the meantime we were recording the clip and promoting Psalms of Morbid Existence live. You know, everything is quite complex, I live far away from the rest [of the] band members, so for rehearsals I [travel] three hundred km from my city Gorlice; in addition, I've been travelling around the world for almost fifteen years, because this is how I work.

Since 2009, we have been recording in Roslyn Studio in Poland with our sound engineer Krzysztof Godycki, who is a great option for us because we understand each other very well - and [from] the sound of our albums, you can [tell] that it is a good choice.

It makes no sense to compare [albums]; as in the previous ones, I put [in] a lot of hard work, together with the rest of the gang; and I hope that it is another step forward.

DoC: What can you tell me about the lyrics for Ancient Breath of Forgotten Misanthropy - what themes or topics do you explore? What subject matter inspires you?

Ancient Breath is a concept album, the foundation of which is that humanity is more and more underdeveloped and spoiled in its exuberant ego, greed and sense of earthly eternity without even thinking that it may rot in the ground [soon]. This album, if you look at the front cover, [while] listening to the content in the background, can be a window in which you can see yourself going to another dimension of the world. This is nothing but a reminder that the earthly journey comes to an end someday and the greatest justice and judge is death, of which those who are the greatest muck on earth and the [oppressors] that suffocates innocent people think the least.

The message of the album is about everyone, but especially the bastards who are responsible for decisions that weigh the fate of millions of people. It is also involving all religions in it and using them as tools to control humanity. Jakub Brewczyński, our new vocalist, who replaced Łukasz not so long ago, put it in words wonderfully, putting his feeling and interpretation into it. I think that we achieved our goal three hundred percent.

Finally, my inspiration is life itself and guessing what [comes] after, and on this basis everything that I have done in these 20 years is actually created.

DoC: Uappa Terror of the bands Extinkt and Terrordome recorded a guitar solo for the song "Twilight Of Divine Purgatory". How did he get involved with this album?

Uappa Terror is a very good friend of mine, a man who has done a lot for Dira Mortis, and broadcasts stuff on the internet, etc. We've played some concerts together and we are friends. He knew we were recording an album and we were sitting in the studio, he offered [to record a solo], of course we agreed. Thus he made his [contribution] to this album, making this track even more interesting.

DoC: This will be your first album for Selfmadegod Records. How did they end up releasing this album?

Selfmadegod Records has approached the matter very professionally, and we have no reason to complain; and we hope that [working together] will be a good choice for both sides. You know, Karol runs his company very carefully, takes care of details and is quite well organized, so as long as we exist and have ideas, our cooperation will continue. It is definitely one of the best labels in Poland and I think it will keep getting better.

DoC: I really like Vizun's ride fills. How many ride cymbals does he break in a year?

I do not know how many, but I think that Vizun has already broken such a small forest and a tin roof from a sports hall; he is a veteran, but he is also a grandfather, and getting more and more grumpy; old age is not [fun].

Seriously he is a great drummer, this is the most important thing, he does not pretend to be anyone else, he is just himself, [which] is already fantastic. Every human should be himself, everyone wants so much to be someone [else] - the question is why?

DoC: What's next for Dira Mortis?

Thanks Adrian for the nice conversation. What can I add, I am very pleased that I am replying to an interview from Malaysia - for us, distant Asia. Greetings to all fans of extreme music and we hope that Ancient Breath of Forgotten Misanthropy will reach you there via Selfmadegod Records or other music stores.

photo by Marcin Studzinski

Dira Mortis on Facebook

Dira Mortis on Bandcamp

Screamin' Legions of Death Metal:

Episode 158: