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Home » » Interview - UNDERGANG - Our lyrics evolve around various aspects of death, like murder, torture, suicide, the stages of decomposition or other horrors.

Interview - UNDERGANG - Our lyrics evolve around various aspects of death, like murder, torture, suicide, the stages of decomposition or other horrors.

Interview with rotten death metal band from Denmark - UNDERGANG.

Answered David Torturdød
Translated by Duzl, thank you!

Ave UNDERGANG! I have been listening to your new album for some time now and I still discover something new in it, some new pieces of darkness. I have to say that I thought that your album will be great but this completely killed me. The album is great. How are your reactions from your fans and what about reviews?

- Thank you for the good words, glad to hear you like “Misantropologi” and have been able to find new depth in the songs over several listens. We’re rather proud of the album ourselves and feel like it’s the best release we’ve done to this date regarding both song writing and the production.

In generally has seemed like people like the album, some feeling like it is our best moment caught on tape, others will likely never think we’ll top “Indhentet Af Døden”, haha. It is what it is, we’re happy with our entire discography with all of its imperfection, but we always aim at what new we release has something new to add to our universe and hope that people listening to our music likes what we do too.

Ps. I’m sorry to hear that our album killed you, your writing is rather impressive A.D. .

Have you played your new songs live already? How do they work with fans? Do you have any potential hit? For me it would be probably „Skåret i småstykker“.

- We regularly play 4 songs off “Misantropologi” in our live set since the album was released and those are “Efter obduktionen”, “Klynget op i en galge af egne indvolde”, “Sygelige nydelser (del 1) Apotemnofili” and “Sygelige nydelser (del 2) Tafefili”. We’re working on a music video for one of the songs too and we will likely change and add some other songs from the album to be included in future setlists too. I’ll try to remember to add “Skåret I småstykker” for next time we come to Czech Republic again then. Hits are for pop bands, but personally I really enjoy playing “Efter obduktionen” live.

How did you compose new material for “Misantropologi”? How UNDERGANG compose?

- Generally I write most of the riffs and come up with a song structure at home, sitting with my acoustic guitar, then bring it down to our rehearsal spot and work things out for the actual song with our drummer, Anders. Then when we’ve finished the structured and practiced it quite a bit, we decide on a title suitable for the song and I then write lyrics and figure out the vocal patterns. The process for “Misantropolgi” was the same, we then taught our new bassist, Sam, how to play the songs in the studio when we had put down the rhythm tracks with drums and guitar. Since then we’ve written a few songs for a couple of upcoming split releases together as a unit in the rehearsal space, which has been a lot of fun too.

Who is the author of your lyrics? What are your lyrics about and where do you find inspiration? Why are your lyrics in Danish?

- I’ve written all of our lyrics so far and they all evolve around various aspects of death, be it murder, torture, suicide, the stages of decomposition or other horrors... Just all sorts of gruesome stuff with a bit of a tongue in cheek storytelling to it, which I guess gets lost on everyone not from Denmark, which is likely 95% of people actually caring about what we do, haha.

When we started out the band we didn’t think we’d get much recognition outside maybe our circle of friends, so we choose a Danish name/word for the band and decided that lyrics in Danish to go along with that seemed like the logical choice. It has kind of become our trademark too, so love it or hate it, the lyrics all being in Danish will not change.

Who is the author of the cover or “Misantropologi”? I really like this person´s work. How did you even chose the theme of the cover?

- I’m glad to read that you like the cover artwork, like most other cover artwork and shirt designs it was designed and crafted by me. Anders and I had been talking about the title and what cover we found fitting for this release for maybe 2 years time before we had the songs written and agreed that it’d be cool to do a gory and rotting version of Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” sketch and that it should be full colour. So for the first time, really, I turned to water colours to paint my artwork. I think it did work our alright at least. The title was something I came up with a few years ago, just being dumb and playing with words and I thought it’d be a cool title for an Undergang album and it was agreed that we should use it for a future album. 

The sound of the album is really great. It is dark, cold and sharp at the same time. In what studio did you recorded? Were you able to have any comments during the recording and at the final sound and mastering?

- Like with our last album “Døden Løger Alle Sår” we recorded it in Earhammer Studio, in Oakland, California, with Greg Wilkinson. We loved working with him the last time and the product at the time was the album we were most satisfied with production-wise too. Greg rules, he’s a great guy and a super patient and professional engineer to work with. He listens to all of your ideas and let you try out pretty much all you’d want to try and gives good input and have good suggestions for additions and such at times too. Definitely my favourite person to work with in a studio in my experience with recording. Unlike last time when we worked with Dan Lowndes, as we often do, we also let Greg do the mastering of the album and he did a great job at that too.

In February 2016, you played in the Czech Republic in Písek. I have to say that you killed me that night. When you play live you as a band give everything in your performance. It was great! How did you enjoyed the concert and did you like the Czech Republic?

- Thank you, I’m glad that you enjoyed our performance there and it was nice meeting you and having a bit of a chat in person. The show was fun for us to play too and we get treated well by the organizer and people working at the place as well as all the headbangers and other maniacs there. I remember the sound being good and everyone being fun to play for and with. That show in Písek was also our last day of a small weeklong tour we did with our friends in Deiquisitor and we wne tout to eat at a restaurant in town before the gig at night. We’ve played a few times in Czech Republic now, both times have been set up with help from Jozka who lives in or near Breclav and he always seem to make sure we have a good time and get treated well. One of his friends who came out to the show in Breclav the night before the one in Písek was apparently a gravedigger and he brought a box of old bones he exhumed and Jozka send me home with a human femur bone that is still lying on top of my record storage unit to this day, haha. Czech Repulic has been good to us when we’ve gone through in 2012 and 2016 and we hope to visit again on future tours.

You guys play the classic, typical old death metal. You have never played anything else, you are an “orthodox” band. Personally, that is one of the reasons why I like your music. But have you ever thought about changing it a little bit? Just to change things up so the work of UNDERGANG is different? 

- We really just play what kind of death metal we like to play and what we’d like to hear ourselves and try to present our gross take on an already nasty genre to whoever else is interested in hearing what we have to offer. We don’t really think too much about how it is as we’ve always just done it the way we do. We have however talked about doing a bit of an experimental EP just recently, trying out adding some less common instruments on top, do more acoustic parts, less distortion and such. But that still haven’t taken any form, but it might be something you’d see coming from us in the future.

But fully changing what we do doesn’t seem like a logical step for us to do, it would also in a way be disrespectful to anyone caring about our band to suddenly change our recipe. Any need we have to play anything else than heavy, ugly and dumb death metal will be lived out on other projects on the side, so that Undergang can stay gruesome.

On concerts in the Czech Republic I often hear that there is not enough people going on concerts nowadays. I would like to know how is it in Denmark. For us you are a big country with a lot of bands and promoters. A lot of bands go to your country to play when they are on a tour. Do people go on death metal concerts in Denmark? And do you prefer playing in a small club or on big festivals?

- I think Copenhagen and Denmark in general suffers a bit from a lot of shows and tours going through our country these years. It didn’t used to be like that just 10 years ago but it has opened up quite a bit and suddenly we have so many death metal shows you don’t even hear about all of them, it seems. Attendance isn’t as big always and when putting on a show you never really know what to expect till you’re in the middle of it. I’ve organized shows not expected a lot of there’d be 150 people there and other times where I felt like we’ve promoted it well and only 40 people show up. The scene isn’t the strongest here, really, and people are a bit spoiled with so many shows all the time nowadays, but I won’t speak too badly about that as I certainly have slowed down at attending live shows myself too, likely a bit because I play a lot more myself also. But Copenhagen can be cool, there’s a good deal of venues that are willing to do death metal shows, big and small, so it’s usually possible to get most bands hooked up with a gig coming through our northern part of Europe.

Speaking of what kind of shows I like playing myself, I’m no different than any other musician and I love playing on a big stage in front of many people, it is in a lot of ways what we’ve all dreamed of as kid fantasising about how it’d be to be a proper rocker, but I certainly also do enjoy the more intimate club shows and getting to hang out and talk with people there. I usually handle our merch at shows most of the time too, so having a chat with people coming out is always a fun thing for me when it isn’t too busy.

Nowadays, there is a lot of young bands who start to play “old school death metal”. Most of them are not very good, but there are some good bands who realize what is this music about. Do you have any favourite band which would be able to make those “good old days” alive again?

- I felt like about 10 years ago when we started out too there was a cool explosion of new old styled death metal bands emerging and that was really cool. A lot of good bands came out of that, though a lot of them seem to now have either changed their style or stopped playing, but that is another talk all together, I guess. These years I really think that the US scene is offering a lot of really cool death metal, bands like Fetid, Torture Rack, Necrot, Spectral Voice, Mortiferum, Mortuous, Scolex, Blood Incantation and Acephalix. The Finnish scene is also still good at presenting new brutal bands like Galvanizer, Cadaveric Incubator, Gorephilia and Corpsessed to name a few, but also the Danish scene currently is spewing forth death underground death metal bands like Dequisitor, Taphos, Sulphurous and Phrenelith.

People download music online in these days and they only use its digital form. How do you as a musician feel about this issue?

- There’s no way of escaping the downloading of music, so I feel like one just needs to embrace it and be a part of it. Musicians don’t really make money of actual album sales any longer, that bit of that belongs to the labels, so if one wants to make a bit of money the way is to tour and sell merchandise. So if you really want to support your favourite bands, come out when they play in your town and buy some merch of them. I try to do that myself when bands I like come to town, which is probably why I have several hundred too many shirts these days too, haha.

We offer our releases available for download on a bandcamp page, since we know there will be a digital rip out there anyway, we just want to offer everyone the best sounding option directly from us and if they want to, they can send us some money when they download it, as we set it up as donation based.

Personally I still prefer the actual physical releases of music, as I like to enjoy and embrace everything the artists wish to present with their music and I find joy in putting on the album for the first time and reading and looking through booklets or even just studying the cover.

Are there any albums which have caught your attention recently?

- Of newer albums I liked this year’s releases from Cadaveric Incubator, Spectral Voice, Gorephilia, Krypts and Necrot, just off the top of my head. There’s likely more that I forget right now. There seems to be going a lot more on right now than I’m able to keep up with.

Do you know and listen any Czech bands?

- First one to come to mind right now is Pathologist, I have the LP reissues from them and they’re sick. Other than that I remember the newer band Chaos Squad we played with a few times in Czech and I thought they were cool too. Heaving Earth I also have a few releases off and I like them too. Sorry to not be able to name a lot more right now, I’m sure I’m missing out on some cool bands, hopefully over time I can discover them too.

What are UNDERGANG´s plans for the next few months?

- I kept going back and forth to this interview as I kept getting occupied with other things, but since we got back this summer from a month long US tour, we’ve been on a 5 day tour in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark with Lord Gore, played Old Grave festival in Bucharest, Romania, a show in Odense, Denmark, live on Danish television as a part of an interview in a morning TV show and right now as I’m finishing the interview I’m sitting on a plane heading to Portugal to play a show along with Phrenelith in Porto. It’ll be our first time visiting Portugal, so we’re looking forward to that, I always love getting to see and experience new places thanks to the band.

That’ll be the last shows we have till March currently, so we’ll have time to focus on some new releases we have recorded so they can go to pressing soon. We have a split 7” with Dead recorded, a 7” on our own with 2 more songs recorded at the same session as Misantropologi as a part of a book project I’m working on with Danish author Benni Bødker and a live album to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in 2018 to come. So there’ll still plenty to deal with here and for people liking what we do to look forward to.

Thank you for the interview and I wish you a lot of sold albums, hundreds of crazy fans and tons of great ideas. 

- Thank you for the interview and not least the patience with me getting it back to you. I wish there was more hours in the day to keep proper up with everything. Best of luck with all of your activities and thank you for inviting us into the online realm of Deadly Storm.

To you reading this out there, thank you for your time and if you like what we do you can get our albums from our labels and ourselves. Stay tuned, we have so much more disgust to show you...

Boiling in blood,

David Mikkelsen / Undergang

Recenze/review - UNDERGANG - Misantropologi (2017)
Report, photos, video - OLDSCHOOL DEATH/THRASH NIGHT - UNDERGANG, DEIQUISITOR, LAHAR, KAOSQUAD – Local club Pí, Písek – 20. 2. 2016
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