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Heavy on the Death front Brazilian Death/Doom band Volkmort typify the slow and difficult release schedule associated with a lot of South American bands. Bassist Deathos talks to Comrade Aleks about the fifteen years it took to get to their debut album release.

Interview with Volkmort.
"Brazilian soil isn't fertile for Doom offspring. And Volkmort's story is an eloquent example of that - started in 2004, the band didn't release any records until 2010, and even then it took nine more years to finish the full-length 'Battle Desolation' to add to EP 'The Beginning Of The End' (2013) and compilation 'Traces Of Doom' (2015). Hah - a kind of coincidence - 'Battle Desolation' was actually released a year ago, on 18th May, 2019. I invite fans of macabre and grim Death/Doom to join our conversation with Tuka "Deathos" Hardt, who performs "Panzer Bass" in Volkmort."

Volkmort: Gabriel “Sepulchral” da Silva (drums), Tuka “Deathos” Hardt (bass), Diogo “Dunkel Traum” Oliveira (vocals), Junior “Unorthodox” Hardt (guitars), Eduardo “Necro Abhorrence” Blumer (guitars).

Hi Deathos! How are you? How do you spend your time during quarantine? How hard are the restrictions in the Santa Catarina area?

Hi Aleksey, first of all, on behalf of the whole band, thanks for the space to promote the band. Personally, I am doing well, we are working on short shifts and following rules of social distance. During this period, we are not performing the band's rehearsals, however, we are working on our next album, composing each one in our home and holding videoconference meetings to align matters. Here in our state, commerce and industry are functioning after a period of closed doors, however, there are rules of distance between people, wearing masks and hand hygiene.

Speaking about Volkmort - you're one of the founding members, and it's said that the band was started in 2004. What was the band's original lineup? What united you all under Volkmort's banners?

In 2004 I left a Doom Metal band called Pain of Soul, it was the opportunity to start a band where I could explore other elements, it was then that I wrote the first song called 'In diesem Jahrhundert, verlor ich mein Leben', this song was tested in a jam between me, one of the guitarists and the drummer of the band that I left, I wanted to check if this was the way to be followed in practice, at that time we were not a band, but I was starting everything, months later, we already had one team and we started the first rehearsal as a band. Later on, that first song went through changes in the lyrics and its structure, becoming 'Decadence as the Ending' that was recorded in the 2011 demo Supreme Evolution of Fear.

What did you look for out of Pain Of Soul? I see you took part in recording of their first demo and as far as I understand the band played gigs back then?

I played on the show that was recorded for the Live in Pain demo in 2004, which was also my last show with the band. It was a very productive and learning period for all of us, we played on many shows and, for a long time, we were the only Doom Metal band in our state, at the time most people did not understand what we were doing, and that was very fun, but it also frustrated us a few times.

It seems a common story for Brazilian Doom bands that you have no releases during the first few years. How did you spend this first period? What prevented you from visiting a studio?

Each band has a particular history, but what they all have in common are the difficulties in recruiting musicians, acquiring good instruments, a rehearsal spot, money to pay for a studio, even if you are an amateur. In the first 6 years, we had many changes in the formation, because here in our state, more specifically in the region where we live, which is the interior of the state, the metal musicians were scarce and the style we practiced even more, As the band was the least attractive to the candidates, it was very difficult to maintain a stable team, which also ended up contributing to the delay in writing and preparing the first demo.

Volkmort - 'Destructive Obsession' (2019):

Did you play live with Volkmort during those years? What was your set-list like? And what are your memories of those gigs?

The shows started in 2007, there were few shows until 2011, all in our region, after that period the frequency increased a lot, in the beginning the setlist was basically composed of songs from the demo, then with the release of the EP we played songs from this EP too. Currently, in shorter shows, we only play the Battle Desolation material, we generally do not play music (written) by other bands, we focus on our material.

Volkmort's first demos - the nameless one, 'Demo' (2010), and 'Supreme Evolution Of Fear' (2011) - and EP 'The Beginning Of The End' (2013) demonstrate your passion towards macabre up-tempo material in the vein of Asphyx and their less known followers. What were your influences during this period? Were you satisfied with the direction Volkmort moves?

Yes, the passion for this type of sound clearly defines what stimulated us to produce this material. In the band, we have musical tastes that vary between classic Heavy Metal and extreme subgenres, however, all adoration for Death and Doom Metal is unanimous among us, especially when they merge. Our influences were and continue to be the 90s Death and Doom Metal bands, which you also mentioned.

It took about six years before you finally released debut album 'Battle Desolation'. How long did you spend writing this material?

We started composing right after the release of the EP The Beginning Of The End of 2013, at this stage, we already had drafts of incomplete songs, but that's when we started to structure them and prepare them for the album.

Didn't the fact what you had no album for so many years press you and make you hurry?

Yes, we were struggling to release our first album, I believe that the same happens with most bands, however, there was no rush, mainly because we started to consider the entry of a second guitarist, who ended up happening in 2018, the material that it was already recorded, it only needed to record this second guitar, but it ended up contributing much more, from the inclusion of new details to the mixing of the songs.

Eduardo Blumer joined the band as second guitarist during this recording session, how did you decide to add an extra guitar to Volkmort's arsenal? Do you feel this decision helped you to enrich Volkmort's sound?

Right. Eduardo was already known to us, it was an obvious choice for us, we had been thinking about a second guitar for a long time, but we were afraid that this could change our sound and that none of us wanted it to happen, we wanted to keep the same elements, but we also thought about exploring other possibilities, such as harmonies, melodies and more weight. He joined the band in 2018, did not participate in the process of composing the material, however, he was free to suggest and include elements that contributed strongly to the sound of the songs, we were very pleased with the result that can be seen on the album.

The songs were recorded in a few sessions between 2017 and 2018, why did you decide to split the recording? Was it difficult to return at the studio each time and keep focused on the same vibe as before?

During this period, we had our personal and professional schedules very full, on the other hand, there was the production of our album and we tried a solution to reconcile everything without conflicts, we also wanted a second guitarist to participate in the process of recording the material. So we decided to do things without too much pressure so that it didn't affect our schedules and also the internal climate, we wanted everything to go well, and it worked out, because we had time to meet Eduardo Blumer, rehearse the songs, join him in the band and , of course, record his guitar, because, as I mentioned earlier, the other instruments have already been recorded.

Volkmort - 'Return To Chaos' (2013):

Was it expensive to record the album this way? How well is Sonority Studio equipped? Would you return there to record once more?

It was not such an expensive album compared to other productions we know, however, we invested much more than in any other work of ours, it is a good production and, above all, viable. Studio has served us well until now, it is equipped, the technician responsible for Studio is competent, he knows how to capture our sound well, of course, after the album is ready, we always want to do something different, but this is normal, it's almost certain that we will return to the production of the next album.

Volkmort's songs have a sharp death metal edge and your lyrics are damned grim as well - how would you sum up the band's message? Which themes best suit your music?

You're right. We have a lot of Death Metal in our sound, however, Doom Metal is strongly present in the concept of lyrics, in them we usually approach themes related to human suffering in battles, in the decadence that each conflict generates as a consequence and in the post-war period. trauma in the war, some of our letters chronicle battles from the perspective of combatants on the front lines, for example. But we evaluate ourselves as a Death / Doom Metal band, because we always mix the two genres, in our live performances, naturally we present a dark, dragged and heavy performance, with a dark atmosphere, but without forgetting the fast moments, is what we like to do.

How does your environment influence your music?

We are influenced by everything we see daily, the dark side of humanity inspires us, the consequences of disgusting acts, political decisions, conflicts, so we are inspired by humanity from a decadent perspective, in its confused beliefs that culminate in wars and desolation.

Did the release of 'Battle Desolation' help you to draw more attention to the band? I see that you released it DIY: how did you work on its promotion?

Ok, this record caught the attention of the underground media specialized in our country, the whole promotion process took place independently, we have no record labels, by option, we did not find a good proposal for us until that moment, however, we continue to look at the future. This album was awarded as the best release of Doom Metal and its types in 2019 on four different sites, in addition to dozens of very positive reviews, it projected us nationally and in some countries in South America, Asia and Europe there was less repercussion, this is due to the fact that we do not have representative contacts in the scenario of these places, however, all in due time. It really made us proud and encouraged to work on an even more powerful new album.

What are the main difficulties the band faces organizing gigs in your region? Is it worthwhile to spend time and energy on organizing tours in this area? Do you have an opportunity to play at some festivals?

In our region, there are no shows every week, but they happen from time to time, we always have an invitation to play, but we decided that in the coming years we want to explore other regions of our state and country, which is very big. In our state and throughout the south of the country, it is where most metal festivals take place, we have already played in several, we had more invitations for this type of event.

What are your plans now considering Volkmort's next release?

Still for 2020, we are working on the launch of Battle Desolation in tape format, by Art Pagan of Bolivia, this launch will probably be limited to Latin America, this material is ready, however, we need to be patient, because in Bolivia they are also living under social isolation rules and we don't have a defined deadline so far; in addition, we look forward to resuming rehearsals and producing our next album. For the next album, we already have most of the compositions ready, but of course, we still need to produce and rehearse the songs to record them later, we are already working on the concept of the album and talking to designers who can transform all of that in art. Our goal is to launch it in 2021, we will work to make it happen.

Deathos, thank you for this interview, let's hope Volkmort will find its followers through it. How would you like to finish this conversation?

On behalf of my band partners, I appreciate the invitation to this interview, we feel honored for that, it is always gratifying to see how far our music can go. We really want to play in your country one day, we know that the metal scene is very big out there and that Doom Metal is very present in this high quality scene.

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Visit the Volkmort bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-05-19 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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