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Murkrat

Metal heads just love atmospheric sounds, be it in soundtracks of horror flicks like 'The Omen' and 'Poltergeist' or the enervating witchcries of a Diamanda Galas. In those dark, evil and occult shades of life, the metal head dwells well. Murkrat from Australia adds to the flavor and I spoke to Mandy, founder and soul of Murkrat that recently released 'Drudging The Mire', about the way she sees her band.

By: Erik | Archive under different metal

For starters, please tell us more about why and how and when you founded Murkrat? What was it that you wanted to achieve or express with Murkrat?
I think I started Murkrat in 2005 – but I'm not sure anymore. I just wanted to create a really personal, really angry, bitter band. I wanted to express myself completely, without being hindered by a genre or by any fellow band members. It was just myself and my childhood friend Becky. It wasn't intended to be any style in particular, but it descended pretty quickly into something very dark and slow.

What does Murkrat mean to you? Is it a way of life? Is it art? Is it perhaps the expression of your darkest thoughts?
You're right in a way – it's art, it's a way of life, it's everything. If you want to know anything about me, you can listen to 'Drudging The Mire', and read the lyrics, and you will know way more than you need to know. It is definitely an expression of my thoughts – possibly not my darkest thoughts, but certainly my most vitriolic.

What influences would you recognize in your music? Which bands inspired you musically?
Influences – this changes every time, but really, my deepest inspirations are the earliest stuff I listened to. Aghast, Sigh, Alice Cooper ('Billion Dollar Babies' era), Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Megadeth, Siouxsie & the Banshees (early stuff), Leonard Cohen, Arcturus, Kate Bush's darker stuff, a bit of Jefferson Airplane, for Grace Slicks incredible vocals, The Third and the Mortal ('Kari' era) and Burning Witch.

And lyrically? Where do you get the inspiration from? Is it books, science, religion, movies? Can you tell us what the songs are about on 'Drudging The Mire'?
The lyrics for Murkrat are really all reflections of humanity / human nature, whether it's a disgusted vision of myself ('I, Rodent') or a nightmare vision of the future ('Electric Womb'). All of my inspiration is from my revulsion and despair at humanity (including my own behavior), greed, selfishness, victimization, witch hunting and the inevitable and most frustrating aspects of human nature – self-delusion and hysteria.

band imageAre there differences between your debut and 'Drudging The Mire'? Are you satisfied with this evolution? Are you happy with the new album and how it turned out?
Yes and no – there are aspects of 'Drudging The Mire' that I'm completely satisfied with – the lyrics and the vocals, for one, and the drumming of course. Other things I might do differently next time – in particular, I think the sound of the distorted keys from the first album was actually missed on the second, but at the time, I was feeling far less aggressive and more depressed, so that really hard-edge on the keys didn't feel right. I also kept everything droning and minimal, which is what I definitely wanted at the time, but I think that a lot of people who liked the first album were disappointed by the very atmospheric vibe of 'Drudging The Mire'. In the end, it was exactly the product of what I was feeling at the time. I was a lot more arrogant when I made the first album, and that shows. The second album is softer and more moody, because I was less arrogant and more generally despondent at the time it was written and recorded. When something is as personal as Murkrat, it is always going to change wildly from album to album.

How did the deal with Aesthetic Death Records come around? Are you satisfied with the work they did/do/will do?!
I'm very satisfied with Aesthetic Death, Stu is awesome – very supportive and very patient. He contacted me out of the blue one day, having received a copy of the Murkrat demo from The Cave (a distro run by a friend of mine in Adelaide SA). We have worked together releasing the Murkrat stuff since then – except the Demon's Gate / Murkrat split, which was done by Abysmal Sounds, another killer label.

You could say Murkrat is a one woman project. Will we ever see you live on stage? How would that look like? Ever though of making a real band (with more members I mean) out of Murkrat? Is it a one woman band because of living in Australia? How does one regard your music down unda?
I probably won't ever get Murkrat to the stage – it's a massive undertaking, especially when, as you say, it's a bit of a 'one woman band'. I would need to get a band together first, and to play slow music well, you really need to play together for a long time and really have a good connection with the whole band. It's a one woman band purely because it's a really personal project and I'm an absolute control freak. I can't express myself properly if there are too many people involved. There are some people here in Australia who really like Murkrat – which is great, but it's still a very, very small, very unknown project.

To be honest, I would not have expected this kind of Gothic, Gregorian, Diamanda Galas dark and twisted like music to come from Australia and, maybe as important, to come from a female mind. Is that a prejudgment you hear more often? How are the critics dealing with that fact? Is it a plus or minus, or do you use it to your benefit?
I think there's been enough twisted music coming out of Australia for a while – i.e. Sadistik Exekution, Portal, that I don't really come across many people who imagine that we're all too busy riding around in kangaroo's pouches to make dark music. I don't think people are very surprised by the female aspect any more either, especially with Murkrat because it's very feminine music and it's wildly misandrist at time as well. I definitely don't believe in trying to seek benefit from being a female – not that there's anything special about “chicks-in-metal” anymore anyway, but I'm a huge hater of 'hot female band member on album cover' bands.

Is the best yet to come from you as Murkrat? And how would that sound?
I don't know if the best is yet to come – I certainly hope so, because I think there's definitely more to come. I will never stop being wildly opinionated, so I will always need a musical vehicle for my maniacal rants.

Okay, that's all from my side, anything else you might want to add?
Nothing more to add – except thanks for the interview. FBC Forever.

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