Hi Nick! How are you doing?
Hey Dennis! I am doing great. Thank you for reaching out and giving me this opportunity.
Your debut EP `Heretical Uprising` has been released on February 8th. How have the reactions been so far?
So far the reactions have been really positive. It`s really the best outcome we could have hoped for. We spent all last year getting this together, so we are pretty happy with the response. It`s great to watch something you created grow organically. It`s far surpassed my expectations and my previous works
I noticed you played in Pestilence and you also lived in The Netherlands for a short while, back in 1990. Since we are a Dutch e-zine I am curious to hear what you remember of that time here in The Netherlands and what you think of our country?
I love Holland! I`m a huge fan! I love the food and the people. It`s a nice quiet way of life that I`m fond of. When I joined Pestilence it was the first time I had visited The Netherlands. In fact, I celebrated my 21st birthday there. I spent a lot of time, about four months, in Enschede where Patrick M and Marco lived. I really like the towns. We travelled a lot to see Obituary, Sadus and Morbid Angel shows. I fell in love with the place. I recently went back a couple of years ago and it was just as I remembered it. I spent more time in the city of Amsterdam this last visit. It was a lot busier than I was used to but the food and scenery brought it all back for me. I would love to live there.
In 2018 you started Tribe of Pazuzu. How did things start rolling for your new band?
After I ended Soulstorm I wanted to do something really fast and aggressive and get back to my roots. There were a few signs it wasn`t working out - such as members not really suited to what I was writing. Things like that. So, I got talking to Jason Deaville - who I was already working with, and things went from there. Kim and Jason at Black Element have helped me with PR work in the past with Soulstorm and Sfera. I told him them my idea for a new band, and that I had a bunch of songs written and needed people, talented people to play the music
Can you tell us what is behind the band name Tribe of Pazuzu, why did you choose this name and why do you think it fits this band well?
Pure, unadulterated evil is the story behind the name. I wanted something that would be different but still signals to those in the know with the images we were using as clear indicators for our style. The logo and the imagery all tend to be a part of the death metal style and I wanted these elements to perfectly reflect our sound. Also, I think Pazuzu is still somewhat of an unknown known and perhaps slightly taboo. We all recognize the iconic imagery of Pazuzu but most don`t know who he is or what his name is.
With your former band Soulstorm you played industrial death metal and you released three full-length albums over the years. Soulstorm`s debut album `Darkness Visible` was released on Metal Blade Records in 1993, the second album `From Euphoria To Paranoia` in `94 on Cargo Records and the last record `Fall of The Rebel Angels` was released independently in 2012. How successful were these records? Did you tour a lot with Soulstorm in Canada or the US?
I guess the most successful Soulstorm would have been the early stuff like the `Control` demo and then, of course, the first full length `Darkness Visible` which, as you mentioned, was licensed by Metal Blade worldwide. Then I made a conscious decision to change the style. But the second CD was also successful - similar to the style change that made me leave Overthrow, and then Pestilence, and do Soulstorm in the first place. We played quite a few shows/tours with Soulstorm, most notably playing with Entombed, Cannibal Corpse, Grave and Massacre. We also played on Milwaukee Metalfest in `93 with Suffocation and Cancer.
Why did you decide to quit Soulstorm in 2016?
I reformed Soulstorm to release the third album `Fall Of The Rebel Angels` in 2012. We were writing for a follow-up 4th album and everything fell apart. The stuff that was recorded was never finished and came out different than I had hoped for - mostly due to loosening the reigns and having others contribute, with no real direction. It did not end up well at all. I should have known from past experiences, but, at that time, I was still in the habit of giving people the `benefit of the doubt`. Regardless, it was time to move on. I felt a renewed energy to create something new again, in the style I love. I was always playing metal but Soulstorm was death and doom mixed. I don`t want to focus on slow parts or breakdowns much in Tribe songs. I want to keep it short and punky. Having said that, there are times when breakdowns are called for, as you will hear on the next EP. This EP was going for the throat.
With Tribe of Pazuzu you take a completely different approach, old school death metal it is this time. Where did you get the idea from to do an old school death metal project/band?
This wasn`t an idea, per se; it was more of a feeling. Since about 2005 I had started getting back into the faster side of death metal - discovering new bands. The last five years have seen some incredible releases from some amazing new bands. Also, I wasn`t sure if I was going to talk about this but I was on a lot of medication for depression and anxiety - longer than I should have been. It kinda numbed me for a while where I just didn`t care too much and just tried playing for fun, mostly. I tried recording a couple of times and it didn`t go well. Anyway, with the help of a good doctor, I was able to get off all the medications. Since then, my focus has been much clearer. I feel re-energized. I have a stronger drive and vision and I`m very happy to be writing death metal again. I had this drive to contribute to the landscape of death metal in Canada. I wanted to return to my roots of the music that excited me - the music I still listen to and love, and that still excites me. I think in the past I was trying to avoid being labelled as the stereotypical `metal guy`, but I now see that that`s all bullshit anyway. I love lots of different styles of music, but I love writing and playing metal the most. I basically see this as an extension of my writing in Overthrow (thrash) and Soulstorm (death/doom). Tribe Of Pazuzu is the third chapter - pure death metal with some thrash and blackened death metal influences - past and present, my roots mixed with my future. No compromise.
In the line-up of Tribe Of Pazuzu we also find two prominent figures from the death metal scene, Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy) and John McEntee (Incantation). How did they get involved in the band?
Black Element works closely with both Incantation and Cryptopsy. When I showed Jason and Kim the demos of what I wanted to do, they immediately suggested Flo to play the drums. First on board was John who wanted to help out with the guitar tracks. Both of these guys heard the demos and liked the old school vibe. So, as you can imagine, I was happy that these veterans from the death metal scene liked my music enough to play on it and they`ve been promoting it so it makes me feel really blessed to be able to work with these guys. Everyone here that we`ve assembled together to be a part of this thing has turned out to be an excellent, enthusiastic team. I couldn`t be happier.
Your lead guitarist Randy Harris used to play in Macifecation in the early nineties, which was an upcoming death metal band from Ontario between 1991 and 1993, but they dissolved after two of its` members were killed in a tragic car accident. Later on in `94 and `95 he played on a couple of demos from a band called Porno, but that was almost 25 years ago. So, it`s a long time ago Harris was in a band. How come all of a sudden Harris got involved in your new (and awesome) project?
Jason suggested Randy when we were looking for someone to do the lead guitar work. The whole point of the search for musicians was to get people who do it for a living and their skills were sharp. Randy showed me some of his solo ideas and I saw he could pick fast. He was super eager to get into it and start writing the leads. It`s been a blessing having Randy a part of this. It`s so nice to play with musicians who can play and come prepared. I remember Randy from Macifecation. I saw them as a successor to what Overthrow was doing and they continued after we split up. They took it further into death metal. They were doing pre-production for their first album when they had that tragic accident.
Can you tell us something about the writing process of `Heretical Uprising`, who was responsible for the material and did you come together in a practice room?
I wrote the material, at my home studio. I could tell you we all hung out in a room together writing way into the night and getting drunk and super high, but it wouldn`t be true (except for the getting really high part). Every riff I wrote was named after a different weed strain - whatever I happened to be smoking at the time of coming up with the riffs. It was mostly written after I came home from work and spent my time way late into the night in my studio - any time after midnight really. I noticed that at around 3 AM I always got this overwhelming surge of creativeness - the witching hour - coincidence? I was doing a lot of writing in 2017 and 2018 and these fast aggressive songs started pouring out. It was a lot faster than Soulstorm and even faster than Overthrow. The double kick was a constant and even tempo, so I knew I needed a killer drummer. One thing that was conscious was keeping the songs short and to the point - similar to a punk style or some early death metal. I`m not a fan of long songs, mostly. Honestly, I did all that with Soulstorm - the long slow doom songs. Now, I just wanna get in there, scream for a bit, and get out - kinda like hardcore. I knew I wanted to start a brand new band with these songs and `Heretical Uprising` is the first offering we give to everyone.
So, when you had these five songs ready and were ready to record, you went to Montreal to record them. Please tell us something about the recording process and why you chose the Grid Studio?
We chose The Grid because Flo works from there when he does his drum tracks. So, instead of changing locations mid-recording, we decided to go to Montreal and finish the recording there and let Christian mix and master it. It seemed like the obvious choice really. We wanted something that was great quality. We started out with great quality - the initial idea was one that would see us going to Incantation`s studio. But, as soon as Flo came on board, we were happy with the idea of going to The Grid. The entire experience was amazing and so professional. When we were laying down all the rhythm tracks, Marc-o Frechette (the recording engineer) was so precise. He paid attention to all the details, ensuring that he got the best performance out of us. When I did the vocals with Christian, it came so easy and went by really smooth. The end result is like a razor-sharp sword you spent the whole year crafting and hardening and sharpening. It was icing on the cake for me to hear my music being played and produced like this by amazing musicians and producers.
Should we see Tribe Of Pazuzu as a band or a project?
Tribe Of Pazuzu is a band. It`s my contribution to what Canadian extreme metal is. It`s a return to my roots. I`m not interested in rehashing the past. The only choice is always to move forward, and Tribe Of Pazuzu is how I want to express myself moving forward. The haters will hate anything you do so we choose not to cater to a specific type. The only goal is to write true death metal. Rehashing the past is a fool`s game for those with nothing to offer.
Will there be more music after this EP?
Absolutely! We are already working on the material for the second EP. I first came to Jason with the idea to release three EPs. We will see what happens after the second EP, but that was my initial plan. I want to keep writing in this style, progressing of course. The next EP will have a similar vibe musically as with the `Heretical uprising` EP. That being said, this time around, there will be more emphasis on fast songs. Hopefully, by the end of summer, we can go into the studio and start recording. This, of course, depends on the hectic schedules of all the other guys.
What about live gigs? Will you take Tribe Of Pazuzu out on the road?
We hope to play live. Just with who is in the band it makes it more difficult to get everyone together. Also, we only have one EP of material. It would make more sense to wait until after the second EP is released. Maybe next year we can plan for some festivals and tours.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Do you have any last words for our readers and your fans?
Thank you so much for the interview, Dennis. Much appreciated!