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Brodequin from Knoxville Tennessee really surprised me when I picked up their debut CD last year. Their heavy sound was so overwhelming en their vocals incredibly brutal. “Instruments of Torture” was a real kick in the ass for the Death Metal scene. It's great to see Brodequin have returned with yet another brutal assault of Death Metal, named “Festival of Death”. I thought it was about time to feature this great band in Lords of Metal so I hooked up with Mike Bailey, who is the guitarist for Brodequin and also running his own label Unmatched Brutality…

Door: Dennis | Archiveer onder

Hi Mike! What's up with Brodequin?

Michael: Hey Dennis, how are you man? Well, things have been slow with Brodequin as far shows are concerned since the recording of “Festival.” We were working very hard practising for our European tour that was supposed to happen in October but after that was cancelled we took time off. Chad went on a tour with a tribute band that he plays with sometimes and I have been working on the label so it was the perfect time for a vacation from touring, individual shows, etc..

I am sure there are a lot of people here in The Netherlands that are not yet familiar with Brodequin. Can you tell something about the history of the band?

Michael: We formed in August of 1998. We have always had the same line up since the beginning. Jamie and I knew Chad for a while before hand. We were all in different bands that we weren't very happy with. We all had the same goals musically so it only made sense that we formed a band to produce them, which were to create the most intense music that we possibly could. I think we are achieving that.

Can you explain what your bandname is about? How did you come up with this name?

Michael: The Brodequin was an instrument of torture designed to destroy the victims legs by driving wedges of wood or steel in-between the legs and boards tied tightly around them. In some cases the damage was so severe the marrow of the bones would flow freely from the wounds. Jamie brought a few different names to us and Brodequin is the name that we all liked the best.

What bands have influenced Brodequin musically?

Michael: I can't comment on everyone because while we are all fans of extreme music, we all have our own favourites which different from person to person. Personally, I was and still am influenced by old Napalm Death, old Morbid Angel, Last Days of Humanity, Angel Corpse, etc.. There are far to many to list but you can see the pattern of extremity over time staring in the late 80's and early 90's.

Your released your debut CD “Instruments of Torture” yourselves. Why did you release it by yourselves? Was there no record company interested in bringing out your music?

Michael: There were several record companies interested in releasing the CD but we wanted to release it ourselves to generate more interest and we felt that we could give the CD a better push and possibly get a better offer once our name was established through out the underground. What we should have done was keep releasing the Instruments CD ourselves instead of relying on a label to do it for us, which is what we did in May of 2000. That resulted in the CD being unavailable for almost 6 months.

Later on “Instruments of Torture” was re-released by Ablated Records. Are you satisfied with the way that turned out? Did Ablated do a good job to promote and distribute the CD?

Michael: I was happy with the way Ablated distributed the CD. I was more so pleased with the fact that the CD was being made again after what had happened with all the delays. I have no problem with the job Ablated is doing with the CD. The only thing I am unhappy with is the poor quality of the back panel on the CD. It is very rough looking and I think it should have been printed better but that is no fault of Ablated Records at all so I have no problem with Ablated. Brian is a really cool and easy to work with.

How was the response to your CD and how many copies of “Instruments Of Torture” have you sold?

Michael: The response to Instruments of Torture has been great and still is. We have sold about 5000 copies of the CD but an exact number is hard to come by because of the delays that were involved and the different sources pressing it. I personally moved over 2000 so I would imagine with a label pushing it as well that the number would be higher than 5000.

Did you do a lot of touring to promote the record?

Michael: We only did two tours to promote the CD but we did do several shows across the country at different times.

I saw you guys playing at the Ohio Deathfest last year. Brodequin suffered from the bad sound, it sounded like one huge wall of sound. There was no room for any details. I really looked forward to the show but due to the bad sound I was a little disappointed. What can I expect the next time at one of your shows?

Michael: I wish I could tell you what to expect but we have had terrible luck with sound and especially at festivals. One problem is that we don't have our own sound engineer and we have to deal with whatever moron happens to be working the house sound so it is different every time. We try to make it as easy as possible for these sound guys by bringing our own microphones and telling them all the specs and how we would like our sound. I think we are extremely easy to work with when it comes to sound but most of these engineers have this ego and they only do it one way, which as any one knows doesn't work. Every band sounds different and you can't expect to get good sound from every band using the same techniques. Fests are the worst for sound.

What did you think of the other bands that played the OHDF? Personally I digged the Lividity and Gorgasm shows, but also Deeds of Flesh and Exhumed. Which band was the highlight to you?

Michael: Severe Torture was a highlight for me. They are one of my favourites and it was great to see them live finally. I had seen Gorgasm before so I wasn't as blown away at the Ohio fest. While I enjoyed the set, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already seen them before. Lividity was extremely entertaining as they always are. They have the best stage presence.

Your new CD “Festival Of Death” is released on “Unmatched Brutality”, which is your own label. Why did you decide to release it on your own label? Did you also consider having it released by another underground record company, for instance Ablated Records?

Michael: The CD was supposed to come out on Ablated records but there was a problem with the release date. We were supposed to come to Europe for a tour in October of 2001 and we wanted the CD out before that time. Due to problems with artwork and who knows what else that wasn't going to be a possibility so the guys in the band brought it to be and asked if I would do it since I was starting a label anyway. I was overjoyed and agreed. As it turns out the tour was cancelled but I don't regret putting out the CD on my label.

Next to the new Brodequin CD, have you released anything else on “Unmatched Brutality” already?

Michael: Not as of this time. In three weeks I should have my next release which a split CD between Cock and Ball Torture and Last Days of Humanity. I have been trying to put out this release for almost a year now but have had countless delays from waiting on materials to graphic designers taking forever. I just received the finished layout about a week ago. Aside from that I will have the new full length CD from Retch this April. Retch is an ultra sick outfit from California. I will also be reissuing their first release, Reinsertion of Aborted Remnants. I have some other things planned but nothing confirmed as of yet.

How long did it take to write the new material, and where was it recorded?

Michael: We pretty much wrote all of the songs on the CD except for two between February of 2001 until July of 2001. We finished writing one of the songs in the studio. The CD was recorded at Digital Sky studios in Daytona Beach, FL. The studio is no longer there as our producer Seven Taran Sky passed away in November. Seven produced both of our CDs and will be missed.

How do you feel "Festival of Death" sounds differently compared to your first CD "Instruments of Torture"?

Michael: I think that the “Festival” CD has a clearer sound than our debut. I think that the guitars are brought out a lot more and the vocals have a better production as well. Aside from the recording I find the music to be a lot faster. While I love the songs on Instruments I think that Festival is just relentless from start to finish. The CD really doesn't slow down for a second.

I think the sound of the snare on “Festival of Death” sounds completely different from the sound of the snare on “Instruments of Torture”. To me it sounds a little hollow, similar to a lot of East European Death Metal bands. Did you do this consciously or did it just happen to sound like that?

Michael: The sound is different because it is a different snare drum. The sound wasn't produced on purpose that just happens to be the way that snare sounds. It is a very large snare and completely different than the one used on Instruments.

Are you guys happy with the material on "Festival of Death"?

Michael: I think so. It represents how the band has grown since our first CD. When we recorded Instruments we really hadn't been together for that long and those were the only songs we had ever written together. I think the stuff on Festival shows a more matured Brodequin.

In your opinion, what makes Brodequin different from other bands in the scene?

Michael: Intensity and originality are two things that I find a lack of in the scene especially from newer bands. Not saying that all of them have this problem because there are tons of totally sick acts out there but I get tired of hearing the same old “I fucked a corpse and liked it” type lyrics. It gets lame after a while you know. Funny thing about the scene is the need to clone off of each other. If you remember when Nile gained popularity with their first full length there were a few Nile clones that tried to do the Egyptian theme now I am seeing some Brodequin clones with the torture theme. Not saying that we were the first band to ever sing about torture but I find it humorous that there are bands out now named after ancient torture devices and such. Coincidence? Maybe.

How does Brodequin go about writing new songs? ? Who takes care of the lyrics, and where do you draw the inspiration from?

Michael: It is always a different process. We don't have one style that we stick to. As far as the lyrics, Jamie takes care of them all. He is the biggest history buff and is totally into medieval execution and such. All of the lyrics except for one song are completely historically accurate dealing with torture, execution and Christian oppression and the horrors caused by their beliefs. I think that actual events are so much sicker than fictitious stories because these really happened.

Brodequin is going to do split CD with Aborted, Drowning and Misery Index I heard. Can you tell us something about that? When will it be released? Does it cover unfeatured Brodequin material?

Michael: The CD has just been released. We recorded three songs for it, which are a cover of Dead Infection, a cover of Last Days of Humanity, which we also put at the end of the Festival CD and one original tune that isn't on any other release at the moment.

What do you personally think about split CDs?

Michael: I think they are really cool. I just hate when there are a few terrible bands on splits with good ones. It seems to ruin the whole thing to me.

You were supposed to do some shows in Europe last Fall. I was gonna drive down to Belgium, but I found out it had been cancelled. Was this because of the events of September 11th? When will you try it again to come over?

Michael: Yes, the events here in the US caused the cancellation of our tour. It wasn't a good time to be travelling and our flight was cancelled from Europe. There has been some talk of us coming back but I am not sure when. It has been hard working things out with what is going on over here. I would hope that we get a chance soon.

Have you ever been to the festivals in Europe, like Fuck the Commerce or Dynamo Czech?

Michael: We have never played in Europe before nor have we been to any of the festivals. I think they would be a great thing to see and it would be really killer to play!

Have you guys played any shows lately? If so, with who? How was the turn out to your set?

Michael: We really haven't done anything since the recording of “Festival.” As you know we were supposed to come and tour and after that fell through we kind of went our separate ways. Chad does the tribute band thing and from the sounds of it will be doing it a lot more so we haven't done any shows. There have been plenty of offers we just haven't been able to take them.

How is the metal scene in Tennessee? What's life like to be a Knoxville metalhead? And, are there any good bars/venues to play, drink, rock and f**k in your area?

Michael: There is no death metal scene here. The only thing that this town has are college bands and poser punk outfits. It is a really lame place for music. At least we have some cool record stores that carry some death metal stuff which is nice. There are some death metal fans here but it is impossible to get them to come out of there house to see a show. Not even huge death metal bands can get a crowd in Knoxville. Nashville was a different story though. We have played out there with bands like Mortician and Immolation and the turn outs were great. That isn't the case anymore because the only club that hosted death metal bands was shut down about a year ago and there hasn't been another one like open up since.

Finally, what do you think of the Dutch Death Metal scene? Are there any Dutch Death Metal bands that are popular in the US?

Michael: Forgive my ignorance but I am not really sure what areas are considered Dutch. I know that Sinister is very popular here but that is all I can think of. It is hard for me to tell really what bands are the most popular because I don't really see anything like this locally. My personal favourites from the area that I would think Dutch would be are Last Days of Humanity, Inhume, and Aborted. I am sure there are some I missed though.

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