It has been quite a few years now since a band has hit me as hard as the first time I ever heard Necrophagia. Nothing could have prepared me for the audio horror experience that bled forth from the speakers when I put in a sampler CD I got free with a British metal music magazine. The track was 'And you will live in terror', and I loved everything about it, from the sledgehammer like riffs, to the truly possessed vocals. I instantly went on the lookout for more material from this band, not finding anything for a good few years (we didn't have the internet back then, so my only options were my local music shop, or the music chain stores in the city. I managed to find a copy of 'The divine art of torture' and fell in love with Necrophagia's music all over again. In between finding the CD of The divine art of torture, I was fortunate to speak with Killjoy a few times, and although those conversations (which were sent by email, as my cable provider had an email function on the set top box) are long gone, I have still followed the band since the very first time I heard them. No one else seems to be able to capture true horror in music, but Necrophagia have perfected the art.
I was lucky enough to be able to Interview Killjoy DeSade, and what follows, is the full and complete interview. Many thanks to Killjoy for taking the time to answer the questions.
D.C - What was the metal scene like back in the early days? Was it hard playing a different style of metal than anyone else?
K.J - The metal scene was awesome and extremely varied in the very early days. Lots of fledgling sub genres. I come from more of a punk background. I grew up with Elvis, The Beatles, Sabbath and KISS. I was fortunate that I hung around some guys that were several years older. They introduced me to bands like The Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Stooges, The Dead Boys etc. I pretty much stuck to those bands and that genre for a long while. I then discovered The Plasmatics and they instantly caught my attention and became my favorite band. I was always skateboarding while other kids were playing football/baseball and creating music. I heard The Plasmatics and knew I wanted to form a band. A couple of years later, I finally did. The band was called 'Leppers Revenge'. We were very much a punk band with horror themed lyrics and subject matter. I had a lot of fun with that band. It was nothing serious, just fun. I heard a song from Venom and then a demo from Hellhammer, and my world was forever changed. Those bands had the raw energy of punk and a look and attitude like no other band I had ever seen or heard. I knew I wanted to do something like that, but only more depraved and hideous. Soon after, I quit Leppers Revenge and formed Necrophagia. We didn't fit in anywhere at the beginning. We were too 'metal' for punks, and 'too punk and non musical' for fans of modern metal (i.e Motorhead, Venom, Raven, Iron Maiden etc). The beginning was definitely not easy. We were the black sheep in many aspects.
What attracts you to the dark side of life? Be it horror, metal or any other subculture.
I wish I had an easy answer for that question. I really don't know. It's never been an image. I have always liked things of this nature. It's been with me since childhood. I would keep the Halloween decor up all year round in my room. I would only eat Boo berry cereal. I would watch horror matinees on TV. I watched cartoons like Groovie Goolies and Scooby Doo and Frankenstein Junior. I collected Famous Monsters magazines from the age of six years old. My entire world was always horror based back to my earliest memories. I never grew out of it, and I never will. I have literally run out of room for anything. I have so many posters, models, lobby cards, films and horror related decor. Much of it is in storage right now. I have forced myself to cut back alot in recent years.
Can you tell us about Necrophagia's soon to be released WhiteWorm Cathedral?
Whiteworm Cathedral is the most straightforward Necrophagia release of our entire career. We have always taken chances and experimented in the past. Songs like Akuma, Hymns of Divine Genocide, Blackblood Vomitorium and A Funeral for Solange are definitely outside the norm by metal standards. Whiteworm Cathedral contains none of these elements. It's thirteen songs that are very heavy, horror filled and direct. Over the course of our career, I have learned to become a better songwriter. I know when to end a riff, or institute a change that flows seamlessly. I think in the past a cool riff was driven into the ground. It went on a bit too long. It can hurt a song immensely. I won't say Whiteworm Cathedral is the best Necrophagia record. I believe that's for the listeners to decide. It's gonna sound amazing production wise. James Murphy (Testament, Death, Obituary etc) is mixing and mastering the release. We are really pleased with the songs and the results. Noted horror artist Joel Robinson has done the entire layout and artwork for Whiteworm Cathedral. It's going to be a lenticular/changing cover. Now it's up to the fiends to decide if we have hit the mark. We put alot of time and effort into Whiteworm Cathedral. Way more than any of our past releases. The songs are sick and heavy but they are also catchy at times. There are alot of witchcraft and necromancy themes. It's a very personal subject matter that I have wanted to bring into Necrophagia for a long time.
What was it like working with Toetag Pictures, and creating what is possibly one of the most perverse horror movies ever made?
We love working with Toetag. I was there at the beginning while they were forming. We have both grown and made some really depraved offerings together. We are very like minded on many levels. Visceral carnage has always been one of the foundations of Necrophagia. Together with Toetag, it's easy to accomplish the visions we share.
Tell us about your Bloodsick Movie with Ryan Nicholson.
Ryan and I have wanted to shoot this movie for many, many years. It's a sick ride into total dementia. A downward spiral of depravity, murder, torture and black magick. I dont want to say much more than that right now.
Do you have any plans to tour the United Kingdom or appear at any festivals?
There is so much in the planning stages. Nothing is set in stone as of right now. We absolutely love playing in the UK. We have done almost a dozen shows there already. We have a show in London on May third with Repulsion. I think it's safe to say we will return to the UK after that show and before the end of 2013.
Are Wurdulak, The Ravenous, Viking Crown and Eibon still active, or have they all been laid to rest?
Right now, my only focus is on Necrophagia. In the past I didn't give this band the time and consideration it deserves. The only other active project is Haxxan. I have learned never to say never. But for now I have no plans to do any recordings with any of the past projects/bands.
What do you think of the horror and metal scene nowadays?
I don't pay attention to the metal scene. I was very active in it during the eighties. I just really don't care about whats going on with it now. There are very few newer bands that I like. I guess that's kind of closed minded. If I said otherwise, it would be half hearted. When I want a dose of metal I genuinely listen to bands like Sabbath, Venom, Savatage, DRI, Mercyful Fate etc. I'm more likely to be cranking Elvis, The Smiths, The Sonics, Motown artists or soundtrack composers like Goblin and Fabio Frizzi. I keep up with horror. There have been some real gems in the past decade. I loved The Strangers, Martyrs, Let the Right One In, Wolf Creek, Inside, Imprint and countless others.
What inspired your vocal style for Necrophagia? It is incredibly unique, and sends shivers down the spine. It reminds me of Mercedes McCambridge from The Exorcist because of the rawness and bestiality of it.
I'd say you nailed it perfectly. I have always thought from the earliest days that if I could emulate the vibe that Reagan McNeil's possessed voice delivers, it would be something genuinley frightening.
Do you have a favourite era of Necrophagia?
I'm always going forward. I prefer the current line up to any from the past. I loved working with all the previous line ups. This one is best for the simple reason that we get together in the rehearsal room and have the ability to feed off of each other. It's a real working band again. To me that makes everything easier and more special. I'm thankful to have worked with so many amazing musicians during Necrophagia's long career. I wouldn't change anything.
Do movies inspire your music, or do other musicians/bands inspire you, or is it both?
Movies definitely inspire Necrophagia. I write alot of songs based on my favourite films. I also write songs based on ideas of my own and view them as mini movies in audio format. At times they can also be a form of morbid poetry (Akuma for example). Necrophagia hasn't been influenced by a single band since our formative years. In the early days we were inspired by The Plasmatics, Venom, Hellhammer, Septic Death and Black Sabbath and even Mercyful Fate. We have also been equally inspired from the earliest of times by films like The Exorcist, Zombie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Omen and Halloween.
Do you have anything else to say to all the Necrophagia fans out there??
We really appreciate the years of support. It's getting harder for bands to survive. We are always going against the grain. We won't conform or change. We always do things our way. It's tough because we don't fit in with any particular genre. See you on tour soon. FULCI LIVES. GORE FOREVER!!!!
Many many thanks to Killjoy DeSade for the amazing interview. Coming soon will be reviews of each Necrophagia album/EP, and a review of their London show. Yes, I am finally going to get the chance to see one of my favorite bands in the flesh!!