First of all, allow me to thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. I deeply appreciate this and will never forget. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Mike and I moan, babble and gurgle for the band Inter Arma.
I think that your music is very creative, unique and interesting. Of course there are still many out there that should discover your music. Maybe, just maybe, some of our readers haven’t heard yet your sounds; so, I ask you, please, let them know how Inter Arma’s intriguing sound is.
Intriguing? Well I guess it could be intriguing for some people. In all reality we are just a heavy metal band playing whatever we want, free of genre restrictions. If we feel like doing it, we are going to do it. That bothers some people and we personally could care less. If you have an open mind, give us a listen. If you are looking for a traditional black metal, death metal or doom metal band don’t even bother listening to us. We will disappoint you. I promise.
Let me also congratulate you about your Sky Burial release, as not only, as I’ve mentioned before, the music is great, we have a long, over one hour album. It’s always a bit disappointing when you buy an album which is branded as a full-length and the album runs less than thirty minutes. Being that said, and not only about Sky Burial, but how the band works itself, let us know how the composition process of your releases is, do you work individually and get together to work on these ideas or as a group?
Thanks! I have to say though that there are some masterpiece full lengths that run under 30 minutes. Napalm Death’s From Enslavement to Obliteration and Slayer’s Reign in Blood come to mind and I think they are perfect the way they are. However if, let’s say, Neurosis put out a new full length record and it was only 24 minutes long I’d probably be disappointed. Inter Arma’s music is definitely worked on as a group. Ideas and sometimes full songs are brought to the table and expanded upon at either the practice space or at home. The good riffs and material stay, the bad riffs and material get banished to another universe.
In addition to the previous question, what are the main inspirations when it comes to creating the music and the lyrics for Inter Arma? Is there anything specific, be it about the lyrics or the music, that you feel that should always be featured on your releases?
Musically, most things rock and or roll go through the Inter Arma blender. We don’t limit ourselves. That’d be stupid and ill-advised. Lyrically, I’m inspired by a number of different writers, musicians, experiences, etc. but no one wants to hear about that boring crap. As for aspects that I think should always be featured on an Inter Arma record…I feel like we should always incorporate drums, guitars, bass, vocals and wizard stick! Other than that, everything else is fair game!
Connected to the previous question as well, I’ve read a review about your latest album in which was stated that Inter Arma is a band and not a showcase for egos, which really helps to make the songs sound focused and perfectly shaped. I personally completely agree with this. How do you guys work out the ideas of each musician and how do you relate to each other? Besides that, I think that, even though your music is great and you’re signed to a big metal label, you haven’t become pretentious egomaniac assholes, like some bands when they get just a few positive reviews here and there. How do you work this out as well, to not allowing your success go to your head.
We throw the egos out at the door. We are all friends. The dudes do whatever it takes to write a good song. Being in a band is a give and take. If you can’t deal with anyone’s vision other than your own than don’t form a band. Or form a one man band like a lot of those black metallers do. Are we a successful band? The Hell if I know. We still struggle like every other underground metal band out there. I don’t know about the other guys, but all of the positive feedback Sky Burial got surprised the hell out of me. It still surprises me. We are starting to get people coming from all over the place to check us out when we play live. In Germany we had a girl drive from Estonia check us out. She said it took her two days to get there. THAT’S INSANE. It’s also incredibly inspiring.
Your latest album was released by Relapse Records, a respected and experienced label that has been around for almost a quarter of a century. Please, tell us how the deal happened as well as how satisfied you are with the label. Do you think that being on a big label makes you feel like being “just one more band of the roster”?
Relapse has been great to us. The deal came after some friends of ours sent the rough mixes of Sky Burial to them. I guess Relapse decided to completely overlook the fact that we are one of the worst bands on the planet and give us a shot. I don’t think of Relapse as a big label because in reality they aren’t. They are easy to contact and work with. If you call them you’ll get a human on the other end of the line. Relapse still puts out a lot of records by bands solely because they want to, not because they think they are going to be the next big “cash cow”. Some of my favorite records ever have been put out by Relapse. Have you ever listened to People’s People EP? It’s a fucking masterpiece.
As a musician and as a human being, what was it about metal that drew you in? What age did you get in touch with metal music and when did you decide that you would become a musician?
Cliché as it sounds, heavy metal’s macabre imagery and musical extremity is what drew me in. I have always been fascinated with extremity, especially in a musical/artistic context. I love raw black metal/death metal, power electronics…just real rotten sounding stuff. I can’t stand happy music. I never have and I probably never will. I was very young when I got into heavy metal. I was in my mid-teens when I first started to feel like I wanted to “ruin” my life by traipsing around the world “playing” in heavy metal bands.
Personally, how do you feel about the music industry nowadays? How can a band overcome the problem of illegal downloads? Working on different editions, such as vinyl to appeal the fans, playing live more often, selling merchandising? And what would be your main suggestions to a band of young people that is just starting, trying to make it out there, to get a deal with a label?
I don’t give a shit about downloading. As far as I’m concerned it’s done nothing but help a band like us. We just want people to hear our music. Do I want you to buy our records if you like them? Of course. Am I going to be personally hurt if you don’t? Of course not. We tour a lot and we sell merchandise on the road. That’s how we survive. Do I have any suggestions for young people out there “trying to make it”? Yeah, GIVE UP. I’m kidding. Get out there, write the absolute best music you possibly can, tour as much as you possibly can and do not be afraid of the instability that comes with it. Have absolutely no expectations. Don’t be one of those delusional fucking assholes that think that somehow your shitty metal/whatever band is going to pay your bills and make you money. If that’s your mindset you’ll be disappointed every step of the way. If that describes you…put down your instrument, get a real job and live a banal, sterile existence away from every person who is actually content with sacrificing everything for their music.
And now concerning your live shows. Is Inter Arma a band that enjoys playing live? Do you have any dates set for 2014 that you could share with us?
We tour a lot. We played 133 shows in 2013. We have done U.S. dates with Russian Circles, Ulcerate and KEN Mode this year. We also completed a European tour with Windhand and Indian in April. We have a short run in July with our brother band Bastard Sapling out to the Gilead Music Fest in Wisconsin planned. Other than that, we are wide open for the rest of the year.
In your opinion, what is the correct T.M.I. equation, “(L×d)+W/G)/(∠∝(2@t)] Length times diameter plus weight over girth divided by angle of the tip squared” or “((L×G)/(∠A°))÷(M/W)] Length times girth over angle of the shaft divided by mass over width”?
This is a dick joke, right?
And we come to the part where I ask a few things about you, as always nothing that would invade your privacy. What are your main interests and passions outside music, outside the band? What are you main activities that you enjoy doing when not on your job/ your band. Any favorite movies, movies genre, books, outdoor activities, drinks, anything you’d like to share with us.
I am heavy metal 100% of the fucking time. NOTHING interests me outside of heavy metal. PERIOD. This is believable, right?!?!?!?!
We reached the end of the interview. As I mentioned before, thank you so much for this. I also would like to wish the band the best as well. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Cover photo by Kevin Brannan.June 5, 2014