Church Of Misery is one of the most notorious bands in Japanese Doom Metal. 21 years into the band's legacy, the band has reformed once again with 3 very prominent members of the Metal world: Dave Szulkin on guitar, Eric Little on drums and the legendary frontman of Repulsion Scott Carlson on vocals. The Band's 6th album, And Then There Was None, will be released March 4th, 2016 through Rise Above Records. I had the gracious opportunity to talk to Church Of Misery mastermind Tatsu Mikami to discuss everything you need to know about the album.
Thanks you for taking the time to do this interview. I am a relatively new fan of Church Of Misery, but thoroughly enjoy what you do and honored to do this interview.
No problem. I also look forward to talking with you too!
And Then There Were None is an absolutely crushing album. How did the process from together for the new album?
As you know, 3 guys quit the band in late 2014. At that time, I already wrote some new songs for the upcoming album. I didn't want to stop CoM's activities and I want to show our fans CoM are still alive. So I needed to create a new album. This new album is the reason for my existence. CoM toured hard for 10 years in Europe and US. I have tons of great band friends now. Soon I asked some reliable guys to ask join our upcoming album recording, it's Dave Szulkin. I am deeply influenced by his songwriting, guitar play and guitar sound. It's roots of CoM. CoM also supported their Japan tour and I played bass on their stage like jam session at that time. And Dave needed a drummer for practice with him. And he suggested Eric to me. Of course, I know him, he is also a legend of US Doom scene. I really love his 'Internal Void' and 'Earthride'. It's like super project with Doom legend and I'm so excited.
With the album being rehearsed and recorded in 2 weeks time, was that enough time to get everything done you wanted to accomplish? Was there anything that felt unfinished?
It was a very very tight schedule. The studio was "Polar Bear Lair studio" ran by Chris Kozlowski, who famously engineered many US Doom albums by Iron Man, Spirit Caravan, Earthride, Pentagram, Internal Void, etc. There was only the forest in the circumference of the studio. It was the environment that was very good to concentrate on recording. The neighbor had a lot of cows at a ranch. I had a really good time in Maryland. There are many good people and the best DOOM scene. As for backing tracks, we play together at the studio and recorded there. We don't have much time, only 2 weeks. Yes, we finished all materials in 2 weeks. But details is the first week is for rehearsal and other week for recording. But final day of recording, it takes much hours to send all files to Hard Disc Drive for Pro Tools. So actually, we finished everything 6 days for recording. Dave did all his guitar work on this album only in 2 days. Well, Rock bands need groove. It's impossible to make good album only mailed filed. Only Scott recorded alone at LA. He needed a few month to make lyrics and vocal melodies. Backing tracks was already done at the end of May. And Scott finished all work in Sep or Oct. After that, I spent a few month to mixing.
With that said, is there any songs that were written for the new album that didn't make the cut, that may end up on a future release?
No. I prepared all songs for new album. There's no stock of new songs.
The new album marks the first time that Scott Carlson (Repulsion) recorded vocals on a full album in roughly 3 decades. How did you manage to talk him into doing this album?
I asked to Lee that about Scott Carlson. CoM always have brutal voice style. So I think his vocals are going to fit to our music. And I like Repulsion and met him few times. Above all, he is also a part of the Rise Above family. And I got good answer from him. I am so excited that Scott Carlson is going to singing on a CoM album!
Besides the notable changes in the lineup, what would you say has been the biggest changes for the band since 2013's Thy Kingdom Scum?
There's no biggest changes. Other bands expand the width of their music with new element(s) after a few album released. I mean, they changed their own style and everyone called it 'evolution'. But I can say it's loss of their musical 'core'. I never lie to myself and I never lie to our fans too. Don't worry, I never change own style and keep making good DOOM music.
And Then There Were None continues in the tradition of Church Of Misery to write about some of the most notorious serial killers in history. What went into the process for choosing these serial killers as inspiration this time around?
Its really interesting, the process from being a normal guy becoming psychotic killers. It's very interesting stories. And I thought that these topics are very fitting to our heavy & doomy music. That is the reason I choose this topic. And this combination is really strong & brutal. Its best for CoM.
On a related note, who do you find to be the most interesting Serial Killer and why?
John Geroge Haigh aka Acid Bath Murderer. As you know, I always write about serial killer for every one of our songs and I planned to make lyrics about "Acid Bath Murderer" few years ago. A corpse is melted by an acid. A trace is lost. A perfect crime was being planned. This is a big impact upon me.
So what are the current plans for Church Of Misery for the rest of 2016? Any touring on the horizon?
I just got a new guitarist & singer. I still searching for a drummer. Maybe I'll spend more time to auditioning. It's hard to do touring overseas.
On the topic of touring, Where is your favorite areas to tour? How drastic of a change is it to play in other markets compared to North America?
I enjoy playing everywhere.
Looking back on 2015. Was there any albums that you enjoyed that came out last year?
I don't want to looking back on last year. Except recording the new album there was no fun time. I was in misery. I'm still hungry for touring.
Thank you once again for taking the time to do this interview and having the honor of promoting the latest Church Of Misery album, coming out March 4th through Rise Above Records. Before we go, is there anything else you'd like to mention that I haven't brought up yet?
Well, thank you for this interview. I hope you like our new album. We hope to do tour when we got a new drummer. See you on the road!
Church Of Misery- And Then There Were None is available March 4th through Rise Above Records
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.