Necrot – Conquer Without Division

Sunday, 28th April 2024

Photo: Chris Johnston

When it comes to the current breed of death metal acts circulating the scene, one band garnering a healthy amount of acclaim, attention, and buzz would be Oakland, California’s Necrot. Since forming in 2011, the trio have released numerous demos and three albums – their latest being Lifeless Birth. Beyond the fact that the songs crush in a memorable explosion of influences that encompass all the best traits of old school to new school influences from North America to Europe and beyond, the additional depth in key minor details pay huge dividends for the quality effort you’ll hear again and again.

We reached out to bassist/vocalist Luca Indiro who excitedly filled us in on his vast musical memories from childhood to finally discovering death metal, the numerous personal setbacks or health-related complications that delayed the recording of Lifeless Birth, the common themes they explore lyrically, thoughts on the old school versus new generation of death metal bands, and where the next twelve months or so will take them tour-wise.

Dead Rhetoric: What are some of your earliest memories of music growing up in childhood? At what point did you start discovering heavier forms of music, and eventually the desire to pick up an instrument and perform yourself in bands?

Luca Indiro: Awesome. My earliest memories, I was lucky enough that I started playing music when I was seven years old. My family (is) very much old hippie kind of people, my mom has an herbal shop with natural medicine, my father is an artist, and he draws for a living. They always wanted to introduce me to art, they bought me an acoustic guitar at seven and that’s when I started playing music. When I was a little older, I switched to electric guitar of course, because you can’t do palm-muting on an acoustic guitar. I switched to bass because two friends of mine at the time, we were all ten years old, they were learning guitar as well and we wanted to start a band. A friend of mine got ahold of a drum set, and I then decided I was going to play the bass.

I grew up listening to a lot of 60s and 70s music when I was child. I had the background of pretty good music. Later on, I got into punk, I got into metal, more aggressive shit. You grow up and you are pissed off because the world sucks, nobody understands what you want to do so you start listening to pissed off music. The whole journey starts from there. Death metal was slightly later- when you are eleven years old in 1998 in Italy, in Florence there wasn’t a lot of shows. I remember getting exposed to Nirvana from my sister who was a few years older, punk rock stuff, Green Day or Offspring. From there you are like (discovering) the Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Circle Jerks, the Ramones. That was mind blowing when I was twelve, the Ramones. Motörhead, Metallica, then you get to Pantera, Sepultura, and especially early Sepultura you are like ‘holy shit’. This is it!

Napalm Death, Terrorizer – the first band that exposed me to death metal was Death. The album was Human, a friend of mine had it, we listened to it, we were reading the lyrics, and we were mind blown. I wanted to know more bands – it’s a natural progression to go from one band into the next band. I wanted to learn how to play Slayer – you get the bigger bands when you are younger, then as you get older you try to find heavier stuff, there’s faster stuff. I wanted to find the fastest bands. We’ve all gone through that, especially when you are a kid.

Dead Rhetoric: Lifeless Birth is the latest Necrot album. How do you feel the songwriting and recording sessions went for this record – and can you discuss how the physical/personal setbacks that occurred (and had to be overcome) may have affected the final outcome or attention you were able to give to this material?

Indiro: Lifeless Birth came together in a way that we have been a band together for thirteen years, recording three demos and three full lengths. We do have a formula in a way for how we do things when it comes to writing new music. We are not a band that goes into the studio and jams to find some riffs. A lot of the work always happens separately. I have written the songs on the guitar from the beginning, so a lot of the process happens at my house personally. And then we discuss the songs with Chad Gailey our drummer who has been there since the beginning. I have the song structure in mind, and some drum beats, but he comes with some – things start slowly getting together. I place the lyrics or the parts where I want to sing, and then I talk with Sonny to say, we need a guitar solo in this part here, this other part, some kind of melody to go on top of this part. He does this work at home. So, when we do get together everyone already knows what they are doing and there is the basic structure of the songs already there. Then we develop together little recordings of the songs so we can go back and listen to it. Finally, when it’s time to record we have two weeks where we practice everything and finalize them. We go from there straight into the studio and we work on the album every day until the work is done.

With Lifeless Birth, what was different was we had a little more time in the composition process because we didn’t have tours that would break up that process. I was in better headspace in my personal life, which allowed me a little more peace of mind to get the best out of my compositional skills. We had a lot of setbacks, a lot of personal issues. The pandemic, Chad went through back surgery and that also cost him to have a second surgery and recovery. Sonny had to get surgery on both of his hands because of very heavy carpal tunnel, now he’s doing great, Chad is doing great. My father almost died back in Italy; I flew back to help out my family through a complicated situation. I was stuck there for two months. And then when it was time to record Lifeless Birth, I got bell’s palsy two days before we were going to start recording. My face was paralyzed, so we weren’t able to record my parts. That postponed things for six months, which allowed us to sit around with a record that was ready to be recorded. That allowed us to have extra time to go over everything again.

Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad. You can start overthinking shit. You have to know where to stop – in the same way that you are writing a song, you could play a riff a million times to try to make it better and better. But then you don’t like it anymore – it’s like mental masturbation. At one point, you have to say this is done. It was just a part of the process of how the album came to be. To me I’m attached to every album we’ve done, but at the same time I can feel the progression. I feel this album has a lot more of everything that is good. Necrot has certain things that are part of our sound. Aggressive parts, weird tempos, we’ve had melodic parts, more groovy breakdown parts. It’s always been part of our sound, but I feel that on this album every single aspect is more refined. The aggressive parts are more aggressive, the melodic parts are more interesting, the slow down parts are more intense. The guitar solo work is more interesting and intricate. We are still doing the same stuff but getting better at it. More refined, everything has more chocolate on it, everything is much tastier.

I feel really proud of this album, and an emotional attachment to this album. We got through everything, it made us feel at one point that we lost what we had, life kept getting in the way of getting back to (this). We have a new album, and a new tour, and so this album has a lot of emotion attached to it.

Dead Rhetoric: Where did you want to come across for the lyrical content this time around?

Indiro: The themes are similar. Our topics have always been about psychological oppression, people and their minds suffering living in this modern society. A mortal being in a place where you don’t know what the fuck you are doing, condemned to lose everything and be forgotten forever, that’s a lot of inspiration, correct? At the same time, I feel like the more that time goes by, the more the oppression of the people in power no matter from what side they are coming gets harder and harder, more oppressive. With social media and cell phones, it’s in everybody hands all the time, it forces you to be constantly bombarded by negative shit. It makes you weaker, doubt things, scared. The way that people in power could get in your minds in the past was harder, you could turn off your television and be out and about with your day to worry about things. But now, while you are trying to find out where is a band’s show, what the weather is like outside, you stumble into other negative things, which ultimately divides people.

Conquer and divide is a strategy that people in power have always had. I feel more than ever they are trying to break people and make the conversation. We are living in a time where expressing your personal point of view becomes harder, because people have a harsh way of shutting you down or categorizing you into ‘that person thinks this way, he’s an asshole’. Or they can’t be your friend. I want to be able to grab a beer and have a discussion with everybody about everything without having to be a breaking point, or a deal breaker. We can learn from each other, and create a community where people feel comfortable about being around each other, going to shows, doing stuff together instead of such a divided, scary world. We are all facing the same challenges. A lot of the shit that is sometimes wrong or hateful comes from your background, the society in which you grew up, your background. How dumb your family was growing up, and the shit they were talking to you about at the Thanksgiving dinner table, whatever.

People need to help each other. They need to not be scared to confront one another and talk to each other. But I feel like the people in power, they just want us to fight about everything. They want us to blame one group of people or another to some degree about something. They want you to feel ashamed for how you feel or who you are. I’m all about freedom, that’s the most important thing that we have, we should be free to express ourselves, we should be free to go out in the streets feeling how you want, saying what you want. Listen to whatever music you like without feeling ashamed of it. Even that – people are like ‘that band sucks’. I don’t give a shit – I like that band, I’m going to sing it out loud. I want that message to always come across in our lyrics – condemn all this stuff that they are doing to us.

“Cut the Cord”, the first song on our new album, break that cord that is feeding you crap all day and start looking at life from your own perspective. Don’t be brainwashed into your own mind. There should be way more say in places for everybody, especially in the punk and metal area. There needs to be safe spaces for all the minorities, everybody. Let’s play music – art is beyond all the political (stuff). I want to go out, have a great time, listen to some great music, without someone judging me.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about your status within the death metal landscape? Does it feel worthwhile to garner acclaim / appeal not only from your fellow musicians, but also the media outlets such as Decibel Magazine where you have been on the cover twice over the years?

Indiro: It’s great to have someone talking about you and your music, regardless of if it’s a good or bad opinion. It means that someone cares about what you are doing, all the hard work you put into this, it’s moving people to care about this, to read our lyrics to our songs, spend the money to come to our shows, buying our albums. The way people perceive Necrot is fine with me. We are going our way and have since day one. We love metal, we play metal, this is our music, like it or not. I’m not scared, I’ll say what I think. I know our fans are badass and we get the confirmation every time we go on tour. I go to the merch table, I hang around people, I talk to our fans – I know these people and their minds are in the right place. I know they get our message, they come to our shows because they respect what we do, and they want to have fun. They want to have a personal connection with us, and we want to have that with them. That’s so rewarding.

There are a lot of people that have been making this possible for us. Scott at Tankcrimes, Ron at Crawlspace Booking and Decibel magazine have been so supportive of us. Many bands that have come out of the underground and are still a part of the underground but are able to do things on a bigger level now. It’s also thanks to them that we are able to have a level of success with what we are doing. We are able to continue doing this – we are going to go on tour, we will play one hundred or more shows every year, we try to go everywhere. We do sacrifices, we record the albums, we spend the money to make sure our art looks badass, we make sure our merchandise is done right with discharge printing, the colors are respectful of the artwork that is done by the artist. We love that people talk about us; we are excited that people listen to our records.

Dead Rhetoric: What would you consider some of the biggest highlights to date in the career arc of Necrot? Be it specific albums, tours, festival appearances, or other experiences where you knew you were making an impact with your work?

Indiro: On a personal level for us, being on the Decibel Tour in 2019 with Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse was like a dream, something that you wouldn’t even think of in your wildest dreams to be on tour with these bands at the same time. We grew up listening to them, glorifying death metal to be on such a big tour being the direct support. Can you imagine finishing your set and going, ‘stick around – Morbid Angel is next’? Who gets to say that? It’s a privilege to play music, the kind of music that I want to play with my best friends. We get to go on the road, play in front of a bunch of people. We don’t take that for granted. There are tons of bands that put in the work in to deserve this. Not everybody gets to do what we do, so I’m grateful for this.

I left my own country when I was young to pursue this music career in extreme metal. I wanted to play my songs; I wasn’t going to play any other style just to be on tour. We went all in on our project, we have been pushing this as far as it can go, and everything else coming out of it is just fun. We were doing this for years, making no money, and now that we are actually making some money with the bigger shows, it’s as big as it can be.

Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the major differences in the level of support for the latest generation of underground, death/extreme metal bands versus the early wave of the 90s to 2000’s? Do you believe there is a common level of interest in respect for the veterans as well as the new blood on a global scale?

Indiro: Yeah, I think there’s a new generation of kids that are getting into death metal now, discovering all the bands. We have kids that are 16-17 at our shows, they were like, ‘Necrot is the first death metal band I’ve ever heard in my life.’ You have so much stuff to discover. It’s very gratifying to hear that. Our relationship with the veterans is fantastic. We are good friends with the guys in Autopsy, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Immolation. There is a mutual respect. Of course, they are the guys who started this, 100%. We are continuing that; we’ve been a band for thirteen years and I feel like we are leaving our mark. There are other bands that started eight to ten years ago, they are releasing their third and fourth albums, with a whole new generation of bands. One day in ten years, we will look back at this time and realize we were doing something important. That’s my goal, to play all over and do the best albums that you can. Look back at all this work and see that we did something sick.

There are kids getting into extreme metal now that are 14-16. They are really young, with all this energy, and they are going to start some sick bands that will be the future. These guys, they need their bands to look to up to, and we want to be one of them. We want to be there for them, because every generation needs their own bands. There is a space for bands like us, we are doing this now as a modern death metal band in 2024, we have something to say ourselves. We look up to the people that started extreme metal, and we are here to do our work. The young kids deserve to go see a band that is like these monsters like Slayer, Morbid Angel. There will be a chance for new bands to start after seeing our show or a Gatecreeper show and start a band – in five years we will see them shredding, I’m sure of it.

Dead Rhetoric: Who would you say have been some of the greatest inspirations or people that you lean on for support the most – when it comes to your musical career or life in general?

Indiro: Luckily, we have great people around. Everybody who works around us is great people. You have to rely mostly on yourself. It’s your band, only I, Chad, and Sonny have been there since the beginning. All of us, we know what we have sacrificed for the band. When I’m gone 55 days, my wife is back home alone, Chad’s girlfriend and son are too, so there are people sacrificing a lot to help the band. You face all the difficulties so the band can continue and grow. We have to find the right people that respect this around you, support what you are doing, this is our life and what you care about. You are going to go all in. There are great people that we have learned from – every single band that we’ve toured with. We’ve learned so much.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for Necrot over the next twelve months to support this new record?

Indiro: A lot of shows. Tons of shows, make sure we play the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America. We want to go back to Asia and Australia. We want to make sure that everybody loves the record. We want to give people the chance to go see us live.

Necrot on Facebook

[fbcomments width="580"]