Necrot – Journey through Death MetalThursday, 20th August 2020
There’s a lot of old school flavored death metal for avid fans to take in, but Necrot has been able to make a rise towards the top of that pile with their particular sound. Why? For one thing, the band wisely took their time, and when they released their full-length debut in Blood Offerings, they were able to hit the ground running. And run they did, with a massive touring schedule ever since. But the time for new material has come around, and the upcoming Mortal picks up where the band left off and delivers another batch of death metal goodness. We talked with vocalist/bassist/guitarist Luca Indrio about what the band has been up to, learnings from the road, how the metal community can be more open, and much more.
Dead Rhetoric: What have you been up to for the last 3 years since Blood Offerings?
Luca Indrio: Since Blood Offerings came out, we’ve played somewhere between 300 and 400 concerts. We’ve done a lot of touring – Europe, the US, Australia, Japan, Mexico. So we’ve mostly been playing shows nonstop. We kept getting offered really good tours, so we couldn’t say no. I think it was really good for us, in terms of getting better and tighter, and more confident in our instruments. Playing a lot of shows is the best way to do that.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve done a lot of touring, what have you picked up from the road?
Indrio: It takes a certain kind of person to do this type of living, where you are always traveling. I think that the road is good, but it’s not for everybody. I’ve seen a lot of bands that are finally getting the attention and are able to tour and after a few tours, they decide they don’t want to tour as much as they thought they did. Especially when you start touring in the winter, and you start touring with other bands that are bigger than you, and they are on tour buses and you are following them with a van and a trailer. The problem is that the routing is made for bands with tour buses. It’s made for bands that are going to sleep through the travel and wake up in a new location. The driving is done during the night. If you don’t have a tour bus, and you follow them with a van, you are constantly struggling and losing sleep. You are supposed travel at night after the show, but you can’t sleep in the band and no one drives.
Touring is a lot of work, especially when your band gets more attention. You have to carry tons of merchandise and you have to organize a bigger tour – things become more complicated. It definitely becomes more of a job. Initially, you are doing underground tours and if you are a little late no one gives a shit. You might have to be at the venue at like 6. When you do a big package tour you have to be there at noon or 1pm. Even if you are playing until 2 in the morning and your next show is 10 hours away. That gives you some sort of an idea. You get like 2 hours to rest, stop, and eat. The rest is driving, or you are going to be late. You don’t want to be late, because you want to look professional [laughs].
Touring becomes much more work, and there’s more organization. It also becomes more expensive. You have to bring a sound engineer with you and you have to pay him well, because no good sound engineer is going to go on tour with you for 40 days for free. You are playing bigger places, and some of these venues might not even do a lot of metal, so if you want to have a house sound guy, you might end up with someone who has no idea in terms of mixing a death metal band.
So there are certain things that you must do when you get bigger with your band. It can be very tiring and stressful, so what I’m saying is that it takes a certain type of person to do this life. You really have to love it. You can’t just do it for fun. It is fun, but it is also a lot of work, and is very dangerous if you are just partying. You have to travel and if you are partying hard every night, it can be no joke – it can get really dangerous for everybody.
Dead Rhetoric: Was there anything you wanted to try this time, or do differently, when writing Mortal?
Indrio: What I wanted to do differently was that we had the chance to listen to Blood Offerings for so many years and get better. So we wanted to look at the strengths of that album. I wanted more guitar solos, I wanted it to sound better. I really wanted the sound to be as close as possible to the old classics of death metal. So more solos, and I felt that we needed some slightly different rhythm guitar.
The way I write an album, I write about the whole thing. I don’t just throw a bunch of songs together. Usually, I have it in mind that I need an opener song that has a memorable intro – something that when you turn the album on, you are immediately like “Oh, I know I like this!” I also like a more epic closer for the album. In the middle, I like it to hit pretty hard at the beginning but by the third or fourth song have something a little more intricate or different. Maybe something more slow or melodic. I don’t’ want the album to be boring.
I know that there are still people, especially with this type of music, that listen to the album from beginning to end. In other types of music, they don’t. They listen to a song or two and make their own playlist. But I know that people who like death metal like to sit down with the album and I want it to be enjoyable from beginning to end. I don’t want to write 7-8 songs that all sound the same. I think it makes the album boring. Even if they are great – you have to make more of a journey, that’s how I like to see it.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve got a lot of cool vinyl color variations, how important is that to the band?
Indrio: That’s what the fans want. We know that our fans like the splatter and weird colored vinyls. They are collectors. Vinyl is such a collectable item. To me, lots of people say that vinyl sounds better. To me, vinyl sounds better for certain albums and types of music. For example, if you are listening to Black Sabbath on vinyl, it’s going to sound unbelievably amazing. If you are listening to something that sounds more digital, it’s not going to sound as good if you listen to it on vinyl.
But vinyl is such a collector item – fans want to have something that is unique. Whenever we put up a splatter edition, it sells out really fast. We don’t want to leave people bummed, because they didn’t get something cool looking. So as long as they sell, we try and have one or two versions that are more peculiar than just a black vinyl or a one-color vinyl. We want everyone to get what they want.
Dead Rhetoric: The three of you have been in the band for close to 10 years now, what’s your relationship like?
Indrio: We are really good friends. We have been friends for a long time. There’s a lot of understanding between us, beyond the band. We talk outside of the band. We have a life outside of the band, but we also have a relationship with each other that is beyond the band. It goes beyond the relationship of doing music – we talk every day. I doubt there’s a day where we don’t chat or at least send a text to each other.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that doing a few demos first and slowly building helped with getting the band out there?
Indrio: Absolutely. It’s something I recommend to anyone starting a new band. You shouldn’t put anything out – we were recording and putting out our own tapes, and we did three of them. We didn’t come out with a real full-length for almost six years. To me, it’s important to be patient, take your time, and get out there when you are good enough. It doesn’t happen overnight. Necrot in 2011-2012, you can’t even compare it to Necrot 2020. There’s been so many years, shows, practicing – we have evolved so much. You are not going to be in your top in the first few years of your band. That’s really rare.
I feel like people a lot of times make the mistake of rushing. They start a band, and then in a few months they are touring and putting out material. You don’t want people to see you in six months – wait to get better. We never wanted to get out there with something that wasn’t good. That’s how you burn the band. That’s why I think Necrot has gotten a good response, because we have always had the patience to do things with the right time schedule.
We didn’t rush things. We didn’t rush getting a drummer or guitar player. We waited a year and a half before we completed the band. We had people offering to play with us but we turned them down. We didn’t want to create a band with people who weren’t ready to do anything that the band needed. That means going on tour, having a life that allows you to do that. We would have never gotten anyone in the band who had a kid, or a career in something. It’s not going to work if a person doesn’t want to commit fully to the band. I think patience is the right recipe to create something that works.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you enjoy about death metal?
Indrio: For me, it’s the most complete kind of aggressive music. If you look at other types of music, like punk or crust, death metal has always been the one that retains the heaviness and has such a variety. You can do whatever you want with it. There’s a lot of freedom.
There’s other metal genres, like prog metal, but they are really complicated and they do all of these crazy things. But to me, you lose the heaviness when you go too complicated. It becomes something that you are doing for other reasons. For me, music has to be aggressive and it has to be heavy. Death metal is the perfect style of music to do that – to be heavy and aggressive without being too obvious or boring. It’s also been the soundtrack of the world. We like in a pretty fucked up reality, and what better than death metal to describe it?
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve done some donations to BLM and been sharing the metal vs racism videos on Facebook. What needs to change so that the metal community is more open?
Indrio: What needs to change is that people need to admit that they fucked up. That’s the first step for change. You often don’t see what you are doing wrong, if you don’t see the consequences of your actions or of what you say. We all go out in a society that is pretty racist and we are taught that certain behaviors are acceptable when they are not. Unfortunately, people are not able to see how they affect another person unless they have seen it themselves. So they are in denial. There’s a history in this country, with slavery and segregation.
In the metal community, what people don’t realize is that we are a community of outcasts. The reason why we got close to metal or punk is because we didn’t feel like we belonged in society. We weren’t getting along with our school or our family. Growing up, you feel like there is something wrong. You listen to this heavy music and you become part of the scene and you finally find a place you belong. You feel at home. We need to make that place welcoming to everybody – regardless of race, gender, or whatever. There’s the situation in metal, where people are doing this, and if there is a person of color at a show – people are making racist jokes, or asking them what they are doing here, especially to women of color. People ask them if they even know the band. They are at the show, why wouldn’t you know the band? These questions make you feel uncomfortable.
I totally understand it, because I’m an immigrant to the United States. You can totally tell when someone is asking you questions because they are genuinely curious and know about what you are doing there, and someone asking questions making you feel like you don’t belong there. You can’t have outcasts within outcasts. That’s how I feel. The metal community needs to be united, because we are a big family. A big family that didn’t feel comfortable in their family or society. We need to welcome everybody – a simple question that they might give to a person of color makes them feel that they are not welcome there. Unfortunately, the person asking those questions doesn’t realize that it is wrong. They have never been taught so. They never have asked that person of color how they feel when they ask those questions.
People want to belong, but people of color have a hard time in this circle in the metal community because they don’t want to be pushed away. Eventually they put up with the racist stuff, just to be there, but at some point you get pushed away and you end up doing something else or going to other shows where you feel welcome. That’s horrible! We all have the right to listen to metal music and go to shows and feel comfortable. We are all outcasts in one way or another. You might be a dude with long hair from Wisconsin or whatever.
We need to understand that we are all there for the same reason and it needs to be good for everybody. It’s not hard. I have seen it myself when I was younger. Someone made a racist joke at a show, and it didn’t bother me too much – it wasn’t even that racist. But I was wrong. I admit it – I was wrong. To move forward, we all need to change and start listening to the minorities that are being affected. The first step is admitting what we are doing was wrong. By changing, we are not losing what the metal community is. By changing and making it more welcoming to everybody, the riffs aren’t going to get less heavy [laughs]. People need to admit this, and if we are able to do this, we will grow.
We will grow as a metal community. It’s great for everyone – there will be more people at shows, and they will be safer for everyone. The venues make more money, the bands make more money, the festivals will get bigger. More people want to go – more bands can play in the US because the crowds get bigger. There’s advantages for everyone in welcoming everybody and making it possible for people to feel comfortable in the metal world.
Dead Rhetoric: What plans do you have in the future outside of the album release?
Indrio: Unfortunately we don’t have any plans. I mean, we do have some plans for touring, but we don’t know if they will happen. It depends on international politics at this point. Europe will probably be able to have shows and tours before the US will, but at the same time, US bands aren’t going to be able to travel to Europe. It still won’t be possible for a US band to travel outside of the US. We have a booking agency that works for us and they are working on a tour for us in spring 2021, but it might not happen. There’s so much uncertainly. There’s so much work being done right now that might be lost.
It’s a really hard time for bands right now, and everyone involved in the music world. Even people in booking agencies and people that lock down shows. Eventually work gets cancelled and they have to redo it, and then they have to redo it again. But they have to keep doing it, because once the moment that things start up again happens, we will be so behind. Once tours start, every single band is going to want to be out there, all at the same time. You need to do the work of booking and rebooking, so that eventually you will be one of the first bands to hit the road again. For us, it’s really important because we have been living off of the band, playing at least 100 to 150 shows every year. That’s the only way to survive as a band in 2020. Records aren’t bought as much since everyone is using streams like Spotify and they pay the bands almost nothing. Corporations have taken over all of the revenues of record sales. You pay a subscription and listen to anything you want.
If you take away the live shows, there’s nothing left for bands. It’s important to support the bands right now, if you can, to buy a physical copy of the record. If we don’t support bands, and smaller businesses in general, everything is going to shut down. There won’t even be venues for smaller shows. It’s dramatic times, and it’s really complicated. Hopefully we will survive. People need to be conscious about how they are spending their money right now. We all have less money, and we tend to give it to corporations. We need to give money to smaller businesses, artists, or whoever. If you have it. But be more conscious about where we put our money. If everything shuts down, we will lose more and more freedom. Smaller businesses close and eventually they have to start working for these larger corporations instead of reopening their business that they put years of their life into.