– Hello and first of all thanks for taking the time. It’s being a fucked up 2020; global pandemic, now the protests and police brutality all around the USA… How are you guys feeling?
I feel so angry and defeated, seeing all the police injustice going on, not only at the moment but all the time. NYC has a really long and terrible history with cops abusing their power. But at the same time it warms my heart to see my city unite together to protest it.
– But moving to the more optimistic side of things, earlier this year you released your debut album, “Death Meditation”, which sold out really fast. In fact the pre-orders for the repress have just started. Did you ever expect such success?
Honestly none of us saw this coming. We had been sitting on the record for almost a year before we started planning with Chad, we had issues with another label that was leading us on and it was going nowhere. As stressful as that whole situation was, I’m happy it happened because the record wouldn’t have done even half as well as it did if it ended up on that other label. We really lucked out with Carbonized wanting to do this with us.
– Talking about this, what were your goals and aims when you first formed FUNERAL LEECH? What motivated you to form the band?
Me and Zack (guitars) were playing in a punk band and a grind band before this, and we both shared a love for death metal, so as those two bands fizzled out we started putting the building blocks of Funeral Leech together, we wanted to play crushing, churning Death Metal, so that’s what we set out to do.
– To what extent is the album’s title (“Death Meditation”) autobiographical? And the album itself?
The album as a whole is about coming to terms with death. About meditating on that fact. Once you understand everything is going to die, and that is inevitable, you can truly be at peace.
– Death is a recurring theme in your lyrics. From what perspective do you approach it?
There’s a few different perspectives, obviously the first is about dying, leaving this living plane. But Death on this album also represents the end of something, whether a moment in time, or an idea, a belief, a relationship or even a feeling. Death is the end of something and the beginning of something else. One of the biggest themes on the record is that “Death is a New Beginning”. After these moments pass and end, we begin again. Life is an endless cycle of that.
– Does your artistic creation have something meditative, as the album title suggests? If so, in what sense (ritual, reflective…)?
When we perform these songs, it feels meditative to me, our live shows don’t necessarily have a “ritual” tied in, but we light incense and very dark lights on stage, it feels ominous and meditative. While writing the album, I had a few rituals I would part take in, but those were personal moments for me.
– Lyrics are written in a pretty poetical form. What does inspire them (personal experiences, authors…)?
A lot of it stems from personal moments and feelings. I did want to go against the grain with most Death Metal lyricists, because I wanted to write something I could actually relate to. Lyrics in music are really important to me, and I always enjoy when it’s something I can feel and understand on a personal level. I love Carcass as much as the next guy, but I can’t relate to the lyrics really much at all. I’m mostly inspired by personal experiences, but I did find a lot of writing influence from poets like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. When I write lyrics, I find myself referencing artists that I love a lot, there are a few of those references on Death Meditation.
– In fact you seem to really put an effort on the language, am I wrong? To what extent does the form, the shape and aesthetic of words impact or affect their meaning and what do you want to convey?
You’re not wrong at all, I spent a very long time rewording stuff to make sure it fits perfectly with the music. If done right, it’s a very important tool you can use. There are several lines that are repeated and words that are accentuated just to drive its meaning home. I think it just helps getting the theme and message across.
– Is sadness a personal experience or an artistic resource?
Very much a personal experience, I’ve dealt with depression and mental illness for a very long time in my life.
– Due to this I would like to know what is your music for you. Is it a means to channel something? To vent?
Yes, it is definitely an outlet. When I was much younger, I used to look to music for comfort. When I was feeling this immense sadness that I couldn’t explain, I went to music. It was my security. Hearing songs that directly spoke about what I was feeling at the point in time helped me a lot and let me know I wasn’t alone. So I wanted to have that aspect to this album, if someone hears this album, feeling the same way I did, I hope they can find solace in it.
– The cover artwork was done by Karmazid. What does the cover symbolise and how did you/he work on it?
The cover art symbolizes the theme of the album, he is meditating while rotting away, and is truly at peace. Working with Karmazid is great, he understood the vision completely and we will continue to work with him as long as we’re a band.
– He also made your sigil. In Chaos Magick a sigil represents an entity and it is a means to channel energy. Is FUNERAL LEECH an entity of its own? Does your sigil simbolise something? Or does it just fit your aesthetic?
It fits the general theme, and sure we could be perceived as an entity. Each thing in the sigil represents an aspect of us. While I don’t regularly practice Chaos Magick… I understand the meaning and intent behind sigils and what they represent.
– Talking about this, how important are aesthetics/the imagery in FUNERAL LEECH? Do you perceive your whole body of work as something that should work as a unit? Since your lyrics fit the darkness of your music and so does the visual aspect of the album.
While aesthetics and imagery are important to us, we don’t go all out. Everyone in Funeral Leech is very much themselves and we don’t put on a costume or show when we play. We don’t really like think about it too much, we don’t practice moves or anything like that. When it comes time to go out there and play we just do our thing.
– This about “Death Meditation” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Rise after death.
– You come from a Punk background. What of this music/ethos are you also using with FUNERAL LEECH?
We function like a punk band, we’re very self sustained, do everything as a unit. It feels more natural and real and less mechanical.
– In fact you have a quite DIY attitude. Why is this important to you? I guess due to this Carbonized felt like a perfect fit.
We came from nothing, and built up from there. We used all the resources we had to get the band where we are now. We did all of that ourselves. Carbonized is the perfect fit because Chad is cut from the same cloth. He approaches everything very similarly and holds all the same beliefs as us. It’s truly refreshing to work with someone who gets it and it feels very supportive.
– And before we wrap this interview up; what are your near-future plans with the band? Is there anything you are working on right now? Any ideasfor future releases?
Right now due to current events, it seems as if everything is on hold, but we’re doing what we can. Me and Zack write everything together, so he’s been sending me guitar riffs and I’ve been writing drum parts for them, slowly we have been working on new stuff. Which feels good, it doesn’t feel like we’re completely stagnant. I’ve been writing a ton of lyrics too, and have several next moves planned. No new releases set in stone yet, still too early for us to move there, but we’re working on stuff.
– That would be it from our side. Thank you once more for answering to our questions. If you’d like to add some final words feel free to do it.
Thanks for having me! The only last words I have to say are BLACK LIVES MATTER and FUCK THE POLICE!!!