– Hello, thank you so much for answering to our interview. How’s everything going right now in the FUNERU’s camp?
Yes thank you for the interview. Everything with the band is going great right now. It seems our new release, Reduced to Sludge is being well received so far, and things are looking up. Also we just returned from the Goregrowlers Ball fest in San Antonio TX, and it was a very successful show for us. We got a great reaction from the crowd and heard many positives!
– First off, who came up with the band’s name and why did you choose it?
Well that would have to be answered by our original guitarist Brad Heiple, who is no longer in the band. I know he once told me, to him, Funerus meant the funeral of the world. I’m not sure where he came up with the name.
– Though FUNERUS has a long career behind it, I guess some people won’t know about you yet, specially the youngest one. Would you mind doing some history of the band?
Funerus has been a functioning band since 1993 when I joined up with Brad Heiple (guitars/vocals) and Jason Foust (drums). They needed a bass player and I had some guitar playing experience, so they asked me to join the band. I was into what they were doing at the time, I thought the stuff they were doing was heavy and we were all influenced by the same style of music. We recorded a demo in 1994, and started playing shows. Our demo started to circulate in the underground. Things really were looking good for the band, but Brad decided to leave the band in I think late 1994. Jason and I tried to keep things going, we worked with 3 other guitarists, but things never worked out. Jason and I eventually lost contact and he moved far away from me. Years went by, and I tried to put Funerus together with a completely different line-up for a one-off show. The show went well, but something just didn’t feel right about it. At that point I made the decision to put Funerus to rest. At least thats what I thought. To shorten things up a bit, a few years later I ended up marrying John McEntee from Incantation. It turned out John and Kyle Severn were fans of the Funerus demo from 1994. So when Kyle would be at our house for Incantation practice, him and John would try to convince me to jam out the Funerus songs with them. It took alot of encouragement, but I finally did one day. John, Kyle and I played the songs on the Funerus demo, and it sounded so totally killer. We just knew that we had to continue with the band. We got ahold of original guitarist/vocalist Brad Heiple to see if he was interested in being in the band again, and he was. So it was from John and Kyle’s encouragement that we reformed this band.
– In fact the band has been in the underground scene since two decades ago, released some demos during the early/mid 90’s but didn’t unleash your debut album since 2002. Why did it take you so long? And what kind of activity did the band have during the 90’s? Anyway, about the long time it took you to release «Festering Earth», I guess the line-up changes and the hiatus the band took had something to do with it.
Yes the line up changes, and like I said, just trying to keep the band going. There were years of inactivity.
– Anyway have been 9 years between «Festering Earth» and «Reduced to Sludge». What have you guys been up to during this time?
Alot of shows, touring, and writing/recording. We also wne through line-up changes in between albums, so it took some time after Kyle left to find Sam, and once Sam was in the band we re-started the whole writing process.
– And we will have to wait that long until your next album?
haha, I can’t say anything for sure, but hopefully not!!
– As I said, your new «Reduced to Sludge» will come out soon; what are your expectations with it?
We feel that RTS will go over well in the death metal community. From the positive feedback we have heard so far, we hope it takes us to a higher level and create a larger fanbase!
– I think this album goes in the same vein of your previous effort but, how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Sewage death metal!
– This time around you are a 3-piece. Being married with John makes things easier for you both or the opposite?
In general John and I have things very easy. We both have a deep respect for each other, we enjoy each other and what we do, we both have such a passion for our music, and we are best friends and are in love. What more could you want? Or, how could things be any easier?
– Beside that, this is your first album with Sam Inzerra. What has he borught to the album?
Sam has brought alot to this band and to the album. He has experience, knowledge, has good ideas and he thinks things through. He comes up with rerally good stuff when we are writing, and not just on drums. He knows the way to bring out the Funerus vibe in the songs. It’s wierd we have some kind of connection because we all know exactly what we are looking for in the end, and we know what processes to go to to get there.
– This is also the band’s first record without Brad. Did you ever think about replacing him?
Brad has his own thing going on with Abysme. At this point John, Sam and I have a great chemistry and none of us would want to jeapordize that. Besides that, I think we are heavy enough as a 3 piece. I really don’t see the point in adding another member.
– And how do you think vocals have turned out in «Reduced to Sludge»? As you and John are now sharing vocal ruties.
Well I actually do all the vocals now. There is one song on the new album that John and I did a dual vocal part, other than that I have been doing vocals full time since about 2005. I am happy with the way the vocals came out on Reduced to Sludge, it was hard work though for sure!
– As I mentioned before, this album goes in the same vein of your debut album but I could say its even heavier and has a more mature hint, as well as it seems more well-cared. Was this something you aimed for?
In general, we had alot more time to write this album. Maybe that’s why it turned out more «mature» sounding. Everyone in the band put alot of work into the album, it was a total team effort. So that’s what came out from John, Sam and I giving 100%.
– And did anything change during the songwriting? Or maybe the current line-up (and not having Brad in the band anymore as, if I’m not mistaken, he also was one of the main composers) affected the final output in any way?
Brad was a major part of the songwriting for Funerus. Definitely not having Brad’s input on the album makes a change, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Instead of having input from Brad, we have more input from Sam.
– Though you have always sounded like and old school Death Metal band at the US style, this time I noticed some (more) European/Swedish influences as well, as some GRAVE or ENTOMBED details. What are your main musical influences?
Our main influences are still the same, mostly old Swedish death metal, Nihilist/Entombed, Carnage, Dismember, Grave plus bands like BoltThrower, Rottrevore, Death.
– Cover artwork is just fantastic, it looks great and fits your music perfectly. I know it was crafted by Dusty Peterson (SIX FEET UNDER, etc.) Could you please shed some light on this? Why did you choose Dusty, how did you work on the artwork, etc.
John came across Dusty somehow, I think Dusty sent an email to the label offering some artwork. We were looking for art at that time, and we checked out some of his work, which was great stuff. Dusty and John emailed back and forth, and John gave him the title «Reduced to Sludge» and that’s what he came up with. Amazing, I think we all had the same reaction…..immediate no way! because of that putrid mustard color, to holy shit, that’s killer!!!! We all love it!
– Both Sam, John and Jim Roe took engineering duties. How positive is this for the band? Engineering your own albums means just more pressure/work or othwerise, does it make you get the sound you were looking for?
It was a positive thing for sure. It is true that it puts more pressure on everybody, but at the same time it gives us more time and freedom to try new things. For us, doing it this way was definitely positive.
– Anyway mighty Dan Swanö mixed and mastered the album. Are you happy with his work?
Happy? No words to describe it….just completely amazed!
– Once more, «Reduced to Sludge» was released by Ibex Moon Records, so I guess it may also be quite comfortable…
Comfortable in a way that John is one of the few people in this world I know and trust. It’s just smart on my part.
– We could say «Reduced to Sludge» marks your comeback after a period of silence, and this same year we’ve had several «comeback» albums into the Death Metal world, but I would like you to tell us your opinion on both new AUTOPSY’s and MORBID ANGEL’s albums.
New Autopsy is a great album, it’s prettty much everything you would expect from Autopsy with some new and original ideas. For the Morbid Angel, it’s a disappointment.
– In fact the new MORBID ANGEL’s is a proof the Metal scene is always changing but, how has this world change since your released your debut album? Anyway, it seems like there’s a growing interest for old school Death Metal.
Exactly, there is a resurrgenge of old school death metal! That was not the case when we released our debut.
– From Queens of Steel we have always tried to let people know women are equally capable of playing Metal music. Even though many people respects and admires female Metal musicians doing their own thing, into this world people tends to illustrate differences between both genres instead of highlighting similarities. Have you noticed this during your career?
The thing for me is, I don’t Funerus to be known as a «female fronted» band, or a band that has a girl in it, or whatever. I want Funerus to be known for our music, our heaviness and how we play rather than who is in the band.
– Some Metal bands with female musicians seem to be known just for having female members among their line-up but, unfortunately, many others not selling their image have always reminded in the background, in fact great bands as MYTHIC, DERKÉTA, NUCLEAR DEATH or DEMONIC CHRIST among others seem to have been forgotten by the vast majority. But, what bands with female members could you suggest?
All those that you just mentioned, plus HOD from Texas
– Finally, what are your near-future plans? Do you plan touring to support the new album live?
Yes we are looking into some touring for next year. Nothing is set up for sure yet, so I won’t comment any further oon that.
– That has been all from my side, thank you once more for taking your time. If you now want to add some final words; last lines are all yours.
Thanks so much Queens of Steel for the interview!