– Hello and, first of all, thanks for taking your time to answer to our questions. How’s everything going in the band’s camp?
Thank you! Everything here has been great this past year! The debut album was finally released on vinyl, we released our second demo on Maggot Stomp, and we played our debut show back in October which turned out amazing!
– First off, how would you say the band name represents the band? It is straight-forward and gives a clue on the brand of ugly Metal you’re playing and its spirit. Was it something you were striving for to find something that could fit your essence?
Rotted plays rotting Death Metal. The idea behind the name was to invoke images or sounds of horror, plus I needed a name and it was available hahaha. I definitely wanted something unique that maybe one day could be held in the regards of some of the bands that we adore. I think having a strong, memorable, and straight-foward name is important as to how accessable you are. There’s some bands that, had I not been shown, I would’ve completely ignored because the name was something whacky and misleading.
– And how was ROTTED born? Did it start just as another parallel project for fun? It seems it has turned into something more serious with the years.
Sort of, yes. Around the time Rotted began, me and Julian had been working on a band we had started a few months earlier called Nefarious. We had written and recorded a demo and ended up self-releasing it to 50 copies. Julian handled all the instruments and vocals on that demo aside from me doing guitar on the two tracks I had written. It had made quite a buzz in our scene and had even spread out a little across the world. A short while after that I started writing some more straight-foward Death Metal material and decided to focus more on that, and thus the two promo songs were recorded. I think that was near the beginning of October 2016, because the two promo tracks I had uploaded on YouTube the day before Halloween that year.
– So what is now ROTTED and your music to you?
Now it’s everything. In the beginning I maybe didn’t take it as seriously because I didn’t think it’d go anywhere, but it’s always a morale boost when you receive positive feedback on something you created. Music is an escape, but it’s also a release. As I stated earlier, we just played our first live show and hearing the reaction from the crowd in between each song makes you forget about all the negativity you might have going on in your life.
– It seems like everything has happened quite fast for the band, already when your first demo came out the word got around very quickly, did you expect that? In fact a year later you already released your debut album supported by a record label. How did that happen?
Absolutely not. I had uploaded the two promo tracks to YouTube and shared them with various friends and on a few social media platforms and just a few days later, David from Dark Blasphemies Records had contacted me and offered to release an album should I record one. Not long after that I spent what little money I had on recording gear and set everything up in the spare room of my house to record. The writing process was grueling and mentally exhausting but I think that it paid off in the end. I had received much more positive feedback than I had expected and I couldn’t be more thankful to the people who supported me from the beginnning!
– Your newest release is the «Dying to Rot» demo, which came out in June. This is your first recording as a two piece, after Julian Walter joined ROTTED. How did this come to be?
I met Julian a little after I moved to Illinois almost 6 years ago. He was playing in a band called Vesicant and I had got ahold of them to see if they were interested in a second guitarist and to my surprise they were! I played my first two shows ever later that year at some smaller DIY venues and it was great! Eventually Vesicant ended but me and Julian always kept jamming afterwards. Once we were trying out some very Disembowelment type material, and I can remember another time we were going for something similar to Electric Wizard but with a Death Metal kick to it. Julian is a very creative person and is always working on something amazing. Half the time we hang out he’s showing me something new he’s been working on and it’s always killer material! Within the past few years or so he’s been building up his chops on the drums and one day we got to talking and I think I had asked him to do drums for the new demo and he was down for it and it just kept going from there! Couldn’t be more happy to be playing in a band with him again!
– And this is also your first release with Maggot Stomp, not a very big label but with really solid releases. How did this cooperation arise? Would you say you are now reaching more people working with them?
I know when the demo came out Scott grabbed one but that was way before I knew them. When Maggot Stomp were still in their larvae phase, I had contacted them and sent them a care package cause they seemed like solid dudes, and shortly afterwards they contacted me about doing pins and I was so stoked! From there me and Scott just kept talking and as Maggot Stomp metamorphosized more and more and had turned into a record label more or less, we started talking about maybe doing a Rotted release in the future and once we started working together for the new demo I knew this was a label I want to continue working with for as long as they can tolerate me hahahaha!
– On this demo you dig deeper into your ugly, sick brand of Death Metal, but I would dare say there’s more slow tempos, with subtle Doom Metal hints. Was this a direction you were consciously striving for?
Not necessarily but I wouldn’t say it happened by accident. I definitely enjoy a lot of Doom-based things. Local legends CIANIDE, who are finally putting out something new, are one of my all time favourite Death-Doom bands, along with Rippikoulu and Mythic/Derketa, so it’s no surprise to me that some of those bands influence managed their way into some of the new material. Even some reviews for the album mention some Doomier parts that some had compared to Cianide which was awesome to read! Just really striving for super heavy riffs, can’t go full turbo all the time!
– Also I’ve noticed a certain inprovement production-wise, still sounding swampy and organic, it sounds slightly clearer compared to the «Pestilent Tomb» album. Did you have a clear idea of how you wanted this «Dying to Rot» to sound like?
A few reviews and comments I’ve seen have slammed the production, so thank you for that! I didn’t necessarily have any particular sound in mind, but I use old analog 4-tracks to do the guitar bass and vocals to maintain the demo sound. With it just being a demo, I’m not going to spend thousands of dollars for someone to mix and polish it. It’s only a demo, it should sound like a demo. I think people are becoming to used to super clean production on demo tapes. Go check out anything from Kens Death Metal Crypt on youtube. If anything, some of those older demos are the sound I was going for production wise.
– Also the guitar is more forward in different ways. Has the songwriting process changed being a two-piece now?
No I still write everything here at home. Eventually I think we will start jamming together and it’ll be a more productive and enjoyable experience as writing everything alone for the past couple years is starting to wear on me a little. With the new demo I had originally written for me to do everything so when Julian came into the picture I told him do whatever he wanted to on the drums cause I’ve never been able to have that opportunity. We’re currently working on a split track and I’m excited to see what he’s got in store for the drums!
– You managed to build a sick and digusting overall ambience. What does inspire this? Movies, books, art, moments…?
Definitely lots of horror on various media, be it movies, or books, or even some of the shit you read about in the media. I don’t want us to be a band that sticks just to gore and gore alone, so sometimes I try branch out and throw some dimensional or existential horror in there. The «Dying to Rot» demo is basically 4 songs about people who want to be amongst rotting corpses and rot alive. Kind of tounge-in-cheek, but that’s the idea, I suppose.
– All this about «Dying to Rot» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Putrid, Disgusting Filth
– On this release you remain loyal to your style and to OSDM, from the cover to the sound and approach. What’s to you the most important in an opus of the genre? The overall feeling? The filthy sound? Or is it a mix of different elements? What’s the ingredient a band into the genre needs to pass the test of time?
Developing your own sound. You’ll always hear influences from other bands, and that’s all fine, but its the way you play it that makes it sound like you and you alone. That’s what makes it fun, to me anyways. Without adding your own ideas we’d just end up with a ton of clone bands and everything would get stagnant fast. The more you branch out into newer bands and gain more influences the more interesting stuff you’ll write, I think. Death Metal is getting more disgusting the past few years, but in a good way. Some of the heaviest records are coming out right now and I’m glad to be part of the scene and share the stage with bands like Fetid and Cerebral Rot.
– There’s now an obvious resurrection of old school Death Metal. Is it easier to get out there due to the growing interest or the fact that there are a lot of bands doing this makes it harder? What newer bands from your area would you recommend?
It’s definitely growing quite a bit, for better or worse. It does help in a way that this resurgence has been happening, but then with everybody playing the same style of music, I hope it’s something that won’t become stagnant in another year or so. I’d like to think our sound is something of an amalgamation of bands like Rottrevore, Disma, Autopsy, Demilich, and Gutted. The newest band from the scene here is a super heavy Death/Doom band called Voimaton who just released their demo on Blood Harvest! Definitely recommend checking that out!
– And before we wrap this interview up, what does future have in store for ROTTED? What are now your near-future plans?
The past few weeks I’ve been working on some new material, not sure exactly for what, possibly stuff for the sophmore album, but we’ll see. Right now we’re working on a 3-way split between some of the coolest people in the scene, but more info when that is closer to being finished! Otherwise, now that we’re a full working line-up, I really want us to get out there and play some shows and get a name for ourselves. I’m in talks with Scott about coming out to the West Coast to do some shows there next year and maybe even something overseas if it works out!
– That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering to our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you for the interest, and thanks to everyone who supports ROTTED! We’ll have some new merch soon through Maggot Stomp, and hopefully be playing a show near you soon! STAY ROTTED!