necro deathmort (2011)

From what it sounds like, Necro Deathmort have been compared to as an amalgamation of everything from Sunn o))) to Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, DJ Shadow and beyond. In your own words, what is it you guys are trying to achieve and if anyone, who specifically could you pinpoint as influences?

We’re influenced by everything we’ve ever heard, including all of the above. Our use of programmed drums and electronics will obviously bring warp comparisons and the doom element will be compared to bands like Sunn o))) but there’s no attempt to combine any specific genres or sounds together. We just make stuff that excites us and try to cover new ground whenever possible.

Do these labels disillusion your efforts to just craft your own sound?

Comparisons to great artists like that are great but we don’t sound that much like any of them really. We make a lot of different tracks that we could use but there is an unwritten rule for which ones we’ll put on an album or play live. The combination of these tracks is our sound and there has rarely been any outside influence.

You’ve garnered quite a successful following both in the UK and abroad, even playing Sonar Festival in Barcelona. Do you feel the live circuit has helped further develop NDM?

When we played our first show the first album had only been out for a few months but we had already started to draft the follow-up. We intended this to be a purely studio project but the opportunity to play some cool shows allowed us to develop the new material in a live setting. This shaped how the new album would be when we came back to it. Taking the music to the stage definitely cemented us as a band rather than two producers and that was a welcome surprise.

Most of your performances seem to be heavily reliant on a laptop. Considering your recordings use organic instrumentation, do you ever feel you’re missing the dynamics of a backing band? Is this an intentional point of difference as a duo?

Using computers gives us the ability to transfer the studio to the stage. Every aspect of the sound can be manipulated in the same way as when we record, so we figured that was the most effective way of presenting our music live. The result is organic because we are performing it as a band, albeit an unconventional one! Keeping it as a duo was definitely intentional, we create all the music ourselves and want to present that aspect live.

Music of Bleak Origin is much more relentless then This Beat is Necrotronic. Is the Bleak Origin a sign of the times? Did you intend for anything to be read into this title and/or ensuing tracks?

Our album titles are mere puns and should never be read into… as for the flow of the album, it runs as a continuous mix but each track is individual and has it’s own meaning to us. Dominic Hailstone has handled artwork for both NDM releases so far.

With a decline in physical album sales, do you ever feel digital sales could weaken the overall concept and vision Hailstone has portrayed? Do you think artwork at all is even still appreciated in quality music?

Dom has created some truly great artwork for our releases and we’ve taken a lot of care in how the final product looks. Inevitably, it will be downloaded… Distraction has a policy of free mp3 downloads for all but if people are interested they’ll check out the artwork online and if they actually buy a physical copy of MoBO they’ll have a 36-panel poster to stare at! Rather than weaken Dom’s vision it makes it more of a special thing to the people who can enjoy it all as intended. Either way, the images will always be associated with the albums and that is what’s important.

Distraction Records label agenda seems far removed from NDM’s target audience. What is it that attracted you to them or vice versa?

We don’t particularly have a target audience. Our music could appeal to any number of people and as Distraction’s roster is very eclectic it suits us fine. Darren puts out the music he likes and is very proud of the label. We have the freedom to release music without the preconceptions of being on a primarily metal or electronic label.

Both albums have a cohesive, continuous quality to their ebb and flow. Do you craft each track singularly or do you always have the overall sound in mind when composing?

There was a definite aim to make the albums continuous, like a mix tape, and this way it also represents our live set. Some of our favourite metal and electronic albums blend the tracks into one piece. We make the songs individually but the arc of the albums dictate themselves eventually.

Going back to your performances, do you prefer playing alongside bands or electronic artists? Do any one of these help contribute to a certain atmosphere that helps you perform better?

Our live performances have gone down well at both electronic and metal events. The ideal would be a mixture of the two ultimately. Though there are benefits to doing both. An electronic event generally has a better sound system for our equipment. We have a computer-based setup so playing through a nice P.A is great. Also the crowd at a mainly electronic event has the potential to be more open-minded. Doing shows alongside metal bands is equally rewarding, as our ethos is that of a heavy band, just with electronic elements.

Can the cinematic qualities of your soundscapes be attributed to a love of cinema? If so, are there any composers or directors in particular that you admire?

We are both big admirers of cinema. Matt has composed music for films in the past and the tracks we make together often have a soundscape element to them. There are obvious synth-led composers like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream, also the close collaborations like Werner Herzog/Popul Vuh… there are too many to mention… one of our tracks features in a forthcoming horror film which should be interesting!

You talked about ‘covering new ground whenever possible’. Do you like to monitor musical trends and the progression of music so as to remain relevant, possibly ahead?

Software and technique are the only aspects we really keep up with.. new music is always surfacing but trends come and go. We keep ourselves interested without really worrying about whether it’s ‘current’ or not. The assimilation of different styles isn’t something we do to make a point, the whole idea is to not have any limits. Most of the tracks start off as experiments and everything stems from the initial idea. We both listen to a wide variety of music, some on the cutting edge of electronic music and some most definitely not!

How did Necro Deathmort come to be? Were you and Matt a part of any musical projects prior to NDM?

Matt and I met years back quite randomly. We were both into the same niches of music that we eventually distilled down to what is now NDM. Matt was making and releasing his own intricate brand of electronic music and was composing for films, I had a two-piece metal project and was making my own electronic creations. I joined Matt to take his solo stuff to the stage, on laptop duties and he joined us for some epic jams. It didn’t take long for the ideas and tracks to start piling up. There seemed to be a theme emerging in the music, kind of electronic doom, but with a definite nod to completely non-metal genres. There was no real intention to form a proper band around it but when the first album came together, we released it to surprising acclaim (and some bemusement). After some cool shows and with no lack of new material we admitted it was actually a band and made album two!

With MoBO out now, how are the next few months looking for NDM? Do you imagine any subsequent reception ensuing MoBO will dictate NDM’s next movements or are your plans to simply play it by ear?

We both like to keep busy! Amongst other band commitments, we continue to write new NDM tracks and we have some quite varied shows coming up. We’ve also recently done remixes for Ulver and Steven Wilson which should see the light of day soon. MoBO seems to have gone down really well but even if it hadn’t, we know we did exactly what we wanted. We’ll continue to make the music we want and look to do another album for some time next year. We’ve deliberately left ourselves lots of space stylistically so who knows what will be next!


A.J Cookson & Matthew Rozeik are Necro Deathmort
Label: Distraction Records
facebook.com/necrodeathmort | distractionrecords.com