Decimate have been on the road for a while now. It´s a really good mix between hardcore and tougher metal they play. Here they have answered a lot of questions from me in august 2016.
-Decimate formed back in 2000. We have always been close friends growing up and all got into the same music very early on in life. In early 2001 we released our debut album "In The Name Of A God" through Blackfish records and suddenly found ourselves on tour with Stampin’ Ground and in among the best of UK hardcore. It all happened very quickly for us at the start and was a lot to take in back then. This is actually our second visit to the table in a way as the band did actually split for several years due to some very unfortunate issues within the band and close family members but have since reformed and released a brand new collection of hatred and brutality in “Destroy or be Destroyed”. The first video single from that album is now done and live here. https://youtu.be/eZITxF3IhBY
Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone? Earlier bands? Other bands on the side?
-Matt: vocals. Matt is the front man of the group. Matt is a fearsome dude to be fair who loves his martial arts and diving off speaker cabinets. I remember playing A show in Dublin Ireland and 1 minute into the first song Matt did a round house kick and took out the complete front row of mics and wedges. The whole track was played without vocals until the sound guy came and fixed it all. Matt quite often kicks your guitar lead straight out of your amp head whilst on stage with his martial arts.
Phil & Ivan Guitars: These 2 guys are behind the music. Both Phil & Ivan have home studios that are used to lay down tracks and bring the songs to life during the writing stages. All very technical and professional. Phil is a mischievous one. Always playing pranks on the band and others close to it. Even during shows he has been know to play up. Ivan is a muscle bound shred master
Jim: Drums. Jim is the rhythm and loves to play everything even faster live than it is on the album causing us all to sweat a lotJ. Jim is a great drummer and is the laid back one in the band. Always too chilled out to worry about anything.
Nick: Bass. Nick is the heavily tattooed guy of the band. Seriously good bassist and works closely with the label booking shows and arranging videos, promotions etc. Nick just loves breaking stuff and putting windows through.:)
I can hear much different influences , much hardcore and some death metal? Favorites from the past?
-Decimate will always have that crossover approach to the music as we are all thrashers but at the same time we are heavily influenced by hardcore and the energy that hardcore delivers. We feel it is best to mix things up and put it into one big pile of brutality. I think the favorite bands for Decimate past and present and among the most influential are: Death (Chuck Schuldiner is the reason I play guitar to be honest.) At The Gates right through to the metal-core and hardcore roots of ‘All Out War’, ‘Sworn Enemy’ and Madball. It is good for us to have that mix as we do get offered shows along side hardcore/metal-core bands and at the same time we often share the stage with Death and Grind bands.
Decimate are you satisfied with the name? How did it come up? You weren’t afraid that some other band would be named like this. Which is the best band name you know?
-The band name is the result of us just jamming as kids and drinking beers after rehearsals. The name just stuck and we have never changed it ever since. There a few bands named Decimate, or at least have been. Not sure if they are still around or not. We did get some folks getting confused once after downloading some tracks from a different Decimate who had a happy punk thing going on lol.
What´s the best thing with playing live?
-It’s all about playing live. The whole reason for Decimate is that 40 mins to 1 hour or so that you are on stage. It is a total release, a work out like no other. To get involved with the crowd and get the place moving is what it’s all about. Every little niggle or negative thought is released on stage, complete release of energy.
And where is best to play? And the worst place?
-I does not really matter where we play. We can play to a full room or to a room with 20 guys stood at the bar. It makes no difference to us as we will still play the same show and go off like we always do. I guess hometown shows are always nice as you do get to catch up with good friends.
How is to play this sort of music in England right now? Which types of bands do you have concerts together with?
-England metal/hardcore scene is and has always been the same. It is very underground and limited in terms of venues and promoters. There are some fantastic promoters here though that keep the scenes alive but it is difficult for the bands at the heavier end of the scale.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Heavy As Fuck….
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-To me it means ‘The Exploited’ “Beat The Bastards”. I love that album…J I would definitely say that Punk is a lifestyle yes. It’s a way of life. Decimate have never been heavily into the whole punk thing as it was never really heavy enough for us to really get into. The Exploited are definitely one that Decimate like a lot.
How do you see on downloading, mp3 and that stuff?
-It seems to be the way things are done today. Downloading is what people do. Our album is downloaded to Itunes more than it is purchased in a shop. When we started out it was all CDs but now you can have an entire album on your phone it minutes. I don’t really mind how people get hold of our music. They can buy CDs, download the album, steel it, whatever, as long as they get hold of it and enjoy it we don’t mind.
How is it to live in England now? Politically?
-In England, your told what they want you to hear and see what they want you to see. Freedom of speech is welcome as long as your saying what they want you to say.
Is there any good bands from England now? Is the punk scene/hardcore scene big? The metal scene? How is it in your hometown?
-The hardcore scene is still alive in Britain and our pals in Knuckledust are right out there flying the flag as we speak. Our hometown always has its fair share of metal and the boys ripping it up from Birmingham at the moment are our good friends in Annal Nathrakh. Really pleased at what they have achieved and good lads too. They are always all over the globe so you will see them pass through a town near you soon.
What do you know about Sweden?
-At The Gates J Olof Mellberg That boy is a legend down at Aston Villa,
Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?
-At The Gates…Lots of great bands from Sweden. ‘The Haunted’, ‘In Flames’, back in the day there was ‘59 Times The Pain’. One of my favorite Swedish bands and some of the lads in Decimate would agree with me was Face Down. Back in 95 I think it was, they released Mind Field. I always though they deserved to be massive. Amazing album but never got the promotion and push that it deserved. Marco Aro ended up joining The Haunted. Great vocals on that guy too.
Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you? Is it easier to do lyrics now or was it easier to do it when you was younger?
-Matt writes all of the lyrics. Matt bases a lot of his lyrics on personal experiences and personal feelings that he has. The lyrics are very easy to relate to and I think most people could read them and relate to them in some way. I think the only way it could be easier when younger is the that you have more time on your hands. To write them now, there are far more life experiences that we have been through. The first song we did was the title track to our first release, “In The Name Of God”. This song is always our last song in our set and an old favorite with the band. 16 years ago we expressed the lunacy of fighting for religion and it seems even more relative today. We re-recorded that track again for the new album too as a bonus track.
Is there any subject that you never will write anything about?
-Everything we write about is either based on personal experience or life issues that we feel the need to express. The lyrics are very aggressive, but in a positive way. A sense of rising above to a certain extent and fighting through. Everyone goes through the struggles in life it’s just about fighting through and staying strong. We would never write fantasy/gore lyrics as they have no real meaning. There is enough sickness on the news each day.
Politic and music, does it go hand in hand? Which is your most political song?
-I guess In The Name Of A God is the one that has become the most political for us and even a little controversial too at times. Not intentionally, it’s not there to offend anyone it is just our view on the situation and simply a question, is it really worth fighting for? The answer has to be no, but every time you look at the news, there it is again. Lunacy, utter and complete.
Best political band/artist?
-Not really sure on the whole political thing but a band that I admire for their straight to the point, no bullshit approach are “Thy Art Is Murder” Cracking band and that boy speaks his mind.
Do you think that music (lyrics and so on) can change anyone's life, I mean people who listens to music?
-I think it can yes in many different ways. Music can be the most powerful source of inspiration available. I would not be playing in Decimate without my inspirations. I think music can be powerful lyrically too and can help people relate to certain situations and even provide confidence and the determination to overcome.
Your cover on your CD looks really nice, is it important to have a record cover which shows people which type of music you play? Your favorite record cover? Who does your covers? And do you have any good record stores in your hometown
-We wanted our cover to describe the album name on its own. We chose to have the fists in boxing wraps to express the statement “Destroy or be Destroyed”. It is not necessarily fighting talk, it is more a positive statement that can be taken into many walks of life. Our covers are usually a mixture of our input and that of the designated designer but on this occasion we did the artwork ourselves as we wanted to put our own personal stamp on it. As far as record stores go, Birmingham England no longer has any good record stores. It used to have many great stores but the internet has killed these independent stores off. Only the big ones remain now.
Is it important to get out physical records of your stuff? Why or why not? Vinyl, CD, cassette, what do you prefer if you could choose? Is Mosh Tuneage a good label?
-I would definitely say that you need to have records out there to progress. It’s a way of getting your music across the globe. A lot of promoters and venues will not even touch you without a release out there. Mosh Tuneage have been good to us and have given us plenty of freedom with what we do The album is also going to have a vinyl pressing in conjunction with “Fear Me Music” around October time is the official release date I believe. It always cool to have your album on vinyl. Seems to be very old school these days.
Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?
-I could be here all night telling you about Decimate on tour. The one show that sticks out a lot to us and we often talk about it is a show we played in Liverpool with Knuckledust. There were some bad apples in the venue that night and one of the merch guys we had with us that night ran in to some trouble with these lads. To cut a long story short our Vocalist Matt ended up sorting these guys out big time and we ended up having to get out of the venue pretty quick. I was driving the bus that night and in the hurry to get away we got in the bus a drove off quick. What I didn’t realize is that the bus was in reverse and we went backward into a parked car. Then in a panic I tried to get us out of there quick and thought I had selected first gear but I had in fact selected reverse again so I ended up hitting the car again. This car had been launched a good 10 foot down the road and was a total right off for sure. I remember our bassist falling off the stage too on the Ensign tour. I could not play I was laughing that much.
How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts? Which is the biggest band you ever have played together with?
-Our audience is usually quite aggressive. We don’t seem to attract the clap hands and sing along type audience. We all miss our family and friends when we are away playing but we do make a point of not being away for too long these days. Family is very important to us. I guess the biggest bands we have toured with would be Shadows Fall, Stampin’ Ground and God Forbid.
Please rank your five favorite records and the most important things in life?
-Ok, I think I can speak for the whole band by saying that At The Gates ‘Slaughter Of The Soul ‘ is number one. For me the other four would have to be Death “Symbolic”, Kickback “Forever War”, All Out War “Those That Were Crucified” and Madball “Set It Off”.
The most Important things in life for me would have to be my Family & Friends. My family are my world and I would die for each and everyone of them. Next I would say our music. Our music is what we do and is important to us. Next I would say the mighty Aston Villa FC. The whole band are huge Aston Villa supporters and is a massive part of our everyday lives.
First, last and most expensive record you ever bought?
-The first record I ever bought was ‘Appetite For Destruction’ by “Guns N Roses”. I loved those guys when I was a lad. The last record I bought was actually Swedish. I got the new Dark Funeral album. The most expensive record I ever bought would have been ‘Gomorrah's Season Ends’ by “Earth Crises”. I had it on Import way before it was released in the uk.
Is it boring with interviews? Is it much interviews?
-We don’t find interviews boring at all. We appreciate the effort and time people give to know more about the band, what we do and to help us grow so we are very grateful for that.
If you could choose five bands from the past and the history and nowadays and both dead and living bands to have a concert together with your band. Which five have you been chosen?
-Death. I would have loved Decimate to share the stage with Chuck Schuldiner as he was the reason for me joining a band. We did get to play a tribute to Chuck Schuldiner show once at the Bradford Rios shortly after his passing. That is the closest we will get. I would love to play along side At The Gates, Slayer, Exodus and many many more.
Is music a good way to get out frustration and become a nicer person outside the music?
-Absolutely. I definitely agree with this. Decimate is a release like no other. For us to play and express ourselves and feelings through our music is the best release you could have. If I am not playing I am at the gym getting the same release whilst listening to music. Life is full of struggle and strains and music is a very good way to release it all. It’s actually good for the mind and body too.
Which is the most odd question you ever have got in an interview?
-We did a radio interview one time and the woman asked us some weird stuff. Why we were from Birmingham was one. All we could say was, well, that’s where we live. She also asked if we liked random things like Rich Tea biscuits, was all very bizarre.
Which is the question you want to have but you never get. Please ask it and answer it?
-Ok, do you play at weddings?
Hell yes. Let’s get the bride n groom in the pit and do some diving J
Future plans for the band?
-The plans right now are to get out there and support our latest album “Destroy or be Destroyed” as much as possible. We will be writing new material along the way and are hoping to come back with another new release in 2018.
-Dream as if you’ll live forever….. live as if you’ll die today…..