1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
We've been keeping very busy this year with the Sonic Unyon worldwide re-issue of our debut LP 'City Of Steel'! The band toured Eastern Canada in April, did a couple one-offs to Alberta, and has been playing some higher profile local headlining shows inSaskatoon as well as a direct support slot for 3 Inches Of Blood here in May. Our recent headlining show on September 9th (in Saskatoon) was sold out, which shows some serious growth in our metal scene here. Getting signed to Sonic Unyon Metal in June has undeniably changed our lives for the better, as it has made our music available to so many people that we would have been unable to reach on our own. The group continues to write new compositions for our upcoming album and rehearses constantly in preparation for our Fall tour of Eastern Canada. The band has just learned that we will be playing support for Death Angel in Regina on October 11th, which will be another landmark show for us. We hope to book European and American tour dates soon but need a booking agent to help with that process. We have also just been confirmed for Manitoba Metalfest for April 7, 2012, which will be in support of a legendary death/grind metal band from New York (they still need to officially announce this before we can divulge who they are)! The band also secured endorsements from Godin Guitars (for Matt), Spector Basses (for myself) and a drum deal is also in the works for our percussionist, Scott Cross. The media response for our album has been overwhelmingly positive as well, the highlights so far being a couple large quotes/photo in Terrorizer's Secret History of Thrash Metal special issue along side Evile, Warbringer, Bonded By Blood and Municipal Waste, and a great review of the album in theMarch 2011 issue of Metal Hammer by the seminal metal-hard rock UK journalist Malcolm Dome.
2. How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the full length and how it differs from the previous ep?
(answered by Matt Cuthbertson: Guitarist/Vocalist)
The musical sound of City of Steel is fast, technical, and greasy metal. We put a lot of thought into how each song was written; we wanted many ideas and riffs in each song but still wanted them to come off as coherent songs; not just a bunch of riffs mashed together. The sound on COS was inspired by bands like Death, Testament, Arch Enemy, etc. we use these bands sounds as a bench mark of integrity, but still feel free to journey into whatever melodic and rhythmic realms that work for Untimely Demise.
With COS, we kept the speed and aggression from the Full Speed Metal sound, but brought in some more traditional metal elements which can be heard on songs like 'Unmaker'. I would also say that now there are more riffs and solos over top of the rhythms. Our mindset on FSM was focused on guitars and we tried to write cool sounding riffs that were tough to play. Now we are just trying to write good songs and it doesn't matter if the riffs are tough to play or not. (with that being said, I find most of our stuff fairly challenging to play)
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?
(answered by Murray)
Our band strives to craft lyrics that mean something to the listener and have a captivating story as the foundation of each track. On our latest album City Of Steel, we decided to run the gamut of lyrical content ranging from more controversial topics, such as honour killings and living in the detrimental throes of drug addiction, to religious zealotry, the futility of modern warfare, and even a track inspired by Orson Scott Card's 'Seventh Son' novel. The title track is an objective overview of the World War II battle of Stalingrad (1942-43), which exposed the Achilles-heel of Blitzkrieg warfare, by slowing it down to a crawl in the confined spaces of a bombed-out city. We feel that if we were writing a bludgeoning thrash/death metal album then it would be more gripping if the lyrics were taken from the world which we live in, both past and present, rather then drawing from mysticism and folklore. Truth is stranger than fiction, and more brutal then any tale the human imagination can spin.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
The history of rock and roll goes hand in hand with untimely death's. For example, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Randy Rhodes, Dimebag Darrell, Chuck Schulinder, etc. So naming the band Untimely Demise seemed quite fitting. Plus the band name serves as a way to pay homage to the late greats that help shape the music that we play.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Well, it goes without saying that any of the shows we've played with bigger bands such as Evile, Gama Bomb, 3 inches of Blood or Toxic Holocaust were very exciting for us. Playing to a large crowd that may or may not be there to see Untimely Demise is what it's all about. I get excited and nervous before playing these types or shows, but feel a great sense of accomplishment after thrashing out a tight set and making new friends and fans for Untimely Demise.
Our last tour out to Quebec City was a big highlight for the band. None of us speak french, so the music had to do the talking. After about 2 minutes of playing during our first show in Quebec City, the small club erupted into a frenzy of moshing which continued throughout the night. They called for more songs after we had played our whole set which led us to try instrumental versions of some of our new material. After the set we had beers with all our new Quebecois friends and had many awkward conversations where we were trying to speak french, they were trying to speak English. The theme present in all of these discussions was a true appreciation for Metal, Music, and Art. Generally, this is how the rest of the shows in Quebec went.
As well, we had toured out to Vancouver a few years back where we found ourselves playing a gig in Squamish BC. This by far was not the biggest/most professional show we have ever played, but was just so true and pure to the metal spirit. It was an outdoor gig with a stage in the middle of a valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. We had a great mosh pit of energetic kids and a dog that kept us motivated to play as fast as we could. When it started raining, a bunch of kids held a tarp over our heads so we could keep playing and the gear didn't get destroyed. Then when night fell, the sky was decorated with northern lights playfully dancing along to our jams. It was pretty sweet!
6. What are the touring plans for the new release?
(Murray) *This is pretty much a reiteration of what was covered in the first question, so just use what works best for you
We are very anxious to get on the road and tour hard for our City Of Steel album! After self-releasing the album back inDecember 2010 we began planning tour dates. We played a small Alberta/Sask tour in March 2011, and then did a larger Eastern Canadian tour in April, which went all the way to Quebec City and back (a dozen dates if you include the Alberta shows). Now that Sonic Unyon has re-issued the album in North America, we are working hard to put together lots of live dates. After playing a sold-out (200+ person show) headliner in Saskatoon on September 9th, we will be playing Winnipeg on October 7thwith Alphakill and Endless Chaos, and then will be playing support for the iconic Death Angel in Regina on October 11th! From there we are touring through Ontario and Quebec in late October and early November, which we are super pumped for. Untimely Demise really wants to tour through the USA but have had trouble securing shows out there up to this point; kinda a Catch 22, promoters want you to have a following before they book you, but you can't build that following without having boots on the ground in the area which you are trying to book. We are just going to continue to push for shows there and want to meet more of our like minded American counterparts so that some gigs can happen in the US of A. We have our sights set on Europe as well, as a lot of the positive media coverage we have been receiving has come from UK and European publications, zines, and blogs. We are also confirmed for Manitoba Metalfest 2012, which will occur on April 7th and features a high profile New York Death Metal/Grind headliner (we can't announce at this point, sorry). There are always more tour plans and schemes being hatched here, so stay tuned.
7. Are there any projects besides this band or is this a full time line-up?
The band's primary musical focus is Untimely Demise. We feel that too many bands are filled with scensters who spread themselves too thin by becoming engrossed in numerous obscure projects. It would suck to have a new musical idea and have to debate which band would get to incorporate it into their repertoire. We all have eclectic musical tastes and backgrounds but realize that specialization has been the catalyst of progression in our world.
8. On a worldwide level how has your music been received by fans of thrash and melodic death metal?
The band's music has garnered a warm reception worldwide (from the limited number of people abroad that have heard it). As we had stated before, the international metal media has received the band well, and we hope this can translate into fanbase growth in new regions. I think that the Megadeth/Bay Area musical foundation present in our songs has helped give us a timeless sound that can translate in a variety of locales. The vocal stylings and song construction has made people draw similarities between us and Teutonic metal acts such as Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction, which is an honour because those are the types of bands that have inspired us immensely along this journey. With City Of Steel and Full Speed Metal (EP) we have already sold many albums internationally, with places like Italy and Japan being our most frequent return customers. Also, I think Matt's voice, which has elements of Gossow, Jeff Walker, and Schulinder, has helped bring us support from the melodic death metallers who normally wouldn't listen to thrash metal. When Sonic Unyon officially releases the album internationally, then we will have a better idea of Untimely Demise's perception globally.
9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
Our music will always be fast, aggressive, and technical. Of the new material we have written, the songs are fast and blend 80's thrash aggression with elements of melodic death metal. There are verses that have a balls-out feel with fast trem strumming combined with furious odd timed pull off combinations and on one of the newest songs I've got some cool melodic ideas that I put in underneath the main driving rhythm to enhance and add texture to the song. There is no formula for writing to new material, we just want interesting riffs and quality song structures. We are very inspired by the German thrash scene, Arch Enemy, and newer bands like Evile to give you an idea of the sound that we want on our new material. But we still feel obliged to put in a classical inspired lead melody or solo here or there just to let the songs breathe and to give them some extra character.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Untimely Demise was originally inspired by Megadeth (Peace Sells, So Far, So Good), Death, and Arch Enemy. But we are clearly fans of all metal, from traditional acts like Iron Maiden or Judas Preist, Black Metal Acts such as Dimmu Borgir, and the Finnish scene (Children of Bodom and Kalmah)
I would have to cite the same acts as my brother for inspiration, maybe throw in Exodus, Testament, Heathen, and Overkill for good measure. Iced Earth, Kreator, Sacrifice, Toxic Holocaust, Striker, and Propagandhi have been getting some generous play in the car and jam room as well. Really I listen to so much stuff these days that it would be hard to list it all.
11. Outside of music, what are some of your interests?
(Murray) I enjoy playing Slopitch Beer League with my brother's team, The Rebels, Snowboarding in the mountains (when I can afford it), coffee, reading History, News, literature, really anything that affords me new knowledge, playing Jeopardy, Texas hold-em poker, cooking, beer and whiskey, watching the Blue Jays, playing outdoor Hockey at our local Saskatoon rinks.
Scott's interests aside from music would have to be motocross, crouch rockets, mechanics, shooting his gun collection, camping, fishing, reading, pontoon boating on his killer homemade 20 person raft, beers with friends.
(Matt) Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Drinking alcohol, going to coffee shops and making cliche, Seinfeld-esque observations, Cooking, Baseball, Animals, Scheming to take over the world.
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thank you to everyone that has been spreading the word about our band globally! Especially those who have taken the time to come to our shows, moshed, chatted with us after, bought albums or shirts, let us crash on their couches, and so forth. We can't wait to bring our live show to your hometown in the near future. The band realizes that we have been given a huge opportunity here and will continue to seize it with a humble grace. Please tell your metal friends about the Untimely Demise sonic assault, order the City Of Steel album from the Sonic Unyon Store (online) or through I-tunes, like us on facebook, follow us on Twitter, and all that good shit! We're gonna morph you all into 'Unbelievers'!!!