Interview with Marc Grewe of Insidious Disease
Band Photo: Dimmu Borgir (?)
You can't go wrong with a lineup like this! Shane Embury of Napalm Death on bass, Silenoz from Dimmu Borgir and Jadar of Old Man's Child on guitars, Tony Laureano from Dimmu Borgir, Malevolent Creation, Nile, and Nachtmystium to name a few on drums, and Marc Grewe of Morgoth on vocals. Although the members span the globe and have extremely full schedules, they managed to get together to record their debut album "Shadowcast" that is straight up old school death metal. I got to speak with Marc Grewe while he was still on vacation to talk about "Shadowcast," possible touring, and the awesome story about how this supergroup got together.
Buick Mckane: Hi, how are you today?
Marc: Well, I’m pretty good. I mean, I’m enjoying my last days of holiday before I have to go back to work. So, yeah, I have like two more days off here in Berlin and just had a vacation in Norway. And, yeah, I enjoy my life.
Buick: That sounds pretty nice.
Marc: Pretty much, it’s fine.
Buick: Your debut album “Shadowcast” was released in July. How has it been received by fans and the media?
Marc: So far I can’t say anything bad. I just saw really good reviews. I mean, it got released in Europe, I think, a couple of weeks before, so I haven’t seen too many reviews from the states yet. But in Europe, it’s gotten a really good response and the reviews are all, like, really enthusiastic actually. So, yeah, it’s kind of surprising because we are not one of those fashionable bands. It’s more of an old school vibe we have. But maybe we were here for the right time, you know. Maybe people are looking for this kind of stuff at the moment. So, yeah, the reviews were pretty good.
Buick: It absolutely is coming back right now with all the reunions and revivals. The old school is definitely the big thing right now.
Marc: Good. Also in the U.S.?
Marc: I mean, here in Europe it’s been for a couple of years already, like the old school thrash bands are coming back now. And, yeah, of course some of the old school death metal bands are still…like Obituary and Deicide and stuff. But, yeah, it’s good to see that people are getting back into that stuff.
Buick: Absolutely. In the last two nights here, we had Death Angel and Malevolent Creation in two different shows.
Marc: Oh yeah, Malevolent Creation. I played a lot of shows with them back in the days when I was singing for Morgoth actually. We shared the stage a couple of times I think.
Buick: They’re a great band.
Marc: Yeah, aren’t they from Louisiana or are they from Florida?
Buick: They’re from Florida. It’s pretty close though. Well, anyway, you played last year’s Wacken Festival, but do you have any plans to tour for this album or play the festival circuit?
Marc: Not this year. I mean, this year, like, for festivals it’s delayed anyway now especially for the summer festivals here in Europe. I mean, the last festivals will be next weekend and the weekend after that. So I hope that we’re going to play a lot of festivals next year, and before that I really hope that we’re going to tour also. But it’s kind of a hard thing for us because, as you know, our guitar player is playing for Dimmu Borgir as well and Shane for Napalm [Death]. So they’re always on the road, you know. So it’s going to be kind of hard this year as both bands have albums coming out soon. And, of course, those bands are…I mean they’re going to tour Europe and the States both, you know. So, hopefully we can set up a small tour here in Europe and maybe also in the States. Maybe a couple of shows or some festivals in the States next year. I really hope so that we can do that because it was really fun to play the Wacken Festival last year. I mean, we weren’t signed at that point in time. I mean, no one really knew who we were, and we got really good responses on the show. People seem to like the stuff. And we have this one video that we shot there called “Rituals of Bloodshed,” and that was shot on that Wacken Festival. You can see that the people liked it even though they didn’t know any songs. And I hope that next year we are able to do more festivals, and maybe even a little tour in Europe and maybe also like in the States would be awesome.
Buick: Will you play songs from the other bands that your members are involved in like some bands do when you do start playing or is it just going to be Insidious Disease’s songs?
Marc: I mean, when we played the Wacken Festival, we opened actually with an old Morgoth song. And I think it’s a cool thing, you know. Of course we want to play all our stuff in the first place, but maybe for like encores…because people want to hear it, I think it would be a cool idea to just play one song from Napalm, one Dimmu song, one Morgoth song, and maybe one Old Man’s Child song, you know. It would be like a nice thing for the encore, I think. And I think people would really appreciate it, you know, if we would do something like that for an encore thing. But of course in the first place, we really want to promote our stuff, you know; the Insidious Disease stuff. I think it’s good enough for keeping people entertained, you know. But of course, yeah. I think it’s always fun to play cover versions, you know. And the record we have a Death cover version as well. So, yeah, we like to joke around a little bit and don’t take it to serious with the cover versions. But it’s fun to play other people’s stuff, you know.
Buick: That sounds great. How did Insidious Disease come together with all of your band members being from different places and really committed to other things too?
Marc: Well, Silenoz and Jadar both of the guitar players they are from the same spot in Norway; they’re both from Oslo. And they knew each other for…since they were kids, you know. They were going off in, like, a skating a park and stuff before they even picked up a guitar. And they actually played together in a band when they were like 14, 15 years old; a band called Malethic. It was kind of like a death metal band. And after that, I mean, Sven, or Silenoz, formed Dimmu Borgir and Jadar formed Old Man’s Child, so they kind of divided by that time. It was like beginning or mid-nineties. But they were still friends and hanging out after the Dimmu tours and the Old Man’s Child tours, you know. They were still, like, collecting riffs together, or just jammed out together, and wrote songs together. Yeah, they kept all the stuff and when Tony was drumming for Dimmu Borgir, like I think he drummed for them from 2006 to 2008 or something, or 2005. I’m not sure exactly, but he’s from the death metal scene, right? I mean, he’s from Florida and he knows all the death metal stuff. So he was interested in just jamming with them and stuff like just working with them on the songs. And then Shane came into the picture. He was a friend of Silenoz and asked, “Yeah, I would like to play the bass, and I like the old school feel of your songs. And if you want to record stuff, just let me know. I’m interested.” And I came into the band as the last one of the pack, kind of, because our old guitar player from Morgoth, he’s the manager of Dimmu Borgir and Silenoz was kind of a fan from the early Morgoth era. He asked our guitar player if I would still be interested in playing, you know. And as soon as I heard the stuff, I was really, like, wowed because that’s exactly the stuff that I personally still like. I’m not like this person who’s up for the new, fancy, technical death metal stuff, you know, and I’m still kind of an old school person; I like bands who have an old school vibe. So yeah, that’s how I got in in 2007, I think. I was the last one to join the pack.
Buick: So it’s been around since, or in full, since about 2007? How long did it take to write and record the album?
Marc: Most of the songs were already structured when I came into the picture. And also, most of the lyrics were already done. Also I was there and just preparing the vocal lines and stuff, and it took quite a while. Some riffs on the album are from the 90s, you know, because, as I said before, Silenoz and Jadar, they hung out together when they were, like, kids, you know. Some riffs are from that era, like 93, 94. And some stuff, of course, is very new, but it’s been a collectible thing.; it’s been collected over the years, and some songs are three years old and at moments we have a couple new songs written already. And of course it’s different…not different, you know. It’s still us. On the other hand on the album, we can hear that some songs are, like, the original…like one half has the original old school vibe. So, it’s kind of a collection of riffs over the years, I would say. Yeah, but as soon as I joined the band, we were really quick with getting all the stuff together. We recorded the stuff 2009 and then we had to find a label and that was a little bit hard, you know. We shipped it around a little bit and some labels were interested, but it quite took a while, almost a year, until Century Media finally brought it out, you know, or released it.
Buick: Century Media is a really great record label. They love the old school stuff.
Marc: Yeah, I’ve been on the label with my old band twenty years ago. I worked for the label, so I know exactly what they are doing and I know exactly how their structured. At least in Europe, I’m not sure about the States. But I’m sure they do a great job too, I mean from what I can tell they do a fantastic job, you know. And so far for us. It’s been an honor and it’s been absolutely fantastic to be back on the label after twenty years and stuff, you know. It’s my second time on the label.
Buick: How far can this band go considering everybody’s commitments?
Marc: Of course, the other bands are, like, the first priorities; you know, Napalm, Dimmu Borgir are priorities to the other members. But we’re all, like, really happy with the album. Just really happy how it sounds live, to play live, and really want to continue because, as I said before, we have, like, two or three songs already written for the new stuff, for the new album even though it just came out. I mean, the songs got recorded a year ago, so we already have some new stuff written. We’re looking forward to just recording some new stuff as well. And it’s not a project, it’s more like a band feeling we have. We’re all kind of, like, laid back persons, you know; we share the same love for old school death metal. And when we first rehearsed here for Wacken, all the people in the band stayed at my house. We had a really cool time; we just hung out, had a good time, had good food, had some drinks, and we talked about good old times. They were really, really nice people, too. It’s really important to me as well, you know, having people around me that I really like. We are not doing this as a serious thing, it’s just for fun and we like each other, respect each other. I’ve known Shane for almost twenty years as well. So, it’s great to play together in this band. That’s what everybody in the band has a feeling of. It’s just like shared respect for each other and it’s just great to create music with these guys. And it’s not like a project, we don’t see it as a project, we see it more as a band, you know. And hopefully we can record a new album soon. Maybe next year already.
Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Marc: As you probably know, our artwork got censored because some people, at least here in Europe, some people had a problem with some of the pictures, and the artwork, and the lyrics. And if you look into the CD there’s a little hint on additional artwork that you can just download on our Myspace page or actually on our website. So, yeah, you can let people know that they can check out the censored stuff as well. It’s worth it.
Buick: Wow. I didn’t even hear about that yet. That’s really cool.
Marc: Yeah it is. Unfortunately, some people have some problems here with that.
Buick: Thank you so much, and if you do tour, please stop by New Orleans. We’d love to have you.
Marc: Thank you very much. I would love to.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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