Californian brutal death metallers Decrepit Birth recently released their debut album …And Time Begins through Unique Leader Records. …And Time Begins is a showcase in brutality and is defiantly not for the weak minded. So it was appropriate to learn a little more about this band. Read below to find out what mainman and guitarist Matt Sotelo had to say.

Matt Sotelo interviewed by PSL

What's going on in Decrepit Birth camp at the moment?
We are working with a new drummer and I have been writing songs for the next album. I have a lot of new ideas, so I'm just working very hard on getting these ideas out. We are trying to get the band ready to tour, hopefully by sometime in 2004!

As far as I can tell you've only recorded one promo before inking the deal with Unique Leader! That's pretty impressive. Weren't you afraid that it was too soon?
Not at all, I have been playing this shit for years, so we jumped at the chance to record a full length under Unique Leader Records. It's been the best thing I have ever done in my life.

…And Time Begins is one hell of a brutal effort! But a common complaint I've heard about the album is the drums. They seem to take up most of the attention mainly because they seem to lie a little too high in the mix and the use of triggers seems a little too prominent. Are you satisfied with result?
Yes! I am very satisfied; we have been getting nothing but positive comments on the album. I don't know anybody who has complained of the drums being too high in the mix. Personally, I couldn't be more happy with the recording. I'm also not saying the next recording won't be more high quality, because it will.

Many ultra brutal death metal releases only clock around 30 minutes. Do you think it's due to lack of material or is this mainly done because otherwise it would just seem to long and perhaps monotone?
Hard to say, our album just came out the way it did, we didn't plan on it to be short or long. Who knows maybe the next album will be 45 minutes? I can listen to brutal death metal for hours and it never gets too monotone for me.

When creating as brutal music as the one you play, do you think there are certain boundaries that cannot be crossed? I mean do you think there is a certain formula to be used and you have to stay within that formula?
Well, it's not like we are going to bust in to some rap in the middle of one of our songs. The music that we write is a reflection of the way we feel, I really enjoy technical, brutal death metal, so that's the kind of music we write. We try not to stick to A.B.A.C. writing formulas, we tend to let the riffs evolve and morph in to what I consider movements. Some have a hard time grasping all our music in one listening, which I think is very cool, I really love mind-challenging music!

You did use Kevin Talley in the past! Was he ever a full time member of the band or was he just brought in for session purposes and was he under consideration to play drums on …And Time Begins?
Yes, Kevin was used as a session musician, only to record the promo track so we could submit something to Unique Leader We never considered to use him for the full-length.

You ended up using Tim Yeung to play the drums this time around. How was this idea spawned?
Erik from Unique Leader/Deeds of Flesh said that Tim would be available to record for us. I contacted Tim and asked if he would fly out to California to record the album. He said he would be very in to doing the album. I sent him versions of the songs with a drum machine that I had put together so that he could learn them. He came out and we wrote a few more while in the studio. I couldn't be more happy with his performance!

Tim Yeung was only a session member I assume. So do you have a full time drummer now?
Tim was hired as a session musician, but we have made a close connection with Tim, I now run a website for him www.timyeung.com and we are good friends with Tim. I wouldn't be surprised if we were to work with Tim again in the future! We have been jamming with another drummer at the present time and have been very busy teaching him the set, and working on new songs, its coming along killer.

Isn't it difficult to maintain the brutality when playing live? I mean having only one guitar player must have its limits when it comes to playing live!
We have not played a show as a band since 1997, and that was with different songs and a different line up. We have been auditioning for a second guitarist for the tours, and trust me there will be no limits!

Where do you find inspiration to the lyrics? They seem very apocalyptic and doomsday inspired!
Bill [vocals] and I have been putting together these ideas for years now; this album will be the first chapter in the world we have created within our lyrics. We get influences from the world around us, and the experiences that we have gone through in life. There is a lot of abstract reality in our words, so you must look deep in to the lyrics to really understand. The story will be continued on to the next few records.

What bands are you inspired by? Your sound is quite original, I couldn't really spot any obvious influences besides a little Incantation and Suffocation but none of these are prominent in your sound!
We are very much influenced by the brutal death metal genre! We love bands such as Suffocation, Death [R.I.P. Chuck], old Gorguts, Deeds of Flesh, Psycroptic, Hate Eternal, Origin, Disavowed, Gorgasm, Disgorge [USA], and many others!

What is you view on the current state of the American underground scene? Some claim it's as good as none existing due to lack of support! Is it alive and breathing in your area?
What!? Really, huh? The scene is better than ever here in California! There are so many new bands out here, the shows always sell-out in my area. The last three times I went to see Hate Eternal the line went around the block and they had to close the doors with tons of people not getting in, same thing with Cannibal Corpse. Unique Leader has informed us that our record has been selling great here in the U.S.! I really think that there is a very strong death metal scene here in California, I am very pleased.

You've used Dan Seagrave to do the cover artwork! Was he easy to persuade? I mean he seemed to disappear completely in the mid/late nineties and haven't really been doing any cover artwork besides Morbid Angel's Gateways to Annihilation until he did the art for …And Time Begins as far as I'm aware off.

Yeah, we had no problem getting Dan to do the art. He loved my ideas, ad we collaborated on the final concept for the cover of ...And Time Begins. We have kept in contact with him, and he will be doing the cover art for the next album.

How did you end up deciding that Dan Seagrave should do the artwork?
Since the early days I have always wanted him to do a cover for my band. We have known for years that we wanted his art on our covers, because we feel his style of art fits our music very well.

Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks for the questions! Look for Decrepit Birth on tour some time in the next year, and a new CD by 2005. We will be making the album cover short sleeve and long sleeve shirts this month, so check our official site for new merchandise/updates as well as the Unique Leader Records website. www.decrepitbirth.com or www.uniqueleader.com.



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