The Danish death metal band Die put out their debut Rise of the Rotten via Unique Leader Records in March. However it wasn't until some time in October that I got the chance to review it. It's a brutal effort that is catchy, consistent and on the whole has the strength to stay interesting. Not too long ago I got the chance to ask guitarist Rasmus Henriksen some questions about the music and many other issues.

Rasmus Henriksen interviewed by PSL

Your music isn't all that Danish sounding. I'm aware that you're inspired by brutal American death metal among other things. Could you say a bit about who has inspired you as a band?
It would very quickly become a huge list once I get started. There's just so much. We do definitely not always agree about what's great music, so I think that we are inspired by many different bands in many different genres. I think that inspiration comes from many more sources than one might think, especially when you are not a band of youngsters who just recently made acquaintance with metal music. We like a lot of different music and are not hooked one just one genre. That said, the direction of the band has never been a problem.

How do you go about writing songs? Do all five of you contribute?
We all contribute. Everyone has a say and nothing is final until we all agree. Of course the guys with the strings contribute with most of the riffing, but often it's the form that's the harder part and here we all participate. It is teamwork and none of our songs is the work of just one person.

I think the music is diverse and I like that you also add a solo or two. How much do you think of a thing like diversity when you write?
We aim to make our music interesting and diverse within the barriers that holds our formula. Many things can happen within this formula, but there won't be any polka or blue grass songs on the new album. It's all about sense of direction, and the just go crazy without steering off the road.

Is there a red line in the lyrics? Do you all contribute to writing the lyrics?
There is definitely a red line, but we try not to make it too obvious. On the album to come we all contribute with the lyrics, but more in the way of getting it all to add up. The red line is not only within the lyrics, as we try to tailor our songs around the lyrical concept. A great song and some great lyrics don't necessarily match.

You recorded the music yourselves and then had Tue Madsen do the mixing. What made you choose to do it that way and was Tue the most obvious pick?
We choose to make a lot of the work ourselves since we recorded the album without having a label. Doing it ourselves saved a lot of money and gave us the time we wanted. Tue was obvious since he is an old friend who lives just around the corner and then his work speaks for himself. He has a way of making bands sound the way they want to sound like, and still just sound great.

You had Tony Sandoval do the artwork. How much did you have to guide him to get what you were looking for?
The only guidance was the lyrical theme and some music. Other than that he had free hands and we are very pleased with what he came up with.

I like the artwork as it's sort of in the vein of what Vincent Locke do. On the next CD would you use Tony again?
It could very well be Tony doing the artwork again, but we haven't come around to those decisions yet.

Did you shop Rise of the Rotten around to a lot of different labels?
I can't remember how many but we sent to those labels we wanted to work with.

How did you end up on Unique Leader Records?
Because they wanted to put the album out. Unique Leader Records was one of the labels we were hoping for the most, so when they wanted to play ball we jumped right in.

How's has things been with Unique Leader Records so far?
It's been great so far. The album is doing really well, and we definitely think that they are doing their part. They are really taking the promotional part seriously, so we have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Besides a change of vocalists in 2008 you've had a stable line-up. Why do you think that is?
I think it's because we all share the same idea of what a band should be like. It's not just about making great music, but you also have to have fun and get along. We are pretty good at having a long talk if something is not the way we thing it should be, and although it may sound a bit boring and maybe not very "metal", it's nice to know that you can focus on the music and not some other annoying shit. Some of us have played in bands with assholes, and we just don't want to do that anymore.

What's your opinion of Danish metal, has it changed for the better or worse?
I don't think it has changed that much really. There are always a handful of bands that are good and well known, but no ones that really stands out. We are completely surrounded by countries that produce great bands on a regular basis, but it's just like no Danish bands manages to take the final step. It's not about the quality because I think that we have a lot of great bands. It's just almost as a curse, that no one really pulls it off.

Apart from a few concerts in Jutland it's limited how much Die has played live. Is that going to change?
We are working hard on getting a tour together right now. We definitely want to play as many concerts as possible, but we have run into some unlucky situations touring wise so far. The record is doing great and we are in the process of making a name of ourselves, so this will hopefully result in a lot of shows in the future.

How does the rest of 2010 look for Die?
Writing the next album, and play some shows. Dress up in Santa outfits and get drunk and silly.

Anything you like to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks for the space and cheers.

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