Jill McEntee interviewed by PSL
Funerus was completely unknown to me before I received a copy of Festering Earth But you've been haunting in the underground for several years. Please tell the history of Funerus?
Funerus started back in the early '90's by Brad Heiple [guitar/vocals] and Jason Foust [drums]. They had grown up together and were close friends all their lives, and at the time they had the band going for a while but never had a permanent bass player. I had met them a few times at shows and got to know them. I went to see them rehearse once and I really liked what they were doing, I thought the Funerus stuff was really heavy. Since we all got along good and I had some past experience playing guitar, Brad and Jason asked me to join them on bass. I joined the band in 1993. Within a few months we were ready to record a demo and we played our first few shows. Things just started to get going for us when Brad decided to leave the band. He needed to make some changes in his life. Anyways, Jason and I kept things going for awhile, we went through about 3 other guitarists, but things just weren't the same. Eventually I lost touch with Jason and I think he moved out of the state. A few years went by, and in 1998 I put Funerus together for one show. I got some local musician friends to help me out. The show was good, but it just wasn't Funerus to me. I decided to put Funerus to rest for good. I had full intentions of never playing those songs again. Or so I thought... I married John McEntee from Incantation in the year 2000. John and Kyle had the Funerus demo years before I even knew them, and they were really into it. So they always encouraged me to keep doing Funerus. When they would be together rehearsing for Incantation, they would try to talk me into jamming the songs with them. I finally broke down one time and did it. I couldn't believe how amazing it sounded. It felt so great to play the songs again, and it just sounded so killer. From then on we would just practice anytime we could. Then we got in touch with Brad to see if he wanted to start things back up again, and he was ready! And since then we have released our debut CD, many one off shows, we have done a 2 week US/Mexico tour, a separate tour of Mexico, a fest in Australia and a fest in Italy and hopefully much more to come!
Festering Earth is you debut full-length. I assume it's made up of both new and old material with the main weight on the older material, right?
Yes Festering Earth is made up of both old and new material. It has our 4 old demo songs on it and 5 new songs written after we reformed. I guess it is about even between old and new material.
Do you have any new material ready besides what's included on Festering Earth?
Yes. We are working on new material, nothing completed though. We are not in a rush to record again anytime soon.
Will it continue in the direction shown on Festering Earth?
Absolutely. We will not change our style. We haven't in the past 10 years; I can't see why we would now. It's all about the old school sound.
Your style is old school death metal with some references to Rottrevore and early Grave but it logically also bears a few references to Incantation. Is it basically the sound you've always had or has it changed a little since John and Kyle from Incantation joined the band?
That's funny, some people say we sound similar to Incantation, and some people say we sound nothing like Incantation. John, Kyle, Brad and I don't hear any similarities at all. John and Kyle wouldn't want to play in a band that sounds like Incantation; they like to play in Funerus because to them it's something different from what they do in Incantation but still brutal and heavy. The band still has the basic sound it always had.
Which bands inspires you today?
There's a lot of great bands right now! One band that is totally killer is Eviscium...fucking great! Also Serpents Aeon, Derketa, Bloody Sign, Nema Oni, Soulless, October 31, and of course my favourite bands from the old days still inspire me, Death, Pestilence, Autopsy, Grave, Dismember, etc. My all-time favourite band is Disembowelment!
The production of Festering Earth sounds really obscure and some places even a little muddy. I assume this was done on purpose to achieve that old school feeling. Are you happy with the result?
We are happy with the sound of Festering Earth. It's pretty much the sound we were going for. John had a lot to do with the production of the album; he is excellent with finding the right sounds we wanted.
Any deeper meaning behind the lyrics? I mean a song like "Shade" seems to be about suicide!
I can't speak for Brad's lyrics; I don't know how he comes up with his. But my lyrics usually do have a deeper meaning to them, or they are about a real life experience. I really like the way Brad writes, in the older style.
Female musicians in death metal aren't exactly a common thing. Actually the only ones I can recall from the late eighties and early nineties is Jo from Bolt Thrower and Laura from Nuclear Death. And of course in the later years there's Rachel from Sinister and Angela from Arch Enemy but it's still a really rare thing. Any ideas of why it is so?
Death metal is still very male dominated, but there are a lot more females stepping up and playing metal! I meet so many females on the road that are in bands and it's good to see. So I don't think it is going to be so rare anymore, especially when you got kick-ass women like Rachel from Sinister, Zdenka from Estuary and Sharon from Derketa out there!
But it draws a lot more attention/focus towards you because you're a woman! Do you see this as an advantage?
I don't look at me being a woman as any type of an "advantage". In fact, I would want someone to check out Funerus because we are a heavy, sick band, not because a female plays in the band.
So it's a source to irritation?
[laughs] No I guess not an irritation, it's just that I would rather us get recognition because of our music than because of me being female.
What got you into death metal in the first place?
Well it started out with the early 80's metal like Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Dio, etc. and from there it went to Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Mercyful Fate, Venom and on and on. I'm not even sure what exactly happened that got me into metal. It wasn't like I had a family member that got me into it or anything like that. But whatever it was, I'm glad that it happened. I went to a very "metal" high school, there were a lot of metallers and we were a fairly close group of friends.
You've recently completed your first major tour with Incantation and Disgorge! How was the response?
The responses we got we really great. There were a few shows that I wouldn't mind forgetting [laughs]. The kind that the crowd just looks at you 'cause they don't know how to react. The best shows on that tour were in Mexico. Besides the heat [Mexicali was 137 degrees] the shows were amazing. The crowds give you a great response and go totally crazy!
No it has changed for sure. I used to go to underground shows in my area back in the old days and there would be a few hundred metallers there. Now if there is an underground show in my area, there will only be about 50 to 75. But if Slayer comes to town, there are 1000 people at the show. A lot of people don't come out and support the underground shows. I wish it still was the way it used to be, like it still is in Europe from what I've seen.
You're signed to Ibex Moon Records! I assume that this is your and John's own label, right?
Ibex Moon records is John's label. I really don't have anything to do with it other than giving John my support with it.
Being signed to a small label does have its advantaged and drawbacks don't it? I mean with a small label you know what's going on but on the other hand the promotion and exposure is limited!
Sure it has its advantages and disadvantages. We are still not sure if we will be on Ibex Moon for good or not. At the moment we are still working with Ibex Moon records but we may be working out some other possibilities for the future. But so far Ibex Moon records have been great!
Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks a lot for the interview. Check out www.funerus.com for mp3's and other band crazy band stuff!