New talent constantly emerges on the Danish underground scene. One of the newer and more interesting bands is Aarhus based deathers Die. With only one demo and a couple of gigs in the baggage the quintet is already beginning to make quite a name for themselves. I recently got the opportunity to ask drummer Bent Bisballe Nyeng about the demo, the influences, the current state of the Danish death metal scene as well as many other things.
You just played at Aalborg Metal Festival. How did it go?
The show went pretty well, and people were very enthusiastic about it. I even met a guy who travelled all the way from Aarhus just to see us!
It was only our second gig, but despite our lack of onstage experience the show went quite well. I read a review of it saying that the show was awesome, so it seems the audience had a good time as well. Overall I can only say that people were very enthusiastic and the audience kicked some serious ass!
Die is a fairly new band, but you have been able to establish yourselves rather quickly. Why do you think that is?
We have been thinking very hard on a way to make people hear about us fast, in order to gain ground early on instead of just putting out music and hoping that people will find out about us themselves. One of the main strategies has been posting on a lot of forums, but also to use other bands' websites. Another thing I think we did right, was to record some stuff early on to go with all this promotion. Our first attempt "Life Eraser" is actually recorded before Rasmus and Jonas joined in, so it has been recorded with computer bass and Tajs is doing both guitars.
From a different perspective [and here I can only speculate] I think that what we are doing is somewhat new on the Danish death metal scene. I know very well that what we are creating is not new compared to other foreign acts, but I personally have the opinion that the technical death metal has been dead in Denmark since Iniquity broke up.
Musically I hear a bit from both Vomitory and Monstrosity. Is this bands you listen to and are inspired by?
Inspiration is very hard to point at. We all listen to different types of metal internally in the band and I think it is one of the strengths that we don't sound too much like any particular one of them. Personally I am very fond of the very technical and speedy stuff like Cryptopsy, and this, mingled with Tajs' urge to the more melodic death metal acts such as Necrophagist, and Rasmus' old school influences like Bolt Thrower, which results in exactly what Die is today.
We are very focused on the task of finding the balance between brutality, tempo, technicality and melodies, since we think every death metal song should have some amount of each in order to catch and hold the attention of the listener.
I was very impressed with how professional the Relentless Pain demo is both musically and artwork wise. Was it your intention from the beginning to have such a quality layout or did things just evolve along the way?
Yes, it was very deliberate. We have a sort of philosophy which is "if we can't make it perfect, we shouldn't do it at all", and that has also been the case with the production of the demo.
We had the cover art painted specially for the demo by a South American horror cartoonist named Tony Sandoval [no he is not related to Pete!] He was so enthusiastic about our music that he said yes to do it the moment we asked him. The resulting cover speaks for itself, and we have decided to use him again for the covers to come. The rest of the cover, including the photos and our logo, was made by Lars Jensen, my brother, who also did a splendid job.
Finally we decided to include the lyrics in the cover since we think that helps broadening the focus of the demo and include the entire work, not just the music. We really tried to make the demo a complete experience, even with a matching website design, in order to make people think of us as a serious act, and not just some crazy amateurs [laughs].
How has the general response been towards the demo?
It has been very positive indeed. We have had a lot of reviews and all of them have been very positive both towards our musical skill, as well as to the production and the cover art.
We are of course very happy about the demo being received so well, and that has been a major motivation factor for us.
Unlike a lot of other [local] bands you chose to record in the Aasimon Studio instead of for instance using Smart n' Hard or Zigsound. What where you reasons for doing so?
The reason we choose to record the demo at the Aasimon Studio, is that it is my own studio. It has been created as a personal playground for easy access to creativity. The purpose of investing in the rather expensive hardware was for us to be able to record whatever we wanted to, whenever we wanted to, without having to book an established studio and pay an even larger amount of money. This demo was its baptism of fire. The producer of the demo was Morten Odgaard, an old friend of mine - and of the band as such, as he plays the guitar in Simon's other band, Fairytale Abuse, and also helped build the studio from scratch. He had quite some experience with producing underground bands and was therefore a natural choice for us.
Have you approached or been approached by any labels or do you prefer to have another demo out before you start looking for a label to sign with?
No not yet... we have plans, but I won't reveal those here now [laughs].
I read that you've been working on new material. Is it a continuation of Relentless Pain or are there some drastic changes?
We have created a vast amount of songs since the demo, and the style has changed quite a lot too. The new material is somewhat based on the ideas on the demo, but has taken them to a much higher level, due to our gaining skills and experience with the genre. In some way we never wanted to do the songs in the way we did them on the demo, but we couldn't do them otherwise. We are very fond of the new material and have a sort of mutual agreement in the band that this is where we really want to be.
Any idea on when the next Die demo will be out?
We have been working on a single track recording called "Mors et Sanquis". We are currently in the mixing phase [again in the Aasimon Studio] and we hope to release it soon on our webpage. It is not as such intended as a second demo, but rather as a teaser showing how we have developed from the Relentless Pain demo up until now. The tempo has increased and the intensity and technical level as well. We are very happy about the result, and expect it to be released in a month or so.
Most of you are involved in other bands besides Die. Where does the main priority lie?
That is very hard to say. It is not like Die is a side project, especially for Tajs, Jonas and myself, since it is our only project, but Rasmus and Simon are using a lot of energy on their respective bands too. We try to be flexible about it so that there won't occur any conflicts of interest. To me personally Die is my lifework. Ever since I started playing metal drums I have been dreaming of making a band like this, so it most definitely has my top priority.
What is your opinion about the local scene in Aarhus and Denmark in general?
A lot of new musicians have joined the scene lately, a lot of them being quite young.
I don't know why so many new metal bands have started popping up everywhere, but I certainly approve! Finally people have found out that there is more to music than just a pair of breasts and a disco rhythm. Furthermore I think most of these new bands are very talented.
Of the newly established Danish metal bands I would particularly like to draw the attention to Dawn Of Demise from Silkeborg. I think they have dug up a sort of originality that I really appreciate, and I think they can make it far on the road of brutality. Also Crucifix is starting to move once again which is very nice to see. It seems that people are [re]gaining the interests for really brutal death metal in Denmark. In Aarhus there are lots of things going on as well and I am looking very much forward to see where it all stands in a few years. Who knows... perhaps we can regain the good international reputation we had in the mid-nineties.
How does the rest of 2006 look for Die in terms of gigs and such?
As of now we just have one more gig to go, and possibly some more in the spring [but that would be 2007 now wouldn't it!] The rest of the time will pass with composing, for the [hopefully] upcoming full-length.
Anything you wish to add to finish this interview?
Stay brutal, but remember; No bullshit - just music! See you all out there!