Interview with Jay Cross drummer of Mortor done by Patrick
1.Hello Jay how is life in Canada going these days?
Can’t complain! It’s usually pretty cold but summer just arrived so we get to enjoy a few months of warm weather before it all starts to change.
2.When did you first meet the other members of the band? And was it long before you all started Mortor?
I joined Mortor just before the recording of “Shoot ‘em Up” in 2012, so the band had been around for some time prior to my arrival. I’d known the guys from the scene in Ottawa-Gatineau. They approached me one night when I was opening for Aborted with Accursed Spawn, and I was in the studio not too long after.
3.Burn Up The Dead is Mortor's third full-length how long did it take the band to write the music for the new release?
David (guitars) is always writing, so it depends when you start counting. We went on hiatus for a few years after the 2nd album and got back together in 2015, so that was when we took riffs and turned them into songs.
4.Jay how do you feel Mortor's music has changed over the years since the beginning to the new release? And who would you say are the bands biggest influences?
The first album, “Metal Ride”, was very much about grooving to heavy riffs. When I joined and the band released “Shoot ‘em Up”, the idea was to take that groove and the riffs but add some more speed, and a bit more texture to the overall sound.
This latest record is another step in the “faster” direction, but it also has a lot of really amazing leads which add a big dimension. We were really luck to have Adam join us and take the official lead guitar position during the recording of the album, and also include some outstanding guest-solos from Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy), Paul Kelly (Accursed Spawn), Antonin Perras-Foisy (Insurrection) and Matt Maclvor (Signs of Chaos, Fumigation).
In terms of influences, it’s all about old-school death and thrash metal in the veins of Kreator, Sepultura, Carcass and the like.
5.Who usually takes care of writing the lyrics and what are some subjects you all wrote about on Burn Up The Dead ?
Mortor is all about war, though not from a political point. It’s more of a “hey man, it’s pretty cool when things go boom!” sort of band.
The lyrics for this album were taken care of by Boulay (vocals) for the most part. I contributed the lyrics for one song, ‘The Executioner’, which is about a military dictator being hunted down and put before a firing line.
6.Besides the new release Burn Up The Dead are the first two releases still available?Besides physical releases does the band have any other merchandise available for the readers and if yes what is available?
That we do! It’s all available on our Bandcamp store, along with a few different shirt designs.
7.Does Mortor get to play live very often and what have been some of the bands most memorable shows?
The band doesn’t play live too often as everyone is busy with life and/or other musical projects. My personal favourite Mortor gig would probably be the time we played with Kreator, who are a major influence for the band and were all around incredibly cool people to work with.
8.Are their any shows or tours planned in support of Burn Up The Dead ?If yes where will the band be playing and who are some bands you will be sharing the stage with?
We recently did a release show in Hull, Quebec for the album and plan to do select dates in Quebec and Ontario in support of the record. Everything’s still in the works at the moment.
9.Jay you handle the drums for the band when did you first become interested in playing the drumming?Are you self taught or did you take lessons when first starting out?
Self taught, unless you count YouTube. Started playing around 13 and learned by joining bands and playing with guys who were better at music than I was.
10.Who are some of your influences and favorite drummers?Other then drums do you currently play any other instruments?
When I first started play I was really influenced by drummers like Danny Carey (Tool) and Abe Cunningham (Deftones). Eventually I discovered more extreme forms of metal, and became hugely influenced by Kevin Talley’s work with Dying Fetus and Misery Index, Igor Cavalera’s crazy thrash beats in early Sepultura, and Gene Hoglan’s work in Death.
11.Besides playing in Mortor do you or any of the members currently work with any other bands or solo projects?
We’re the classic “metal band made of a bunch of dudes from a bunch of other bands” sort of band. I also play in a band called Accursed Spawn with Adam (lead guitars), who also plays in a prog metal band Antlion and used to play in Aggressor. Nick (bass) also fronts a badass doom band called Norilsk.
12.What does underground metal mean to you?
Underground metal to me is people who make music because they love it, and that’s their #1 goal. It’s incredibly honest music, and it’s a thriving place of creativity for the metal scene. We’re lucky to come from a city (er, cities) that has an amazing roster of bands including Fuck the Facts, Insurrection, Killitorous, and our label mates Fumigation, just to name a few.
13.When not working on new music or band business what do you like to do in your free time?
Hang out with the girlfriend, practice drums, check out shows. I’m a significantly less interesting person than I’m hoping this interview makes me sound.
14.Thank you Jay for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
Thanks to you for asking these questions and supporting the metal scene! It’s always a pleasure to speak with anyone who helps keep metal thriving. Thanks as well to anyone who read this, and particularly made it to this paragraph where I’m thanking them (Thankception).
For anyone that hasn’t checked out the new record, we have song tracks up for streaming on our bandcamp, where you can also buy it should you decide it is sufficiently badass.