INTERVIEW W/ MORDATORIUM BY PATRICK (OLD SCHOOL DM/DEATH METAL)
1. Hello how are things in Chicago these days? Please introduce yourself to the readers?
Andrew Oosterbaan: Hi! Things are going well over here. We had a string of really humid hot days but tonight it's a very nice night. I'm Andrew Oosterbaan, I do vocals and guitars and most of the songwriting for Mordatorium.
Jon Corston: I’m Jon Corston.
Pearl Kacew: I am Pearl Kacew, the drummer in Mordatorium. Things are not too bad in Chicago other than taxes as usual.
2. What age were you when you first started listening to metal? Who were some of the first bands you listened to?
AO: My first introduction to heavier music was with a couple of Test Drive computer games I had which had these industrial soundtracks. There were some songs from KMFDM and a couple from Fear Factory and so on, and I really loved the guitar sounds these bands had. A little later on I happened upon a couple tracks from Metallica's “...And Justice For All” that were on my sister's hard drive for some reason and dug those a bit. Some peers of mine showed me a bit of Rammstein and maybe some Megadeth also, but what really hooked me into metal music was when I stumbled sort of randomly on Carcass and some old Arch Enemy tracks from one of those old P2P download programs called Limewire. I think the Arch Enemy songs were mislabeled as being by “Metalocalypse” or something.
JC: I was roughly between 5-7 yrs old. I already had been exposed to the oldies and classic rock by that time. But it was typical stuff, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera etc. Whatever I could hear on the radio basically.
PK: I was about 12 or 13, my first introduction was mainstream – Metallica. I really liked Master of Puppets. When I was a little older, around 16, I found underground radio shows that used to play metal late at night and I used to tape them. That's how I discovered bands like Amorphis and Borknagar. Someone in high school also gave me a bootleg Necrophobic CD – the CD had “Darkside” written on it with marker and nothing else so for a long time after that I tried to find this band called Darkside again with no luck, until one day my friend Nick Morgan told me I should look for an album title instead of a band name, and I found it again 14 years later. That was a surreal moment.
3. Mordatorium was formed in 2008 when did you all get the idea to start this band? Who would you say the bands biggest influences are?
AO: I had a friend named Mike in my gym class in high school, and I knew he played a bit of guitar as well. We were both a bit new to it. I think he was wearing a Kiss shirt or something one day and I told him to check out Heartwork from Carcass. He came to me the next day saying he thought it was awesome, and we decided we'd start jamming together after that. Mordatorium evolved from the songs we had been writing together. So then of course Carcass has been a consistent influence over the years, and in more recent years there have been more straight-forward old death metal acts such as Grave for example, and some crust/d-beat type stuff as well rubbing off on us.
4. What is the current line-up of the band?
AO: Right now there's myself on guitar and vocals. Then there's Pearl Kacew on the drums, who's been playing with me since 2014 which is when the current incarnation of the band came to be and when we started playing shows regularly. Rounding out our 3-piece is my good friend Jon Corston, who's band Beyond De-th we had played a bunch of shows with. He does guitar and vocals for that band, but he's doing bass with us.
5. Obsessed With Death is the bands fourth full-length release how long did it take the band to write the music for this release?
AO: It came together over a couple of years. Initially I was more interested in playing the older stuff live and just doing that, but we occasionally would talk about writing new music, so one or two songs were more or less there at the end of the 2014-15 winter. Writing became a bit more frequent from there, and we wrapped up all but one or two songs by the spring of last year. I think the final song was done that summer, and then in the fall we got ready to record it.
PK: Andrew wrote the first song late 2014. We were writing it on and off all of 2015, and it was nearly completed early 2016. There were a few minor adjustments that year, so in all it took about a year and a half to write. We tend to write music when inspiration hits rather than trying to force it.
6. Obsessed With Death is self-released I believe have you all looked for a label to work with or do you prefer to self-release your own music?
AO: In general we like to go at it on our own, so we haven't ever pursued a label. Though now that we've been getting a little more press over in Europe and so on, I realize it would be nice to have some distribution overseas so that people won't have to pay a lot of money for shipping if they want to buy physical CD's or other merch from us. So perhaps we'll put some thought into a solution to that, which I suppose could involve a label, but it's more likely that someone will reach out to us about that rather than the other way around.
PK: We have not looked for a label so far since we haven't felt a need for it. We prefer to self-release since we are able to do record ourselves and we can fund the merch and other band expenses. I personally have a fear of bad contracts from hearing other people's horror stories. So if we decided to work with a label it would have very off-hands, preferably limited to some sort of distribution deal. We currently work with a digital distribution company but we want to look for physical distribution when Obsessed with Death gets released.
7. Besides the newest cd does the band have any of the previous releases still available for the readers? Besides physical releases does the band have any other merchandise available for the readers?If yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
AO: We have the last couple of albums “Raw” and “The Dark Crusade” available digitally on our bandcamp page, and for “Raw” we have a bunch of CD's too. We sold out of Dark Crusade CD's, and since it's sort of a different sound and a different era for the band, not to mention a bit primitive, I haven't ordered another batch. We do still play a couple of those songs live though, so if there's interest in it I might restock those. Besides that we have a couple of shirt designs, and we're working on some more, as well as patches and some other things. All of these things are available for sale exclusively through our bandcamp page, which is mordatorium.bandcamp.com.
PK: Raw is also available digitally on Bandcamp and the usual digital distribution places like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc.
8. Does Mordatorium play live very often if yes what have been some of the bands biggest shows over the years?And who are some bands you have shared the stage with?
AO: When we first started really playing near the end of 2014 we kept pretty busy, playing locally every couple of months for the next year or so. After that we started spacing out local shows more, doing just a couple a year, and we went up and played in Milwaukee once also. As far as some of the bigger shows and some international acts that we've done shows with, we recently did one with Marduk and Incantation back in February which was pretty awesome, and in the past we also played with Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, as well as Morbid Saint. I think one of my favorite shows we've done though was one that we headlined early in 2016. We had a great group of bands, and we pretty well packed our favorite local dive around here. The crowd seemed really into it and it was a lot of fun.
9. Are their in tours or shows coming up in support of Obsessed With Death if yes where will the band be playing?
AO: Right now we don't have anything planned besides an album release show here in about a month. Beyond that I'm sure we're probably going to plan some weekend warrior trips around the region and we'll keep playing locally here and there as well. As far as a larger tour in the US or internationally, it's something that we're open to, but ultimately it comes down to logistics and our work schedules and so on. In any case, we don't plan to tour too extensively, if at all, but depending on a few things you might see us make a trek or two on the road for this one at some point.
10. Besides working in Mordatorium do you or any of the members currently work with any other bands ?If yes please tell the readers a little about them?
AO: As for Pearl and I, Mordatorium is all we do as far as bands go. Jon has a few things going on though.
Jon Corston: I have been working on my own project Beyond Deth for the past 5 yrs, doing vocals, guitar and songwriting. 2 demos have been released and we have a full length album ready to push later this year. I do 2nd guitar with the band God Dementia also, who will have their next album released later this year.
11. When not working on new music or band business what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
AO: Lately I've been hooked on playing this combat flight simulator game called War Thunder on my computer. I studied history and I'm a bit of a WWII nerd, so it's been fun. That's been eating up most of my free time lately.
JC: I really love sleeping but yeah if I have any free time I'll squeeze in some video games.
PK: I don't think any of us has too many hobbies besides music and video games. Lots of video games. Oh and watching certain YouTube channels like Life of Boris, and TV shows like Game of Thrones. Once in a while I'll go on a book reading kick for a month or two and then back to the video games.
12. Mordatorium comes out of the Illinois death metal metal scene what is your opinion of the Illinois metal scene over the years?
AO: Chicago has a few big early death metal bands like Master, Cianide, Novembers Doom, and also Cardiac Arrest a bit later on, and we love all those bands. So I think our state has got a good bit of cred as far as the global metal world goes thanks to those guys. As for more recent years, I've been active playing here for about ten years now and I think there are a lot of cool bands and a pretty good variety of metal bands in the area. My old band Panzer mostly played out in the suburbs and out in DeKalb where we lived, and I was impressed by how good some of the shows were – so it's not all limited to the city here. Of course Chicago is a hub for it, and there are a lot of bands in or around the city proper, but the rest of the state is by no means slacking. We have a solid scene anyhow for death metal, black metal, doom, some technical thrash and some crossover, and occasionally some really good old-school heavy/speed metal kind of bands too, though those are sadly few and far between. There isn't really much any power metal or folk metal or melodic death metal around here that I can think of, so if you're into that kind of stuff, you're a little out of luck here. Maybe five or ten years ago there were a few really cool melodic death bands though. Then again, it's a big city so I certainly could be missing something!
JC: It's pretty rocky, with so many bands in the city and surrounding suburbs, competition can become fierce. There are a lot of people that won't even take a minute to listen to anything it seems. It's hard to stand out or even get in good with specific venues and promoters.
PK: I moved here in 2012, and I haven't seen it change. Some of my favorite bands ever come from here, and people seem very supportive and very into the music.
13. Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out of Illinois ?And are their any new bands you feel the readers should watch out for?
AO: Some of my favorite bands from around here besides some of the classics I mentioned before are Terranaut, Fin, Act of Destruction, Beyond De-th, Elbow Deep, Nucleus, Bear Mace, Unsanctioned, and Tenebrism. I'm sure I've left a couple out that I shouldn't have also. Elbow Deep has a new album out either now or really soon, I forget, and they put on a hell of a live show. Terranaut does some excellent “hanging out in the forest” kind of black metal that I've been listening to a bunch, and they’re working on a new EP following up their album “Native Sorrow”. A couple others of those have an album or a second album in the works too I know. Check 'em all out if you've got time.
JC: Disinter, Cardiac Arrest, Elbow Deep, Air Raid.
PK: Cianide and Cardiac Arrest, hands down all-time favorite bands of mine out of here. As far as new bands coming out of here, for those who like black metal definitely check out Terranaut.
14. Thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
AO: We really appreciate the interest people have been showing in our music. We love making it and playing it, and I promise there will be more to come. Cheers!