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1. Demonist is a new Death Metal band born in Lorraine, France, at the end of 2023. Can you give a little introduction to the band?

It's a Power trio: Bastien is on drums, Paul on guitar and vocals, and me on bass and vocals.

Are the words “Death metal” enough to describe your style, or do you have something more precise in your backpack?

In itself, the terms “Death Metal” can be enough to define our music. Afterwards, if we want to be more precise for the connoisseurs, we can say that we sometimes blend it with Thrash, sometimes with Doom, sometimes Brutal Death, sometimes with something more technical. It is also at times old school or at times more 2000s.

Three members of the combo are or were a part of Necroscum, who also play Death Metal... What links can we find between the two bands? Will the musical differences be very important?

Of the 3 members, 2 were a part of Necroscum: Paul and me. The musical differences are quite pronounced.
Necroscum tends to be faster and faster, closer to a Benighted, a Devourment or even Aborted; therefore with a more modern approach.
Demonist is looking for a wider range without putting up barriers and the speed is absolutely not a selection criterion: if we want to play fast, we do it; otherwise, if we like a more “Doom” riff, we do that too. The important thing for us is the consistency of a production.
The only real musical link is that both bands evolve in Death Metal. But the vocals, the approach to the instruments, the universe, the artistic direction and a large part of the covered themes have no connection between them.


2. Are you big fans of cassette demos, and so did you choose the DEMONIST name in this sense? (Demo-nist... Ahah) Or should we be more serious and look on the "occult" side?

It’s the occult side that we feed on. We are trying to create a universe because we love the stories of H.P. LOVECRAFT but also everything related to horror and fantasy. It is a source which, in my opinion, is neverending because we can invent on top of what has been done, change stories on the basis of other pre-existing ones (a sort of “What if…?”) but also to start from a character or an atmosphere. You just need to be imaginative and ask yourself the right questions when composing.
Concerning the cassettes, it’s more me who’s interested. I have a modest collection of a few pieces from a few French bands as well as international groups. It’s an object I have always loved since my young years. The rendering is different from a CD or a vinyl and, sometimes you rediscover a song, or, in any case, some parts or some instruments stand out in a more or less pronounced way.
Paul and Bastien are not really attracted to this format. But they acknowledge it can bring a plus, might it be for old fans or younger peoples who would like to discover this particular format. Cassettes are a part of the Metal history, notably with tape trading.

Literally, the demonist would be someone who believes in the existence of demons and idolizes them... Do you recommend to arm yourself with a copy of the Necronomicon before listening to Demonist?

It’s the obvious! Revisit your classics, young peoples!

3. Your first Ep will be released very soon, what interesting things can you say to make an introduction?

This EP is the first stone of an edifice we are trying to build right in the middle of Hell.

4. Listening to the four tracks of this EP, I feel Morbid Angel were a big influence, but perhaps rather the Domination/Gateways epoch (It's not necessarily the most common nowadays, but it's cool, it's a changes a little!). I also felt some more modern influences (Maybe a touch of Origin) and similarities with other "evil" death metal bands like early Hate Eternal, Fleshtized, and maybe the Polish death scene. .. Which groups would you say have had the most impact on your style?

Morbid Angel are definitely a major influence on our music. And you're right, it's the period from Domination to Gateways to Annihilation that we feed from. And in the middle, what is there? Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. An album that had a huge impact on me since the first time I heard it. The atmosphere, the transition between the old Morbid Angel and the new door which opens thanks, notably, to Steve Tucker. An album that marked the year 1998.
Then, personally, apart from Illud Divinum Insanus which is, to stay polite, very particular, I like all of the Morbid Angel albums. Even Kingdoms Disdained which I find interesting; even if many peoples have dropped out for a long time because they are hooked on the old releases.
But, indeed there are other references!
Gorguts and its first 4 legendary albums.
Immolation with a large part of their discography, from yesterday and today, that remains consistent all these years.
Dying Fetus (especially as a power trio) and their ultra angry Grind/Death.
Suffocation and their discography which, in my opinion, is almost flawless.
Mercyless and their 2 Death Metal periods (before 1995 and after 2010) are also faultless.
Massacra and their first 3 albums, that are so legendary even though the band split up for a long time, everyone is still talking about it!
Atheist and its technicality as well as its creativity. Or Cannibal Corpse and its discography to be as long as an endless day...
But there are many others; even today. I can quote Blood Incantation, Skeletal Remains or even Undeath. We mainly feed from American and French Death Metal. That doesn't mean we don't listen to the other scenes, but they don't really influence our band.

Will the musical spirit of Demonist always be "evil" or will you allow yourself some less obscure escapades?

We are not only talking about hell. We're also talking about characters who are ultra-violent! For example, on “Priest of Skin”, the protagonist of the music wants to make a chapel out of human skin, but the occult side is very secondary or even non-existent. So, certainly, the “evil” side of the group is present but we allow ourselves some deviations. As for the speed of compositions.

5. The tracks of your EP were completely recorded and mixed by yourselves, I'm a little surprised because the DIY side can’t be heard, the result is almost of the level of an album... You must have some experience in recording, or some gear, or some friends who work in this field...?

To be honest with you, this EP was initially thought of as a demo. But Gabriel, who made the sound for us, “fabricated” something that far exceeded our expectations. He is truly passionate about sound and production. Initially, he made productions only for himself and his projects; but he agreed to mix and master our 4-tracks!
When we heard the result, we agreed that it was no longer a demo but an EP. The result sounds really good. He adapted very well to what we requested, he acted like a true professional even if, in fact, everything was done DIY: No overly expensive and overproducing studio, no frills. Just a production that sounds good. And I think he really captured the essence of what we're looking for. In short, things to follow with him. In any case, it is clear that for the moment, we do not want to look for someone else!

6. As a death metal fan you must enjoy low frequencies? To get a guitar that sounds nicely thick in the low frequencies, is it mandatory to play a 7-string guitar, or can you find ways to get around it? Like a special effect pedal, very low tension strings, or an unusual tuning? On what basis are you tuned?

Of course I like low frequencies, but it’s linked to the genre we play. Even with a standard tuning, you’ll play more of the lower notes than the higher ones. And today we can find bands that keep a standard tuning, and still sound heavy, mostly because of amp settings and post-production.
I often listen to both old and new Death Metal bands, and tuning is definitely a point of discussion. So you don’t have to play 7 strings guitars ; some bands play 6 strings baritone (take out the small string, and replace it with a heavier one). It’s quite standard practice since the 2000’s.
Basically what we did is we took a Db standard 6 strings tuning, and added a 7th string tuned to Ab. But it doesn’t mean we always play with all of the strings. For example the song “Pandemonium” is played on 6 of the 7 strings. I like when albums have multiple tunings. It makes the whole aesthetic more personal, and recognizable. Similar to amp sounds. For now, there’s no further production. No pedals, no samples, just vocals, guitars, bass and drums.

7. Who composes the music in the band? Does one of you bring the biggest part of the riffs or is it more of a team effort? For the composition, do you work more with improvisations during rehearsals? Or do the riffs fall at random? (Even at the wrong time... Especially when you don't have any battery left on your phone to record them haha) Or do you program the tablatures on software like Guitar Pro before playing them afterwards? (I didn't really understand this method...)

The composition of the music and writing of the lyrics are shared between Paul and myself! For the EP, we each composed 2 tracks.
In general, we find riffs, we program them on Guitar Pro, we stick drum parts as we imagine it (Even if the drummer obviously has his word to say; since he is the one who suffers he has the choice of torture) and we structure the whole. This allows everyone to work on the riffs at home, to listen again or even improve the parts, to review the structure. When we get to rehearsal, we make adjustments because we always find things that need to be improved. There is always a skeleton but everyone has the right to give his opinion and modify riffs. Since we are only three musicians, it’s also simpler.
As for the lyrics, we try to find a starting idea (For example: Satan wandering around in Hell), we each write something in our corner and then mix every results. By doing this, we obtain a coherence of story. Naturally, we have to make some compromises, but we get along very well so things are going well.

8. I'm not a fan of cover and tribute bands... In my opinion they pollute the music scene a bit by taking up the space that composition bands could have... Don't tell me "There is some space for everyone", most places hosting concerts can offer a limited amount of dates each month: So if a cover group performs, it takes the place of another band... I'll let you tell me what you think about cover bands if you wish.

To be honest, I don't pay that much attention to this. Some peoples love it, others hate it. Everyone remains judge and master of their tastes (As bad as it could be). Then, if I could choose, I would prefer a band with original compositions that might not be as good at composing (or playing) than a cover group you can be 99% sure the original would be better because it would be more authentic.
In addition, this is absolutely not something widespread in Death Metal or extreme music in general... So we are very little directly concerned. Then, some bands play covers, but as a general rule, they cover one or two pieces of music.
I hardly see a Cannibal Corpse or Vader cover band being well accepted during a festival... You need to have the intention of playing, the sound, the attitude. In short, we might as well concentrate on the original or live versions of the band. It will be much better. Well it's my opinion.

9. If you had to choose between: Being the genetic son of Glen Benton, Trey Azagthoth or Gene Palubicki, which would you choose and why?

Azagthoth! Without hesitation ! The composition, the complexity of the leads, the massive sound, the musical contribution and the imprint on the Death Metal riffs that’s still present on young bands, the cosmic and sometimes even psychedelic side of the music, the rock'n' roll side of the guy who brings all of his gear to each gig as if he was at home, the “I make music for myself before all” side…

The Deicide gang has become more concerned with imagery than music (you just have to follow Eric Hoffman on social networks to see that they are drama queens)! Make music ; we don’t give a damn about your life!! I obviously like some Deicide albums; but being Benton's son means enjoying cutting crocodile sausage with a 40 cm blade forged by rednecks in the depths of the Everglades bayou! Not sure everyone will like it...

As for Gene Palubicki, we can recognize that he is prolific and many of his projects hold up well. But I’m less attracted by the character.

Would your choice be exclusively motivated by musical reasons, or also more peripheral ones? (I'm not thinking about Glen Benton's ugly Christmas pull over, not at all, although I imagine it's a bit “cringe” if he takes his kids to school wearing it haha)

In general, when it comes to the musicians I appreciate, it's almost only for the musical side. The personal or extra-musical side in the broad sense doesn't interest me too much. Except when you know peoples personally. In this case, this is a data that can answer other questions such as the why of the how: You like a painter, you look at his canvas, you grasp (in the best case) a part of the meaning, of the technique, background work, subject, etc. But if you meet him, you can scratch the surface and understand why there might be a hidden meaning and how that hidden meaning is just as important as the first glance. In music, it can be the more or less sulphurous character of the musician, for example. This can open doors to understand the universe.

10. We hear more and more about AI, until now mainly for the generation of artworks, some bands even got a bad buzz wanting to use these pictures for their albums (Pestilence, Deicide)... But more recently I also heard about it for the creation of music "without a musician" and even "without effort" (Metal archives posted an alert message on their home page indicating they would refuse AI music projects... And I heard a rather heavy/hard FM song that seemed to hold up, that didn't sound robotic... But we’ll see what it could give for a more extreme style...). What’s your opinion about AI in art/ in music? Rather very negative or more moderate?

If we want to be as literal as possible, AI cannot produce Art. It's almost just calculation. In itself, it is almost an oxymoron, in the sense that Art has always been forged by the hand of Man, whether it is music, sculpture or painting or any other form whatsoever. It is impossible to separate Man and Art. The AI question is a difficult one to answer, I think. It raises more problems than real solutions for me.
This already raises the question of copyright; because the answer is not obvious: can we receive royalties on the basis of an algorithm that was created by a third party, completely outside of your artistic choices? Especially since these AIs use pre-existing works on the Internet to do something “new”. How do you want to get out of this? If the final work is taken from another work which isn’t free of copyright, what do we do? I don't have a clear answer to this question alone.
When you hear that AI is absolute evil, it’s a very stupid thinking! The reality is, like any technology, it must be used wisely. When you hear that an AI has detected cancer cells in a patient, to be as small as the size of a hair while the doctors missed it, we can only salute this prowess (otherwise, you are a survivalist who lives in a cave in the depths of Asia or Auvergne, always saying “it was better before”)!
On the other hand, if the goal is to teach a machine something, or make it reason for us, or even believe that it will be better than humans, then it becomes dangerous! Currently, there is no certainty on any subject. There are only speculations..
What is still fascinating in all this riot of reflections, each one to be as low as the other, is that the standard metaller has a fairly short memory! He's always saying his beloved musical genre is better than the others but forgets that he anoints visual rubbish that will tear your retinas out. And for good reason, on Instagram, there is a page called “worst_of_ma” (Worst of Metal Archives): the guy who runs this page is looking for ugly covers. And damn there are!!!
Indeed, there are a lot of obscure bands who surely didn’t have the funds! But we still find well-known (or moderately well-known) groups like Darkness, Mortification, Wolf and Thor. And we can go further. Because I love Morbid Angel but why did they use the cover of Domination? Why are the Pungent Stench covers so bad taste? We can also talk about Fleshcrawl which also had ugly covers, or the reissues of the first Insatanity album. The list is too long. But that has been anointed while AI is the worst thing there is for them. Under the pretext of more authenticity. So the reasoning is: “since it was produced without AI help, it has more value, even if the final rendering is a failure”.
Peoples explain that the last albums of Deicide or Kerry King's look similar and were created by AI but these same people come and say that the previous covers were just as bad. In fact, the root of the problem is not whether it was an AI or a drawer who made the cover, it is we have to fight bad taste. This remains risky to use an AI. This poses 2 problems. The first is your band can come across as lazy and the second is that it looks skinflint. Since it’s expensive to make an album cover, we pull out the AI magic wand because it’s an inexpensive, easy solution! When it’s for a music video or an album cover that touches on the band’s imagery, it’s still very average. You shouldn't be surprised with people's reactions.
The truth lies between the two: AI can be useful (Such as for correcting bugs in colors for example; this is one of the reasons it is massively used today in visuals) but it should rather be used as a tool to finalize something than a starting point for a work.

11. What are you listening to recently? Which bands came up the most in your listenings the last  weeks?

Personally, I listened to a lot of the latest Skeletal Remains album which, for me, should be the international album of the year. It will be difficult to do as good. Well, the last Mercyless hasn't been released yet, so let's wait before asserting with certainty...
I also listened a lot to the first track from Vitriol's second album: Shame and Its Afterbirth. The rest of the album went over my head a little but this track is very, very good! Especially the whole solo passage which is just Dantesque. The only concern, and not the least, in my opinion: the sound! It’s pretty stupid to make such a good album with such an artificial guitar sound… I skimmed the latest Spectral Voice a bit too but I'm going to have to listen to it again more seriously. I still have the latest Job For a Cowboy waiting to be listened to. Otherwise, Paul and I were quite interested in the last Suffocation as well as the last Dying Fetus. As I told you before, these bands are great influences for our style and what we like in Death Metal. We really appreciated them. Ricky Myers really found his place in Suffocation I think.

12. For the coming year, are you rather planning a first album or a second EP? Some merch? More concerts? What is the goal of Demonist on a middle/ long term?

Objectively, we would already like to play a few concerts in this year which is already well underway and where booking is not very prolific yet. But that's normal! Programmers and associations prefer to wait until you have music to be listened; which is logical. So, we'll see.
Otherwise, for the future we have several possibilities in talks: split, EP or album. Whatever the format, we have everything needed to do it.
The goal is always the same: to compose music, to have fun, to defend our vision of Death Metal, to try to play festivals, to share sets with groups we enjoy; but always with as much pleasure as possible and to transmit our passion for this style to the public



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