PlanetMosh is proud to be sponsoring the main stage at the fourth incarnation of Monsters Of Rot, which takes place in Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, on Saturday August 16.
The festival brings together some of the best extreme metal bands on the island of Ireland. As part of our build up to the event, we will be interviewing all of the main stage acts: today it is the turn of Putrefy drummer Jason McLaughlin to go under the spotlight…
I’d describe our music as old school death metal, as the same influences from when we started are still there – bands like Suffocation, old Cannibal Corpse, Massacre etc. I’d also throw in bands like Internal Bleeding and Dying Fetus as well: we introduced some slam death influences from IB and DF after Putrefy returned in 2000… but back in the ‘90s we just called it groove, which we always had in our sound: the intent was to have catchy riffs in the songs,and heavy.
Who all is in the band and how did you come together?
The current line is Connor on rhythm guitar and vocals, Aaron on lead guitar, Ross on bass and myself (obviously) on drums.
It all came about really in 1988 when I met a few guys in Spuds [a now defunct metal club] in Portstewart, and we started a thrash covers band: before this I had only played drums in a mate’s shed and never within a band – but after some rehearsals… we called ourselves Parasite. This band is how I met original guitarist Jeff McMullan: after several months jamming, and going through members, I had met a guy called Charlie who liked his thrash and decided he wanted to try out on vocals. By this time we had changed our name to Demize and with him on board we started playing Kreator covers, Sepultura, Death…
One night in someone’s house I had brought my ‘At Deaths Door’ tape to let the others hear it – and when we all heard the song ‘Morgoth’ we decided to change our style to death metal: we all were listening to it more by then, and Jeff was learning Death songs to jam at practice, so the transition was easy. By this time it was 1990 and we started learning more covers: Cannibal Corpse, Pungent Stench, Massacre, Benediction… and after a year we decided to write our own material, which became the debut demo ‘Presumed Dead’ in 1993.
Having been around for so long, you obviously have a hefty back catalogue of stuff… is any of it still available?
We have some ‘Presumed Dead’ demos left, and a few ‘Split’ CDs left. The albums are all sold out.
The ‘Presumed Dead’ demo was recorded in Big River Studio in Londonderry, and engineered by Paul McLoone – who has been the vocalist for The Undertones since they came back: this was everyone’s first time in a recording studio.
The ‘Split’ CD was recorded at Novatech Studio in Mallusk in 1994 – I can’t remember the engineers name [Gary Aiken – MA] – and was released on Isolated Records in Italy: later a limited cassette run was re-issued by Isolated and some other Italian label… again,I can’t remember their name.
‘Promo 2000’ was recorded again in Novatech and was unreleased, but someday I’ll release it on a discography CD… if people are interested in one!
The ‘4 on 4’ promo/’Lust So Vile’ CD are basically the same recordings with a bonus live track: we recorded in ourselves on a digital recorder – can’t remember if it was a 4 track or 8 track machine – and our then guitarist, Nel, engineered it and did a great job. Eventually, it was released by Grind Ethic Records in the UK.
Our self-titled debut album was recorded in Komodo Recording Studio in Hillsborough and engineered by Alwyn Walker: it ended up being released on Redrum Records in New York, which is run by Will Rahmer of Mortician.
‘One Nation Under Gore’, which was recorded in Trackmix Studio in Dublin and engineered by Michael Richards, was the bands first recording where we had proper label backing – so the recording process was done pretty quick. It was released on Metal Age Productions in Europe.
Do you have any new material coming out in the near future?
Yes, we have a new album, ‘Knelt Before The Sarcophagus of Humanity’, which was recorded in my home town of Ballymoney and engineered by Darren Hutton – an old friend, who played in Putrefy for a short time in the very early days) – due out in October on Sevared Records. Anyone who follows the more extreme end of death metal will know of this label: Barrett (the label boss) has released a lot of quality acts on there – like Peshmerga, Gorgasm, Insision, Waking The Cadaver, Deranged and many more. We’re very happy joining this label… We’d actually already met Barrett when we played in America in 2004, so he knew of us and when he heard a promo track from the album he wanted us on board – so, it’s all good!
The material on this album is more 1990s era influenced. We wrote what we liked, didn’t copy any current bands and what’s ‘cool’ and just wrote a honest collection of songs: lyrically, it’s more horror influenced… we dropped the whole offensive lyrical approach a few years ago, as it had run its time and we got bored of it. This album’s music shall be the important issue and I hope people see that. For me, personally, I regard this as our first album, as it’s a true album to ourselves: we wrote it as a personal album and I hope people see that.
Have you played with any of the other bands on the MOR bill before?
We have played with Overoth, Zombified and Coldwar before – all enjoyable bands. There’s probably others I have forgotten we have played with, so I apologise for forgetting them… We haven’t played this fest before so should be fun… we have a set sorted for it and anyone there will hear a set with more songs from the new album.
What other bands on the MOR bill are you looking forward to seeing?
I plan to check out our bass player’s other band, Fuckhammer, as well as Overoth, Zombified and Coldwar – but I intend checking out as many as I can… I dont get out much so I’ll try and savour as many bands as I can.
What is your assessment of the current state of the Irish metal scene? Is it in a good state of health? Are there too many bands and not enough venues/promoters, or is there a good balance between the two?
There are a lot of bands about but not enough people to support it I think. People don’t support gigs nowadays and that hurts bands trying to get somewhere… we used to gig quite regularly but that stopped as it ends up in everyone losing money – costing more to get there than what you get back in return. Some promoters expect bands to play for free, and with only a few people turning up it ends up being money wasted: one night in my town, six people turned up – if you went back eight years in the same town the place would have been packed… but, times change and not for the better being a musician, funding and selling merchandise, CDs…
There aren’t enough venues across Ireland: but, even if there was, there aren’t the people to fill them either: certain areas are good for some band – but outside the places like Belfast and Dublin there is nothing else really.
Is there enough support for the metal scene in the Irish media? Or is that important?
There never has been really anything like that here… I remember the only media associated with metal was the news complaining about W.A.S.P. playing gigs in the 80s and the gigs getting picketed! We were in a few papers in the 90s and a couple gigs after we came back gigging in 2002 were featured in the local rag.
I don’t see the media supporting metal: and (if they did) it would probably be a witchhunt, if anything – thinking we all (and I mean metallers in general) are serial killers, when we’re anything but that. It works in Europe, but Ireland is still in medieval times in its ways of thinking and accepting different things in society. I think we do OK without the media being involved.
Yeah, it has become that way! I like the old school ways of promotion as well, but getting flyers done these days is a waste of time as there’s no one at gigs to give them to: but, when I say that I mean locally – my town and surrounding areas. Belfast and Dublin still have successful flyer-ing campaigns by promoters. I wasn’t a fan of social media at the start but realised it’s how things are done now and can be a very good tool to use… some bands are never off it! I run the band Facebook page and release our news there.
Outside of the bands at MOR, what other Irish bands would you recommend PM readers check out?
Okus, Guttrench, Abaddon Incarnate… there’s more but I’m sure people out there who knows who’s good in the Irish scene.
Apart from your instruments (obviously), what is the one essential item you always carry when playing a gig or festival?
Money…lol! Apart from that, there’s my drum pad, camera and batteries to get footage filmed, paper, pens and duct tape.
Finally, MOR is a week after Bloodstock: do you think a festival like BOA would work on the island of Ireland?
Well, we had ‘Day of Darkness’ fest some years ago, and a great fest it was… but, like I said earlier about there not enough people going to gigs it stopped! A fest like Bloodstock maybe could work if people showed genuine interest and supported it: I’d love it personally but it’s a massive undertaking for anyone to do it – financially especially. I’ve always thought of doing a fest but when you see the cost it puts a different spin on it… but I hope one day someone can arrange a decent fest over here and people who profess to be metal fans support it.
If you would like to find out more about Putrefy, you can do so via https://www.facebook.com/pages/PUTREFY/117333211610033, http://www.reverbnation.com/putrefy, and www.myspace.com/putrefy05
For more information on Monsters Of Rot, including tickets, visit http://monstersofrot.com/
Tomorrow, we talk to Adam from Weed Priest.