Mnemic - Fuck! What’s wrong with four?!
It’s about two weeks ago now, but Wednesday the 15th of December, it was finally there, our possibility to have a conversation with the Danish guys from Mnemic. Carn, BlackRain and I (BoEk) got frontman Michael to talk to while the other members of the band were sound checking. It turned out to be a very nice conversation.
How is the tour going so far?
Really well actually. We’re back to Europe now, which is always nice. We just did about six UK-dates, every night it’s a full house and we’re enjoying ourselves.
Really, really well. It’s cool to see that every time we play, there are more people that know about us. We’re actually selling shitloads of CD’s, which is always a good thing. And we hope that next time we come around we’ll get full houses again, just to see Mnemic play. That’s our goal. Yeah, it’s been going cool so far.
What’s it like to share the stage with Fear Factory?
That’s just great! They’re cool guys and their crew is fucking funny as well. Things are going very smooth you know. People are here to see Fear Factory, that’s pretty obvious, it’s a big band, they play well and they have fucking great songs. So to actually get to be the support act of Fear Factory is a privilege you know.
'Mechanical Spin Phenomena' was released in 2003 and only a year later you released a new album, are you guys so creative that you can release an album every year?
No! You see, you have your whole life to write your first album. And when we were doing ‘Mechanical Spin Phenomena’ we just had more, you know. We just had more songs already, then there could be on that album and we we’re actually writing new songs as well in the recording period of ‘MSP’. So it just felt like we were ready to record a new album again this year. It seems pretty fast after the first one, and I think it was, but we’re not gonna release a new album next year. We’re going to have a break after the touring and we’ll hope to develop some more and take some time to write new songs.
It just felt like we had enough to record that second album and the main thing is, these are all old songs to us. So recording this new album was actually to update these songs and show the progression we’ve made after the first album.
Do you already have some ideas about how the music will be on the new album?
Yeah! We sure do. But it’s a bit early to say if it’s going to be like ‘The Audio Injected Soul’. It’s going to be faster, that’s for sure. And of course we will do things that will be like between the first two albums. But also some new stuff you know. I think we’re going to experiment a lot in the break we take. We’ll probably get into a house somewhere far away from everything for about a month or two and see what happens. Try some new genres and see what we can come up with. We’ll just try to experiment with groove, some technical shit and even try some Rock ‘n Roll stuff as well. I just can’t say very much about the new album because it’s just to early to say but all I’m saying is that we’re flirting with different kinds of genres and we’ll going to develop and evolve all the time so, you just have to wait, haha!
Why did you choose the title ‘Audio Injected Soul’?
Well, we were just talking about which title would fit the best and ehm… well, the songs were ready, everything was ready but we always have problems with finding a good title for the album. And in the end it just seemed like we evolved so much around sound and experimenting with sound layers and stuff like that and that’s basically what it is you know, it’s an audio injection.
Will the next CD have a three word title as well?
No man! It’s ‘THE Audio Injected Soul’! So it’s a four word title this time. It’s funny you ask that because we had a lot of fights about that shit. Some of the guys in the band were like ‘we need a three word title again’ and some of us didn’t want that again. I just didn’t want to do the same again you know so in the end I insisted on giving the ‘THE’ in ‘Audio Injected Soul’.
You recorded the new video for 'Door 2.12' about a month ago, what was it like to record a video with only real dedicated Mnemic fans?
Yeah, that was actually a weird thing because that news was put out so late, actually it was put out the day before we shot the video, that there weren’t enough people there to actually make the shoot. That’s because the room was pretty big you know and we didn’t know about the location ourselves. So we had to cancel the crowd shoot. Of course there were people there and we gave them some T-shirts and goodies and they watched the shooting but we’re gonna have to wait with the crowd video. It was cool doing the video though.
What’s the meaning behind ‘Deathbox’?
‘Deathbox’ is actually your mind. It’s about this guy who tries to straighten his life and he’s trying to live a normal life. He has his Deathbox inside his head and when he goes into that place he does really bad things you know. When you read the lyrics you can pretty much figure out yourself about those bad things he does. It’s just about this guy who is to overcome these images in his head. It’s like a cliché but it’s taken to another level.
And how about ‘Sane vs. Normal’?
It’s a typical serial killer song. It’s about an American serial killer, Gary Ridgeway. And he had like 48 kills or something. That’s all I know about him but I just wrote it from there. Sane vs. Normal is just a complexity because you can’t put those things together. So it’s like two visions you know. To him, this is all normal, but from our eyes this is just sanity.
So it’s not really about the serial killer but about the problems a serial killer might have?
Ehm… actually I started out with thinking what you’re saying now but I think it ended up with being just the average serial killer song. We had never done such a song and I was just writing this and I was like ‘I need some more brutal shit’. It was just fascinating you know. And I think there’s not a metalband out there who didn’t write a song about a serial killer but I don’t care, it just felt like a good thing to do.
Why did you decide to record a Duran Duran cover on ‘The Audio Injected Soul’? And why ‘Wild Boys’ and not ‘The Reflex’ for example?
Well there’s a few different reasons for that. I guess we all listened to that song when we were kids and I actually think it’s a very good song. And the lyrics are just fucking metal as well. And when you hear it, you’re like ‘Oh, that guitar just so needs something better!’. Of course we knew there would be people who were gonna hate that song and people who love it and that’s cool. It’s not even our song. We know people were going to talk about it but we just don’t care, they can hate or love it but they’re still talking about it. And we’re probably never gonna play that song live anyway unless we’re really drunk or something. It’s just on the album for the fun, we had a lot of fun doing it as well and I just like the original. I’m not gay though haha!
Why the name “Mnemic”?
The word ‘mnemic’ is actually a Greek word. It means something that has to do with your memory. Actually there’s no one in the band who came up with this. It was the singer before me who came up with the name. So it’s a long time ago and I guess the guys just thought it to be a cool name. At least it’s very atypical name, it’s not something you hear everyday. And I actually don’t know what the fuck that means, it looks better than ‘memory’ though. The thing is, people will remember it and they won’t confuse us with some other band because of our name, it’s even hard to pronounce it man!
What about the origins of the band? Did you guys really created your own sound or did you get it from other bands, like Meshuggah and Fear Factory, as well?
Well, on the first CD it was probably a bit of both. It’s no secret that we listen a lot to Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad and Fear Factory. I mean, fucking hell! Meshuggah plays better than any band on this planet you know. They’re awesome musicians and they’re really cool. And if you listen to stuff it’s going to be in your head, if you like it or not. So, on the first album there sure were influences from those bands. It’s not like we wanted to sound the same as these guys but just along those lines.
On the new album however, we haven’t had any real preferences. We listened to a lot of different things. We even listened to grindcore and stuff like that and I listened a lot to 80’s metal. And that shows on the album as well because there are some new directions on it, that are way different to the first album. Hopefully that’s just the way it’s gonna go on, and that we’re going to redo the entire machine again but just take a step into a new direction.
Wasn’t it hard for you to sing that kind of vocal lines? Because the rhythms are very difficult in your music.
Yeah, it definitely was in the beginning because I came from a hardcore band. And you know hardcore man, it gets you of your seat but there’s not much to it. It’s like 1,2,3,4 go! So when I started playing with these guys I was like ‘Fuck! What’s wrong with four?!’ But after a while you get used to it and now it’s just in my head. Now it just feels natural.
Mnemic has a very dense sound with synths, samples and guitar layers, aren’t you guys afraid that it won’t translate that well into a live setting?
Yeah, you got a point there! I mean, we don’t wanna overdo it. And I actually think that on the new album we’re gonna ease down on that side. However, we got to a point now where it’s all ok live, I mean, the samples are more like a spice you know. But there’s a lot of metal in there and I don’t really have a problem with it so far.
Can you tell us a bit more about the future plans of Mnemic?
We’re gonna spend most of 2005 on the road and we are gonna do a full European tour. But it’s still in the works right now. We’re going to do a full US tour as well and we’re going to be there for quite a few months actually. And that’s actually the near future for us. I mean, we haven’t spoke about a full headline tour but more about some small tours, tours of two weeks or so. Playing in clubs and stuff like that. Because we’re still a pretty small band and you can’t even fill a venue like this, yet. And besides that we’re really good at club gigs you know, with around 200 people, that’s just really intense you know. But it’s all going to be on our website anyway because nothing’s decided yet.
It feels brilliant! It really does, because the metalscene in Denmark has been shit for quite a few years and the last two years it’s been going really well. After that period, that lasted about 10 year, we were actually one of those two or three bands that started this new wave and now a lot of good bands from Denmark get signed to the bigger labels and now we’ve got around seven real good bands you know. Well, we’re just really lucky!
Yeah, there are definitely some bands that should be there. There’s a band like Scamp and I’m sure you’re going to hear a lot more about those guys; it’s pretty technical stuff, like Meshuggah or anything. And I don’t think they’re gonna get huge because it’s too fucking technical but they play so well that the underground is definitely gonna hear more about them. And then there’s this other band called Volbeat, they’re gonna be big!
Are you afraid to get on stage now that you’ve heard about the whole ‘Dimebag Darrell situation’?
No! It’s funny you ask me though because my girlfriend called me and said ‘you have to stop playing!’ but I’m not afraid you know. I mean, if you’re gonna be afraid for something like that, that’s not good. This was clearly a fucking lunatic and things like this are just sick but stuff like this happens. I mean, this was in a country filled up with guns! And of course it’s tragic that someone takes it this far but I think I’m not even famous enough to kill and that nobody bothers to kill me, haha! No, but seriously, there’s about 99,99% of real metal fans and they’re just coming to the concerts because they like the music. And then there’s just one person that’s gonna snap. It could happen everywhere man! You can’t spend your life thinking about that however.
Ok that was actually our final question, anything left to say to the readers of Metal Rage?
Well, just check out our new album, there’s some good songs on it and give it a good listen! Come to our shows and we’ll have a good time.
Ok, thank you very much, it was a good time talking to you!
Yeah man! Same to you, thanks!
Our thanks goes out to Jaap Wagemaker from Nuclear Blast for arranging this interview.