Answered by: Compos Mentis
Compos Mentis are working at the moment towards the release of their debut studio album. We had the chance and privilege to be able to review their demo a few issues ago, and being really amazed by its quality -don't forget that it got a 10- we decided to take some time to talk with the guys. The result is below!
Hello guys, and congratulations for your amazing work! Since you are a newcomer to the scene, would you mind beginning with the history of the band?
We started out back in 1996, playing some Metallica covers after school with a vision of becoming as huge as them. Well, eventually we changed direction and started to play some death metal instead. We recorded our first real demo-cd in 2000, entitled "Quadrology of Sorrow", sent it to approx. 450 labels, magazines and clubs and received a lot of positive response. - Including some offers about record deals.
How did you choose to go after a record deal? I mean, there are so many bands around today, do you actually believe that you have something new to give?
I guess that it was the goal from the very beginning as it seemed quite impossible to become as huge as Metallica without a record deal, haha! Well, we haven't really worked directly towards a record deal, but we've always tried to evolve and to get as many gigs as possible. Actually I think this was also the reason why we wanted a record deal in the first place as it's easier to play concerts when you have released a record and concerts are probably the greatest invention in the world. We don't feel that there is any band to which we are a 100% similar. We might not be very original but there are still aspects of our music which separate us from other bands. What we're doing is to play what we like and it is really nice to know that someone else also enjoys what we do.
Which are your goals in the music industry?
So far we have all got individual goals but we strive to find a common one. For the time being we are having these band gatherings where we try to define our ultimate goal, a goal every one of us are a 100% satisfied with. My personal aim is to beat the Beatles, haha.
Ok! Tell me now, how were the reactions towards your release, so far?
Already our demo has received outstanding reviews from reviewers all over the world but our debut album "Fragments of a Withered Dream" has not been released yet. Of course we hope that the critics will like it as well! A few of the people we know in the Danish metal business have heard some of the new songs and everyone seems to like it so we are quite excited to see how it will be received once released.
Under which term would you classify your music? Would you just call it "melodic death metal"?
I guess you can call our music "melodic and atmospheric death / black metal". We listen to very different music within the band and as a natural result of this, we combine features from most of the music we listen to, mainly atmospheric black metal and melodic death metal. This way we end up with a musical genre which is more unique than the typical Swedish death metal in our opinion.
In order to help people have a better idea about what you play, will you tell us your most important influences? Which artists made you take a guitar and say "yeah, this is what I wanna do!"? I guess Dark Tranquillity must be on top of the list...!
During our six years of groping to find out what kind of music we actually want to play, we have never just agreed on playing some specific genre. It has simply been a natural development throughout the years that has brought us to where we are now: playing exactly the type of music that we enjoy. I must admit that this isn't the first time that we have heard people compare our music to DT but actually we don't quite agree on this even though I realize that there are certain similarities. But I believe that our music is a lot more inspired by black metal, meaning that you can find both more aggression and atmosphere in our music. Especially on our forthcoming album. Sure, we like DT a lot but it is neither among our absolute favorite bands nor the most important sources of inspiration. There you'll find Cradle of Filth, In Flames and the amazing Swedish band Embraced along with many others, I guess. But I always find it difficult to tell exactly where the influences come from as I don't believe it merely to be music that gives you inspiration. All kinds of experiences, everyday situations and stuff like that influence the way you write music just as much as your favorite bands. However, to specify our type of music as a mixture between the mentioned bands wouldn't be all wrong, I guess.
As for your lyrics now, what themes do you deal with?
On our demo-cd, "Quadrology of Sorrow", we wrote the lyrics as a connected story about a person who got insane after having experienced a huge sorrow. As far as our debut album, "Fragments of a Withered Dream", it's a bit more difficult to characterize the lyrics. One reason is that they have not been written by the same person and therefore they are different, both regarding the themes and the composition. Most of them, however, deal with themes such as existential problems, self-deception and broken illusions ("withered dreams".). The title of the album is chosen as we consider each of the songs - lyrics - to represent a fragment of some person's once compound and promising dream, which has now withered.
And how much are those lyrics important to you? I mean, generally there seems to be a general rule in the metal scene that lyrics are not so important in a song, with which I strongly disagree...
Our main focus in the band is to compose some music that works, the lyrical perspective comes in second hand. We see ourselves as musicians, not poets. The music is our real passion but this doesn't mean that we don't care about the lyrics at all and we always try to make the music and the lyrics fit together as much as possible.
I believe that there are two kinds of artists: the ones who play mostly to express themselves and the ones who play mostly because they love music. Under which category would you place yourself?
I guess we belong to the latter category. We play simply because we love it and can't imagine ourselves doing anything else. Of course we also have an utter lust to express ourselves but the main reason why we play is because we love to. You know, there's nothing like having the opportunity to create something that others can enjoy. When we have spent a long time to write a song then there is nothing which beats the feeling when other people really appreciate it.
Really, what are your relations with -the magical word- evolution? There are bands who don't care about it very much (or even try to avoid it), whereas others seem to be very interested in that aspect. How important is evolution to Compos Mentis?
Of course we will always try to evolve so that we can make the best possible music and still remain within the death/black genre but don't worry, we won't incorporate electronic elements in our music. Personally, I don't like it when a band has released three albums in three different genres but on the other hand I also dislike it when a band has released three albums so similar that you only need their first cd in order to have all their work.
As almost every new band, you had your own Quest for the Holy Grail, the search for a label... If I'm not mistaken, this search finally came to an end! Will you tell us some more info on that?
For starters we recorded a demo in and sent out 450 copies to magazines, labels and tons of other people. We got overwhelming response and all of a sudden an offer from the American label Lost Disciple Records appeared. While negotiating, we received several other offers from labels like Nocturnal Music, MS recs. and a few others that I don't remember right now. But we ended up signing with Lost Disciple.
Do you see Compos Mentis more as a studio band or a live band?
Actually a little of both, we enjoy being in the studio and going into every little detail, being totally focused on the music and becoming just a little bit insane while recording, but on the other hand playing live is so much fun. Tons of beer and like-minded people to drink the beer with, the concert itself and the mutual hangover-jokes the day after. But we always try to deliver the best possible energetic show and give people a good evening.
So, are there any lives scheduled?
Right now we don't have any gigs scheduled until autumn but after the release of our album, we plan to do some serious live playing and simply play the shit out of people, haha!
Ok, and now, for the end a really original question: Tell us your near future plans! :-)))
The reason why we don't have any concerts scheduled right now is that we have decided to concentrate on writing new material for our next album. We feel that right now is a good time for us to write new music as it takes a lot of energy to compose music and therefore we have chosen to focus on this one thing first. But as mentioned, when our debut album, "Fragments of a Withered Dream", has been released in the autumn, we will play as many concerts as possible so that more people get to know about Compos Mentis!
Anything more to add?
Well thanks for this interview, hope that some of the readers will drop by at www.composmentis.dk and listen to some of the songs that we have uploaded and maybe send us their comments.