Answered by: Andreas & Ken
MR: Hello Compos Mentis, we would like to thank you for letting us interview you here at Metal Revolution. Could you short tell us the beginning of Compos Mentis.
Compos Mentis: Well, three of us (Ryan, Jesper and myself) originally started playing Metallica songs back in '96 but after a short while we enlisted Dan on bass and began composing music ourselves. We soon discovered the melodic death and black metal from our northern neighbours and our music began turning towards such genres. In '99 Bo joined the band on keyboards and from that point things began to take form with us recording actual demos and all that.
MR: You had recently recorded a new album Gehennesis, how do you think the fans and media will react on the new CD? Got any reactions so far?
Compos Mentis: As always it's extremely difficult to predict how people will react but as far as I'm concerned, Gehennesis marks a very big step up the ladder compared to our debut. It's been four years since that album was released and we have learned a lot in the meantime – both as musicians and as composers. Also, the tracks that we have uploaded to our website and Myspace have been praised by a lot of people so I'm confident that the album will be well received.
MR: Who came up with the idea to start Compos Mentis, and does it have some kind of meaning?
Compos Mentis: As mentioned above, three of us originally just started out playing Metallica songs for the fun of it but year after year things have become more and more serious so you can't actually say that we had a certain intention from the beginning. However, if you refer to the name Compos Mentis (meaning something like "of sound mind"), we chose it as we thought it sounded cool but also because we take this whole thing quite seriously, both as regards the music and the lyrics.
MR: What are your topics for the lyrics and do you have any specific messages or thoughts that you'd like to tell about in your lyrics? In other words; where do you find the inspiration when writing them?
Compos Mentis: The inspiration comes from all around: books, movies, other lyrics, history, everyday life, philosophy, etc. As far as the lyrics from Gehennesis, we have discussed them with one of our friends who is very interested in literature and I feel that this has resulted in some quite strong lyrics this time. In one way or the other they all deal with the individual human being's potential to create his / her own way of life instead of just following some ideology, religion, moral theory or whatever. This is reflected in the album title, which is a wordplay combining "Gehenna" (Hell) and "genesis" (creation), as God can be seen to symbolize all forms of systematism whereas Hell is interpreted as the absence of God. That is, Hell is a (mental) state in which the individual itself creates its own meaning of life.
MR: How would you describe your music style? I mean you have influences from bands like Dimmu Borgir, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. Or is it a combination of all bands or do you have a favourite genre?
Compos Mentis: Yeah, we are definitely mainly inspired by bands such as those mentioned above but as we have very different musical preferences within the band (you name it, one of us digs it), there are also a lot of other elements to be found in our music. Therefore we have simply chosen to label our style "symphonic rock from Hell" as that sums it up pretty good!
MR: What does it take for Denmark and the Danes to become a metal scene which is about professional and crafted melodic black metal?
Compos Mentis: Hm, right now death/thrash seems to be the buzz word, I guess. Sooner or later the focus will probably shift again but if this means that a new genre will emerge or bands will be inspired by melodic death / black or some other genre, that is really difficult to say at this point. No matter what the Danish scene has become very professional lately!
MR: Which moments in Danish metal make you proud?
Compos Mentis: I'd have to say "the recent years" instead of picking out one moment because it's really great to see so many talented and professional Danish bands doing so well – now that all other Scandinavian countries have had their turn, it seems to be up to us now, haha!
MR: According to your webpage you will have a release party for Gehennesis at Billabong Bar in Aarhus on the 23rd of March. How do you expect it to be?
Compos Mentis: One hell of a party – Billabong will be rocking like never before, haha! We are going to play a short concert and after that people will get to hear the new album while drinking a few beers on our account.
MR: Do you guys have any other projects going on besides Compos Mentis?
Compos Mentis: I play keyboards in Mare Crisium (black metal) and drums in Bloodsoil (brutal trashy death) and Ken also plays in Bloodsoil. The rest of the guys don't have other bands, but Ryan studies at the music academy in Esbjerg so he almost spends all of his time with music.
MR: ...and now I want to hear something about your plans for the future? Where do you see CM in let's say five years from now?
Compos Mentis: On the way to the bank to withdraw all the millions that we have made from the music, haha! Probably not, but things are going really well right now, especially with Rune and Ken as new members so I feel that there's good potential for us to take this quite far... At least we are very eager to make this work but let's talk again in five years and then we'll see!
MR: Thank you very much indeed. Any closing remarks for our metal readers?
Compos Mentis: If you are interested, show up at the release party or check out the music on the newly uploaded e-card (at composmentis.dk). And thanks a lot for taking the time to read through this!