Rarely do I ever talk about some of the fundamental bands that pushed me to blogging about dark arts. Today, I’d like to correct myself by presenting one of them whose influence is major for just one particular reason, in my humble view. Deinonychus captures the darkest and utterly inhuman acts in a real, totally raw and destructive manner. A manifestation of that side of the human psyche that is buried deep down beneath each of us. Without further due, meet the band’s mastermind Marco Kehren:
First of all let me thank you for the time spent with SBM. I find Deinonychus’s legacy essential for the underground arts, thus your contribution to our interview section holds a special place. Visitors can find a pretty well-rounded summary of what Deinonychus stands for in general in your Bandcamp page. However, could you elaborate on what’s that trigger returning you to deepest of misery ever since 1993?
It has been an everlasting hunger to convey deepest parts of my inner self into word and sound engulfed in a most melancholic and eerie way. Something which wasn’t really possible with it’s predecessor Malefic Oath in between 1991-1992, with whom I did a demo called “The land where evil dwells” back in June 1992. So Deinonychus started out to be a one-man outfit, to evolve in a full line-up band over the last 27 years. Still spreading misery…
No matter the years, the trends and ever so changing musical climates, you continue to explore your own paths seeking nothing in the outside world as it seems. What is Deinonychus for you in the first place? Do you see it as a reflection of the utmost gruesome things in life collectively or there is far more?
In the early years Deinonychus merely was a reflection of my inner self regarding the world around me in all it’s facets. Nowadays I collect most of Deinonychus’ inspiration from anti-life aspects all around us, in every form given. Being dramatized in much occasions, it brings forth what one either loves, or hates in Deinonychus. In regard of the music, I just do what fits most the conceptional idea behind Deinonychus, and what lies in my powers.
Death appears to be a significant part of your legacy. Frankly, I haven’t delved as much as I’d wish into the lyrics for that matter, so could you outline how you perceive life and death? Moreover, what is creation to you; a gift or a curse?
Creation definitely is a gift rather than a curse, hence to a lot of people it rather can be a curse given the circumstances life can offer, such as war etc. Life in many aspects has something rational whereas death is being something mystique, feared by many. For some reason it has something I feel drawn to; and I like to set myself apart with it, albeit in a musical or lyrical aspect. But so does life.
I am myself often thinking of what and why we are what we are and as crazy as it may sound, with all the great pitfalls and goods of our humanity, it’s all just fine as it is. The terror, destruction, inequality, death all the way to happiness and prosperity. Don’t you think that in a way existence is like a sophisticated comedy? We all have our parts and we play them just as well as when we fuck up tremendously.
I reckon most depends on what spot of the world you were born, and how fortune or misfortuned that may be. I guess in order to keep a little sane from it, one shouldn’t been philosophical 24 hrs a day 7 days per week. 😉
Now, let me switch the gears for a while since I sometimes tend to get carried away with deep thinking. Metal, especially it’s darkest shades are a special form of art. What is it to you and how does it impact your life?
In metal I’m especially fond of the more dark, melancholic and slower tunes, hence I’m also fond of the fast paced black metal tunes with a mere depressive touch, like bands from the Ukraine have for example. It surely has plastered my path of life and will do it to the end. But I’m also quite inspired by non-metal bands which owe the same ingredients as the above mentioned do….
When you work on Deinonychus, what’s the main thing that you concern yourself when it comes to delivering every fragment of an album? For instance, many genuine artists are constantly battling with getting ahead of themselves with each piece in the pursuit of growth. Just like a constant race where better is never enough. Regardless, do you put that much stress on yourself when you are creating or it’s more like sudden impulses that lead the way?
It really comes from both ways. I definitely lay upon me quite some stress when composing an album, as to put things in a timeframe, and on the other hand I’m leading my self through sudden impulses which make it feel right to do things, rather than stressing myself out. I tend to get lead by my feelings and emotions when composing an album, it just works better for me, and doesn’t cloud my perceivance when creating songs.
I must say that your vocals in particular are both incredibly admirable and frightening at the same time as they paint a detailed picture of torment. I think it’s very easy to spot when vocalists act it out and when it is honest to the core. I do notice especially with your later releases that there is a shift leaning towards aggressiveness rather than dramatism. Could you share more about this and usually how it goes when recording?
Yes I concur in that! In the first half of the Deinonychus era; the vocals where more of a dramatic nature as due to the lyrical concepts given in each album back then; whereas in the later half of releases; the vocals tend to be more aggressive due to the nature of the lyrics. Personally I fancy the latter more. Recording voices, purely goes with a improvising nature. Hence I know and plan more or less where to adapt lyrics and where to sing them in parts of the songs; the nature of sound is given at the spot while recording. Thus I never rehearse my vocal parts.
With “Ode to Acts of Murder, Dystopia and Suicide” Deinonychus does make a very big and quite bold statement in times when people get offended for no reason at all. First, what interests me given the annihilating characteristics of the album is what pushed you to go for that direction? Not just the title itself but the whole entirety of this experience?
I’m actually very interested in the dehumanization process people get into, albeit due suicide thoughts, or the destruction of others and such. Further on, jealousy and revenge are topics of interests I work with in the given album. And since I work in a federal prison; working with murderers and all other sorts of criminals, I obviously get inspired….
In the vein of the above question, have you faced any opposition in regards to your latest album?
Far from that, thus to speak; the album gained very good critics and was welcomed very positive by the majority, as well by Deinonychus fans who’d thought it’s predecessor “Warfare Machines” from 2007 wasn’t really their cup of tea. “Ode to…” was a a well combined mixture of the complete Deinonychus era in all it’s facets, I actually dig it as well and still do;)
Speaking of black metal, I feel like I have to ask you what you think about this genre especially after its dramatic metamorphosis over the years. Do you get yourself immersed with the latest releases within this genre?
For years I don’t really follow the black metal scene or whatever to call it, anymore. Although I still find it appealing in many ways, and by times I dig up some bands which really impress me a lot, be it that they have been around for years, or just have been formed, it doesn’t matter for me. Just to name two bands which really impressed me, are Severoth from the Ukraine and Kapala from Germany. Obviously, I can name a few more, but not that it really matters…
I believe you’ve witnessed yourself the emerging of so-many shades of black metal coming along with various concepts etc. over the years. In that sense, do labels/sub-categories hold any importance no matter the artistic manifestation in your opinion?
No, I guess all that labelling of styles and categorizing styles make things just more complicated as it already seems like, especially when labels also decide to have sub-labels in order to releasing things under a different banner. Of course there are different styles within black or death metal and such, but whats the point of label all of these bands under a different moniker? Sometimes it also makes it more difficult for people to identify themselves with one or another genre….
You’ve mentioned doing some work in a federal prison. Could you talk about any particular bit of a story from your job that influenced you a great deal creatively-wise?
I work as a reintegration coach for prisoners. I hear all kinds of stories which definitely in times work very influential for me, and work with all kinds of felonies, from murders (multiple) to anything worse or less. More I can’t really share for the sakes of it. 😉
I don’t clearly remember what source it was, but I read an interview where you shared that Deinonychus’s future from the “Odes” album on is unclear. If I am not wrong, could you tell more about what’s your vision about the band?
Guess that’s something I’d said in that book, “Black Metal: Into the Abyss” from Dayal Patterson. It was the first interview I did in 10 years with Deinonychus, not knowing at that time what and how to do, as the band was in hibernation for a decade. As for now I can say that there will be a follow up to “Ode…”……