Since their inception back in 2002 Dutch death metal outfit The Monolith Deathcult (TMDC) stunned the extreme metal community with their highly original musical approach and their off-beat sense of humor. With Tetragrammaton, the band’s latest album, they pushed the envelope once again. Enough reason for Kaat van Doremalen to have a little chat with the gents at Graspop Metal Meeting..
This is the first time you guys played on Graspop. How do you look back on the experience?
We’ve been to Graspop as visitors in the past few years and it was always a great experience. It was also nice to experience the event from the other side of the fence so to speak. The organisation is really professional and we got treated like royalty. The food was excellent and we also had the chance to watch some other bands performing.
If you had the chance to organise your own event, what would it be like?
A silent disco would be a lot of fun. Just kidding, we would choose bands that share the feel and atmosphere of our own music. Bands like Slipknot and Rammstein would be great to have on the bill. We would love to organise a show that would be like theirs, a true feast for the eyes and ears. Bands without any show elements are just plain boring to watch. What would a band like Rammstein be without pyrotechnics and a light show? We feel a live show should be a total experience and that’s why we don’t play in crappy bars anymore. We feel our fans deserve the full TMDC live experience.
The band has made quite a name for itself. What’s your secret?
Having a big mouth and ton of attitude doesn’t hurt. However, the most important part is that we have high standards as far as our music and live shows go. I feel we deliver on both fronts. Having a professional outlook on things goes a long way in the music industry as well. Our biggest asset is our collective interest in a wide array of different music. All these different influences allows us to look past genre boundaries and it prevents us from stagnating as a band. Having an open mind keeps our music fresh and exciting for our fans.
Can you give specific examples by which you measure the band’s success?
We get better tour offers and the scale of our shows has grown over the years as well. Our show in the Metaldome here at Graspop is the biggest one we’ve done so far. Recently we signed a deal with Season Of Mist, which is a very prestigious metal label. Our bookings are handled by TMR Metal Productions and they’re a big part in the growth we’ve experienced so far. Our notoriety grows after each successive show, which translates into more “likes” on our Facebook page. That’s a good indication we’re on the right track.
Tetragrammaton, the band latest album, received lots of accolades from the metal press. Are you surprised by this?
No, because the quality of our new album is really good. The overall quality of our compositions and the high calibre production sets us apart from the rest. We dare to be different and we refuse to give in to the uniformity that plagues the metal scene in general nowadays. There are exceptions of course, but generally speaking when you look at a band logo you exactly know what you can expect. When we work on new material it should be interesting to us. We really don’t care what the outside world may think of it. Luckily, a lot of fans have grown with us over the years. They totally understand what The Monolith Deathcult is all about. To set the record straight, we also received a lot of bad press for Tetragrammaton. We’re a typical love it or hate it band. That’s totally fine with us, because it gives us an element of danger and it’s an extra incentive for people to check us out.
Which TMDC tracks work best in a live setting?
Through the years we noticed that our full on blastbeat material don’t always work well with a crowd. Those songs may work well in the context of an album, but they don’t necessarily translate well in a live situation. That’s why we prefer to play the songs that have clear recognisable elements and not to saturate the crowd with relentless blastbeats. Tracks like ‘Wrath Of The Ba’ath’ and ‘Kindertodeslied’ off our Triumvirate album always do well. Pretty much all the songs from our new album are well received by our fans. It might have to do with the fact that I wrote many tracks with a live setting in mind.
Musicality, atmosphere or energy, which of these elements matters most to you?
Musicality is very important, because it forms the cornerstone of this band. Maintaining a certain level of energy is important as well, because watching a band performing without any zeal or conviction is a very dull experience. Creating a certain atmosphere is also very important, because it captivates a crowd. When you find the right mix between said elements, you’re able to deliver the full experience as a band. As I said before, delivering the full package to our fans is what The Monolith Deathcult is all about.
Kaat van Doremalen