| Please introduce yourself and your band. Where are you from and what kind of music do you play?|
Hello, and thanks for your interest in our band! We are Totengott, a three-piece band from Asturias (North Spain) and this is Jose Mora (drums) writing. It is not easy for us to define the kind of music that we play, but if we need to “tag” it somehow, I believe that “dark / doom metal” might fit pretty well. We play slow, dark and raw metal.
Can you lay out in the history of the band a bit? Where have you started where are you now?
Totengott started officially like two years ago as a Celtic Frost tribute band. We covered the swiss band during the first year and we wrote and played our own songs during the second year. Everything moved very quickly for Totengott, as in this period of time we have already prepared two different live sets (one with covers, another one with original songs), we have recorded two demos (also covers and originals) and we have played a lot of shows, even sharing stage with bands like Sodom, Entombed AD, Horn of the rhino or Holy Moses. We are a pretty hard working band. We are also very surprised of how much people has digged what we do and how easy and fast things have been flowing for the band since we started.
You have originally started as a Celtic Frost cover band. Why did you pick this band and what part of their discography would be favoured by you?
Celtic Frost has been one of our favorite bands for years. The three of us are huge fans of Tom G Warrior’s ability to write killer songs and riffs where his undeniable personality is always present. No matter if it’s Hellhammer, Celtic Frost or Triptykon, you can always recognize his trademark in the guitars, vocals, lyrics and the whole ambience of the songs. Also, we admire his bravery to evolve and try new styles and sounds throughout his whole career. An artist in the purest way.
We used to cover a lot of tracks from the first two albums “Morbid Tales / Emperor’s Return” and “To Mega Therion”, but with a “21st Century Celtic Frost approach”. We played all of them in the doomy, low-tuning “Monotheist” style. We also covered the epic “Synagoga Satanae” in its entirety, slowing it down even more than the original. Some would be happy to hear that we never played any song from “Cold lake” and “Vanity / Nemesis”, despite we have joked about covering “Cherry orchards” several times, just to see the audience’s reaction. Playing a song from “Into the pandemonium” is in our “to do” list.
What about other bands, whose tracks have a certain fascination for you. Could you name some and some tracks you would like to cover. Maybe even give some reasons why.
We are very eclectic music listeners and we have discussed several times the possibility of covering other bands, some of them out of the metal scene: Pink Floyd, Bauhaus, David Bowie, Voivod, Killing Joke… we can’t help talking about possible covers as we love music in general and we are always open to new sounds and influences, but at the moment we are more focused into finishing our new songs than covering other bands.
In 2015 you had your first release with tracks written by you. How much of Celtic Frost is there still in it?
Well, there is an obvious Celtic Frost / Triptykon influence in it, not only on the sound of the band but also in the philosophy of taking risks and being brave when we were composing our own music, but if you listen carefully, you will also hear influences of Voivod, Conan, early Pink Floyd or classic composer Krysztof Penderecki. We are working in some new material that will add more ingredients to the mix.
Let me guess, the tracks on your latest demo release appear in the order in which these had been composed. First the short one and then a long one towards the end, right? Is there any particular reason for what their length?
Well, the songs were composed in this order : first “Satan beside you” (13:26), then “Delusion of negation” (08:46) and finally “Doppelgänger” (20:10). There is not a particular reason for the songs to be this long, it´s not something we made on purpose but playing slow riffs and loving to experiment with musical structures might have helped the songs to become this long. In the future we don’t discard working on shorter and longer songs. You never know!
As the music is either intense and fast as well as slow and atmospheric, it might be of interest to know how you approach the aspect of contrasts. Do you plan the evolution of a track and have a checklist so to speak on what can/should/must be in one?
We try to avoid limitations when we work on our songs so I guess that it’s normal for us to reach different sounds at the end of the day. We don’t have a proper “checklist” when we write but we know what we expect from the band and we are always open to try new things. Most of the ideas come already pre conceived from “home” demos that Chou write, but in the rehearsal place we end up working on that contrast aspects you mention by arranging parts differently, mixing different ideas and basically re-thinking the material we might be working on. We have a pretty similar way of understanding Totengott so we are pretty straight forward workers and it doesn’t take us much time to decide about what we like and dislike in our songs.
What would be the core essences of your music? How would you describe your own sound and style?
As commented, dark / slow / dirty / experimental / doomy metal. Not easy for us to “tag” ourselves, so feel free to hear us in http://totengott.bandcamp.com/ and make your own conclusions.
Could you write a bit about the band name? Has there been a special reason why you have taken it?
Totengott” is the german voice for “God of the dead”. We chose it when we started as a Celtic Frost tribute band. The “Totengott” is a common figure in a lot of ancients cultures, he usually judges if human souls deserve to live eternally or should have a “second death”. In the egiptian culture its Osiris, Hades in the greek one, etc. It sounds cool, too.
As your latest demo had been recorded live and on stage, there is the question on whether you try to play the music as it has been written or whether you are open to experiments on stage and try to add something to it every time you play in front of an audience.
Just a small correction, out of the “2016 Demo”, only “Doppelgänger” is recorded live. “Delusion of negation” and “Satan beside you” are studio tracks. I believe that we add something extra when we play our stuff on stage, but more related to the performance and ambience we create than to the songs themselves (which sound pretty similar to the “studio versions”). We are very passionate players, we drain ourselves in every performance, and if we feel comfortable on stage we can deliver really powerful shows. Also, I believe people can notice that and gets somehow dragged by the strength and general atmosphere of our shows.
How can someone get in touch with you and where can someone find your music?
You can reach us via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/totengottmetal) or email (email@example.com), and you can hear us on Bandcamp (http://totengott.bandcamp.com/).
What would be the future plans for your band?
We are working on a few new songs, in order to probably record a full length album before the year ends. This doesn’t mean that we are going to record only the new stuff as we might re record some of the “Demo” songs you have already heard. We consider them “non-final” versions, so we will continue writing, decide what fits better into a proper first album, and record them when the time is right. We are looking for labels to release this, so if any label is reading this and might be interested… here we are.
Closing comments if you like
Thanks again for your interest in Totengott, nice interview. See you on the road. UGH!!