Derelict's Eric and Max Reality In-Take

Hailing from Montreal, Derelict mixes the brutal and technical elements of the Quebec metal scene with listenable structures and melody, resulting in an unforgiving yet accessible package one that can only be called only as... Derelict! Vocalist Eric Burnet and guitarist/vocalist Max Lussier took the time to talk about the brutalizing tactics that make up such an intense reality of music.

1. Where does a name like Derelict come from and does it mean anything?

ERIC: The name Derelict was originally the title for the song 'Flames Of The Righteous', from our first album. At the time we were called Foreshadow, but decided to change our name to match changes in the band. Derelict was a cool band name, and Flames Of The Righteous was a great replacement song title. The concept behind that song and the name is a metaphor. A derelict ship is one that is afloat with no crew, aimless, abandoned. It was meant to reflect the direction society has taken.

2. Can you tell me about the title for your latest album Perpetuation?

ERIC: Perpetuation is about the choice between continuing the ridiculous system we currently use to manage the planet or moving on to something new. It's also a nod to our struggles as a band and our decision to continue making music after a challenging period producing this album.

3. Does this release have a concept behind it?

ERIC: Not specifically, but most of the songs are critical of current human behaviors' and social systems. A few, like Yours To Surpass, Shackles Of Indoctrination and Emergence encourage positive thinking and personal power as paths to take.

4. Tell us the brief history of your band.

ERIC: The band was formed by myself and our original guitar player Daryl, coming together in the ashes of his old band with the goal of combining far-reaching influences within metal. We quickly found Jordan, and released a few albums with different bass players. I was playing guitar and singing in the beginning, but following some wrist problems, Max stepped in and it became immediately apparent that we were better as a 5-piece. We had some more lineup struggles, and Jordan, Max and I put out Perpetuation just the three of us with the help of Seb Pittet from Switzerland on bass. When putting Perpetuation together, we decided to focus more on the brutal, fast, melodic and technical aspects of our sound, and cut out a bit of the experimentation. We wanted to make a solid unified musical statement. We now have a great lineup rounded out by Xavier Sperdouklis on bass and Simon Cléroux on guitar (also in The Unconscious Mind), and things are going very well. We're looking forward to releasing some material as this lineup!

5. What type of band are you?

MAX: Musically I would say our music is pretty relentless. There isn't much chilling out on a Derelict record. Although we like to incorporate melodic elements, at the end of the day we’re a technical death metal band. There are no “core” breakdowns or fluttery moments in our music. It’s fast, brutal and sometimes it can get rhythmically complex. As humans our band is really laid back and down-to-earth. At least that’s the way I see it. Also there is never a Derelict session without a few guffaws of laughter. That’s something I love about being in this band. We take the music seriously but we don’t always take ourselves seriously.

6. Who are your musical influences?

MAX: As a band our influences are extremely far-ranging. Speaking for myself I drew a lot of influence from the 90’s progressive death scene with bands like Death, Cynic and Atheist but I also like to draw from other Quebec bands like Martyr and Neuraxis. Artists like Django Reinheardt, Suffocation, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, !T.O.O.H.!, Frank Zappa and Charles Mingus have also had a profound effect on me. As far as new bands are concerned I love Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless, Revocation and Gorod among others. I know Jordan grew up as a huge fan of The Cure and loves German drummer Benny Greb. Eric loves death metal as well as more progressive stuff like Yes and Ihsahn. Simon has progressive and maybe more black metal influences like Old Man’s Child and Pink Floyd. Xavier is kind of like me in that he listens to a ton of metal but also learned some jazz and likes progressive and technical music like Obscura and Augury. Overall the influences in this band are extremely diverse. Hopefully it’ll help us keep our music fresh.

7. Who writes the songs, what are they about?

MAX: The writing has become extremely collaborative. For Perpetuation it was usually Eric or me who would show up with a song and everyone would sit down and dissect it until we decided it was a Derelict song. Some songs like “Yours to Surpass” and “The Iridium Layer” required little to no editing while others like “Olympic”, which Jordan brought in, and “Digital Birthright” took over a year to write. As far as new material is concerned the collaborative process is well under way. I've been writing a ton of music but Simon has brought in some awesome material and Eric also has some material we’re going to work on. I love songwriting and the new songs have me very excited.

8. Out of all of the members in the band who would be the winner at headbanging?

MAX: Considering only two of our members have long hair at this point, it has to be between Simon and Xavier. I would give the nod to Xav I think as his windmilling can be pretty epic.

9. When it comes to performing what's your favorite type of headbang to perform?

MAX: Having short hair, my options are a little limited haha. I try to make up for it with facial hair and metal faces. I guess my most common form of headbanging is “the nod”, where I tilt my head back and forth. I guess you could call it the classic form.  

10. Describe your show, visually and musically for us.

MAX: Energetic. As musicians we work extremely hard to make the show sound as tight as possible. It’s technical music so we need to play precisely. However we like to rock out as hard as possible and connect visually with our audience. Eric is constantly in motion and has a few awesome power stances. We also love playing live together so there’s a lot of camaraderie on stage.

11. How do you promote your band and shows?

ERIC: I run my own music PR company, Ricburn Media, and through that I do a lot of media outreach, both international and local for our different live dates. We try to keep in close contact with fans, and also pass out physical stuff like free download cards in the real world on top of doing the usual website, Facebook, Twitter stuff.

12. What image do you think your music conveys?

ERIC: Hopefully one of positivity and strength. It's challenging to play fast, aggressive and technical music, and for me personally, it's much more about creating positivity from negativity, and proving personal power by achieving something. We're not one of those bands who pretend to be evil or rock stars or anything like that. We’re just five regular guys out to play some intense music. Good times and artistic expression, that's what it's about for us.

13. How do you describe your music to people?

ERIC: "Technical death metal". When people have no idea about the metal scene, I just let them think what they want. People who aren't even moderately into heavy music probably won't like us, so I don't waste too much time explaining it. If they are into metal though, I'll say something like "a cross between Death, Obscura and The Black Dahlia Murder". Or I'll just pretend we're a hip hop band.

14. What inspires you to do what you do?

ERIC: Personal expression. Connecting with people. Being able to put something real out there in the world that affects people. Proving to myself that I can do it and always get better.

MAX: I don’t know what I would do if I couldn't write and play music. It’s just such an integral part of who I am. I've learned so much about myself through music. I guess it’s the constant personal evolution of creating something that keeps me doing this.

15. What advice would you give to fellow bands?

MAX: Practice, have fun, plan out your objectives, practice, play shows, gain experience and regularly make sure that all your members are on the same page. Oh yeah, and practice.

16. Anything else you want to add?

MAX: We definitely would like to thank you for the interview and thank anyone who takes the time to read this and listen to underground bands. Cheers!

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