The Recently Deceased's Begs for Mercy By Making Themselves Bleed

Psycho rock n' roller horror punks The Recently Deceased have unleashed their latest album "Never Trust The Living" and have gone on tours, playing shows, and always writing for up-and-coming new releases and future plans all jammed into something awesome! That has lead the trio to discuss that album and future plans for the upcoming year.

1. Introduce yourself; tell me what you do in The Recently Deceased?

MM: Matt Mayhem, I play upright bass, and vocals.

RW: Robbie Whiplash, I play guitar, and vocals.

JP: Jeremy Phoenix, drums, and vocals.

2. Can I get a back story on the band/ band biography?

MM: The band started off in 2009. I was sick and tired of being in bands that never toured, or went anywhere, so I decided I was going to have a crack at starting something that really tried to be something special. We went through a bunch of members, but to make a very long and confusing story short, we toured for a bunch of years with hired guns or whoever we could find, until Rob came along. Rob and I pretty much were the Recently Deceased for years. We put so many miles of highway behind us touring the country with hired guns; it would blow your mind. After recording “Never Trust The Living”, we finally found and hired a permanent drummer, Jeremy Phoenix. Now that we aren't dealing with hired guns anymore, we are bringing a much better show to our fans.

RW: I found out about the band through a mutual friend. The guitarist had just left and Matt knew I played guitar so I came in to take over the job. By the time I was ready to hit the road with the band the drummer at the time had also left along with the singer, leaving basically Matt and I. So for the time we hired drummers for tours, and guitarists for local shows and I would sit in on the drums. Being on the road taught me a lot as far as what real professionalism is as a musician. It taught me how to be humble and it’s not about partying all the time like a lot would think, its actual work. I'm very grateful to have learned that. It also taught me that hiring people sucks. Matt and I sat down and decided we HAVE TO solidify the drummer position. So I tapped the best drummer that I know Jeremy Phoenix with whom i had also been in a previous band. At that point that was it. This is the best line up by far and the future will show that with new albums and other new things down the line.

JP: I've been in several bands throughout my life and have seen a lot of great groups of musicians.  I definitely feel blessed to be the new full time permanent drummer of the band!  The Recently Deceased is not just a band, or group of friends, it is a business.  There is a strong camaraderie between us that goes way deeper than that of other groups I have been a part of.  On stage it seems that we always know what each other is thinking.  It makes for a well-balanced, fun show for all!  Off the stage we all have different roles that we play and work together to accomplish our goals.  I foresee us going quite far with this well thought out business model.  One of the greatest things I have seen has been the response from the crowds when we play!  We have played for all kinds of different crowds.  This includes rock, metal, punk, rockabilly, and even Goth Crowds.  I am happy to say that we definitely pleased them all!  Venue Owners won’t let us leave after the show without booking our next gig with them! It is truly a humbling feeling to play a show and see the fans singing the lyrics back to us!

3. Where is the band based out of?  What is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

MM: We are based out of Baltimore, MD. We have a decent scene here. The only problem with Baltimore, is that there are so many good bands, and so many good shows going on, there is always something to do, so it’s a bit over saturated. Needless to say, there are way too many great bands to name drop them all. The only way to figure out who you like is to get your ass out to a show!

4. Why did you want to go and call yourselves The Recently Deceased? What is the representation behind that name and what does it symbolize and mean for the band?

MM: I can't remember who exactly came up with the name, I think it may have been our old guitar player Paulie. The name came from one of our all-time favorite movies, Beetlejuice. The movie is a dark comedy and pretty much sums up the way we are. We definitely have a horror theme, but in a fun almost comical way. In the movie, there is a book called the “Handbook for the Recently Deceased”, it was almost too perfect, so we named our band after it.

5. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?

RW: Our style varies really. We fall under at category of Psychobilly mainly because of the upright bass, but because we touch on every part of what rock and roll is we came to call ourselves Psycho Rock and Roll. Our influences include Rockabilly, Metal, Goth, Punk, Horror, Blues, Glam, Industrial, and even Synthpop. Pretty much anything based in the key of Rock and Roll. The Best way to describe us is simply put we are all of that and none of that.

MM: Whenever people ask me what style of music we play, I always tell them to close their eyes, open their minds and imagine a “Gothic Motorhead with an upright bass”. We have so many bands that we are into that influence our sound, it would be far too many to list, but like Robbie said, we draw from a vast library of styles, and try to include everything we love into our music.

JP: I come from a very different world originally.  My first band that I played in was at the age of 16.  We were a touring “big band jazz act.”  As a young child I grew up listening to hair metal of the 80’s.  You could say that MTV was a parent of mine!  As I got older I still have the same love for all of those great bands, but you would normally see me in my car listening to power metal.  I would definitely say that my chops come from playing in DCI and DCA Drum and Bugle Corps such as Southwind, The Bushwackers, and Windsor Regiment.  As far as personal influences, I would have to say that two drummers stand out above the rest for me, Buddy Rich and Virgil Donati.  Pay attention to my drum fills and you will hear alternate movements and patterns that you would not normally see in any rock genre.        

6. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

MM: For the most part, our lyrics have a very dark or Gothic tone to them. Most of our songs are written like mini horror stories. Our message is very simple, we like monsters, vampires, and evil things that go bump in the night. We built this entire band on it. Recently, we started writing more about our experiences on the road, and little things that life has thrown our way. I'm not saying that we are all out of monster juice, because there is definitely more gas in the horror tank, but we are evolving into something more than just a band who writes about one topic.

RW: A perfect example is the song Road Warrior on the new album. I wrote this song for us about how I felt being on the road.

7. Do you write your own songs? Can you discuss the songwriting process in detail?

RW: Yes, we write all of our own material. We basically come up with ideas or parts of ideas and meet up and see what we can put together. We put in our equal input until we get something that just rips! Since we share the job of writing each song really shows our skill and creativity as a band.

MM: Like Rob said, we both sit around and come up with ideas on our own, and then we get together and pass them back and forth reshaping them and molding them into something amazing. I have always thought that if one person writes a song, the song can only be as good as the person writing it. What we do is amplify that process by passing a riff, or a hook, or a lyric back and forth until it becomes something way more powerful that what any one person could have come up with. So the writing process is pretty special to us. It enables us to create something neither of us could do on our own.

8. You've released a single and video for the song "Back Again" can you tell me about those and can we expect to see another video in the future?

RW: The story for BACK AGAIN is pretty simple, Revenge. It’s about finding the love of your life murdered, and killing the murderers. The entire video reflects the lyrical content of the song. In the video we got to have lot of fun killing some of our pals, as well as work with the fabulous pin up model Nikki Doll. All and all it was a really good time!

MM: When our old singer Sean left the band to pursue a family and career, we were all heartbroken. This was one of the many songs he wrote for us. Its entire story was just so well written, we knew it was going to make a great video one day. With the help of our good friends Larry and Brian at Dark Circle Films, we spent a very cold, and very windy 3 weekends filming. We had the pleasure of working with our very good friend Nikki Doll, and had an amazing time killing our friends Robert “Fireball” Mitchell, Richard Reich, and Sean K. Preston. There will be more videos in the future, including a live concert we are going to shoot, and then release on DVD alongside the music videos. We have a lot in the works right now, and there are no signs of slowing down.

9. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

MM: Its dark, its heavy, and it has a great flow. I couldn't be happier.

RW: Straight up in your face Rock and Roll with Metal attitude and the background of classic horror genre behind us!

JP: The newest album, Never Trust The Living, is in my opinion a new genre that I would define as “Horror Metal.”

10. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

RW: Our main goal was to try and include everything we like in music, and bring out a sound that is pleasing to everyone. Everyone that comes out to see us has a little metal head, or Goth, or punk rock in them, so we wanted our style to reflect all of that. We feel that you can listen to this album alongside almost any other bands album, regardless of genre, and no matter what you are into, you can find something on the album that you like. Another goal we had was to take the songs we wrote years ago, and revamp them to show just how far we have come along.

MM: Exactly! The goal for this was definitely trying to show our vast influences, and bringing it to the masses. Regardless of if you are into metal, punk, Goth, rockabilly, horror, rock and roll, or whatever else, chances are, there is something on the album that you will like. As for revamping the songs, if you compare the old “5 songs for 5 bucks” / 545 E.P. we released a few years ago, to the recordings on this album, you can see just how far we have come. The guitars are grittier, the bass is tighter, the drums are more explosive, and the overall sound is just better than it ever has been before. It’s tight, it’s powerful, and it really has evolved from where we were 4 years ago. That was a goal we weren't even shooting for, but it just happened to turn out far greater than we were expecting.

11. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

MM: Yes. We talked about adding some synths, and samples to some of the songs to help fill them out, and give us a greater recording. Both Rob and I are really into electronic music, so we figured that we would try and include just a little bit on the album, and see if we liked it. Turns out, it works really well with what we are doing.

RW: No one really uses synths or strings in the genre we are thrown into, so the synths and orchestras you hear on this album is something we haven't done in the past, but make it just that much more epic of an album.

12. When did you start writing for this album?

MM: Writing began back in 2009 when we first started the band, but we had only ever recorded about 7 or 8 tracks. Over the years we hit the road so hard, we just never finished the album. So after years of touring to support a 5 song demo, we decided it was time to go back into the studio. Around the fall of 2012 we started getting together to finish writing the newest tracks that would complete the “Never Trust The Living” album. Since there was only Rob and I writing, it made the process both easy, and frustrating. Easy because we write well together, but frustrating because we couldn't perform the songs live as a 2 piece to hear how they sounded. After a few weeks of hitting it hard writing and demoing, we had the tracks ready to record. At first, we were only going to record the newer stuff, and release the old tracks that had been recorded previously, but after being picked up by a label, they wanted all fresh recordings of the current lineup, so we decided to start fresh, and record everything. We called up our really good friend and studio engineer extraordinaire Dustin Delage, and booked a series of weekends through November and December 2012 at Cabin Studio.    

RW: Pretty much after December we went back and forth for about 3 months putting finishing touches on things such as the backing vocals as well as synths and keyboards till it was time to leave it in the hands of Dustin to mix.

13. Did you feel any pressure whatsoever about writing and recording for this release?

MM: There is very little pressure when we record at Cabin Studio. We rent it out for entire days, so it’s not like we have the clock ticking, and are rushing. It’s a very comfortable environment, and since Dustin is one of the best guys in the business, he makes it a fun and enjoyable experience.

RW: We already knew the old songs like the back of our hand, so it wasn't too bad. The only pressure we had was playing to a click track for everything instead of with a live band. Matt and I recorded the entire album ourselves, because we still did not have a permanent drummer. Since I also play drums, we discussed keeping everything in house for the recording, instead of hiring a session drummer. We both agreed that this was the best idea, and moved forward. I played all the drums, Matt played all the bass, and we shared the guitar and vocal responsibilities. All in all we had our moments of triumph, and our moments of defeat, and even surprised ourselves here and there, but we got through it and came out with a great product.

14. How was the vibe in the studio for everybody?

MM: The vibe was great, Rob and I really write and work well together. We would both take turns critiquing each others takes, and adding and subtracting parts, until we found the sweet spot in each part, of each song. Dustin would add his input, and help out along the way; it really was a great team effort all around. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

RW: I love Cabin Studio, and Dustin is one of the very few people I have met in my life that I totally and completely trust to make something sound great. He knows his stuff and It shows on this album.

15. Who produced "Never Trust The Living" and what was it like working with them?

MM: I produced the album... by definition of the word producer, but I can't take all the credit. Could I have done it alone? Sure, but it really wouldn't have turned out as great as it did without both Rob and Dustin’s help. I am a very strong believer of including the entire band in on things, because one person can only make things as good as they can, but a group of them can make it so many times better. So as much as I would like to take full credit for producing it alone, I couldn't have done it without them. In the past, I had always had to take the backseat on this role in the past because I was just the “bass player” or whatever, even if I knew deep down what I was talking about, it always got overlooked. With this album, I really had a vision with the layout, flow, and concept of this album and its songs, and I feel like all the hard work we did together, really made this an ALBUM and not just a collection of songs.

16. "Never Trust The Living" is the title of the album but is there a concept to this album or does the title fit a concept or storyline to it?

MM: The album itself doesn't tell a story alone, however it’s a collection of shorter stories. If the album was a book, each song would be its own chapter and short story. They all follow the same dark path, but each has its own story to tell. Basically we try to touch base on everything, vampires, werewolves, evil cars, murder, revenge, and even the road. We are pleased with the overall theme, and how well we were able to pull it all together.

17. Who did the cover art for "Never Trust The Living" and how much input did you have on it?

MM: We weren't really sure what to do with the album artwork, but we knew we wanted something that not only expressed the feel of the music on the album, but also spoke out to everyone in all the scenes that we have fans in. We also wanted it to represent our personal style, and where we were from. After much thought, I talked with Rob and we decided that a graveyard theme would be generic enough that it would cater to our fans from different scenes, express how the album would sound, and express our personal style. So with these ideas, we gave this enormous task to our good friend and web designer, Jen Brill. She took those ideas and ran with them giving us everything we wanted. Not only did she design both outside and in with a cemetery theme, but she added all the little things that make it really come to life with what we were asking. Little things like the raven in the tree and the purple and black colors say “Baltimore” in a subtle way. Everything from the design, to the colors she chose, to the souls in the air, really makes for a complete package that far exceeded our expectations. We couldn't be happier. In fact, we have taken her designs, and have since incorporated them into our merchandise, and our stage set design.

18. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

MM: A perfect example would be the title track “Never Trust The Living”. When we wrote this song, we knew it had to stand out. I mean you can’t have an album named after a mediocre song. A while back, Rob actually came up with the idea of writing a song called Never Trust The Living, since it was a line out of Beetlejuice, and after kicking it around, we decided it would make for an amazing album title instead. When we ultimately decided to write a song as well, we already knew it had to be about Beetlejuice. I had already been working on a song called “Ghost With The Most”, but for some reason, the lyrics just didn’t work with the composition, so I sat down and watched the movie again, and decided I would write it from the Maitlands point of view, but without mention of the movie, or its characters. In other words, if you hadn't seen the movie, or didn't already know the story, you might possibly overlook that the song is based off it. Since Rob had already composed 80% of the music for the song, all we really had to do was arrange it, add the missing 20% of magic, and record the vocals. What we ended up with was something we are both really proud of. Like I said before, we really do write well together.

RW: Never Trust the Living has everything that any rock and roller can want all in one song. We knew we wanted Never Trust the Living to be the album title, and it was so good we wanted a title track too. When the music itself was finished we knew that it represented the whole album and gave it the title track name. Lyrically Matt made it basically about the movie that started all this, Beetlejuice without directly referencing it. We are proud of it, and look forward to doing more songs like this in the future.

19. What other plans do you have for the future as a band?

MM: We are always pushing forward as a band to do bigger and better things. With the release of Never Trust the Living, we plan on supporting it by doing another coast to coast USA tour, followed by a European tour. One of our goals for next year is to bring a bigger, better stage show to our fans. We have been working on props, special effects, a light show, and even some pyrotechnics to help set us apart from the other bands out there. We really do try and stay busy, so the only real way to find out what we are up to is to come see us play!

RW: More writing, more touring, more videos, new merchandise, and international touring soon

JP: Musically, you can look forward to hearing more vocal harmonies than the band has had in the past.  Our new stage show is absolutely awe inspiring!  With the combination of lights, props, and special effects, I know it is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone that sees The Recently Deceased.

20. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

MM: The best way to hear us and buy our stuff is to come out to a show. We understand that not everyone can make it out to see us live due to the night we are in town, and having responsibilities, so the next best thing is to head over to our website at  It’s here that you can listen to some tracks, watch some videos, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Reverb Nation, and YouTube. While on our site, you can click the Merch tab and order a physical copy of Never Trust the Living directly from the 1332 Records online store, or from any of the major digital distributors like iTunes, Interpunk, or Google Play.  

21. Anything else you'd like to add or care to say?

MM: Thank you to everyone out there who actually takes the time to read interviews, come to shows, and support touring bands. It’s because of you that we continue to bust our asses to bring you the best show, and the best music we can bring you. You are the reason we do this. Without you, we are nothing. You rock!

RW: What Matt said, and to those awesome people, get ready because you haven’t seen anything yet. If you thought every thing was awesome before, we are about to raise the awesome bar and turn it up past 11!

JP: Thank you for the interview!  Thanks to all of you who took the time to read this!  I hope you have enjoyed what you have read. Come out to a show and we’ll make you enjoy yourself even more!

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