Roarback's Mikkel Braces the Fiery Sun

Death thrash metallers Roarback formed not that long ago, soon after they played their debut show that fell into a series of other shows and them writing and recording their debut EP "Face The Sun". Bassist Mikkel Stender discusses the EP, the band, and their plans for the bright future!

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Roarback, and how long the band has been together.

Mikkel: My name is Mikkel, I’m 20 yrs old and I’m the bass player of Roarback. I was recruited upon our band’s first gig at a Halloween dress-up party. At that time, the band had been online for about a year (assembling troops and composing tracks), which makes us almost 2.5 yrs old now.

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Mikkel: The two guitarists Andreas Rohde and Andreas Dixø shared both first names and musical taste when they decided to form a prototype band at their boarding school - today, they gladly share beds and toothbrush. Their band “Sanitorium” was approx. 5 yrs ago and I think this experience gave them a somewhat profound sense of what kind of music they wanted to create. Our lead singer and beard monkey Dennis was - as far as I’m concerned - tired of his old band and wanted to spend his good throat years on something else. The drummer Kåre was absorbed into the band during his hormone-crazed boarding school period, which allowed the guitarists to surgically reprogram his brain. He went from “30 seconds to Mars”-music to Death in a year or so. You have read how I joined. Finally assembled and somewhat thrilled after releasing our Face the Sun EP we went to a studio out in the middle of fucking nowhere and recorded “Echoes of Pain”. Good times.

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

Mikkel: We’re revolving around a medium-sized city named Roskilde - maybe you've heard about the Roskilde festival? The everyday music scene here is just as heavy as a handful of feathers - the average band plays either mediocre singer-songwriter, indie or surf rock (which is nice though.). But I’d recommend Absicission, Defilementory, Decay of Existence, Reverend Boylover and Vile Deeds.

4. What type of band are you?

Mikkel: The type no one wants at their wedding, unless they want mosh pits and surprised mothers-in-law. Then, they would find out Roarback is only a mask we wear out of our personal insecurities as we’re really soft and love our mothers when we’re home. If they booked us a second time, Dennis - he usually does this at second-time-gigs - would beat them up personally. He is afraid of committing himself to relationships besides his girlfriend and son. “The Mentally-Unstable Band You Don’t Want At Your Wedding”, that’ll do it.

5. Why did you want to name the band Roarback? What does it symbolize and represent for the band?

Mikkel: “Roarback” originally felt as the revolutionary out-of-the-box name of the 21st century for a day or so; then we remembered that one of Sepultura’s not-so-good albums (“Roorback”) almost shared name with us. After feeling stressed out for a few hours and almost re-naming ourselves “Nurgl” (a.k.a. the god of decay in Warhammer 40.000), we are happy again today.“Roarback” has a few meanings, but it really only means one thing to me: to “roar back”, i.e if someone taunts you, bark or yell at them until they run or want an encore.

6. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Mikkel: Musical influences: Cannibal Corpse, Terrorizer, Slayer, early Sepultura, early Metallica.

Non-musicals: war, hostility, aggression, insanity, religion, Jesus.

7. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Mikkel: They’re mainly about someone or something killing or destroying someone else or something else. With variations though - that’s Dennis’ lyrics at their best. From the morbid descriptions of the meeting between a man and a a giant flaming ball in “Face the Sun” to the abstract story of a man and his schizophrenic troubles in “Voices of Deception”, Dennis wants to embrace everything in between. Also, I think I've heard his fascination of superhumans (“Übermenschen”) will be shown on a probable next album.

8. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Mikkel: The creative process is basically a hierarchy of creativity - Andreas & Andreas write the riffs at home, drums and bass are added by Kåre and myself during rehearsal and Dennis - who’s been isolated from the song till now - decides whether or not the song is OK. Lyrics are added by him, too, in the end.

9. What's new in the recording of your music?

Mikkel: Not too much. In the studio we tried to keep the sound relatively close to an old-school death metal sound. To be quite honest, I think we could have went even further on the production of “Echoes of Pain” - it could easily have sounded even more thrashy and fuzzy.

10. What are your dreams and goals?

Mikkel: Fame, money, drugs, pussies and probably world domination. Also, Kåre wants to enter club 27.

11. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Mikkel: Because they are about to find out just how much everyone has a very special place in their hearts for old-school death. A place that beats the same rhythm as our music, fast-paced when you’re on your way to the stars and heavy when clearance of the mind is needed. Personally, I've grown to really enjoy an Old-school death metal pause whenever it’s needed.

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

Mikkel: Our music is available for listening on Facebook and YouTube. Also, our EP is downloadable at bandcamp. Your local disc dealer can order “Echoes of Pain” for you to purchase right now!

13. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Mikkel: To be honest we’re dazzled by the fact that we've gotten this far as a band - but apart from the mental processing, we’re working on promoting the CD and our new music video.

14. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Mikkel: I’d like the listener to remember the rage you feel when someone takes your seat and calls you a filthy gypsy. When Roarback is at its best, that feeling is transformed into headbanging.

15. Any final words of wisdom?

Mikkel: “Always die slowly and painfully, if you ever want to feel alive.”

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