Dark Century's Leather Stays at the Murder Motel

Montreal's aggressive, hilarious, heavy and bloody five-piece Dark Century have been hard at work writing and recording for their latest album to date, "Murder Motel". Soon after the guys have shows planned along with writing new material for future releases including an EP and even more shows all in the working process. Frontman vocalist Leather King discusses this album's progress and these so called plans for the future.

1. What brought about the creation of Dark Century and is there a long history of music appreciation between each of the members?

Leather: In the beginning, it was in 2000 / 2001 the years in which Martin Gendreau decided to form a Death Metal band, and soon the rest of the lineup was assembled with the intention to bring the MOSH to the entire world.

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

Leather: Dark Century is based out of Montreal, in the Quebec province of Canada, where there exists an ever flowing quantity of metal bands. The crowd is hard to win over if you're not a huge act yet, you've got to deliver very energetic and dynamic performances to them in order to grab their attention over any other band of your caliber. Great bands of the area? Oh yeah man! To name a few: Transe Metal Machine, Your Last Wish, Vaginal Scars, Forbidden Sin, Mythosis, Erimha, Ashes of Eden, Trainwreck Architect, Crosstitution... ah man... too many!! Without forgetting our city's big guns like Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Voivod, Quo Vadis, Augury, Gorguts, etc.

3. Why is it a Dark Century?

Leather: The theory and thought of time has always been something that founder Martin Gendreau was fascinated by. Looking for something that is present for all, a moment, a time... an ambiance as a setting. Thus, a whole century of metal in the life of humankind sounded like a good time span of a plan on the long term.

As a metal band, Funky Century wouldn't have been the best of ideas. Enter; Dark Century! One hundred years of heavy and crushing death metal over everyone's heads, right there and here to stay. Where the beginning of this 100 year-long reign were the Days of the Mosh! Reflecting exactly what was going on at that time; every weekend had it's heavy share of mosh pits in the local scene.

4. You have shared the stage with many well respected metal bands. Are there any bands that have inspired the overall sound of Dark Century?

Leather: Yes we have! But unfortunately we haven't shared the stage with the bands who have inspired us the most, yet. They are mainly: Six Feet Under, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse and Hatebreed.

5. How would you define your style and sound of metal? Why go with this particular genre of choice?

Leather: We'd say, Humouristic Death Mosh Heavy Bacon style of we could! Funny/comical lyrics blended with gore-gushing blast beats on the drums, trans fat-filled death metal grindings accompanied by greasy and crispy hardcore grooves in our songs, that would be the description of our sound in words. We would't win the vegan or vegetarian's choice awards that's for sure! We chose to play this kind of music because it is exactly what we enjoy listening to, thus also wanting to play it.

6. Your lyrical context is in both English and French why do the double-double effect? What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Leather: It's obvious enough to state that writing English lyrics makes sense to the fact that this is mainly how this business rolls, so why not, right?... Right! And besides that, we do have our own francophone identity being based out of Canadian province here, called Quebec. We speak french amongst ourselves and there are things that cannot be expressed better than in our language. Plus, its funny! Included in our lyrical subjects are humor-infested fictional gore stories with beer drinking, partying, eating various meats in the mix and just plainly about moshing your life away. Nothing too serious as to a message to send out there; it's pure fun and violent energy!

7. Why did you want "Kill The Crowd" to be the first single off this album, what was it about this song that made you want "this one"! Can you tell me about the song and video for it?

Leather: Simple, it was the only new song written at the moment! (Laughs) It was in 2011 that Kill The Crowd was completely written, and it is only at that moment that the decision was taken about starting to write a new record. So it was not an option at the moment to "choose" a new single; it was simply the fact of releasing this new song to the masses a few months later in 2012 to promote this upcoming album in the works.

This song is about our crowd. Seen from the stage, we're always under the impression that they have unleashed one hell of an auto-destructive mosh pit among themselves. Thanks to them all! They are the ones who inspired us to write this song. We play, and we Kill The Crowd with our music. Isn't that beautiful?

As soon as the tracking process for the whole album was finished, we jumped on set to film the Kill The Crowd music video with filmmaker Malcolm Garn, parallel to the album being mixed and mastered. It would become our great promotional tool for the album that we were going to call "Murder Motel".

The video clip's scenario is indeed inspired by the aggression and the violence in the pit in our shows that we've decided to portray it with humor! Using a baseball bat, grave-digging shovel, a rake, having a football player tackle in right through the crowd, a spoon as a weapon and even a chainsaw in the mix! Just as if it were completely normal to show up at our gigs and release your inner-demon with weapon in hand. And that's awesome!

8. How was the vibe in the studio for everyone and what was it like working with producer Chris Donaldson? What did he bring to the table for you guys?

Leather: The vibe is really cool, mellow and fun with this guy. Productivity is at its best in his studio (called Garage Studios back then, now called The Grid in a newer location). We all entered studio to track our instruments one by one. He's an awesome and great funny guy to work with who has a quick and efficient talent at grinding at his recording art. Quite the patient worker too, incredible! 3 years ago, never would we have even thought we would record in his studio, Lord Donaldson as we call him. (Laughs). It sure was a great time and a new experience for us. We also filmed a mini 6-part webisode series of the whole tracking process. It can all be found on Dark Century's official website.

9. You decided to go and call this album "Murder Motel" which one of you spent the night at this so called motel?

Leather: Oh yeah man, funny story tellin' time!

The band was tired driving out from a show and had to stop along the road somewhere in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan to spent the night and sleep 'cause the next big city was too far.

Arriving to the first motel to cross our path, we were stunned at how the atmosphere looked macabre and dark this place seemed to give out. We automatically thought: "Ok! That's it! This place looks like where serial killers execute their murders in horror movies." (Laughs).

Martin G. was the only one who did not sleep in the motel room that night, he slept in the car. It's not because he shat his pants trembling in fear of the place, no. It was because he couldn't bear hearing Leather King's snoring that made him leave the room and into the car. And even then! He could still hear his snoring from the room into the car!

10. Who did the cover art for "Murder Motel" and how much input did you have on it?

Leather: Founder and rhythm guitarist Martin Gendreau made it using a photography that he took himself from a similar motel. With his computer graphics knowledge he modified it with gore and violent humor to give it the extreme imaginative aspects of how we felt the original freak motel we had first stopped at looks like. Fucking brutal man!

11. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album? How does it compare to "Days of the Mosh"?

Leather: Sweet, heavy and powerful. It rips out a new hole! A huge level up from our first album; we had better amplifiers, better guitars and pedal boards to clarify the sounds. We drank more beer... more bacon. That also goes without forgetting the Great Lord Donaldson's awesome sound engineering capabilities!

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

Leather: Nah, absolutely not. We had kept the buzz going solely with our Days Of The Mosh album for quite a while. We started writing what became Murder Motel to spark some new blood in the band and also to grow and evolve a bit more.

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

Leather: Equipping our guitars with active pickups was quite an upgrade. We didn't have that while tracking the first record. And a sweet add-on on this new album is most certainly the guitar solos. That's fairly new to us.

14. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous Dark Century releases?

Leather: 2011 was the year that the thought and work began for a new album. Besides Kill The Crowd and few others, most of the rough draft ideas for new songs were scrapped. They weren't brutal enough and/or were not reflecting the vibe which represents Dark Century.

We then had to cut it short in 2012 to leave place to prepare for and play our cross-Canada tour that year, and compete in this 6-month-long band contest to win a spot to play at the Heavy Montreal 2012 festival. In the ending result, we won! It earned us an awesome spot at that huge metal festival. Hey, at least we went in studio to track our single that year, so that's a start!

So after that summer touring and festival season, we took a few months off feeding on awesome quantities of beer, mountains of bacon and assorted greasy meats. Eventually we kicked ours asses back into the writing process.

The process itself is comprised of many steps, all of which is the mastermind of Martin G. Using methods very similar to the first record: taking a bunch of single or unused riffs and piecing them together to create songs from A to Z, structuring them as best as possible and tracking them as demos on computer with programmed drums.

All of this created a good draft for every song giving us an idea of the new material's vibe. Not too difficult to learn the songs afterwards; just need to jam them!

15. It's been a few years since the release of "Days of the Mosh". Why such a long time period between albums?

Leather: After releasing the first record, it wasn't necessary to do a second one so fast because the hype around the band was still flowing strong years after its release. We just kept playing shows and our fan base was growing exponentially.

But parallel to that, two factors that probably were in play was the few lineup changes aaaand the lack of money.

The remaining members just fell in the deep abyss of video gaming like Resident Evil zombie shooter games and any of the like. Shooting zombies is a great way to disconnect until everything shapes up again, you know??

16. "Days of the Mosh" was a success. Did you feel any pressure to follow it up?

Leather: Yup! That is the reason why the first drafts of new songs written back in 2011 didn't make it on the album. They weren't badass enough to be there.

Everything had to be revised and restructured in order to extract trans-fats properly and use that juice to our advantage. All the while keeping it simple and efficient, our art has to remain strong and powerful with an unpreceded reputation. In a time where it's been years and years where bands around the world push the boundaries and leave less and less riffs available for anyone else, we decide to stay in our musical mold, exploring slower and heavier mosh beats instead of writing faster records. We prefer to keep our simple riffing as opposed to trying to make some more technical ones.

All-in-all, we do what we do. This is our sound: our identity. And we are very satisfied with the new songs we have written, even more so now that they sound killer because of where we recorded it!

17. What are the plans that you guys have for touring and this year?

Leather: We take things as they come. Usually we play gigs and go out on tour when we are called upon by show bookers who have touring ideas. One thing that's for sure though, in any city in which we have caused brutal headbanging whiplashes before, we can't wait to come back and brawl it up some more! Our album launch in April this year is the exception, we put it up ourselves. We're very strong on the DIY concept so this is the only gig that we find it fitting for us to be involved in completely. This is how personal and friendly our usual approach is with our fans. Also, aside from touring plans in the future, we've also got plans to begin writing songs for an EP release soon. We've got a new lineup that was announced for this year of 2014 and plans to make a new videoclip having the new crew included in the shots are in the thinking works as well. A very promising year indeed!

18. If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do.

Leather: We'd like to add beer, cholesterol and anything that's not too good for a diet! But there is one thing that we do wish firmly though: if you really like a band's music (metal only!) and you're thinking of not buying just one song online for 0.99$ a pop, think twice and remember that it's a very very small price to pay to keep that song forever. Never forget that just that song plus all the other ones on the album were made out of passion, talent and an incredible amount of energy and dedication to the vast world of Heavy Metal! Support the music you like. MOSH!


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