Demon Bitch’ “Death Is Hanging…” must be one of the overlooked heavy metal releases of the year. I guess it has to do with the fact that it’s only available on tape so far. But come on, there must be others out there who love these songs as much as I do? It’s without a doubt one of the best things put out there this year, and Demon Bitch certainly deserves a lot more attention than they’re getting. As I couldn’t find a lot of information on the band on the internet, I once again took the matter into my own hands, and fortunately singer Logon and guitarist Mars put a lot of effort into answering my questions.
I think Demon Bitch was formed back in 2011. How did it all happen? Who formed the band and what was the first lineup? What were your intentions?
Logon: – 2011 sounds right. The very first line-up was myself on vocals, Mars on guitar, and Sam, the one you know as Chekov, on drums and that was the line-up that recorded the first demo. We never sat down and discussed what kind of sound we were going for: “We want to sound like this… we want to sound like that… “ that mentality really bothers me, but it kind of just went without saying that we wanted to play heavy metal. We just tried writing songs that we would want to listen to, simple as that, really. Once the demo was recorded though, we recruited Solon on second guitar and Brian Beastmaster on bass, who were both old friends and are both founding members of the black/death metal band, Isenblåst. With this line-up we were finally able to play shows. This was also the line-up that recorded the “Death is Hanging…” EP
Mars: – We were actually all friends beforehand. Sam and I have been playing in various bands together since we were both in high school. Demon Bitch formed out of the ashes of a different band that Sam, Logon, and I were in. That band fell apart soon after our then-bassist verbally stated he didn’t respect Mercyful Fate. We parted ways, slightly altered our music style and recorded the demo with our friend, Beastmaster, who later joined the band to play bass. Personally, I didn’t really have any intentions behind forming the band. Playing music is something that we’ve been doing for a while before, so it’s just sort of a natural continuation of what we were doing before.
Joint Custody, Isenblåst and Borrowed Time are bands that you have previous experience from, and that a least two of the members have played with before. How do you feel that the fact that you have performed other kinds of metal before has affected the sound of Demon Bitch? Do you feel this diverse background is reflected in both the music as well as the lyrics?
Mars: – I think listening to and playing different kinds of music has definitely had an impact on what the band sounds like. We are fans of extreme metal and I guess some of that might come out in the songwriting. There’s no conscious effort to incorporate other styles of metal into the songs, although it happens naturally sometimes. I will say, though, that there is a conscious effort to not completely model our songs after other bands. While we worship many bands that came before us, our aim isn’t to sound exactly like them. When I write songs, I write things that I like and things that I think sound cool. If it sounds cool to me, I feel accomplished. Which I admit, sounds like I am fulfilling some egotistical fantasy. But then of course when vocals, drums, bass, and additional guitar are added, it sounds better (ie. My initial vision is completely ruined!). If other people like the songs as well, then that’s an added bonus.
Logon: – I hear people complaining about this from time to time. Like why are these guys in so many bands, why don’t they just consolidate all their musical interests in one band? Ha! Why, so we can make it “big”? Joint Custody is Solon and myself playing truly barbaric black thrash with me on guitar and Solon on drums, neither of us know our instruments this way. That is totally unlike Demon Bitch in everyway, so it’s cool and we don’t have to take it very serious or anything. Isenblåst is Solon and Beastmaster’s brain child, they play some real black/death metal insanity and actually, Mars was even playing bass for them up until recently. I’d also like to throw into the mix White Magician, which actually contains the most Demon Bitch members (everyone save for Beastmaster). The main difference of the line up there is that I play bass and Solon, who does some back up vocals on “Death is Hanging”, is the frontman. White Magician is actually in studio recording our demo right now, so you can hear that soon! It’s cool, like heavy rock/traditional metal, but it’s different from Demon Bitch cause Solon has a way different writing style than Mars, and he is the mastermind of that project. As for Borrowed Time, though, there isn’t really much to be said. Chekov was hired in as a studio drummer on the album, and though he did an excellent job in my opinion, I don’t think he would consider himself ever having been a part of the band. Solon and Chekov both helped out on a few live shows and a tour for Borrowed Time, but again, not really relevant. The circle of Satan Friendship is a close-nit circle and we will not break the circle! The circle must keep going on and on!
Talking about Borrowed Time…Hailing from the same city, having a couple of members that have played in the band, having toured with them and I even feel you have a bit in common with the band musically, you seem to have a strong and close connection to the guys?
Mars: – Yes, Borrowed Time are good friends. All good people who are very good at their craft. I actually think Victor (Borrowed Time, Harbinger, Sauron), Logon, and Derek might be at the casino as I am writing this. Matt Preston (ex-Borrowed Time) was also the mastermind behind Ghost Tower, another great band that was totally unique in their style. He is one of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard. I still play their 2012 album “Head of Night” fairly consistently. He also has another project, Dungeon Beast, which just recorded an instrumental demo.
Logon: – Demon Bitch and Borrowed Time played a lot of great shows together and I always felt there was a good chemistry between the two bands. Likewise the bond between the two bands transcended into lasting friendships for which we are plenty grateful. Victor of Borrowed Time was the one to actually put out Demon Bitch’s first demo on his label Arcane Metal Arts and JP also helped us out a lot in our early stages of a band. And then yes, Solon and Chekov did play with those guys for a few live shows. I think something a lot of people have a difficult time understanding, though, is that we watched Borrowed Time undergo many different line-up changes over their lifetime as a band, so I don’t think those guys really viewed their role in that band as being quite as significant as you might.
Hey, have you heard Harbinger though? Now there’s a band that truly shares original members of Borrowed Time and they seem to be a little more active these days. Their album “Doom on you” is by and large one of the greatest Speed Metal offerings on this side of the 2000’s!
Sure, got it when it was released about five years ago, but I can’t say I have played it a lot. Time to dig it out again maybe? What was the purpose of your first, self titled demo? To try out recording, to spread the name, or to check if there were interest from labels? At least two different tape pressings were done of your first demo. How many copies were made all together? Were most of them sold at your shows?
Logon: – I know that I didn’t really expect much of a response from people when we wrote the demo. I didn’t really imagine many people from our area giving it much time of day and I didn’t expect anyone from your side of the world to ever lay their hands on it. We simply wrote and recorded those three songs cause we thought that’s how heavy metal should sound! I was getting sick with tape obsessions at the time and I really wanted to get those songs recorded and pressed to tape. When we met Victor of Arcane Metal Arts he was really excited to put out our demo along with a bunch of other really cool releases, but some chump in Tennessee, USA stole a bunch of money from him and never released the tapes! We were going on tour with Borrowed Time that summer and we needed something to pass around at those shows so we got together with Victor and put together some really last minute semi-professional looking home dubbed tapes. We made 50 of those and they were mainly all passed out at our first two shows in Detroit and on that tour with Borrowed Time. A few months later once those were long gone Victor, being the generous man of his word that he is, agreed to a second pressing of the demo and made a proper run of 250 pro-tapes. I think at this point he is all sold out of them and we have just a handful which are still for sale through us.
This demo was also supposed to come out on CD as part of Stormspell’s “Jewels Of Gwahlur”-series. Why didn’t this materialize?
Logon: – The “Jewels of Gwahlur” series, as I understood it, was originally supposed to be a demo series for underground bands playing traditional heavy metal. That’s the way it was explained to me at least in the beginning. We were actually lined up to be the very first release of the series, with I believe, Graven Rite as Volume 2. Stormspell came to us with interest about this immediately after the first pressing of the 2012 demo, and we thought: “Why not? Seems like a cool enough idea, and it’d probably be good for us.” The whole series ended up being postponed for a long time though, almost a year and by that time they had lined up a lot of new bands for the rest of the releases, and not to sound overly bitter, but I feel that the lust they felt for Demon Bitch at the time got overly saturated with all the new bands they had lined up by that time. So despite being the first confirmed release, I remember Iordan, ultimately contacted me with concerns that our 3-song demo wouldn’t be enough for the demo series. Sound logic. They asked us to include our as of yet unreleased and unrecorded EP (“Death is Hanging”) as bonus tracks on the CD, making it into some sort of weird compilation you know? Like, the EP would be first made available as a compilation before those songs could even be heard by themselves. I don’t know, it didn’t feel right. Not to mention we took forever to complete those recordings so they weren’t even ready at the time.
In a way I can see where they’re coming from in the sense that it was a 15-minute demo being pressed onto a full CD which might not sell quite as well for them, but I think they went about handling the situation all wrong and it was totally unprofessional. When we were originally contacted, they were happy with our 3-song demo and that was enough for them, but since it took so long, over time we kind of got lost in the mix, for better or for worse. I did kind of want to see the CD come to fruition, especially since I’ve heard a lot of people ask for CDs from us over the years, but I was rolling over in my earthly grave about the “Jewels of Gwahlur” layout anyway, it didn’t look how I wanted, too digitally, and you couldn’t even see the cover painting from the front, just a bunch of weird faux leather, made me feel like it was more about the label than the bands. In all, I entirely resent artistic being taken away from a band and that’s really a situation I’ve consciously been trying to avoid ever since, and I guess that just about sums up our little run in with Stormspell.
As mentioned at the very start of this article, “Death is Hanging…” is one of the best heavy metal releases of the year. Still the fact that it’s only released on tape combined with the quite low number of “likes” you have on Facebook (I didn’t ever think I would mention that!) along with the sparse information about the band on the internet, suggest that you haven’t been that active promoting the band. Is this the case, or are there other reasons?
Mars: – I admit that I’m a bad person and am terrible at promotion.
Logon: – Thanks Leif! For heavy metal’s sake, I hope some more bands can sprout up and put us to shame though! Yeah, there are other reasons for our unambitious promotion techniques, we don’t know where the cybernetic red light district is! Look, it’s not that we’re not proud of what we’re doing, we definitely are. I guess I just think word of mouth is the most honest way to spread music. Talking to you right now, and through reviews from existing fans, or maybe just friends drinking together and popping in a new bands demo, maybe it’s not the most efficient way to promote and it certainly won’t skyrocket your “facebook likes” but I’m not losing any sleep. I personally, I take what we do pretty seriously, and of course I am constantly wanting to take it to the next level, better opportunities for the band, and to push it further. I’d love to tour again soon, and even play out of the country, but I want to do these things for the right reason. We love heavy metal and that’s the only reason we’ll ever play it. That being said, if you’re reading this buy our fucking EP!!!
All four tracks on “Death Is Hanging…” are written and recorded during this year or the last, how do you feel your sound has evolved since the debut demo? Is Demon Bitch a band that looks to progress musically and lyrically from release to release, or are you trying to shape and better the style you started out with?
Mars: – For me, no matter what, my core influences will always be there. There will always be progression, however. We’re listening to new music all the time and incorporating different bits here and there. But it’s not something that I focus too much on. I guess I have little things here and there that help to push me along the way. For example, I try and make a point not to write songs in the same key if they’re going to be included on the same release. I think the sound from our demo has progressed in a sense that I tried to be more aware of the songwriting and structuring, which is an area where I’m always learning something new. Actually the first two songs from this release were more or less written near the time of the first demo, so they’re not entirely new. Also, the fact that we recorded with a full band this time added different components to the overall sound that wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise.
To me it seems like both the song writing as well as the production is better this time. Were there specific aspects about the demo you wanted to improve? While the first one was labeled as a demo, it seems you prefer to call this new one an EP. Is it the improvement, especially in the recording quality the reason for this?
Logon: – I guess every new recording, to me, is a chance to change something you were unhappy about with the last. We didn’t consciously want to change or “mature” our sound or anything like that. There was just a lot of time for us to tighten up as a band in between those two releases, so I think it’s only natural that this one should be a little better. Also our Great Evil friends did a great job on the production so that played a large part in refining the sound on the new EP, I think. Personally, I started calling it an EP because I felt we spent too much time on it to call it a demo. This one is a little bit longer (22 minutes) and it’s a little more thought out in terms of song placement on the release and the listening experience as a whole. Plus traditionally, demos are usually rough recordings, which are often intended to be rerecorded for a full-length, I don’t think we have any intention of rerecording any of these songs.
So far, two different tape pressings of “Death is Hanging…”, an European one as well as an Indonesian one. A recording of this astonishing quality, both when it comes to the material, the sound and the performance, needs to be made available on more formats! Any plans for a CD or vinyl release?
Logon: – We’re incredibly happy with both of the releases so far. Evil Prevails Production from Indonesia and Dying Victims out of Germany, are two excellent labels and distros and I couldn’t say enough great things about either of these two entities. We are definitely lacking in the U.S. department so that is something we fully intend to rectify and I’ll say that we are actively trying to work something out for a CD or vinyl release, or both! But as of right now, no announcements…
As the painting on the first demo was done by Logon, my guess is that the same is the case with the artwork for “Death is Hanging…”. It’s kind of refreshing to see something that different on a metal release. Do you see the artwork as connected to the musical expression in any way, or do you keep those two apart?
Logon: – Yes, both of those paintings were original Logon Satons. I think there’s a very strong connection between the artwork and the music itself, actually. In my paintings I try to capture that same fantastical, obscure, and dark element that I feel is so prevalent in our music. In some cases, I get so involved in creating this little world when I paint these stupid things that they end up directly inspiring the lyrics I write, such is the case for the closing song “Evil Night”, which is also the name that I have given to the cover painting for that release. That’s nothing new, though, James Warren used to purchase Frazetta’s paintings and hire writers to write entire stories around them.
I really like the idea of having all the creative control kept within the band. It creates for more of an intimate experience with the music. Plus, I totally hate how heavy metal has been gradually doing away with paintings since the nineties. All the most magical releases have the coolest paintings! Heavy Load, Gotham City, Angel Witch’s second two albums, Cirith Ungol… But now you see really cool music with totally lame artwork, and it’s a crying shame. Digital paintings and poorly edited photographs for cover art. People are getting too obsessed over their little computer experiments, and I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to look!
“Evil heavy metal with dark spirit” is a description that you have used. What is “evil heavy metal” to you? And what is a “dark spirit”? Would you name heavy metal bands with occult lyrics only among your inspirations, or do you have different sources of inspirations lyrically and musically?
Mars: – My favorite albums are ones that are not only great musically, but can invoke a strong emotional response. To me, that’s part of what encompasses the dark spirit. It’s also the fact that light is the exception in a universe made of darkness. Musically, I gather my inspiration from many different sources. I think the same can be said with every other band member. I’ll be honest, I was also listening to a lot of black metal when the band first began. Tormentor, Bathory, and Dissection to name a few. But this is hardly all-inclusive of what inspired me then or what continues to inspire all of us now. Many metal bands from Scorpions, to Satan, to King Diamond. A lot of seventies progressive rock from all over, especially Italy. Classical guitar music, especially baroque composers. Horror movie soundtracks. With that in mind, I really hate to sound like one of those assholes that says, “I listen to everything.” Of course, certain things outside of music are inspiring as well. Death and dying. The night sky. The unknown.
Logon: – I think dark spirit is the occult, but only in the sense of the occult being the unknown. Even that indescribable feeling of mysticism when you’re listening to Blue Oyster Cults’ “Fire of Unknown Origins” That is dark spirit. But lyrically speaking, my inspirations include all of what Mars mentioned, and a heavy dose of fantasy. The song “Oaken Guillotine” is my own take on Arthurian lore, and “Death is Hanging” was actually inspired by a trashy horror-suspense novel called “The Sacrifice” by Henry Sutton, it’s neither good nor bad, but it inspired me to write a song based on a single paragraph I read.
What will be the next step for Demon Bitch recording wise? Are you planning a full length release? Do you see it as a challenge coming up with a full length release with material of a similar quality to the songs on “Death is Hanging…”? Will you have to modify your song writing, as a full length release might need a bit more diversity than a demo or EP-release?
Mars: – I have my eyes set on a full length release in the future, perhaps in a year or so. We have a few new unrecorded songs with drums and there are a few more without drums. Songwriting is always a learning process for me and I’m usually not satisfied if I haven’t tried something that I haven’t done before on a new track. To me, songwriting has always been kind of state-dependent. What type of state I’m in reflects the type of song that is produced. There will definitely be modification in songwriting, but that is a normal process for all of us. I have a formula that, I think, has worked okay so far, but I always make modifications to it along the way. As long as we don’t fall too much into the trap of having our songs become completely predictable, it should be okay. If I’m feeling lost or confused as to what avenue a song could take, I usually consider going the Deep Purple route- where there’s a consistent verse/chorus type of pattern that is common to popular music, so they were more apt to receive radio airplay. But in the unedited versions, the songs have heavy instrumental passages which really allow the band to focus on the actual musical aspect of things, which I’m most interested in. But at the end of the day, Demon Bitch will always be grounded in heavy metal rock.
Full lengths are interesting because they’re expected to be consistent and hold enough diversity so it doesn’t put the listener to sleep. So to me, it’s about maintaining creativity and striking a nice balance of consistency and uniqueness. I think there are a lot of great metal and rock bands that excel at this. I just wish I had more time on my hands to dedicate to music.
I really like the sound you have achieved on the new demo. Judging by the name, Great Evil, might be a private studio for one of the guys in the band. Are the equipment available and the facilities good enough to use this one for recording the full length as well?
Logon: – Great Evil/ Power Time Studios is actually the basement studio of three of the dudes from the bands Failed and Harbinger: Mike, Jason and Sean. The recording process was a long and grueling one, but I’m entirely impressed with what those guys were able to do. Recording with them was cool, too, cause we were already good friends so we didn’t have to pretend to like anyone and hang out with squares and naysayers all the time. I couldn’t say enough good things about those guys. We haven’t really discussed where we would go to record the full length, so at this point anything is possible.
Mars: – Yeah, never say never. Although, I always preferred recording in the comfort of one’s own home. That, to me, would be ideal if we had the proper equipment.
I find the vocals of Logon great and very original. With such an unique and diverse approach, it would be interesting to hear whether you have some specific singers that have inspired you, or if you simply try to do your own thing.
Logon: – I love obscure vocals, it’s one of the things I seek most when listening to music. There are a lot of vocalists who have really inspired me, to name a few I’d say King Diamond, of course, Dave Tattum of Angel Witch’s “Screamin’ n’ Bleedin” and “Frontal Assault”, John Stewart of Slauter Xstroyes, and the singer of Heavy Load those vocals are great! These guys all have totally unique voices like nothing I’ve heard. But just as I suspect they did, I try to allow my influences to be indirect, when I write vocals for a song I’m not consciously thinking how can I sound like “_____”. I just try to unchain my voice and do whatever the hell I want and hope for the best.
Please tell us a little about, what seems to be your little soloproject, “The Yellow Primrose”-release. What is the idea behind this concept?
Logon: – Whew, we might be better off doing a whole separate interview to talk about “The Yellow Primrose”, but here we go… “The Yellow Primrose” is a hybrid between a radio drama, audio book, and rock opera which I like to refer to simply as a sound novel. It incorporates heavy metal and 70’s prog inspired passages accompanying narrations and voice acted parts, even some sound effects and stuff. The story is basically a twisted horror story about a young couple on their wedding night who get separated finding themselves on opposite dimensional planes seeking to reunite with one another, but instead becoming pawns in the Devil’s game.
It’s the first released of a series me and some jerks have been working on which will feature more stories of the like. Mars has been working on a story called “Solitude’s Grave” and Victor (ex-Borrowed Time, Harbinger, Sauron) is just wrapping up his story, “Runaway Truck”, which is a post-apocalyptic action adventure about highway truckers and motorcycle gangs.
I only released “The Yellow Primrose” as a limited run of 50 2xCassettes complete with a seven page booklet. But we have plans to do a larger self release in the near future. Right now the original 50 are sold fout, but it might still be available at a few distros I traded to, as I suspect they aren’t always quick sales.
If you have no fucking clue what I’ve been talking about and want to check it out/ you have an hour to kill, it’s all available to stream at: theyellowprimrose.bandcamp.com.
Mars: – One of these days I will get back to work on “Solitude’s Grave”. That’ll probably happen after all the songs for a prospective Demon Bitch full-length are locked in.
Would you say that Demon Bitch is the number one musical priority in the lives of the musicians involved in the band at the moment?
Mars: – I would say that’s probably true for Logon, Sam, and I. I won’t speak directly for other band members, but I know Derek (Solon) has Isenblast, which is more of his and Beastmaster’s brainchild.
Even though they have quite catchy choruses, your songs are quite complex and not that easy getting into on the first listen. How demanding has it been to perform these songs live for an audience that hasn’t had the chance to listen to the material before?
Logon: – All of my favorite bands were not easy to get into at first. I mean, I was totally confused by Mercyful Fate on first listen! It’s the weird stuff that sticks with you, though, I mean if you’re like me at least. Some music just takes patience and some people simply don’t have that. That’s okay though. It can be discouraging when you look out at a crowd of confused or uninterested faces, I’ve definitely seen my share. But I try not to let that bother me much, I just hope they’ll wise up next time around!