London’s melodic metal quintet Exist Immortal are set to tear up Mammothfest on Saturday and ZT decided to get the lowdown.
Having released their debut full-length Darkness Of An Age in May before appearing at their third Tech-Fest (where ZT caught up with them) it has been a good year so far for the band. Infusing melody mainly through vocalist Meyrick de la Fuente’s clean voice alongside their full-on tech-metal chops made them a breath of fresh air at Tech-Fest.
They’ve been around for just over three years now and in that time have managed to build a decent reputation as an exciting, experimental act coming out of the UK’s tech-metal scene (which even landed them a gig in India!). Vocalist Meyrick and guitarist Kurt Valencia explain how that came about and where they aim to go now.
How was it out there?
Meyrick de la Fuente (Vocals): Really good.
Kurt Valencia (Guitar): There was a lot of response, I looked up one moment and it was cool.
Better than last year?
M: Oh yeah definitely. The whole festival’s better than last year.
K: I love the upgrade they’ve done with the free showers and the site, real food.
M: It’s a really good team.
Did you play the first year as well?
M: Yeah we’ve played the past two years. We were added late onto this bill because of a couple of cancellations. Because we’d played the past two years the original plan was that we wouldn’t play this year and maybe come back next year but because of cancellations and stuff we were offered the slot and happy to come and play again.
How pleased are you with your album that’s just come out?
M: Yeah it’s doing really well. Really happy with it and the response.
K: I’m really happy that people love it.
M: It’s really cool to see people knowing songs from it.
K: It’s always nice to see people in the crowd miming the words.
Was this your debut?
M: It’s our debut full-length. We released a mini-album about a year and a half ago in 2012. That was cool.
K: This was our debut full-length where everyone contributed fully. It was really good to have a set, bounce ideas back and forth.
M: Yeah it was the first album where we really all collaborated together.
K: We were always in the same place together when writing it.
M: Whereas previously it had always been one person doing bits.
What kind of topics do you explore on the album?
M: Well we kind of explore things that just irritate us in life. They normally end up being somewhat political because, particularly for me anyway, just lyrically the things that irritate me the most are. It;s a lot easier to sing about things and get angry and the emotion running through for things that genuinely wind you up. We don’t do happy songs very well. They’re mostly about how various things in the world get us down and irritate us and we feel we need to shout about it.
What got you into playing tech-metal? Do you call yourselves a tech-metal band?
K: Firstly I guess we were all into similar music back in the day and just got introduced into new bands and over time find the good ones just stick. But there’s a bit of everything in there.
M: We kind of just found ourselves playing tech metal, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. The guitarist had seven strings and so the riffs just got complicated I guess. It was never a conscious decision to be a tech-metal band. When we’re writing we’re never thinking ‘we need to make this complicated’ we just write songs and I guess they’re complicated. They focus on the groove and general feel of the song.
Who are your main influences?
K: It varies. Bands like Periphery, Animals As Leaders, all those kind of bands are big influences.
M: Even more in the genre of metal, even verging on hardcore influences, some of the modern hardcore that’s around now, really aggressive and fast paced that’s going on. But also there’s a very strong hip-hop element.
K: In my spare time I hardly listen to metal at all, when I’m not with the band. Of course when I’m with the band I’m fully submerged into it. But it’s strictly hip-hop outside.
M: It’s the same with most of us really, we listen to a lot of hip-hop.
K: In the car it’s not going to be general metal. You’re going to hear lots of Trap, obnoxious beats.
M: I guess that kind of influences the groove elements of what we do. We do listen to metal and into it but because we play and are around metal so much it’s nice to have something different and refreshing. Also for me, influences include just classic metalcore bands like Killswitch Engage, that big intense sound those bands have is quite influential.
K: Big choruses and stuff like that.
You’ve got more of a melodic edge.
M: That’s always been one of our things to keep a lot of melody and never really overshadow the melody with the heavy stuff. We’ll still do the heavy stuff, like downtuned horrible riffs but at the same time that will never replace the melodic things.
What are your future plans?
M: We’ve got a few tours we’re waiting to announce across the UK and Europe and we’ve just shot a new video actually which will be out soon for one of the tracks from our album.
K: Expect it really soon
Was it your concept?
M: We worked with the same video director who did our ‘Origin Of Infinity’ video. He’s a good friend of ours and really good at what he does. He also understands what we’re trying to portray and get across with our album so the video ideas are quite a lot of his because he understands the concept of the album he can really provide some good input.
Do you all have other jobs then, seeing as Kurt only arrived a few hours ago?
K: Yeah we do. I flip chicken. I can professionally flip a chicken for you. I work at Nandos, I’m an extraordinaire at that. I get free meals though!
M: I record bands for a living.
What ambitions do you have for Exist Immortal?
M: We just want to play everywhere. We want to travel the world. We’ve played in Europe a few times, we played in India back in October which was an awesome experience.
K: It was quite surreal for me. It was a strange experience but awesome at the same time.
How did you get that?
M: We were offered it. We were on a tour and we got an email offering it to us. We went ‘ok, let’s see what happens’. We did it and it was amazing. It was two shows, a big festival show and a headlining show in some other town. They were both absolutely bizarre but amazing.
K: It was also intense. The Indian crowd respond so heavy to UK bands. They’re just excited to have someone from outside of India to come to their hometown. They’ll be mystified in a sense.
M: It was very strange because before the gig we met some people who had travelled for two days to come to the show. It was just weird for us.