ZT INTERROGATION: KAM LEE STILL HAS THE APPETITE FOR BONE GNAWER
With a new album on the Bone Gnawer menu, frontman Kam Lee pulls up a chair and settles down for a putrid feast of metal dialogue. ZT’s Paul Castles tries not to make a meal out of it.
Hi Kam, thanks for talking to Zero Tolerance. Cannibal Crematorium is a wonderfully depraved beast of an album. Tell us something about it from your perspective.
KAM: It’s a tasty treat of fresh human meat – and a slab of raw and blood drenched death metal sweets!!! Haha! – I love to say that all the time because I know it really annoys some people and gets under their skin like a bloodsucking leech!!
Do you feel you’ve created the sound and overall effect you were trying to achieve?
KAM: Keeping the music style very traditional 90s old school death metal is always our goal, as well as making tracks that are very catchy and have a hook-n-barb type of chorus and memorable feeling, yes I think we did just that.
The cries and screams, not to mention the bloodcurdling chainsaw effects on ‘Chainsaw Carnage’ give this release a really evil sinister buzz. Was that the goal?
KAM: If it conjures visions of being trapped inside a farm house on the outskirts of Texas – while a manic wearing a human face skin mask wields a chainsaw and a demented cook prepares a crock pot of human meat chili… then our job is done and we accomplished our goal.
Did you have some of these songs up your sleeve for a while or have they all been written fairly recently?
KAM: Lyrically I have a book filled with ideas and notes – so a lot of the tracks lyrical ideas are some things that I have had for years. The music though has been written over the past two years.
Just give us a brief outline about your fellow band members. I believe guitarist Rogga Johansson was with Paganizer while drummer Morgan Lie has more of a black metal background through Naglfar – Is the blend good between you?
KAM: Actually Rogga is no longer with Bone Gnawer, and only wrote two of the songs on this album. Ronnie Bjornstrom has been the guitarist along with Rogga from the start and he has played on the debut album as well as this new one. Ronnie is also the producer on this release, as well as several other bands I have done – like The Grotesquery (which is a band that I am in with Rogga Johansson as well!) I know it gets confusing since now so many of us musicians in the underground scene often perform in several different projects with one another simultaneously. It’s not like the old days – where musicians were limited to only their immediate area and location.
Now the internet age has made it possible for musicians worldwide to be able to work together – and record together. But speaking of Rogga, he and I did start Bone Gnawer together. We’ve done a lot of EP and single releases as Bone Gnawer together but with this new full length release he decided it best to step out of the band in order to concentrate more on The Grotesquery that we do together, as well as the many other projects and bands he does. One final EP with his songs will be released later this year (I suspect around the Fall). That will contain three tracks on which Rogga did write the music for and they will be the final tracks he shall participate on in Bone Gnawer. I have also done several new tracks with Rogga for his own self project called Megascavenger so Rogga and I shall always create music together in some form or another. As for Morgan, he is a fantastic asset to the Bone Gnawer sound and his style of drumming fits perfectly to give us the ‘old school’ appeal.
Cannibal Crematorium features some notable guest vocals such as Dave Ingram (Benediction) and Vincent Crowley (Acheron). Were you pleased to get their support and involvement?
KAM: Every guest vocalist that appears on this with me are good trusted loyal friends. I didn’t attempt to gather together a bunch of ‘rock star’ type of vocalist in order to gain attention for the band. Rather I got together with my good friends regardless of their status in the scene, and together we created something fun and exciting in the form of music. This is how I view it. It was never a publicity stunt – nor a way to try and gather some media attention, but rather just a way to allow me to work together with my great friends on some kick ass music together.
What kind of vibe do you have with Bone Gnawer compared to bands you’ve played with in the past such as Massacre and Mantas?
KAM: If you’re fishing for some negative shit talking from me to bad mouth my previous members from Massacre/Death/Mantas you won’t get that! However, everything I’ve done – with every band from the moment I started working with Rogga – and the many many other great people involved with my many projects and bands since around 2008, have all been the BEST people and BEST musicians I have ever worked with EVER! So I would say the ‘vibe’ is a very positive one. I have done more satisfying work and complete music in the past eight years – then I had done in the prior 22 years since I began making music. It proves without a shadow of doubt who the ‘real musicians’ and top dedicated people are… compared to the complete flakes and wannabe ‘rock star’ ego maniacs.
How long a long future can you envisage with Bone Gnawer?
KAM: Well seeing that it’s now been eight years… and this band has out lasted any of my previous bands… I already think it’s proven to be a band with a long future as well as one with a prolific past.
In terms of influences, I guess we’re talking Autopsy, Death and Cannibal Corpse – Anyone else you’d like to throw into the mix, Kam?
KAM: It’s hard for to name influences outright, because honestly it’s not as if we attempt to sound like anyone directly. We are just influenced in general by the bands that came out around the same time era as we did… so basically anything that was the first wave of death metal from all over pretty much.
Any young death metal bands in Sweden who have impressed you lately?
KAM: Demonical, Morbus Chron, Feral… just to name a few.
What kind of touring plans have you got for this album?
KAM: You know, for the past five years I’ve been asked this question…”Why don’t you tour” or “When will you tour”? And for the past 5 years I have given the same answer. The technology which would allow me to tour the way in which I wish to tour has not been invented and perfected yet. And that would be – if and when someone creates an international teleportation device that will allow me to teleport to any venue – anywhere – at any time on this planet… to perform “live”, and when I’m done… be able to teleport me back home – ONLY then would I tour. So until such technology is available… well then… I guess I won’t be going on tour.”
Thanks for talking with Zero Tolerance readers, Kam. In one word (or maybe a few more if you need them!) how would you sum up Cannibal Crematorium.
KAM: It’s a tasty treat of fresh human meat – and a slab of raw and blood drenched death metal sweets!!!
Cannibal Crematoriumis out via Pulverized Recordson July 10