Matt Snyder, Jaime Carone, and Bill Stefanski
It’s hard to stand out among the growing masses of Death Metal bands in Connecticut, however making an impact on the scene is the trinity of brutality known as Mortific. They are pure unadulterated Death Metal with their unrelenting aggressiveness and technical form. Formed in 2009 and inspired by bands like Nile, Hate Eternal, Suffocation, Morbid Angel and Incantation, Matt Snyder (guitar/vocals), Jaime Carone (bass), and Bill Stefanski (drums) deliver a relentless barrage of Metal to their audience. I talked with Matt to find out some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes Mortifica stand out in the CT Metal scene.
Agrippa: Every band has its own story. Can you tell me about the origins of Mortifica and where you are today?
Matt: Me and Bill knew each other for a few years from being in different bands. I went to his practice space to hang out one night and realized that his band situation at this time seemed to be deteriorating- and I wasn't happy in my current situation at the time either. I felt during this time that there were two people (Bill and myself) that wanted to play Death Metal, so why not start jamming out some ideas? Mortifica actually started as just a little project. I was going to email some guitar riffs out to Bill and we would just work from there. But, we ended up getting a rehearsal space and cranking out some more ideas. Luckily, during this time, Jamie, who I had been in a previous band with, gave me a call and said he was looking to play bass in a Death Metal band. It all came together rather nicely.Agrippa: Where did the name "Mortifica" come from?
Matt: The name Mortifica actually came from the song “Mortification of the Flesh”- we had several songs written and people asking us to play shows, but we had no band name. We knew that we wanted a punchy name, and the clock was ticking. So we basically started throwing around the idea and it stuck by the time we booked our first show.
Matt: We started off with some crazy musical ideas. But we were all in agreement that these songs had to be listenable - not too far out in left field. We wanted to write heavy, technical and memorable music that people could actually get into. We are huge fans all types of music, but we pull most of our inspiration from bands such as Dying Fetus, Hate Eternal, Suffocation, Origin and Nile - and we wanted to take that level of musicianship and fine tune our ideas to make catchy songs in the vein of Carcass, Cannibal Corpse and Deicide.
Today, Mortifica is in a great place. The speed and technicality of the songs just gets better. I think that when we wrote our first batch of songs, we really just made it up. We wrote the songs and didn’t know what to expect from people. Now that we have been together to a couple of years and have played many shows, I think that the new songs we have written show that we have gotten tighter and faster, but they also show that we are listening to the fans and what they want too. We noticed last year that people were going crazy during our fastest songs at live shows, so we started writing more fast songs! This is great because it’s what we wanted all along- to play fast brutal music!
Agrippa: Every band has their own methods, but what's the writing process in Mortifica?
Matt: Lyrically, we all contribute to the songs. Usually, Jamie or myself will take a song, come up with a lyrical concept, write lyrics, then we divide the parts between ourselves. We split up the vocal parts depending on who wrote the lyrics- sometimes I will sing the verses and Jamie will handle the Chorus, etc. Most of our lyrics are based on war, religion, politics- very “tongue and cheek” with references to some more modern culture thrown in. For example, “Decimated Earth” is about The Third Reich trying to take over the world. The first word is “Goebbels”- I did this purposely to get peoples attention. Another example is “Mortification of the Flesh”. I read once that thousands of years ago that when people sinned, they would mutilate their own bodies as a way to suffer and repent for bad things they did. Sort of a way to punish oneself so that they could possibly still go to heaven.Agrippa: Bands often have quite a variety of personalities among its members. Who's the jokester in the band? Also, who's the serious guy?
Matt: I think we all joke around alot when we are all just bs'ing around at shows and shit. Bill's probably the most serious guy. He has the most wisdom out of the rest of us.Agrippa: What was most disastrous onstage event that ever happened to you?
Matt: Hmm, Luckily, I haven't had many crazy things happen onstage. I guess I can say there was a time in my old band where we played a show with a new singer, and he got all of the songs confused and started singing the wrong lyrics, it was a disaster. I think that was his last day in the band..
Agrippa: How about your most memorable show ever?
Matt: I'd say couple years ago we played this house party in a basement and people started going nuts and hanging on all of the pipes in the ceiling. Like all of the plumbing and electrical- I thought for sure that someone was going to rip a sewer pipe off the wall and spray shit all over us while we were playing.
Agrippa: What's your favorite Mortifica song to perform live?
Matt: I'd have to say lately, it's been "Mortification of the Flesh"- its not our fastest song, but it's really heavy sounding and people always get into it. I think it's a fan favorite. I've been having fun playing the new songs too. They are a different beast though, because every new song is so damn fast that it's always a challenge to see if we can actually get through the song. Theres a lot more right hand picking pattern stuff in the new music: to where if you miss a pattern, you might not be able to get through the rest of the song.
Agrippa: This may not be your favorite one, but which Mortifica song do you think is the best that represents the band?
Matt: I'd have to say that 'Homicideation' best represents the band and where we are heading. 'Homicideation' best represents the growth and brutality that we bring to the table. It's fast, tight and aggressive, but it also has it's melodic parts.
Agrippa: Is your album collection entirely Metal, or do you listen to other genres too? What's in your audio library that you might be reluctant to tell your friends about?
Matt: Most of my collection is old school Metal, Death Metal and some grind stuff. But yeah, I'm a huge fan of other music too, especially anything that features amazing guitar work- Gary Moore, Cream, Deep Purple, Ozzy, Rush, Pink Floyd, etc.
Agrippa: In your vast music collection, if you had to toss out everything except for one album, what would it be?
Matt: That's a tough one, and one that probably changes day to day, depending on the mood I'm in. But I'd probably go with ...And Justice For All by Metallica. I say this because this is the album that made me want to learn how to play guitar. Sure, there were a lot of great albums I was listening to back then, but AJFA is the one that inspired and motivated me to start playing.
Agrippa: What are some of the CT Metal bands out there that you like and why?
Matt: We are into all of the heavy bands out there: Bonded Through Hate, End Time Illusion, KayotiK, Guerra, etc. Going way back, we still listen to Evolution, Belijerens, Good God, Tyrant Trooper, What Weapons Bring War, Black Autumn, etc.
Agrippa: There’s only a handful left in Connecticut right now, but which venue is your favorite to perform at?
Matt: Great Question! Well, obviously Cherry St. Station is a local favorite. The crowd is always great, and we have a good time playing there. Besides that, I've had a lot of great experiences playing at The Webster Underground, the El 'n' Gee. The hall shows are always good to (American Legion) although, I'm not sure how many of those are going on anymore...
Agrippa: What’s your view on the CT Metal scene right now?
Matt: Its very inspiring to see so many people coming out to shows lately. For the past couple years I’ve seen more and more people coming out to local shows. People that come out to see Mortifica blow me away- it's great! Local shows are what they are- you never know what you are going to get. We are trying to branch out this year and play some new venues, so with that said, we never know what to expect. I honestly think that if the music is good and revenant, then the rest will fall into place. Don't worry about printing T-shirts and creating a facebook page- jam out and see what sounds good. If the songs are half-assed and the singer is horrible, there probably won't be many people interested in hearing it anyways. I hear a lot of bands and there are many that I personally classify as a project, or noise metal, more than an actual band. My number one concern about the scene is the vocals. Most bands I hear the vocals are unlistenable. If people can be aware of this then I think that the scene will get better. We just played a show with Eyes of the Dead and Dread the Woods- two bands that killed it. These guys are grinding it out every week and critiquing their sound, and it pays off.
Mortifica's upcoming shows:
Oct 12th- Winter is Coming Fest at the El 'n' Gee Nov 30th- Cherry st. Station Dec 29th- Cherry st. Station
About the author Agrippa is a the general adviser, internet tech sorcerer, and a reporter for the Metal Cyndicate of Connecticut, as well as the author of his own blog about music and music production,Agrippa: Thought Manifest. He can also be found fronting his own band, Agrippa93, on vocals, synths, sequencers, samples, and piano. Agrippa also has an industrial solo project called, Agrippa’s Laboratory. Both projects are produced through his label and studio, Sickle Pation. You can follow him on twitter via @agrippa93, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.