Versatile Czech death/doom monsters Et Moriemur might not be a band you have heard before. But, after Darrell sat down with vocalist, and language master extraordinaire, Zdeněk Nevělík, we are convinced that they are a band you should check out. See what makes their new album "Cupio Dissolvi" so emotional, and where they derived so much inspiration from.
First and foremost, we can't thank you enough for taking the time to answer some questions about your work. Let's start with the new album, and in particular, the artwork. What inspired the cover artwork, and how do you feel it represents the subject matter of the album?
Thanks to you Darrell and to Sorrow Eternal for giving us the opportunity to appear on your excellent web zine! We were looking for something different for the Cupio Dissolvi artwork, something unusual, and happened to find these beautiful wooden dolls carved by a woodcarver who lives in Southern Bohemia. I think these dolls represent perfectly the idea of the album, i.e. the repulsion and, at the same time, the attraction towards suicide. You can feel both the fascination and the horror of the void, of non-existence.
The album follows some true stories of suicide, which is a very dark subject. How did you come to the decision to tells these stories? Were they inspired by people you knew?
I don’t know exactly why, but the stories of these people (whom I didn’t know personally) struck me particularly. Maybe because they are packed with true suffering which admits no solutions. I have to admit that I’m quite sceptical about happy endings :) In general I think that death and the fragility of life, the fact that everything and everyone can disappear from one moment to another without leaving any trace of ever being here, are artistically very inspiring, which is of course nothing new: it has been so since the times of ancient Greeks at least.
The vocals are certainly a highlight of the album. The lyrics are done in six different languages, which is something I don‘t think I have ever heard. How difficult was it to tell your stories through the use of all these languages?
Thank you for having noticed this aspect of the record. I wanted to use quotations from world authors because they express exactly what the single stories needed and I decided to keep them in their original language so as to preserve their unique beauty. That’s why I used all these foreign languages. It’s also my homage to all these incredible writers and poets from different countries.
Throughout the course of nine tracks, you exhibit many different vocal styles, some heavy, and some softer. But what stands out is the emotion that seems to pour out in your words. Did you find yourself personally affected by making an album like this?
I think you cannot write about people’s deep suffering without being moved by it. I chose only stories which inspired me emotionally and wrote the lyrics trying to identify myself with these people and feel, at least in part, the desperation and all the other feelings they possibly went through. It’s surprising how many things you can have in common with people who decided to kill themselves. There isn’t a qualitative difference, we are talking about the same emotions, only in their case it was unbearably intense.
Musically, the album itself is very diverse. With two layers of guitars, crashing drums and the use of atmospheric keyboards, you create a much deeper sound than traditional doom. Tell us a little about the writing process, and how each of the instruments come into the final product.
For most of the songs I came with a rough version, which my bandmates completed with their own contributions, enriching the original structure. Michal (drums) was particularly helpful in this regard and came with some great arrangements and melodies. Honza (bass) came with some super riffs too. The last step was writing lyrics which matched the atmosphere of each song and this was in some cases the most difficult part :)
The style of music that Et Moriemur plays could be simplified to death/doom, but there is a large variety of sounds and styles to hear. Who were your biggest influences in the formation of the band, and how did you come to such a delicate balance of death, doom, black and melodic metal?
As a doom metal band you cannot ignore the big names of this genre and we too were influenced by classical doom, death/doom and funeral legends. But we’ve always tried to have a personal approach and a distinct sound to the highest extent possible.
But we don’t listen only to doom or only to metal either and you can count among our influences such different artists as DIMMU BORGIR, CRADLE OF FILTH, BURZUM, the darkwave bands referred to as NEUE DEUTSCHE TODESKUNST, NICK CAVE, JOY DIVISION, BAUHAUS, classical music and composers like DES PREZ, GESUALDO, DVORAK, CRUMB, BARBER, PROKOFIEV, BARTOK or SCHONBERG, the French chansons, the traditional Moravian music and even bands coming from the hardcore scene like NEUROSIS, GODFLESH or THREADBARE, as well as some industrial and noise bands.
It is very rare that we have a chance to hear a band from the Czech Republic, let alone a metal band. What is the metal scene like right now in and around Prague?
I think there is a thriving metal scene here, there are many amazing, top quality bands and we have some very good extreme metal festivals. Unfortunately there are no big labels to support these bands at home and abroad, almost everybody who is active on the metal scene does it for passion which is fantastic, but simply cannot match foreign labels with more financial possibilities. And of course there are people who don’t care about promoting local bands at all and prefer to support foreign established acts. As far as doom is concerned, there are very few bands indeed. I think we are the only doom band in Prague plus there is a couple of other doom bands in other areas of the country.
You have shared the stage with some great bands over the short history of Et Moriemur, from Helevorn (one of our favorites) to Saturnus. And this year already, you have dates booked to play with Esoteric and Ahab. If you could put together your ideal tour, with any set of bands you wanted (past or present), who would you choose?
That’s a good question :) I think that sharing the stage with BAD RELIGION, SICK OF IT ALL, BLUT AUS NORD, GOBLIN, OBITUARY, GRAVEYARD DIRT and EVOKEN would definitely make my day :)
One thing that stands out is your open support for animal rights organizations. It isn't often than metal bands take such a hard stance on those, or any, issues. How important is it for you to stand by those organizations, and what led to that open discussion?
As you said, taking a stance on anything is not common among metal bands. But I grew up not only on metal but also on punk/hardcore where these issues are quiet common. I have been vegetarian for 16 years now and I think that there are things which we just can’t pretend to ignore. Many metalheads don’t see eating meat even as an issue, not to mention those who consider killing animals as „cool“, „true“ or „natural“. And we try to do more than simply talk: Et Moriemur send ten percent of the price of each sold copy of Cupio Dissolvi to a Czech animal rights organization, we distribute pro-animal rights information leaflets at our gigs and organize a doom festival here in Prague called “Patior Ergo Sum” during which we offer strictly vegetarian/vegan catering.
With your new album out, tour dates scheduled, and a full band locked and loaded, what comes next for Et Moriemur?
We are working on new material which we hope to record later this year and will see if there is any interest from labels to release it. But as the economic situation is dire and labels prefer to invest only on established acts we could as well decide to release it by ourselves, that won’t stop us, we are used to doing things by ourselves. Plus we are already planning our December edition of Patior Ergo Sum and our gigs next year.
And I have great news: Et Moriemur have just ranked second as "New Artist of the Year" 2011 in Břitva awards (Czech rock/metal publicists awards). We are extremely happy with this result!
Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview, and for sharing your work with us. It has been an honor and a pleasure.
Thanks most of all to you Darrell for your very good questions and for your support, we truly appreciate it. Keep up your excellent work with Sorrow Eternal and hope to talk to you again soon!