Abnormality have been an up and rising force in the American brutal death metal scene for around a decade. Having stunned listeners over the years with their brand of crushing death metal and electric live performances, the band recently signed with Metal Blade Records for the new album- ‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’. Mallika Sundaramurthy, the band’s female growler, tells staff writer Harsha Vardhan about the band’s recent successful tour, new album, label signing and other interesting things.
Transcending Obscurity (Harsha): First of all, thank you so much for taking time out to do this interview with us amidst your busy tour schedule. How are things looking now?
Abnormality (Mallika): We are on the last week of a month long tour right now with Soulfly, Suffocation, Battlecross, and Lody Kong. Thing are busy but going very well!
TO: This must have been a really long wait, to finally taste some success with the recent release and a number of shows lined up. What is it feeling like?
Abnormality: We are feeling good, like a lot of hard work has paid off. We are enjoying this new level of success.
TO: Congratulations on your recent signing with Metal Blade Records. How did that come about?
Abnormality: Hard work, years of playing, and a few releases under our belt is what led to it.
TO: What’s the idea behind the new album ‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’? What makes this album different from the rest?
Abnormality: ‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’ is a new evolution of the band, continuing where we left off with ‘Contaminating the Hive Mind’. The music goes to a darker and more atmospheric place.
TO: How has the reception been? We even heard that the legendary ‘King Diamond’ had responded to this album.
Abnormality: The reception for this album has been great from fans and critics alike.
TO: It’s been over a decade. How do you think has the band evolved over the years?
Abnormality: We never write the same song or the same album twice. We are developing our sound and our catalogue constantly.
TO: I personally feel that the recent album ‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’, has been really well written. I really loved how the sheer brutality of death metal has been amalgamated with the modern elements. I was particularly impressed with the production. How did the band sync well with the new line up? How established were you as a band, during the song writing?
Abnormality: On this album we have a new guitarist, Sam Kirsch. He brought some fresh energy and new ideas that blended well with the rest of the band. We are happy about it. It took a little while to get used to writing together but things started moving along after a couple songs. As far as production, we worked with long-time producer Pete Rutcho, and mastered with Alan Douches.
TO: Are there any ideas of releasing this album for Indian fans? Are there any distribution plans in place?
Abnormality: Metal Blade is distributing the new album worldwide for physical and digital release. I would tell Indian fans to find our music through Metal Blade.
TO: We are well aware that Abnormality was formed after a number of bands you played for. How has the band improved over the years? What’s striking when you look back in time?
Abnormality:: The band has evolved over the past decade, and become a well oiled machine. Looking back, we have made a lot of good music and good memories. The shows and tours we have done, the friendships we have made, will stick with us for a lifetime.
TO: Back in the day, fans had limited exposure to music. Today, with a powerful tool such as the ‘Internet’, the fans are easily connected to artists/musicians but ironically there has been a downfall in the music industry with dipping CD sales/merch. How do you see this drastic change? In your opinion, what do you think could be the reason behind it?
Abnormality: I think the music industry is changing, not necessarily dying. Fans still will want to support their favorite bands, and they are finding different and sometimes more direct ways to do it. Maybe CD’s are a dying format, though I would argue that in the underground metal scene CD’s still sell. For the past decade the CD has been slowly replaced with digital formats, and for the hard core collector, vinyl records. Today because of the internet you have access to thousands of bands at a click and it’s sometimes hard to sort through it all to find the gems. I think that’s the challenge going forward, and for a band to find a way to stand out from the rest.
TO: A lot of bands claim that releasing an album to this day, is huge risk. Beating that would be a huge challenge itself. How has piracy affected the future of the music industry?
Abnormality: Playing music, and following any dream, is always a risk. Nowadays you don’t have to wait for a label to take interest, you can self release and still reach people. If a band wants people to care about them, the band has to first invest in themselves. That means spending the time to write the best music they can, working on their live act, and spending their own money in the beginning phases of the band. Piracy has mainly taken money out of the hands of the labels. As a result the major labels aren’t willing to put as much money into bands to invest in them. So now, bands must do it themselves, and it also creates opportunities for smaller independent labels to rise. The beauty of our day and age is that bands can interact directly with their fans, and sell music and merch directly to them, without a middle man taking a cut. This wouldn’t have been possible before the internet.
TO: Recently you’ve started a record label of your own called Ultimate Massacre Productions. How did that come about? Will you be releasing your albums on your label in the foreseeable future?
Abnormality: My husband started the label and when we got married we started working on it together. Myself coming from the US and he coming from Europe makes for an interesting alliance, and a bringing together of different ideas about the music industry and the metal scene. We don’t plan to release our own music with the label, we feel it would be a conflict of interest (in regards to our band mates). We already have a roster of six bands on Ultimate Massacre Productions from all around the world, and 5 releases thus far.
TO: Of late many bands are crowdfunding their albums. What is your opinion on the whole thing? Do you think it’s a noble thing to plead for money for a cause or asking for handouts?
Abnormality: I would never crowdfund for my own band’s album. I think it is far more admirable to work hard, to raise money through album and merch sales or other means, and then press an album. Again, if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, why should anyone else?
TO: Anyways, let’s talk about politics. What’s your take on the upcoming US Presidential elections?
Abnormality: It’s all a charade and a distraction from what’s really going on.
TO: What music do you enjoy during your leisure time?
Abnormality: I enjoy a wide variety of music, not just metal.
TO: Any favorite movies or filmmakers?
Abnormality: David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick.
TO: Tell us about your family. Your family must have been really supportive of your music and career. I am sure our readers would like to know about it.
Abnormality: Yes, my family has been very supportive over the years. They come out to the shows, they wear our shirts, my father has let me borrow his van for shows a few times. Family support makes the challenges of being in a band much easier.
TO: Getting back to music. When will Indian fans get to see Abnormality?
Abnormality: I hope very soon! It’s a big dream of mine to take the band to India where I have family roots.
TO: Any last words for your fans here?
Abnormality: Thank you so much for all the support over the years! We wouldn’t be here without you the listeners.
TO: Thank you once again. All the best!
Abnormality: Thank you for this opportunity.