Interview: King Fowley of DECEASED

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Interview by, Greg DiPasquale

Deceased. If you don’t know, learn. A classic underground band if there ever was one. This band has transcended scenes, styles, and tastes for about 3 decades in the name of all that is weird, wild, and metal. In the year 2000, the band uncorked an absolute monster of an album called Supernatural Addiction. Seamlessly weaving in and out of death, thrash, and classic heavy metal, it’s a prime example of a band expanding their sound, all the while staying true to themselves in the face of changing musical climates. I would normally review an album of this magnitude in an effort to expose it to some people that might be unfamiliar, but I figured why review it when I can just talk to one of its masterminds instead? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the influential, irreplaceable, and inimitable, King Fowley.

Greg DiPasquale: After the monstrous Fearless Undead Machines, you chose to follow it up with a different themed album, Supernatural Addiction. Was the album’s concept something in the hopper for a while or was it conceived after Fearless?

King Fowley: Weird morbid ideas is all that runs through me when it comes to Deceased. I wanted to put it all out there and write songs about some “horror moments” in my life that got to me either from a book, movie, or elsewhere sometime in my life. The idea was to create a tales from the crypt-ish anthology of metal tracks with a narrator between songs. I pursued Percy Rodriquez (known for his ’70s movie trailer voice overs. see Jaws for the voice) but he was very sick at the time so that idea sadly was dropped. We then just started taking my titles and writing from them. It came together nicely.

GD: For those not in the know, what movie/story/show was each song inspired by?

KF: “The Premonition” is based on the episode called “22” from The Twilight Zone. “Dark Chilling Heartbeat” is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart”, “A Very Familiar Stranger” is based on the classic hitchhiker tale, “Frozen Screams” is based on a story from the anthology film Asylum called “Frozen Fear”, “The Doll with the Hideous Spirit” is based on the last story “Amelia” in Trilogy of Terror anthology, “The Hanging Soldier” is based on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, “Chambers of the Waiting Blind” is based on the story “Blind Alleys” from the anthology film Tales from the Crypt, and “Elly’s Dementia” is based on the film The Blair Witch Project.

GD: One of my favorite things about the album is a further pursuit of the more melodic, classic metal side of the band. Was it a conscious decision going into writing the album to continue in that direction or is that just how the songs came out?

KF: It really is just how the songs came out. We were getting better as players and writers and we could put more of that into our sound. We wanted a fine line between speed, heavy, and melody. I think it came together nicely on the record.

GD: Besides Voivod, what was Deceased listening to in that era? Anything we’d be surprised by?

KF: The usual I’m sure. Everything from the tried and true Iron Maidens and Black Sabbaths to everything in between whether it be: Gillan, Repulsion, Pat Benatar, Riot, The Go Go’s, Venom, Tank, etc. We just rocked what we liked.

GD: Was there any push back or uneasiness from Relapse about you guys getting even more “traditional” sounding?

KF: They left us alone and let us do our thing. The label never knew how to “sell” us. We were too heavy for heavy metal and too light for death metal I think. We just wanted to be DECEASED and nothing more, but they never told us to sound a certain way.

GD: Favorite tracks on the album?

KF: “The Premonition”, “A Very Familiar Stranger’ and “Dark Chilling Heartbeat”.

GD: The death metal landscape had changed quite considerably from Luck Of The Corpse to the time Supernatural came out. What was largely considered death metal in America by the year 2000 seemingly had little in common with Deceased. Were you happy to be separating yourself from the pack or did the “death metal” tag make it difficult to find kindred ears who got what the band was about at this point?

KF: We didn’t care what was hip or “now”. We were doing our music and we were proud that we were getting better at it as we progressed. We were all very happy in our sound and death metal, grind, extreme, or whatever it was called that week was the furthest thing from our minds. We just were making our music. If others got it, cool. if not, oh well.

GD: I read something online where you said people accused Deceased of jumping on the European melodic death metal bandwagon when Supernatural came out. I don’t share that opinion, you guys were plenty melodic on Fearless too, but since there’s stylistically more in common with those bands than the American scene at the time, were there any bands from that era/scene that you dug?

KF: Yeah, that was hilarious. Things like In Flames were big at the moment and we were doing what we called our “Maiden parts”. They were doing that too. But some people reviewed it and added it in there that we were in the Swedish melodic death camp now haha. Mike Smith (guitars) may of been more into stuff like that than the other guys, he seemed to pick up a lot of new music of the times. A lot of it I heard and it kinda went in one ear and out the other. It was just DECEASED doing our own thing.

GD: The production was easily the band’s best to date. Was working with Simon Efemey a smooth process or was it a tough album to track? Also, what song(s) on the album was toughest for you to nail in the studio, if any?

KF: Simon was great. Fun guy and we got along instantly. Funny recording process. We actually lost 4 days of recording to a power outage and had to sit around and be ready for power to return. He had flown over from England and time was important so we hauled ass once we got power back. If i had to say something was hardest to nail I’d mention a vocal part Simon made me do it at least 30 times and it was on the song “Doll with the Hideous Spirit”. He made me do a line over and over. I think he was playing me, but I did it. It sounded exactly the same at the end as the start, but he kept saying “again” and erasing the part. Haha, a joker he is! We were all ready to go into pre-production before studio time so it was all ready to roll when time came.

GD: Supernatural is my favorite Deceased album. Where does it sit in your personal discography and what do you enjoy most about it?

KF: It’s my favorite too. The songs fit the themes musically and vocally. It really is the sound I hear in my head when I think DECEASED. The next record Ghostly White will hearken back to these ideals a bunch as well.

Short, sweet, to the point. Get off your ass and check out this album, and take notes. Thanks to King for existing, and for taking the time to answer some questions. ‘Til next time kids, up the tombstones, now get off my lawn!!

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