D//E Interviews: Demon Lung

Las Vegas doom metal band, Demon Lung, are about to release their second full length album via Candlelight. A Dracula is a concept album based on Juan Lopez Moctezuma's 1977 cult film, Alucarda and lately it's been on our playlist on heavy rotation.

The band's vocalist, Shanda Fredrick, takes the time to answer our questions about the new record and more...

Congratulations on your excellent new album and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! As far as we know, A Dracula has been one of the metal highlights of the year so far.

Thank you very much. We are excited it’s finally out for everybody to listen to and we hope people enjoy it.

It was the 1989 horror flick, Warlock, that did it for The Hundredth Name, this time you went with an even more cult and underground choice. What lured you to Alucarda

Our drummer Jeremy is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to horror movies and metal music. He gets all the credit for introducing us to the weirder stuff and if you are ever in need of a cool horror movie suggestion he is your guy. When it came time to write the album we had a few concept/movies that we were discussing but we all felt more inspired by Alucarda, for our own reasons. At its core it is a love story. It deals with loss, persecution, intolerance. It’s an interesting and strange movie that is very open to interpretation which lends itself nicely to creating a musical adaptation. We aren’t dismissing our other ideas though but we are waiting for the right time and right mood to strike us.

How difficult or tricky is this sort of concept to develop, to adapt a classic underground film to a metal album?

It’s the easiest way for us to write actually. All the bones are there, we just fill it out. We started out with individual songs on our first EP but trying to fit an entire story into one song felt rushed so we decided to expand the idea to an entire album on The Hundredth Name. During the writing process it all kind of clicked in like, “THIS IS IT!” So when it came to write this album, I wrote up an outline for the story, with a short description of each song and then the guys start writing riffs with the story in mind. We then compile all the riffs and Jeremy and I sit and go through everything trying to match each riff to the appropriate part of the story. Then they go into the practice space and work on the arrangements and transitions, etc. All the while, Phil and I are writing lyrics. The final step is putting melodies over the arrangements and fitting the right lyrics in. It can be a tedious process at times, many sleepless nights, but when you think what the five of us were capable of while still having full-time lives with wives, jobs, cats and dogs, it’s pretty cool.

Doom as a genre has seen very good days lately, particularly with plenty of bands revolving around occult themes. How do you see the genre today?

It’s awesome how it’s growing and subgenres are popping up all over. As a sound, doom is derivative of so many genres so it’s interesting to see where it’ll go.

What is the most flattering comparison to another band you've heard or read about Demon Lung?

We think any comparison is flattering, honestly. If people are comparing us to a band they like then we must be doing something right. But I think our hearts smile when people say Candlemass.

How did the band's name come about?

Our friend Brent Lynch set up our first gig and was making a flyer and needed a name to put on it. So as all bands do, we compiled a list of horrible and not-so horrible names and just talked it out. Electric Wizard is an awesome band, Demon Lung is an awesome song and we wanted people to know where we were coming from when they read the name. Demon Lung it was. And we never envisioned anything more than playing local spots, so we’re proud at what we’ve accomplished.

Doom metal and Vegas might sound like an odd combination to some people. Has your environment affected your music in any way?

It’s really not that odd. This is a town of vices and where people come to hide. Las Vegas is a transient town, so deep friendships are near impossible to have. It’s a desert, environmentally and emotionally. And it’s so hot during the summers it’s hard not to feel doom and despair. And yeah, I think it totally affects our music. I mean you have not felt anger like the anger you have loading equipment in 100 degree heat and the sun set hours ago.

What do you listen to these days?

Secrets of the Sky is a constant right now. We first played with them a year or so ago at a festival and immediately fell in love with their first record. Easily the most played album in our van. Great band, great guys. Their new album is just as masterful and my highest recommendation to anyone reading.

The video for Lament Code a few years back was really enchanting and much impressive. Are there plans for accompanying videos for any of the songs from A Dracula?

Thank you. Lament Code was made by the director Dustin Mills. When we were discussing our ideas for the video we quickly realized we wouldn’t get the quality that we wanted with the amount of money we had. Luckily we had just seen, and loved, Dustin’s classic Puppet Monster Massacre. We took a chance and emailed him, he was on board and he created something better than what we could imagine. A video for this album is in talks for sure. We have grand ideas of course, so we are looking to work out a good budget and get it going. So yeah, it’s looking to be our next endeavor.

What do you think you did right to start accomplishing things this fast, concerning that you've transcended from self-releasing your music through Bandcamp to a deal with Candlelight pretty quickly?

Oh geez, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we started a little later than most bands? We started when we were all in our upper 20’s, early 30’s. It was make it or break it time for us, if we ever wanted to try and play music professionally. Also, we’ve all been in other bands and had some experience under our belts. So when we knew we had something cool, we put a lot of work into it. We practiced 3 times a week and learned how to record so we could demo at home. Jeremy is amazing at staying organized, so he keeps us on track which really helps. It takes a lot of effort and we are willing to give that.

How's been working with producer Billy Anderson?

We really can’t say enough nice things about Billy. He is extremely knowledgeable and collaborative. He understands what we want and if he doesn’t agree with all of our choices he will still do everything to fulfill what we want to achieve. We feel very lucky to have worked with him and really treasure everything he’s taught us.

Your early split with Vegas band, The Fat Dukes Of Fuck, isn't that well known to a larger audience compared to your next release. Did that come before Pareidolia and how do you feel about it now?

Yes, that was our first release. It was just something that we threw together to do a little week-long tour with the Dukes in the Summer of 2011. Jeremy took on the task to learn how to record everyone, which he had dabbled in before, but he had to do a lot of research and a lot of trial and error. We love all of our releases because we know where we were at and we see the progression. Also, the Fat Dukes of Fuck were an integral part to us getting out and playing, so I’m glad we have something that represents that time.

I've also been scratching my head to determine what movie the cover art is from...

It’s a reference to Alucarda. Josh Foster did all of our art and we are so happy he was just as inspired by the movie as we were. He also really listened to our input and translated everything we wanted and then some. He had his own narrative for the artwork that begins right as our story ends with the cover. Alucarda and Justine holding hands, watching the convent burn. He did 2 more pieces that continue the story throughout the inlay. Justine is pregnant in the rest of his story and they continue on for the next 9 months killing everyone and burning cities before Justine gives birth. Maybe there is a sequel in there somewhere…

Do you have any more films queued up to conceptualize on record?

Oh sure. We still have the skeleton of the first idea we had before Alucarda took priority. We also have some ideas for an original story that we’ve been talking about for years. Jeremy lobbied really hard to write a concept around Enemy Mine (lol) but the rest of us shut him down pretty quickly. He still talks about it. Jeremy and I specifically are cinemaniacs. We have a book that we write all the movies we watch down and give it a rating. So, I’m sure one of these days we’ll revisit our top-rated movies and get to talking.

After the album's release what comes next for Demon Lung?

We are playing Southwest Terror Fest, which we are super excited for. Beyond that, we are hoping to get on more festivals and get a cool tour by the end of the year. Hopefully it’ll be a busy year because that’s how we like it.

 A Dracula comes out on June 29th via Candlelight Records.


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