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Gravewurm is a crushing old school doom/black metal band and I emailed band member Funeral some questions to answer and here is what he said to my questions:
MC: Let's get the normal boring question out of the way. Give me a history of the band and what is the current line-up nowadays?
FUN: WE STARTED IN LATE 1990. THE CONCEPT WAS TO CREATE PUTRID BLACKENED DOOM METAL. WE LIKED THE POWER AND SIMPLICITY OF SUCH BANDS AS SAINT VITUS AND GOATLORD BUT WANTED TO MIX THAT FEEL WITH THE HEAVY AND AGGRESSIVE RAGE OF BENEDICTION, ASPHYX, HELLHAMMER. WITH THE FIRST EXPLORATION OF SOUNDS WITHIN THE FIRST FEW YEARS, THE SONG WRITTING BECAME MORE BLACK AND LESS DOOM, BUT WE FELT THAT THE DOOM METAL ESSENCE WAS STILL AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE GRAVEWURM SOUND.
TODAY'S LINE UP CONSISTS OF BOTH ORIGINAL MEMBERS, BLOOD ON BASS AND MYSELF ON GUITAR. SINCE THE DEPARTURE OF TYRANT IN 1994, I TOOK OVER VOCAL DUTIES UNTIL 2004 WHEN ZYKLON JOINED. HE HAS SINCE MOVED ON AND NOW I DO ALL VOCALS.
MC: For those who have never heard of the band's music how would you describe it and how long did it take the band to find a sound that you were comfortable with?
FUN: PROBABLY A MIX OF VENOM, SODOM, GOATLORD, HELLHAMMER AND NUNSLAUGHTER IS WHAT WE STRIVE TO CREATE WITH EVERY RELEASE. THE EARLY EFFORTS WERE FORMED AROUND DOOM BUT BY THE TIME POSSESSED BY DARKNESS WAS CREATED IN 1993 AND EVEN MORE SO WITH ANCIENT STORMS OF WAR IN 1995, THAT WAS THE DEFINITIVE GRAVEWURM SOUND. SOME OTHER INFLUENCES LIKE GEHENNA AND DARKTHRONE WERE INCORPORATED TO THE OVERALL ESSENCE TO THE BAND.
MC: How many releases does the band have currently out and do you have a favorite and least favorite release? Is all the music that you have released still available in one form or another?
FUN: WE OFFICIALLY HAVE 31 RELEASES TO DATE WITH 2 SCHEDULED FOR THIS YEAR. WE DO NOT HOLD BACK FOR ANY RELEASE. MY PERSONAL FAVORITES ARE THE SPLIT 7" WITH NUNSLAUGHTER, BLOOD OF THE PENTAGRAM AND UPCOMING SPLIT CD WITH SPUN IN DARKNESS. BARBARIAN WRATH RECORDS STILL HAS COPIES OF OUR FIRST 4 ALBUMS IN CD FORMAT AND COPIES OF OUR MORE RECENT FULL LENGTHS, FUNERAL EMPIRE, BLACK FIRE AND BLOOD OF THE PENTAGRAM ARE STILL AVAILABLE THROUGH US AND SOME OTHER DISTROS.
MC: How did you come with the band name and were any other names considered and are you 100% happy with the band name and do you think it pretty much represents what the band is about?
FUN: WE STARTED UNDER THE NAME DOMINION WHICH WE FELT HAD A GOOD FEEL FOR THE EARLY BLACKENED DOOM SOUNDS, BUT SOON AFTER IT WAS CHANGED TO GRAVEWURM. BENEDICTION WAS A FAVORITE OF MINE AND THEIR 2ND SONG ON THEIR 2ND ALBUM IS GRAVEWORM. I DECIDED TO USE THE LETTER U INSTED OF O TO ADD VARIATION TO THE SPELLING AND WITH THE OFFICIAL LOGO CREATED BY CHRISTOPHE SPADJEL IN THE LATE 90'S, HE ADDED THE UMLAUT. IT HAS BEEN THAT WAY EVER SINCE.
MC: I know your based out of Virginia? What part of Virginia and is there any type of underground metal scene where you are based out and any good clubs that you can manage to see shows at?
FUN: WE ARE BASED IN FAIRFAX NOW. THERE ARE SOME LOCAL BANDS AND SOME UNDERGROUND LEGENDS AROUND HERE SUCH AS GRAND BELIAL'S KEY AND ARGHOSLENT. MOST OF THE UNDERGROUND METAL ACTION HAPPENS IN THE BALTIMORE AREA WHERE THERE ARE SEVERAL GOOD BARS AND CLUBS FOR METAL.
MC: How much time in any given week is spent doing band related stuff? Do you get a chance to practice much at all?
FUN: AT THIS POINT IN THE GRAVEWURM LEGACY, NOT MUCH HAPPENS ON A WEEK TO WEEK BASIS. MOST PROMOTION IS DONE ONLINE THESE DAYS OR DIRECTLY WITH LABELS AND DISTROS. I PERSONALLY PRACTICE AND / OR WRITE NEW RIFFS / SONGS A FEW TIMES EACH MONTH.
MC: Tell me a little bit about each band member and do you guys pretty much hang out all the time even when not doing band related stuff?
FUN: BLOOD LIVES IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF PHILADELPHIA AND I AM IN FAIRFAX. WE ONLY GET TOGETHER TO RECORD, TRAVEL FOR SHOWS AND OCCASIONALLY HANG OUT AT OTHER UNDERGROUND SHOWS.
MC: Do you feel the band has it's own style and what were some bands you listened to while growing up?
FUN: I THINK GRAVEWURM HAS A DIFFERENT SOUND THAN MOST OF TODAYS BANDS, BUT NOT WHAT I WOULD CONSIDER UNIQUE SINCE IT IS A COMBINATION OF SOME OF OUR FAVORITE BANDS IN SOUND AND ESSENCE. THE EARLIEST BANDS I LIKED IN THE 80'S WERE WASP, VENOM, IRON MAIDEN, WARLOCK, HELLOWEEN, CELTIC FROST, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, S.O.D., VOIVOD, POSSESSED, MERCYFUL FATE AND OTHERS. EARLY 90'S INTERESTS KEPT THOSE OF THE 80'S BUT ALSO INCLUDED ENTOMBED, ASPHYX, BENEDICTION, CEREBRAL FIX, PUNGENT STENCH, CATHEDRAL, SAINT VITUS, OBITUARY, MORBID ANGEL, MASSACRE, CANDLEMASS, GOATLORD, DARKTHRONE, FUNERAL NATION AND MORE.
MC: What is your favorite band and why are they? Do you hate when bands tinker with and totally change their sound, but keep the band name and not change it?
FUN: CELTIC FROST HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE BAND FOR OVER 20 YEARS. THE RIFFS AND VOCALS OF TOM G. ARE TRULY UNIQUE...ATMOSPHERIC, HEAVY, TWISTED AND POWERFUL.
YES I DO NOT LIKE IT WHEN BANDS CHANGE THEIR SOUND, BUT KEEP THE NAME AND WORSE KEEP THE SAME LOGO. I UNDERSTAND ANY SOUND CREATED CAN EVOLVE AND USUALLY DOES, BUT I FEEL THERE HAS TO BE A LIMIT OF SCOPE FOR A CERTAIN SOUND OR THEME OF A BAND TO FOLLOW. THE AMOUNT OF CHANGE IS UP TO EACH INDIVIDUAL OUTFIT, BUT IF THE NEWLY DEVELOPED SOUND OR DIRECTION IS JUST SO DIFFERENT FROM ITS ORGIN, I FEEL A NAME CHANGE SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT.
MC: Have you had a chance to play live a lot and do you think you re a good live band? Are there any live clips up on say You Tube and places like that?
FUN: CONSIDERING WE HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR OVER 20 YEARS, NO, WE HAVE NOT PLAYED TOO MANY SHOWS. OUR MOST PROLIFIC LIVE ERA WAS 2006-2009 WHERE WE WERE A PART OF THE ANTICHRIST VANGUARDS TOUR FEATURING ANGELCOPRSE AND WATAIN AND WERE A PART OF THE BLOODCULT EUROPE MINI-TOUR WITH ARGHOSLENT. I BELIEVE WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO CONSISTENLY DELIVER GREAT LIVE PERFORMANCES MAINLY DUE TO HAVING SESSION DRUMMERS FOR EVERY SHOW WE HAVE EVER DONE. SOME WERE GOOD, SOME WERE JUST OK. PLUS THE USUAL TECHNICAL PROBLEMS SUCK AS ANY BAND WILL TELL YOU. I THINK OUR THREE BEST PERFORMANCES WERE IN 2006 WITH DESTROYER 666 IN SPRINGFIELD, VA, IN 2007 WITH ANGELCORPSE AND WATAIN IN TAMPA, FL AND IN 2009 WITH SATANIC WARMASTER AND ARGHOSLENT IN TAMPERE FINLAND. THERE ARE CLIPS FROM THOSE AND OTHER PERFORMANCES ON YOUTUBE.
MC: Do you feel there are too many bad bands out there along with too many labels and that it is tough for a good or great band to get noticed from the rest of the pack?
FUN: THERE ARE A LOT OF BANDS AND LABELS NOW COMPARED TO 20 YEARS AGO IN THE UNDERGROUND...GOOD, BAD OR OTHER. SOME INCREASE IN BOTH HAS BEEN AN IMPROVEMENT FOR THE SCENE, BUT NOW I FEEL IT IS TOO EASY FOR BANDS TO COME ALONG AND CREATE A REALLY GOOD ALBUM WITH ALL THE COMPUTER STYLE RECORDING GOING ON. THERE ARE SOME GREAT ALBUMS BEING RECORDED THAT WAY AND I UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR SIMPLICITY IN RECORDING IN ORDER FOR BANDS TO CONCENTRATE ON CREATING THE MUSIC INSTED OF WORRYING ABOUT ENGINEERING A GOOD ALBUM. BUT WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, I REALLY JUST MISS THE DAYS OF ANALOG RECORDING.
MC: When can we expect to hear some new music and does the band have any goals for itself?
FUN: THE ONLY "GOAL" LEFT FOR THE BAND IS TO HAVE A SOLID LINE UP IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO PLAY SHOWS ON A CONSISTENT BASIS. NEW MUSIC WILL BE AVAILABLE THIS SPRING/SUMMER IN THE FORM OF A SPLIT CD WITH FETID ZOMBIE FOR BLOODLINE PRODUCTIONS AND A SPLIT CD WITH SPUN IN DARKNESS FOR HORROR PAIN GORE DEATH PRODUCTIONS.
MC: How long do you think the band will go on for and when the band 1st got together did you think it would last this long and have any of the members ever been asked to join any other bands?
FUN: I DID NOT THINK THE BAND WOULD LAST PAST A FEW YEARS, BUT WITH BETTER SONG WRITTING THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR, MAKING FRIENDS, TAPE TRADING AND PROMOTING, ITS A VICIOUS CIRCLE THAT I WAS DRAWN INTO AND FROM WHICH I'LL NEVER ESCAPE. THE BAND HAS A MOMENTUM ALL ITS OWN. I'VE NEVER LET DOWN MY GUARD AND WITH THE SUPPORT AND FRIENDSHIP OF BANDS LIKE NUNSLAUGHTER, SATHANAS, EQUINOX, VAETTIR, HEKSERI AND OTHERS, I WAS ABLE TO PROUDLY CONTINUE WITH THE BAND FULL FORCE NO MATTER THE LINE UP FOR GRAVEWURM AT ANY GIVEN TIME.
I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO DO A FEW SIDE PROJECTS OVER THE YEARS, BUT NEVER ASKED TO OFFICIALLY JOIN ANOTHER BAND. BLOOD STARTED HIS OWN SIDE PROJECT CALLED WINTRESS IN THE MID 90'S AND CONTINUES WITH THAT TODAY.
MC: When you hear the term "black metal" what comes to mind?
FUN: MOST OF WHAT PEOPLE CALL BLACK METAL, I DON'T LIKE. BLACK METAL HAS EVOLVED SO MUCH INCORPORATING BLAST BEATS, SPOKEN WORD VOCALS, WIDE VARIETY OF KEYBOARD SOUNDS. I DO LIKE SOME OF THOSE ELEMENTS, BUT THE RAW SOUND OF THE 1ST WAVE IS GONE FOREVER. I STILL LIKE A LOT OF THE EARLY BANDS OF THE 2ND WAVE, BUT THE 1ST WAVE WAS THE PURE SOUND OF METAL TO ME.
MC: Have you ever done any cover tunes whether on record or at a live show? If so what tunes and if you could record say any 5 tunes what would they be any why? Have any band to your knowledge covered a tune by you guys?
FUN: WE HAVE DONE A FEW COVER SONGS. OPEN WIDE BY UNLEASHED, JUST A THOUGHT BY POST MORTEM, I TURNED INTO A MARTAIN BY THE MISFITS AND KILLED BY THE CROSS BY NUNSLAUGHTER. THOSE ARE ALL GREAT SONGS. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, ONLY NUNSLAUGHTER HAS EVER DONE A GRAVEWURM COVER, WHICH APPEARS ON OUR 'VERSUS' SPLIT 7" WE DID WITH THEM IN 2007.
MC: What is your opinion of sites like Facebook and My Space and have you reconnected with any people from these sites that you lost touch with many moons ago?
FUN: WE LIVE IN THE DIGITAL AGE. I FOUGHT AGAINST USING FACEBOOK FOR A LONG TIME, BUT WITH MORE AND MORE PEOPLE / BANDS LEAVING MY SPACE, IT WAS JUST THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP TO PROMOTING THE BAND AND STAYING CONNECTED WITH FANS AND FRIENDS ONLINE. I PERSONALLY LIKED THE WAY MY SPACE SET UP THEIR BAND PAGES FOR MUSIC, BUT WITH ALL THINGS, THE POWERS THAT BE HAD TO FUCK WITH THE FORMATS IN BOTH MY SPACE AND FACEBOOK CREATING MORE COMPLICATED / LESS USER FRIENDLY PAGES AND APPLICATIONS.
MC: I am sure over the years you have seen many reviews of the band? Was there any that you thought were 100% unfair that the reviewer did not get anything at all about what the band is about?
FUN: MOST REVIEWS ARE JUST OPINIONS BY THE REVIEWER...WHETHER THEY "LIKE" IT OR NOT. NOT REALLY A "REVIEW" OF THE RELEASE. THE ONLY THING THAT BOTHERS ME ABOUT REVIEWS IS THE LIMITATION OF PEOPLES EXPECTATIONS. IT'S WEIRD THAT THE 'BIG' MAGAZINES LIKE ZERO TOLERANCE AND DECIBEL GAVE US FAVORABLE REVIEWS AND YET MOST ONLINE WEBZINE REVIEWERS ARE DISGUSTED, IRRITATED AND FLAT OUT DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT WE DO.
MC: Have you ever had the chance to go overseas and see any shows? Where is most of your fanbase based out of?
FUN: WE PLAYED 3 SHOWS IN FINLAND AND 1 IN ITALY MARCH OF 2009. A LOT OF THE CROWD LIKED US BUT WERE NOT FAMILIAR WITH OUR MATERIAL. WITH THE RELEASE OF OUR LATEST OFFERING, "NETHERFIEND" WE SAW A LOT OF DIRECT SALES TO FANS IN FINLAND.
MC: Do you have any or all your old flyers from back in the day and what is your most treasured piece of music that you have in your collection?
FUN: DON'T HAVE ANY OLD FLYERS, BUT REMEMBER THE FLYERS FOR A LOT OF BANDS THAT BECAME CULT ICONS LIKE ORDER FROM CHAOS, NUCLEAR DEATH, SIGH AND NUNSLAUGHTER TO NAME A FEW.
MOST TREASURED TO ME ARE THE R.A.V.A.G.E. DEMOS, NUCLEAR DEATH DEMOS, ALL HELLHAMMER MATERIAL, GRAND BELIAL'S KEY LPS, FIRST BURZUM CD, GEHENNA 'FIRST SPELL' MCD, GOATLORD 'REFLECTIONS OF THE SOLSTICE' LP AND NUNSLAUGHTER 'GOAT' CD TO NAME A FEW.
MC: What merchandise do you currently have for sale?
FUNERAL EMPIRE CD
BLACK FIRE CD
BLOOD OF THE PENTAGRAM CD
DEMONS FROM HELL EMBROIDERED PATCH
DEEPER DUNGEONS SHORT SLEEVE SHIRTS
MC: How does a song come together and what was the weirdest place that you had or came up with a song idea?
FUN: SONGS ARE USUALLY BORN FROM JAM SESSIONS FOR ME. I COME UP WITH A LOT OF SONG LYRICS WHILE AT WORK. A FAIRLY SLOW DAY OFFERS ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO LET MY MIND COME UP WITH MORE SINISTER TALES AND BEING INFLUENCED BY FAVORITES I LISTEN TO AT WORK.
MC: Who pens the lyrics and are lyrics important to the band or does the music come first or is it a combo of both?
FUN: I WRITE ALL THE LYRICS AND MUISC FOR THE BAND USUALLY, BUT HAVE HAD SOME COLLABORATION WITH SOME OF THE VARIOUS BAND MEMBERS OVER THE YEARS FOR A FEW LINES. MOST OF THE PREVIOUS MEMBERS JUST DIDN'T HAVE THE SAME VISION AND IDEOLOGY BEHIND THE GRAVEWURM SOUND TO FIT TOO WELL TO USE TOO MUCH OF THEIR INPUT HOWEVER. MUSIC ALMOST ALWAYS COMES FIRST, THEN THE LYRICS AND ARRANGEMENT.
MC: Who designs your cd release covers and are you a big fan of vinyl or do you just prefer CDs?
FUN: ALBUM COVERS VARY BY ARTIST...WHETHER THEY ARE CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR OUR RELEASES OR HAVE ALREADY EXISTED IN THE ART REALM. I LIKE ALL FORMATS FOR MUSIC.
MC: Where do you see the underground scene in 5 years? Do you think that by then most music will just be all download stuff that you just play on your computer?
FUN: I DON'T THINK THE UNDERGROUND WILL GO ALL DIGITAL IN 5 YEARS. POPULAR / MAINSTREAM MUSIC PROBABLY WILL THOUGH. I DO NOT LOOK TO THE FUTURE FOR THE UNDERGROUND AS A WHOLE. I AM JUST ONE MAN IN ONE BAND STRIVING TO CONTINUE THE VISION THAT BLOOD AND I CREATED OVER 20 YEARS AGO.
MC: In your eyes and ears what makes a good song?
FUN: GOOD RIFFS ARE THE ESSENCE OF GOOD METAL...EVERYTHING ELSE IS BUILT UPON THAT.
MC: Plug any websites you have.
MC: Any last words and horns up for the interview.
FUN: THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW CHRIS. PEOPLE WHO STILL WORSHIP THE 1ST WAVE BLACK METAL SOUNDS OF HELL AND DAMNATION CAN CONTACT US ON FACEBOOK OR EMAIL [email protected] FOR MERCHANDISE SALES AND BAND NEWS.