- The "Human Plague" demo was released in 1990. How did you record the material? Was it a self-funded tape?
- Yeah, we recorded it in April 1990. Actually, believe it or not, it was recorded in a studio that was under a church! From memory, it was a 16-track studio and it was our first time in a recording studio, apart from our drummer, Stuart. Bill Steer (CARCASS) came to the studio with us, just for moral support really. He was a friend of ours and obviously, because of his experience with NAPALM DEATH and CARCASS, he was able to give us some advice and tips here and there.
- What was the feedback on this record? Staying independent and without any proper label support, how did you promote your band?
- Generally, the feedback was very positive. I guess, at that time, there weren’t really that many death metal bands in the UK and the scene was still relatively small and underground. Promoting was mainly done through tape trading, sending out flyers and demos, zine interviews etc. We played a lot of gigs, both locally and around the country, we played regularly with ANATHEMA, who were good friends of ours, we also played with the likes of CARCASS, BENEDICTION, CEREBRAL FIX, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, SICK OF IT ALL, SOLSTICE and tons more. It was an exciting time to be part of that scene and I still have very fond memories of those times.
- Hello, Carlo! Could you please recall how and when you joined Devoid? Was it your first metal band?
- Hi there! I guess it was some time in autumn 1990 when I joined DEVOID. They had already been around for about a year and they needed a new guitar player. I was only 16 when I joined and I immediately became chief songwriter. Yes, it was my first metal band, although I started playing guitar at the age of 8. Myself and Paul Craig (DEVOID bass player) had always done several bedroom projects and recordings before DEVOID and I got Paul in the band just prior to recording the ‘’Human Plague’’ demo.
- Do you remember your first concert together with Devoid? Where did it take place?
- Yeah, the first gig we played was in a town called Bolton, which is near Manchester. It was with a band called BURIAL. I remember feeling very nervous but as I say, I was only 16 at the time.
- Could you tell us a bit about the creation process of your full-length "Blackened Empire"? Who was the main composer?
- I was the main songwriter, although Paul contributed to some of the song-writing. More often than not, I would generally write a song in its entirety and record a home demo and give it to the other members, we would then work on it in rehearsal.
- Where did you record this album? Could you remember any interesting moments that happened at the studio during those sessions?
- It was recorded in a local studio here in Liverpool. To be honest, I can’t think of anything of note that happened during the recording. We were all very young and naïve, I was 17 at this point (September 1991). The album was completely self-produced as the budget didn’t stretch far enough to afford a producer, unfortunately. It was all recorded and mixed in three days.
- The album was released by Skysaw label. How did you get that deal? Looks like "Blackened Empire" was its only release.
- From memory, the guy who owned Skysaw knew a friend of ours. No, “Blackened Empire” wasn’t their only release. Actually, Middie, the drummer in DISATTACK (the band Bill Steer was in before CARCASS) had released an ANTI CIMEX 7” EP with the guy from Skysaw a few years earlier. They also released other stuff by the likes of KMFDM and some more successful dance music. To be honest, we were young and were just happy to be given the opportunity to record an album.
- How did fans react on that material? Did you get the response that you expected?
- I guess it never really sold that well, it was very difficult to compete with the likes of the more established bands on the likes of Earache, Peaceville and Nuclear Blast etc. We did get some coverage in the metal mags like Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Metal Forces etc and the reviews were quite good from what I remember.
- Later, you release another demo "Circle of Hypocrites" and you split-up. When exactly did it happen and what was the official reason for such a decision?
- Ok, firstly, the demo wasn’t actually called “Circle of Hypocrites”, that is something that has surfaced on the internet, it was actually just called “Promo ‘92”. It was essentially just to showcase the new material I’d written to record labels. It was never sold, so it was really quite rare.
To be honest, the band just sort of fizzled out due to lack of interest and motivation. I then got asked to join CARCASS in early 1994 and that was the end of DEVOID.
- Recently this year, Dark Blasphemies Records re-issued all Devoid records on one CD. What can you say about this edition?
- Well, I was completely surprised that anyone was actually interested enough to want to even re-release it. To be honest, I’d never even thought about any of the DEVOID stuff being reissued, the stuff was recorded so long ago. I guess, as a guitar player, I am hyper-critical of my own playing, I’m my own biggest critic, so hearing stuff recorded that long ago makes me cringe a bit to be honest, as it certainly doesn’t represent my ability as a musician some 24 years later. I was quite reluctant at first, mainly because I didn’t think anyone would even be interested, we were never a big band. Then, out of the blue, I was approached by David from Dark Blasphemies Records regarding a CD reissue of the “Blackened Empire” LP, along with the first demo and the unreleased promo tape from 1992 and I just thought “f**k it, why not?”. The album was never originally released on CD, so it seemed like a good idea, I guess. I’m just a bit concerned for the label as to whether it will sell or not but we’ll see. One thing is for sure that the packaging is great and all the material has been remastered, so I guess it will be a nice thing to own and will actually be a huge improvement on the original releases, both sonically and aesthetically. I still have a few for sale if anyone wants to contact me through the Devoid UK page on Facebook.
- After Devoid was disbanded, you joined Carcass. Could you please recall how it happened?
- I started writing to Bill after “Reek…” was released. They were a local band and were always playing at a local club called Planet X, so I’d seen them loads of times live. I would regularly be on the guest list for CARCASS gigs, here in Liverpool and around the country. People have to understand that, pre internet days, things were very different back then. The scene in the UK was a select group of people into the same music, tape trading etc. There was a great mix of hardcore, punk and metal in the underground in the UK. There were only really three ‘Death Metal’ bands in this country at the time; CARCASS, BOLT THROWER and PARADISE LOST (demo and first LP era) and all would regularly be on the same bill as the likes of NAPALM DEATH, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, DOOM, DEVIATED INSTINCT, HERESY, CONCRETE SOX, ELECTRO HIPPIES, HELLBASTARD, RIPCORD, GENERIC, ATAVISTIC, THE STUPIDS, SORE THROAT etc etc.
Musically, it was a very exciting time and a great scene to be a part of. Everyone sort of knew each other, like I say it was a very close-knit scene. As I said earlier, Bill came into the studio with us when we did the “Human Plague” demo, also I used to go around to his house a lot in those days and DEVOID played live with CARCASS, too. I guess, sometime in 1993, Bill had told me that Mike Amott was becoming less and less interested and involved in the band and I remember being in Bill’s and just telling him that I’d love to have a go, if they ever needed a new guitar player. Hickey had been their guitar tech on a US tour and he just really wanted to be in a band and I guess he must have badgered them more than me, so they agreed to give him a go. That obviously didn’t work out, so I got the call as soon as they got home from their Japanese tour in April 1994. My first involvement was in the June, from memory, to do the “No Love Lost” video. Subsequently, I went on to do two tours with CARCASS. I played on the USA and UK legs of the “Heartwork” tour in 1994. I actually turned 20 the day we flew out to America. It was the first time I’d been abroad and been on a plane! It was a great experience. It definitely made me a better live musician and performer.
- As a Carcass member, you recorded the "Swansong" album. What can you tell us about the song-writing and the recording process? How different was it for you in comparison with Devoid?
- Hmmm, that’s a difficult question to answer really. It was obvious when I joined the band that there was a lot of tension and, at times, that was quite uncomfortable for me as the new member. The tension was present whilst touring and in rehearsals and invariably that carried over into the recording sessions. The song-writing process in CARCASS (and BLACKSTAR) was different to DEVOID as we just tended to bring riffs and ideas into rehearsals and jam on them as a band, rather than someone coming in with a completed song. On the whole, I enjoyed the part I played in the writing and recording of the album, although I was told to ‘tone down’ my playing, ie no sweep picking, arpeggios and harmonies, as they were looking for a more ‘classic rock’ kind of sound, a la THIN LIZZY et al, and I guess they considered that some of those techniques and ideas weren’t really appropriate with the kind of sound they were looking to achieve. I remember that a few harmonies on some of my solos didn’t make the final mix. I remember being somewhat underwhelmed in the studio with the guitar tone and I was disappointed that they had decided not to quad-track the guitars and instead, just have one rhythm guitar in each channel. The bass sound is great on that album and is actually heavier than the guitars!
- Nowadays you have a brand new project Monstrance. Say a few words about this band please. What is the current line-up? What kind of music are you playing?
- Well, all the material was written and home recorded by me during 2005 – 2007, most of the riffs and ideas are ones I had during my time in CARCASS and BLACKSTAR, although some are as old as 1992. I never expected or intended to ever do anything with the material as it was just done purely for my own amusement, as I just enjoyed doing it. Lots of people have been asking what I’ve been up to during my 17 year hiatus and I mentioned this material to them. The material has received such a positive and amazing response from the major metal labels, that I decided to ask some friends if they would like to take part in recording an album with me, namely Ian Treacy (ex BENEDICTION) drums, Tony Glover (ex DEVOID) vocals, Aleksandar Kokai on bass, we will also have Steven Hargraves on second guitar (for live purposes). I’m feeling very hopeful about it all, as the feedback has far exceeded any expectations I may have had. Hopefully a recording contract will be signed very soon and we can get cracking on recording an album. I don’t really want to categorise the music as ultimately, I think genres are silly and very limiting. To me it’s just metal and I don’t feel the need to attach a prefix to it but I think it’s inevitable that people will do that but I’m not really too interested in that, it’s ‘whatever’ metal. Suffice to say, it will probably labelled as melodic death metal or some other silly sub sub sub genre. It’s just metal to me, although it is melodic, crushingly heavy, with shredding guitars – all the stuff I’ve always loved in heavy music.
- Can you already share any information about the release date? Will it be the studio only project or do you plan to have some concerts as well?
- Well, we are still in talks with a few different labels, so until we sign a contract, we won’t have any idea of a release date. Hopefully we’ll have some news soon but in the meantime, people can keep checking our Facebook page for updates. Furthermore, we have recently uploaded a teaser video with snippets of the song “Karma after the Storm”, which people can check out on YouTube. It’s probably best to type in ‘Monstrance teaser’ and find it that way.
Initially, the idea was just to record an album as a studio project but such was the enthusiasm amongst myself and the other guys that it was quickly decided to become a full-time band.
- Thank you, Carlo! Is there anything that you would like to add to our interview?
- Many thanks for your interest and support, it’s very much appreciated.
Carlo Regadas 2015
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