- Hello, Jamie! Let's talk about the very early days of the band. What exactly motivated you to start a band? What bands did influence your decision?
- Hello! Mike and I had grown up around music and it was something that was always around us, our father was a guitar player, our uncle a drummer and one of our grandfathers played several instruments. Once we started playing it seemed we were always looking for something challenging to play to better ourselves which eventually led us to death metal.
Of course it was a progression to get there, we started listening to Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer and then came upon Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel, and Napalm Death etc.
Mike was always the guitar guy and excelled quickly, and I never even considered doing vocals in the beginning all I wanted to do was play bass. As we were forming what would eventually become Brodequin we found it quite difficult to find a vocalist that we felt would match what we were going for. I was really into Matti’s vocals ( Disgorge ) and Joe Ptacek ( Broken Hope ) Joe I think doesn’t get a lot of credit for the influence that he had on brutal death metal at least in my opinion he doesn’t. But anyway we were not finding the vocals we were looking for so I ended up trying it out. Once we had a solid lineup we thought we would give it a shot and see if people would enjoy listening to it as much as we did.
- Who came up with that name, Brodequin? Did you consider any other versions as well?
- I came to the other guys with the name suggestion. I had a few that were under consideration, “Tortured Existence” was one I remember but Brodequin just seemed to work out for us and it was an easy selection.
- In 1999 you released your first Demo, consisted of 4 tracks. Where did you record them? How did you promote your material?
- We recorded those tracks in Knoxville TN at our practice space on a four track recorder. We pretty much gave those to everyone we knew, passed them out at live shows and took them to record stores on road trips. Mike and I used to get in the car on weekends and travel to metal stores, there are none in our area so it was always a road trip! and we took a bunch of demo’s with us. Most of the stores would let us put them by the register and give them away free to anyone interested, one of the first stores we went to was Nighftall Records which was owned by Don Decker he was very cool about letting us drop off some demos whenever we wanted.
- And already next year you released your debut full-length, "Instruments of Torture". As everything was done on your own, could you tell us a bit about the recordings and production side of it? Where did you record it? How long did you spend at the studio?
- We recorded “Instruments” with a friend of our first drummer (Chad Walls) in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. His name was Mike Sky, an all around super nice guy! we stayed at his house and recorded it in his living room that had been converted into a studio. It was a lot of fun, the recording is super dirty but at the time it was really our only option and a great learning experience. We spent a total of 3 days there, as I remember it was the most time any of us could get off of work. As far as the amount of time it took to actually record, we would run around during the day goofing off and then record for a few hours at night. There were about six people living there at the time so it was a bit chaotic trying to record with people coming and going all the time, but it was a lot of fun.
- Who was in charge of printing CDs? How many copies did you have? And again, was everything done on your own money?
- Mike got the printer all lined up and we printed the first thousand copies on our own. After it was out for a little while we were approached by a few labels about re-releasing it.
In the end we decided to go with Ablated Records for the re-release, I have no idea how many copies were printed with Ablated as I was always told different numbers haha. I’m not suggesting anything sinister I just never had a good idea of how many were actually produced.
- In 2001 you released your next CD, "Festival of Death". What can you say about this album now?
- We recorded again with Mike Sky but this time he was based in Florida. It was a great experience! we would get up and hit the beach in the afternoon and record at night.
We were really moving into a faster direction with “Festival” and felt like at the time we were pushing what we could do. Lyrically I tried to add more depth to what I really wanted the listener to envision. I tried to paint a better picture of what was happening during each song. The riffs were much more complex than they were on “Instruments” and the recording was better although I wish it was more polished. On an interesting note Mike recorded the bass on the last track as I developed some kind of allergic reaction and was in the hospital for the evening.
- This album was recorded and produced once again by Mike Sky. Could you please tell us a bit about that guy? How did you meet him? - We met Mike Sky through Chad who had known him for many years. He was a very generous guy, always willing to help out and made everyone feel comfortable. He was a musician himself and had a solid understanding of the roles instruments should play and a great ear. He was only limited by the equipment he had at his disposal, and was the type of guy that could work with anyone. Sadly he passed away several years ago.
- This album was released by Unmatched Brutality Records, label run by Mike Bailey. How did you come up with the idea of your own label?
- I think it really came down to us wanting to control what happened to the album and where it ended up. It gave us the opportunity to get very involved in the scene and meet a lot of people, Mike was also able to release some really great bands. It allowed us to make all the decisions in regards to artwork, release dates, the merchandise we would release etc. which is always important to us. The idea of the label is something that came up just hanging out and talking about what the scene was like at that time and what labels were active and what they were doing. Mike felt that he could make a positive impact by releasing bands that he enjoyed listening to and would want to see perform.
- Unmatched Brutality released a lot of now classic stuff, such as Prostitute Disfigurement, Guttural Secrete, as well as all the upcoming Brodequin' releases. Did you help Mike with anything related to the label business? Why did you have to stop all the activities and close the label?
- I helped Mike mostly with artwork/design for advertisements and merchandise or if a bands layout needed to be redone or adjusted. I would definitely give my opinions on any bands that submitted anything to the label but the final call on that was Mike’s as it was his business. I’ll try put it as briefly as possible in regards to what happened with the label. Mike had someone that worked at the label for a number of years eventually take over shipping and receiving and customer service. Mike still packaged everything up and setup trades, this person took the items to the post office and answered emails from the website and his online auctions. At some point it was brought to Mike’s attention that items were not being received, after looking into the matter and letting this person go from the label the damage had been done. Mike was suspended from selling in an online auction format which killed about 80% of his revenue overnight, at that time direct website sales accounted for a small portion of overall sales. We found a lot of packages that were never shipped, Mike did his best to contact those who’s orders were never shipped or needed refunds but many of the records were destroyed before the person was fired. By destroying the invoices it at first made it look like it wasn’t as bad as we thought, then we started finding things everywhere…it was a pretty bad time. Taking a hit like that was something that could not be overcome anytime soon and as Mike was doing that as a full time job he immediately needed to find work.
- In 2003, you created the side-project Liturgy, with Matti Way on vocals. What is the story behind the creation of that band? Who came up with that idea?
- We met Matti when we opened for Disgorge and Deeds of Flesh in Memphis TN, I was always a fan and we became fast friends. The idea was kind of a mutual one, we wanted to work on something together and the subject matter was something that Matti and I are both interested in. It was something we knew from the beginning needed to be its own, not just a few tracks on a Brodequin album. It all came together pretty easily, although the music writing process was a bit difficult with everyone spread out across the country lol, I know Mike spent some time with a drum machine which drove him crazy.
- "Dawn of Ash" was released the following year. How do you like this album now? Did you have any live gigs with Liturgy?
- Yes we performed at the Fuck The Commerce festival in Germany it was a great time! I still like the album and feel of the project. The fact that it is being re-released shows me that there is definitely a group of people out there that enjoy it as much as I do and I truly appreciate that.
- Have you heard that Matti Way is bringing Liturgy back? Calling it now Liturgy A.D. Will you be joining the reunion?
- I have talked to Matti and Jon in regards to this. The sound is different from the first Liturgy, I think it sounds super dark and I like what I have heard. I would definitely be there if they need me in any way whether it be live shows or in a recording aspect. I always enjoy working with Matti, Jon and Mike I think we work well together and create some cool music.
It was all kind of an interesting timing of events really, I was on Facebook for a short while and abandoned it. I decided to get back on and see who I could find and I came across Jon, then Matti and so on. The same week I was informed of the Liturgy A.D. and the re-release of the first Liturgy album, apparently several people tried to contact me but had old email addresses that were no longer used. Now anyone can find me on Facebook so there shouldn’t be anymore confusion about anything.
- Let's talk a bit about the last Brodequin masterpiece, "Methods of Execution". From the very title it's clear that you keep developing topics of suffering and medieval tortures. Still, why did you choose this kind of topics for your lyrics? Did you have to go through any specific and serious books to be more exact in your lyrics?
- I read quite a bit on a variety of subjects but medieval history has always been a favorite of mine. Everything from military tactics of that time to engineering and religious and political practices that were popular during that era. I have read numerous books on medieval and modern torture and execution techniques, once you read around six or so it all becomes the same material just in a different order. It never ceases to amaze me the ingenuity that humans have when it comes to inflicting pain on those who disagree with their belief structure or political agendas. There are some similarities that seem to cross boundaries from civilizations who employed torture - fire, water, and sharp instruments seem to be universal favorites.
Modern torture has just taken it to the next level, we now have the ability to do more damage over a longer period of time and draw out the suffering to levels those in the medieval era could of only dreamed of inflicting. But in the end the same old favorites are there - fire, water and something sharp.
- Being recorded at Asylum Studios, this album got a bit different sound. What kind of experience was if for you to work with Tim Bleske?
- Yes Asylum was a good time, Tim is a friend of Jon Engman, we recorded a two song promo CD with Tim and it went so well we decided to go back for the full length. He is a good engineer and I think he was able to capture a lot of the energy that we were feeling during the recording process. He also was able to get a lot of whats happening with the bass to show up, it was the best bass sound that I have had to date on any recording that I have done. The overall process was very relaxed Jon hammered out the drums quickly, Mike did everything in one take and was done super fast lol then we did the bass and vocals were the next day. All in all it was done quickly and efficiently and I couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere to record in.
- As you were in charge of album's design and cover, could you explain what exactly is on the cover?
- In the background of the cover which is all the black and grey imagery is a photo of Martha M. Place taken in 1899. She was the first woman to die in the electric chair. She was executed on March 20, 1899 at Sing Sing Correctional Facility for the murder of her stepdaughter Ida Place. Her head is at the top center and she is facing to the left, then in the upper left is a breaking wheel, and then of course the large saw blade. The wheel and saw are actually mine, I decided to takes some photos and include them in the artwork. I wanted to portray kind of a new meets old with the cover, the older wheel and saw with the more modern electric chair.
- That's been already 7 years since Brodequin split-up. What do you do now? Are there any plans for your reunion?
- I currently work as a web & print designer and also work providing security consultation and training to individuals and businesses. I have been working on new material and Mike and I have been discussing our options and have been talking to some old friends about the possibility. I would like to release more music and I think there is a real good chance that we can get some material together and make it happen.
- Thank you a lot for this interview, Jamie! Would you like to say a few words to your fans?
- Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to talk to you and get some information out to our friends and fans! I would encourage anyone on Facebook to get in touch and send me a friend request and we can chat.
I truly do appreciate all of those out there that have sent me messages and kind words about Brodequin and Liturgy and I also am very thankful for the encouraging remarks about wanting to hear new material…THANKS!!!! \m/