Jungle Rot vocalist/guitarist Dave Matrise recently took a moment out of his busy Summer touring schedule to speak with me about the band and their latest release, Terror Regime. Since the mid-nineties these guys have been cranking out a steady offering of crushing death metal and with the release of Terror Regime the aural assault continues. Here is how the conversation went.
Terror Regime seems to be a bit more aggressive and serious effort. Was this a conscious effort or is this something that you think just came about?
Dave: Terror Regime was written this time with 100% confidence from all of us. We all went into this recording knowing what our jobs were. The music progressed this time around because we finally found a drummer that could play what we were looking for. Some of our other drummers could only go so far with their playing and we would have to write just to their ability and what they could play so that they could pull it off live. With Jesse there is no challenge he will not conquer. He has a big part on this new one by keeping our energy level to the max. After all the touring on the last release, I really knew going into the new CD that I could push everything much further and harder this time around with Jesse on board.
Are you happy with the way the record turned out?
Dave: Yes, very much. We always go into the studio trying to make sure the production is better than our past one’s. I believe this new release captures what Jungle Rot is all about out of all of our recordings. I feel like it has a Slayer edge to it in the mix, it’s very clean and crisp sounding, which rips right through your skin.
Check out the song “Terror Regime”
You also just re-released your 1996 effort, Skin the Living. How did that come about? What was the thought process behind it?
Dave: That’s something I have been talking with Victory for some time now and it finally happened. I still feel this release will stand the test of time. We always wanted to have a vinyl piece out and why not do it with the one that started it off for us. Plus, I always wanted to give it a proper release, the one that it deserved. It was originally released on a limited pressing and never really got out there in the world. Night after night on tour we hear the fans yell out the titles and ask us where they can find a copy of it. This will give everyone a chance to see where Jungle Rot started and how long we have been playing this style of music.
You guys write such groove-laden metal and I was wondering if you write with the live setting in mind? If not, do you find it difficult translating the tunes to the live setting?
Dave: Yes, I do keep that in mind very much when I’m writing songs. It is very important to me to sound the best that we can live and making sure we are better than our CD live. We always are winning over new fans on tour nightly. I will see them come up to the front and just look at us and take us all in, next I will see their foot tap up and down to the beat. Next you will see their head moving back and forth from the speed, then they will throw their fist in the air and yell “fuck yes”! And then next they will be in the pit. This is the same thing I vision while writing new tunes. I call it soul taking death metal that leaves you begging for more.
Do you have a favorite track off Terror Regime or one that has a good story behind it?
Dave: Hmm let’s see, I would have to say the song “Blind Devotion” would be one of my favorites because it was the first song I wrote for the new Terror Regime CD. I knew I was off to a good start writing when we finished that song, I just felt that song was very well rounded, and it has all the keys parts to making a killer song. It really helped to set the level of our writing for the new CD, by making each song better than the last one.
Jungle Rot has had quite a bit of turnover in band members over the years. With that being said do you feel comfortable or confident that you have a solid lineup now?
Dave: I did have my share of members. Some were in to help out with tours and shows and some were in because they thought they wanted to be in a band until they saw what it was all about on the road, and just could not handle it. Jim and Geoff have been with me now for 9 years and I could not thank them enough for all of their hard work and dedication to this band and to me… We all share the same dreams and goals together and support one another to make this band work. Jesse is now going on his third year and has two recordings with us playing the drums for us under his belt. I feel this will be the line up until the end of Jungle Rot’s career. For the last few years we have really been a force to reckon with.
You guys have been going for more than 15 years now. Did you ever imagine you would still be doing this?
Dave: Yes, it has been many years now. I always dreamed of playing in a band forever, but I really didn’t think it would go this long or happen. I guess I dedicated my life for so long to this band that I really have no choice but to make something out of it because it’s one of the only things I can do with my life. I convinced myself early on that I was going make it in music and just never stopped living the dream.
Check out the song “Blind Devotion”
Do you find it difficult to keep up with the physical demands of a tour after so many years?
Dave: That is starting to take bit of a toll on me. We still do most of our touring in a van; we will basically live in it for 5 weeks at a time. I manage to always keep my focus on the road to not get sick, to stay healthy, and try getting enough sleep. My band helps to reminded me that everything will be all right when things get tough, we all still love to play live show and tour the world. I have always said to others that it takes a very special person for this kind of work and career. It is not made out for everyone. Let me tell you it’s not one big party going on out there.
What is next for Jungle Rot?
Dave: We will be doing a European tour in August. That will included some good festivals like Into The Grave Fest and Brutal Assault Fest along with Meh Suff Fest in Switzerland and a handful of more club dates. Then we will do another North American Tour in the fall of 2013.