(Demisery is a two-man death metal project consisting of noted guitar whiz Keith Merrow and his partner in crime, guitarist/vocalist Gord Olson. TheMadIsraeli raved about their 2011 debut album Hive of Misery in his NCS review last November — an album you can stream and buy HERE. Today, we’re happy to publish his interviews with Demisery’s dynamic duo. In this post, he talks with Gord Olson and in the immediately preceding post, Keith Merrow.)
Mr. Olson — you have a voice that sounds like a grotesque swamp monster and the shred skills to eviscerate an entire army of demons. Why ARE you so fucking awesome?
Thank you very much, sir. I can only say that my skills either came to me through many long years of study and practice, or perhaps that creepy guy dressed up as the devil at that Halloween party had something to do with it… As part of a gag, I “sold my soul” to him! (laughs) But of course, that stuff isn’t real though, right? RIGHT???
I’m going to start this interview with the same question I asked Keith: How did you and Merrow hook up, why form Demisery, and how do you feel about Hive Of Mutation in retrospect?
Sometime in late 2010, I had stumbled across a couple of Keith’s videos on YouTube, and I was impressed by certain aspects of his sound. Actually, one of the videos I saw was of him doing a guitar cover of a Cannibal Corpse song, which I thought was really cool, so I wrote to him. I was wanting to pick his brain a little bit about his production techniques. I mentioned that I was a huge fan of old-school Death Metal, and sent him a couple of tracks that I was working on at the time. We found out that we had a near identical list of influences and favorite music, and it was kind of a trip to find that we had many other things in common as well, so I guess that was the start of the friendship.
While Keith was working on his “Awaken the Stone King” album, he was sending me some of the new songs to check out, and asked if I wanted to write a solo for one of them. I actually wrote and recorded a solo for “Heart of the Sea Nymph”, but unbeknownst to me, Jeff (Loomis) was already writing one for that spot! So I ended up recording the solo in the song, “Beheading the Manticore”. At that point, we began talking about further collaborations in the future. Fast-forward a few months, after the release of AtSK, Keith was on a break from school, and the band that I was in had just dissolved, so with some free time on our hands, we started writing together, and within just a couple of weeks, we had something like 7 or 8 songs in various stages of completion! So we decided to just go ahead and make a full-length album out of it. And that was the start of Demisery! Looking back, it was a great time, all of our material fit together perfectly, and I think we created a kick-ass, true Death Metal album! I’m very proud of it.
What is your story? You’ve just kind of come out of nowhere. The most I had heard of you was that BRJ shred contest you were involved in, and now you’ve been propelled to being fairly well known and respected. How does that feel?
Hmm… Again, it might have had something to do with that party…
No man, it’s been really, really awesome. I’ve been playing and writing music for years around the Calgary scene, but the last couple of years had been pretty quiet for me. Winning that Rico Jr. contest got me quite a lot of exposure, and then this Demisery project has really surprised me with how it has spread so far, in such a short amount of time. I get emails from people all over the world, and I’m constantly blown away by the cool things that people say to me. It’s pretty surreal at times!
Do you delve into any other musical projects that aren’t Demisery that publically release material?
In 2010 I was playing lead guitar in a Black/Death band called Malismic, we recorded an EP, but the band dissolved before any official release. I think there are still a few songs on Myspace, if anyone is interested to hear it. I’ve also been working on another full-length album in a project called Ye Goat-Herd Gods. I didn’t write any of the songs, but I performed the vocals and recorded some solos for the album. I’m currently finishing up the mixing and mastering on that one, hopefully it will see the light of day soon; it’s a very cool album! What else, I just recorded guest vocals for a song by a UK tech-death band called Celestial Void. I don’t know yet when that will be coming out. And on top of all that, I have several songs written that I intend to release as solo material when time permits. I’ve been fairly busy as of late…
I was left with the impression from various videos and the like that you are the one who did the majority of the awesome shred on this album. Is that correct?
Actually, Keith and I have almost exactly the same number of solos on the album. Most of my solos do incorporate fast picking or sweeping arpeggios, though. Keith’s funny, he was always telling me that he can’t solo, but clearly, the dude can! He’s just naturally gifted with an ability to write cool melodies and phrases. We kind of pushed each other during the writing of the album; he would write a solo, and I would then feel like the pressure was on me to write something just as killer, and vice-versa. In the end, I think we were both happy with the results!
Everyone knows what gear Keith uses, what about you?
Well, one of the things that made the Demisery recording much easier to pull off was the fact that we had virtually the same gear! I’m endorsed by Rico Jr. Guitars, so I have a couple of those that I use. I also use the Axe-FX by Fractal Audio, Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 2, and PreSonus’ Studio One 2 recording software. Those four things supply the majority of my sounds.
What top 5 bands are blowing you away right now?
Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony
Septicflesh – The Great Mass
Entrails – The Tomb Awaits
Vicious Art – Demo 2011
Dark Fortress – Ylem (it`s from 2010, but I just discovered it, and it`s blowing me away!)
And just like I asked Merrow, top 10 death metal albums of all time?
Oh man… That’s such a tough question. I can`t put these in any specific order, so I`ll just list them alphabetically. But honestly, this list would probably change day to day, there are so many great albums that I love…
And this is restricting myself to only one album per band, as well!
Atheist – Unquestionable Presence
Behemoth – Demigod
Carcass – Necroticism
Death – Human
Decapitated – The Negation
Dismember – Indecent and Obscene
Entombed – Clandestine
Malevolent Creation – Retribution
Morbid Angel – Covenant
Pestilence – Testimony of the Ancients
Bah! I`ll never be happy with a list of only 10 albums…
What do you think of djent? The scene, the style and the developments it’s been undergoing?
I’m honestly not familiar enough with the style to say much about it…
Will we see more Demisery carnage in the future?
Absolutely! We both have other projects to finish up first though, but plans are already being made for the next release, and I guarantee you, it will be crushing!
It was awesome interviewing you man! Keep up the brutality full force.
Thanks, MadIsraeli, for having me! Much appreciation!