(Comrade Aleks brings us this interview of guitarist Eduardo Ramírez Santamaría of the the Mexican band Matalobos.)
Here comes Matalobos – the melodic death doom band from Mexico. If you have been missing the early days of Katatonia and patiently waiting for a new Daylight Dies since their last LP, A Frail Becoming, then Matalobos can provide you some dark depressive vibes in a picturesque and pretty heavy vein.
Their debut LP, Arte Macabro, saw the light of the day only one year ago, but the men have prepared some new material – three new tracks released under the title Until Time Has Lost All Meaning welcome you to the realm of death and gloom. The band’s guitarist Eduardo Ramírez Santamaría is our guide through the realms of Matalobos.
Hi Eduardo! How are you? What’s new in the Matalobos lair?
Hello my friend, thanks for having me. We are currently promoting our new EP, Until Time Has Lost All Meaning, and also awaiting the re-issue of our first self-titled EP, Matalobos, that will include some new features such as cover art and a bonus track.
original EP cover
Why did you decide to re-release Matalobos and what can you tell us about the bonus track? What kind of track did you record and are you sure that it works well with your early material?
Well, when we released our first EP it was a limited edition of only 100 CD’s and 50 tapes, and soon it was sold out. As time passed by, it seemed like people who bought the Arte Macabro album were interested in the first recording, so we decided to make this new release. The bonus track is a cover of My Dying Bride’s song “I cannot be loved”. We made this cover for an official tribute, so we thought it would be cool to have it as an extra for this re-release.
Concreto Records released Matalobos’ new EP Until Time Has Lost All Meaning on November 2nd – my congratulations! How do you value this material? How far did you step from Arte Macabro?
Well, it was important for us to keep making music you know? As a new band, we have to be in constant motion in order to keep people aware of us; this recording, it’s a bridge between what we did with Arte Macabro and what awaits us in a new LP that I expect to have next year.
I guess that in Arte Macabro you expressed almost all elements of melodic death doom metal. What did you want to put into Until Time Has Lost All Meaning?
I think that our sound is a mixture between the heaviness of Death Metal and the melancholy of Doom. We wanted to have 3 songs, the first one focused on the doomy melancholic part, the second song focused on a straight Death Metal sound, and the third one, the experimental one, the bridge to a new path to explore in upcoming releases.
Matalobos – Until Time Has Lost All Meaning
So there are two new songs and one instrumental track. Can you tell us how you recorded it?
The first two songs were the traditional way. First I made some demo tapes, the rest of the band listened to them, and we started making some arrangements. Once we were in the studio, we began recording the drums, then rhythm guitars, bass, vocals, and finally some strings. But the third song, I waited until we were recording. It’s pretty much an improvised song, and the drums on it were made in just one take, so I think it’s important to just express a feeling in some songs.
How do you see this experimental progressive element which you want to develop through the second full-length record?
I guess that, what I like from prog rock music, it’s the way the songs develop through different phases, almost like a rollercoaster, so I wanted to create that kind of vibe. I don’t care much about the time signatures or complex drum patterns, I care about the “tell a story” side of prog music.
This new EP was recorded at Urvn Studios, just like Arte Macabro was. What is this studio? Why did you choose it?
Actually our first EP was recorded in there too. The studio belongs to a good friend of us, Rubén, and besides that, he always gives us the freedom to do whatever we want to do. Sometimes I’m all like, “Hey man, let´s record 5 acoustic guitars doing something in this part”, and he is like, “Go ahead man, it’s your music!”, and I think this kind of posture helps us to deliver just what’s on our minds.
I would say that Matalobos are strongly influenced by Daylight Dies and probably early Katatonia; is this supposition true? How would you describe your main influences?
Yeah of course, I love those bands. Our last song from the EP, “La Luz del Día Muere”, is the direct translation to Spanish of “Daylight Dies”. What I found ravishing about these bands is how they mix the melancholic, touching sounds with the heaviness of Death Metal, just like we want to achieve, and of course, we have a lot of great influences like Klimt1918, Novembre, Rapture, Dark Tranquillity, Swallow the Sun, etc.
I’m also a big fan of prog rock music. I just enjoy the good melody of a song independently of the genre. Currently you can find Jeff Buckley, Lhasa de Sela, Blueneck, and so on, in my playlists, artists who don’t belong at all to the world of metal.
Eduardo, how do you see the main features of Matalobos?
I think we are a melancholic Death Metal band you know? We try to go deep in our feelings in order to, I don’t know, keep us sane I guess haha, so people can find some hate and violence in our music, but also a touch of tranquility and sorrow.
It seems that death doom isn’t a popular thing in Mexico. Can you tell us about the local scene and name some representatives?
I know, I don’t know why, I guess some people believe that doom metal is boring hahaha, but fortunately we have had a great response. There´s not many bands that I’m aware of, but our biggest representative right now is Majestic Downfall, a fantastic band and great friends of ours. I can also name Dies Irae, Abyssal, Shiri, Boggart, Intus Amiserit, and that´s pretty much the ones I recall, sadly.
Matalobos – Derelict
How often do you play shows there? Do you have an opportunity to play also abroad?
Currently we are having a couple of shows per month. We are not a full-time band right now, but that’s our goal, and of course our main priority is to play across Europe — that´s where the heart and soul of doom is. We hope we can make a tour over there, we’ll see…
The band is based in León, Guanajuato; how does this environment influence you? Can we find some traces of local culture in your music or lyrics?
I think México is a very Metal place, there´s so much violence and folklore that of course forge our character as we grew up, I think pretty much all the acoustic parts from our music are very influenced by the music that we listened to from our parents, folk music from here. My first guitar was a Spanish guitar, so that’s why I have a romance with that sound.
By the way, what do you aim to express through your lyrics?
For us the lyrics are a crucial part of our work. Our music should just carry out and become a companion to the words that are being said. Our songs are mainly focused on personal experiences, very decadent and nostalgic stories, but also we have another face in our concept, the horror and macabre side. We’re all huge fans of horror films, mainly the old ones you know, so we try to print that sadness with a touch of bizarre and horrific stories, from Japanese myths to words dedicated to the ones who left this mundane world.
Well, can you tell us if some of your songs were really based on certain specific horror movies?
There’s a couple of songs from Arte Macabro inspired by Japanese legends, stories about demons and so on; the song “Macabre”, it’s a story about a cult, they worship a woman who guides them into the woods, to hang themselves in order to find relief. If you listen to the song, the first part is slow and repetitive, this is the part that represents the “walking into the woods” part, then there’s like a chorus with a “pray to the ghost lady”, and the end of the song transforms into a heavy part, this is the “killing spree” part.
I’ve heard about the Santa Muerte cult in Mexico. Did you think about focusing on it in your lyrics? That could be a good special twist, couldn’t it?
Well, here in México the adoration of death has been with us since ancient times. The Mayan culture had a God of Death called “Xibalba”, so it’s an inherent part of us. Currently the people who worship “La Santa Muerte” are pretty much criminals and drug dealers, they believe that one way or another we all are going to die, that only death is fair, so I guess that’s pretty metal! Hahaha so yeah, maybe we can use that!
Okay Eduardo! That’s all for today, thanks for your answers, and good luck with Matalobos!
Thanks a lot Aleksey for this interview, it was an honor and pretty fun to answer it, Doom on!