Drawn and Quartered is a band that went through many moments in their way of Death Metal. Since that quasi-primitive “To Kill Is Human” (1999), now they have their eighth studio production called “Congregation Pestilence” released by Krucyator Productions. Which keeps the musical precepts of their first album, but now it's pleasant to hear that bands of almost 30 years (since Plague Bearer name) of longevity remain fresh in their sound and the fan can continue listening the band with the same fresh idea of first years. By the way, this American band never decrease their level of intensity and extreme freshness even they formula is already known by many ppl. But there is that inexplicable magic continues to motivate you to listen a Drawn and Quartered new production with this eighth album. And it follows those curiosity precepts for all lovers of their music and Death Metal. For this reason, Dargedik acceded an interview with Kelly Kuciemba, guitar player of this iconic extreme band.

Leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Drawn and Quartered

Kelly Kuciemba (guitar)

DARGEDIK: Welcome Kelly to Dargedik webzine pages, it's a great pleasure to talk to you about the band and the new album “Congregation Pestilence”. Where the band continues with the sound achieved over the years and it’s one of the most solid in US. Tell me, what does the band do to stay active from "To Kill Is Human" (1999) to this "Congregation Pestilence"? Coz you’re 29 years of uninterrupted career since Plague Bearer and 8 albums. What are your memories of the first days in the band? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: Hails! Thank you very much! Maintaining a band for 3 decades? That is insane! I had a vision and some goals early on. I would not quit until it was achieved. It has to be something you truly love doing. It requires many sacrifices. These are things you’ve probably heard hundreds of times. But there are daily decisions and major crossroads in life when you have to really decide to commit to something. There are things you can control and things you can’t. I don’t believe in fate; we live in a world of chaos. But you can do everything in your power to work towards the life you want and the things you want to achieve. Not many Death Metal bands/musicians make a full time living strictly creating music. To be able to sustain this I had to create a foundation to build on. You have to be able to navigate your way through the chaos and make a stand somewhere somehow and pursue the dream. You need people to buy in to it. Hundreds of people have made this thing, contributed in various ways. In the late 1980’s and early 90’s I was a young man, barely out of school. I started playing guitar years before, and would play along to some of my favorite bands in my apartment, but I really had no intention of being in a band. I thought I might have my own recording studio someday, but I’m socially awkward and having to deal with people wasn’t my strongest personality trait. After a serious sports injury I was recovering, unable to walk for a while. I started playing my guitar a lot, unable to work or go anywhere for a couple months. At that point I became re-dedicated to guitar playing and I bought a drum machine and a 4-track recording console. This is around 1991. I tried programming drum tracks, but it was very time consuming, and I wanted to spend more of my time playing guitar and writing songs. Ultimately, I realized I needed people to do this, and started reaching out in my local area through a local paper with ‘musicians wanted’ type ads and started networking with people. It took quite a while really, to get to the point of having a full band. It took hours and hours playing and recording your first songs to really get a grasp of how to put together a compelling song. By the time we got to recording "To Kill is Human" (1999) I’d been a part of writing and recording 20-30 songs, before writing what came together on that first record. 

DARGEDIK: I've been listening the entire discography of the band from "To Kill Is Human" (1999) to this "Congregation Pestilence", where the band maintains an intense and punch on the face style into the Drawn and Quartered’s sound, you don't complicate with your Death Metal style. Did any of you think of making more technical or progressive music? And what do you think about to add these elements in a Death Metal style? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: The first album is pretty basic composition. There are almost no harmony parts. We kept it pretty close to how we sounded live. I didn’t do many guitar solos. I wrote one solo improvised another. I added some chaos leads and the end of another song. We were self-financing this, and we didn’t think it was a good idea to spend too much time or money at this point. As time went on, we were able to do more creation in the studio. I was able to add more to the music, frequently creating music we wouldn’t really be able to duplicate live without adding a second guitarist. We have dabbled with a few almost-technical parts over the years. Early on I had a lot of grind influences. I also like a little doom and atmosphere. We haven’t done any very technical or progressive music yet, but if you really look at our catalog you can see we’ve mixed in different elements over the years, our 3rd album "Return of the Black Death" (2004) is probably the most technical? Maybe a few parts on the record after that called "Hail Infernal Darkness" (2006) demonstrate some technical aspects. I’ll be very honest, that style requires a lot of discipline with practicing your instrument. Some people absolutely love that. We are still around. We could do a more technical album at some point, to show that we can and for the challenge. It’s great fun to have variety in your catalog and still sound like the band you are. 

Herb Burke (bass and vocals)

DARGEDIK: I you can select one album from Drawn and Quartered to start listening Drawn and Quartered to the new fans. Which one would you choose that captures the essence of the band for the most part? Maybe do you have a special anecdote for this one? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: "Congregation Pestilence" is what I would consider to be a classic Drawn and Quartered record. As you go farther back in the catalog you will hear the production values change. Many people are expecting a much better production these days. I’d start at the most current records and work my way back. "Hail Infernal Darkness" (2006) is considered a classic Death Metal record, so there is a good place to start as well. My special anecdote about that record would be what lead up to it and why it came out some good, especially my performances. We have done 2 records previously back-to-back, not including an EP and some self-produced recordings for a proposed 7” record. At that time, we had also recently recorded an EP as Plague Bearer that required a lot of spontaneity and came out fantastic ("Rise of the Goat" (2006)). We had also been rehearsing and performing as Winds of Pestilence around that time. There were other bands and projects leading to all that, so it was a period where I was working very hard on my guitar playing. I was in a few other bands and studied guitar in a college for a few months as well. I listened to a lot of my favorite bands to inspire me, and practiced scales and modes a lot. When I got to the studio, I insisted on using this particular set-up for my guitar sound, despite the engineer trying to minimize noise. This sound enabled me to express myself freely. I wrote a lot of solos and a lot of improvisation occurred. I threw every trick in the book I had at the time and it came out really good. 

DARGEDIK: Drawn and Quartered is a band that was on three labels, including Krucyator Productions. Why did the band change label in the past? And how does it feel to work with Krucyator Productions? Are you agreeing to release the new album with other labels to get more easily the collect for the fans? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: When we first started out, we self-financed our recordings. We had no label or much of an idea how to go about being signed to one. After our very first performance as Plague Bearer in 1993 (also at the show was Infester) we met Odin Thompson. Odin had established Moribund Records and offered to distribute our demos. Eventually we signed a deal with Moribund to re-press our first record and we made 4 more full length records and a DVD. After fulfilling our contractual obligations, we decided to be more independent, self-finance our recordings and maintain ownership of these recordings. We then worked with Nuclear Winter Records to release a 7” record "Conquerors of Sodom" (2011) and full-length CD and LP "Feeding Hell’s Furnace" (2012). By this time, we hadn’t been that active. We didn’t perform live at all in 2009. From 2010-2012, we did 4 shows a year. I wasn’t doing any other music projects. I was home a lot, just enjoying having a normal life. I barely played guitar. The band was almost ended in 2012 when our drummer moved away. We considered maybe maintaining a long-distance relationship, and possibly recording or getting together again someday if we had a good reason too. We also considered ending the band. We had a good run, established a little legacy for ourselves. We weren’t convinced that we would be able to do the band justice by continuing on. With the assistance of friends and other people who believed in the band we did very soon begin rehearsing and arranging some of our unfinished songs. We then kept writing, rehearsing and performing again in 2013. We started recording a record that ended up not getting finished. In 2015 I self-released a demo tape on my own label Plague Pit Productions. Vault of Dried Bones released the "Proliferation of Disease" (2016) CD. I also had a tape released by End of Music out of Italy that contained a couple of the Plague Bearer demos. After ordering a tape from Krucyator Productions we began working together closely to produce new music and re-release some our back catalog on CD, Cassette Tape and LP. Loic and Krucyator have been a very important part of Drawn and Quartered re-establishing a presence in the growing underground Death Metal scene. We have released a Plague Bearer CD with Vomit Records and a live Drawn and Quartered CD with El Caneo Negro both labels from Mexico. We are independent at this point and able to work with various labels worldwide for exactly the reason you stated, to have our music more easily available in different regions of the world. We would like to reach many more places and working to get to the point where we can easily create exclusive releases for different areas worldwide. 

Simon Dorfman (drums)

DARGEDIK: Drawn and Quartered is a correct band into Death Metal, and as I mentioned before, your style is intense and have that punch in the face. So how do you take the different opinions from reviewers, fans, etc.? Good or bad? And does it affect in any way to do some changes for the next productions? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: Feedback is good. Other perspectives and opinions are good. The truth can be painful. The sooner you can see and acknowledge you blind spots the better. Death Metal is a sub-genre; our style has an even narrower fan base. We do try to make a Metal Record that would appeal to as many Metal fans as possible. I’m usually more motivated to make changes or try things because I want to. I have seen, heard or learned something interesting and new. Of course, everyone wants to be praised and liked. Certainly, many people thrive on positive reinforcement and validation. For fans of our style, they will usually appreciate what we are doing. Death Metal fans in general will have their opinions and fans of Metal and Hard Rock will have their opinions. Other opinions are mostly irrelevant. Everything said will probably remain in your subconscious, in some cases the criticism is a benefit that can assist you on your way to improving some aspect of your career or life. You have to shut out the noise and remain true to your vision. We know what it sounds like. We know where we need to improve. You will not please every listener. 

DARGEDIK: Now we’ll speak about other matters into the metal scene. As for how an underground band and a mainstream band should be considered, there are patterns where more vinyl or cassette productions stick to this concept, and the CD according to some fans only expands the collections. What do you think are the factors for fans to stick with this concept of underground metal? And where does Drawn and Quartered belong? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: Drawn and Quartered is an underground band, the kind of band where you collect the Tapes, LP’s and CD’s because you love too. You love the music; you want to possess a piece of the band and you follow that band and support them if you can should they ever play near you. There is no guarantee you will get another chance to buy that underground piece of merchandise. The more exposure and success you get the more haters and jealous wannabe’s you will encounter. To be successful in the Music industry you would need massive exposure. To become a household name to the point people, get tired of you pretty quickly. After reaching a certain level of success it would be difficult to go backwards, ultimately destroying the desire to continue the band at all. I’m satisfied with Drawn and Quartered being an underground band. We’d like to do some touring and play some big festivals. Certainly, we’d like to achieve more success, but that isn’t why I started this I’m not counting on a major commercial break-thru. 


DARGEDIK: According to you, where is located the vinyl, tape and CD into the metal scene nowadays, are these physical underground formats? Or are these mainstream formats? Coz as I said into the previous question, some people of this new generation prefer to hear an album in Vinyl or Tape and not CD. 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: We are big fans these older formats, they have grown in popularity. It’s pretty common worldwide for people to collect any and all of these formats. We use streaming and digital platforms for convenience. A lot of fans do enjoy collecting the physical products in their preferred formats. Mainstream music fans are buying more vinyl than ever, it’s expected nowadays. Tapes are also quite popular, and are usually a great thing to pick up at a show. 

DARGEDIK: Other detail is about the listening methods of the fans, coz this new generation prefers to hear one or two songs into the digital platforms. What are you think about the albums doesn’t have the same impact in compare of the 80s or 90s? And what do bands need to do for improve the listening of all songs in albums? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: There are new Metal Fans born every day. There is an overwhelming history of Metal. It seems like a good idea to sample a large swathe of bands, with a track or two to figure out what you really like. Most things end up on YouTube, so it’s pretty easy to listen to more of the songs. A band doesn’t have to make albums. You could make a song or two at a time and post them for sale. Then compile them for a record if you want to sell a physical product. Things are going to change constantly. I have no idea how to get people to listen to the whole record. I try to have some variety in the music, so you wouldn’t get a very definitive idea of our band from listening to one or two songs. Some bands don’t vary the material quite as much, much of the music sounding the same. In that case you only need a couple of songs to get an idea of what the band is about. If you really love what they do, you will most likely listen to a full album. 


DARGEDIK:  Within recent years, old school Death Metal began to saturate and into this subject we talked to Tomb Mold, Necrowretch and other bands more about old school Death Metal going to saturate in the next 5 or 10 years and the style will wane in creativity. Do you think old school Death Metal will saturate in the next few years? Is there a way to expand the style without looking at the past? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: There seems to be this idea that all of sudden bands are bringing OSDM back, or everyone is doing it now. I don’t see it as being all of a sudden; it’s much the same as it has always been. Because it is so much easier to get good sounds, gear, and to see what is possible from the bands already existing it is not much of a stretch to make a great sounding record these days. The more competition drives us all too new levels of creativity, quality and focus. We will do what we do regardless. We haven’t the time to evaluate and listen to every single band out there. There are many, and people are really good! Trends come and go. Look at Brutal Death Metal. There are hundreds of bands worldwide adopting a logo style, artwork style, production style, musical style. There is an entire genre of just brutal, technical, relentless Death Metal. There are always going to be trends. They are always going to change. Space Metal and Kaiju Metal are becoming popular. When we started out Black Metal was really exploding, and for decades was all about every possible sub -genre of that style. It’s great that there are that many fans of OSDM, now it’s up to us to deliver the goods and claim our spot amongst the multitudes. 

DARGEDIK: Speaking of the resurgence of the Death Metal scene in United States, there are bands like Necrot, Fetid, Torture Rack, Cerebral Rot, Frozen Soul and many more. What do you think of this new revival of Death Metal in United States? Will some of these new proposals be able to transcend in time like other big names? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: Bands have done a great job branding. It’s so easy to make up a band now, there are so many people doing logos, quickly, cheaply and they look great. You don’t need to spend thousands on equipment or studio time to create a great sounding record. There are many artists creating work for album covers. Keep putting out consistent product, people will keep buying it. It’s a challenge to keep it together for years, but not everyone will necessarily want to. The first couple records are usually the easiest for any band. You spend your first few years writing a lot of music and you have a lot of ideas to try. At some point you have to find a reason and an inspiration to keep going. I have seen many talented musicians fall off way before they got to make an actual full-length record. We didn’t have that technology before; it was a whole different ball game. It was a lot harder to find guitars, gear and like-minded people. There were not videos you could access easily about how to play and record things like now. New break-through records and bands will occur. There is usually some catalyst of change, new trends. We try to remain un-influenced. I have a certain era and group of bands that influence what I do, my only goal is continue to improve and stay within that framework. I am not trying to do something original; I want to do something good. Original is an accident. 

DARGEDIK: Well Kelly, the sad time arrived at this interview, I hope you enjoy this one as I did and thank you very much for your time. Congratulations for the new album and take care during this pandemic situation and our best wishes from this part of the world. Any last words for your fans in Latin America and Dargedik readers? 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: Hails Metal Warriors wherever you are! I want to come to a town near you and play some Death Metal! I will be striving until the day I die to create Death Metal that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and force you to bang your head. Latin American brothers and sisters, we share a continent. We are united in Metal and transcend borders and governments! I hate racism, xenophobia and divisive religious dogma. Live your best life! Hail Infernal Darknes!

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