Sure. I'm Anders (Milovovich). I play guitar and am the lead vocalist for Declared Dead. Dimitri Nagel III (yes, "the third" - to add such regal distinction) plays guitar along with me (we share both duties of rhythm and lead). Then there's Deiter Cox who's our bassist (and sometimes backup vocalist - deeper lead growls in some sections of songs, too). Last but, surely, not least is our inimitable drummer - Mikhel Van Zaal (the barefooted psychotic hippy-lookin' pussy-hound and occasional keyboard player).
I started Declared Dead in mid 2014 with another string of chaps (we recorded the "Subterranean Nightmare" demo, together). I split to a new flat miles and miles away, shortly after, and gathered the aforementioned line-up during the year of 2015. From then on we've been fab chums and mad bandmates storming forth from the gates of the abyss!
2. How would you describe the musical sound that has been presented on the recordings you have released so far?
Each sonic offering has it's own individual charm and atmosphere, I feel. Yet, they retain a core element of our overall style. I started the band with the vision of summoning and swirling together Old School Death Metal and Thrash. There could be tinges of Black Metal, as well. Our demo, definitely, had that vibe! It's "primitive" and "savage"! We were planning to do three demos but, again, I moved and a different "fate" took hold. When I got together with my main Metal brothers of now - the music took on more sub-genres of Metal (like Progressive, Gothic, Avant-garde, and even "Traditional Heavy Metal/Hard Rock" - though, mixed with all the other "categories" gives the finished music a more "original" sound, I think). With our first full album ("Denounced and Defiled"), I wanted a sound that was like being pulled into another time and dimension. The "Declared Dead world". So, I opted for a more "unorthodox" guitar sound. It became our "trademark" vibe (whether appreciated or despised) for the next sequential releases (it was especially noticeable on "Revel in the Macabre" and "A Date with the Coroner". The mastering of the e.p. "Shiv" made some of the "trademark" aspect less apparent). With our latest "Blood Bender" excursion, I decided to go for a more "percussive" guitar tone (since this one was meant to be a full on "thrasher"). The newer sound - definitely - has a stronger presence. So we'll, probably, stick with it for the next few releases! Most likely "tweaking" it here and there to suit the mood.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Hmm...there's - probably - some deliberately "cliche" type of references (but expressed in a somewhat "unique" way). Some of these ideas might be in relation to "anti-religious matters", "war", "misanthropy", "misogyny", "necrophilia", "serial killers", "hypocrisy", "depression", "loss", "dying", "sadness and sorrow", "misappropriated anger", "fear", "mental disorder", "impermanence", "oppression", "perseverance", "hate"...
4. Some of your lyrics cover satanic and occult themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
I'm not sure they are "overtly" Satanic, necessarily. I've read all the books by Anton LaVey, back in the day, and would agree with much of what he had to say. I don't remember all the tenets ("Nine Laws of This and That" or "The Eleven Blah, Blah, Blahs") but I appreciate what he contributed to in terms of "free thought" and "expression". I'm sure I'd be considered a "de facto Satanist" in his terminology. I don't practice any form of "religion" or adhere to "definitive beliefs". I'm drawn to "occult" things/ideas in various forms. "Occult" (of course) meaning "hidden knowledge". I'm open to anything and everything, for the most part. I tend to gravitate towards more of a "Buddhist/Zen" aspect (not the religious form of those - the "awakened" form of those). "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" Of course it does. All has Buddha nature (if "Buddha nature" means "intrinsic divinity"...the "breath of the Great Spirit"..."Nothing is not The One"..."The Finite in the Infinite, The Infinite in the Finite"..."Grace within iGnoRAnCE", etc.). Some say, "All paths lead to 'God'." Others have said, "All paths lead away from 'God'." Then, there's the realization that "All paths ARE 'God'." Go explore and be. ;-)
The new album ("Blood Bender"), probably, has a more overt and slightly more serious "Satanic" expression ('cuz it's "fun" for Metal to have such things!), than any of the other Declared Dead releases. Though, they all have a reference to the "hellish realms"..."dark entities"..."the devil" - as metaphor, mostly. But there's a "winking" type of "glint" here and there throughout the majority of Declared Dead works, referring to a more "cartoonish" and anthropomorphic "Satan/Devil", as well. I can't do it with a straight face, is all. It has to have a smirk... I'm - naturally - "rebellious"...and LaVey mentioned that "satan" use to be a verb meaning "opposition" or "to oppose", if I remember correctly. So, "Satan" could just be the "Father of Duality"...everyone and everything "opposes" something...so, everyone/everything "satans" this or that...falling under the "Rule of Satan"...or rule of "satan-ing"? All is "Satanic". Making "Satan" obsolete. God is, also, dead - remember. ;-D
In terms of the "direct" sounding title ("Segue to Satan") off of "Blood Bender". That was just a phrase I thought rolled off the tongue nicely (and is a bit satirical in the sense that this kind of music tends to speak about Satan, quite often. "Hail to the horns!!!" I'm thinking of stuff like Venom, Bathory, Impaled Nazarene, and various "Black Metal" type of bands..."raw underground metal", you know). Not as an "insult"...just a "tongue-in-cheek" homage of sorts ("Homage to Satan" - Deicide?). The actual lyrics kind of represent a more "true" nature of the so called "Satan" (in the LaVeyan tradition). But it's really referencing the magical totem spirit of the Galactic Jaguar. Bound to nothing, yet pervading everything. The unknown is feared by those too scared to tread in darkness.
5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Declared Dead'?
When I was trying to come up with a name for the band, it was difficult. Everything I thought of was already taken! Somehow "Declared Dead" showed up in my thoughts. It intrigued me. So, I looked it up to see if any other band had that moniker. It seemed it was not in use! I decided we would use it for our band name, since it sounded "good enough" for our budding style. Then, various meanings started to make sense for it. Like, everything that is born is "declared dead" at birth (since everything that lives dies). Life itself is "declared dead". Then, there's the idea that "Metal" (music) has been "declared dead" at various times through its existence. Yet it lives on! I also realized that after the demo was recorded - with each release we've done, I've used riffs/songs from other music projects/band attempts I had! Bands/projects that I've "declared dead"! They've been reanimated with Declared Dead! Haha! Also, there's the "God" correlation. We despise Christianity. And "God" has been "declared dead" by Nietzsche, etc. So, we like to add "Jesus" into the mix, quite often. Yet, if you think about it - "God is dead", yet lives on! Christians tend to believe "Jesus" is "God". As the band Immolation has stated in its lyrics - "Jesus didn't die for me, Jesus died". Haha. But ironically - "Jesus" is not "dead"...his name and "presence" lives on through all of us declaring him dead! Think how many times his name is uttered (even "blasphemously") every day! I say, "Jesus fucking Christ" multiple times a day! The bastard is a continual "meme"! Haha! God is dead...like my asshole...oh, whoops! I have to go take a shit! Pardon me! I guess I was wrong! But anyway. One more "meaning" of Declared Dead can tie in with marking someone/something for death, too. "You're dead, motherfucker!" That type of thing.
6. In the 4 years you have been around you have put out 6 releases, does this band spend a great amount of time writing and recording music?
Yes! Definitely! It is our main focus of life, for the most part! Some of us more than the others (but not by very much). We're just creatively driven, I'd say. We want to become more proficient at our craft (in our various ways). We strive for constant improvement. We, also, enjoy experimentation. Trying to come up with stuff that - maybe - no one else really has?
7. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Well, we're not currently a "touring band". We've only played small shows to groups of "friends" and "friends of friends" along with a couple other beginning bands. Locally, you know. Mostly for "beers, broads, and bud"...haha! This isn't very often...as we have other obligations that hinder us. As for "stage performance" - we just play our instruments as loud as we can and try not to get elbowed in the eye!
8. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
No. Not at all. If we can make a gig happen, we will. But we're quite content being so underground as to almost be in the ground...rockin' the graveyard, for now! Nah. That's a bad joke. We'd love to "tour the world"...but for now, we'll have to settle for being "Buried in the Basement" (sorry, another bad joke - it's been a possible Declared Dead song title for a while, now...had to slip it in here, for some reason). We have too many other obligations, simply put. Work...university...all that "fun stuff".
9. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
No. We've not shopped any label deals. We've been quite "happy" releasing our own stuff digitally, etc. However, shortly after releasing "Blood Bender" - we've been approached by an underground label to do a limited edition professional cd release of it. I'm - personally - in negotiations with him/them, as I type this. That's pretty exciting, actually. It's in its very early stages...so, "anything can happen" (I usually think "in a negative way"...haha). If the deal doesn't "fall through" - it will be viewed as an "elevation" for the band! I will frame the cd/artwork and hang it on my wall (like record execs do with "gold" and "platinum" records, etc.). An achievement type of thing! Otherwise - either way - we'll continue putting our releases out on a regular basis!
10. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black, death and thrash metal?
It's tough to say, really. We don't have "adoring fans", so to speak. They seem to grab the music and keep their mouths shut, for the most part...haha. But we've noticed Declared Dead has shown up on various "blogs", "Metal sites", and "forums", now and again. So, there's a small stream of supporters - spreading the name. It would be great to see more of that! I'd say, Russia has shown the most interest - for some reason. And surrounding areas, maybe? That's where the aforementioned label interest is stemming from, by the way. I'd say that's not too bad for hardly promoting our own stuff, you know? We just sort of "toss it out there"..."chum the waters"...and the "ravenous Metal seeking sharks" find what they need, etc.!
11. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Any direction is possible, I'd say. We're musical explorers! However, right now - it feels like for the next two Declared Dead releases - we might re-record a number of songs from the first album (using the "stronger" production of "Blood Bender") and release that as an "e.p." (or we'll record a few new songs to add to the re-recorded songs and throw a few "bonus" tracks on there, as well..."unreleased demo tracks" type of thing - to make it a "compilation" release). Then, another full release after that feels like it will be more "heavy, doomy, dark, mid-paced death metal interlaced with a "Blackened Thrash atmosphere", if that makes sense? There will be enough "progressive" elements to make it "interesting", I'd say. We don't want to do "Blood Bender: Part 2" or anything. Not that we won't have a similar type of release later on, if we feel called to it!
12. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Oh, man! Personally - so many! I'm quite picky, though. I - probably - like a little out of each "sub-genre" of Metal. I mean, I'll listen to some "pop" type of stuff every once in a while - but who cares about that? Ha! In the Metal vein, some bands that come to mind that have helped develop my own style: TestAmenT, Death, Morbid Angel, Annihilator, Hate Eternal, Flotsam and Jetsam, Metallica, Vio-lence, Exodus, Metal Church, Samael, Dream Theater, Savatage, Overkill, Damn the Machine, Alas, Slayer, Malevolent Creation, Deicide, Immolation, Coroner, Kreator, Death Row, Pestilence, Morgoth, Armored Saint, Skid Row, Lynch Mob, White Lion, Motley Crue, Death Angel, Scorpions, Megadeth, Suffocation, Emperor, Control Denied, Buckethead, Voivod, Napalm Death...
Going blank, now...many more, I'm sure!
These days, I've been trying to listen to stuff I've not listened to yet (like full discographies - even of some of those bands!). Also, "lesser known" bands (like the Declared Dead ilk). Newer - to me - stuff I've enjoyed, lately, have been The Black Dahlia Murder and Charred Walls of the Damned. The latter being more so. I listened to Ozzy Osbourne's "Scream" a few weekends ago and - actually - enjoyed a lot of that, as well. I was surprised. I listened to the new Pestilence album about three times, as well. It's only "okay". It gets redundant and I start spacing out and lose interest around the middle of it. But I still "like" it, for the most part. Their "classic" stuff is "better", though. I love the new Morbid Angel record, as well. It took a few listens to "gel" completely...but now - it's fantastic! I did the same type of thing with "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh". I knew it was "exceptional" with the first listen - but had to listen repeatedly to grasp it more fully. Also, those people who complain about the production - the production is fucking great through "high end" headphones! Probably Eric Rutan's "best", that I've heard! Aside from his "I, Monarch" album...
This last weekend I listened to some Nevermore. I'll continue with their discography this next weekend, I think!
It's tough to listen to as much as I'd like to listen to - having to rest my ears sometimes from my own creations...plus time constraints, etc.
13. What are some of your non musical interests?
It seems everything revolves around the music, really. My mind tends to "always" be active in pulling ideas from this and that. Like, watching a t.v. show or movie and the atmosphere might play a part in later guitar passages (translated in mood/tone) or I'll hear a spoken phrase and I'll be like, "That would be a cool song title!" or something along those lines. Or a song subject might come from various sources like that.
But yeah, everything else besides the music is pretty blase. I don't feel I have a "keen interest" in much of anything. I've gone through phases earlier on but - now - am kind of "settling in" and waiting for the reaper. Haha.
Some things I find myself doing, mostly - in my "free time" - besides working on music would be: watching t.v. shows/movies, hanging out with my "kitty clan" (I have cats that I adore), playing video games (I've gotten into a lot of "first person shooters", in the past couple/few years), and gazing at "beautiful women" via "erotic photos/videos", etc. Haha.
Sometimes I would like to take up many different hobbies but I lack the energy and time.
14. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Not really. Though, I want to thank you for your interest! I hope I provided some informative and entertaining insights into part of the Declared Dead world! Anyone who is interested in hearing our music can find it at various Metal related sites. Check our website for links to the main ones: https://declareddead.weebly.com/. Also, check here for quick downloads of our offerings: https://declareddead.bandcamp.com/. You can find us on Twitter, now, as well: https://twitter.com/DeadDeclared. Thanks, again, and best of luck with everything!