Brooklyn's own Mutant Supremacy have been quietly building a reputation as one of the east coast's premier death metal acts since 2008, opening for such esteemed international acts as Marduk, Gravehill and Dead Congregation. Their style is old-school influenced death/thrash pulling inspiration from such classic New York acts as Malevolent Creation, Suffocation and Mortician, they've managed to develop a sound that is familiar and cozy to any death metalhead but also totally unique in the scope of what newer bands are doing with the genre these days.
After a successful tour of the Oregon trail the band played the Gorgon Massacre Fest 3 here in Portland, where I had a chance to catch up with them. Read what they had to say about the lyrical inspiration, the recording process, and commuting in New York City.
ThrashHead: How'd you guys get your name?
Sam (vocals/guitar): The name was taken from the last demo in 1989 by the band Tirant Sin from Buffalo, NY. Two of the members of that band went on to form Cannibal Corpse.
ThrashHead: You guys are from Bushwick in Brooklyn but just recently did a short tour of Oregon. Why did you select Oregon of all states for a tour?
Sam: We practice in Bushwick.
Robert (drums): That's where we live and met each other but we're all from different places. That's the thing about the city, everyone just kind of drifts to New York.
Sam: Being invited to play here at the Gorgon Massacre Fest is why we initially came out to Oregon and booked other shows as well. Since we were flying out we figured we'd make the most of it and play a handful of gigs.
ThrashHead: How do you find the crowd response on the west coast as opposed to crowds back east?
Robert: I feel pretty good about it. The ratio to active crowd members versus inactive crowd members is quite higher in comparison to New York. Although at this point, back east, we've been playing out for a while so it's easier for us to get a reaction because people are more familiar with our material now. Out here, of course, we're sort of starting all over again from the ground up in that respect. Kids out here are really enthusiastic and psyched on the music and the scene doesn't seem to be as restrictive, in the sense that there're more all ages shows. In New York, it's mostly bars, which means our crowd has to be 21 and up which leave a lot of kids out who are into death metal. When I was 16 and wanted to go see a band, I'd have to wait for there to be an all ages show...
Winslow (bass): Yeah, or go to one of the shitty "mega venues" which anyone can get into but it's like $40 a ticket and a miserable experience.
ThrashHead: What can you tell me about the recording of your self-released 2010 full length Infinite Suffering?
Sam: We recorded the album on Long Island with Joe Cincotta, who does sound for Obituary and Suffocation, he has a studio out there...
Robert: Full Force Studios where he recorded the latest Suffocation full-lengths since they got back together.
Sam: Recording with him was great since he really understands where we're coming from with our sound and has been working in death metal for years but the commute was hell! We had about 3 hours of travel, both ways, for about 6 hours of record time for each session.
Winslow: And we had to leave crazy late at night because his hours are overnight. We had to take the subway to the LIRR then transfer, then catch a cab to a different train station.
ThrashHead: Ahh, that's what I don't miss about New York City!
Robert: Yeah, it was a hell of an experience and also kind of etherial in a way too. Because you get all delusional traveling late at night
Winslow: And it was snowy as shit in an isolated fuckin' area! His studio is behind a pre-school or something.
Robert: Yeah! It's just weird because you would work all day, get on the train at rush hour, ride it to the last motherfuckin' stop and then get in a cab, record for 6 hours. Once we noticed it was getting close to 2am, we'd have to pack up our gear and head back to the station.
Sam: And if we missed the last train back we'd have to wait there for like 4 and a half hours for the next one. In January on an outdoor platform.
Winslow: There would've been a casualty I'm sure except that we were all pretty drunk.
Robert: Yeah, at that time you could still drink on the train.
ThrashHead: Do you guys have a personal favorite track on the album?
Sam: I don't know, maybe "Vermin".
Winslow: I think "Sic Semper Tyrannis" has a lot of, well.. sick parts in it. We barely play it live anymore but it came out real good on the album. It has a lot of catchy parts worked into the track.
Sam: I'm really happy with the solo I played on that one, but I don't think I remember how to play it now.
ThrashHead: What inspires the lyrical content?
Sam: The news, history books... The human race is fucking up bad so I'm just telling it like I see it. Robert contributes to the lyrics as well and his stuff is a little more visual... most of what I write is on human folly.
Robert: Yeah, the lyrics to "Flashpoint" I wrote while I was in LA visiting my sister while the brushfires were going on. The smoke was in the air and you could see the fires from the residential neighborhoods. The ash was cloudy and changing the color of the sun as it covered peoples cars and homes. It was really like some brutal, fuckin post-apocalyptic shit.
Sam: Especially when you put a blast beat under it, haha!
ThrashHead: Who did the artwork?
Robert: A friend of ours named Jon Clue. He's a great painter and a tattoo artist as well.
Sam: He did a bunch of my tattoos.
Robert: Yeah, he's been tattooing for about 17 years so he's pretty well established. He disappeared for a short while then came back and kind of reinvented his style a little bit. He really hooked us up. He also lives in NY and works at East Side Ink.
Winslow: I really love that place, all my tattoos on this side (motions with arm) are all from there.
Robert: Yeah, he does killer work. He painted the full-length cover as well as the cover for the 7". He also did our t-shirts and stuff, so he's been really nice enough to lend his talents to the band.
ThrashHead: You just put out a new EP titled Rotting Season. Would you say the EP is a step up in terms of growth for the band or is it more of a continuation of what you established on the full-length?
Curt (guitar): Both. It's basically the same except that we're pulling from different influences and the sound is tighter, more brutal and much more discordant.
Robert: It's a little thrasher and a lot more raw sounding. I like the production on it a lot better because it's not as polished but the tempos are a lot faster. As we start to release more new material in the future, which we already have demoed and recorded, you'll notice it's a lot faster and a little more technical but we're not intentionally trying to make a shift into that realm. We're just getting better at playing and growing tighter together as a unit.
Winslow: We're trimming the fat and "seasoning the abyss" if you will, haha!
ThrashHead: Yeah, that's what I really enjoy about your sound is that you're coming from a real place and not pulling any punches with you music. It's pure, old-school sounding, brutal shit!
Winslow: Hey, if it ain't broke-
Sam: Hit it with a fucking hammer!!