With the recent release of ‘Savoured Lacerations’, Disconnect further cement their reputation.
Guitarist and vocalist Adam Miles brings Chris Owens up to speed on developments with a band who don’t necessarily court the limelight – but who are always impressive both live and on record.
“Savoured Lacerations” is the fifth Disconnect release (excluding an early demo). How did it come about?
Savoured Lacerations was originally intended to be released on a split which we were contacted about at the beginning of 2017. We’ve never done a release like this, especially one which was originally intended to occupy quite a small timeframe alongside several other bands’ releases so we took it as a challenge to distil the Disconnect sound in ways we hadn’t really done before.
Most of the previous album’s material was quite expansive in nature so the idea of doing the opposite appealed quite heavily to us at the time.
At the same time, we also wanted to ensure that it wasn’t just a straightforward metal release despite us moving away from the older, more atmospheric style that we’ve ran with since the early days.
With ‘Severed Lacerations’, the band’s love of extreme metal (be it grindcore, black and death metal) is much more prominent than on previous releases. What has motivated you to up the ante on the metal side of the band?
After playing across Ireland and writing ’29’, the most recent track on The Sum Of Our Parts, it became clear that we wanted to follow more of that direction compared to our past to push the oppressive nature of our sets as far as reasonably possible without them losing impact.
As for the EP, we wanted to adopt a merciless approach to writing to make the release come across as slightly bipolar. It’s in no way a template for the future but it definitely has a lot of elements which will continue through.
We stripped out a lot of our synth works drum track wise around 2 years ago to ensure our live experiences would remain consistent, and with James on board the progression to more extreme territory, both in terms of the death metal sphere and compositionally just seems natural to us.
I wouldn’t rule out us incorporating elements of industrial in the future; it just hasn’t been our focus for a while.
Imagery has always been a big thing for the band and ‘Savoured…’ carries on in this vein. Do you design the art with the music in mind, or is it a separate process?
There has always been a general theme of despondency/dystopia for the world and corresponding thought patterns that Disconnect ‘lives’ in. As our music and lyricisms have grown darker we’ve modified our approach to reflect that.
I’ve always been a fan of minimalistic artwork which conveys a very strong point with little to distract the viewer, which is how I want Disconnect to feel to people from both a sonic and visual perspective.
‘The Sum Of Our Parts’ was lauded as your best to date. Where next?
For me, The Sum of Our Parts still an enjoyable and ambitious listen, however it’s also a point in time that we don’t want to repeat. For us, that album now belongs in the live arena, and we might look into bringing more tracks from that out into venues when the time is right.
We’re currently in the finishing stages of a new EP which James will be on. We’re openly verging more into the blackened death metal style of things, but in our own way. I’m continually inspired by the more discordant side of music, both locally (Unyielding Love, Okus and Malthusian being prime examples) and internationally, such as the Australian and Icelandic extreme metal scenes.
At the same time there’s plenty of influence from more moderate artists in what we write (both Paul and myself are impartial to the odd Cigarettes After Sex release between shows, for example).
James is also quite jazz influenced in terms of his drumming style which ensures that nothing we write comes close to straightforward, but his writing is always done in a very tasteful manner which is an absolutely fantastic asset for the band.
Traditionally, it was pretty much you writing all the music. With Paul having such an established background in Honey for Christ, what does he bring to the band and how has it altered the sound (as compared to when David and Jamie were members)?
The sound’s ultimately changed in two distinct ways since the 2011-2012 lineup and the Subsistence album which I handled entirely myself.
I’ve now finally pushed myself to the point where I’m comfortable writing material on guitar so naturally there’s much more of an influence from the death metal and shoegaze sides of things, whilst Paul provides not only an extra layer to the material but also a grounding to ensure that we never end up just running with extremity or experimentation for the sake of it.
Our material wouldn’t have reached the heights that it’s currently at without him. Some of the material that he’s been heavily involved with (Abuseless and Corpse Dragger being two such examples) have been rock solid staples of our set for years.
Now with Paul an old hand, and new member James on drums, what do the band intend to do differently?
Paul and I still continually challenge each other as part of our writing process.
It’s important for everyone in the band to be innovating and progressing rather than relying on just one person, especially given that Disconnect attempts to be relatively forward thinking in terms of our approach to creating music.
Now that James is on board and actively participating in shaping our sound to come, we’re aiming to push the Disconnect creative envelope further in terms of musical intricacy whilst at the same time ensuring what we write has a lasting impact on the listener.
I’d definitely say we’ve became much more of a refined band over the last year without losing any of the heaviness we try to create.
James’ playing style carries its own unique personality which has reinvigorated both the material that myself and Paul had been working on prior to him joining alongside some of our older material which we’ll be playing live occasionally.
You’re also a man of many side projects (MJD, Abbatoir, Interface, Umwelt, Start at the End). How do you decide which piece of music fits Disconnect or which would be best suited as a side project?
The end destination for a sequence/melody once it comes up in my head will ultimately depend on the mood that’s portrayed with it. Normally, Disconnect will get everything from me that isn’t exactly pleasant and then this gets distilled in practice.
Nowadays, I try not to occupy myself with too many bands as I feel that music should be an emotional journey rather than just one emotion. Start At The End simply exists as I can’t exactly dwell too much into very calming, depressive music for a band that thrives off being charged with anger and abrasive texturing.
I’m not averse to starting the rest of those projects up again; they just need to have a strong reason, especially when they’re competing against other bands and life commitments.
You’ve only played Dublin once. Surely Dublin would be a place more receptive to your sound?
We’ve definitely got an affinity for the more intense metal bands that Dublin has to offer. As for shows, we’re working on more Dublin events and we’d love to do more if the opportunities arise.
I think the gig scene for smaller bands is underdeveloped in Dublin compared to what I see in Belfast and Galway from my interactions. I think an increased rate of interaction / exchange between promoters north and south is essential to make this scene truly flourish.
It’s also nice to see bands I don’t normally catch locally without having to wait until an international act brings them up north, which isn’t that common.
In terms of the local scene, how do you think it stands in 2018, compared to when you first emerged?
I think we’re in a much better place from my personal experience. The extreme music scene has generally became much more focused and less commercial, thankfully.
It’s also receiving more international recognition now which is a fantastic aspiration for any Belfast extreme musician growing up.
There’s a vibrant set of communities that seek to push and develop each other, and it’s an era that I’m very happy to be playing an active part in.
– Christopher Owens ::: 05/03/18