Interview with Tim Smith
Tim Smith: Vocals Sam Alcock: Guitars Krist Sadler: Bass James Geekie: Drums
Can you please detail how you came up with the name ‘Defamer’ and what it was that inspired you to begin your metal journey?
Defamer crawled into existence seven years ago when Sam and Geeks were doing session work for another band, which was insufficient in brutality. I joined because I saw an opportunity to harness my insanity and force it upon others. We donned our moniker because it alludes to our disdain for religion and all things of undeserved significance.
How would you describe your style of music to a close friend? And which metal subgenre do you think the shops should be placing your albums under?
Defamer is death metal in the vein of Bolt Thrower, Immolation, Demilich and Incantation. The first album, Chasm, was sold through JB Hifi and Obsidian Records in Australia. Obsidian moved the album a lot faster and eventually we had to recall some JB stock to send overseas. As such, Decrepit Rituals may not hit the stores in Australia. Head to the Defamer website or Obsidian Records.
The Great Rift 7" EP
In Winter It Began
What would be your most memorable gig to date and why?
We've performed shows alongside venerable dreadnoughts such as Vader, Carcass and Cannibal Corpse. However, I personally feel that dank, decrepit venues emanate more death metal atmosphere. I recall one such show where a fan split his head open on my boot. We came off stage splattered in blood because old-mate was so possessed by the music that he couldn't bear the thought of leaving the pit to seek first aid.
What kind of costs usually go into creating and releasing an album and do you ever come close to regaining your expenses?
Defamer has a burning hatred for the use of drum replacement and triggering. Unfortunately a high quality, honest drum sound guarantees the need for high cost studio time with a decent engineer. We've had nothing but excellent experiences with our engineer, Ean Redman. We've spent as much money as is required to achieve our goals with each release and have generally broken even.
Any plans for a music video? And, if applicable, which is your favourite video thus far?
We did a live clip for one of our demo songs in '07. We've toyed with the idea of doing a proper music video. It's difficult to translate the violence, horror, excitement and despair projected by good death metal into video format but one day when our budget is higher and our artistic vision is strong we may cross into that medium.
How do you feel you have progressed as a band between 'In Winter It Began' and 'Decrepit Rituals' in terms of style and maturity?
Defamer's music has darkened with age. The initial material was as raw and brutal as intended. After releasing and touring on the first album we began to transcend the brutal death style. I believe that Decrepit Rituals offers a listening experience that is more dynamic than, but as hard hitting as our earlier material.
What do you, Defamer, tend to base your lyrics on and could you quote your personal favourite?
Decrepit Rituals is an abbreviation of Decrepit Rituals Exalting Nothing. It is a jibe at the irrelevance of practising religion in the modern age. The lyrics discuss the consequences of the extinction of mankind (or lack thereof) and promote philosophical absurdism. Mindless Worship suggests, "You who expend your life to try and find enlightenment, will collapse upon the soil, wherein your head is already buried!"
You're about to embark on a Japan/Australia tour in Feb-Mar 2012 alongside GxSxDx. What can the fans expect to witness throughout this tour?
Sickening, old-school death metal of the highest order, delivered with unbridled enthusiasm and intense fury.
Most bands tell me metal has no money in it, so what do you all do besides playing in the band in order to earn your living?
We work nondescript, full-time, day jobs like every other chump. We just use the money for a more entertaining past-time.
What brand of instruments are you using and how did any endorsements come about?
Sam plays a custom, seven string explorer which he designed and assembled using Warmoth parts. KP plays a five string Spector bass. Geeks plays a Pearl Reference kit and is endorsed by Sabian cymbals. Geeks arranged the Sabian endorsement because they were the only cymbals he found capable of both producing an excellent sound and withstanding his heavy-handed drumming style.
What have been some of the more interesting adventures you’ve had with the band? Have there been many, if any, lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way?
The hardest lesson: if you tour for enough years you will eventually have to pull out of a show in the face of adversity. For us it turned out to be a tour of New Zealand. Hearts were broken on both sides of the Tasman.
The easiest lesson: don't stay up for three days straight, even if you've got all the right substances to do so.
Let’s pretend you were creating a tour survival guide. What would be your top three tips for surviving a long tour with the band?
1) Take porn in case of emergencies. If you have a missus, that goes double. No one likes the guy who's used to having sex 15 times a day and has had to go cold turkey on the road. He's a dick.
2) Take Jack Daniels in case of emergencies. Your body clock will be fucked. You will be partying at times and in places you didn't know existed. The local bottle store may open at 6am because they see a van full of metalheads with fat wallets, they may not.
3) Don't wear tight boots and loose pants to the airport. Undoing your laces and taking your belt off in a severely sleep deprived state is punishing.
If you created your own metal festival, who would you prefer was playing alongside you and where would that be?
For maximum roof punching, I'd recommend Disma, Sanguis Imperem, Cruciamentum, Parliamentarisk Sodomi and Diocletian to play somewhere in Scandinavia. Wherever the crowd would be most blood thirsty.
What have been some of the more bizarre signings you’ve had or the most bizarre experiences in general during your time with the band?
Getting towed on skateboard, by a pocket motorcycle around a backpackers in Canberra. Waking up at 7am outside of Townsville to see that the tour van was at least half covered in spew. Billeting at a mate's house that was so small, our guitarist Sam had to use our ex-guitarist Mitch as a blanket.
Have you ever had any mystical experiences?
I took a lot of acid and then tried to assemble a home entertainment system once. Pretty sure I saw the beginning and end of existence pulled into a singularity.
‘Interview with Defamer’ by Déa di Morté © 28 February 2012
Hails! to Tim for agreeing to participate and taking the time to complete this interview
All pictures courtesy of Defamer