Entering the Underground #15: Decrepisy Rises In The Pacific Northwest
Geographic change can be hard for musicians. After moving to a new country or state, some people never really recover from losing the support network and creative compatibility from their oldest, closest friends and musical compatriots. Unlike so many other people, Kyle House, formerly of Vastum and Acephalix (among other bands), made the big move from the Bay Area in California to Portland and didn’t miss a beat; his new band Decrepisy is simultaneously extremely reminiscent of his former bands, due to his extremely recognizable style of riffing, while also representing the evolution that comes from years of experience and new collaborators.
Finding new bandmates that live up to the likes of Kyle’s old bands can’t have been easy, but the guys that he did find are certainly in the same tier. Charlie Koryn (Incantation, Funebrarum, Ascended Dead) sits behind the throne, Jonathan Quintana (Ritual Necromancy, Bloodsoaked, ex-Ascended Dead) takes on second guitar, and Tim Lower (Grave Dust) is on bass, forming a unbreakable backbone of metal might to make Decrepisy work. The band seamlessly toes the line between brutal simplicity and sophistication, much as Kyle was doing with Vastum; twisty long songs and harrowing lead guitar meet chugging rhythms in a way that’s very distinctly Kyle House, forming a package that sounds like something nobody else in metal could have done while still being very familiar.
Read the interview below with Kyle while letting their debut album Emetic Communion smash your skull, and worship at the altar of death while doing so.
Kyle, I noticed some really cool chanting in "Embodied Decomposition" that drew to mind what Dan was doing on the Vastum material you guys were on together, and you have a very distinct way of writing riffs that also recalls your time with that band. How much did those years with Vastum influence what you’re doing now with Decrepisy? Could the new band have happened in the way it did without that experience?
Definitely not, Dan turned me on to so many killer bands that I’d never heard before. It’s hard for me to be subjective about my own music. It seems like no matter what I try and write like it always comes out with a certain style, probably more to do with bands I listened to at an early age that shaped my psyche and musical approach on an unconscious level as I was forming and constantly listening to records. Early Slayer, Rudimentary Peni, Celtic Frost , Christian Death, Accused, COC, Cro-Mags. Everything leads to now so without Vastum and Acephalix I wouldn’t be here in the same way.
Most of your bands in the past have started off with a demo tape, but Decrepisy went right for the throat with a full length with Emetic Communion. What made this band different and made the idea of a demo unnecessary?
If we didn’t find a label we would have released a demo. Vinyl is sacred to me. It is the desired consecration of music and art. Jonny and Charlie’s band Thanamagus were working with Steven at Seed of Doom and they sent him some practice tracks of Decrepisy and he was into it right away and has been so fucking awesome to work with. He did all the graphic design and layouts for the album.
Would the demo have been the same songs, and was all of the flow between those songs written specifically with vinyl in mind?
We recorded demo versions of 2 or 3 of the songs, just live in our practice space. The demo would have been 3 of the songs. I'm always thinking of whole albums when I write, I've always been an album person. When all the songs create a painting or a book, each a chapter that creates the whole. I wanted the Synth track ‘Anxiety Womb’ to be on the vinyl but it would have cut into the sound quality of the record to make it longer. Anxiety Womb is musically the intro riff to Emetic Communion slowed way down, it is inspired by Glenn Danzig’s ‘Black Aria’ Neo Classical album.
The last couple of albums you played on (at least that I’m aware of) were released on CD and vinyl by a single label; Acephalix’s Decreation was done by 20 Buck Spin, Serpents of Dawn’s Into the Garden by Doom Stew Records, and so on. This time around several labels had their hand in the pot and it was advertised explicitly throughout the promotional cycle that way. What changed that made that the right approach?
It just happened naturally. Since Seed of Doom is in the Netherlands we wanted a US label (Life After Death) to co-release it to make it affordable for people to order it. The cost of shipping is fucking expensive. Then Chaos wanted to do the CD’s so now we have Mexico too. So far it seems like it’s working well, each label promoting the album and working together with art work and layouts. There will be exclusive Decrepisy shirt designs from each label too.
Do you plan to keep the same label roster going forward for future releases?
For the next release we want a label that will pay for recording and artwork expenses. The future is unwritten…..
The lineup for Decrepisy has a tremendous amount of experience from before the band- Charlie with Funebrarum, Ascended Dead, and others, Jonathan with Ritual Necromancy, Bloodsoaked, and more, and Tim with Grave Dust. Was a healthy amount of experience a must for you when putting together a lineup?
It really helps. With this line up everything moved fast and came together. Everyone is such a killer player with their own styles. I had just moved back to Portland after 15 years of living in San Francisco and had written most of the album and come up with the name and concept of the band before I arrived on Hallows Eve. I was staying with Jozy from Grave Dust while I was getting on my feet and as I was looking for members for Decrepisy I tried out on 2nd guitar for Grave Dust. Jonny and Tim were in the band already and then it kind of morphed into Decrepisy when Charlie started playing with us. Charlie recorded the album and we sent it to Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer to mix and master and he just dephiled the fuck out of it. I’ve never sent a recording to an engineer and just let them have their way with it. It’s so disgusting and huge sounding. Seriously pleased with it.
Was it difficult writing everything by yourself in a void rather than with a full band?
I usually write in a void, alone. I find with metal it works because the guitar usually drives the song and rarely has much space, it is relentless and suffocating. I would like to have more songs that are written as a band or at least deconstructed and put back together with some more atmosphere, space and dynamics on the next album.
Will the next album be written significantly differently now that you have specific musicians in mind for each instrument?
Even though Emetic Communion sounds like a Death Metal album, my intention was to mix Death Rock and Death Metal music and aesthetics. There are elements of ‘Only Theatre of Pain’ era Christian Death with the creepy crawly chorus pedal guitar riffs. I think Rikk Agnew’s guitar work on that album is not of this world. There's also some ‘Death Church’ era Rudimentary Peni inspiration, ‘Abattoir of Sorrow’ (Flesh Crucifix) is about the consumption of meat being like cannibalism of children, physically, psychically, and spiritually. On the next album I would like to incorporate more of these elements. Tim, Jonny and Charlie are all killer musicians, looking forward to writing the second album with them.