“I think from a lyrical perspective there could be some literature ones, for example HP Lovecraft and things like that”

DEATH DENIED released their album Through Water, Through Flames last year and it’s understandably gaining them recognition from fans and critics alike. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham sat down with bassist Vincent where they spoke about the band’s sound, the album and mental health.

Hello Vincent, thank you for joining Rock Out Stand Out today. For those who haven’t heard Death Denied before, how would you describe your sound?

The bases of our sound would be Southern Rock and Metal; bands such as Black Label Society, Corrosion Of Conformity and bands like that. That’s the starting point but due to our music developing over the years and also the fact that all of our band members contribute music wise, we listen to all kinds of music and we are veering off into all sorts of directions from time to time. Southern Rock would be the base of our sound.

When I was listening to it earlier, I got if ZZ Top and Clutch were to have a love child.

Thanks, that’s also correct I would say.

You listed musical influences, did you have others outside of music? I know bands that have drawn from books and films.

I think from a lyrical perspective there could be some literature ones, for example HP Lovecraft and things like that. It would change from song to song; for example our drummer [Wicia] who is the only classically trained musician in the band, he loves Type O Negative so when he writes songs, there are some influences from them in there.

Does that make the song writing process a bit more interesting with all these different influences?

It depends on the song and depends on the writer; in most cases, we’re not sixteen anymore so we don’t have time to make eight hour rehearsals on Saturdays or after college. So we try to make the song writing as efficient as possible so usually it boils down to preparing the framework of the songs as much as we can at home rather than drag it to the rehearsal room so then it’s ready to present to the rest of the band. 

Some of us that are more recording savvy sometimes bring our demos to the drum machine for the others to learn at home. Then we get together and we iron out the kinks, some of the songs are created rather quickly. Other songs we labour over, some of them taking as long as three months due to discussions. We had time to prepare the ones on our latest album due to COVID restrictions and not being able to go out in Poland so we had time to work on them.

Your latest album Through Water, Through Flames; you mentioned COVID restrictions in Poland, did this effect the intended release date for the album?

Yes kind of. We actually recorded the album in February 2021 and we released it in April 2022 so yes we sat on it for quite a long time. In the meantime, we also prepared the video for it and some promotional things for it. We’re more or less a DIY band when it comes to promotions. So we had time to plan this one a little bit better than the two previous ones.

How does this album differ from the previous two releases?

This is the first time since 2014 that we recorded in a different studio because we recorded the two previous ones with Heinrich and he owns Heinrich House Studio; they recorded Behemoth’s latest album as Heinrich is a long time friend of Orion from Behemoth. A lot of heavy metal bands record there as he is good at recording, particularly black and death metal bands. We recorded the first two albums with him but we wanted to try somebody else for the latest album and we ended up recording in Nebulua Studio in Warsaw.

What were the most challenging songs to record for the album?

For me personally, it’s always the songs with strange time signatures that our guitar player [Gecko] likes to write because he is into a lot of technical prog music. So whenever he comes up with something, he likes to throw in a riff or two with strange time signatures so that’s the most challenging for me at least.

And are the songs with these time signatures difficult to perform live as well?

I mean, in the live environment you can get away with playing a bit sloppily from time to time. Of course it’s not recommended, but if your fingers slip or you make a minor mistake, it doesn’t register with most of the audiences. With recording, you have to be precise; you have to record your part as good as possible. We actually recorded the base instruments quite quickly, in six days; a day and half for drums, day and a half for bass and three days for guitars. We then did the vocals in our rehearsal room and Gecko sent them to the studio for mixing and mastering.

At Rock Out Stand Out, we also like to spread the message of Mental Health Awareness. What’s mental health awareness like in Poland?

To be honest, I’m not that close up on the topic mental health. I used to dabble a bit in the topic when it related to children because I used to be a primary school teacher for quite some time and I had one-to-one chats with my students. When it comes to adults, it’s stuck in the last era so to speak so we’re told not to talk about our problems and keep smiling. I think more and more people who are suffering from depression are trying to get professional help.

As family members, friends, work colleagues; is there anything we can do more of so people feel more comfortable reaching out when they are struggling?

I mean it’s always good to listen to a person. For some people, it’s bad to dig deeper if you try to force them to open up; some people don’t want to do it unless they do it on their own terms. You have those grannies and mums who force you to spill your guts out, even if you don’t want to.  

On the other hand, you have people you really want to have a heart to heart with and they respond with the phrase “everything’s fine”. I think we need to try to observe our surroundings and try to figure out what the person needs at the time; like if they are trying to have a heart to heart conversation then try to give it to them if it’s possible. If you see that the person doesn’t want to talk about something, give them some breathing room. When they’re ready, they’re ready.

What do you personally like to do to unwind and destress?

Walk my dog, I like to go to the park and walk my dog.

Which five people would like to take to a bar and have a drink?

I mean, my best friends because I hang around with them as I don’t get to hang out with them as much as I would like to. I would like to meet Lemmy in person though, I think I would struggle to understand him; whenever I have watched interviews with him, it’s good to have subtitles. I think he would be interesting, I don’t want to say drinking buddy as he would drink me under the table but definitely a conversation with him.

Do you have a message for fans of Death Denied and Rock Out Stand Out readers?

Thanks for listening to Death Denied, we really appreciate it if you picked us out of thousands of bands and enjoy our music. When I was a kid, I didn’t expect to record even on proper album or give interviews to Polish Magazines and foreign radio stations. So thank you so much for listening to our music and supporting us.

Thank you so much Vincent for joining Rock Out Stand Out today.

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