Derelict Sermon is a one man extreme music project and the man behind this and Bleakscape Records is Martin Daniels, former drummer with controversial Grindcore outfit Scalplock. I caught up with Martin recently in Camden, London to discuss his latest album 'Callousness And Deviance'.
Martin, thank you taking time out to chat. You have quite a broad musical history, as drummer for Scalplock, Long Cold Stare, Harmony As One and Nightside Of Eden. Do you see Derelict Sermon, despite the change of genre towards black Metal, a natural progression from these bands and if so, what inspired you to embark on this particular path of musical creativity?
"I do see Derelict Sermon as a massive change to my previous bands. It's aesthetic and outlook are more of a continuation of the concepts I was exploring with power electronics project Survivalist from 1996-99. A natural progression yes, but a change of genre I'm not so sure. There is a lot of hardcore influence in Derelict Sermon that's akin to Harmony As One/Scalplock.
"I have never considered Derelict Sermon to be black Metal as such, some influences and some doom in there maybe. My debut album was near to some black Metal, but never totally as that would be very limiting.
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"I left Scalplock in 2003 and was working on 'Ethersuite/The Terror Couple' with Leoncia Flynn when in late 2005, after a Khanate gig in London, I went out and bought a guitar. Literally two months later I was recording my debut album as Derelict Sermon, an experiment at first but once I recorded 'Cyanide Guild' I knew I was onto something and carried on creating the album and it just all went from there."
Martin, Derelict Sermon has a unique sound that really pushes the boundaries of extreme Metal. How would you personally describe your musical style?
"My style has rapidly changed over the last six years; 'Wardycurse' had more of a doom edge to it and the third album, 'The Murderous Altitude', explored more technical elements in the riffs and drum structures. 'Callousness And Deviance' is the most experimental album I have ever done musically, I stand by it and all my albums and am very proud of them."
'Callousness And Deviance' is your fourth full length as Derelict Sermon. From your perspective, how does it compare with your three previous albums? Do you consider this to be the best so far?
"I think it is the best so far, it's more realised, not as jerky and tech as 'The Murderous Altitude', not as doomy as 'Wardycurse' and not a straight as 'Derelict Sermon'. It has more maturity, opens up further and leaving more room for experimentation. It's also quite straight up and rockin' at times which I love but half way through the album it all changes, turns more avant garde. The closing tracks on the previous two albums have an experimental feel, I wanted to take that further and write half the album like that. I'm very happy with results."
Four albums in six years is a pretty impressive output. What are your main sources of inspiration for Derelict Sermon?
"My main source of inspiration right from my Survivalist days has been my studies in females involved with violence both fictional and non fictional which runs through Derelict Sermon, particularly from 'Wardycurse' onwards. Women involved with terrorist groups, drug gangs, general crime. A lot of films have acted as a massive inspiration to me as well; Baader Meinhoff Complex, Who Dares Wins, particularly Ingrid Pitt's amazing Helga character which inspired 'Day Of Helga' on Derelict Sermon. Real life woman in crime such as Susannah Ronconi, Linda Calvey, the Lyons sisters.
"There's also a sadistic sexual thread running through Derelict Sermon. My own explorations into violence and sadism are well documented within my music and artistic outlook. The Red Army Faction, IRA and other terror groups have also been sources of inspiration. Also the stories on hit women have always fascinated me. I have looked for other people in music talking about such subjects and have found pretty much nothing. I think I'm the only person, certainly in extreme music to be talking about such subjects."
I noticed on this album you also had Lopa Kothari and Vera Bremerton adding additional vocals to a couple of the tracks. Could you tell me a little more about this and their input?
"I knew one of Lopa's friends and asked if she'd like to come in and lay down a vocal on 'Poison Gas Analogies'. She couldn't but recommended Lopa who laid down an amazing vocal, really drone like and trippy, and I was blown away! She's amazing and has such a powerful and dominating texture to her voice, very hypnotic, more like a weapon more than a voice.
"Vera I met though someone I knew and yeah, she was very amazing as well. She has a strong Diamanda Galás feel to her voice and she has put in such a powerful performance on the new album. Vera does a lot of avant electronic stuff on her own. She also appeared with Keria O' Cherry and myself in the 'Callousness And Deviance' video and they both appeared as female aggressors in the 'Black Communion' video, directed by my close friend Simon Morgenstern at Eat Cake And Worship Satan Films/Photography.
"I'd love to do a traditional Indian type of album with Lopa but with a twist. I love working with both Lopa and Vera but I have feeling that if I do a new Derelict Sermon record in the future it will be the first album as just me and no collaborations. Lopa always says to me that Derelict Sermon is her dark secret!"
Do you prefer working on solo project rather than on collaboration and if so, what do you feel are the benefits?
"I love to collaborate. One of my close friends, John Marshall, puts a perfect anarcho punk vocal on the title track from 'The Murderous Altitude', Martin Ives did the spooky death Metal vocal on 'Day Of Helga' from 'Wardycurse' and Lopa's and Vera's vocal contributions have been just amazing on the albums. In a way it's still me working solo but having parts of the story open to ask other people in to do their stuff. Its pointless using samples so asking people in is the best way.
"I recently started a new project called 'Melrose Ave' with another close friend, Jason L, former vocalist with Antichrist, to be released on my label Bleakscape, so yeah, collaborations are very important to me."
Martin - any final comment?
"Well I'm concentrating on the label more than I have ever done before. It's not just a vehicle for Derelict Sermon like it used to be. Bleakscape Records has opened up now to put out some really killer and original underground music. It's been a passion of mine for so long."
'Callousness And Deviance' is out now on Bleakscape Records. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org