We can only expect death to pathetically level the slaves and the enslavers…
An explosive cocktail of sludge, punk-roll, noise and black metal, Hombre Malo’s second album Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath, released 14 November via Disiplin Media, has been getting nothing but rave reviews. MR’s Jason Guest speaks with the band about their development since their formation in 2008, the new album, its inspiration and artwork, their relationship with their label, and touring and future plans…
Hi Nacho. Thanks for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath.
Hey Jason! Thank you so much for your time and interest.
The band has been writing since 2008. How has Hombre Malo progressed since then?
From my point of view, we have kept the premise of being open to every melody, without thinking of what genre it was included in, and to let these melodies grow as they pleased. At the beginning, I could point out a release as more drone-ish than the others, or more stoner or a little bit closer to a specific sound. With Persistent… we are all pretty happy cause we feel it is quite balanced and, in our twisted way, round.
What was it that you wanted to achieve with Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath? Did you set any goals for yourselves?
From the beginning, what we really wanted is to have an album that we were satisfied with almost to the last detail. Of course, that didn’t happen, but this time we landed closer to target. So we ended up being very proud and satisfied anyway. I guess it was more of a personal goal: we hadn’t released a full length in a while and that was something that had been bothering us. We’ve struggled finding a steady drummer so it hasn’t been delayed because of lack of songs but of arms to play them. We needed to record these songs to start thinking about the next ones.
When writing for this album, did you have an idea of how you wanted it to sound or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
The way songs come to us is very anarchic and eclectically inspired. But this time, we had some extra songs to choose from so we could shape a little bit more the direction of the album. It was diverse but it got dark in a special manner, and when placed in this particular order it worked very naturally for us. The lyrics are impregnated of this same spirit. Some later additions as the samples and the clippings made it more round and gave a more compact entity. The sound of the band is the glue that keeps it all together but the ramifications grow in a quite organic way.
Can you tell us about the lyrics and subject matter? What inspires them? Is there a common theme or concept that ties the tracks together?
Lyrics have been mostly personal for a long time in Hombre Malo. It came precisely as a reaction to the fact that I had been writing mostly about political/social topics before and I wanted to try other themes. Right now it turned to be a bit more focused on real, tangible matters. Again. Some people call them political; I’d like to call it common sense. Just basics: no place for violence or discrimination as a general rule, no place for tradition or religion when they try to overrun governments or impose themselves to people, and no place for this obscene waste in this society. There are some personal stories in between, but reality is an endless source of inspiration.
Is there a theme, a concept, or a philosophy that underpins the album?
We use our music as a way of expressing ourselves both in a sonic way and with our lyrics. The concept is our own opinion on matters like homophobia, the anti-immigration propaganda, religion… nothing else. Can be a strong opinion but we don’t impose it or preach to anyone. If you want to find a thread it would be that we, the common people, are always at the mercy of several ways of control, all of these voices persuading us to hate, to destroy, to believe, to give (to them), to abuse, to consume… in very different manners depending where you live, but they are always there, going on and on.
The artwork is incredible! Can you tell us about the design and what it represents?
Thanks, we love it too! The meaning would be linked to the previous question. Mario, the artist, talked with us about what the songs were about, read the lyrics and got his way of expressing this. I can see in the young man the innocence and beauty of mankind at the mercy of different groups of men, organized under different flags and beliefs represented as vultures. They are waiting to feed on him. And in many cases, we can only expect death to pathetically level the slaves and the enslavers.
Who’s the artist? And why did you choose to work with him/her?
The artist is Mario Carrasco, Spanish designer living in Madrid and a good friend of ours. We chose him because we like how he works and we had already had a release with his artwork on the split 12″ with Desert Icons. Besides being a fantastic designer he sings like a devil in a band called Khmer.
How do Hombre Malo work together to create songs? Is it a collaborative effort or do you write individually? Do you discuss ideas about what you want each track to be about or is it an evolutionary process?
Sometimes, the song comes almost finished from the person that writes it, and some others we work over one riff and different melodies, and parts get organised around it. We try different ways until we find the best line. Every instrument pours a different light over the main idea, and the song can develop in a way we had never thought of just because of a beat or a bass note. We discuss and propose and try until we are all satisfied. Songs are always played live before recording so we always have the chance to rebuild based on our feelings on stage.
How did you come to work with Disiplin Media? And do you plan to stay with them for future releases?
I had Stian (Disiplin Media) as a boss before. He had an underground hardcore label called Nakkeskudd in which he released two of my former bands: Ictus and This Thing Called Dying. He always behaved really well with the bands and he was working hard for them. He decided to quit and not long after he had already started with Disiplin Media. We talked about our new album and he showed interest and he liked it. We are really happy with the work he is doing for us right now, so if he is up for spending his money on us I guess we are not going to complain.
What does the future hold for Hombre Malo? Is there more music in the pipeline?
Any gigs or tours planned?
To play as much as possible presenting Persistent… in Europe and Norway. And we already have a bunch of new songs that are waiting to be packed too. The pipeline is full! We’ll be on tour for two weeks in January 2015 in NW Europe and before the summer for a longer one.
Will we be seeing you in England any time soon?
Actually 20 January, I think, we’ll be playing at Macbeth in London with Slabdragger, Trippy Wicked, Enos and Jack and the Bearded Fisherman. And we are waiting for the confirmation of another date in England.
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thank you again for your time. I hope we’ll have the chance to play for you in a near future and show what we really enjoy. Cheers everyone!