The awkward-to-Google < C O D E > are masters of their craft. Mercurial and multi-faceted, they are the perfect band to feature at such as broad line-up as Damnation. Having fended off illness and dramatic lineup changes they remain on impeccable form, and it’s telling that every new project that stems from a a current or ex-member is so diverse and interesting; together, these musicians are a seamless whole and an absolute stalwart of UK metal.
Vocalist Wacian and guitarist Aort sat down with Metalmouth to discuss Angel Delight, Iron Maiden and hiding from the Nazis…
Welcome to MetalMouth interviews, right?
How are you guys? How long did it take you guys to get down?
Wacian: Took about five hours, six hours. About five hours.
Aort: He’s over-exaggerating. Four and a half!
So as we get to the end of the year, what have you guys been up to? I caught you guys briefly at Temples Festival.
Wacian: Oh Temples! Yeah, yeah. Well I’ve been out of my mind for most of the year. I’ve had some medical problems earlier in the year so when we started writing the album there was a bit of a gap before we added the rest of the where I was fairly heavily medicated so we couldn’t gig that much. Temples was the first gig were able to do? Was it?
Aort: The one at the Roundabout?
Aort: Essentially aside from writing and recording our new album which we’ve just finished, a couple of weeks ago. That’s what we’ve been working on.
Wacian: It’s been intense! (laughs)
Is there much of a progression between this and previous releases?
Wacian: There is, there is – there’s also a natural progression, definitely. It’s a bit of a cliché but it’s also true, you can see a line melodically. This is a melodically interesting album. I think it’s probably in terms of progression this is the one with the biggest jump.
Aort: It’s quite different; it’s still us but it’s quite different. I think people will listen to it with open ears. It’s a long way from when we started.
Wacian: About four and a half hour’s worth! (all laugh)
If you had to describe your new album using an elaborate food metaphor, what would it be?
You’re the first band I’ve asked this to today.
Aort: Better make it a good one! Ok…
Wacian: I was gonna say butterscotch angel delight… with blood in… doesn’t quite work does it?
Wacian: Let’s go for an hors d’oeuvre, let’s go for prawn sesame toast!
What is the significance of you guys playing Damnation Festival? Have you been here before?
Aort: I’ve never been here before, you can’t – you can’t be in the UK and not have heard of it.
Wacian: Yep. It’s true!
Aort: We were chuffed to be asked to play, we jumped at it really. It’s the best really!
What state is your touring vehicle in?
Aort: We’re in the backup vehicle at the moment. The other one doesn’t work anymore.
Wacian: the other one is rusting and covered in moss so that one is out – you can see the battery – when you walk towards it you can see nestling underneath it like a child huddled – when you watch a Nazi film and you see a tiny child hiding from the Nazis – that’s what the battery looks like! (laughs)
Aort: It’s having a terrible time. I don’t think it’s gonna work again. But we’re in the backup car.
When you chose the band name, what was the intention behind it?
Aort: We wanted a word that was… quite ambiguous and could be interpreted in a number of different ways. In the beginning we knew that we were going to try our bets to try and stretch our musical wings… we wanted something which could travel with us wherever we went. It’s meant to be ambiguous so whatever someone wants to get out of it is right.
Metal in the UK has had an excellent year. Who would be your ideal lineup to take on tour with you?
Aort: Pretty easy. I’d like to support Iron Maiden; that’s it!
Cool! (all laugh) They tend to take bands who get a bit of a hostile response though…
Aort: yeah, I don’t think it would work in the slightest but I am an uberfan of theirs!
Wacian: We might have different opinions!
How about yourself?
Wacian: Probably Tom Waits! That would be amazing.
On the subject of Tom Waits – if you were locked in a room with Nick Cave, Shane from Napalm Death and a bunch of baby ducks. What happens next?
Wacian: If you shave the baby ducks’ hair into a bizarre series of styles – Nick Cave has this extremely long hair in a strange mullet and Shane Embury has this huge – boom! Sort of thing going on. I think those chicks are gonna get their heads shaved. Or! If you get some gel, push the hair up into a so you get a series of tiny mops waddling around.
I’m really glad you didn’t just stare at me when I asked that.
Aort: You asked the right person.
What are some weird influences for you guys? You mentioned Iron Maiden earlier…
Aort: Well that’s been since I was about 11 years old. In terms of influence… It’s hard to pinpoint direct influences. We all like hugely different styles of music and a wide range of stuff…
Wacian: I’m trying to think of think of appropriate metal bands… I mean Emperor would obviously be amazing, in terms of metal acts to tour around with. But… it’s hard, there are lots of bands we’re into…
If I was asked to “name a band I liked” I would probably just flail and say “oh god, how?”
Aort: I would say Krokus.
Prog rock seems to be a popular choice…
Wacian: Because people are interested in playing their instruments faster! There’s an album I’ve been listening to a lot over the last few years. The Black Keys – the album is called Chulahoma. It’s an entire covers album of a 60s – the musician is called Junior Kimborough and it’s the most original-sounding blues that ive heard in a very long time. Everyone knows who the Black Keys are now but when it came out it was very exciting.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the patrons of Damnation?
Aort: post-or pre show?
Aort: Please do come along to see us, have a great time; if post-show, thank you very much for coming down!
Wacian: Yeah! (laughs)
The latest album from < C O D E > is called Augur Nox and it is available here.