Exumer Interview20th March 2016 0 By Fraser
All About The Rock: Thanks very much for taking the time to chat to us! For our readers that aren’t familiar with Exumer, can you introduce yourselves?
Mem: Hey! So we’re a thrash metal band, formed in 1985 by myself and Ray Mensh – I’m Mem, I’m the singer in the band. We did a demo at the end of ’85, got signed for a record deal to a German label, Disaster Records, in ’86, we released our debut Possessed By Fire in the same year, and subsequently released another record called Rising From The Sea, in ’87 – but by that point I had left the band. And then we didn’t really do anything until I was asked if we could do another show at Wacken in 2001, so we did that with myself, Ray, and Bernie who was another original member at that time. Then we came back fully reunited in 2008 and we’ve been touring and recording ever since. In 2008 we released our comeback record, Fire & Damnation via Metal Blade Records, and we’re just back from the Road Rage 2016 Tour to promote our newest release, The Raging Tides.
All About The Rock: So you’ve just dropped your newest album, The Raging Tides. It’s been out for a couple of weeks now – what has the reaction been?
Mem: The reactions have been really, really good, very positive! Ten times more in volume than what we had for Fire & Damnation! Fans and press are all really, really liking it, everyone has been very positive – I haven’t read a bad review yet! And I’ve had a lot of personal messages coming through from people appreciating the new record.
All About The Rock: It’s been four years since Fire & Damnation – can you give us a recap of what you’ve been up to in that time, and walk us through the creative process for The Raging Tides?
Mem: We’ve been pretty much touring Fire & Damnation for the last four years, we toured three times in South America, played Central America, North America, we’ve been in Europe playing all kinds of festivals… It’s been quite a ride! We started writing new material in 2014 for The Raging Tides, Ray started collecting riffs, I started writing ideas… What we usually do then is we’ll come together and work on all these fragments as a band so the sound is as organic as possible and it sounds like a band. We like to do the song-writing as a unit, obviously when I do lyrics and coming up with concepts, I do that by myself but as for the songs I’ll introduce vocal lines, choruses, whatever, and then we work on it as a band.
All About The Rock: You’ve been on Metal Blade for five years now – how are you enjoying working with them?
Mem: We’ve actually been with Metal Blade for four years now, and everything’s been really good! They’ve not pressured us to do any releases in cycles, like every two years or whatever, they’ve given us a lot of freedom. It’s been a really good four years, and we’re glad we actually have the label behind us!
All About The Rock: There is a bit of a theme in album titles in your releases, with your debut Possessed By Fire and 2012’s Fire & Damnation, then 1987’s Rising From The Sea and the new album The Raging Tides. Is this fire and water idea a deliberate theme, or just a cool coincidence?
Mem: Yeah there’s a little bit of a theme! I was thinking about how I could tie those four records together. At first I had a different title for the record, then we decided to scrap it. I came up with The Raging Tides, and thought that it would fit nicely into that concept of fire and water with the album titles. It started out of coincidence really, but then it became a little more deliberate as we discussed the themes, and what we had come up with and how to tie it all together.
All About The Rock: You’ve just finished a run across Europe to promote the new album, how were the shows there? All good crowds I hope?
Mem: The shows were really good! They were all very positive, good attendance throughout – there are exceptions, obviously, if you play a Monday or a Sunday… We played Milan in Italy on a Sunday where it had rained all day and obviously it’s harder for people to come out. But then we played in Poland and the attendance was killer – the second show was out of control! The crowds were kick ass, they all really got into it, Berlin was awesome… Every show was really good! We’re really happy!
All About The Rock: Any plans in the works for a UK Tour this year, or are you sworn to silence for the moment?
Mem: Yeah, we would love to play the UK anytime! The UK is not so easy to tour, finding a good package and good promoters are the hardest things for us. We’re not a huge band, we don’t have the kind of juice bigger bands have. We would love to do it, and we know we have a lot of fans there who would be pumped to see us, and we would be pumped to play for them! We’ll see if we can make it over soon, maybe this year but hopefully next year for sure!
All About The Rock: What are your opinions on the current state of extreme metal? How does it differ to what the scene was like in the ‘80s – both worldwide and in Germany?
Mem: It’s definitely different! In the ‘80s there were a lot of bands, but nowhere near as many as now. And everything has gotten really tight, like budgets. And the options for people to be able to access all kinds of music… People’s attention spans have gotten shorter. But it doesn’t mean that people can’t adjust, you just gotta go with what’s happening at the moment, take it day by day and react to the fact you can’t live off album sales anymore, and you gotta live of playing live and merch. The only thing that I miss from the ‘80s is the mystic – we didn’t really know what people we doing minute by minute, and that really fuelled the imagination and people’s curiosity.
All About The Rock: Are there any newer extreme metal bands you’re really enjoying at the moment, or do you prefer to stick to the classics?
Mem: I like all kinds of bands, so yeah I enjoy newer bands too! When we played 70,000 Tons Of Metal I really enjoyed watching Behemoth! I like all kinds of music, I’m into a lot of doomy stuff, classic rock, obviously all the classic thrash metal, heavy metal, punk and hardcore form the ‘80s, and the late ‘70s.
All About The Rock: Exumer are, in my opinion, one of the best of the Teutonic Thrash bands that began in the ‘80s. Despite the obvious talent, and the ability to write killer thrash albums, Exumer didn’t seem to get the same recognition as the likes of Kreator or Sodom – can you think of a reason for this, or is it simply luck?
Mem: Thank you! Bands like Kreator and Sodom stuck it out, and they deserve all the praise and the accolades that go with that, we did two records and they probably have 20 records at this point so obviously longevity pays off! We’re happy that for a small band like us, we’re still recognised, and people give us a very loving cult status. I’ve been really lucky to be able to sit and talk to you and others about our band, and people being interested in us. It’s all about who can stay above water. The one good thing about all of this is we only have four records, and I think each of our records are really good for what they are and for when they were recorded, so that’s one of the positives – I don’t know if we would be happy with every single output if we had twenty records, or fifteen records… As far as us goes, I can’t talk for anyone else, that’s one positive aspect of our situation!
All About The Rock: And finally, have you got a parting message for the fans reading this?
Mem: Thank you for supporting us for over three decades, we hope to see you all in the UK eventually! We promise a killer live show!
All About The Rock: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us, we’ll see you in the pit!
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About the author
This bearded wildman from North of the wall survives the harsh ever-present winter of Scotland on a healthy diet of thrash, death metal and beer.