Interview: Jake Wilkes Of Disentomb
Written by Steve Jenkins
Brisbane's most brutal export, Disentomb, have etched their name into stone as one of the hardest working, unique and commanding bands in modern death metal. Over the past decade, this Australian death machine has gone on an all-out pursuit to become an unrelenting force in brutal death metal, with a dark and twisted sound that you have to hear to believe. Incorporating bleak dissonance, slamming breakdowns, and a lacerating energy that captures your full attention upon listening. Since 2014's breakout album, Misery, the band have been touring non-stop and making a name for themselves not only here in Australia, but overseas as well, gaining fans from every continent, whilst playing with some of the biggest names in death metal. Their long-awaited third studio album, The Decaying Light, features 13 blistering tracks of straight up brutality. This is without a doubt some of their most accomplished and impressive work to date, and will most definitely see them explode even further up the ranks of the heavy music scene. Disentomb are set to hit the road this July with Melbourne's Whoretopsy for what promises to be some of the most brutal and visceral performances you'll see all year. We had a chat with founding member and guitarist, Jake Wilkes, as the band prepares for a busy year ahead.
Hey Jake, thanks for chatting with us this evening, how's it going?
Yeah no problem at all, I'm doing good thanks mate.
That's the way. I just had a chance to listen to 'The Decaying Light' and it's absolutely crushing, so heavy, so brutal. It's also really well written and song structure wise, pretty flawless. Just how long did it take to make this album and what was the process like compared to 'Misery'?
I think it was more of a well thought out process this time around. We definitely put a lot more thought into the song structure as you could probably hear on the album. I guess we just took a long time to really simmer on the songs and sure that they were exactly how we wanted them to be. They definitely got changed around over the years, it took about 4 years in total in the end to get the final product. We've been really busy with touring and everything else going on as well, but we are very happy with the result.
Are the lyrical themes on the new album similar to what you guys normally write about?
Yeah, pretty much. Jord takes care of all that. I don't think it strays too far away from the brutal Distentomb lyrical themes that people have come to know over the years.
Did you go out and get someone new to produce the album this time or perhaps work with anyone different when recording?
We did a lot of this one in house actually. But yeah, the drums and bass were recorded with Joe Haley from Psycroptic, and I just recorded the guitars, and Jord recorded the vocals here at home and then Adrian our bassist mixed it. We all had a lot of input with how the mix came out, but Adrian ended up doing an awesome job. Then we got it mastered by the dude that's done the other two Disentomb albums. So yeah, some similar processes and some different ones.
You guys have played with some huge names in death metal all over the world, is there a moment that stands out for you or perhaps a crazy crowd experience that comes to mind?
Probably the first time we played in L.A, in like 2015 I think it was. It was a pretty small venue, but we had maybe like 300 people in there and every one of them was just going completely berserk. It was shocking at the time to see people go that crazy for our music, so that was pretty cool. I remember nearly getting wiped out on stage it was that hectic.
With this tour coming up you'll be hitting the road with Melbourne's Whoretopsy, are you looking forward to those shows?
Yeah for sure, it's been a while since we've done a few headline shows in Australia, so definitely looking forward to getting back into it, especially with Whoretopsy. Good mates and a sick band.
It's going to be one hell of a brutal tour that's for sure.
Yeah fingers crossed.
Are there any goals or things that Disentomb want to tick off the bucket list so to speak?
Yeah I guess there's still a few bands that we'd still like to play with, Eternal Suffering would definitely be one of them. But I don't think there's really any one big goal that we're trying to get to. We're pretty happy just taking it as it comes and have fun while we're doing it.
Yeah nice. You get a lot of bands pumping out albums every 2 years it seems on the dot. But you guys take a bit longer with your album cycles. Do you think it's important to hone your craft and really work on the album so that it isn't rushed?
I think so. Yeah, cause I wouldn't want to release something that I wasn't 100% happy with, you know what I mean? I guess you could say we're kind of perfectionists when it comes to making our songs and getting them just right. I can't really say that there's any changes that I'd like to make to any of our stuff so I'm pretty happy that we've taken the time to sit on it for a while and get it right.
Not a whole heap of brutal death metal bands have the following that you guys have, whether it's on social media or just support from fans in general. What do you think it is that has garnered Disentomb such a strong and broad following over the years?
I'm not too sure really, it gets pretty consistent with touring honestly. You have to stay relevant these days, you have to be seen by people and keep interacting. It doesn't matter how sick your music is, if you're not getting out there and interacting then people will just forget about you and move on to something else.
Was there anything that you wanted people to know about the new album before we say farewell?
Yeah, we hope you like it and we worked really hard on this album. Even the other day, we were played on Triple J during the day and just hearing it go from happy sort of folk music to Disentomb, that was pretty insane and we found it to be fun. So who knows, we might have won over a few new fans that day. I guess we'll see.
For sure, well good to chat with you Jake and all the best with the new album and upcoming shows.
No worries man, thanks for very much.
Pre-orders for The Decaying Light are available HERE via Nerve Gas.