Disma Talks Death Metal, French Moshing, and Chicken Suits in the Circle Pit
Miami's increasingly unfuckwithable curator of extreme tuneage, the appropriately named Speedfreek booking agency, is ripping out shows faster than a death metal drummer zooted on green tea caffeine pills.
But no matter how quickly the 305's calendar fills with assorted acts, flown in from all over the country being to melt faces, empty bowels, and inspire at least a dozen bangovers, the question remains ... Is Speedfreek faster than Shawn Eldridge, drummer for New Jersey death metal troupe Disma?
Keeping with his band's ultra-prestigious pedigree (which includes, most notably, ex-members of death metal icons Incantation), Eldridge does his part to set a breakneck pace while also adding flourishes from more recently popularized subgenres like grindcore and sludge.
Crossfade: The tag thrown around a lot for Disma is death metal. Some bands champion their subgenre like an ideology or belief system. And others shy away from descriptors. How do you relate to genre?
I don't think you can call us anything but death metal. We don't put anything else with it. Some bands are "technical death metal." Some are "old-school death metal." We just kind of play what we think of as death metal. It works.
What are the key things that distinguish death metal from other extreme music styles like black metal or grind?
The lower tuning. A lot of the Swedish and Finnish bands, on their demos, tuned really low. And then they all started tuning up. So that was something we wanted to keep: We used a lower tuning. And not having everything just fast. Having a sense of dynamics that maybe somewhere along the line got lost with certain bands. Parts that are simply slow and not just blast beats in every part.
Did you guys come up in a punk, hardcore, and metal scene? Or was it more of a metal scene?
The four other guys are a bit older than I am. Daryl grew up in more of a punk/hardcore scene. And so did Randy, our bass player. Bill Venner definitely came up more in the metal scene. Craig started in the metal scene and got involved with the industrial scene also. But there's always been some metal coming up from the band's members. I grew up with metal and punk equally.
There was an era when death metal was the dominant paradigm. But these days, the most popular and/or critically acclaimed falls on a spectrum of lumbering sludge, stoner, and doom pitted against black metal, dbeat, and crust. At this point, is death metal a throwback style?
We're not intending to do certain things, like, "the old way." There are elements of grind and sludge in our music. There's not as much of a difference between genres and fans anymore. Everyone listens to a bit of everything.
What have you guys been working on since Megalith?
We're finishing up two songs that are going to be on an extra seven-inch that comes with the vinyl version. After that, we'll be focusing on the second album and trying to set up some dates in Europe.
Have you been over there before?
I was there with my other band with Daryl, Funebrarum. It's a different experience than playing here. A lot of people come out to shows, which isn't always true here.
Are the crowds more enthusiastic?
For the most part. There are so many shows all of the time here people can be a little jaded. "Another show." You get used to stuff. Over there, it's more of a big deal.
What are the pits like over there?
I have to say France moshes the hardest. We didn't expect it.
What is the default mosh move for death metal?
It's more of a push pit. It never quite opens to a circle. Although, we did get a bit of that during Maryland Death Fest. Especially because the guy in the chicken suit was involved.
Tell me about the guy in the chicken suit.
I've only been to the two past Maryland Death Fests. But from pictures I've seen and stuff, it seems like he goes every year dressed in a yellow chicken suit. That's some dedication right there. He not only goes every year, but he also does it in a chicken suit.
And he started a circle pit?
I don't know if he started. But I'd like to assume so.
Disma. Presented by Speedfreek. With Hibernus Mortis, Masticator, Murder Suicide, The Glorious Death. Saturday, November 10. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $15 via speedfreekevents.bigcartel.com. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.