An interview with Vox Mortis should set back the trend of mine to interview artists I’ve either reviewed (check the review for Vox Mortis’ debut here) or simply liked. And because those guys have released a really strong debut album, one can’t but give this promising new band a stage so they can proclaim their message. And because IndoKult.com is about Indonesian music (among other things Indonesian) I’m glad to report we are one of those stages.
Therefore, without any further ado, let’s see what’s new on the Indonesian scene.
Selamat pagi, guys and thanks for your time doing this interview! First of all…the album is out roughly for 2 weeks, what responses have you got for it so far? I am pretty sure the reviews are only positive!
Selamat pagi! We would thank anyone for such immense support and appreciation, especially to metalheads all over the world. We are obviously nothing without you. It’s a truth that perhaps, we are different from any death metal band breath in this world to talk about animals. But, here we are. Talk the talk, walk the walk. We believe it gives us a spotlight since we emerged until the album has been released. Thank you for putting your attention to our issue. We are truly honored!
Obviously, not many people around the world will know you, can you briefly introduce yourselves to our readers, please?
Vox Mortis formed along with our concern about animal welfare, especially in Indonesia. The member of the band mostly started as animal rescue and want to speak about the issue through extreme music as the medium. The band originally consists of Doni Herdaru (vocals), Achmad Mustaid (drums), Donirro Hayashi (bass), and soon completed with the joining of Rsharsh (guitars) and Suakarya TGN (guitars) from Infitar. Vox Mortis released its very first single “Primata Durjana” and “Forever No To Dog Meat” in 2020. Both are coming with music videos and now can be watched on YouTube.
Although the band is fairly a new one, starting in 2020, you are not novices on the scene, you either were or still are active in bands like Funeral Inception, Vomitology, After All Over, Delirium Tremens or Kerangkenk…what was the reason you’ve felt compelled to start this new band and what vision do you want to pursue with its music?
We want something more communicative and influentials, one of its vision to raise awareness about animal welfare amongst Metal community so we can push a change to animal’s lives to be better. We choose Metal as a medium because it’s related to rebellion against normative ideas and shackles of conservative themes. We rebelled over the injustice of these animals!
When I was younger, many times we’ve bought albums solely on the strength of the cover art. I have no problem to admit the cover for “Avignam Jagat Samagram” has caught my eye almost immediately and that’s one half of the success in the avalanche of albums coming our way every day! So, can you tell us what is the message of the cover art and who’s the artist behind this amazing artwork?
First of all, we want to say thank you to Adi Dechristianize Art for his talented hand and amazing works in our album. He such a great artist and everyone should recognize his works. That’s why we only want him who executes our cover art.
About the album cover, we represent ourselves as a ton of anger that shown in the form of a dog. A monstrous dog who wants revenge on all ignorant bastards who still torturing animals for pleasure. You can see it on the center spot of the album and is surrounded by burned forest. This visual is based on a true event when the largest tropical forest of Indonesia burned down and kills thousand of forest ecosystems and animals living inside it. It’s terrifying but it also real. We want to warn everyone that mother earth is dying because of our own actions, so, let’s fix this!
Vox Mortis feel very strongly about animal rights. It’s not that usual for death metal bands to devote their material to such a cause, as it’s usually the domain of grindcore bands, but that’s definitely something we need to explore a little further. Can you tell us why such a concern for animals and what’s the situation in Indonesia regarding animals and animal cruelty?
Struggling for animal rights in Indonesia is quite though and need more channel to spread the words. This effort must be heard to public whatever it costs. We take a persuasive method every single day, now we need its repressive method to do its part. So, music is the answer. We fight fire with fire! We believe that the issue we spoke about is more universal than the music itself.
Indonesia’s Animal protection law is a goddamn low so it’s causing many animal abuse cases. Our presence is to speak about it.
You hail from Jakarta. It’s useless to ask about the local extreme music scene there, as a simple search on Encyclopaedia Metallum returns 300 bands from Jakarta…do you keep in touch with any other bands from your area and beyond? Which ones would you recommend to me and our readers to check? Also, anything worth knowing from any other genre, say, rock or similar?
Of course, Indonesia has the biggest Metal scene in Southeast Asia and we are connected to each other. We command you to check the latest release by Carnivored, Death Vomit, Exhumation, AK//47, and not to forget these Indonesian metal giants Siksakubur, DeadSquad, Burgerkill as well as their wondrous release. On the other side, we recommend you to listen to this amazing shoegaze band called Sunlotus.
As a webzine writer, I am always interested in written material – what good publications, be it magazines, zines, webzines…from Indonesia would you recommend to explore?
As the biggest underground scene, Indonesia marks their movement of independent publications such “Aktuil” from the late ’70s (this magazine believed as the first publications in Indonesia that feature metal artists and underground culture). Since then, underground publications have been rampant to this day and rebuild their forms into webzines. You may check these amazing works started from Penahitam Zine, EJM Zine, Borneo Pride Zine, and some online media such as Wastedrocker, Blackandzine, and Dapurletter.
The situation for playing live is not that good since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Have you had a chance to play live yet? If so, what can you tell us about the concerts in Indonesia? With so many bands around, how hard it is to organize a gig? What about the attendance, how many people usually attend those local gigs?
As you guys can see since the pandemic started to spread all over the countries, we haven’t had that opportunity, and we don’t want it before we can play on tour outside. There’s so many music festival in Indonesia had to be postponed, one of ’em is the biggest metal event in Southeast Asia, Hammersonic Festival. They were gonna bring a spectacular lineup such as Slipknot, Trivium, Sinister, Testament, Black Flag etc. The situation is now turned and the festival must be postponed until next year.
We can’t answer it precisely because Indonesia has its own underground scene in each region. So, we took a sample in Jakarta as the city we are based in. It can up to 500-2.000 audiences in mid-scale gigs, and up to 10.000 in big-scale events.
Let’s get back to the album…it was released on February 26th, 2021 in Indonesia, but I’ve also got some info it should be also released in the USA and Europe. Will those releases be any different from the Indonesian original?
We’ll release it in Deluxe version for the worldwide market outside Indonesia through Necropsy Records (Brazil) still in CD format. This version will include a bonus track, taken from our live rehearsal. Stay tuned!
Although mail service at the moment is expensive beyond belief, what merchandise do you offer to your fans? I’ve seen a Vox Mortis t-shirt on your Bandcamp page, do you plan to make any other stuff to offer?
Unfortunately, our merch is now out of stock. We’ll restock it soon but we want to make it more efficient for anyone who wants to have it while it helps spread our campaign of animal welfare get wider attention. We think we would give a license to anyone who wants to reproduce our merch and sell it freely, as long as we watching on the production and the distribution. The profits will go out to local animal shelters anywhere the merch is sold.
It’s probably too early to talk about it, but anyway…what are the plans for the future? Any initial steps to start writing new material for a second album?
Something big is coming. We planned to make a trilogy for the upcoming release and it’s in the process of writing. Watch out! Terima kasih banyak!