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Great Dark North Guest Columns

Great Dark North: An Interview with Tomb Mold

As the home of Cryptopsy, Beyond Creation, and Kataklysm, it’s clear that Canada has a lot of death metal to offer the world. Tomb Mold may soon find their names among that pantheon. This year’s Manor of Infinite Forms surpassed all expectations, earning them widespread critical acclaim and a space in Decibel’s Best Albums of 2018.

With spider-fingered riffs, technical drumming, and a sense of urgent aggressiveness, it’s not difficult to see why Tomb Mold are starting to turn heads. Indy Metal Vault caught up with the Torontonian artists for the latest installment of Great Dark North.

Indy Metal Vault: So, you guys have been on one hell of a ride. Manor of Infinite Forms blew up and just got added to Decibel’s Top 40 albums of this year. Is this what you were expecting 2018 to bring?:

Derrick: Honestly, no. We had zero expectations going into the year. We figured it’d go over ok but not to the level that it has. We’re very stoked, to say the least!

IMV: How did you guys start out? Were you all in other bands before this one?

D: We had all played in bands on and off with each other over the last eight years or so. Tomb Mold started as a project between Max and myself with the simple goal of recording a few tapes and calling it a day. Once we started to notice how the early material was being received we decided to cut a record, and then from there, bring Steve and Payson on board and start playing shows and touring. We’ve all known each other for the last 12 years or so.

IMV: Tell me about Bloodborne. I understand your name comes from it?

D: The band name comes from that game, and there are some references to that game, the Dark Souls series as well as other video games, sprinkled throughout some of our material. It is one of the best cosmic horror video games to ever come out, and it is rich in atmosphere and lore.

IMV: You’ve been keeping up a steady stream of releases since 2016, even a limited cassette release earlier this year. What’s the reasoning behind that? Do you just have so many ideas you have to keep putting them out there? Is songwriting a collaborative process?

D: The writing process is primarily a solitary experience. The songs tend to show up to practice fully formed, as I write them at home, and once Max knows what he wants to play on drums we figure out the rest for the other members!

The reason we keep putting out tapes is because we like them, haha! The writing process is pretty quick with this band, and I don’t really like sitting on material for too long. If you’re a band and you feel comfortable only recording an album or something every two or three years, then more power to you. Unfortunately for me, if I had to sit on material for too long I’d probably just throw it in the trash, I don’t have much patience and I’d rather keep pushing myself to aim higher with each written output. We’re running on borrowed time, you know?

IMV: Be honest now, do you have a favourite song on Manor of Infinite Forms?

D: Well, the last time the band talked about it, it seemed that “Gored Embrace” was the band favourite, but mine will always be “Blood Mirror.”

IMV: You’ve talked before about ‘moving out of your comfort zone.’ Does this mean focusing on getting heavier and heavier, or just constantly trying to challenge yourselves to be different?

D: By moving out of our comfort zone, I mostly mean just feeling free to write whatever we want, and not to feel bound by anything. On the earlier material, I think we felt like we had to conform to a traditional blueprint (in our case, “its gotta sound like old school Finnish DM”) but now I just play whatever sounds good. I never think too hard about being heavier, I just want to find a balance of tasteful technicality and ignorant riffs.

IMV: Toronto has such a huge metal scene, but so few metal venues. Recently, Coalition announced it’s closing its doors, after being open for a criminally short time. What’s your guys’ history with that place?

D: We only played Coalition a few times, but our experiences with that place have always been positive. It’s a shame they have to close their doors, as it’s one of the few venues where I felt comfortable in its space as a spectator. I wish all the people involved with that space the very best! There is definitely a dwindling supply of venues and spaces where people can put on small/DIY style shows that aren’t run by pieces of shit. Gonna miss that place dearly.

IMV: Death metal has been having a resurgence in the last few years, you most definitely included. Who are some bands you’ve seen that we should look out for on Indy Metal

D: Ritual Mass from Pittsburgh is top notch and I can’t wait to hear whatever they do next! Regarding things, I’ve heard or looking forward to: Desolation Realm from Oslo put out an excellent EP this year. There’s a band from here called Intensive Care who keep pushing themselves with each release. I was glad to see and hear that they killed it on their recent dates with The Body/Author and Punisher.

Looking forward, I’m excited to hear what Fetid crank out for their next release. Bog Body’s tape is also very sick. There’s a sick grind band from here called Bleeding Out who have plans to record, and I can’t wait to hear it. Also, SKULLSHITTER, one of the best bands going, can’t wait to hear what they put out. Dead Void put out a sick demo this year, that’s also good. Both of the Bloodsoaked Necrovoid demos too.

IMV: 2019 is looking even bigger for you guys than 2018 was, with some festival dates in Mexico even. Is there anywhere, or any festival, you guys particularly want to play?

D: We’re generally just happy to play anywhere to anyone who is enthusiastic, no matter the crowd size. We’d all like to get out to Western Canada this year as well as the Pacific Northwest (assuming there’s interest in that area).

IMV: What would be your advice for a death metal band starting out?

D: Hmm, that’s a tough question.

First of all, it’s hard to start a band, and it’s harder to start a good band, and it’s even harder to sustain quality. Just trust yourself, try to make the right choices, and be realistic. If your end goal is to play at 6:30 pm on a huge tour, then aim for that. If your goal is to play for 50 people in a room that should only hold 30, aim for that. If your goal is to headline a huge tour, then aim for that.

There’s merit to whatever path you choose to pursue and you shouldn’t worry about what others think of you. Don’t try to win locals over too hard, they’ll take you for granted, don’t play every show you’re offered, if you really believe that your band is special then make it special. If you’re younger, your older friends might be condescending but fuck them. Be engaging, don’t be a jerk. Let the music speak for itself. Find people you like working with and foster those relationships. When it comes to music, whether its writing, aesthetic, or performance, do what makes the most sense for you.

Catch Tomb Mold on their upcoming 2019 tour!

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