Putrid Ascendancy has always been searching for new bands that manifest similar ideologies and directions towards their art. San Diego based Ascended Dead is surely one of the bands PA has been immensely interested in from day one and we were eagerly waiting for the demo to come out. We contacted them recently and we had a brief conversation, mainly on Ascended Dead and its music. Putrid Ascendancy presents you JON REIDER, Guitarist and Vocalist of ASCENDED DEAD.
Putrid Ascendancy: Welcome to Putrid Ascendancy, The Indian and South Asian Underground.
Jon Reider: Thanks for having me.
PA: To start off this interview, lets back up to the point from where it all began. Decay. Could you shed some light on Decay? Decay had Jon and Ian playing in it. It was one of the renowned bands in the San Diego Scene along with the likes of Morbid Gods.
JR: Decay was formed in 2009, it was something I had wanted to get started for a few years until then. We were heavily influenced by stuff like early Death, Nihilist, Possessed, and Hellhammer. That band's history was loaded with lineup changes, more than I feel like going in depth about. I'd say the lineup that stands out the most in my mind was the one with myself, Nick from Phantasm/Archaic Mortuary on drums, and Drew from Morbid Gods on bass. That was the lineup which played the most shows and the one which recorded the self titled EP which you heard. With that lineup, the Decay entity had accomplished what it had sought for from the beginning. Nick was replaced shortly after that EP was released. After that, the sound had morphed to have more of a Necrovore-influence. That latter lineup never recorded anything and only played two shows, the second of which was with Ian.
|Infernal Decay (Demo)|
PA: I guess Decay changed its name to Death Knell in later days, probably around the release of the EP, Decay: Armies Of The Dead. And then later the band changed its name back to Decay.
JR: With that later lineup which I mentioned, in which we had went towards a more Necrovore influence, I felt it would be more fitting towards the end to change the name since the sound had changed so much. I wanted to write a plethora of new songs to go with it, but the band split up before that could happen. I could have continued as Death Knell or whatever, but I found myself not really liking that name too much after a little bit. I thought it would be best to just put that entire entity to rest for good. I changed the name on the pages back to 'Decay,' since all our shows, recordings, etc were done under that name.
|Decay EP (2010)|
PA: I, in fact, checked out the EP and it sounded very different from what I had heard on Demo 1 of Ascended Dead.
JR: Of course, the Decay EP was recorded 2 years ago. My influences were much different at that time and our abilities were a lot more limited than that of Ascended Dead.
PA: So how did the journey of Decay end? Is Ascended Dead a reincarnation of Decay? Is it based on the same line of concepts and ideologies as Decay?
JR: Decay ended when two members, Drew, and our drummer James quit. I could have reformed that band under the same name with different members, but I felt it was time to start something new. I felt that Decay was representative of my past mindset and influences, it was not something that could be sustained any longer. Ascended Dead is not a reincarnation of Decay. Sure, I write a good portion of the music, as I did with my previous band, but this is something completely new, as I intended for it to be.
PA: How was Ascended Dead formed? On hearing the demo I can make out that it must have been quite a task to find like-minded musicians. Tell me about the initial days.
JR: We formed after the disbanding of Decay. Ian and I had worked together in the latter days of Decay, and I knew that if I was to start the best band possible, it would have to have a guitarist of his caliber. We recruited Charlie Koryn on drums, he was the first drummer we tried out, and we knew he was an excellent fit right away. The three of us began writing songs together immediately. We tried out a number of bass players until Johnny Moreno was recruited, then the circle was complete.
PA: Jonathan used to play in the local band Ruminations, if I'm not wrong. So how did he get introduced to the Ascended Dead camp?
JR: Johnny and I had been acquaintances for some time. While he was in Ruminations, him and I would talk about the possibility of working together in this new band. From what I remember, he disliked playing in Ruminations and didn't get along with them too well. He quit before they could kick him out, and came to jam with us that very same day. We were/are into stuff like Sadistic Intent, Krisiun, and Mortem, and we immediately knew he was a good fit.
PA: I'm a huge supporter of Ascended Dead as it is very much in the same vein of Death Metal that I personally enjoy and like to perform myself. I have been waiting for this demo to come out for quite a long time and I must include that this demo reminds me of Slaughter Lord demos, with the aesthetics of early era of unholy USDM. How was the music written for this demo? Besides these four songs, have you got more material ready?
JR: The songs on that demo were written by Ian, Charlie and I before Johnny had joined the band. Mortification of Souls is our earliest song, and Caustic Decay is actually a rewrite of the old Decay song, Infernal Decay. We have a number of newer songs ready now that are superior to that of first demo.
|Ascended Dead - Demo 1|
PA: I'm interested in knowing about the process of song writing and the whole lyrical approach that you guys follow.
JR: I write a good portion of the guitar parts, show them to the rest of the band, and together we work on structuring the songs, working through the tempos, and modifying some of the riffs. I write all the lyrics. We do not follow any structure in our songs, especially with the newer material.
PA: The only negative criticism about the Demo 1 has been its mixing. Are you guys satisfied with the mixing? Will you guys be working on another demo or can we expect an EP or a full length album in the near future?
JR: The drums were poorly mixed, but I feel there is enough rawness and feeling in that recording to where it serves its purpose. We recently obtained some recording equipment and are learning how to use it, so as to save the trouble of going to someone else for recording and to allow for more creative control. We're going to work on an EP, then we'll start writing for an album.
PA: You guys also seem to be very choosy about record label. How has the response from record labels been? Do you see any potential labels which can promote you guys the right way that you want?
JR: The first demo has been received well from labels/zines/fans/etc. It has been acclaimed by legends such as Takashi of Transgressor, and Mike from Loss. The thing with labels is that they tend to be greedy, I dealt with one in my previous band. It seemed as though it was more about what the label wanted than what we wanted as a band. We just want a label that will portray this music the way we see fit.
PA: How's the scene in San Diego at present? I have come across a few gigs that had Ascended Dead on their bills. There is an upcoming one with Bone Sickness. How many gigs have Ascended Dead played so far? How's the whole gig scene? Are there any local bands you guys would recommend for me?
JR: The scene in San Diego is okay. Sure, there are scenesters, but there are also a few devoted individuals and bands who are passionate about Death Metal. We've played four shows so far. Aside from the first show, the turnouts have been good. There is usually at least 10-20 or so people raging their fucking heads off at each gig. Even if there's only one person there who is genuinely affected by our music, I would be happy with how the show went. There's a few good bands such as Archaic Mortuary, Ethereous, Chainsaw Carnage, Tombstoners, Ritual Torture, and I'm sure there's a few others I'm forgetting. I also thought Morbid Gods and Excremation were good bands.
PA: What is Ascended Dead's opinion on this whole NOSDM movement. Among the post-2000 acts, do you guys have any favourites? Do you consider Ascended Dead to be a part of this movement? Or is it more than a movement, something more transcendental?
JR: I don't consider us as part of any movement. I like a good number of post-2000 bands, such as Ensnared, or Grave Miasma, but I don't think any band should be categorized solely on what year they came out. I can't speak for other bands, but for us, we'd be doing this regardless of whether there is a movement happening or not. So for us, yes, we take it on a spiritual level.
PA: Does Jon have any plans for a Decay reunion? Or is it done for you?
JR: Decay is long done for me, I don't ever see it reforming. That band represents the beginning of my development as a musician, I don't see myself ever regressing back to that. I have good memories with it, but it's all water under the bridge at this point. Not to mention I'm completely sick of playing those songs.
PA: As customary, you must name 5 of your favourite extreme metal albums, of all time.
JR: Possessed-Seven Churches. Slayer-Hell Awaits. Necrovore-Divus De Mortuus. Hellhammer-Satanic Rites. Any early Bathory records.
PA: Thank you brothers for your time and the interview. We wish Ascended Dead the deadliest career and future! Putrid Regards. Hails.
JR: It was good doing this interview, thanks for having me. Blackest regards, ASCENDED DEAD, Jon Reider.
San Diego, US
JR - Guitars, Vocals
IL - Guitars
JM - Bass
CK - Drums
Encyclopaedia Metallum - http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ascended_Dead/3540347745
Bandcamp - http://ascendeddead.bandcamp.com/
Putrid Ascendancy extends its gratitude to Jon Reider for this interview and wish the band the best in their future endeavours.