To-the-point brutal death metal is what Cadaver delivers! For those times when you want the music to get you going, that’s when Cadaver sounds on.
In this interview, Jason (guitars) explains the origins of their heavy sound, their interpretation of brutal death metal, and several other happenings in their camp. Obviously, they are doing more than a few things right. In addition, they have some pretty cool plans coming up, as Jason reveals.
Hello, Jason! How are you? I heard Cadaver’s demo and I wanted to find out more. What’s going on at the present?
Hey, first of all, thank you for approaching us for the interview! Currently, we are tracking guitars, bass and vocals (drum parts have been completed) for our self-produced EP which is scheduled to complete by around February or March 2013. Over the past few months we were featured on an online radio show that focuses on the underground music scene of Hong Kong, played at a metal festival locally, and featured on overseas web radio shows. And as for band merchandise, we are collaborating with a local illustrator (Tam Kwok Lun Illustrations) for band shirts, and the first design has been released and sold out, so a new design should be on its way out soon.
What kind of challenges and opportunities does Cadaver as a metal band confront in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a small city, and also one of the densest cities in the world. In my opinion, this poses two contrasting issues. First is that, we are not able to play as often as we would like to as Hong Kong is small enough for everyone who is into metal to attend a metal show, it wouldn't make sense for someone to turn up to see us, or any other band, say once a month. Unlike, say US, or EU, where cities are spanned out further apart, it makes sense for the bands to travel around for the audience, therefore more show opportunities. On the contrary, because Hong Kong is such a dense city, a band can promote themselves rather quickly. With social mediums like Facebook and YouTube, news can spread very quickly.
Did Tak (bass) and Wai (guitars) start Cadaver in 2003? But Jason (guitars) and Sham (vocals) joined in 2009? Does Cadaver have demos from 2003-2005? Were Jason and Sham in other death metal bands in 2003? And your drummer Wil joined the band in 2011?
Yes, Tak and Wai, are the only founding members left in the band now. They started the band back in 2003. I joined the band in late 2009, and at that time Tak’s brother Ming, also a founding member, was on bass and vocals. The four of us did a local metal festival in mid 2011 and Ming left the band shortly after that. By the end of the year Sean Sham and Wil Ho joined the band. There weren't any recorded demos between 2003-2005, but there is a DVD of the 2005 Cadaver playing at another local metal festival.
Sham, Wil and myself were in various bands before Cadaver and I can say that we are all putting in the most effort into this band compared to our previous ones.
Do Wai and Jason write the songs together? Does Sham play instruments or only vocals? What type of collaboration is there in the band? Is Will present when the songs are written?
Wai and myself write the majority of the music. Wai tends to write together with Wil, whereas I like to write the majority of a song and present it to the band. When the music is more or less confirmed we sit down with Wil to work out drum parts, fine-tune the song tempo and arrangement. We will then record a very rough live version of the song and give it to Sham to write the lyrics, and at the same time Tak will work on the bass parts. We try to have all five members present at all writing sessions to throw in or out any ideas. We respect each other's opinion, so if one person says that something doesn't sound right to him, we throw that away.
Are your lyrics and vocals in Cantonese? On Metal Archives, it seems like your demo has three songs in Cantonese and two songs in English?
Out of the five completed demos, two of them are in English, and the rest are in Mandarin. “Manslaughter” and “Moment of Massacre” were being written during the time Wil and Sham joined. At that time we hadn’t decided Mandarin lyrics was the way to go for us so these two songs were done in English. For the up-coming EP we will have “Moment of Massacre” recorded in Mandarin to match the rest of the songs. So when we wrote as a group of five, we decided to stick to Mandarin as it is easier for us to express ourselves in our mother language. We also think that Mandarin sounds more brutal because of the language’s tone and pronunciation, and that each syllable is one Chinese character gives that uniqueness compared to a set of English lyrics.
The Mandarin songs are mainly about the existence and value of life. We try to pick a topic of value and metaphorize it into an issue that is commonly experienced in life. For example, we have a song titled “Poh Yung” (roughly translates to Emerge from a Pupa), we used the image of an ancient Chinese torture to metaphorize the renewal of a man that was once in greater pain than the torture itself. Normally, we throw ideas around within ourselves and when we decide on one particular theme, we will let Sham write the lyrics on his own.
Some people have described your music as New York-style brutal death metal, like Suffocation, Incantation, Mortician, Immolation and Cannibal Corpse. What attracted you to playing this type of music?
These are certainly bands that we look up to. Personally, it is the technicality and the sonic power of this style of music that really makes me obsessed. What really fascinates me, as a guitar player, is that a guitar can be used to play the most brutal riffs, or the tenderest melodies. This really made me want to explore the vastness of guitar based music and the deeper I dug the more extreme the bands I discovered. My taste of metal developed quite gradually. We all had our days listening to Metallica, then you would discover Pantera, Slayer, then came Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation. I remember the first time I heard “Hammer Smashed Face” I was like, what the fuck is this, but in a good way. Cannibal Corpse really made me dig deeper and deeper into the roam of extreme and death metal.
We don’t limit ourselves to the genre of metal or music in general that we listen to, what sounds good is good! Within the band, we spin all types of music: Pop, electronic, core, metal, jazz, fusion, whatever you show us, we will listen to it and enjoy it. There are some bands that inspire and influence Cadaver’s music and to name a few, Pantera, Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse, Gojira, Defeated Sanity, Spawn of Possession and Suffocation.
Do you think that in the future it’s possible for Cadaver to be a successful band by touring China, playing death metal?
We certainly hope to get successful enough to tour! We have plans to do some shows in China to accompany our EP release in 2013. We also aim to travel to Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and hopefully Korean and Japan. We have heard very good feedbacks from the bands that have played in China, so it makes sense for us to tour China as our first tour.
What do you think about the idea of touring Europe, South America or the U.S.? Maybe that is possible in the future?
Doesn’t every band dream about touring Europe and America? We will definitely grab that opportunity if it comes up. But first things first, we feel it is important at this point to produce an EP or album as a medium to present ourselves and show our dedication in what we do.
What is the best way to contact you?
The quickest and easiest way is to connect with us via our Facebook. We also have a YouTube channel where we upload footage of any writing or recording progress. And you can download all of our demo recordings for free on our Soundcloud. Once again, thank you for your approach and it has been a pleasure doing this interview!
Jason THE END.