One of the finest death metal vocalists of all time, Kam Lee is a busy bloke. He’s death metal royalty in my view – having performed in some of the most seminal bands in the genre (Mantas / Death / Massacre) and more deserving than most of a place in the DM Hall Of Fame. Now with awesome new records out from both old school gore fiends Bone Gnawer and Lovecraft worshipping occult monsters The Grotesquery I was chuffed to bits (to say the least) that this total legend took the time to sit down and answer a few questions for me.
Firstly many thanks for taking the time to do this for us Kam I know you’re extremely busy what with both Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery putting out (killer) albums this year.
AN: How did Bone Gnawer come into being?
KAM: In around 2007, Rogga contacted me about doing a project together. I had known of his previous works with PAGANIZER & RIBSPREADER, as well as his time with EDGE OF SANITY, but back then I didn’t know him personally. We began discussions thru e-mail about the project and found out we shared a lot of the same likes and dislikes about music, and the current scene.
At the time I was currently working still with the band DENIAL FIEND and still touring Europe on the MASSACRE RE-Animated tour… but I was very unhappy with the direction the band was going both musically and as well with their poor business decisions, so I wanted out of that band as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
I don’t prefer to work with people with opportunistic mind sets, nor people who carry an egocentric outlook with their positions as musicians. Basically I HATE – that “rock star mentality” and refuse to work with musicians that carry this sort of attitude.
Rogga does NOT display this type of attitude, nor does he have any sort of ego. He is very down to earth and very easy individual to work with both musically and personally.
AN: How did you first get together with Rogga?
Kam: I drew a magick circle in squid ink and pink Himalayan sea salt, then sacrificed a plate of eel meat from a sushi order, down the eagerly awaiting abyss of my churning acid pool stomach. I then recited in reverse the unholy mantra of a Cthulian chaotic convergence spell – while dangling a fresh newborn opossum from its hind feet over two fornicating box turtles. Then as the skies blackened beneath a waning moon and the total eclipse of the suns shadow fell upon the southern hemisphere… directly touching upon the haunted shores of New Zealand, a sheep was then birthed with the head of human child. I beseeched to the Old Ones that lurk in the thresholds underneath my bed – to transport the human headed sheep thing to the outer realms… where there it would be sacrificed – and the call of a Scandinavian death growl could be heard across the 9 realms, and an axe wielding warrior of true death metal godliness be delivered upon me…. it was either that… or thru e-mail over the internet… I forget which one it is now.
AN: Is there any particular reason that Rogga is not playing on the new Bone Gnawer record?
Kam: Basically Rogga is too busy. He has so many other of his own music projects, plus two new Roogamites – (his children) to take care of. I completely understand his reasons for stepping out and only wish him the best. We shall continue doing the band THE GROTESQUERY together, but as far as other projects, not so much.
AN: Ronnie Bjornstrom seems to fit right in with the Bone Gnawer sound, was he recommended to you by Rogga?
Kam: Yes… Ronnie also played in RIBSPREADER with Rogga, and is also an accomplished musician in his own band AEON, as well as an accomplished producer in Sweden with many many bands he has produced albums for.
AN: There was a post on the Bone Gnawer Facebook page a while ago regarding people having trouble accepting the lyrical content – what happened there?
Kam: Pure enmity – you know… people trolling and being douchebags I guess. A lot of negative reviews by biased assholes with a grudge trying to appease their small circle of idiot friends by ‘attacking my music’ – with negative snide ass remarks. BASICALLY because they are… keyboard warriors – and computer desk critics… with no true bravery – and just cowardice that would never have the balls to say this stuff to my face, but feel the safety of surreptitiousness and being faceless – because the internet allows them to be as such.
AN: I’ve been listening to Bone Gnawer since ‘Feast Of Flesh’ came out in 2009. It was a breath of (not so) fresh air with its unashamedly ‘old school’ sound and emphasis on groove as opposed to outright technicality , which I think had been absent from the death metal scene for a while. Now there’s quite a few new bands emulating Death, Massacre, Obituary and the like. What do you think of the current death metal scene?
Kam: It’s got both good and bad… with unfortunately now a lot more bad than actually good. It’s filled with a lot a lot A LOT of posers and opportunists who pretend (because that’s what posers do) at being TRUE, and they are far from what it is to be TRUE and underground – and just exploit this genre for what it is worth, and completely take opportunistic side steps to ruin the scene from with-in. It’s been long over run by this “rock star” type, and too much time has passed with their infection to make it right again… best thing for those who are the true – is to keep strong and keep ploughing forth. Our seeds are laid… our roots spread… our branches bloom – however so briefly beneath the shadows cast by the overshadowing posers who infest the scene. They are weeds… and overgrown… and sadly there’s not a fucking thing we can do about it now… so instead of bitching and complaining… or shrivel up and dying… we need to find that small niche in which we can grow & shine.
AN: Switching to The Grotesquery, the recent record ‘Curse Of The Skinless Bride’, while still brutal sounded, to me at least, a bit more stripped down and catchy than the previous two – was that a conscious decision?
Kam: We just intended it to be an amalgamation of the two previous albums, with our own unique blend of death metalness.
AN: The Coffin Born Trilogy of records are brilliant, where do you see The Grotesquery going next? Will the Lovecraft influences still be there or will you be branching out into other themes?
Kam: I have plans to do another trilogy… this time moving away from the more obvious Lovecraftian mythos – and more into classic gothic penny dreadful esq. type of horror. I’m enamoured with early 1900s. I also have a huge fondness for steampunk aesthetics and post Victorian era. I want to do a story involving lycanthropy as well as the paranormal poltergeist type of horror.
AN: You’re obviously a massive horror fan and I can see & hear a lot of gory horror influences in Bone Gnawers’ material and the Lovecraft influence on The Grotesquery material is obvious, what are your favourite horror movies?
Kam: Wow! Way too many to list… because I like different genres of horror. Not everything has to be serious, I tend to enjoy the more comical based horror films… where a lot of hardcore fans tend to shy away from them. I guess if you wanted to get down to the grit of it… I would still have to say the EVIL DEAD films and RE-ANIMATOR films – the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and its sequel, the first four original FRIDAY THE 13ths, and the Cannibal films of the late 70’s. These are my favourite genres. I’m bored with Zombie flicks, as much as I am with vampire shit… Werewolf films still i like… because over all I love CREATURE FEATURE films and almost anything with a monster in it. But so much garbage is thrown in with the good stuff… kinda like the metal scene these days. One has to be selective… and root thru the utter mega amounts of shit and garbage to find the true gems of the batch.
AN: What Lovecraft story would you most like to see made into a film?
Kam: AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.
AN: What’s happening with Gravewax and Broken Gravestones? Any plans for new records?
Kam: GRAVE WAX is done… we made our last song together just last week. Should be coming out on a split 7″, it was fun while it lasted, but both Riddick Brothers are extremely busy with their own projects, that it’s not something we felt we could keep going and honestly give it the attention it deserved, so we decided to best end it.
Now as far as Broken Gravestones… I would like to do more, but I don’t pressure Noel, as he has his hands full with his own bands too like: GRUESOME STUFF RELISH and ALTAR OF GIALLO and so forth. I don’t pressure musicians to get stuff done… if they aren’t feeling it… I won’t push them… I’ll just take on another project while in between their time.
AN: What are your views on the current ‘Death To All’ touring band? Were you ever approached to be involved at any point?
Kam: Exploitive, perfidious, unethical, exorbitant, unconscionable raping of a deadmans legacy under the false pretence of honour and fabricated obeisance.
AN: What keeps you motivated after all these years?
Kam: Well… it’s not money – that much I can tell you.
Maybe it is the stupid sense that hopefully one fucking day I’ll get the respect and honour I deserve before I’m fucking dead and burned to ashes – and it’s way too late to enjoy it.
I live to see the day when I’m recognized for my works, and not for what others have fabricated by rumour to be of me.
In other words… I live to be truly honored and respected by the metal community as well as the rest of the world for being such an integral part of a genre. And not just ignored by the obvious prejudice masses the scene seems to advocate as the final word in all that matters.
Or maybe… it’s just because I like to do this type of music and horror – despite I make no money from it… because I’m not actually motivated by cash… but by what is truly inside my blackheart! I luv Death, Grind and Doom Metal and Horror.
AN: What’s the best thing about living in Florida? (I’m actually thinking about buying a place out there – maybe in the St Cloud area).
Kam: The Reptiles are HUGE and dangerous… but the people SUCK!! I personally hate it here… but I hate it everywhere… and I have family here… so I stick around for them… I guess. But it SUCKS! I can’t honestly say a good reason to be here… the women are fucking nuts… sexy yes… but fucking ape shit banana nuts… the men are fucking pussies… or fucking nuts as well… like screw loose bag of bolt nuts…… everyone is a backstabbing two faced lying cheat… the scene is filled with posers who think they are more important than they really are… but fuck that’s everywhere from what I hear… so – ummm… let’s see – what’s good about this shithole. You got the sun – reptiles, beaches, shark attacks, crazy red necks… paedophiles, foot sniffers, naked cannibal face eaters, Pit Bull beastality fuckers, baby killers… racist gun toting freak jobs… strawberry festival is nice… hurricanes, and crazy ass lightning storms… jerk off surfers… really shitty sport teams… laughable cliche pretentious metal scenes… even worse and twice as laughable punk scene… trend poser capital of the world… amusement parks up the yin yang… tourist, shitty attitude toting tourist… fucking god damned tourist.
Yeah it sucks… don’t move here.
AN: Any touring plans for Bone Gnawer & Grotesquery?
Kam: I don’t tour anymore.
AN: Both bands are awesome Kam but don’t seem to be getting the push they deserve. A lot of my friends haven’t even heard of them (which I soon put right) Why do you think that is?
Kam: I’m not cool enough, and don’t bring in enough revenue for some promoters to book. So I’m unknown… which is FINE by me… because I remain UNDERGROUND… and not exposed like the fucking poser elitist pricks this scene is overrun with. And now someone who just read that – will get all butt hurt and go and complain on the internet of what a jerk and asshole I really am… BOO Fucking HOO!!!
Hahahaha!! My sarcasm is too much for the over sensitive type.
Thank you so much for your time Kam – I really do appreciate it. Any ‘final words’ for the Ave Noctum readers?
Thanks for the interview… remain UNDERGROUND…FOREVER UNDERGROUND!
(Interview Mark Eve)