Interview with Mark Kloeppel of Misery Index

Last night (5/16/14) at the Pig Destroyer at Fubar, Damnation met up with Misery Index guitarist Mark Kloeppel for some insight on the new album, The Killing Gods, due out later this month. Here’s what he had to say:


On having 4 weeks to write and record Heirs to Thievery compared to an extended timeline for The Killing Gods

On the new one we made the decision to do whatever we wanted and take as long as we wanted. We spent a lot of time writing, not a whole lot of time recording it because we had our stuff down going into the studio, and a lot of time in post-production getting the mix right and getting the mastering right. All that attention to the finer details really made it stand out. We spent a lot of time with attention to these certain details because we really wanted to have an organic production, not a bunch of cut and paste to make it perfect. We really just wanted to make it a good organic listen.

We anticipate it is going to make a big splash. We spent a lot of time writing, and it’s just one of those things where you craft something for a long period of time and you’ve reviewed it to death. I can tell what we came up with and put out and produced through the mixing and mastering process – it’s now a thing in your hand you can hold. This is going to be a really classic album – for me. Whether it is for somebody else, but WE put a lot of time and effort into it and it just sounds like a classic album to me. If it’s received that way, that’s. cool. If people hate on it until the day is long, whatever. That’s what we made, and that’s what you get.


On the difference in sound and production between the 2 albums…

(Heirs to Thievery) is all “to the grid” because we didn’t have a lot of time to do it so it’s really all metronomed-out. For (The Killing Gods) we just left that out of the equation and did a real “human” feel to it. In 2010 that kind of fit into what else was going on and we didn’t really like it after it was done. But we didn’t have a lot of time to do it. We had a strict deadline for the album release and we couldn’t pass it up. This one we had a lot of flexibility because of our standing so we utilized that and did a record the way you’re supposed to do a record.

On crowd-funding and the likelihood of Misery Index utilizing the service

No, absolutely not. I think it’s a cool kind of business practice to get your fans to crowd-fund your record, but there’s a lot of other stuff that goes into records and we like to go the more traditional route, like going through a record label. There’s something trendy and passé about doing a crowd-funding thing. Certainly, I think if we did it we’d be able to get some good grass-roots support too, but it’s not something that we want to pursue on an aesthetic value.


On touring Europe compared to the U.S.

The biggest difference between the United States and Europe is the “trendy” factor. The United States tends to be more swayed by the current trends and Europe tends to have a longer memory when it comes to stuff like that. You don’t see Sabaton doing a lot of tours over here but they’ll tour the hell out of Europe. That’s kind of the nature of the thing; same thing with Britain. Britain may be more trendy the United States is in that regard. If you’ve got a record that’s hitting hard you can do the States once or twice or maybe three times and after that you’re almost passé at that point.

But in Europe, they don’t really grab onto that. Even the deathcore stuff; that was maybe popular a long time ago over here, and over there they didn’t really dig it too much. But now that’s been around a while, and it’s still sticking around, now they see the legitimacy of that scene and so now they’re okay with it because it has a history. That’s the difference: they really like longevity and history to their culture.


On touring in Southeast Asia

Yeah we’ve been to Southeast Asia; we’ve done Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It’s pretty brutal down there. Indonesia was the first time I’ve ever seen my face on a billboard… so that was interesting. We played a bunch of shows down there, and one show in particular we showed up to this convention center that had a sign outside with our name on it. We went in there and you could fit three 747 jets in this thing, and on the stage they had a 3 or 4-story tall backdrop of our album cover sitting back there. So myself and Martin walked in there – we were just kind of spellbound by the whole thing and just like “This is going to be a disaster… There’s gonna be 200 people lined up in front of this barricade and it’s going to be a gigantic empty room.”

So we went through the whole process of all the gear that inevitably exploded and they did replace the stuff so I gotta give them that. We went through the PA which was wired completely backwards, BUT they had all the pro stuff – they knew what needed to be there just didn’t know how to set it up. We went through the PA. We dealt with it. We did the show and think there were like 2,000 people there so it was pretty good. We do pretty good down there. Just checking out our fan stats online, it’s kind of ridiculous – there’s a really big percentage of people in southeast Asia that like deathgrind in particular. In particular! Not death metal, not grindcore – DEATHGRIND in particular. A combination of the two… It’s really a unique kind of thing down there. We’re planning on getting back down there sometime soon, especially with the new album coming out.


On another past side project named Criminal Element (NOT Criminal Intent!)

It was Vince Matthews who did vocals for Dying Fetus back in the day. He was doing (Criminal Element) with Darin (Morris) our guitar-player, so they recruited myself and Adam to do some live shows. We ended doing a lot more. We recorded an EP “Crime and Punishment: Part I”. It’s just a really cool ideal; the outlaw approach. Vince doesn’t really want to tour. He made that thing blow up a little bit. He always keeps things temporary. He’s still doing stuff – he just released an album with the Suffocation guys. He’s always got something on.

Darin had a lot to do the production on “Crime and Punishment: Part I”. That came out on Relapse Records. That’s got a really cool sound to it. We recorded those drums in a lake house on Kent Island (Maryland) and the guitars down there too. It was just like this little shack. Sounds pretty cool for how it came out.


On the St. Louis metal scene and the importance of networking

Both Adam and I are from St. Louis. We grew up in the St. Louis scene so we’ve played the Creepy Crawl, the defunct Galaxy, the Hi-Pointe, Mississippi Nights, etc. I was in a band called Cast the Stone with Derek Engemann, who is now in Cattle Decapitation, and Adam had his band All Will Fall. So we just teamed up long ago and when Adam joined Misery Index and lost their guitar player in 2004 that’s how I got the call – from him. So I joined the band in 2005 by just from having that connection in the local scene.

What It’s important to have solidarity and be cool with one another – not try to play this “rockstar” card. Make stuff happen. Make culture happen. You gotta stick together. This is a culture of people, and you have to make the people support what you’re doing through event creation, media creation, music creation, and getting out there and talking to people.

In the St. Louis scene I see a lot more of that going on here now that I’ve been back. It’s really cool. It’s more reminiscent of what’s going on on the (East) Coast. I see the scene building itself up.

And there you have it. Excited for the new album yet? Official Pre-order here.

The Killing Gods, due out May 27th via Season of Mist Records. Image

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