Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Mourning The New Dawn: Interview with Mike Connors from Mourning/Insolvable Decomposition
How and when did you get together with the guys from Divine Rapture to form Mourning?
Well, it was really only J.J. from Divine Rapture, but Bill (Pope, Bass) put a post up on some message board and J.J. actually replied to it. When we all met up we looked at each other and realized we know each other! It was quite funny to be honest. We discussed what direction we wanted to go in, showed J.J. two songs we had already written and began arranging those and worked on some newer ones which compiled the “Blinded By Hate” MCD!
At what point in your life did metal take over?
I would have to say around 85 or 86 when I was 5 or 6 years old ( I’m 33 now) when I first heard Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” & Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”. The T.S. album is what I heard first and I thought it was the COOLEST thing I heard at that point. Not long later my older cousin said “if you think that is heavy, check this out!” and it was the opening chords to “Battery”. I thought “OK, no big deal” and then when the whole band kicked in, it was like a boot to the face! I was instantly hooked!! I proceeded to every week go over with a blank cassette and have him make me a mix tape or whatever album he had that had a bitching cover! It was through him I discovered Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Grim Reaper, Led Zepplin and many, many other bands. For awhile I laid off the metal while in junior high until I got into high school and discovered all those bands again through some classmates. Around sophomore year I discovered what was the most HEAVIEST album I ever heard to date and from there it went all down hill, & for that I owe thanks to Cannibal Corpse’s “Tomb of the Mutilated”.
What made you want to pour yourself out through an instrument and what was your first band experience like?
Honestly I’m not sure. From an early age I was always fascinated with music and the different arrangements a song can have and one can create. In 8th grade, the music teacher wanted everyone to learn some instrument and gave a list to choose from. The only instrument that stuck out was drums! So I went and took some drum lessons in school but never stuck to it for whatever reason. Then sophomore year of high school came around and I was getting more and more into Death Metal & said to myself “I wanna learn how to play guitar and play like THAT” & tried to figure out how to convince my parents to allow me to have a guitar. Sure as shit after a long bad winter a dude that was a year older than me said he was selling a cheap guitar but good learning one, told my parents I can pay for it myself and they agreed! Took some lessons to learn basics, stopped cuz I couldn’t afford to pay for the lesson, so my next teacher was my Slayer, Megadeth & Cannibal Corpse albums! I basically trained myself to just listen to the music and pick the notes apart and learn the songs. Spent MANY hours doing so & can still do so to this day.
As far as my first band experience, that is a TRIP to remember! A dude that was in my class was impressed I was as good as I was on guitar, where he was kinda just starting out, told me he know this cat who is a drummer and we should jam. We did for about a year or two. It was more of a hard rock band but I had fun. Right after I graduated high school I joined a band that was right up my ally, Death/Black Metal band. We did a few shows, recorded a 3 song demo & broke up. That was a fun gig, LOTS of good memories there.
What is the songwriting process like for you? Do you get in a zone and prefer to write your part alone or is it a group channeling session?
It usually depends on how the process happens. I would have to say 9/10 times I’ll be sitting there watching something on t.v. either alone, with my wife or with my daughter (she’s only 3yrs old so when she’s up it’s usually Nick Jr. or Sprout channels) & it will just inspire something in my head. Once the idea starts to roll I’ll whip out a piece of paper and try to tab out the riffs until everyone is in bed & then I’ll hop onto my little recording set up & just start jamming it out till it sounds right and record it so I can’t forget it! But I will say I find it easier to write by myself for some reason. For the Mourning stuff Bill & I usually send MP3’s to each other and ask each other for help with what to do next. So, yeah it goes back to writing on my own is easier and I think it’s because I’m my biggest critic. I’ll come up with something & Bill will say that it was a good idea, but I’ll say “No, I can do better. It’s scrapped” & we’ll argue over it like two immature 8 year old! HAHAHAHA!!!!!! We have written some material together on the fly that came out really slamming, take for instance “Entormented Visions of Domination” off of the “Blinded By Hate” MCD. The intro riff Bill, J.J. & I would just jam on it until one day we all just figured it can evolve into a song and out came this 7 minute epic song of war, pain, death & agony of human life!!
You’ve played in a lot of bands from Ohio, PA, NJ and NY. Did you move around a lot or was it just constant travel for shows and practice?
The NJ/NY bands were because it was cause it was in my back yard basically. Mourning, Dripping, Warspawn all out of NJ cause it was a hop skip and a jump from my home and some fun times and learning experiences on being in a band and have good memories with them (except Mourning cuz I am in that band HA!). The only NY band I was in was my first Death/Black band MarKasu. That was a fun project too! Not only good times with the band, but traveling from Brooklyn back to NJ was ALWAYS an adventure!! Mind you I was only a mere 18-19 years old at the time so it was kinda like a whole new world for me. I DEFINITELY learned NYC Subway etiquette!!!! Upon joining Dislimb from OH, Dripping just broken up and the Dislimb dudes were fans of Dripping & looking to do something with me & the other guitarist Seb Russo. Seb & I went out to Cleveland to hang with them for a week to get to know each other and for some reason Seb didn’t wanna do the project. I stuck with it because I loved the city of Cleveland and Ryan Inman and Rob Lesniak were cool dudes to jam & hang with. So I decided for awhile to make the move from NJ 8 hours away to Cleveland to jam with them & Chad Walls for the “Bleeding Anxiety” MCD! Good musicians they all are!!
I understand you’ve been going it alone in a death/grind solo project, Insolvable Decomposition. How did the idea for this come about and what are your plans for it?
Insolvable Decomposition came about after I had a leave of absence from Mourning. I quit Mourning due to personal reasons, & plus my daughter was just born. After a couple of months I decided I wanted to keep doing something but on my own terms. I figured that using a drum program was the only way to do it cause I can make the drums do what I wanted done! I’m a HUGE fan of Shaun LaCanne of Putrid Pile & Shawn Whitiker of Insidious Discrepancy (HOPE the spellings are right!) & figured I can do it too! Over the past couple of years I’ve done songs here & there cause I’m also still learning my set up and between work and raising my daughter with my wife it gets abit tough to set some time aside for it. It’s something that will see the light of day by way of a demo at least. To keep up with what I am doing for it, the two best ways is to check the ReverbNation site (www.reverbnation.com/decomposition213) or the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/decomposition213). Definitely a project I am active on and gunna see through, even if I gotta teach my daughter to growl or speed pick riffs!!! HAHAHA!!!!
Nowadays, a lot of garbage has infiltrated the metal scene, both in the creators and consumers of it. What is your opinion of the “scene” as it currently stands?
Well, it DEFINITELY isn’t the same as it used to be when I was coming up in the scene. When I was coming into it everyone not only had an opinion about what they thought was cool and what was gay to them or sucked to them but they accepted you for whatever you thought was cool and respected your choice in bands. Today, you see a lot of, I guess you can call it trolling and bashing. You especially see that on a site like blabbermouth.net. It seems like these days if you aren’t into whatever is the most brutal or cult bands there are today, then you aren’t “metal enough” and that is pretty sad. I love bands like Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Deicide, Cerebral Bore, Napalm Death, Libido Airbag, Death (my FAV band), Immortal, Emperor & the list goes on & ON, but I also love listening to Classical artists like Beethoven and Wagner, Slipknot, Lard, Lesbian Bed Death, Agents of Oblivion and more. Does that make me less “Metal” than the next person? Not at all! I guess it’s that as a musician my palate for music has grown as I got older. There is definitely trolling & bashing in the scene these days & it’s not necessary in my opinion. As far as garbage, hahahahaha that’s ALWAYS gunna be there honestly. No one is gunna like EVERY band that comes our way, but I respect those bands for giving a shot! Hell, I’m sure there are gunna be people that are gunna think Mourning or Insolvable Decomposition are garbage to them, but we gave it a shot! The scene is underground and is gunna be until another wave helps it come back above ground again like it did during the mid-late 90s and early 2000s. We’re hiding & lurking & will rise to reclaim again.
What led to your departure and eventual return to Mourning?
As far as my departure, it was cause my daughter was just born and it was personal problems/issues. As far as my return to Mourning, Bill called me up one day and asked to meet up and to sit and talk. Part of me leaving was due to an argument/disagreement Bill & I had. So one afternoon a year or so ago we met up, sat in my living room and hashed it all out and buried the hatchet & was never brought up again. We been friends for a little over 10 years and we felt we couldn’t let our petty shit ruin that friendship. On the way to dropping him off at home we got to talking and asked how I felt about rejoining the band. He had just fired the member that replaced me & couldn’t think of anyone else but me coming back to the band. Bill & I started Mourning from scratch after I came back from OH after the Dislimb gig in late 02/early 03, we knew exactly how the other wrote music & lyrics, plus we just clicked together perfectly. So when he asked if I would come back I just couldn’t say no. So I agreed and here I am with the band today!
What artists/albums are currently spinning in your household and what 3 albums can you absolutely never ever be without?
This is a good one!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Honestly I haven’t turned on my stereo in QUITE sometime!!!! The last CD I believe that I was listening to on my 400 CD changer was “The Secrets of the Black Arts” by Dark Funeral. It’s one BAD ASS album!! The 3 albums I absolutely cannot be without in my life is Death “Human” to start because if you just listen to that album you can hear how intricate each note is that Chuck wrote and played & the music alone spoke to you in ways you cannot imagine. The opening riff to “See Through Dreams” still sends chills up my spine in a haunting manner that still makes me thrash like ever before. The second album I cannot live without is Pantera “Far Beyond Driven”. That album almost could’ve made Pantera borderline Death Metal minus the blast beats. Everyone worships “Vulgar Display of Power”, which is a great album don’t get me wrong, but “FBD” I feel was MUCH better and HEAVIER! “Shedding Skin” is like a Death Metal ballad almost & when I get into that mood where I’m MEGA pissed & depressed about something, I can slam on that CD and it is every emotion I am feeling on that album. As for the third album, this was abit tricky because as I think through my MASSIVE CD collection there are SO many albums there that I would want to never be without. So I am going to break your rule and give you a third AND a fourth. Those albums would be Suffocation “Breeding The Spawn” & Incantation “Onward to Golgotha”. The SHEER BRUTALNESS of “Pierced” & darkness descending sound of “Onward” are like a perfect fit together to play back to back during AND after a violent fight. Play “Pierced” to get all pumped and to pummel your opponent & then play “Onward” as their funeral march. All 4 of those albums I most DEFINITELY cannot live without in my life. I could’ve said Evilution but didn’t wanna seem like I was kissing Josh Pratt’s ass, plus they SUCK!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What’s in store for Mourning?
Right now Mourning is writing the follow up to “Mourning the New Dawn” & interviewing drummers since our recent drummer just quit on us. We’re looking to keep our obligation in February to play a fest in Texas so we hope that stays afloat. But look for new music from us by late 2013 if all goes to plan!
Thanks for the interview Mike. Any parting words?
Thanks for the interview! I appreciate you taking the time to listen to (or read) my ramblings!!! Keep a look out for Mourning news at www.faceboook.com/mourningnj & for info on Insolvable Decomposition, keep up to date at the info sites above & keep an ear out for the demo entitled “Possibly the MOST Decomposing Demo EVER!!!!” sometime in the next year. Keep it brutal, heavy and as always METAL!!!!!!