Dave Matrise

Jungle Rot

Destroying the death metal genre since 1994, Wisconsin's JUNGLE ROT are finally seeing bestowed upon them the credit they rightfully deserve. One of the most consistent and crushing death metal bands since their inception they are here to terrorize the scene with the release of their latest brain crushing assault "Terror Regime." Spyros had the opportunity to speak with founder, vocalist and guitarist Dave Matrise about all things JUNGLE ROT.
By Spyros Stasis
April 28, 2013
Dave Matrise (Jungle Rot) interview
Hi Dave. First of all I would like to thank you for finding the time to do this interview. JUNGLE ROT has been going for quite a while but would you like to introduce the band?

Hi, JUNGLE ROT has been going since '95, and it's been a long and painful journey... but, we have been seeing a lot of light in the past couple years. We are releasing our 9th studio album this year and hoping for this to be our best year yet. The style is an old school, soul taking death metal that leaves you begging for more.

I have not listened yet to the new JUNGLE ROT album, "Terror Regime", so can you give us some insight on how you would describe the album?

Tons of energy and neck breaking riffs, it is what we do best. I think we really found our stride going into writing "Terror Regime" most of our fans know just what they're getting into when buying any JUNGLE ROT CD. But, on this new one we really out-did ourselves.

Can you also tell us a few things about the recording process of "Terror Regime": where was it recorded and who was involved (engineering, mixing, mastering)?

It was recorded at Bell City Sound in Racine WI, with my long time friend Chris Wisco.  I have done all 9 of our recordings with Chris. He is a very big part of Jungle Rot. Chris has been in the band, so it's easy for us to work together. He knows our style and what we're looking for. Chris handles all of the engineering, mixing and mastering on this recording. He is a multi-talented weapon.

You have switched through various labels at your time as a band, from Pulverizer, Olympic Recordings, Crash Music, Napalm and now you are signed to Victory. How is it working with the guys at Victory and what was your experience with your previous labels?

Signing to Victory Records was the best thing that happened for JUNGLE ROT. They are the first label that really believes in us and wants to see us keep going. It feels good to have them in our corner. This label has been a huge part in making these last year's some of the most fun I've had in my life. Victory Records goes above and beyond with support and press to keep our name alive and out there, we could not thank everyone at the label enough. Most of the "other" labels they were just a one-time deal and the others sold us a dream and let down us down time and time again. Looking back at some of the past labels, I sure did learn a lot on how they work, and how they want to kill your dreams if you let them.

I recently got the "Skin The Living" demo, which was reissued from Victory. What seriously stunned me was the quality of the actual recording. It sounded more like a professionally done EP, in terms of production, to me. Can you give us some info on how that demo came to be and how JUNGLE ROT started out?

It was recorded with Chris Wisco way back in '95. It's where I first started my relationship with Chris, working with music. He had a small ass garage that he was working out of and he was putting out some amazing demos.  Looking back on the years and seeing how that was recorded on a small 8 track studio, and our first time in a studio, we put out a demo that still stands the test of time. It is amazing.  I joined up with Jim Harte and Jim Bell in '95 and started to write the "Skin The Living" demo shortly after.  I have had some really great times with the original guys; sometimes good things come to an end faster than others.

Where you happy with the reissue? And how did it feel listening to these songs again?

I am very happy with it. It's the original layout and remastered to make it hot and loud.  This is something I have been trying to do for some time now, getting the demo a proper release, and pressing it on vinyl.  It will give everyone a chance to see where it all started for JUNGLE ROT and how long we have been staying true to our style. When I first heard the remastered version, it really made me think of some of the good times I had back then. There were so many great bands around and everyone was out and supporting one another.

You have followed pretty much the same path since you started, and congrats for staying true to that. Did you ever had any thoughts of experimenting with your sound?

Thank you! That means a lot to me. That is the one thing we have always done, we stayed true to who we are and to our fans. That is not an easy thing to do with so many bands out there, and always being told about what's hot now, or told to try this, or maybe try some of that.  We do not go into writing new songs by trying to top what's hot today and not tomorrow. I have always said a band should be applauded for staying true to themselves.

Personally I prefer death metal when it has its heavy rhythm and groove the way JUNGLE ROT does. I guess that is the same for you in general? Which bands would you say have influenced your sound the most?

-I do like the groove. I started out listening to all the German thrash bands like SODOM and DESTRUCTION, and I still do.  They were the first bands that made me want to start playing guitar and singing. Then Death Metal started in the U.S that's where my soul was stolen from bands like OBITUARY, CANCER, DEATH and many more. I just really like how these bands sounded live and how they were able to pull it off while playing it; they had a big impact on hooking me to this style.

Can you tell us how the creative process works in the band? Is it you that comes up with the songs and then each other member put their input or is it a collective process?

That's just how it works, when it comes time to write, we all have our jobs to do and know what it takes to write the CD. Jim & Geoff have been with me now for over 9 years and we really know what we are doing. I get the writing started by locking myself in my room and getting it done. I am lucky I can pick up the guitar mostly at any given time and start to write something. I'll get most of the song started, or the root of it, and then show Jim and Geoff at rehearsal. Then we start with their input and talent to help build the songs better and work to complete them.  This time around everyone was 100% on board and we all had confidence going into recording it.

By the way are you using again Guyla Havancsak for the artwork of the new album?

We did use Guyla again, he is a very talented guy, and once again made us a masterpiece. Every time I work with Guyla, he never lets us down.  I found out years ago that when you find people easy to work with and the best at what they do, you stay with them.  You know what you can expect for them and you will not be let down.

Throughout the years you have changed quite a few band members, do you find that process difficult? You now have the same line up as in your last full length "Kill On Command". I guess that it works really well judging from the results.

I've had my share of members, some of them were just hired on for tours and others were filling in to help me out, and some just quit. I do know that it takes a very special person to do this kind of work. We live in a van for 5 weeks at a time. Sometimes we do not know if we're going to get a buy-out to even eat that day. Do not forget the endless drives from Hell. Some guys really talk themselves up to give them a chance to tour, but then once doing it, they find out in most cases, they cannot handle the road and quit. Geoff and Jim have been fighting this fight with me for many years now and Jesses is going on his 3rd year as well. We all share the same dreams and goals to keep this band alive.

Are you planning any future gigs for after the release of "Terror Regime"?

We will be doing a full North American tour call "Despise The World 2013" with SUFFOCATION and EXHUMED that will start up on April 3rd and go until April 28th, we will be hitting all of the major cities.  We also will be doing a European Festival tour in August; some of these stops will include "Into The Grave" and the "Brutal Assault Fest" with hand full of more. Then we will be back in the U. S to do another tour this fall. We want to be on the road as much as possible, playing for as many faces (new and old) as we can.

Personally I think that there are some great death metal bands that are just starting, for example bands like DESOLATE SHRINE, VORUM, KRYPTSECT. What do you think of the current death metal scene? Are there any new bands you enjoy listening to?

To me, the scene today is much different than it was in the past. Bands today are missing the whole point of being in a band, and that is to play, support one another, and build the scene together. This is what it takes to open the eyes of other people and to make our scene grow. You have to make a name for yourselves, and it's by supporting others. I have not been listening to much music in the last few months, we have been recording and getting ready for our upcoming tour, but some bands that come to mind are VEKTOR, a really good thrash band, and ENCRUST, they are amazing as well.

Thank you again very much Dave for finding the time to answer to my questions. Hope I did not bore you. Wish you all the best and hopefully I will see you playing live soon. Until then…

Thank you as well, I just want to remind everyone that we have a new CD is already out on Victory called "Terror Regime". Show some support and pre  order it so we can keep this fight alive.

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