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Meyrick de la Fuente (Exist Immortal)

Interview with Meyrick de la Fuente from Exist Immortal
by Daniel Fox at 17 January 2015, 3:49 AM

EXIST IMMORTAL may well be synonymous with "phenomenal, modern, untapped talent". A Progressive Metal band from the UK that includes splashes of Power Metal and Metalcore, they are truly an outstandingly melodic and powerful experience. Vocalist Meyrick de la Fuente had a few words with Metal Temple's writer/editor Daniel Fox regarding the advantages of different ways to approach songwriting, why the UK Metal scene is a rich node of untapped talent and how not being a stickler for categorisation and subfolders can work wonders for a band's creativity.

Greetings, I’m glad I get the chance to put some questions to you. How could you describe the band’s journey thus far?

It's a pleasure to talk to you! I would have to describe it as hectic. We have been through a couple of member changes, ended up in strange situations in foreign countries, toured all over the UK in a car, slept in that car etc. But on top of it all we have got to play some amazing shows and meet some awesome people, all while writing music we want to write, getting drunk and hanging out with our best mates. I wouldn't change it for the world.

‘Exist Immortal’ is a curious name for a band. How does it relate to the music you write?

The name literally means 'live forever', but this was a crap band name so I imagine that's why our old guitarist (who came up with the name) didn't just use that instead. All the current members of the band are unsure of the exact story as to how 'Exist Immortal' came about as a name, but because our songs tend to be about frustrations we feel towards the human race, it almost serves as an ironic reminder that we are unlikely to exist forever as a species if we continue behaving the way we do.

From where the unaware paddling in the mainstream stand, it’s Iron Maiden, Priest or Asking Alexandria. But you guys are a young, progressive and impressive band with a lot to show for it. I am curious: what is your take on the British metal scene from where you stand now?

The British metal scene is teeming with underrated talent that doesn't get anywhere near the amount of exposure it deserves. Having said that, the UK metal scene is fantastic if you can break into the right circles. Perhaps this is, in part, due to over saturation; we are a tiny island with a huge amount of metal bands per square mile, therefore it is likely that hugely talented bands that are less marketing-savvy will fall away unnoticed. Smaller festivals like Ghostfest and UK Tech-Fest do a great job and breaking down this glass ceiling that some bands are faced with, by combining the huge headline acts with amazing, but relatively unknown, smaller bands.

I can listen to Mayhem and say, “Oh hey, it’s black metal”. But you guys on the other hand… Do you feel that the reason your music doesn't stagnate is because the band’s music is so damn hard to pinpoint and categorize?

I guess so, although it has never been a conscious decision of ours to make music that is difficult to pinpoint, we just seem to end up doing it because it sounds cool to us. Having said that, we have found that once a fairly large press agency labels you as something, it can be very difficult to shake off the reputation and reach new audiences! We certainly prefer to keep our categorization vague, so that, as you say, we do not stagnate in one place, either in description or musically! It is much more fun to have the freedom to write whatever we want to without expectations from anyone for it so sound a certain way.

As far as labelling goes, it of course has its negative connotations. But when it comes to communicating music as an artform, do you see the merit in applying categorisation? Even though it might be completely fruitless trying to categorise a band as diverse and complex as you?

Of course it helps in a broad sense of things, as it makes it possible to organize things according to a group of peoples tastes. Music is subjective, but the human mind naturally looks to categorize things, which makes categorisation of music inevitable. Practically speaking, it makes it easier to find music you may potentially enjoy, plus it helps promoters create the most effective lineup for their target audiences.

“Darkness of an Age” is of course what spurned this little interview. It’s a huge album; how did you manage to cohesively AND concisely put so many ideas together for the release?

We write each song individually, making sure each one is a structurally sound and works on its own, then we think about how the album will flow once we have enough songs. Many late nights at our studio makes this possible, experimenting with ideas and sounds before finding what works and fits the song perfectly. We wanted this album to sound huge, stretching beyond our basic setup of 2 guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Mix wise, it was hugely important for me to make sure that each of the many layers had its own space and served its purpose properly.

What has the response been like for the new album?

The response has been fantastic, especially when playing the songs live. Crowds seem to dig this new material a lot!

Some tracks like “Insanity Project” and “Legions” have a few leanings towards heavy, riff-based Metalcore, but then we have massive, prog metal beauties like “Embrace The Cycle”. Was this branching out or diversification part of what you set out to do, or did it just ‘happen’?

It pretty much just happened. We never intentionally set out to write a 'prog' song or a 'metalcore' song, we just write riffs and piece them together into something that hopefully works!

When it comes to writing music, how does the songcraft work for the band? Some musicians create their music with methodical, clinical precision, whereas others allow it to flow naturally; compare Dream Theater to Tool, I guess.

We use a combination of both. Usually, our guitarist Kurt writes a selection of riffs, which we then piece together into a song or take inspiration from to build a song out of. Because we have the studio, we tend to lean towards the more clinical method of songwriting, chopping and changing things around in Pro Tools until we are happy with what is in front of us. Having said that, many initial ideas for songs come from jamming during soundchecks or at a rehearsal. For example, most of the extended edition track 'Delirium' was written on our last tour, we just had to refine it back in the studio.

Thanks for your time, mate. Lastly, what is the band looking to accomplish as far as live shows go in the near future? Any last words for fans and potential listeners?

We will be touring a lot throughout 2015 across the UK and Europe, but we are very much hoping and looking to tour in the USA and other parts of the world later in the year. We are eternally grateful for everyone who has ever supported us in any way, and we will hopefully be playing near you sometime in the near future!


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Edited 09 June 2023

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