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Pestilence's Patrick Mameli: "…we, the good people, are in much more numbers. We are the answer to all these problems they have created for us. We the people, can make a change"

Interview with Patrick Mameli from Pestilence
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 01 July 2021, 10:45 PM

Quite frankly it is a scary world out there, not because of how it is now, but because of the potential of what it might become. Think about it, imagine several versions of dystopia and bam, you are there, you could be there. These thoughts can consume a person, and might evidently cause a person to lose touch with reality. Therefore, to act in ways in order to be the better person, might do the trick, and the ways are countless. Pestilence's Patrick Mameli is rather bothered of what has been going on, and the pandemic pretty much helped it. In light of the new record, "Exitivm", it feels like dancing in a minefield. Steinmetal had to find out more and Mameli was a fountain of information and of course also about the music.   

Hello Patrick, it is certainly an honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Pretty good, thank you for asking. It`s a pleasure doing an interview for Metal Temple.

I presume that this past year hasn’t been easy on you on a personal level. I wonder, what has been feeding your motivation and hope to endure this period of challenging time?

As I am a very private person, these times didn`t affect me that much because I practically live in my little studio anyways. So I don`t go out too often and am always working on music.

So as it seems, at least from what I could understand, it is safe to say that the pandemic single handed terminated the previous line up of Pestilence, following the support of your previous album "Hadeon". Did it come down on you as a surprise or were there signs that this departure of everyone was a bound thing to happen?

I do not know whether the "pandemic" had something to do with it. Rather the consequences of working with 3 people that already share the same country,  a same band, the same culture/mentality and language.

Eventually, as if like an out of the dark and into the light situation, you were able to create a profound new line up for the band, no doubt one of the most impressive ones, a dangerous meeting between members of Dew-Scented, Bleeding Gods and God Dethroned under the same roof. Had these guys been in your crosshairs for a while prior to their recruitment?

After the last tour, working with the Romanian guys, I came to the conclusion that I needed to find new band members. Without falling into similar problems, I figured, to finally, look for Dutch musicians and this turned out to be the best solution ever. We toured with Bleeding Gods all support act and Rutger (lead guitars) made himself very noticeable. Every show, he was very energetic and professional. I first asked him to join and then the time was right to get the rest of the guys involved.

Alongside your new comrades, you created the meticulous blood fist named "Exitivm". Furthermore, after being signed locally you once again turned to an outside of The Netherlands label, finding yourself signing with Agonia Records. How do you feel about the change of scenery in regards to the band’s new home? What are your expectations from the new label?

Agonia Records approached me and were very interested and after a few good talks I said yes to a collaboration. They are doing and have been doing a tremendous job with the promotion and distribution of Pestilence. I mean what Death Metal band gets 3 video clips in a row for the new album and gets full support.

You were able to intrigue me by coming up with such a cryptic album title, needless to say the tracklist. At first I was thinking to myself that you were using elements in order to encrypt the titles, yet I must say that it remained a mystery to me. But first things first, what can you tell about the title? What was your prime inspiration that led you to it?

I am always very aware of my surroundings and environment, current situations of the world. I was thinking in what a shit show we are living in. This world, this reality is constantly being challenged by external factors, visible and invisible. Personal freedoms are being taken away, Governments that spend taxpayer's money like water. All the poverty in the world, you name it. Exitivm means total destruction in Latin. I thought that this title is a good description of what is currently happening.

Other than its looks, the record, upon its brutish and head first nature, feels sci-fi, the creepy kind of the genre. I can understand that it is a struggle between a personal ambition to take over and one’s personal mentality which is at stake. In your view, what are the connecting dots between these themes?

Physical and nonphysical freedom are of great value in order to grow as human beings. The trap has been set for years and we are heading to a totalitarian technocratic environment created by those in charge. They are presenting us tools to make our lives easier and make us think we can`t live without them. The smartphone has become the centre of a person's life nowadays. People communicate rather using these tools than to actually meet in person. This is just one example. The album cover shows the mechanical sphere being trapped by the external. This is a metaphor for the description I just mentioned.
Talking about mental stability, or rather as a singular case of the human condition, on the record, are you sharing a personal experience or someone else’s in order to tell a story or simply putting the audience to notice of the phenomenon of people simply losing it?

More and more people a led to believe that material things are more important than the real joys in live. The tools that we are being exposed to are still not recognized as such. The distribution of bad food, modification of food, the polluted air and water. The pollution of the human body is a fact and we are being exposed to more and more of these bad habits that pollute our body cells. The food commercials are a trap as well.

With this comes the bodily imbalance is not in balance and this is also a way to increase mental instability. Detoxing from cumulated heavy metals in the human body, is a must. But hardly no one knows about zeolites for example. Not taking enough rest or exercise.

All this talk about the human condition, while pointing out to "Exitivm", I wonder where does your belief system lay when it comes to mankind’s essence and its nature? Would you say that mankind is bound to lose itself?

The same people that feed us this bullshit are the people that are the cause of our problems. They have all the money in the world and are known philanthropists, but through smart constructions that money comes right back to them. But we, the good people, are in much more numbers. We are the answer to all these problems they have created for us. We the people, can make a change. That`s why it is a must to get involved and try to give positive feedback and action. It all starts within ourselves. Once the metal community was strong and we were one big family. This is around the times when Death Metal originated. This unity is hard to find anymore since the hardening of society.

Delivering that cohesion between the lyrics and music, I noticed the intensity of the riffs, such an uncompromising sense that generated types of riffs that aren’t that common in the mixture of Death and Thrash Metal. Since it mainly came from your constantly thinking mind, what do you find in this form of mania of the riffs?

Since I hear music in my head all the time, it`s hard not to acknowledge them. These atonal structures always roam free in my mind. Even when I sleep or dream I hear them. It`s almost like they come from an unknown source. These riffs are very intense and dramatic at times. Almost movie score like. The problem is to translate these melody lines into physical muscle memory. In other words, I can only play 20% of what I hear in my head, because of its complexity.

"Exitivm" takes no prisoners in its straightforward nature, yet in a cunning measure, while delivering a form of complexity that certainly interesting, and at times hard to grasp. How do you view the composite nature of the record this time around? What did you do differently this time?

To be honest, nothing. The way I think about my music has remained the same for years now. What I think is important for a song, it`s structures, the complex simplicity is what I aim for. People often confuse technical with difficult to play. You can make it as difficult as you want but the general listener wants to enjoy the music and not having to worry what measurements of chords are being used. I do not like to live in Arpeggio land anyways. Nor using a zillion riff is one song does not make a song better. For me, accessibility and memorability is a must. Also the new band members have been a huge part in the execution of my compositions.

Even though you have been behind the wheel of songwriting for the past three decades, how would you say that "Exitivm" developed you further? Would you say that the record made a number on you eventually, making you sweat while writing the material, needless to say recording the entire thing?

I`m a perfectionist and I feel there is still a lot of work to be done. I`m very happy to be working with the guys that are in the band now, Rutger, Joost and Michiel. They are awesome people. When I run out of ideas, that will be the day Pestilence stops to exist.

What was the contribution of the new band members to the songwriting of "Exitivm"? Would you say that it was also another aspect of changing the band’s course of music a tad bit?

I write all the music and all the lyrics. This will never change. This way I'm also solely responsible for any failure.

Since I noticed that there is a strong connection between the tunes, at least from my side of the table, which of the tracks do you find worthy to talk about further and elaborate about? Is there a song that takes a special place in your mind?

I always try to write songs that are equally strong and have a special thing happening only in that song. So I do not really have a favourite. I like them all equally. I like Sempiternvs a lot because of the slow dissonance.

The album sounds explosive, modernizing the old school sound, yet without having it sound like a piece of cranking plastic. Simply amazing work I’d say. What can you tell about the production and the band’s new sound?

The production is by me and Jory Hogeveen. This collaboration was a blessing really. The Kemper stage went directly into the mixing board. All digital and no amps were used. The recording environment at Pitchnote Studios was a blessing as well. It just felt very relaxed and comfortable recording there.

This year it is the 35th anniversary of Pestilence, is there a plan to perform live in any format in order to celebrate the occasion properly or it will be mainly supporting "Exitivm"?

Good and bad timing I guess. Exitivm is such an awesome and devastating album that it deserves this. But also Testimony deserves this. We need to figure something out here.

With the pandemic slowly fading, hopefully of course, what are your intentions towards 2022?

Tour for Testimony and Exitivm. Keeping busy and staying focused and positive. Eating healthy and lots of working out.

Patrick, I wish to convey my thanks for your effort for this interview. You unleashed an amazing new record and it was a great ear pleaser. Cheers and all the best

Thank you lots and hope to see you and all the readers of this interview somewhere on the road. Patrick.


 



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