Mephistopheles: Sounds of the End?

Mephistopheles vocalist Chalky sits down with Metal as Fuck to talk about their latest release and the grim prospect that if things don't start happening for the band soon, there might not be a future for them.

Playing extreme metal can be a very arduous pastime. There's a bloody lot of work involved for sometimes little to no reward. Just ask Mephistopheles vocalist Matthew "Chalky" Chalk who has just driven all the way up to Sydney from Tasmania in order to play a gig in front of a few handfuls of people. He graciously took the time to hold an impromptu interview with Metal as Fuck and if he's to be believed, Mephistopheles is at a very perilous point in their career.

After releasing your second album late last year, would you say that Mephistopheles is planning on ramping up it's operations? "Definitely. We're planning on doing a lot of things that we haven't done [before] and hopefully raising the profile of the band so that we're more well known Australia-wide. We'll be trying to tour a bit more, trying to do some shows in different places. We're planning on hitting Europe sometime this year, that's the plan at this stage."

Do you reckon it's likely that we'll be waiting another seven years for a new Mephistopheles album? "No definitely not. Look, there'll either be another release within a couple of years or never again. That's the way it's going to be because at the moment we've all commited to this period of time. We're giving ourselves at least a year to try and do as much as we can. We're going to release an EP next, so we only have to write four songs, there's going to be no fucking around. We're looking to get it done and get it out there. So there's no way we're going to wait another seven years because that would just be crazy. We need to strike while the iron's hot; people slightly give a shit about us at the moment, so we need to make the most of that opportunity."

You've had a few months to reflect on it, so how do you feel about Sounds of the End looking back on it? "I feel exactly the same way as I did when it came out. I think we did a good album and I think it's a stepping stone to us being a better band." Although in saying that, Chalky believes some elements could have been stronger. "Some elements of production and some songs had moments that I think could be better. At the end of the day, it was an experience that we needed to have to prepare ourselves to get better. It's almost a trial run for what the band is going to produce. But I'm still happy with it and I don't think any better or worse of it than I did a few months ago."

Was there anything about making Sounds of the End that you would do differently if you could do it over again? "Yes, I would change a lot of things because we went into it without any preperation, we just started recording. We went in with the songs and didn't really have any solid ideas. We used a shitty bass and we used a guitar sound that wasn't 100% appropriate. We had to fuck around with it so much that [pauses] it was one of those things where we got the best sound we could, but it still wasn't quite right. I didn't give any reference material to our studio guy either, so he didn't know the exact sound we were going for. Unfortunately from that perspective we fucked it up a bit. But at the same time, it still sounds a bit different to other albums, so I'm happy with the sort of slight originality it's got."

What are your goals for Mephistopheles in the next five years? "Well basically we're only looking a year ahead at the moment because a couple of the guys in the band have serious career potential. We sort of need to get as much done as we can. If the band goes well we'll stick to it and if it doesn't, the band will just end. That's just the way it is. We've given ourselves a period of time to try to get at least part way to where we want to get. If we get there, then great. At this stage, we're trying to get at least two international tours under our belts and another release out. If we can do those things and they do well, we can keep kicking it. We want what most metal bands that are serious want. We want a big label, we want to be known around the world, we want to tour and do it in a way that's not costing yourself money. That's the level we want to get to; world domination. Obviously with our strange style, that may not be possible but we feel like we've got a pretty cool product and people might like what we're doing."

Would there ever be the possibility of the band still existing yet not playing live? "I'm not immediately repulsed by the idea, but there's a part of me that thinks that just wouldn't happen. I think playing live is integral. If you're not playing live you're not a band, you're a recording project. You can't tour the world if you don't have a band. If I just wanted to record I would have spent all my money buying a studio. As much as I love recording, I really think playing live is actually key. It's a component that cannot be foregone. It has to be there because it's the only time you truly interact with audiences. You don't have anyone there pushing your marketing or tricking people into thinking you're good. If you play live, you gotta be good. Getting the right balance and the right mix is a challenge but the very few occasions you come off saying 'That was a good gig' make it all worthwhile, just for that moment."

He finishes with this statement. "I want to say to anyone out there that cares about the band or anyone out there that might be interested in hearing our shit, make sure you go check out our facebook page. we check it personally. We'll always interact. If there's anything you want to know, just send us a message anytime. So get in, be a part of it, be a part of our future. We need everyone to be a part of it to make it the best possible future we can have."