Erik Lindmark is the remaining founding member of the brutal death metal band Deeds of Flesh, and is a co-founder of Unique Leader Records, both based out of Los Osos, CA. I spoke with Erik to discuss both the record label and Deeds of Flesh’s upcoming eighth full-length, Portals to Canaan.
WOBC:Hey Erik. Can you give us a little background about Unique Leader?
Erik Lindmark: Yeah, it started back in ’99, with Jacoby [Kingston, former Deeds of Flesh bassist and vocalist] and myself. We used to work for a CD manufacturing plant and there were some investors that wanted to start a label. They knew that we had a name that could start the label, so they gave us an offer and a hefty advance to run the label and to release… at the time it was “Path of The Weakening” – and they wanted us to bring in other bands and basically work the label, which we did. And it kind of all fell apart, where Jacoby and I ended up buying them out. From then, we built the roster that we have now. And a few years ago, I actually ended up buying out Jacoby. He just ended up doing something different with his life; we’re still friends and everything but it was his time to part ways with the whole music scene. So yeah – we specialized in technical, brutal, extreme death metal, and we’ve stuck with that niche ever since the beginning. We’re here today and we have about 90 releases and thing are going good!
WOBC:You guys have a new album coming out this June. It’s been 5 years since Of What’s To Come – what’s changed for you guys since then?
EL: Yeah, it’s been about four and a half years or so. I wouldn’t say much has changed since that album. I would say our change came with Of What’s To Come, where we really took a different approach in working with the concept and concentrating a bit more on the second guitar. Every album before Of What’s To Come, we wrote with the mindset that we were a three-piece, because in the past, we have been a three-piece. We’ve had lots of live guitarists, but we usually tour as a three-piece, and we never wanted to do anything on our albums that we couldn’t recreate live. It just sounds hollow to me when you have lead work going on with the bass backing it up; it just doesn’t fly for us. So what we decided to do [on Of What’s To Come] was take the approach that we would always be a four-piece from now on, and worked a bit more on adding that second guitar and really bringing it to the forefront of our writing.
The vocals were a bit different too; since Of What’s To Come, we’ve approached them where it’s a bit more in-your-face. When we wrote the vocals before, we’d kind of play the riff and just kind of see how the vocals would fit while playing guitar at the same time, whereas recently we made up patterns and made them flow better rather than just changing as the guitar changes. There are a lot more syllables, and counts, and measures. I’d say those are the biggest changes from our previous albums until Of What’s To Come and this album. This one definitely takes off where Of What’s To Come left off. And of course, we have a couple new members – Craig Peters and Ivan Mungula from Arkaik. There were no hard feelings with the old guys – it was just their time to move on from music, which is fine. With Erlend [Caspersen, bassist of Spawn of Possession], it was a little different. We kind of wanted to be closer together if we needed to practice, or if we wanted to get together for band shots, or do one-off shows or whatever. But with Erlend being in Scandinavia, and us being here in the United States, it was kind of difficult to do. Now we’re all in California and it’s a bit easier, so that was the reason for that decision. Craig and Ivan are good guys and hard workers, and they shred.
WOBC:You had tendonitis last year – did that affect your writing process at all?
EL: Yeah, unfortunately I’m still battling that, which is why we haven’t done any shows. We’re still deciding what to do. I was trying to just let it heal, and now that the album is done, I’ve just been staying away from playing guitar and using my arm in any strenuous way. That’s the reason for the live hiatus. But as far as writing and recording went, it didn’t affect me because I was still able to play. I just couldn’t play for an extended amount of time. At about a minute and a half to two minutes in, if I’m playing a song straight through, it just starts to burn and burn to the point where I can’t get any pressure on the frets, and it just gives out. But when you’re recording, you record in sections, so if I’m doing 30-second sections or whatever, I’m able to do that.
Playing live, and playing songs all the way through, is unfortunately impossible right now. If the arm heals, we’ll probably go back to using another frontman vocalist like we were going to do originally. It was going to be Corey from Flesh Consumed, who was a huge help in the concept and the writing of the album. At the time, I didn’t have the problem, so he was going to take Jacoby’s spot as the vocalist and I’d be able to focus more on guitar and maybe background vocals. If the arm doesn’t heal, I’ll probably do vocals, and we’ll get a second guitar player. It’s still up in the air, but that’s why we haven’t been going out on the road or playing any shows. At least right now, we can still put out albums and write.
WOBC:Can you go over some of the gear you use?
EL: Over the years, it’s varied. I’ve used rack gear – Mesa, ENGL – as far as cabs I just use Marshalls. There’s some direct stuff I use. For the last album we ended up using a mix of the Dual Rectifier and the ENGL Special Edition, and it worked really well. It was an idea that Zach [Ohren] of Castle Ultimate Studios had. I’d say my favorite head that I’ve used is probably the ENGL Special Edition, just because of how cutting and razor-sharp the notes are rather than being a more open woofy sound like a Rectifier has. We blended the two – best of both worlds.
WOBC:Any favorite guitars?
EL: Well, I’m endorsed by Jackson. I like the Soloist, and I like the R1T. Another thing I forgot to mention that we did on this album that we haven’t done before was the incorporation of seven-strings. We have that low end going on, which we haven’t used before.
WOBC:Anything else you’d like to add?
EL: I hope people like the new album; we put a lot of effort into it. Stay patient with us as far as getting out on the road. That’s the biggest thing we really want to do again. Thanks for the support.
Portals to Canaan comes out June 25 on Unique Leader. Preorder packages are available here. The 9th annual Bloodletting North America tour, featuring Unique Leader artists Gorod, Inanimate Existence, and Kamikabe, will be stopping in Lakewood on May 13. Full dates available here.
Seoulbeats, a WOBC staple, has been on the air for two years now, supplying Oberlin with a steady stream of high-energy, fun-loving Korean pop. Tune in Mondays from 9-10pm to hear DJs BuhmBuhm and SamSamLoveMyBabe kill it on air!
Tell me about your show. What general kind of music do you play? How do you see your show as unique in the WOBC program?
In a simple sentence, we play all/any/only Korean music. We generally play recent(2000s and after) K-Pop music of all sub-genres(ballad, rock, rap, indie, soul, etc) although we include other Korean music such as traditional Korean music, older Korean pop songs (1950s and after), etc as well. We think of our show as unique in that since the creation of the show in 2010 Fall, we have consecutively been the only WOBC radio show that exclusively provides Korean songs to Lorain county and the Oberlin community. So far, we have earned great feedback from the community by song requests. We hope that the community will help us improve more by giving us general suggestions as well!
What’s your favorite show on WOBC?
Our favorite show on WOBC is Age of Aquarius by DJ Bad and DJ Good. Their show is currently right after ours and all of their first songs that they have played as we faded out our last songs have brightened up our nights.
Do you have a favorite WOBC memory?
Our favorite WOBC memory this semester was when we received a phone call from a gentleman asking the name of an artist in the midst of us playing a song that we didn’t particularly enjoy. We were intrigued to know if more people had different opinions about that artist. Two weeks later, we played another song from the same artist and that very person called again. Interesting was that he was not aware that he had called to the same show for the same artist. He said he had called simply because he was hearing such a beautiful voice. We learned the significance of diverse music interpretation that day.
Do you have anything else you want to add? Are you working on any interesting projects?
We are looking for a new DJ for next semester since Alix(DJ Samsamlovemybabe) will not be at Oberlin next year! DJ BuhmBuhm is especially looking forward to working with a female DJ whom has interest in K-Pop.
What’s one song or album you’re super into right now?
We are into “Gentleman” by PSY, a new song by the artist that produced the phenomenal “Gangnam Style.” At first, we were disappointed by this new release. This song is ALMOST a parody to his own song(“Gangnam Style”) in that so many aspects of the two songs are similar. However, the more we listen to “Gentleman,” the better it gets!
Oberlin Synthpop group Wax Monsters released a single “Crossing Over” earlier today in anticipation of their debut album coming Friday, April 26th 2013. See Wax Monsters as well as Countless Others, Chrome Sparks and WOBC DJ TW Gordon at the ‘Sco on April 26th at 10pm.
Show is $2 and all proceeds go to Big Parade.
James Siegfried is better known as James Chance or James White–one of the seminal figures of late-70s/early-80s New York No Wave, along with people like Lydia Lunch and Arto Lindsay. In the early days, he had two groups and personas going on–James Chance & the Contortions and James White & the Blacks. Both were bizarre amalgams of free jazz and R&B, the former a little more funkier, the latter a bit more disco. And so, we found ourselves with a great vault find, the 1982 album from the White & Black side of things called “Sax Maniac.” ”James White & the Blacks,” “Sax Maniac,” songs with titles like “Sax Machine” and “Irresistible Impulse”–too good to be true, right? It features, rather than a bunch of No Wave people, some actual R&B session musicians and singers of the time. Compared to his earlier work, it’s a bit less wild, a bit less disorienting, a bit less rough. But don’t worry, it’s still revolutionary and transgressive and all of that good stuff.
from Ryan Jennings, workgroup member:
I found the first four Robbie Basho records in the vault yesterday at vinyl workgroup. It’s sweet to imagine WOBC being sent the records upon release, but who knows how all four stayed intact since they’re pretty rare and expensive on e-bay. Robbie Basho was a cool dude on John Fahey’s Takoma Records, and he and Fahey went to college together (wow, just like us!) And the record’s mostly 12-string solo guitar American Primitivism and, like, folk music I guess, but he studied with Ali Akbar Khan, the #1 sarod master of the world, and changed his name in honor of the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. He sings on a lot too, but my favorite Basho record, “Falconer’s Arm I,” which is in the vault right now, is a masterpiece and completely instrumental. A very detailed and coherent record, each song represents a unique and beautiful story. “Babs” is a favorite track but I seriously recommend everyone to check out this haunting album on par with any Fahey and more accessible than a long winded raga!
Basho died in a freak chiropractic accident in the 80s.
from Olivia Simuoli, workgroup member:
This semester, I found in the vaults German progressive and space rock group Nektar’s concept album, “Remember the Future.” Recorded in 1973, the album features one song divided into two parts and tells the tale of the evolution of man through the eyes of a bird. The story begins with life originating in the sea and touches on other major milestones, such as man’s discovery of fire and invention of the wheel. The climax of the album occurs when mankind starts to wonder whether he is alone in the world or if there is some “Supreme Being” out there as well. Despite what may seem to be clichéd and at times bizarre subject matter, the album on the whole is pretty unique and interesting and has a good space rock feel with some nice funk undertones.
Want to be on the WOBC Board for 2013-2014? Applications are due Wednesday, April 17th at 11:59 PM. To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a statement of interest. Keep in mind that the board positions for next year are chosen through an all-station election, so your statement of interest will be made public on the ballot.
Here are descriptions of the positions:
General Manager // The General Manager (GM) is the spokesperson for WOBC, the chair of the Board, and is responsible for the smooth operation of the organization as a whole. The GM, in conjunction with the other Board members, oversees the Station, its assets, its broadcasts, and coordinates the activities of WOBC staff and DJs. Most importantly, the General Manager ensures that tasks set forth by the board are accomplished and that those delegated those tasks have the resources they require. The station manager keeps frequent office hours and is on call 24/7.
Operations Manager // The Operations Manager oversees compliance with all FCC regulations and legal agreements with copyright holders. The Ops Manager works with the Student Engineer to maintain technical equipment and ensure that station members follow proper procedures. Tasks include organizing DJ training, reviewing daily operating logs, reviewing Radio Activity logs, and completing quarterly issues/program reports. The Operations Manager is on call 24/7.
Program Director // The Program Director is responsible for the fair and timely creation and maintenance of the schedule of shows. The PD ensures that radio show applications are publicized widely within the broadcast area, both in Oberlin and surrounding communities. The PD is the primary contact with DJs over programming issues. The PD works to ensure that WOBC’s broadcast is interrupted as infrequently as possible, including during interim periods. The PD works with the Ops Manager to keep track of who attends or misses their shows. The PD listens to the radio often, makes suggestions to DJs and contacts those who do not attend their show. The Program Director is on call 24/7.
Music Director // The Music Director oversees the station’s music collection, facilitates the processing of incoming music, and ensures music submissions continue. A large portion of the job entails talking on the phone with promotion companies and record labels to request music for the station and to track music the station has received. The MD organizes and oversees workgroups and the Music Blog. The MD produces weekly music charts, submits them to the College Music Journal, and posts them on the Music Blog. The MD should love and be familiar with a variety of music–more than just rock and pop. The Music Director is on call 24/7.
Treasurer // The Treasurer is responsible for managing WOBC’s finances, preparing the annual budget, and serving as the liaison with the SFC. The Treasurer purchases everything the station needs and work