Hello Calcemia camp! I think a short introduction is in place. Give us a short biography of Calcemia. So, who, what, how and when?
We’re four dudes from Los Angeles, California. We are:
Jonathan Cronin – Seismic Activity, Green Herb Guarding
Yuri Kondra – Bowels, Green Herb Guarding
Devlin Baldwin – Battery, Violent Straightedge Activism
Jake Himelfarb – Guitars, Green Herb Guarding
The three other dudes have all been in bands together. They are/were in black/doom band Ancestral Awakening, and are the Mincecore band Down/Stem. Devlin and Yuri are also in a death/doom/grindcore band called Erode. In high school, Devlin and I had a band called Krokodil. Calcemia is essentially a continuation of what we were doing, but more focused, and ”mature.” whatever mature means. We formed around this time last year. – Jake
There´s not much info of Calcemia available online, but some live videos on YouTube suggest that Demilich might have some influence on your music, am I right? What bands would you say has had the biggest influence in your music?
Yes!!!! Demilich is one of my main influences, I’m obsessed with Nespithe. Devlin and I flew out roughly 4,000 kilometers to see them last year in Maryland. He and I drove up to Oakland to see them again last month. At the last minute, they announced a tour that went through Los Angeles, so I dragged Jonathan and Yuri to that as well.
My other major influences are Voivod, Adramelech, Morbid Angel, Gorguts, Cynic, Death, Brutality, Candlemass, Intronaut, Fate’s Warning, Coroner, Bolt Thrower, Atheist, Megadeth, and Phlebotomized amongst so many more. My sonic concept for this band is to mix the Finnish sound with the Québécois sound, and intersect those two with Floridian brutality, and progressive music sensibility. However, Heaviness always comes first. I never want to sacrifice a riff to become ”more musical.” We’re metalheads, not snobs!!!
Outside of metal I’m really influenced by prog rock and Jazz, and I think that’s starting to seep into our sound more and more. I listen to tons of King Crimson, Magma, Camel (I’m jamming to ”Lady Fantasy” right now!), Steely Dan, Yes, and Comus in the prog camp. For jazz, I’m obsessed with John Maclaughlin / Mahavishnu Orchestra, Allan Holdsworth ( I guess with the Muntean-free Nucleus, and Soft Machine he’s in both camps), Coltrane, Davis, Sun Ra, and on top of all Django Reinhardt as well.
Django, Maclaughlin, Marty Friedman, Antti Boman/Aki Hytönen, and Paul Masvidal probably influence my note choice and lead guitar style the most.
Demilich is most definitely a huge influence on our music, when I first heard Antti’s riffs, vocals, and the drums on Nespithe, I was astounded and hadn’t heard anything nearly as insane in the aspects that death metal has to offer. That shit is top notch, and I feel very fortunate to say I’ve seen that band multiple times. Voivod is also a huge influence on us, Jake uses a lot of Piggy type chords while I try to maintain a steady, and hard hitting approach to drums that Away has. Grindcore also takes up a huge portion of what I listen to, and I’ve learned a lot of what I can do from watching grindcore drummers such as Bryan Fajardo (PLF, Noisear, etc), Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, East West Blast Test, etc), and many drummers from the Los Angeles grindcore community, which is heavily abundant. Other influences of mine include Nasum, Cynic, Confessor, Intronaut, Gorguts, Autopsy, and Bolt Thrower, among countless others. – Devlin
Why did you choose to play Death Metal? How/when did you have your first encounter with Death Metal?
Revocation got me into death metal. I was 14 or so when I first heard Empire of the Obscene. It was a mere few months before their first album signed to a record label came out, so I’m still confused as to how I found them before, say DEATH. What made me love death metal however, is twofold. I have Devlin partially to thank, and I have school to thank. When I first met Dev, I was into thrash, and he was new to extreme music. We began hanging out all the time, and death metal slowly became the soundtrack to our stoned teenage escapades.
One summer, I studied music theory for roughly a month. My teacher showed me a lot of the jazz names that I mentioned earlier, but they didn’t particularly click with me yet. I was getting more into death metal outside Death, Revocation, Morbid Angel, and the first Gorguts album. Then I find Consuming Impulse. I was hooked! It was like fucking musical potato chips, I couldn’t get enough of the riffs! They had so much more life to them than EvilDead or Exodus. Then, my friend sends me Nespithe. It was all of the cool things I had been learning being applied to metal! Atonality, above-octave extensions, and odd time grooves. It made all of my learning have meaning. – Jake
I play death metal because its the most intense music on the planet. Its also, in my eyes, the most diverse sub-genre of metal. There is so much that can be done under the moniker of ‘Death Metal’. The fact that a band like Dying Fetus can be part of the same genre as say, Winter, or Dr Shrinker, is what draws me to it. The pure filth and intensity that goes into playing death metal is second to none. I was introduced to the vast world of death metal by Jake himself when I was 15. I was listening to a lot of thrash metal at the time, and while I have endless love for thrash , the moment I started listening to death metal, my mind was forever shocked into action. Bands like Pestilence, Death, Asphyx, Atheist, and Immolation helped to shape my undying admiration for it. – Devlin
How do you compose your music? Does only one guy do everything or does everyone contribute?
Usually, I make a riff, then 5 or so others, and shove them in Devlin’s face. I try to make sure they’re weird and can stand out, but also fit together somewhat. Once they’re in Devlin’s face, we make sense of them, really smooth them out, and make them flow with each other. He’s taught me the art of the transition since we started Calcemia, and that’s made a big impact on me. Jonathan helps put the bass in perspective for me. Initially, I was on bass and guitar, and wrote every thing on bass, but his vision on the bass is much more different than mine. I hope it shows when we have a clear recording. Yuri is the master of all the lyrics — the only song he didn’t write the lyrics from scratch on is ”De Humani Corpois Fabrica” where he lifted all the lyrics from the book of the same name. – Jake
The first couple of songs for Calcemia were written by myself and Jake. We had a band prior to this one called Krokodil that had fizzled out due to our bass player moving away to college. We still play one of the songs from that band, which will be featured on our upcoming EP. Some time had passed since Jake and I had made music together and we were both aching for a new project. We both had riff ideas and combined a few of them to create two brand new tracks. I play mostly drums in this band, as it is my strong suit. I’ve been playing for nearly 12 years. When we were writing together I was playing guitar, and thats where some of the riffs come from. Jake is the true guitarist here though, and so the guitar and most of the bass parts were written by him while I focused in on drums. Jonathan contributes a lot to the bass parts as well, and Yuri writes all of the lyrics. – Devlin
Tell us about your lyrics, writing, inspiration etc.
For this EP, the lyrical inspiration is centered on death and transcendence of both the body and spirit. All the songs are based off of ancient and medieval texts from different cultures, but I don’t plan on sticking to these themes in the future. I use no gimmicks – Yuri
How do you see the state of Death Metal music these days in your country and in general?
Death Metal still thrives heavily to this day. From bands that have been around since the beginning, to new and upcoming acts. I recently attended California Deathfest and saw many incredible death metal bands. From long running bands like Demilich and Angelcorpse, to newer bands like Vastum, Spectral Voice, Blood Incantation, Perdition Temple and Necrosic, all of which were incredible and unrelenting. I’d say death metal is in a new renaissance of sorts. There are tons of bands that still crush it. – Devlin
Death metal is in a complete renaissance! California is roughly the size of Sweden, so let’s just talk about this massive state first. Here in Los Angeles, we have new names like your label mates in Skeletal Remains, Crematory Stench, Fatalist and Morfin showing how it’s done. Heavy, and to the point. Filthy. No bullshit. We’re full of bullshit. Up in the bay there’s Necrosic, Rude, Fabricant, and so many more amazing bands. Other great cali bands are Ghoulgotha (only Damien is real), Cranial Engorgement, Myconith, the mighty Teeth, and our brothers in Skulls. Outside of the state we have our friends in Garroted, Church of Disgust, Nucleus, Zealotry, Haunter, Sekkusu, and so many more either keeping it real, or rewriting what is real. – Jake
What are your long term plans as a band? What do you want to achieve?
I hope that with this band, we are able to tour the world and put out sick records. We hope people enjoy what we do, because we really enjoy it ourselves. – Devlin
Nothing out of the ordinary. In the short term, I want us to put out our EP ASAP, to destroy this SICK festival in the bay area up in march, and then to start playing shows more regularly. Maybe tour? Maybe tour Europe? Maybe we can finally come to Indonesia. Who knows what the future has? I certainly would like to visit you Finns, share some riffs, some drinks, and make some memories while we’re at it. – Jake
Have you played live much? What´s the best memory of your own shows and what´s the best show you have seen?
Calcemia is still new to playing shows, but we are all seasoned musicians with long histories of playing live. We’ve all either played or still play in different bands together. I am currently in several other bands that play shows. I live for my time on stage, there´s nothing that really compares to that feeling, whether or not in a living room, bar or concert hall. If there´s one person there enjoying themselves, or a hundred, doesn’t make much of difference. I’d say my favorite memory of Calcemia playing live is when we did our first show with our friends from Australia, Sewercide. Check those dudes out! I couldn’t say what the best show I’ve seen was, there are too many to count, but death metal show of the year for me would have to go to Spectral Voice and Undergang. That was fucking nuts! – Devlin
Any last words?
Eredshworastnol – Jake
Wear longsleeves, they’re very comfortable. Thanks for taking the time to read this, may death metal reign in blasphemy forever. – Devlin