Toronto's Takeover
CoC Interviews Solus
by: Adrian Bromley
While Toronto's Solus are relative newcomers to the death metal scene, and may have a ways to go before they sign to a major label, the band is knowledgeable of the way things work in this industry and like many acts of this musical genre Solus believe first and foremost that music is to be used as tool of expression.

Solus - consisting of singer Will Korbut, guitarist Derek Harnanansingh, drummer Darrell Dumas and bassist Doug Regan - have recently released their debut LP, the 9-song _Slave Of Mind_, a collection of accelerated riffs, brash vocals and a groove that'll rip your head off. The album's material is extremely aggressive, a definite outlet for the bands emotions. With the help of producer Rob Sanzo (Mundane, Poledo) at Signal To Noise Studio, he helped the band enhance those emotions with some killer knob-twiddling.

"I don't think our music changed at all," explains Harnanansingh about the material of the band going from paper and demos tape into recording the material in a studio. "When we went to Rob we went in and discussed how we wanted to do things. We wanted to keep the record as raw sounding and as aggressive as we could get it. With that in mind, Rob did a great job and not much was changed." On studio work and the pressure of assembling a record there, singer Korbut says, "The pressure makes the recording process fly even faster. We had a lot of pressure. We had a real tight budget. The pressure was really tight and that is why the CD came out the way it did I guess."

"This music is a bloodletting of aggression. A pouring out of aggression. Everyone in the band has something to be aggressive about whether it be today's society or society twelve hundred years ago," says Korbut analyzing the band's material. "I think our music is going to get more aggressive and heavier on a wider spectrum. Playing this music is something we are now going to continue doing. It is like a mad dog tasting blood - we just tasted the blood and now we are still going for it more."

As young blood of this musical genre, Solus has seen the ways of the music industry shift from one style to another. Metal or even hard rock has not been in the last little while what it was say ten years ago. Many hard and heavy bands or metal bands have not gotten the exposure that they would have once gotten and now many are forced to go back into the underground until the time comes (if it will) where this type of music is accepted again - meaning that a larger public accepts it rather than just underground or hard core fans of this musical style. "I don't think it has changed much. This kind of music always goes above and below ground. I haven't changed my likings to bands since I got into music," says Harnanansingh disagreeing with the question somewhat. Korbut juts in, "There are a lot of bands that don't get anywhere because there is this huge cloud of corporatism shrouding any kind of marketing they do and that it is hard to tell when the heavy bands are performing. I think music is getting heavier. This alternative thing has spread itself so thin that it has no where to go and all these metal bands are going to be sitting in the limelight when it goes away."

Musically the band's makeup revolves around the intensity and stamina of a tight thrash band but the towering presence and charisma of a death metal band, as seen on such songs as "Caustic," "Souls Of Empty" and "Deciever." The combination of these two characteristics in the sound is quite evident, but starting out explains Harnanansingh, the band never really tried to play like any one of their influences. "The influences come from a large range. Everything from jazz to hard core and metal. It is not something as myself as a guitar player really considers. I just listen to my influences and what comes out comes out. I think our music has gotten a lot more aggressive and I don't know why that is. But it works and that is the way it is meant to be for us." On the material for songs he notes, "We don't have a preconceived notion of what we are going to do. We have a lot of aggression to get out and a lot of things to say and so far we haven't run out of ideas we will continue to use that as our sound board."

"Whatever comes out in the music just comes out," says Korbut, "Our music is just aggressive for some reason or another. I guess as long as everyone had a shitty childhood then we are set and will stay aggressive." He smiles and laughs.

Seeing that the band is independent it takes a lot of effort to get recognition or least some exposure around the world. The band has worked hard over the last little while to help get things going: taking out ads in magazines around the world, mailing out over 300 CDs and bios to magazines and labels worldwide. What is important to an indie band? What is important for them? "For us it is a bit of both: playing out and press. There is nothing like seeing this live show. The energy is intense and the press factor is vital because you need to let people know you are out there or you won't get anywhere," states Korbut. "At this point in time we are just happy to have the record out and people liking it. We have been getting great responses since it has been out."

Perhaps you think that most indie bands would want to taste success as soon as they could, Solus are the complete opposite. "We are not trying to attract anyone except for people that will listen to our music. Whether it be A&R people, label reps or kids just freaking out in their bedroom over it. There is no real focus in particular and that surprises people. We are not shopping our CD, just trying to get it out there and have kids or anyone for that matter just hear and see how heavy this CD is," says Korbut. "And the good thing about us being independent is that we call our own shots. We don't owe anyone anything as we did everything for the CD ourselves."

Harnanansingh, who did the artwork for the CD, comments: "We kept the artwork simple and easy in some way to not let the artwork take away from the aggressiveness and pounding of the record. We didn't want to glamorize our product. We'll just let the music keep everyone interested. That is the way it should be."

(article submitted 12/8/1996)

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