Thrash Metal Artillery from Canada!

Are you also longing for the heydays of the Bay Area thrash scene? Well, don’t look any further. If there is one band, that captures all the great moments of this amazing thrash metal sound, it must be Canadian newcomers MORTILLERY. After hearing “Murder Death Kill”, we were not only very surprised, but curious at the same time. Surely, frontlady Cara and her band MORTILLERY have got a lot upon their sleeve and this is the perfect time to find out. We travelled to Edmonton with our magic machine to ask Cara about the past, the present and the future of MORTILLERY and found out that there’s more to this band than only murder, death and kill. So sit tight and read the following interview with these Canadian thrashers....

So, when did MORTILLERY start out as a band and who were in this first line-up?
“The idea of the band came about late 2008. The original members were Cara McCutchen on vocals, Miranda Gladeau on bass, Alex Gutierrez on rhythm guitar, James Guiltner on lead and Emily (Max) Smith on drums. Later on, Alex Scott (lead guitars) and Kevin Gaudet (drums) would replace James and Max accordingly.”

How did you team up with each other and did any of you play in other bands before MORTILLERY?
“Miranda and Alex decided it was time, that Edmonton, a city well-known for its music history, had a thrash band that represented the origin of this genre. The punk and metal scene had always been strong here and there were a few crossover bands, but nothing specific to that classic eighties Bay Area sound. After only two or three jams between Miranda, Alex and Max, Cara gave us the honor of joining us. Her vocal approach completed what the band needed. Shortly after James joined, we formed MORTILLERY and we played a few shows with this line-up, things started to progress for us. All of us had been in bands. Actually, James’ original band TARANTUJA was (and still is!) a huge inspiration on this band. Cara was an active member in MINAX. Max had done several tours with all-female punk band THE HOMEWREKERS. Alex G and Kevin both play with punk band PANIK ATTAK.”

Cara, what kind of music did you play with MINAX and did you record anything?
“We played speed metal/thrash. We did an EP with five songs on it, called “Vengeance Rising”.”

Who can we see as the biggest influences for the sound of MORTILLERY and maybe you can tell us a bit more about the influences of each band member individually here, too?
‘The short answer is early METALLICA, TOXIC HOLOCAUST and JUDAS PRIEST. I think, we have all come to an unspoken agreement, that those three bands have everything we prefer in music. Of course it doesn’t end there, but they are definitely the most mentionable ones. Cara has a very power/hair metal approach to a lot of her work, while Miranda and Alex G. are huge into punk and very early thrash. Kevin is known for his more classic rock approach to things, while Alex S. is hugely influenced by blues. Bands like EXODUS, EXCITER, ANNAHILATOR, RAZOR, BROKEN BONES, CRUCIFIX, GBH, FLOTSAM & JETSAM, ANTHRAX and MUNICIPAL WASTE are just a few of the bands playing on our iPods at the moment!”

How were the reactions on the self-titled EP released in 2010?
“It’s funny, because we recorded that just to have something in our (then popular) My Space page - haha. It never was meant to be released. But since it was all recorded by the time we played our first show, we decided “Hell, why not? Maybe someone will like it” and they did! I think, in total maybe two hundred copies were made and to this date we still get emails about it. Luckily, you can find three of the five songs of that EP as bonus tracks on the “Murder Death Kill” album - both on the CD and vinyl versions! The other two songs have been re-recorded and one (“Evil Remains”) was released as a track on “Murder Death.Kill”. Maybe the next album will feature the other track! I guess, you guys will have to wait and see!!”

Who writes the lyrics for MORTILLERY and what are they about?
“99% of the time Cara writes the lyrics. She likes to do a lot of research on topics. She finds interesting things like the end of the world, the supernatural, serial killers and evil things, among others. Alex G. has helped in the writing department occasionally. His style is a little different and he mostly is writing about post-apocalyptic wars and fictional stories.”

How are the reactions on “Murder Death Kill” so far and did you also get any negative response as well?
“Mostly great!! We’re so overwhelmed with all the great things people are saying, like how it reminds them of that almost forgotten Bay Area sound. This means a lot to us, because it shows that people are actually listening and they get us. Of course there has been negative response as well. That’s natural. We don’t expect everyone to like what we do, but I guess like they say ‘any press is good press’!! (lol)”

How do you deal with negative critics? Do you try to learn from it or do you rather want to forget about it as quickly as possible?
“Neither, I guess. We're not too concerned about criticism, really. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to know what people think about our music, but at the end of the day if the five of us are happy, then the job is done.”

Who provided the colorful artwork for your album?
“A big shout out to Mr. Todd (Rocket) Knutson! He’s a great friend of ours. He’s our tattoo artis and has done our cover and t-shirt design and is the singer for PANIK ATTAK. That guy is punk as fuck!”

What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
“Tough question…. “Fritzl’s Cellar” has great energy live, while “Despised By Blood” is a personal favorite do to its raw speed and feel. “Without Weapons” has a very special spot in Cara’s heart.”

We think, that the most eye-catching song on the album is “Fritzl’s Cellar”. Any comments or thoughts please….
“I think, that the story behind the lyrics plays a huge part in what attracts people to that song.”

Let’s take a closer look at your live shows, if we may. What can people expect when they come and see a MORTILLERY show?
“Pure raw energy!! No tricks and gimmicks - just thrash metal the way we believe it should be played!”

With which bands did you already share the stage?
“Well, our first show ever was with TOXIC HOLOCAUST!! And things have only gotten better. We’ve had the honor to play with DEATH ANGEL and ANVIL, just to name a few.”

Do you use any show effects during your live shows or what?
“No, not really. Not even effects on the vocals or nothing. Sometimes a little chorus and wha wha pedal for solos, but we like to keep things nice and simple. I guess, we feel like we want our music to be heard for what it is. No need for other distractions…”

I can imagine, that there are have been some funny moments while being on the road. Maybe you can share one or two crazy moments with our readers here?
“All I can think about right now is that time I thought I could make a U turn in the middle of the highway to avoid a few hours of long detour. I feel bad for my band mates waking up to me screaming at the wheel and a huge semi truck heading straight for us!”

What’s the biggest show that you played so far?
“I guess, maybe ANVIL had the largest crowd, but supporting DEATH ANGEL two nights in a row was truly amazing!”

Do you have any plans to play in Europe in the near future?
“Our plan is to play EVERYWHERE in the near future! This year we concentrated on recording our new album and on practicing lots to get really tight, so as soon as we have the chance to come and visit Europe, we would be ready to bring you the quality of show you guys deserve!”

Are there any shows on the agenda for MORTILLERY at the moment?
“Yes, we’re always keeping busy. Canada has a great metal scene and we do all we can to keep it strong by either playing or putting shows together for others, who come through town.”

Which band would you like to choose, when going out on tour? You can pick any band of your choice…. Let the sky be the limit!
“Well, I’m sure we would have a blast going on the road with anyone really! But to join bands like TOXIC HOLOCAUST, OVERKILL, MOTORHEAD, ANTHRAX or HELLOWEEN that would be a dream come true!”

What’s the metal scene like in Edmonton? Are there any clubs, where you can play live in your area or what?
“The scene here rules. There are lots of really dedicated bands and fans. I guess, the only downside is that the two closest cities to us are three and twelve hours away, so touring can be a real drag. Then if you add the -30 C weather we get in winter, you can see why the winter months are the slowest for bands from here.”

Which other (metal) bands come from Edmonton and surroundings?
“Here’s a few must check out bands from Canada: SKULL FIST, DIEMONDS, CAULDRON, KOBRA AND THE LOTUS, UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, TARANTUJA, GATEKRASHOR, CRYSTAL MESS, UNTIMELY DEMISE…. So many more… I could keep writing this list forever!”

Cara (photo left) and Miranda (photo right) are the two female members in the band. Do you think, that you have to prove yourself twice as a female musician in a male dominated scene or is this not an issue anymore these days?
“I have never and will never feel, that I need to prove myself to anyone about anything. We just do what we enjoy, regardless. Don't get me wrong. It's such an honor to know that people out there like MORTILLERY, but if the whole world hated our music, we would still sound exactly the same, because it's what we like to do.“

We are a Dutch online ‘zine, focused on the female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do you think, that female musicians still need this special attention and recognition, that they deserve so much?
“I think, that if you are good at what you do, then you should be recognized for that regardless of what sex you are. I honestly don’t believe that women ‘need’ special attention, just because we are women. I really don't think there was ever a lack of recognition for the women that play metal. There is just a lot more of us now.”

We are based in The Netherlands, well-known for its colorful tulips and beautiful windmills. What comes to your mind, when you think about Holland or The Netherlands?
“Amsterdam! Wooden shoes and windmills! Haha!! Well, I guess we have to come and visit to learn what else the Dutch land can offer us!”

Take your crystal ball and look what the future will hold for MORTILLERY… Any specific plans?
“Aside from never ending touring, we would like to see a future of working hard alongside our label Napalm Records to bring our music to the masses. We have been also been discussing a music video or two.”

Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides playing music in a thrash metal band?
“I really enjoy boating, fishing, camping and just being as far away from the city as possible! I am a welder, which I also enjoy. I really like making random stuff from random materials. Other than that, I just spend as much time as I can with my dog Merlin.”

Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
“Thanks so much for giving us a chance to be part of such a great family, that is the international metal community. The fans are what make all the hard work worth it!”

Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview. Maybe there is something we forgot to mention here, that is essential for the story of MORTILLERY so far?
“We just like to mention how great full we are for Eric Greif, our lawyer, who has helped us all the way. Without him our record deal with Napalm Records would have not been a possibility. He’s a great guy, who’s love for metal drives him to be one of the hardest working guys, that we have ever met!”

The well-known last words of this interview are for Cara, Miranda and MORTILLERY.....
“Thanks to all, who have listened to and spread the word about MORTILLERY. It's so awesome to know that our music has traveled so far from home. Cheers!”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Toine & Rita van Poorten, Metal Maidens 'zine / August 2012.

Check out MORTILLERY on You Tube:
"Fritzl's Cellar"

Visit MORTILLERY's official website at:
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