Coroner came through town in support of the new one, Mental Vortex, so I hooked up with the drummer, Marquis Marky, and we spoke about his superb Swiss band.
D.U.: What is one big change in the music or otherwise you’ve made from the first album to the new album?
Marky: Of course, the lyrics, I guess, are much better now than they used to be on R.I.P. It was actually the reason why we never printed the lyrics, because some of them are very bad.
If you had to put yourself in a category, what would that be?
Music. [laughs] I really don’t know. It’s hard to say, because it’s kind of mixture between all different styles of even from modern music direction. It’s probably [pause] I don’t know, avant-garde metal or something. [laughs]
Did you listen to a lot of classical music to get that sound on Punishment for Decadence, for instance?
Yeah, of course it’s mainly Tommy was really into classical music. As for myself, never listened to a lot of classical music. There’s some exceptions, like for example Bella Borck, and he wrote some really weird stuff, some really strange compositions. And actually, I really don’t like Mozart, Bach.
A lot of people might think Switzerland is just a place where criminals have secret bank accounts, and they make watches. How do you counter that?
Right. Well, I know that Switzerland’s got a very clean image, like everything is alright there and stuff. And in fact, there is a lot of bad things going on. For an example, especially in Zurich, we got a very, very heavy drug scene, which is one of the main drug centers in whole Europe. And it’s like a park, and every day there is people dying there and stuff, and then no one’s talking about this—
You mean from muggings and shootings? How do they die?
Yeah, it’s like heroin and all that sort of shit. So that’s one of the things the outside of Switzerland just don’t know a lot about. But on the other side, it’s a good place to live. Everything is very good organized, and it’s a good place just to relax. And you don’t have big problems in Zurich, I mean, except for you need a lot of money to pay your rent and shit. But it’s not like that we have, y’know, main important changes every year or something. Everything’s very clear, so it’s a good place to stay when you come back from touring and stuff like that and don’t think about anything else.
How often have you considered getting a second guitarist?
Well, actually, we wanted to have a second guitar player in the first time. We couldn’t find any. We wanted to have a singer; we couldn’t find any singer. So finally, we really get used to play as a trio, as well live. So I think it wouldn’t make any sense to get a second guitar player after the fourth album.
Will you have the same album cover format as the last two albums from now on?
Yeah, definitely. Actually, it’s pictured as well on Punishment for Decadence, on the original cover we got in Europe. You guys in the States got a different cover. That was a problem we had with the record company in that time. They just changed the cover. The original cover is from a French artist, and the record company was afraid that it wouldn’t sell because it doesn’t look like heavy metal or something. And they did that very cliché-wise [cover]. And we really hate when they just put out things which we don’t like.
I’ve heard people compare it to the Grateful Dead.
Oh, okay, that’s cool, at least. [laughs] That’s alright.
What about that home video?
We’re doing a 45-minute video cassette which will show, like, 6 or 7 songs, some interviews, probably some things we filmed ourselves. It should be out probably in March or something, because we have to finish it.
When did you decide to do all these classic rock covers, like Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles?
Well, actually, it’s just for fun us to play, that’s all. I dunno. First of all, we all got kind of different tastes, so it’s something very special when every one of us likes one song. It’s just, if it happens, okay. We came up with that idea in the studio.
Is there one theme that you’re trying to get across on the new album, or do all the songs have nothing to do with one another?
Yeah, actually, no, there is really different topics. Um, probably I talk a little bit more about religion this time. For an example, on “Divine Step,” the lyrics handle about the final moment when you die. It sounds very cliché, but I don’t talk about, you know, dying itself. I mean, this will be the final truth, where you find out how important it was, how you acted during your life.
Does that reflect on your personal beliefs?
Um [pause] not really. I’m more asking questions in that song. It’s not that I say it’s like that or that I believe it will be like this or that. It’s more like I ask what will happen.
How do fans react to the new album, since it’s so different from the older ones?
I think, first of all, that people who are into Coroner, they know that it will be change from album to album, because we don’t want to do the same thing over and over. So we try to experiment with new things and new sounds, and I think these guys will like the new album, definitely.
So is there a last comment about something we haven’t covered?
I don’t know. No, I think we covered a lot. [pause] Yeah, prob’ly just be more open minded. Try to listen other music directions, because I think there is a lot of people who just not up to listen to something different. They close their minds, and they just want to hear one music direction, which is very bad, because you really can discover totally new worlds when you just open minded. That’s all I got to say. ■
Photo: Coroner (courtesy Noise International)
Originally published in ‘zine issue #3, 1991