Interview with Øyvind Skutle/ MAKKMAT.

Doomsday dogs eating human faces and screaming in cars with the dead bodies in the tour van. Øyvind of Makkmat bullshits us on the band’s playful attractions with human flesh. 

-What's Makkmat?
Makkmat is the sound that comes when you ram an M-72 missile down your throat until it detonates and blows your fucking head off. Dead meat, annihilated, totally fucked. We’re only three guys in this band. Robert on bass and vocals, Rune on drums, and me on guitar and vocals. We usually hang out several nights a week, so the band feels really alive, constantly churning out new tunes, artwork and videos. It’s like a bloody pressure cooker every time.

-Did the totally fucked subject has a purpose?
For more than 10 years now we played in crust, d-beat and sludgy metal bands, political themes always. The norm in punk is to regurgitate the same few topics over and over. Nothing wrong with that, it can be done with passion for sure. We are still ourselves, and we still love those topics, we still have those politics. But we felt like exploring more themes this time, like for example hacking people into little fucking pieces. No discrimination, all people are equally murdered. Chop chop, into the mincer they go. In fact, when we go on tour we have lots of dead bodies in our van. From every show, we chop off the legs, arms, stomach from everyone. Then we put the flesh in the car and take it to the next show. Because there is so much dead flesh in the car we have a swarm of flies that follows us from city to city, to feast on the remains. This is what we do.

Also, there is a kind of fantasy world going on in Makkmat music. I was very inspired by a painting, The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, from 1562. It sounds like pretentious shit, but that really is a vicious painting, a total wasteland of terror. Amongst other things it has a dog eating the face of a woman. We didn't really plan it out a lot, but suddenly we decided to rip off this fucking Bruegel guy, and turn his painting into a kind of Mad Max grindcore universe with crust scavengers and mechanized war horses. You know, like machine gun eyes scanning for life forms to eradicate. That kind of stuff. Nesha of Doomsday Graphics did a great job with the artwork, a full on blackened crust work inspired by the painting. These ideas also carried over into the lyrics and themes. We didn't go full Guided Cradle yet (no orcs, no concept album!), but the band is still young. Give us time.

Feast of the Flies Tour poster.
Feast of the Flies Tour poster.

-Timeless, death triumphs, terror surrounds us. Looks like in life nor in Grindcore is no place for vanilla?
Well, we are full of shit actually. Every time we hang out there is a lot of laughter and joy. Especially when we discuss chopping up people, there is so much bullshit flying around. Satire is a very important ingredient. Tongue in cheek. I would say it is near impossible to rant about raking the testicles off a guy with extreme prejudice and be 100 % serious about it. But the music itself must be strong. Show no weakness. If something feels like filler material we just drop it and work on something else. It's definitely a band with a heavy war chest. There are so many tracks to choose from, so much madness to share. We look forward to some great parties and shows in the future. Up the lifestyle.

-What’s the criteria for strong tunes?
Good question. Power. Intensity. Hooks and riffs. I could say many things but it still won't mean much. You know it's strong when you hear it, I guess. And all the riffs could be there, but if the arrangement doesn't work it ruins everything. The arrangement often makes or breaks a song, in my opinion. Even no arrangement is a kind of arrangement. When you sit in front of your Cubase or Protools project, with all your riffs and song segments and garbage displayed, it is so easy to get distracted from what violence to put where. Many times I studied the sound waves on the screen, as if the answer will be visible. Fucking stupid mistake! Self-deception! I no longer distract my hearing. I physically close my eyes and focus on my ears, and listen from the top. With eyes closed it is much easier to pinpoint the precise moment something is off and rearrange or fix it with something cool. Listen with your ears, not your eyes, and the riffs will chop-chop like mad!

-I feel your passion while listening to the Beina Brenner album. How you enrich your techniques of playing instruments and doing vocals?
I scream a lot when I drive my car. Maybe looks stupid to drive past local shopping mall screaming inside, but who cares. The car is a great rehearsal space. I sometimes put on music and practice various vocal styles, but I also scream without music in the car. Our bass player also screams a lot in his workplace. They have a lot of heavy machinery there, and people wear hearing protection because of the noise, so they can't hear anything. So he screams like hell on a daily basis. It's a good way to train your muscle memory, for sure.

Also, the guitar techniques are important. We rarely do one-string grinding on guitar. It's mostly chords, shredding several strings at the same time. This can sound very violent at high speeds, so I experimented a lot with different picks and strings, and of course the playing technique itself. And lately we have also focused a lot on our signal chain setups for live shows, with boosters and sound gating, for example. Sounds tight as a motherfucker.

MAKKMAT. Photo by courtesy of Alexander Ø. Gram.
MAKKMAT. Photo by courtesy of Alexander Ø. Gram.

-Do you have musical heroes?
I remember watching metal videos on TV for the first time in the early nineties, I was maybe 12 yrs old. First thing that came on was Napalm Death's “World Keeps Turning”. That twisted my fucking brain. I can still remember the live shots in that video, cross cut with military troops marching. And of course, reading metal magazines and seeing the pictures of Obituary, Death and many other bands. My cousin gave me a tape, Plastic Surgery Disasters by Dead Kennedys, which kickstarted my interested in punk as well.

So this summer I will get to see Rot, Repulsion, Siege, GBH and many more in Obscene Extreme Festival. Fuck…! And play to the same crowd as well. I guess its good thing we play very late on last day of OEF, because when we are done the bodies will be chopped. Loaded in the van. And we will take them all to next city, with the flies to follow the stench.

Cheers for the interview Andy, always a pleasure!

(PS – We never chop animals, only humans. Very important.)

Autor: Everydayhate Shop

Grindcore for life blog is the place to publish my off-label activities.