In 2003, rising above the polluted mediocrity of the time, Debemur Morti Productions (DMP) began. Disillusioned by so called “underground” labels releasing subpar material, the French imprint blazed onto the scene with some of the most influential bands and releases to date. Initially focusing on black metal, DMP has released now iconic bands such as Blut Aus Nord, Archgoat, Behexen and more. For us at The Brvtalist, it was an introduction to so many artists that have left a lasting impression on us as well. In terms of contemporary black metal, few labels have had the same prolific output - from the crushing atmospherics of the French mountains to the raw, primitive power of Scandinavia, DMP has also become known for its diversity. Over time the label has evolved to include genres of all kinds which also include shades of post-punk, ambient and more.
The last 15+ years has seen countless labels, scenes, sounds and sub-genres come and go but Debemur Morti remains and perhaps now more important than ever. At the end of 2018, the label released the massive compilation, Servants of Chaos II, a beautifully curated compilation featuring 14 bands that have contributed to the label’s history. For new comers and die hards alike, this is a masterful survey of the label which features its signature black metal sound to the some of the new extreme mutations that the label has released more recently. Another current favorite is the massive new entry of Naas Alcameth (AKHLYS, NIGHTBRINGER) under the AORATOS moniker. Gods Without Names dives deep into the darkness with astounding atmospheric and ambient compositions which give way to punishing assaults that will leave you battered yet begging for more.
In order to mark over 15 years of existence and a lasting legacy we are also thrilled to present a Q&A with the founder of DMP where we discuss history, changes and more. See the interview below.
The Brvtalist: Let's start at the beginning - tell us about the inception of DMP. What was the concept and ultimately the first release?
Debemur Morti: Back in 2003, my own experience with underground labels and that feeling of “something missing” ignited the idea. The ubiquitous lack of seriousness and amateurism are totally unacceptable for me; “underground” does not mean “mediocrity”. It is the will to find a structure advocating “Black Metal” as an Artistic approach that drove me to materialize the initial idea.
Debemur Morti Productions’ desire is not to release only (good) music but to offer works with a deep content. That is the very essence of this Dark Art. Enough of imagery without content, Art is to stimulate the human mind and senses in order to bring thought and action!
HAEMOTH, a French Black Metal band, whose members I know personally was a natural choice for me to start. I released their Satanik Terrorism album on vinyl as the first release of the label.
TB: In your view, what was the black metal (and related) scene(s) like at that time? How have you seen it change to where we are now in 2019?
DMP: To be totally honest, I don't think the mediocrity of the underground black metal scene was much different than any other "scene" nor any different than it is today. As long as humans continue to be driven by the wrong motivations, as long as the passion and devotion isn’t strong enough to keep pushing against all odds, the results wills always be average. My contribution/my part is Debemur Morti Productions and that is all I can really talk about.
TB: Talk a little bit about running a DIY/underground label throughout this time as well. You've been through some different eras to where we are now in the Bandcamp age. Talk about how running the label has changed.
DMP: We still had the internet at the time but everything was on a much smaller scale. We had a website with news, a list of our releases/mailorder items and people would email us their orders - we'd prepare the stuff, send the total, get paid and ship. Nowadays everything is smoother with our webshop, bandcamp, etc.
We had smaller distribution network too. We used to trade with other labels and stock A LOT of albums but since I have a "bread job" aside from the label, at some point it became impossible for me to handle and we stopped distributing so many items and concentrated on our own releases.
For some years I teamed up with Blasphemous Underground Productions (Germany) but then she stopped.
At some point our stock was in Finland and orders were handled by my friend Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions.
Then everything came back to France and we got our first "webshop" in 2009-2010 and in 2014 we invested in something much more professional and have been using it since then with some changes here and there.
Nowadays we're two and a half. Two of us also have a job aside from the label. One person is in charge of all the packing/shipping + accounting. Another one was in charge of the promo but I recently took over his duties.
TB: DMP released Servants of Chaos II to mark the anniversary. Tell us about the record and how you compiled it.
DMP: 15 years is quite a big achievement in the music underground and I'm really proud of the history of the label. I wanted to gather exclusive material for it from bands that contributed or still contribute to write the history of DMP. That's how the idea came about. I'm really happy with the result as it doesn't feel like a mix of discarded material gathered here. It flows nicely and is a great overview of what we're about. For those who purchased the CD or VINYL edition, most of the bands contributed additional texts and I also came up with something. My gift to me and to all people who have supported/support the label.
TB: What's coming up next for DMP?
DMP: My wish is to keep spreading quality Art. We're constantly trying to improve ourselves and improve the way we serve the people that support our bands/the label. I'm currently working on setting up the very first Debemur Morti Festival which should happen this coming September in Paris. I'm also adding our back catalog to the brand new US-based webshop (https://debemurmorti.aisamerch.com/) in order to offer North American people cheaper postage prices. Scheduling the next releases and also super excited about announcing our next collaboration. More on that very soon I hope! As you see, we're keeping busy as hell!
Thank you to Debemur Morti Productions. For more information and web shop you can visit: www.debemur-morti.com. Follow DMP on social media @debemurmorti