[INTERVIEW] In:Extremis

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in ex|tre¦mis.
ADVERB
-in an extremely difficult situation.
“one or two would talk to the press in extremis”
synonyms: terminally ill · at death’s door · on one’s deathbed · in the jaws of death · on the point of death · near death · passing away · fading fast · sinking fast ·
-at the point of death.
“cannibalism is rare but, in extremis, it is something to which the human species will resort.”

“We used to do a lot of touring back then, and I think, after a while, we just got sick of each other more than anything,” explained Simon Durrant, vocalist for Adelaide’s In:Extremis on their break up back in 1998. “In those days, we had to drive everywhere because nobody could afford plane flights, so we used to drive from Adelaide to Sydney to Brisbane and Canberra, and all over the place. So you are talking about sixteen to twenty-hour drives, and I guess, after a while, we were a bit over it. There were a few issues in the band and everybody just got back from tour one day and walked off, and that was the end of that.”

After initially forming in 1993, In:Extremis had built up a sizeable following by the time they parted ways, and Durrant says he felt a sense of obligation to reform the band – although he didn’t think it would take just shy of twenty years to make happen.

“I’ve been trying to get the band back together for the last ten years, believe it or not,” he exclaimed. “I still keep in contact with a few of the guys, and every year, I ring them or message them or whatever and say: let’s do this and either they can’t, or they are too busy, so it’s never really happened. I was actually at a Superheist gig and I was talking to DW Norton and Jason North from Truth Corroded – you know what it’s like: you have a few beers, and everyone starts talking shit (laughs) – and they said, why don’t you just do it? And I thought to myself, fuck it; and messaged the other guys and said, ‘Look, this is the last time I’m gonna ask you, do you wanna do it or not?’ They said no, so I decided to do it and just recruit new guys. If any of them had a problem with that, I wouldn’t have done it, but they were quite happy for me to go ahead and do it. At the time, there was the Heavy South Australia gig which was sold out, and that was our first gig back together in front of 450 people which was pretty awesome. It was an all South Australian festival put on by Jason North, and he said if you get your shit together I will put you on as headliners, so we had around twelve weeks to put it together, so I asked around. I already knew a guitarist who wanted to do it, and I auditioned a few guys and got it all working and James Cain (the original keyboard/sampler player who lives in Melbourne still) wanted to come back which was cool, so he just flies over when we need him, or we go there; whatever works. James and I are the original members and we just built it from there.”

After such a lengthy spell away from music, Durrant admits the temptation to start completely fresh with a new name was there, but ultimately, the quality of their previous work and his loyalty to existing fans made the decision relatively easy.

“I actually thought about whether I should keep the original name or call it something else,” he admitted, “and I thought with In:Extremis, the basis for all the music comes from Dave and me. I thought it’s gonna be same music and the same style, the same everything, and realistically, it’s my band because the other guys aren’t here, so I thought I was well within my rights to call it In:Extremis. I wanted to keep the same sort of vibe, so I kept the logo and font as close to the original as possible – keeping in mind that in those days getting fonts and everything wasn’t as easy as it is now (laughs). Trying to duplicate that was pretty hard, but I just thought: why not? I’d like to keep In:Extremis going and I used to go out places, and people would always say to me you should get In:Extremis going, and I was like, ‘fuck, I want to’. So I did.”

If you look up In Extremis in the dictionary, you get the two meanings listed at the start of this interview, and when pressed on which of the two depicts the band more accurately, Durrant smiles broadly.
“Well, it’s probably both,” he laughed. If you are in a difficult situation, it usually doesn’t end well (laughs). The name came around because when we first started for about a month, we were called Execration and there was already a band called that. I was looking for something in the dictionary, and I came across In Extremis and it is also the name of a really old Napalm Death song, so I thought it was a cool name and we went with it. Obviously, the meaning is cool and kind of fits the music. I like cramming as much as I can into about three minutes, and I like people feeling like they’ve been smashed in the head with a mallet (laughs).”

When he formed the band in 1993, Durrant says there were no real delusions of future success or world domination, rather just a case of having a little fun and going wherever the breeze took them.

“I think the only vision we had back then was to smoke lots of dope and drink lots of booze, and see if we could play as fast as we could,” he laughed. “When we first started, we did a demo and the guy that recorded it used to do jingles and adverts, and he had never heard anything like us! He heard the music and said jeez, I couldn’t wait to hear the vocals and he was just laughing the whole time, so I stopped and asked what he was laughing at, and he said I’ve never heard anything like this in my life (laughs). We ended up paying for the demo with part payment and the rest with a handful of acid – because that’s what he said he was gonna buy anyway – so we just paid him in that (laughs). It was proper acid back then though, not like the bullshit you get now. It’s pretty funny.”

Replicating the sound and feel of a band that has laid dormant for nearly two decades isn’t just a case of picking up your instruments and plugging into the amps. There are generational changes and personal changes and musical changes that must be addressed first, and Durrant says this whole process wasn’t lost on him when he kicked the machine back into life earlier this year.

“I think it’s both a continuation of what we were doing and a fresh start,” he mused. “Talking to the original guys, and the fact that they were really happy for me to go ahead with it made it a lot easier. If someone were abrasive about it, I probably would have done it anyway, but the fact they were cool with everything made it so much better. Even the fact that Dave, our original guitarist – and who runs Epitaph Australia now – and I sent him the single that we recorded and he was just blown away. Coming from him, and with me and him knowing each other for so long, for him to say that was pretty cool. He could have just brushed it off and not cared, but he was cool about it, and I wanted to make the music; I wanted to place it in between the two EP’s with a more hardcore, flat out, in-your-face vibe whereas later on, we brought in Industrial elements and stuff like that. In the ’90s, a lot of stuff had that but we still probably have that industrial vibe now because of the samples and people associate that with Industrial, but it’s still flat-out and in-your-face pretty much non-stop. I wanna create this feeling like we’re playing an inch from your face.”Fans got their first taste of the second coming of

Fans got their first taste of the second coming of In:Extremis with the recent single “Extinct Eradicate”, which Durrant acknowledges is a good representation of what to expect from the upcoming album.

“When I first got all the guys together I already had quite a few songs written,” he said. “We went through four or five of them, and I tried to pick which one I wanted to go with, and I thought we needed to have something out because I had only just put the stuff on Facebook and people were hearing about the band getting back together and asking if we had any new music, so I knew we had to release something. Obviously, we’re not endowed with hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I talked to DW – because I play in Superheist as well, so it was quite easy – so we spoke and said, I wanted to do a single can you help, and he said sure. When In:Extremis first started, we used to tour and play gigs with Superheist all the time.In 1993, we brought out a demo the same as them, and we both loved each other’s demos and started playing together, so we have a bit of history. We recorded all of the beats for the single in Adelaide and sent the stuff over to DW to mix, and I went over and did the vocals but I wanted it to sound how we used to sound but a modernised version. I wanted to keep the same formula; the same ideals; the same vision but with a new sort of sound. Obviously, technology has come a long way since we recorded last. Every second person you know has a studio in their back room or something. I’ve still got no idea (laughs). I still run a Tascam tape four track and the only hard bit these days is trying to find tape because there’s none around (laughs).

“In 1993, we brought out a demo the same as them, and we both loved each other’s demos and started playing together, so we have a bit of history. We recorded all of the beats for the single in Adelaide and sent the stuff over to DW to mix, and I went over and did the vocals but I wanted it to sound how we used to sound but a modernised version. I wanted to keep the same formula; the same ideals; the same vision but with a new sort of sound. Obviously, technology has come a long way since we recorded last. Every second person you know has a studio in their back room or something. I’ve still got no idea (laughs). I still run a Tascam tape four track and the only hard bit these days is trying to find tape because there’s none around (laughs).

“I recorded it with him, and he did it for two cartons of beer which is pretty awesome. We’re in the process at the moment of getting it pressed, so we are going to have physical copies. We recorded two of the older songs as well – “Fleshtest” and “Blindfold”, so there will be three songs on it and we’re going to be selling those at Brewtality. There will only be fifty. I don’t know if we’re gonna get another fifty done but if we did, there would only be 100, no more. We’re also doing Metal United in Adelaide after that, and we may get another fifty done or possibly 100, and after that, there will be no more. We are also working on an album. I’ve already written the whole album, and it’s ready to go we just need someone to help us pay for that, wink, wink (laughs). If anyone would like to do that we will take anyone on board and take anything that you’ve got!”

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