Where were you born and where did you grow up?
W.D.: Southern Ontario, Canada
J.S.: I was born in Hull, Quebec. The city no longer exists as it merged with the neighbouring suburb of Gatineau. Hull is a 2-minute drive across the bridge to Ottawa, where I live.
What sort of kid were you growing up?
W.D.: I didn’t play well with others, lol
So what sort of music did you listen to in say your early teenage years (13-15)?
W.D.: In the earlier teenage years for me, it was Judas Priest, ACDC, Ratt & Ozzy
So how did you end up discovering the underground? Was it through a friend? A record store or by a certain band?
W.D.: There are many “undergrounds” out there, so if you mean in relation to death metal, that came later in life for me. However, before that, punk, hardcore and crossover were the starting gates to eventually lead me further exploring the abyss. So, I gather through friends and discovering bands on my own too, especially in the early Earache record releases that were coming out at the time.
So what led to you picking or deciding to play the guitar?
W.D.: Basically, a friend of mine at the time had an electric guitar. We would hang out, listen to punk and metal stuff at the time and I he would play some guitar too. I tried it out a few times and then eventually I picked up my first cheap guitar soon after and went from there.
Self-taught or did you ever take lessons?
W.D.: Predominately, I was self-taught and later on in life, I took a few lessons but nothing major or extensive.
Tell me a bit about Recondite. How long were you in that band and I know the band had only 2 demos out did you play on both? What led to the band breaking up?
W.D.: If possible too, for continuing next time, I would rather keep the focus for questions about or around Expunged as a band together and the current release and in relation to that. This interview is not about me but about the band together and not individually. Hope you understand.
It will be I am just asking one question about your former bands. Then I am diving into your band history not just your current release?
W.D: I understand but I am not the only one with past bands or that either, so this is part of the reason to wait for J.S. to be present here and a part of these questions relating to him as well.
It also shows your not some run of the mill death metal band. I have been doing this since 1986, your release really caught my ear big time like a breath of fresh air.
W.S: Yeah cool, alright well when we are both present to do this together properly, we will continue if that’s cool.
I rather have both it will make the interview better.
J.S: I got into hardcore punk, classic rock and heavy metal back when I was 13 . My older sister’s boyfriend at the time gave me a bunch of tapes.
So W.D., you were in 2 other bands before the forming of Expunged and J.S. you were in several other bands before Expunged and are still in some these days, so and either one can answer, how did the coming or the forming of Expunged start to fall into place?
J.S. While we live in the same small city of about a million inhabitants, we’ve never really crossed paths, although I’ve seen Recondite play live and I had heard of Dead Soul Alliance before. WE actually met through local online listings. W.D. had an ad up and I replied. He seemed to know a few of my previous bands as well. Small world.
W.D.: I was in more than that as some are not accounted for or did not have releases at the time. Dead Soul Alliance I still do and in the longer past Recondite & Evolution Fail were the others. Expunged formed from J.S. & I meeting up from an ad I had up with searching for band members and we decided this was what we wanted to do.
Did you hit it off right away and form chemistry with each other so to speak?
J.S.: I’d like to think so. We realized we liked a lot of the same stuff and had similar backgrounds. K.F. joined in and we immediately got to work with songwriting.
So now, did you go out in search of a drummer very quickly? How did you come across K.F. who was in the band Töteblut? Did you hit it off with him rather quickly as well?
J.S.: He’s a rather weird guy but things seem to fall into place quickly
Now did you ever decide to find another guitar player or was it decided early on you were gonna remain a 3-piece? If the right person came along would you consider a 2nd guitar player for the band?
J.S.: While in a live setting, it could have advantages, it would just fuck with the formula and make the logistics of rehearsal, touring etc more complicated.
W.D.: I think we are happy as a 3 piece without having another body in the way or around. It works well for what we are doing and I think we are going to stick with it.
Now J.S. you sing. Did you sing in any of your previous bands and who are some of your favourite singers and who do you think you sound like vocal wise?
J.S.: Yeah I’ve sang in over 50 bands but if we’re gonna get into influenced, John from Doom, Karl from Bolt Thrower, Dean from Extreme Noise Terror, Dave Benediction… British guys mostly ha ha.
So how long did it take before you guys started to write original tunes?
J.S. Oh from day one, we started working on songs! We didn’t do any covers or anything like that.
W.D.: Solidly, a few months or so. With the MLP release for example, that was over a few months then send for mixing & mastering
So the first promo you released was just a test so to speak to see what people thought of your material and was the feedback like at the time even though this was just a year ago?
J.S.: Yeah, we made the promo to generate a buzz in the underground. We handed them out at a few shows we attended and we send some through W.D.’s distro and we sent some through mail order and to a few distros.
Now how does a song come together for you 3 guys? How writes the lyrics and who writes the music?
J.S.: W.D. wrote the riffs and then we agree on a structure. Once that’s done we record the song and I add vocals. I write the lyrics. We do our recordings at home and get them re-amped, mixed and mastered at a real studio.
In 2020, another 2 song promo was done. Was the done pretty much to send off to labels and stuff to try and get a deal?
J.S: We already had a record coming out. These promo tapes where done to generate some hype just before the record release. The contain two songs form the MLP; one studio, one rehearsal.
So in 2020 a full length just came out that is self-titled. How quick did the coming of songs come together for this fantastic release? Where did you record it and how long were you in the studio? Did the label(s) give you any money to record it?
J.S. We recorded it at my house and then went to Apartment Two Studio here in Ottawa (Run by Topn Das from Fuck The Facts) to get all of the guitars and bass revamped properly and then mixed and mastered. We paid for it ourselves.
So now, you have an unusual deal as I got 2 promos for your same release. One from PRC Music and one from Hells Headbangers. Explain, please
J.S.: Hell’s Headbangers released the self-titled record on vinyl, PRC Music on CD and Funeral Hymns on Tape. I like the idea of having a wide distribution.
So did you play outlive a lot before COVID hit? Do you think your a good live band? Any video clips up on YouTube and places like that?
J.S. We have not played live yet. Live shows are gonna happen once Covid 19 dies down.
So how did the name come about and were any other names considered?
J.S.: The name was W.D.’s idea. I think it was the first name we came up with. I could be wrong. It’s not easy finding a one-word name that isn’t taken these days!
For someone who has never heard the band what would you say you sound like?
J.S.: Just tell them it’s like a sloppy Entombed or something ha ha.
So the scene is not like yesterday when you had more quality, how do you plan on getting the word out about your fantastic debut release?
J.S.: We use social media like every other band, but luckily for us we have two press agencies working for us right now so that definitely gives us exposure.
So what are your plans in 2021 and beyond?
J.S. We’re looking for other labels to collaborate with to release singles and splits. Otherwise, tighten our live set.
How is the scene up where your based out of? Before COVID, are there many places to play or when bands do play, do people show up?
J.S.: We rarely go to shows but just before Covid hit, we attended a show with Ottawa’s own Cruel Fate and other Canadian bands at a small venue and it was packed. It was really encouraging to see Death Metal alive like that.
Well, guys horns up for doing this chat. I hope everybody reading this gives you guys a listen, they won’t regret it. Any last words to wrap this up?
J.S.: We’re always down to collaborate with labels and bands for singles, e.p.’s or splits. holla atcha bois!