interview with Deus Otiosus

What´s the name of your band? The name is Deus Otiosus, which translates to “idle God”. It covers the concept of a creator, that has abandoned his creations, and left them fending for themselves in a godless, lawless and violent world. 

What made you call the band "Deus Otiosus"? The lyrical perspective deriving from the thoughts of the band-name, displays a playground of ungodly lyrical themes. Ranging from philosophical paradoxes to physical punishment, I would say we have the perfect name for our band.     

How was the band formed? Henrik and I discussed our urge to play proper classic death metal back in 2005. Soon this thought became reality, when Henrik showcased 4 tracks, which would later become our demo “Death Lives Again”. From that moment, we expanded to being a full time band, and not just me and Henriks’ sideproject.

Where are all band members from? All members, except myself, are from the Copenhagen-area, Denmark. I am from the countryside some 100km south of Copenhagen. We also rehearse in Copenhagen.

What was the ambitions of the band when you started? There was never any other ambition, than to play unique metal music without any compromises.  To march on - carrying the banners of death! “We greet no follower, we have no herd” (lyric from “Will and Fear”).

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? I call our music death metal, without any fancy terms. However, since deathmetal has ended up in a maelstrom of subgenres – mostly terrible ones - I sometimes feel a need to say, that we play old-school death metal, so people don’t expect a scale-whoring mathematic-class. We use music to transcend darkness – not to wank each other’s dicks! At least to me, we play a style of deathmetal, where all our tracks sounds different, and yet all of our tracks consist of our undeniable trademark-sound. Every song contributes to the overall dynamic of our music. It is harsh and it is no easy listening, but the songs will grow on you, and you never know what to expect! Except from utter chaos and the pounding soundtrack of death of course!

Where was your first gig? I recall our first gig was a support-gig for Nocturnal Graves. Not our finest moment, I would say, but from that day on, we only accelerated in spreading havoc and messages of death.

Where was the latest gig? Last gig was in Helsingborg, Sweden. Here we headlined a small event, where we also played with our friends in Dethroned among others.

Who writes your songs?/ who writes the music who writes lyrics? Henrik Engkjær, also guitars, writes more or less all the music and lyrics. He presents his ideas, where after the entire band contributes in arranging the songs into its final form, and adding their own touches. 

Who has the best sence of humor in the band? I can say for sure, that it is not me, haha! I think this band overall great personalities and chemistry. All of these guys are my personal friends and they are all very intelligent – comparing to the rest of the scene at least haha. I would say we all have a good sense of humor and have absolutely no drama at all. No matter how cool or shitty a venue is, we always have fun in what we are doing, and that is what keeps our wheels running!

Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they? I suggest you take a look on our websites to check out the discography of Deus Otiosus. We have so far released two critically acclaimed studio-albums. “Murderer” from 2009 (FDA Rekotz) and “Godless” from 2012 (Deepsend Records). We have just finished the recordings of our third studio-album, which is entitled “RISE”, and will hit the streets sometime this coming summer via Deepsend Records.

Do you have any clips on YouTube? We sure do:

How old are you?/What got you started in music? Im 30 years old. I started music already in 1st grade, where I started playing classical music. Eventually I ended up in a symphonic orchestra, which taught me all about good music. Learning from the masters, Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss etc etc. In my mid-teens, my interest landed on rock and heavy music – thanks to my older brothers and good written music of the time. From there I explored the more extreme genres, which got me hooked pretty damn fast. I have always strived for the strongest of musical expressions. 

Best/worst gig you've played?  I don’t know if we ever played a gig we’re still ashamed of. Or maybe I have just luckily forgot all about it. Nevertheless, I think we become better for every concert, and we do not care if we play in front of 10 or 1000 people. Deus Otiosus will always deliver a crazy show and frantic appearance! I know my stuff in every inch of my bones, and as for the others, I have total trust in their competences. The level of professionalism in Deus Otiosus and our live technical performance is world class, if You ask me.

What places will you be playing in in the imidate future? Soon we will hit various Danish cities. Here we will promote our upcoming album, “Rise”. After that we will look to abroad.

Which band is the best you´ve seen? I have been to many great concerts. But some standout shows on top of my mind are Manowar at Roskilde Festival 2002. Heaven and Hell on Grasspop 2007, and latest King Diamond and Danzig at Copenhell 2013 were fantastic. Also Morbid Angel on Copenhell in 2012 was a lesson in violence!

Is it always the same songs live? We always change our setlist, within the frameworks of our works. With the new album done, we have much more material. We try to deliver the best show we can every time. That WILL depend on the music as well as performance. We play what we feel like playing on the particular gig.

What has been the best/most promising gig so far? I guess it has to be Copenhell in 2013. Here we got voted for, by the fans, and won a contest to play at this festival – in front of a lot of people. Many of which, who had never heard of us before. We did a great show, and the sound and crowd were excellent. Felt nice to know, that people voted for you to play there – and then again got a great response at the show itself. That was confirming in staying true to what you do!

Have you had any bigger tours from start to now? We have been on some mini-tours, and we are going out again in May, but bigger tours are for bigger bands, I guess, and not us in the underground.

How big crowds do you usually play for? It really depends on the venue and the promotion ahead of the gig. It also depends on the show itself. Is it a major event etc? It is not easy to tell. We have played in front of anything from 20 to 1000 people.

What are the plans for the rest of the year? We are excited to promote our new album, and we are looking forward to the responses on that. In addition, we plan to play more gigs nationally and internationally. Start up the machines!

Where do you usually play? Since we are from Denmark, we have played the majority of gigs in Denmark. However, we have also played a handful in Sweden and Germany. We would love to do this some more!! Also we have had great offers from as far as India and other places. Despite the great offers, sometimes it is just not possible. We all have jobs and kids and so on. Financially it has to be realistic too. 

How do you get psyched up for a gig? It is OUR music, so we are already psyched, when we know we have to deliver. I guess it’s good to feel the atmosphere of the venue and the other bands playing there. Personally, I drink alcohol to get wilder – and trust me, I’m wild ;) I suppose we all have our rituals. How would you prepare to 40 minutes of absolute physical chaos and sonic violence? Right, there is no proper way. Just let yourself be consumed by the madness. Haha.

What are your goals with your music? The goal is to touch other people’s darkness, and show the world ours. To write our chapter in the metal history. To me our music is everything from confronting demons and spreading chaos - to therapy and balance. Hell, if I had no other way to release this kind of brutal energy, I would write murder-history instead! Haha. If we ever had any visions on becoming famous etc., then we had started a boy band instead of Deus Otiosus, for sure.

Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? I know each and everyone in the band favors good songwriting over technically skill show-off. It is a FACT that the early bands focused more on creating good music and their own sound, rather than trying out speed limits and stupid hipster-looks. I suppose early bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Entombed, Pestilence and Death etc, mostly inspire us death metal-wise. All of these bands went their own ways, and their music is immortal even today. Some newer bands may play faster, more brutal and more compressed, but none of that is a factor in good music, if you ask me. I really like some newer bands as well, but they are mostly not a source of inspiration to us.  

What are your sources of inspiration? Other than great bands like the pioneers of deathmetal, also heavy metal legends such as Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate etc. inspire us even to this day. Nietzsche, Lovecraft and other writers, movies and art. You name it. Darkness takes many forms!   

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? I can see how this is destroying the music from the promoters’ perspective. Personally, I think it is great that everybody can discover music with easy access from everywhere. I have quite a physical collection, but I also use downloads. More and more to be honest. I also prefer someone is downloading our stuff, rather than not listening to it at all! That even being illegal downloads.   

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? I listen to all good music. I have no favored genre, though I can say heavy metal provides the best music for me. In addition, I dig some electronic music (I even make some of my own).  Bands I listen to at the moment. Hmmmm, I think the new Watain (The Wild Hunt) is a fantastic album, and it has been a while since I had an album, which I could listen to repeatedly - for hours - like this one! Those guys really touched something inside me with that record. Also Im a great fan of Marduk and Absu, which also made great material lately. I really enjoy the new Motörhead and Sodom as well. Overall, though, I guess I am very nostalgic, and tend to go back to the records I hold most dear for some personal reason. Through time, I think my favorite bands are King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, WASP, Entombed, Deicide, Dissection, Marduk. Bands I have heard for decades and still listens to every fucking day!

What would be your greatest fears for the future? I will face every challenge with the same amount of strength and wisdom! Fear is subjective.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then? I do not think any of us are getting on stage with any fears. Of course one can be exited, maybe even nervous. However, that will be over from the very first tone – and I know I speak for everybody here. External factors – like the venue and the crowd do not affect us really. I suppose some incompetent sound-engineer could really fuck things up though. Luckily, we have still to try that.  

Have you been in any other bands? No, I have not. The other guys have been involved in some other bands, but to this day Deus Otiosus is the primary focus to all of us. Some bands the others are or have been involved in are Victimizer, Hideous Invasion, Cerekloth, Exekrator. 

How important are your fans? We have had some great fan-reactions and merchandise-sales, which proves that the fans are a factor. When playing a gig, the reactions from the fans are crucial for our experience. I love the hardcore fans, who can sing a long and who parties out for the entire show. Those are worth every fucking effort J If no one but yourself enjoys your music, you should consider why you are even doing it.

What's the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? Apart from talking people out of getting our logo tattooed and stimulate girls’ foot fetishes - while on stage - I have tried most things that would make this interview very inappropriate. 

How often do you rehearse? Deus Otiosus are rehearsing once a week. More or less. Of course we will intensify rehearsal, if something important is ahead of us. 

Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment? I truly enjoy our new album. Every song differs and stand out in its own way. The album is an entire feeling, rather than a couple of hits with unnecessary noise in between. Therefore, it really depends on the mood, which one you would favor. A creeping crusher like “Rising War”? Epic heaviness like “Vultures”? Fast paced blasting monstrosities like Breeding Maggots maybe? Or anything in between. The choice is yours. I simply cannot listen to just one of them.

Do you have any webpages?

Tell us about upcomming gigs and why we should be at them? We will always deliver a tight, wild and stomping concert! Our music is very suitable for live concerts.  In May we will hit the road for the first string of shows”. If anyone ever thought we did some good music, they will love “Rise”. We will be playing this material, and together we summon the dark! Join us!

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