» Ivan Munguia - Brain Drill
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Interview conducted May 14 2010
Interview published May 17 2010

Two years ago I received a copy of "Apocalyptic Feasting", Brain Drill's debut album. The sonic onslaught that was that album left me at first gasping for air. When rumors surfaced that the tech metalmasters sophomore offering "Quantum Catastrophe" was on its way out, I had become very much addicted to the superbly brutal music of this band. And the band didn't disappoint. Metal Covenant got the chance to interview bassist Ivan Munguia about the latest album, the songwriting and what you must be prepared to do if you want to play death metal.

Martin: "Apocalyptic Feasting" still is one of the most challenging records I've listened to, and "Quantum Catastrophe" continues your legacy of playing at an insane level. Did you make a conscious effort in producing songs that are almost more technically challenging or did the songs just evolve naturally?

  • Ivan: Eh....a little of both. Obviously with the new line-up we wanted to prove that we could out do the last album. I could see how it evolved from the last album though. Dylan is always pushing himself to write gnarlier music, and pushing the boundaries of extreme metal has become part of what Brain Drill is all about. I think if we had taken a step back and written something more tame then we would have disappointed a lot of people.

Martin: The production of "Quantum Catastrophe" is so much better than "Apocalyptic Feasting" especially the drums sound way better with less triggering. What's your take on this?

  • Ivan: I agree. The drums were recorded on a real acoustic drum kit, whereas Apocalyptic was recorded on a V-Drum kit I believe. The tone of the acoustic kit makes the recording much more brutal and heavy. The overall sound is heavier as well. Zach Ohren set out to make this recording warmer than our last, whatever that means. It definitely sounds fuller though, and the guitars cut through much more.

Martin: Can you describe the recording process?

  • Ivan: We recorded at Castle Ultimate Studios with Zack Ohren, which is where we have always recorded. Zack does an amazing job which is the reason we always come back. The album was recorded in 6 days total. Everyone is stunned when I tell them that. We went in and tracked drums nonstop for 2 1/2 days. Guitars took about a day and a half. Bass 1/2 day. Vocals another day. Apocalyptic was recorded in less time than that so we felt we could do it in 6 days. Even with power failures and rats and shit running around we were still able to accomplish finishing this album in that short amount of time. We basically go in there and just work our asses off. Minimal time is spent stopping to eat, piss, etc.

Martin: The concept behind "Quantum Catastrophe" seems to be that we're standing on the brink of mass destruction. Can you explain why you chose this idea for the album?

  • Ivan: We're close to the infamous 2012 date, so it seemed a fitting topic for the album. We'd like to think of this album as the soundtrack to annihilation.

Martin: It's always said that the second album is more difficult than the first. How did you feel in regards to going into the process of writing and recording the new record?

  • Ivan: This is my first album with Brain Drill so I guess it was easier than it should have been. I don't know but Dylan was busting out songs at a massive pace. He was in the zone during the song writing process. The two songs I contributed for the album also came along rather quickly. We're very satisfied with the final result so that's all that matters.

Martin: You joined Brain Drill a few years ago, and didn't have the opportunity to write material for the first record. How much did you contribute to the new record?

  • Ivan: I wrote and played guitar on two songs. I also wrote all the bass parts on the album save for two songs. I got to throw my own spin on parts of the album which was nice, but I also had lots of parts where I was following what the guitar was doing.

Martin: Playing this kind of music demands exceptional skill - can you tell me something about your own personal development as a bass player before joining Brain Drill?

  • Ivan: I started as a guitar player. I've been playing since I was 12-13 years old. I just wanted to play metal since I started and always pushed myself to better my technique. When the bass spot for Odious Mortem opened up I knew I had the skills to play their music and saw it as a great opportunity to better myself. That was the first time I picked up a bass, and have been trying to get better and better. All I can say is if you're hell bent on playing death metal you better be prepared to spend lots of hours practicing.

Martin: What are the plans for Brain Drill in the immediate future? Are you planning to come to Europe and play anytime soon?

  • Ivan: Man, I wish. It seems like we have to jump through hoops to get on any kind of tour. We're planning something for the States for this summer, but as of yet have no plans to go to Europe. Rest assured that as soon as the opportunity presents itself we will be playing for our European metal brethren.

Martin: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, and thanks for staying brutal!

See also: review of the album Quantum Catastrophe

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