The Metal Asylum Talks To…Necronomicon Ex Mortis

Can you tell us about the origin of the band name, the history of the band and a little bit about the various members?

The band name Necronomicon Ex Mortis is simply a reference to the Book of the Dead in the original Evil Dead from 1981. Mike Bala, the guitarist that writes most of the tunes, is a total fanboy for all things Evil Dead. Coincidentally, Craig Schmuhl, the vocalist, is also a bit of a horror buff. Manuel Barbara and Yusuf Rashid, guitar and bass respectively, prefer to watch things with higher production budgets and decent acting, and are therefore “lame.” We’re not totally sure our drummer Joey owns a TV, as he lives quite close to Amish country. The band formed more or less after Mike had a cache of songs written but no one to actually perform them with. A few phone calls were made to friends Mike made at Berklee and bam! Horror movies inspired death metal for all.

Are you all from the same area? How did you get together as a band?

Mike and Craig live in the Chicagoland area, where the metal scene is pretty big and diverse. Manuel lives in New Jersey, where he performs solo shows with material off his EP. Yusuf lives in Toronto, playing jazz on drums when he isn’t performing mind-melting bass acrobatics with Necro. Joey is in a basement somewhere in the north Philly area of Pennsylvania. We’re all good friends from back in the Berklee days! Getting together was as easy as making a few phone calls and organizing schedules.

Who are your favourite artists/bands and how have they influenced your own sound?

Necronomicon Ex Mortis has a lot of influences across the board; some may even be unexpected given the fact we’re a death metal band. For overall songwriting, we take influence from bands like Arsis, Black Dahlia Murder, At the Gates, Obscura, Decrepit Birth, Death, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Carcass, and Dethklok. For more influences outside the genre we play, we’re big fans of Dream Theater, Racer X, Dokken, Opeth, and Freak Kitchen. It’s worth noting that the 80s shred guys like Vinnie More, Yngwie, and Paul Gilbert are huge influences on both Mike and Manuel.

Did you always have the ambition to be a musician and in a band or did you originally have other plans?

I only had the ambition to play in a band and write songs. Practicing and writing is the only time the world makes sense to me. I’ve had the same “it’s this or nothing” mindset for my entire life.

What songs or albums are on your current playlist?

I keep going back to the old stuff, it seems. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Odyssey record by Yngwie. Street Lethal by Racer X is also constantly in rotation, as well as The IVth Crusade by Bolt Thrower. In addition to those, there’s also been an assortment of records from Entombed, Whitesnake, Mercyful Fate, Death, Megadeth, and Warrant.

Do you sing in the shower?

Not really. My voice is pretty atrocious and I could really only pull off the Top Gun theme.

Do you have any plans for the band for this year and into next year?

At the time of this interview, we’re about to drop our second EP called “Silver Bullet.” The first single, Crypt of the Gorilla God, did very well and we were extremely happy with the results. In October, we’re going into the studio to record our 3rd EP, as well as (hopefully) find a label that would be interested in having us on as artists. Early next year will see us recording a 4th EP and planning a short tour.

Do you currently have any new songs/albums ready to be released?

Silver Bullet should be out soon! It’s a 4 track EP that really tries to capture a few different flavors of our eclectic influence list.

If you could play at any venue in the world where would you choose?

This is an easy one. I would love to headline a night at the Worcester Palladium during New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. That was the first big metal festival I ever went to and it was a blast!

Do you have a favourite album? If so, what is it?

I don’t think I could pick just one, but if I absolutely had to, it would probably be “We Are the Nightmare” by Arsis. To me, this is everything a death metal album should be; great songwriting, technical moments, melodic moments, and incredible guitar playing. This was the first death metal album I ever bought, and it still blows my mind every time I hear it.

Do you have any guilty pleasure songs/albums?

I really don’t have any guilty pleasure music, but readers may be surprised to hear I’m a big fan of Dua Lipa, Carly Rae Jepsen, and The 1975.

If you were putting together the greatest show on earth, who would be playing?

I would put together a 3-day festival with 4 bands per night. Thursday night: Firewind, King Diamond, Candlemass, and Arsis. Friday night: At the Gates, Black Dahlia Murder, Racer X, Obscura. Saturday night: Yngwie, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, Iron Maiden. A whole lot of these bands don’t make sense together, but this kind of heavy-metal cocktail sounds amazing to me.

Can you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

What was it and do you still have it? The first album I bought with my own money was For Those About to Rock by AC/DC and I definitely still have it. I’ve been a big Angus Young fan my entire life.

As your fans will be reading this, is there any message you would like to send out to them?

The older horror movies are great and should 100% get more attention than they do. There’s so much style and personality, and it will bring you back to a more simple time in life.

Finally, let us know all your social media sites so your fans, old and new, can find and follow/like you!

Absolutely! We just started beefing up our YouTube channel a bit more, and we are most active on Instagram. We also have a website and a Bandcamp Page.

We, at The Metal Asylum, would like to thank you for your time. Is there is anything further that you would like to add?

Thank you, Metal Asylum, for the interview! And thank you to all the fans and listeners. Silver Bullet will be out soon, and we hope you guys love it!

This interview is the property of The Metal Asylum

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