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5 questions with UMBILICUS

New rock outfit UMBILICUS have released their first single, called “Hello Future”, from their debut album “Path of 1000 Suns”.  The group is made up of CANNIBAL CORPSE drummer/lyricist Paul Mazurkiewicz, guitarist Taylor Nordberg (DEICIDE, INHUMAN CONDITION), bassist Vernon Blake (ANARCHUS, NAPALM DEATH-live), and vocalist Brian Stephenson (FORE, OLD JAMES). We grabbed the opportunity to ask them 5 questions.

Welcome to Metal Digest!

Though most of you guys are active in the metal community, you put your love of 60’s and 70’s rock into an album of hard rock. What was the most challenging part of crossing those genres?

It was actually such a smooth process from when I joined up with Paul and Vern, that I don’t really know that there were too many challenges to be honest!  Maybe finding the right singer? I started out singing when I joined but I think we all knew it would be best to get a “real” singer, but once we heard Brian’s demos it was 100% certain that he was the one who needed to be singing on these songs.  The music all came about pretty naturally as well. They had some material from a previous incarnation of the band that we jammed when I first joined, but eventually we phased those out and wrote new songs that were more akin to what we set out to write.

“Path of 1000 Suns”: Are there hints of a consistent, underlying worldview through the album?

I wouldn’t say it’s a concept album or anything, but I think it’s just an honest and optimistic take on the world as it is.  Brian is a great lyricist and has just enough “serious” subject to make you think, but it’s not overly serious to where it’s not artsy and poetic.

The album artwork was created by Taylor Nordberg. How do you feel and how do you want people to feel when looking at this piece of art?

Hopefully it’s a “woahhh” moment, haha! When we decided to get into gear for this album we wanted to do everything in-house, all ourselves or with out immediate co-horts.  So we wrote the music ourselves (obviously), recorded the drums, bass, and guitars here at Smoke & Mirrors Productions, a studio owned by Jeramie Kling and I, I mixed and mastered the album, and when we talked about artwork, the guys said I should give it a go, since I dabble in digital art.  So an art concept just came to me out of the blue in the shower or on a walk or something and I sketched it out, and the guys dug the concept so I just went for it.  We wanted it to have the late 60s, 70s feel, and have it be a little bit trippy as well.  So I added references to a bunch of the song titles in there for fun, and I think it turned out to be a pretty neat piece.  There’s enough in there to take a few minutes to take it all in, which I love about art.

If you could snap your fingers and instantly make the music industry better, what would you do?

Haha! Oh boy….I guess I would get rid of all the “tourists” in the industry. 

The folks who aren’t serious and dedicated to what they are doing, or who are making a fool of themselves being a drunk or a drug addict, or the ones who are just a dead cog in the machine, holding everyone back.  I don’t know, haha. The music industry isn’t was it was 5 years ago, 20 years ago, or 50 years ago, and I’m sure it’ll be even more bizarre 10 years from now, so the best thing to do is just roll with it, or get rolled over!

What’s the biggest sacrifice you had to make for your career in music?

Stability.  The musician’s life (or the artist life, for that matter) is unstable by nature.

Dead-end job, tour, new dead-end job, another tour, etc.  Financial stability, mental stability, social stability, these are all things to figure out in the life of a musician.  You may have no problem holding down a job or a relationship or a house payment, but everyone is different, and you don’t always make money doing it.  So you have to put in the time, and sacrifice whatever is needed to get wherever you want to go. 

Thank you for the wonderful interview.

Thank you!

Until we meet again,

Chelf on behalf of Metal Digest.

Brian Stephenson – Vocals
Paul Mazurkiewicz – Drums
Taylor Nordberg – Guitar
Vernon Blake – Bass

Album artwork by Taylor Nordberg

“Path Of 1000 Suns” was recorded in 2021 at Smoke & Mirrors Productions, and mixed/mastered by Taylor Nordberg in 2022.

Band photo by Deidra Kling
Visualizer by Jeramie Kling

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