BLOODSTOCK INTERVIEW: Emilio Márquez – Possessed

If there is one band that should be worshipped on the grounds of Bloodstock Festival it is death metal band POSSESSED. Few have been able to push the boundaries that they have and they set the bar in their early years as one of the pioneering bands for the extreme and death metal genres. Seven Churches and Beyond the Gates are the two albums that fans have had to hold onto but they can get ready to hear the first album in 32 years next year! Distorted Sound‘s Jessica Howkins and James Weaver caught up with drummer Emilio Márquez to talk about the band’s performance at Bloodstock, the current mood within the POSSESSED camp alongside shedding light on their hotly anticipated new album!

Jess: How are you?

Emilio: I’m great, amazing! How are you?

Jess: I’m good thank you!

Emilio: Good! I’m doing well, thank you for asking.

Jess: You’ve just come off the Ronnie James Dio stage – how did you think the reception went for you?

Emilio: Great, truth is we didn’t have that much sleep and time to get here but when you see the people the energy just comes, it’s the fans it’s really them. Therefore, we were very happy as a team, as a band.

Jess: Jeff certainly looked happy! That’s all I could see was that grin! Earlier on you signed with Nuclear Blast and you’re going to be releasing your first album in 32 years next year – how is that going for you?

Emilio: It is going great, truth is that I’ve been in the band about ’06 and then Jeff decided to go with the whole new line-up and kept me on board and since then we’ve been writing good material but we don’t want to bring out just anything. The reality of the writing process of this new album really started about 2010 really because by that time we had the new line-up vs. the old and it’s doing really well and we’ve sent 5 songs to Nuclear Blast and they loved it and so therefore as a team we decided to go with them and they decided to go with us. It’s a teamwork and we’re very excited to be on that label

James: I imagine there’s a load of pressure as well when there has been such a long time since a record…

Emilio: You’re right because this album is going to be looked at under a microscope and people are going to be talking shit but truth is we wanted to keep it to the original style where original POSSESSED fans will not be misled or in a totally different direction, we wanted to go in the direction of what POSSESSED was and of course it’s 2017 so we have to keep it a little bit modern so yeah, there’s a lot of pressure but truth is we’re just going to do what feels right and of course having the original death metal God right there just say “Hey, I like it, I don’t like it” and then he fine tunes it and his lyrics are just phenomenal, they’re like poetry.

Jess: Because it’s been so long since a POSSESSED record, has it been difficult to find that style again?

Emilio: Not really, since 2006 I’ve been personally gelling with the songs, the old material for a while so I kinda have that building but when we write and certain things don’t sound like POSSESSED the band is really cool when I say “Hey, that doesn’t sound like it, you need to get that shit out of there” or Jeff will say “I like it but not for this band” and the guys will say “No problem” and we just put all the music on the table like a bunch of cards pick the ones that work like a big juicy POSSESSED soup and then the next thing you know the collaboration with the whole band not just me, I am God, no, it’s a collaboration of a real band putting it into it and it’s working, I love it! These guys are brothers, we’re bleeding and OH DUDE LET ME GET YOU A BANDAID, we’re fucking brothers and that’s cool!

James: I guess that really helps the creative process then seeing as you’re so close as a band, you can just feed off each other.

Emilio: Oh yeah, me and Bobby the bass player God we’ve been playing together for 20+ years in different bands so we already have a bass drum foundation and the way Jeff writes he is a bass player so bass drums, we have that style! When there’s something that he doesn’t like, he’s not shy and he’ll just say, “not for this band” and the next thing you know we’re fine-tuning everything to the old realm POSSESSED and we want to make sure the fans are happy, we don’t want to put something that is our style or my own style, because I play in a bunch of other bands but truth is my focus now is shit, this is fucking POSSESSED.

Jess: Death metal has changed a lot over the years, working to the original POSSESSED sound have you noticed a change?

Emilio: It’s just like clothing and trends, everything goes back to the original and I do listen to a lot of new music but what really floats my boat is the old school and therefore, let the other bands do what they want with the new trends, that’s fine but that’s not POSSESSED. So, when people hear the old school, meaning new POSSESSED it’s a breath of fresh air and it’s like “Oh man, this reminds me of Seven Churches” and that’s what we want! Everything is cool, there are other bands who stick to what they want but we’re gonna stick to our style and truth is a lot of people are accepting it and are very happy we are keeping it to the realm of the old POSSESSED and we’re going to keep it like that and not change anything.

Jess: Have you had any criticism for wanting to keep it that way?

Emilio: Well you know there’s always dickheads that want to put their little two cents in and that’s fine because more power to us, every time I hear a negative there are 10 positives so it’s cool, let them talk their shit. They’re probably guys in their closet who don’t know how to play bass or guitar but that’s fine because they can probably play with themselves!

Jess: It must be rewarding to see people coming back after so long just to watch POSSESSED.

Emilio: Truth is, I’ve been in underground bands but nothing at this level so when people say, “Oh the old POSSESSED, Seven Churches” oh of course it’s totally rewarding, who was the first band that ever said the word death metal? I think it was Jeff! Actual death metal, I mean there is VENOM who were a lot more black metal and the original of that but the first fucking band that said death metal and it became death was Jeff! JEFF METAL! I can’t explain it, I pray to Satan and say thank you so much for letting me play with Jeff, he kept me on his side because when I left the band meaning the old line-up, he said “I’m going to stick with you and get a whole new line-up” and I cried a silver tear of metal, of course I didn’t cry for too long, it just sat right there, it’s a blissful feeling yes ma’am.

Jess: So, what’s next for POSSESSED after the album release?

Emilio: Write, write, write and jam more. We want to do it right, we want to continue writing and the collaboration of the new guitar player too, he just came in and in two days me, Bobby went up to Sacramento and wrote three songs in like two days so we were worried about the new guy but the chemistry it works. There’s a lot of people that are bitching on their instrument but if they don’t have chemistry they don’t have nothing and then if you go on tour and they are dogshit on tour they can’t hold themselves up professionally, time is really important. You’ve got to have the time, the chemistry, gelling and so it’s a whole beautiful thing yes ma’am. I hope that answers your question I went off on the twilight zone.

Jess: I think that’s it for today!

Emilio: It was really nice meeting you young lady! Take care of yourself guys!

Jess: You too! You’ve got stuff to do, people to see and a beer to drink!


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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.