El Salvador is one of those places that evokes images of amazing nature, beautiful beaches and blue sea. The country also is home to a metal scene, slowly turning its attention outward to the wide world that has been conquered by metal music. Disorder is one of those bands for certain. And Jorge Montesino (M.Q.) loves to tell about his music.
El Salvador may be depicted as a paradise, but up until 1992 the country was racked by a raging civil war. This has been the theme for Disorders lyrics for a long time. The country is still reeling from that period and crime rates are still particularly high. This has an impact on the music that is made in the country.
Like many other countries south of the states, metal music has found a place and expression in El Salvador. For some bands the story of their country can be found in their music. Disorder has been telling that story for years as we’ll find.
Hi, could you first of kindly introduce yourself to the readers.
[M.Q.] Hello this is M.Q. Speaking in charge of the chaotic chords and vomits on this band, thanks for the interest in us and for the interview. Drums are handled by V.K. And that’s it, a two member’s band.
Which bands really shaped your interest in this sort of music and how did you get started in this?
[M.Q.] I got started listening to metal in the early 90s with the 80s heavy and thrash metal bands and then with the 90s traditional death metal bands. There are many bands that influenced me in the very beginning but to mention one of the more important ones is Deceased from USA and of course for the music but also for the passion King Fowley has after all these years and keep playing live and creating music it is just inspiring for me.
Disorder has been in existence for a good 22 years. Can you tell a bit about the history of the band? How did you get to the point you are at now.
[M.Q.] Well I started to make music for this band alone around 1992/1993, after that I looked for other people to get a live line-up, it was very primitive in that era, no internet, no money to get good music gear but I managed to release a demo and an album independently by the hands of PUS Records, supposedly my first label. Around early 2000’s things went bad with the other members, they tried to kick me out and get the name of band so then I decided to end it in late 2002. We parted ways and at that point I immediately started to work on a new band, named Spiritual Demise. Later it changed name to Conceived by Hate. From 2002 to 2010 I constantly got emails or people asking about DISORDER if there were still CDs or Tapes available and so forth… I saw there was still a lot of interest in the band and in 2011 I decided to bring it back to life as a studio project, as a two member band and that’s it.
I’m very interested in your lyrical matter, I understand your theme is mostly the history of El Salvador. Many people are probably not too familiar with that. Could you elaborate a bit on that, give us some general background?
[M.Q.] Well, at the beginning there was a strong necessity to talk about that window of the civil war. I always try to be natural when composing music and writing lyrics, maybe in the 90s I was very interested in those topics but now time changed and the reality of our country is different. In a way I think some lyrics are still tagged to the civil war but now talking about the effects caused by the end of war, our country is bounded by a lot of violence and at a certain point I think we are used to it and learn how to live with it and go on. Unfortunately this country is trapped in a sea of corruption, mafia, social discrimination, political bullshit and lack of opportunities for most of people.
It’s quite difficult to measure it but I think that most of people are used to see or hear about violent deaths in the country. It’s the daily news here so I think we are used to it so I guess this could translate to the fact that in terms of metal music the extreme genres are more popular in the underground. Maybe because it helps to release that energy or like a catharsis. If we talk about the level of corruption in governments and all the bullshit on political parties, this could translate to the sense of anger on the compositions of younger bands. We can include hardcore and punk bands. There is a lack of trust in all that bullshit and a lot of anger to be released, because of frustration about injustice and the lack of opportunities for people to grow and have a decent life.
So for sure, all these situations translate to having more aggressive music from the local bands and I may say in bands of the whole region of Central America, than scenes you find in other countries that have higher life standards. I was hearing a short interview from a Venezuelan band I like and may work with in the future on my label that the reason why Colombia had the Ultrametal legacy, was because of the level of chaos that was present in that society. That boiling society vomited all that aggressive music called Ultrametal, that’s the legacy Colombia has in underground metal and this guy mentioned this because there is such a similar chaos now happening in Venezuela. That situation is generating new bands who vomit out such evil, blasphemous and aggressive metal. So in general Latin America countries are struggling with all this political bullshit, which causes low life standards which in turn create such level of aggression in the music.
If someone finds himself in El Salvador and in need of some metal music, what are places to go?
[M.Q.] Ten years ago, there were some big stores where you could find metal albums to buy. Most of them were run by people just for making money and I think they were not real metalheads. Since downloads started from the internet all those stores closed, so right now there are no big stores selling metal. People started to purchase directly from internet and there are some people that purchase from internet to resell locally, using virtual webstores as Facebook fan pages. Maybe you can count on your fingers the amount of online stores like the one I have for Morbid Skull Records that sell locally and internationally.
I think the reason for the lack of record stores is that you will not make money out of it. Or if you do make some money, is not so worth it in comparison to the time and efforts you will have to invest on doing it. So now it’s more like doing it for the passion and not for the money. I think there’ll be little people doing that in the next few years.
So, you’ve got plenty of other projects going on (as in bands). Which ones are you working on currently and how do you decide if material you write is suitable for one or the other project?
[M.Q.] Yes, in this decade I started to be involved in many bands and also the label (Morbid Skull Records) again. I just think and do it naturally, but try to keep certain separation in terms of music composition so that each band has something different and may be interesting from a different point of view. I think the process never stop for each band or project it is a constant situation on which you can get inspired and create riffs or lyrical topics that fit one of them so I constantly work in all projects but always try to focus in 2 or 1 to get them finished soon.
How do you guys work on material for Disorder now as a two-piece? What is the writing/recording process like for you and who has what role in this process?
[M.Q.] As mentioned before I reactivated this band back in 2011 as a solo project and at the start V.K., who is also the drummer of Morbid Stench and Conceived by Hate, helped me to record the drums for ‘En El Rio Del Olvido’ (2014). After that I decided the he joins the band as permanent member. The writing process generally starts by putting together the music structure and then the lyrics, when song is ready I get a raw mix with basic drum machine and send it to V.K. And when he is ready we record the drums and that’s it.
Your lyrics are in Spanish, this makes it for many listeners hard to figure them out (those in the Anglophone countries). Was it a conscious choice not to go for English? Or the other way around to go for Spanish and why?
[M.Q.] At the starts I wrote mostly songs in Spanish and a few in English. Since Spanish is my native language I decided to keep it like that, I know it would be hard for the band to get some people interested in Anglophone countries, but I just wanted to keep it native on the lyrics side. Also when I reactivated it I already had other projects where I was singing in English so I kept it in Spanish just to be different from the other projects and keep it interesting to me.
You’ve recently released the album ‘Fuego Negro’. A daunting bit of death metal, with pounding energy and wild thrashing passages a bit of an Entombed like death’n’roll vibe (to me at least). Can you tell us a bit about this album, how it came to be and what story are you telling on this one.
[M.Q.] Yes, it was released on April 21st by Symbol of Domination and Morbid Skull Records, I am thinking about releasing it on tape format on my label soon. Well, I have been working on this album for maybe 2 years and my intention was to make it full of speed and aggression. Not complex structures, just in your face attitude. In the lyrics you find songs talking about one of the cancers of society in Latin America, which are the religious shepherds and congregations that just drain people’s salaries to live like kings. I also talked about the current violent environment we have in our country and how justice and governments are rotten to the core by corruption and the mafia and there are other topics maybe related to personal beliefs.
So what is ‘Fuego Negro’?
[M.Q.] Fuego Negro means Black Fire in English and in my personal point of view is that inner energy that make you see far beyond the written reality, a motivation to improve your strength and move forward while you be on this plane.
I understand that Disorder is currently a studio project. This album however, to me feels like the sort of record that could prompt a crowd to burst into radical frenzy and insane moshing. Do you have thoughts about taking it onto the road?
[M.Q.] Yes reactivated it as a studio project because I do not have enough time to bring it on the road. I also agree these songs have a lot of energy and will be interesting and exciting to play them live but unfortunately it’s very difficult to find the correct people to play with. I really like to be humble when doing this, I mean I do this because I need it in my life. Anything I get back for it, good or bad, is unexpected. Some people just start or join a band as a hobby or to be part of a movement or even to get attention.
My philosophy is to work on this from the shadows and I just hate people that have that rock star attitude and shit like that in their head. I cannot deal with that in a band, so I am kind of tired about that and maybe that is why I find difficult to bring this band onto the road, but who knows…maybe in the near future. So currently I am just working on the promotion of this album and the composition of the new stuff.
What song do you feel most exemplifies the sound and spirit of Disorder and why?
[M.Q.] I like all of them, I mean if I do not like a song then I do not include it in a release. I think the song ‘Fuego Negro’ represents my personal vision and life within the last decade.
Your album came to me through a Bangladeshi promo agency, released by a Russian label (Symbol of Domination Prod.). You’ve recently done a split too with a Swedish band. How did this all come to pass? Regarding the current day metal scene, you guys seem to be extraordinarily international.
[M.Q.] I think that is an effect of the efforts I have been putting on the promotion of my bands. Now with my label’s releases also, I invest a lot of time in that and it seems to work! Today with the internet you can get in touch with a lot of people and bands very easy, cheap and fast. With Morbid Skull Labels I started to get more communication with emerging bands and Total Inferno from Sweden was one of them. We had good connection in terms of what we are doing in metal so the ideas just came out from out of the blue. That became the split ‘Ina Etuti Asbu’ was released on 7”s and a tape version by Deathgasm Records (USA) and Morbid Skull Records (El Salvador) in 2016, there was no big negotiation or shit like that, it was just released by a group a good friends.
You’re also releasing the album on Morbid Skull, your own record label. Can you tell a bit more about that?
[M.Q.]Yes it was also released on my label with help of Symbol of Domination because I like also to have enough copies to be distributed by myself. I always had in my mind this idea or dream to have my own label to release my music. Back in the early 90s my first label was called PUS Records and I released a couple of tape and CD-R demos for Disorder called ‘Voces de la Tumba’ but I just quit the idea for some time. Then around 2012 I think I decided to try it again but this time with better quality on the releases and it has been like 5 years now. At the beginning my plan was just to release my own band’s music, but with time I included bands that I like and more important that are handled by people I think are easy to deal with, no fucking rock stars!
You’ve been active in many bands, how did the metal scene in El Salvador get started? Which bands from your country really count as the more influential corner stone acts and why?
[M.Q.] Well I have been active since the early 90s as a band, I am not sure my point of view is the best one to answer accurately this question but will try. I think in the 80s there were few bands trying to make metal music, but it was more heavy metal and maybe influenced by the US glam scene. The real extreme metal scene I think started in the early 90s. I remember there were not so many bands playing, because it was hard to have the money to purchase instruments. Also maybe you knew a few guys that liked this music, but not all of them had instrument to play with. The first concerts were also organized within that era and has been growing until now. Today I think there are more bands and people involved but too much metal without soul; too much fashion and less passion.
You could think it sounds egocentric, but it’s the true; I have never been influenced by a local band in my life. I do try to respect all of them, I think this is because in the early beginning I did not have the “connections” to get the help or promotions other bands had so I felt a lack of support. I just focused on doing my thing and literally did not listen too much to what other bands were doing. I also wanted to try to keep my sound natural and “original” to myself. I mean I did not wanted to be influenced by other local bands because I wanted to create my own sound and do the things my way. So I respect the efforts most bands made, but I try to keep isolated in a way. Nowadays this is more related to the lack of time. But I can say that I have been influenced by the classic 80s traditional heavy metal, 90s traditional death metal and for bands like Deceased and Dissection because of the level of compromise they put in their music/art. I feel I might have started a legacy here myself.
So what is the scene like in El Salvador, what styles are most popular, where are the centres of the scene and how big is it. Which bands do you think matter and which bands from El Salvador should everyone be checking out?
[M.Q.] Unfortunately I do not have too much free time to go to concerts anymore, because of the Label and the bands but like I said I see more people involved and that’s a good thing. Also as well as they come, they go also in few years. I mean I do not see many bands lasting 5 or 10 years so it seems like they give up quick and do not have a clear persistency in what they are doing. I think there are many people focussed on the fashion in how they look rather than how they sound. If the music they put out is not really honest and with an own identity, then I think that is one factor why this scene is not boiling like in the South.
There is a lack of passion and honesty in the efforts. Some promoters say they support the scene by doing shows, but the reality is that they do it to earn money but none of them had even purchased a damn $3 patch in the period of more than 20 years! So I think it’s a lot of hypocrisy, but is normal in a way in humans. In general the metal scene in El Salvador has for sure grown, but lacks of quality in the released formats. Many go for the cheap way of CD-Rs and do not take the risks as few others. I have lost a lot of money doing these and in all my releases, but I do not care because earning money out of this is for sure not my vision or goal. Also extreme genres are well received here, anything from thrash, death and black metal, you can check Conceived by Hate, Disorder, Morbid Stench and Antares Death! I’m also involved in a band named Witchgoat, which plays thrash/black and is recording a debut album. Look out for the new albums of the other bands too!
If you had to say what things are typical about metal from El Salvador, what would it be? What really is part of the vibe of your country?
[M.Q.] Maybe always dealing with the extreme sounds.
What future plans does Disorder have now? What happens now the album is out?
[M.Q.] Well my plan is to continue to promote this album and since I feel the inspiration and motivation to start working on the coming one.
IF you had to compare Disorder to a type of food, a dish if you will, what would it be and why?
[M.Q.] Really hard question, a seafood cocktail with a LOT of hot chili to make you sweat hahaha.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
[M.Q.] Thanks a lot for this interview and interest in the band and also to those that invest time in reading it, cheers from HellSalvador!