Interview with Jake Munson Nelson
You recently became Post Mortal Possession’s new vocalist. How did you hear they were seeking a new singer, and how did you arrange a rehearsal with them?
I heard about it through Tim Church the current bassist who at the time was filling in on bass from my old band Incinerate Creation. A couple months went by and Incinerate Creation fell apart. So I messaged them for a try out and they gave me a chance. I gave it my all and ended up landing it. Luckily the practice area wasn't too far from me. So everything worked out.
How long was Incinerate Creation a working band? Did they release material that can still be streamed on Bandcamp, Soundcloud or other social media outlets?
Incinerate Creation was together for about two and a half years before we disbanded. We recorded one full length album called Adaptation To Human Suffering. The entire album is on YouTube.
How often did Tim Church play for Incinerate Creation while they were active? Did he mostly fill in when the band performed?
Tim started to fill in maybe the last three months before we disbanded. We established when he filled in that Post Mortal Possession was important. If shows conflicted with them he would play their show over Incinerate’s.
Explain the reasons Incinerate Creation broke up after releasing their debut full length. Did Adaptation To Human Suffering show potential for the band to grow and develop? Would you have liked to see that happen?
We basically split up because of personal issues. When we released the full length we received a great response from a lot of people. I feel that something would have developed over time. But then again you never know. I was just happy to be a part of it when it was relevant.
Were the favorable responses Incinerate received from fans or zine reviewers?
Probably both. We got a great reaction from blogs/zines that reviewed the album. But we had a better reaction from fans and newer fans that hadn't heard of us before so that was nice.
Do you remember the zines and blogs that reviewed Incinerate? Which of them most accurately understood the band musically and lyrically?
I can't remember a lot of them. But the one that does come to mind is called Filthy Media I believe. He did a great job on reviewing the album. He really went indepth in a good way. Didn't focus on just the vocalist or the drummer. He touched a bit on everyone and how the songs made him feel. You don't hear how the song made someone feel. It's always more towards the audience. I don't think he really understood the lyrics completely but he definitely got the purpose.
When you joined Post Mortal Possession, how much of an adjustment did you have to make adapting to their songwriting and singing lyrics written by the members of that band?
I didn't really have a hard time adjusting. I've played a few shows with them and knew their sound. The hardest part was probably finding all the transitions that would work for my vocals and the music. When it comes to doing vocals with someone else’s lyrics. It's not always the easiest. Because every vocalist is unique in their own way. So you had to basically copy every vocal pattern they did. I did this and when I became comfortable with it I added my own style. But now we have newer material written. There is such a difference between the old vocalist’s style and my style. Where Eddie Gremba had somewhat of a Suffocation/Cannibal Corpse feel I try to blend everything into my style from hints of blackened death metal with some brutal death metal. I don't wanna bore people with the same voice and tone.
What were the easiest and hardest songs to adjust to vocal wise? How much did you have to adjust to performing?
The easiest song for me was Devices Of Death. I fell in love with the song. So I wanted to nail it. The hardest for me vocal wise would probably be The Evil That Surrounds. That song has a lot of punches and timing changes and if you’re off it shows. That was the only hard song to get used to but I would practice it a lot even when we didn't have practice. Performing live with them was not an issue. My first show was nerve wracking because I wanted to do a great job. A lot of my friends from our local scene were there to support me and I didn't wanna let them down. But over time I became a lot more comfortable. I feel it helps if you enjoy the music you play. I like to think I bring a lot of energy. I run around like a guttural spewing machine. I want people to think Post Mortal Possession was the most insane show they’ve been to. I love those dudes like brothers. So we have a great time!
What spoke to you about Devices Of Death? What was the song written about and how do you relate to the lyrics?
Devices Of Death stood out to me for its heaviness and relentless beating of aggression it seemed to have. The song is actually written about H.H. Holmes the serial killer. I enjoy the serial killer aspect of it and H.H. Holmes was insane. I tend to stay away from serial killers considering in this genre it's been overdone.
Tell the readers what you know about H.H. Holmes and the serial murders he committed.
H.H. Holmes committed two hundred murders. He went to medical school and stole cadavers. He would take these bodies only to burn them or dismember them. Than Golmes bought the castle which now is the infamous "murder castle". Inside he would commit these crimes with over a hundred rooms to be rented and an incinerator in the basement. He had rooms with no windows, hidden passages and stairs that led to nowhere. His residents would come in but never leave. Holmes was also a scam artist, signing people onto life plans and make sure they made him the beneficiary. When he killed these people he collected his payout. He would skin his victims and sell their skeletons. When they finally investigated the police found rotting decaying corpses in his home.
Are the differences in vocal styles between you and Ed more conspicuous since you began performing with the band?
Before Ed left the lyric content was based on more or less the Salem Witch Trials and demon possession. Where I tend to focus on what humans are doing to their surroundings. Our single Ingesting Sewage for example is about the garbage that we've polluted the earth with. It creates a creature that is bent to kill all of humanity. The moral of the story is the garbage will consume us all. Ed always had a good old school death metal vocal style. I like to blend all my influences into my style. I've always been into brutal death metal. So I have a heavy influence with gutturals, mids and a witchy scream. Every vocalist is unique in their own way.
Who wrote the lyrics to Ingesting Sewage? How well do they make the song’s point?
I wrote the lyrics for Ingesting Sewage. I think the song delivers the idea lyrically well. I wanted a certain feel to how the lyrics were delivered and the music adds to the picture I wanted to capture. In a world full of human garbage will evolve an absolute killing machine. The song describes the monster’s layers and how his gruesome acts develop. From pulling victims through sewage drains to the extinction of human beings. It’s a dark, macabre story.
How often have you heard songs written about serial killers? Is there any way lyrics about serial killers can be approached differently?
Considering I've been listening to brutal death metal since early 2000's, the songs’ nature and titles always go to serial killers, murder and rape of some kind. I do enjoy songs about serial killers. But I am more interested in the psychology aspect. More or less what drove you to that point and what in your brain was okay with dismembering a human body? That's more interesting to me. I would like for bands to approach the topic differently or explore new lyrical outlets. But it's near impossible anymore. With so many bands out there. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a grindcore band out there and the lyrics were just geometry problems, haha.
Many bands have written songs about Charles Manson such as Deicide and Death Angel. Many other serial killer have had lyrics written about them besides. Where do you think the fascination comes from?
Our fascination with serial killers has basically become part of our society, whether in music, books or movies. More people have grown up with horror movies than any other genre. Jack The Ripper and Ted Bundy have become household names. Our interest with killer has always been, what persuaded them to commit these horrendous acts or what the power they felt from taking a life? Murder is glorified in our culture. It’s just who we are. Humans are the only species that kills each other for personal gain. What does that say?
What serial killers most intrigue you and how would you write a lyric about them?
I've always been intrigued with Jeffery Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and the Zodiac Killer. Even with all the crazy conspiracy concerning the Zodiac Killer. I do believe it was Ted Cruz the politician. If I could write about any of those it would be the Zodiac Killer. I like that there is a lot of the unknown about him. So that makes it easier to write. You can take his horrid act and kinda make it more intense. It a lot more intriguing to me.
Do you watch documentaries or read books about serial killers for inspiration? If so which of them would you suggest to people to read or watch?
I’ve watched a couple documentaries here and there. Read a couple books on them and the subject. But the only book that really sticks out was this book I got in senior year of college called "The Last Victim." The author was a high schooler working on his senior project and decided to write serial killers in prison. Looking for reasons they killed and developed relationships with them. Like John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer. All in all a great read. I suggested it to everyone.
Who is the author of The Last Victim and how much information does he uncover on his interviewees?
The book was written by Jason Moss with Jeffery Kottler Phd. It has been a while since I've read it. But he picks three killers to write to and develops close relationships with them even though he knew the danger. His relationship with John Wayne Gacy was the strongest. Gacy would send him art inside the letters he had received from him. If this book peaks your interest you can purchase it on Amazon, Google and your local bookstore. I don’t know if the author has done anything else but this book is too good not to have.
Do your ideas for lyrics come from watching news programs or documentaries?
My lyrics are derived from articles I read in the scientific community and books I read. I don't watch TV at all. Just some selected movies and documentaries. But for an example if I'm reading a book on say ancient Mayan culture. I'll take the idea of a God that drinks blood and such and put my own spin on it. It's nice because you have a nice foundation on the character and from there you can build your own story. But for newer Post Mortal Possession stuff. I've gone with an anti-human feel. I’ve read and seen the effects that we have done to our planet. How we are dependent on technology and have become completely dumbed down as a whole. We don't understand that we are killing everything that keeps us alive. So a lot of the lyrics deal with depopulation, diseases and famine, and paraextinction (which means death of all). I wanna bring a death and gloomy feel lyrically and mixed in with truth behind my lyrics.
Are there any documentaries you have recently watched that stuck in your memory?
The last one I actually watched was "Before The Flood." It’s a documentary on climate change, something I strongly believe in. It was thought out and great overall. If you haven't seen it. The film is well shot and will keep your interest.
How does Before The Flood approach the topic of climate change? Describe the information it offers on the subject and why people should watch it.
They approach the topic with cold hard evidence. Going to the places that see the effects of climate change. The film throws you into the battle that these leaders on climate change face. When they introduce a bill to regulate certain things that are harming our environment and the people and animals in it, only to be shut down by senate/congress because they are paid by big oil and gas companies. It continues to touch base on how the earth is warming drastically at rapid rate and how veichles, humans and cows are polluting our atmosphere with methane gas. Eventually they say that if we don’t take drastic measures to fix our mistakes our evironment will die and our oceans will turn to acid. It will give you facts without filling your head with propaganda.
How receptive do you think your listeners will be to your lyrics? Bands have touched on similar subjects; is there a way you approach those topics that is unique to you?
As a vocalist not only do I get hyped when people enjoy my vocals, but I think it hits me harder when people say they've read my lyrics and enjoyed them. Because at that moment the read gets a glimpse into your mind. Which is awesome and scary to share with someone. A lot has been covered in this genre. I'm going to approach these new songs in the writing style more of a narrative. I've always seen songs I write for as short stories and I'm going to continue that instead of leaving my emotions out. This is a very important topic to me and we don't know how good we got it. So in a world where you can't share without hurting someone's feelings. I'll probably hurt someone's feelings. It's just how I feel. It's brutal music with a brutal message.
There are many people even today who are offended by a song lyric, taking it literally and assuming the author is evil incarnate, not noticing the lyrics were inspired by real life. People get angry about the song but not why it was written. Why do you think this still happens after so many have defended song lyrics over the years?
I think people just let their emotions get the best of them. Not thinking music is an art form that can't be judged. Maybe the lyrics are offensive and disgusting. But someone put work into those lyrics. People don't have a backbone anymore. Social media has killed that. People consistently reach for the filling on being accepted by their peers; even abandon their own beliefs just to be part of something. That to me is sad. You shouldn't abandon you beliefs or thoughts on situations or topics. If you strongly believe in something you should never abandon it. Be an individual and stay true to your own.
Going back to the subject of serial killers, one case in point is Richard Ramirez who the media called “the Night Stalker” while sensationalizing his killing spree. Where do you see people connecting his murders with music?
I can see how AC/DC was labeled as a satanic band. Because one of his victims was wearing a hat of theirs and they wrote "Night Prowler" off Highway To Hell. Another case is infamous Charlie Manson. When Manson listened to the Beatles’ White Album. That drove him to what he became. But a lot of Beatles albums have occult and satanic message in them. An example is "Helter Skelter". Music is a very unique thing. It can make someone remember lost memories, fall in love or go on a murdering spree. The music you listen to defines you as a person.
How much material have you read about Charles Manson from the endless succession of books written about him? Did you ever read Nuel Emmon’s Manson In His Own Words (published in 1988)?
I've read a decent amount. Not enough that I could call myself an expert. Manson In His Own Words doesn't sound familiar. I never really got into the whole Manson Family; it just never held my interest. I see Manson as a snake and manipulative at best. The whole thing proves that symbolism hidden in music and mind control abilities give results, only if it is done well.
Is there any subject matter that hasn’t been touched upon in extreme metal, or at least not as much as others?
I feel like a lot of subjects have been touched upon. Fantasy, horror, sci-fi and issues whether they’re personal or not. I’d like to see a band come up with something that's completely different and unique.
Do you have ideas to write lyrics about, besides those discussed earlier, that haven’t been covered in extreme metal?
Nothing too crazy yet. My writing has been focused on our new full length and when I want to take a break from writing lyrics for PMP. I’ve been trying to finish my book that I’ve been plugging away at for a year now. It’s nice because it takes my writing from dark symbolism to a brain teasing tale. It’s always good to step back and collect yourself. I feel it helps with the creative process.
How soon can we expect a new full length release from Post Mortal Possession?
We just finished the last song for the album. Our goal is to head into the studio at the end of September. We don't wanna rush it. With the songs we have done it’s going to be the heaviest material the band has done to date. We are excited to get it done and hear the responses. But in due time.
When did you get the idea to write a novel? Is there anything about the storyline you want to discuss while it’s in development?
I've always wanted to write a novel. But it just seemed like an idea. I started short stories and a couple years later I came up with the idea. I just started writing with a basic draft and continued to add things along the way. The storyline follows a character name Krin who is possibly the last human in the universe. He was sent to seek out help from an ancient council and he was looking for answers as to how he could help his species before it was too late. That's the basic storyline without giving it away. When it’s done I want to eventually get it published.
Was being a lyricist a help in you getting started on your novel? Has working on it for a year helped you develop the plot and storyline?
I actually started writing short stories before I wrote lyrics. I think it’s easier for me to write lyrics. The hard part is getting the foundation or idea of what the song is going to be about. It has helped me develop a lot of the different characters and places. I knew I couldn't rush it and didn't want to. Even if it takes me five years to complete at least I’ll know it was done right. The story has changed so much and different worlds introduced along with different situations. The story has only gotten better. I am really excited to have someone read it when it’s done.
Do you plan to eventually release your novel independently or will you look for a publishing company?
I'm going to look for a publishing company first. If I can’t get a publishing company to back it I’ll be happier with printing it and putting it up for sale of amazon. I’ll be happy to just have it available to everyone.
If your novel is received well, would you consider taking on new writing projects?
If it’s received well I will start writing again. The way the book is set up. It would be easy to write a follow or just branch out to the other characters. I enjoy writing so either way I probably won’t stop writing.