Vancouver’s Without Mercy is a prime example of how putting in a little bit of elbow grease can result in advantageous outcomes. The quartet ply their brand of melodic, groove-laden death metal independently, but refuse to remain held back by a lack in the promotional and money machine backing departments. Over the course of a decade or so, the band has experienced the same highs and lows as most others, but their successes – which include a small handful of recordings, a bigger handful of tours and appearances in video games – have been felt at a deeper clip because they’ve essentially managed everything themselves. Due out next week is a ‘new-old’ EP entitled Mouichido which we present below, for your listening pleasure (including a track called “In Waves” which features guest vocals from ex-Chimaira braintrust, Mark Hunter). We caught up with guitarist D.J. Temple [a.k.a. the Ginger Tornado] for some introductory chit-chat.
You’ve been around since 2004, so asking you the usual band history question would probably take up more room than need be. So, how would you say the band has changed over the years in terms of capabilities, goals, sound and intent?
As a band, we’ve learned some hard and fast rules over the last 12 years. We’ve learned what it takes to maintain a connection with fans and we learned the real definition of tenacity and hard work. Probably the most important thing we learned was getting rid of limiting beliefs. Once ideas and notions from other people were eliminated, we began to focus on our own growth. Without Mercy has gone from a garage-style band that jammed every few weeks to this entity that tours the country and supplements our income. We have a fan base across the globe and we’re even featured in Rockband 3 as DLC. Now, I’m sitting here in my teaching studio being interviewed by Decibel. Hard work pays off every time!
In all that time, has there been any sort of full court press from labels looking to sign your life away? Or have you deliberately remained independent on purpose?
We’ve been approached by a few smaller labels from time to time, but for the most part we remain independent. We’re not opposed to labels at all, the right deal just hasn’t come along quite yet.
What can you tell us about the “new” EP in terms of how it was written and how you’d compare and contrast it from your other works? And also please explain how and why Mouichido ended up essentially being a re-recorded version of Reborn.
This EP was originally written with some of the most organic and relatable content lyrically than we have ever done before. Each song tells a story about an adversity or struggle that most of us go through. When put together, the songs all tell a universal story of tenacity and coming out the other end of the challenges a stronger and more focused individual. We had originally recorded the EP with our former vocalist who ended up leaving the band and attempting to sabotage the recording financially. When we hired a new vocalist, our legal team suggested we replace to the vocal tracks to avoid any more attempts at the same outcome. What ended up happening was a complete transformation of our sound and the EP into this monster recording that we are beyond excited to present to everyone out there who has continued to support us, and all the new listeners hearing Without Mercy for the first time.
What does the title mean and refer to?
I have some serious ties to Japanese culture being that I studied traditional martial arts my entire life. “Mouichido” (pronounced ‘Moe-itchy-doe’) is the Japanese word for “one more time” which I felt was appropriate given that the EP was essentially a re-recording. Reverting back to my ties in Japanese culture is what gave me the extra incentive and tenacity to make this EP appear after insurmountable odds attempted to keep it from existing.
How did you enlist the help of [ex-Chimaira vocalist] Mark Hunter to contribute to “In Waves”? Was he your first choice and how much sweet-talking did you have to do?
Straight up, Mark Hunter was a solid dude. Mark and I had been talking for a little while before the re-recording had begun and I simply reached out and asked him about jumping on board with us. Mark was super into the idea and was pretty excited about our sound. My only regret is that our schedules were both so damn busy that we couldn’t hang out for weeks and chat about other industry things. That guy is crazy busy, and I’m just crazy.
I read somewhere that you guys have had a couple of songs included on a version of Rock Band. How did that come about?
I approached a design company that specialized in the “authoring” of songs to Rockband. Once they got a hold of our music, they were super into the idea of including it onto the game.
Your bio makes mention of your band “pioneering” the phrases “you smell like a bitch” and “fuck pussy metal.” How did what could be construed as unfortunate turn of phrase – especially in light of the world’s current hyper sensitivity and political correctness bent - become associated with Without Mercy?
Back when we first started, “Fuck Pussy Metal” was one of the first things we ever talked about. We would often banter it onstage and eventually, it made it onto the back of a t-shirt. The phrase was meant towards “fake” metal bands that had no interest in the genre and were the ‘fly by night’ or ‘get popular quick’ sort of outfits. As a band, we always took that as a blatant level of disrespect to the fans of this underground genre. These metal fans are legit and really live for every aspect of what bands like ours are about. So, to take that for granted and disrespect it just seemed insane beyond any of our comprehension and, in true Without Mercy fashion, we called them on it. The other phrase, “You smell like a bitch” came from our song “Worthless” which is really about cowards and shitty people in your life; the kind of people that would throw you under the bus if it meant they could get the long weekend off. The same kind of people that have no work ethic and make every excuse in the book to treat you like crap so they don’t have to remember how shitty their own life is. To us, people like this are ever abundant in our mundane lives but that doesn’t mean you have to stand for it, and once again we call them on it. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and setting your own limitations of what you will tolerate. That’s the message we want to deliver to every one of our fans.
What’s on tap for the band once Mouichido is released?
Without Mercy is working on a few heavy duty tours which will get announced very soon as well as some new endorsements! We’ve also got a few new merchandise lines coming up and we enter the studio in the fall to record our follow up to this EP. We’re touring across Canada this June in support of Mouichido, so make sure you follow us and come out to see our insane live show.