As agreed with the manager Oliver Macchi, I just have to call Coroner’s drummer Marky Edelmann after their show to see where and when we can do the interview: “We can meet near the press tent at 9 pm. OK? Great!”. We are meeting 15 minutes before that: ”We have also an interview with the Swiss television this evening. It seems they are late. We can start now, if you want to.”
The first time I met Marky, together with Ron Broder (bass, vocals) and Tommy Vetterli (guitars), it was in February 1990, at Bercy’s bar in Paris, just before a King Diamond show. The last time, it was after their concert at Club Dunois, also in Paris, at La Cantada Rock Bar, in January 1996.
Marky is the same person I met years before: enthusiastic, friendly, humble, kind, cool. It is a pleasure to meet him, and not just because he is one of my favorite musicians, from Coroner, a band playing a kind of music which means a lot to me! Guess who is coming at the end of the interview: the Swiss TV with…Tommy and Ron so I can meet them again as well. Oh, happy day! Thank you, Oliver. Thank you, Coroner.
Phil: I am going to write a short review on today’s show. Maybe you can help me? (Marky laughs) How did you find the concert from the inside?
Marky: I was a little bit curious about how it was going to be. Germany was OK for us, but it wasn’t like the main country to play, and we never had big shows here. Especially after 15 years, not being around at all, it was a kind of like: ”Let’s see what’s going to happen today.”. In the beginning, there were few people in front of the stage. But more and more came during the show, and the rain stopped. So I am very happy how it turned out. It felt good, it was a lot of fun.
Phil: You still have die-hard fans who really like your music and your unique touch. Many people have been talking about Coroner on the internet, hoping for your return. Was it the reason of your comeback?
Marky: I think it was the main reason. Without the internet, we probably wouldn’t know anyone still remembers Coroner, but there were many things on YouTube, like fans covering our songs. It was unexpected after such a long time. So we felt that maybe some people could come for few concerts.
Phil: I read also in Rock Hard (Nb: French edition, independent from the German one) that the organizers of Hellfest festival really wanted Coroner.
Marky: Yes, We had a fantastic show there last year. We really appreciated. It was the show which gave the kickstart, as well as the Maryland Deathfest.
Phil: The four Coroner shows I saw in the 90s were in France, so I cannot talk about the other countries, but I know you had, and still have, very dedicated fans there.
Marky: We were always very welcome in France, with great shows we really enjoyed. It was also the reason we did the last tour, the last shows, there (not the very last, which was in Essen). We actually wanted to stop before, but with so many dedicated fans, we thought the last tour had to be in France.
Phil: How do audiences, mixing old fans and newcomers, react during your shows?
Marky: There are people in festivals who do not like Coroner. It’s probably too old school for them, they maybe don’t understand the music. I mean, it’s OK. There were also many youngsters, too young or not born when we stopped, in the audience today, together with older fans, and it was really cool.
Phil: You say “old school”. It is maybe the case for “R.I.P.” and “Punishment for Decadence”, especially because of the production. Then came “No More Color”, a kind of transition where I felt, as a fan, that Coroner really started to show its real soul; then “Mental Vortex” and “Grin”, definitely not old school. I mean, “Grin” is a kind of out of time record. Could a re-issue be possible, with some bonus tracks or a DVD?
Marky: I think so too, concerning the evolution of Coroner. Maybe we were “out of time”, and now it is the right time (laughs). I think Universal had the rights for Coroner’s music, after the collapse of our old record company Noise. We were hammering other the years to make re-issues of our discography, but they didn’t react. Because of this absence of reaction during a long time, a certain law specifies that the rights are coming back to the band, and it happened about four weeks ago. So we definitely want to re-issue our records.
Phil: Re-issues could also be the perfect introduction to a brand new record? Have you got some good news for us?
Marky: I don’t think personally it will be possible. We have written some music, but we would need too much time to produce a record with the level of quality we want. Ron and I have daily job. I am not a professional musician anymore. Tommy has his studio where he’s very busy. It would be like a hobby once a week, with the rehearsals, the song creation. It would take forever.
We are planning to put out a DVD with material we filmed through the years, like the American tour we had with Kreator (89), with footages since we recorded Death Cult demo tape (85). So it is very rare stuff. We filmed all the shows we did so far. We have also the 2011-12 reformation concerts. It’s going to take some time to make this DVD, because we have to cut everything together, with a proper sound.
A new song could be on it, but I can’t promise anything. I don’t want to be arrogant. I mean, we really appreciate. It is so nice fans wish us to do some more music, but rather no album than a bad album.
The DVD deadline would be around the end of 2012, but probably later, even though we hear we have to reach the Christmas market (laughs)… but we don’t care. It has to be done well. It will be out when ready.
Phil: Talking about timing: was it on purpose “Mental Vortex” was released the same day as Metallica “Black Album”? Was it you who had the idea to use a scene from the movie "Re-Animator" as a prologue for "Divine Step - Conspectu Mortis"?
Marky: Oh, really!? I didn’t remember that. No, it was not on purpose. But it’s cool to know.
Yes, I was a big splatter movies fan. I was watching all the time that kind of films, and “Re-Animator” (85) was one of my favorite (Nb: with the scream queen Barbara Crampton… Gorgeous!), like “Altered States” (80), “Alien” (79) and “Aliens” (86) with quotes like: ”We’re on an express elevator to hell… going down!”. So using a scene from “Re-Animator” was definitely a homage to this movie.
Phil: Can you tell us about your collaboration with ILT Music management?
Marky: Oliver Macchi was our manager during years. So it’s easy to work again with him, an old friend you can trust; you don’t feel riped off. Oliver, as Tommy, has a lot of connections in the music business: it helps a lot. I am not forgetting the great collaboration we had with our former manager Boggi Kopec from the booking agency Drakkar. They did a great job too.
Phil: The backbone of hard rock is the blues. But the metal feeds more on classical music (the beginning of “About Life” is a good example). Mussorgsky is also one of Tommy’s favorite composer. Bands like Mekong Delta found a nice balance between both styles. Can you describe this magic link, especially in Coroner’s music?
Marky: That’s basically Tommy’s and Ron’s department. They are very influenced by classical music. As for myself, I love composers like Béla Bartók, his skills to create dark and depressive atmospheres.
Phil: Closer to us in time, György Ligeti is also a brilliant example, with some powerful pieces like “Lux Aeterna” or “Atmospheres”, well-known through Stanley Kubrick movies: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (68), “The Shining” (80) and “Eyes Wide Shut” (99).
Marky: Yes, it’s fantastic: that kind of music which can put you in a strange mood, make you travel. I have always been impressed by these composers, by their music knowledge, with a deeply thought creation process.
Phil: Metal feeds also on progressive rock and on jazz and fusion? Coroner’s music was naturally influenced by these waves of sound. Do you like other bands without borders like Cynic? Do you know the Chilean band Coprofago?
Marky: I love Cynic, amazing musicianship, and bands like Watchtower. I don’t know Coprofago.
Phil: I have mentioned these two bands, because when I listen to records like “Focus” (93), “Unorthodox Creative Criteria” (05) or “Grin”, it’s not just great songs, but a fantastic journey through music. Opeth can be on this special list. Wasn’t it a bit strange that they played at the same time as Coroner?
Marky: Yes, that’s weird. I was disappointed too. I actually really wanted to see Opeth today. It’s a shame.
Phil: Talking about fusion and creativity, how is it possible to go forward without genius like Death’s Chuck Schuldiner or Voivod’s Denis "Piggy" D'Amour?
Marky: We really miss them, but they live forever through their great legacy. On the other side, I count on the youngsters, new musicians full of ideas and talent, to continue. Actually, the bands I like right now are not so new anymore. I am very much in doom metal, like Saint Vitus and all of these Black Sabbath’s heirs. I love Electric Wizard and Goatsnake. I have to admit I don’t know a lot about new metal bands.
Phil: I have seen Coroner four times:
. at the Arapaho in Paris, with Depressive Age, in October 93.
. at Espace Reuilly in Paris, with Treponem Pal, in February 94.
. at Festival Megafolies, near Limoges, in May 94.
. at Club Dunois in Paris, with Supuration, in January 96.
Have you got some souvenirs about these shows? A short story to tell about one of them?
Marky: To be honest, I can’t recall single shows. But I remember all the good times we had at these concerts in France. There was this show we made at the Gibus in Paris, in a so small room, but it turned out to be fantastic to play there. I remember of course Depressive Age, Treponem Pal, Supuration and all the bands we played with, as good friends.
Phil: I humbly describe your lyrics as simple, in a good way, and deep at the same time. I really like "Paralyzed, Mesmerized" for example.
Marky: Thank you very much. It was a simplicity I was looking for. English is not my mother tongue. It was odd for me to try to find the right words. I wanted to express in few words what I wanted to say. At the beginning, you have a book, at the end, twenty words: that’s actually what I was trying to do.
Phil: Do you still write lyrics or texts in English or in German?
Marky: Nothing anymore, not at all.
Phil: Is there a clear future for Coroner, or do you just seize the day?
Marky: We just live day by day. There is going to be a point when we will stop the reunion. I just don’t know when. Tommy would like very much to play in South America. We will see what could be the opportunities for the next year.
Phil: I live in Arendal in Norway. That would be great to have you at Hove festival.
Marky: We never played in Norway. So, why not.
Phil: Thank you very much Marky for your time. Hey, look who’s coming…