“A record deal would be nice but we also realize how old we are now. There’s a good chance that ship has sailed but maybe not.”
God Dementia, established in 2014, is a band that has my admiration. A hardcore group of Chicago musicians that share a long lasting friendship and an unquenchable desire to play. A true artist creates art just for the sake of it. Success and recognition are often arbitrary to craftsman doing what they love.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with God Dementia guitarist and founder, Zack Smolenski. Please enjoy some excerpts of our 9/4/17 interview where we discuss the Consuming the Delusional follow-up, band name origins and music videos…
David Halbe: Let’s start with a little background, I keep hearing the name Dead for Days and Reign Inferno?
Zack Smolenski: Well, things really started with Dead for Days. I want to say that was back in 2000. It was me, Rick (Rick Hernandez – Drummer /God Dementia, Withering Soul, Blood of the Wolf) and a couple of other guys we know. We’d all been jamming for a really long time together, I’d say about fifteen years or so.
Zack: The band (Dead for Days) started to experience a lot of lineup changes but we still managed to release two records: Creating Murderous Domain (2004) and Dissociated from Reality (2008). Basically, the constant lineup changes created tough times for some members, myself included so I quit. This was around 2007 maybe even as late as 2009 but I quit and the rest of the guys decided to continue on but they changed the name of the band to Reign Inferno.
Zack: I think it was to dissociate themselves from Dead for Days, I did a lot of the writing in that band and I think they wanted to let people know this was a new project, a different project. It was a way for them to start fresh so they started Reign Inferno. That band was active for a while but went through the same kind of line-up changes that hurt Dead for Days.
Dave: That’s just the nature of the beast.
Zack: Right, so eventually some guitar player they had moved away and they contacted me and asked me to fill in for a couple of shows and I said sure no problem. I’ve been friends with these guys for a really long time and I hadn’t really been jamming so I was itching to get back into it. After we played a couple of shows they asked me if I wanted to be a full time member and I said no because I wanted to start fresh.
Dave: I get it. In a roundabout way that was your band, it just changed names.
Zack: Yea, pretty much. There’s a couple Reign Inferno songs that were originally intended for Dead for Days.
Dave: No shit, makes sense though, what’s left behind is up for grabs.
Zack: Right. So basically we just started over in 2014 with a new name. (God Dementia) We’ve got one record out now, Consuming the Delusional (2015) and we hope to have another out soon.
Dave: Is God Dementia looking for a record deal as a touring band or are you content just self- releasing and playing locally?
Zack: A record deal would be nice but we also realize how old we are now. There’s a good chance that ship has sailed but maybe not.
Dave: I agree. God Dementia is fucking sick! It’s too early to close the door on that.
Zack: We definitely strive for it but if things don’t happen God Dementia still will. We’ll play local shows and whatever else we can get.
Dave: Agreed. So what happened with Johnny Dove? Is Jon Cortson from Beyond Deth still filling in or has he become a permant member?
Zack: Johnny basically had some obligations with this other band (Everdying) and he had some time issues and whatnot. Everydying is his other band and it’s an excellent band by the way so if you don’t know who they are, you should definitely check them out.
Dave: I will.
Zack: Please do. But anyway, he told us he didn’t have time for two bands. He felt if he tried to concentrate on both, one or the other would suffer, which we all understood that’s fine. There’s no bad blood or anything like that. We just parted ways, no big deal.
Zack: Jon (Jon Cortson – Guitars/Vocals-Beyond Deth) we called him up and he learned the material really fast. I think we gave him less than two weeks’ notice to learn the material before the show we did opening for Archspire.
Dave: Holy shit!
Zack: He’s a hell of a musician. He filled in and helped us out. He’s a really dedicated guy, I’d call him a permanent member.
Dave: Cool. Has this transition at guitar set back the Consuming the Delusional follow-up?
Zack: No. It’s just taking a long time. Johnny Dove actually does recoding out of his house. So we were in the process of recording there.
Zack: The trouble is it has just been a really slow process and when he quit the band we felt like we needed to go somewhere else but that person is also busy so it has just been difficult. I almost feel like I should start recoding the third record now so it’s ready in two years. (Laughs) For some reason it just takes this band a really long time to record something.
Dave: I hear you.
Zack: There’s always setback with schedules, computer problems or whatever. We’ve been very unfortunate in regards to that.
Dave: Sounds like it. Hopefully it will all be worth the wait. Is there an ETA?
Zack: I’m thinking two months. Everything is done. We are in the process of mixing right now. The guy we are using is Dennis Pleckham (Guitarist – Bongripper) from the band Bongripper.
Dave: Oh yea.
Zack: He’s a busy guy, he got a lot of bands recoding with him, plus his own stuff, you know? So we try to do things through email, the whole correction process takes two days because I have to listen to it and respond. Sometimes, I send it back right away and he doesn’t have time, it’s been a really long process.
Dave: Sounds like it.
Zack: That’s ok though, it’s the route we took and we’re just going to deal with it.
Dave: Bongripper, cool name to have attached with the mix.
Zack: He did the first release too, the guy does great work.
Dave: So is there a title?
Zack: We’ve got a couple of working titles but nothing has been set in stone. We’ve got all the song titles and everything but we recently had a cover change. The guy who did the first release (Raphael Gabrio) also did the cover for the second release and once I got the new cover I kind of looked at and thought that’s not really what I want. So we decided to change it and go in a new direction and after we did that we decided to change the title of the album. Anyway, we have a couple of working titles in mind so I suspect we’ll be making an announcement soon.
Dave: I like that artist, Consuming the Delusional has that Hellraiser meets Terminator theme going on, it’s super apocalyptic.
Zack: Don’t get me wrong he did a great job on the cover, we just didn’t think it was representative of what the record is about. Maybe I didn’t do a good enough job explaining the concept or he just didn’t understand what I was saying, I don’t know but we’ll still use it on another record or maybe a t-shirt or something.
Dave: Cool. Have you thought about releasing a lyric video for one of the new songs?
Zack: For sure. Especially since those seem to be really popular nowadays. We’ll probably do one song prior to the release and most likely a music video too but we’ll see what happens.
Zack: Aside from my musical contributions I also did our last two videos.
Dave: No way.
Zack: The music video for “Dominance” – I shot that in my basement. I did the lyric video as well.
Dave: Holy fuck.
Zack: Yes, it’s very time consuming.
Dave: Maybe just play a new song live at a show and record it?
Zack: Yes, we could definitely do that.
Dave: God Dementia draws well. A big crowd getting crazy, not a bad idea.
Dave: Do you have a song in mind for the lyric video?
Zack: Yes. The song is called “Forbid” and it’s a brutal death metal song.
Dave: Fuck yea.
Dave: The “Plutonomy” lyric video got me thinking: Are God Dementia lyrics an attack on humanity and ideology as much as they are an attack on religion?
Zack: It really depends. I don’t want to say it’s an attack because it’s more of a brutal observation. My lyrics come from me observing what’s going on. How certain aspects of business and religion tend to control people, bend them to their own self-gains.
Dave: Where did the God Dementia name come from?
Zack: The name came from the thought process of taking an idea that’s good and having other people come in and pervert it, you know? Make it all fucked up.
Dave: For sure. The world is a fucked up place. So what’s up next for God Dementia?
Zack: Nothing right now. We’re are just trying to focus on getting that album released.
Dave: I hear you Zack. Best of luck with that new release. Thank you again for time today.
Zack: No problem Dave, we’ll talk to you soon.
God Dementia are:
- James Genenz – Bass
- Rick Hernandez – Drums
- Zack Smolenski – Guitars
- Jon Cortson – Guitars
- Cody Zupan – Vocals