Exclusive Interview: Penny Coffin talk writing and recording!

Last week saw the release of “ΤΕΦΡΑ” (pronounced “Tefra” and meaning human ashes, in Greek), the debut EP from Scottish and Greek Death Metal trio Penny Coffin to much fanfare, from us at least as not only did we review the beast but we also interviewed the creators of Frankenstein’s’ Monster as well – and why not? We love it! So given the approximation of 150 miles between band members and the fact that they had the opportunity to work with the mastermind that is Dan Lowndes (MortiferumSpectral Voice, Pallbearer), it seems only right and proper that we should go back to them and chat about how the recording process all came together…

How does the writing process of a new Penny Coffin track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “It’s all about riffs! Once we have a couple of ideas that work together its about putting them into something with a bigger concept. Certain ideas lend themselves to different tempos etc but in general it’s pretty organic. If it works it works, we don’t overthink it”

You recorded and mixed “ΤΕΦΡΑ” yourselves, so what was that process like? How different was it not having been able to get in a room together to rehearse the material? “During periods where the lockdown was relaxed in Scotland we got together to work on arrangements etc but that wasn’t an option due to the restrictions at the time of recording. Obviously the internet helped! We’ve bounce ideas and demos round online since the band started so that process was well in place.  We all did our parts separately and the guys sent the recording to me to piece together. I think we made the best of a difficult situation but with this process simple things that are face to face are sorted instantaneously take longer. It’s been a learning curve but something I’ve definitely enjoyed so i think its been worthwhile on a few levels”

The EP is mastered by the acclaimed Dan Lowndes (Cruciamentum) at Resonance Sound Studios. How did you come to choose to work with him and how did you find it? “Dan is someone I’ve been aware of for some time. His band Cruciamentum are awesome and he’s been involved with loads of bands I love. Particularly the Mortiferum album “Disgorged from Psychotic Depths” it sounds insane, clarity and heaviness. For what we presented him to work with I couldn’t be happier. Any advice I asked from him he was great with”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Due to the nature of the recording it made more sense to use vst’s and plug- ins but we tried to make it sound as organic as possible. Panos did the drums on his Roland Edrums with the midi processed with Superior drummer. The guitars are all DI recordings, the only part that was traditionally ‘mic’d is the vocals. Guitar wise we are both playing ESP LTD’s with good old EMG pick ups. The bass ii got out of a catalogue when i was teenager, cheap and nasty! I think you should make the most of the tools you have at your disposal, great if you have a big arsenal of gear but it’s not essential.  Being able to enjoy the creative process an ultimately share the music with others is what’s most important”

The artwork of Indonesian based artist, Rahma Purti Murliawanti aka Gutslaughter accompanied the EP release. How important do you think the artwork is in the digital age? How did you find the artist and what was it like was it like working with her? “Artwork is a big part of the full package to me, if something looks cool I’m more inclined to click it! Daniel had been following her on Instagram for a while, she has done loads of cool stuff for a lot of the bigger underground death metal bands. We had some basic concept ideas and some sketches Daniel’s girlfriend Kirstie had  done and she brought her style and skill to realize it. Indonesia looks like it has a real extreme metal scene, there’s a global community”

What difference would it make to you as band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “It’s not something we’ve considered but of course it would be great”

ΤΕΦΡΑ” by Penny Coffin is out now and is available over at bandcamp

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