Interview with guitarist/vocalist Luisma | By Brandon Ringo
Prolific Spanish goregrind masters Haemorrhage have been testing the strength of their fans’ stomachs since 1991. With six studio albums and a score of other releases already under their belts, in October of 2017, they churned out their gnarliest LP yet in We Are the Gore. The massive Relapse Records release features 15 short, bloody bursts of medical mayhem, including “Transporting Cadavers,” “Forensick Squad,” and “Organ Trader.”
Lead guitarist and backing vocalist Luisma—who has also worked as a graphic designer under the moniker Sick66 Graphix, creating artwork for Haemorrhage in the past—pulled on his scrubs to discuss the anatomical mysteries contained in the band’s newest slab of guts and grind.
When did you begin the writing and recording process for We Are the Gore, and what have you been up to during the downtime between this album and 2011’s Hospital Carnage?
We started to write the songs after Hospital Carnage release. I got tired after every album recording, and I always need some months after every album recording to feel the urge to write some new stuff again.
On this album, there were three lineup changes that interrupted the normal process of this album—that could have been done two years before. We wasted too much time with every drummer we had, ‘cause they had to learn the songs again, etc. That was exhausting for us too.
The production sounds wonderful on We Are the Gore. It has your signature raw sound, but is also incredibly loud and violent. Did you have a particular style in mind when you began the writing process, or did that develop organically?
When we arrived at the studio, the engineers asked us, “What kind of sound you want for the album? Old-school?” We answered, “No. We want the sound that fits these songs.” Luckily, they understand the idea we had.
We aren’t interested in forcing things to happen in a deliberate way. I mean, we just try to give the album the sound these songs need. Sometimes, we got it, and sometimes, we couldn’t. We Are the Gore has the sound it needed, so we are happy!
How did the process of adding Erik Raya as your new drummer come about? What was the experience of recording with him in the studio like?
Erik is a young and a really talented musician. I said “musician,” ‘cause he’s not only a drummer. He can play guitar, bass, keys, and sing too. He’s a beast, but sometimes, we tried to channel his power in the right direction, ‘cause it’s impossible to tame a beast.
We also have to mention Jose and David, our previous drummers, who added their fantastic talent and magic to these songs too.
You have a lot of awesome guest appearances on the album. Is that something that you knew in advance you wanted to do? How did you get everyone lined up?
As the recording date was coming closer, and considering the stuff we were handling, we wanted to do something to give some special touch to this already special album. We thought of inviting some guest musicians, and we just asked it to guys who we admire, respect, and love as individuals.
We realize their voices or solos would fit in some of our songs. We choose the best song for every one of them. Ross [Sewage] and Sean [“Bloodbath” McGrath] from Impaled, Cremator and Digestor from Ghoul, Jaro from Meat Spreader (ex-Dead Infection), Dany [Dead] from Dead, Carlo Regadas from Monstrance (ex-Carcass), Noel [Kemper] from Gruesome Stuff Relish.
We had a song for Marissa [Martinez] from Cretin too, but she couldn’t record in those dates. We will invite her for the next one, together with some others.
When coming up with lyrics for the album, where do you look to for inspiration? Does it come from real life medical horror stories or horror movies—or a mix of the two?
No, in this album, the lyrics are inspired by real life. Why should we search bizarre stories about serial killers, etc., when there are many people who work along with death and sickness every day? If you look, there are millions of hospital workers, morticians, undertakers, cremators, pathologists, etc. who deal with these disgusting things daily. [It] really is a way to focus on this part of life—with a little bit of black humor and exaggeration, of course.
During the lyric writing process, do you find it difficult to come up with new subject matter?
It depends. In the past, I used a lot of medical terms in our lyrics. Those lyrics are metaphors of ideas or stories written in pathological language, and that was difficult to understand for people and hard to do for me. We Are the Gore is a more simple album, and everyone can understand its lyrics.