Photo by Krista Schmidt
Interview with Marco Rapisarda | By Sean Gonzalez
Death Index are the next band in line to throw the punk scene off its axis. The band seemingly came out of nowhere. Marco Rapisarda—of Archaic and La Piovra fame—had an idea of what he wanted his new project to sound like, but he had no vocalist chosen. After recording tracks for three days with Maurizio Baggio (also mixed EMA and The Soft Moon) – during which Rapisarda developed the flu and was puking behind amplifiers – he reached out to longtime friend and vocalist, Merchandise’s Carson Cox. “[Cox] sent me a few vox demos that didn’t sound anything like what I was expecting to hear,” remarks Rapisarda. “They were actually better. I was pretty blown away.”
Even writing the band’s self-titled debut—out Feb. 26 via Deathwish Inc.—was rather spontaneous. Hoping to find inspiration for the new Merchandise record, Cox went to Berlin where Rapisarda lives. “During the day, he was working on Merch stuff,” Rapisarda explains, “and during the evening, we would get stoned and would work on [Death Index] songs and lyrics, eating tons of Italian, Vietnamese, and Turkish food and watching tons of YouTube videos of fucked up people in Russia.”
“As soon as Carson started to sing on the Death Index tracks, a lot of the songs changed, structures and sound,” Rapisarda recalls. “We ended up writing and recording the song ‘Lost Bodies’ in Berlin at 4 a.m.” This insight into their process may partially explain Death Index’s sound. Their music has sludgy distorted guitars frantically bursting through compositions backed by erratic drum techniques. The vocals have their own hazy vibe. Through this dazed delivery, Cox unleashes his destructive outlook of the world. “Carson’s lyrical inspiration comes from living and counting down the final days of the human race,” explains Rapisarda. “Within our lifetime, we’re seeing the downside of industrial progress. Our earth is destroyed. Our seas are being emptied.”
Moving forward, Death Index plan to tour North America and Europe after their self-titled debut is out. Rapisarda is about as unsure of the band’s future releases as he was coming into this one. He says the group is “not really looking to plan out our future and goals don’t really exist with this project.”
“Death Index was, in a way, unplanned and spontaneous,” he continues, “We’d like to keep it that way.” As long as these two musicians have the ability to express themselves, they will surely succeed.