Emmanuel Luna of Infernal Conjuration talks to Bulldozer Mag.
BM: Hello Emmanuel, Tell us some about Infernal Conjuration. How it all began back in 2006 and introduce us to the members of the band.
Emmanuel Luna: Infernal Conjuration is band that started from the ashes of Bloodfest, BF was basically my brother & me with 2 other people playing Death Metal since 2003, we did play a couple of shows here and there, we had originals and a lot of covers. We changed our name after creating the songs “Ultimatum” & “Evil Torture” (now “Cleansed in Asphyxia”), we felt we had found our sound with those 2 songs and we needed a new moniker. Infernal Conjuration was born.
Adrian Miranda – Drums, since 2012
Noel Bello – Lead Guitar, since 2017
Josue Luna – Bass Guitar
Emmanuel Luna- Lead guitar and vocals
BM: 2019 has spawned many new releases. Amongst those is Infernal Conjuration’s “Infernale Metallum Mortis” a collection of hymns formulated in the traditions and guidance of ancient Death Metal. Tell us about the album, how it took form and what would be the constant element that runs through out “Infernale Metallum Mortis”? What are the lyrical themes?
Emmanuel Luna: Thanks for the words. “Infernale Metallum Mortis” is our definition of Death Metal, evil, head banging, air guitar induced Riffs, everything else complements the riffs (drums, bass, vocals, leads). The constant is Metal of Death, eerie ambiences & dark riffs.
The lyrics talk about different subjects, Dreadful Knowledge talks about knowing what’s beyond, however, it’s bad news, it’s a truth to cruel to bear with. Profound Immorality talks about the evil that resides in all of humanity, and that by accepting that we are not perfect, we shouldn’t dwell on the idea of “safe places”, we spit in moral grounds of emptiness and move forward! Etc, basically we talk about dark and mysterious topics.
BM: I’ve seen many reviews where “Infernale Metallum Mortis” has been positively heralded as a continuation of perfectly executed, brazen and olden Death Metal. What do you think about that?
Emmanuel Luna: We are really flattered by it, we are really proud of what we’ve accomplished with this release and for people to understand and relate with our vision of Metal of Death means a lot to us!
BM: Iron Bonehead Productions released “Infernale Metallum Mortis”. How did the collaboration with Iron Bonehead Production and Infernal Conjuration come about?
Emmanuel Luna: I was in a tour in Europe with another band I played in & Dead Congregation, Iron bonehead was responsible for the tour and that’s how I meet Patrick. After that I played a show in Houston at Destroying Texas Fest and he was there doing vocals for Baxaxaxa. We talked for a bit and I gave him an advanced promo (actually the entire album) and he said he would listen to it. He later messaged me offering to release it.
BM: The cover art is strangely perfect for the album’s music. Who’s the artist and how did you come by the artwork?
Emmanuel Luna: The artwork was going to be done by Chris at Misanthropic arts, unfortunately we took a lot of time to get back to Chris (due to complications with our recording) so that made us look for another artist. In our search for one I decided to look for a Mexican artist, I figured we should go with an unknown artist in hopes to be more “original” per say. We found Felipe del Castillo, he’s an artist from Michoacán, I contacted him and we immediately started working. The idea behind the artwork comes from a Mexican Black & White movie called Macario, the movie is about a farmer that is presented with the dilemma of following an advice from either god, the Devil or Death. He goes for Death. There’s a specific scene in the movie where he ends up in a cave filled with candles and the Death tells this line that hit a chord for the idea of the album’s artwork. “Esta es la humanidad. Aquí ves arder las vidas tranquilamente. A veces soplan los vientos de la guerra, los de la peste y las vidas se apagan por millares al azar.”
BM: Headsplit Records has announced the Cassette version of “Infernale Metallum Mortis” will be released soon. What prompted the idea of releasing it in such a format? How limited is this release and are you an avid cassette tape collector?
Emmanuel Luna: The release is limited to 200 copies. We played a show in Portland and we meet Dylan from Headsplit Records, he offered us to release it on his label and we went for it. We have had Tape releases before, our first demo was released back in 2007 by Polish label Gruft Prod in Tape format.
BM: The album also has an LP pressing. What do you think of the current demand for LPs in the underground? Seems it’s now a “have to” format when putting out music.
Emmanuel Luna: Yes, I’m honestly happy with people going back to Vinyl, that works for me and at the same time it sucks (as a fan), newer releases are cheap, but old 1st pressing can go ridiculously expensive. Regardless of what the underground might think or do or whatever, for me personally, it’s great, I love staring at the album covers and reading the lyrics when spinning them.
BM: In 2007 Infernal Conjuration released the “Tremendous Plague” demo, eventually these songs made it onto the full length. This were harsher versions of the songs, were they included in the “Infernale Metallum Mortis” so as to give them a more appropriate perspective?
Emmanuel Luna: We wanted to do justice to those songs, not that we don’t like that demo, but we’ve been paying those songs for so long and they have definitely changed and aged well for us throughout the years, plus like I said, we still play them live.
BM: 2010 spawned an EP “Avto de Fe” a more complex direction was taken, was this when you solidified the path that the band would continue on?
Emmanuel Luna: We had a direction the moment we became Infernal Conjuration, this EP was released by Blood Harvest Records from Sweden, we worked hard on those 2 songs, we also did a cover by one of my personal favorite Death Metal band from Mexico – Shub-Niggurath; I met Julio Viterbo (original guitar player) in an amazing fest in LA (Gathering of the Bestial Legions!) and gave him our Tremendous Plague demo and asked him if we could record one of his songs; he said yes, so we recorded it and a couple of years later I went back to that same fest to play and he was there again to play with The Chasm, I handed it out the demo in a CDr to him. He later recorded a new Shub-Niggurath album (a deadly call from the stars) and he asked me to try out for it, I didn’t make it to the recording but it sure felt good to have been considered!
BM: “Death Has Appeared” Infernal Conjuration’s second ep (2014) messaged all of what was to come I believe. The ancient ways were about to be awakened. Tell us about the EP and what was the motivation behind the release?
Emmanuel Luna: By that time, we had the direction but lacked the commitment, so I wanted to address those points, lineup changes were made and we got a new drummer and a new guitar player. We already had 2 new songs (Worshipper of Evil & half of Death Has Appeared…), we started jamming those songs with Adrian Miranda, we came up with 2 more songs from those jamming’s and we once again did 1 cover from one of our favorite Mexican Death Metal bands – Mortuary. I emailed Joel Alanis (original singer/vocalist) and he gave us the green light to record it! After that we did a 3 date mini-tour with them in Baja California and also did a 5 date tour in Mexico to support the release. It was going to come out via Blood Harvest, but ended up being released by Mexican label “Craneo Negro records” in 12″. Polish “Gruft Prod.” Released it in Europe in CD format and Chicago based “Utterly Somber” released it in the USA in CD with our Avto de Fe” 7′ EP as a bonus material.
BM: Hailing from Tijuana Mexico the band joined the ranks of many underrated yet pivotal purveyors of ancient Death Metal. What Mexican bands have influenced Infernal Conjuration?
Emmanuel Luna: Shub-Niggurath, Mortuary, The Chasm, Perdition (Death Metal from Tijuana!).
BM: Going back to your youth, what was the first album that you remember making an impact on you? What was your first concert?
Emmanuel Luna: Probably Sepultura – Schizophrenia, Death – Scream Bloody Gore, Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness, Slayer – Show no Mercy. I can’t remember my first major concert, but I do remember local Death Metal shows and watching Diabolosis among other local bands play. Also watching Sadistic Intent at Hard Rock cafe in Tijuana was huge for me.
BM: When I listen to “Infernale Metallum Mortis” I hear the calling of such bands as Possessed, Morbid Angel, The Chasm, your vocals call to mind Chuck Schuldiner, David Vincent. What do you think of those comparisons?
Emmanuel Luna: I think they are good as a reference, I’m not here to create a new style of vocals that will end up sounding silly. Like I said before, this is our representation of Death Metal!
BM: Emmanuel, you’ve been involved and another band from Tijuana Mexico that is a true force and an exemplary addition to the Mexican scene, “Infinitum Obscure”. Tell us of your involvement in the band and do you know what the band is up to these days?
Emmanuel Luna: I played in that band for 5 years or so, did 2 US tours and 1 European tour. I learned a lot from those experiences and I’m grateful for it. I was asked to play bass in that band, I wasn’t a bass player at all, so I learned how to play bass when I was there. Those were fun times, a lot of learning on what to do and what not to do when you are in a band. I ultimately left that band for various reasons, I don’t know if they are active or not.
BM: You’re also part of another pivotal Mexican band “Mortuary”. You do live vocals and play bass for the band. Are you going to be involved in any future recordings with them. How did this joining of forces come about?
Emmanuel Luna: We did 2 mini tours with them in Baja California, Mexico. I became in contact with Joel Alanis (original singer and bass player, Rest in Power!) after emailing him about recording one of their songs – Abyss Angel, after that we invited them to do the before mentioned tours and we became friends. Later in September 2017, Infernal Conjuration went to play 2 shows in Saltillo & Monterrey, Friday & Saturday. Mortuary was going to open for Kreator the week after, so after the IC shows, a Sunday actually, Joel called me to ask me to fill in for him for the show, he was ill and couldn’t make it to the show. I thought about it and decided to do it, so I stayed for 1 week in Monterrey to practice and learn their entire “Blackened Images” album, I did my best and went for it! I remember him calling me before going up on stage, specified me to tell the crowd that he sent me in his place, those are memories that I’ll cherish for life. Joel passed away in January 2018, I was asked to fill in permanently for him as front man, I did 2 US tours, played Destroying Texas Fest, Maryland Death fest, Mass Destruction fest, Metal Threat fest & Total Death Festival, I gave it all and never forgot about my friend Joel, unfortunately, as of August 2019, differences with their original Guitar player made me exit the band.
BM: Seems Infernal Conjuration is very busy and plays many shows throughout Mexico and abroad.
We leave it all in each city that we play, we really like it when people connects & understand what we are, uncompromised Metal of Death.
Emmanuel Luna: The demand for Infernal Conjuration in a live setting grows as the band gains momentum. What do you have to say about the importance of performing live and bringing Death Metal madness to the masses for seminal newer bands? It’s an amazing experience for at every show, we leave it all in each city that we play, we really like it when people connects & understand what we are, uncompromised Metal of Death; & even if they don’t, we never complain and just move forward. We try to play our songs even harder and heavier than in our recordings, because we are also fans and we like that from live shows.
BM: Speaking of live performances, Infernal Conjuration has recently concluded an extensive tour of the United States along with iconic Mexican masters The Chasm and UK’s Cruciamentum in support of “Infernale Metallum Mortis”. Tell us about it. How many dates was the tour? How was it received? How was life on the road?
Emmanuel Luna: We did around 28 dates throughout the US. It was an amazing experience, a lot of learning for sure and to top it all, we got to see The Chasm each night! Cruciamentum were amazing, their brand of Death Metal is unmerciful & powerful! The US fans took us really good, the reviews and label helped a lot to make a certain desire for people to see us perform the songs live, special mention to Jonathan Bustos from “The Wicked Moon” for the bass duties and helping us deliver Death Metal each night! We sold out our CDs & LPs on tour, we had people telling us stuff from the reviews in person, that was really surreal, we were so overwhelmed by that. Life on the road is always hard, we had to deal with some unprofessionalism by individuals full of themselves, fortunately for us, they were left behind, I sincerely hope that they learn from their mistakes and grow. Touring with The Chasm & Cruciamentum was incredibly easy and fun, we couldn’t have asked for a better touring package! A personal highlight moment of the tour was being able to go up on stage and play some The Chasm songs!
BM: I sometimes like to ask questions about the gear that bands play. I want to ask about your guitar. What is it? Seems I’ve seen that design before but can’t place it. I heard it’s a custom built just for you. Who built it and what attracted you to that particular design?
Emmanuel Luna: Yes, Pasaye Guitars from Tijuana made it. Pasaye Guitars are Old School BC Rich luthiers from back in the day, they did custom work for them for a while. We usually bring our guitars with them for repair, I knew we were going to start playing out more often, so I told them about the band and we came up with the idea of an endorsement, we only had to pay for the hardware. The design comes from an old Takamine model that David Vincent used back in the Altars of Madness era. I googled a bunch of pictures of the guitar and drew some measurements in 2 folders and gave it to them. I also helped with Noel Bello’s guitar design.
BM: What’s next for the band as far as recording, when can we expect new music from Infernal Conjuration?
Emmanuel Luna: We are working harder than ever to create new music, as of today I can say we have 2 new songs that we are jamming now. We will have something for next year, I’m sure.
BM: Thanks for the answers Emmanuel. Give the Bulldozer readers info on how to keep tabs on Infernal conjurations and leave them with some parting words.
Emmanuel Luna: Thanks for the interest Juan, to all the readers, Metal is about the riffs, fuk gossip, fuk trends, let’s keep it that way. You can connect with us via social media and other ways of communication.
Interview by JS