Interview with Dachaz (co-founder/vocals/lyricist) of Carnival of Flesh and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
D: I think the term that most people use to describe us is “professional” (and we tend to agree with that).
We’ll play with the same vigour regardless if the show is packed or there’s 1 ticket sold (yes, we had that experience as well). Equally so, we played even when we were seriously ill. While none of us would encourage that in our regular work environment, when it comes the music “the show must go on”. And all of that is primarily out of the respect for the fans — they should always receive a great show when they come to our gigs. We might not have the budget of a AAA band, but we’re doing everything we can to make the gigs memorable.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
D: Dam and I started Carnival of Flesh back in late 2002. in Belgrade. We wanted to reshape the Serbian black metal scene with a sound that escapes the traditional Black Metal boundaries. However, we never managed to reach the desired sound due to frequent personnel changes, so the band officially split up in 2008. Six years later, we rebooted the band, initially as a studio project. In 2015., we released “Stories From a Fallen World”, after which we got the live line-up ready, and we delivered a number of local shows before heading out on an European tour in 2018. Fast-forward to 2021 when we recorded and released “Anthems of Extinction”, and managed to play “Festival of Serbian Underground” just before the COVID measures sharpened up in Serbia again, postponing our album-promotion tour. Since we couldn’t play shows, we decided to release two music videos — for “Tropical Plunder” and “The One” which were received really well both locally and internationally (including being played on Serbian National Television, which was everything but expected).
As to how we came to make music — I had some piano lessons at a very young age (from 2 to 4). Even though I abandoned that, music always stayed with me. Dam, on the other hand, has formal musical education and his mother is a professor in music. As such, it’s not very surprising that we would feel the need to channel our teenage anger into music. Especially as I was very active on the Serbian metal scene in the early 2000s.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
D: We all share the belief that music, especially the extreme kind, is a therapeutic outlet for things that are pressuring us, in one way or another. Additionally, I believe in storytelling in music. I grew up on stuff like King Diamond, Edge of Sanity’s “Crimson”; etc. As such, my goal is for every album to be a conceptual story, from the beginning to the end. Taking that into account, as well as our strive to be genuine (and relevant), we looked into what is pressuring us these days. The general misanthropic point of view on humanity’s future, that we generally share, was additionally boosted by the COVID madness — and all of that came into words in this album.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
D: Our current goals are relatively moderate — play some international festivals, and grow the fanbase. For all of us in the band, Carnival of Flesh is our passion project, and we never see the reality where it’s our “main business”. This has good and bad parts, clearly — on one hand, we sometimes would like to give more to the audience, which comes strictly from our pockets, and we don’t have nearly enough time to play hundreds of small gigs (especially as that is not very popular with the crowd in Serbia). On the other hand, we have the liberty to be more creative and create experiences that will be memorable.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
D: I think that was when our music video for “Tropical Plunder” was aired on Serbian National Television (RTS).
This was very unexpected, as it is a heavily censored regime-driven outlet, that normally isn’t very much in touch with what’s happening in the real world.
Traditionally, this outlet would air things they want you to see and hear. We’re still baffled that a black metal music video passed the chain of command and got aired. I guess we’re music of the regime now? 😂
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
D: It’s an absolute disaster, to be very honest.
Labels and festival organisers will ghost you, even after initiating talks themselves. Also, a crazy amount of scams are happening out there (with fake labels, PR agencies and tour promoters who just take your cash and disappear without delivering anything). There are some legitimate outlets (both paid and free) that we found over the years, but it feels that for each legit one, there are at least 5 scam ones.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
D: So far, the recipe that worked for us is: doing everything ourselves. And that’s sad as well. When we were touring Europe in 2018., our “promoter” did such a terrible job, that we had to book half the gigs ourselves — and the ones we did were better visited and in better venues. As a person with over 20 years of experience in my professional career (which is not music related), I expected that hiring a professional would not require me to do most of the heavy lifting, but hey — we learned our lesson.
So, normally, we’d get in touch with venues and local acts to book the shows. Then do our best to get the word out about the shows through social media and any other outlets possible. The usual indie setup, I guess.
As for the upcoming shows — we had some lineup changes recently, but even with that we’re hoping to deliver some shows before the summer. We’ll definitely let you know how that goes 🙂
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
D: We grew up in an environment where obtaining music legally was not possible. With all the wars, sanctions and embargoes — it was both financially and physically impossible to buy original tapes/CDs/LPs of your favourite bands. So we grew up on pirated CD-Rs, tapes, and later mp3 downloads. While some might argue that it hurt the artists, the counter-argument is that those artists had sold-out shows once they started touring in Serbia, because there was a fanbase who knew their music (which, otherwise, would not be possible). These days, piracy has become so trivially easy, that both of our albums got plastered on Russian torrent sites and blogs even before they hit the major streaming websites. While, initially, I felt defeated — reality was that some of the people frequenting those websites decided to buy our CDs and merch, and actually support the band — so, in a way, those blogs gave us free promotion. As for streaming sites — the monetisation is laughable, but we live in an era where “if you’re not on there, you don’t exist” — so we’re on all of them.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
D: Honestly, it’s not something we spent too much thinking about. If I think back to things that both Dam and I found “universally life-changing”, it would be Edge of Sanity’s “Crimson”. Primarily because it was novel at the time — a 40 minute “song” that’s actually the whole album. We both appreciated it because it was an over-encompassing experience, where you had to sail through the whole album as the band intended it, rather than making a playlist and skipping through it. However, if we did something like that now, it would lack novelty (and wouldn’t really hold the modern audience), so it is yet to be seen what is our potential pinnacle.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
D: In an utopian world, there would be less snobbery and back-stabbing. But then it probably wouldn’t be an “industry”.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
D: Primarily on getting the updated line-up ready for the stage, and promoting our latest music video.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
D: The best places to find out what we’re doing are our website (www.carnival-of-flesh.com) and our socials: FaceBook (fb.com/carnivalofflesh), Instagram (instagram.com/carnivalofflesh) and YouTube (youtube.com/@carnivalofflesh). We’d encourage people to buy merch directly from our website (as that comes with the least fees towards the band: flesh.is/merch) or if you don’t find us trustworthy enough — you can go via Bandcamp as well (carnivalofflesh.bandcamp.com) — it’s still going to be me shipping stuff, lol.
Carnival of Flesh links:
Band/Artist location – Belgrade, Serbia
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Merch – Reverbnation –
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
Check our page for Carnival of Fleash