That name ring a bell? It should and especially for ’98 and ’00 Crytopsy fans. With memory jogged, Mike Disalvo‘s new digs Coma Cluster Void recently released their second album Thoughts From a Stone which is an amazing 21 plus minute journey through dissonance, mathy prog, technical death metal and downright dark soundscapes. This amalgam is thrown around a lot, particularly as of late, but this band actually delivers and successfully so. They push boundaries and give the listener a ton to chew on and a ton to think about while keeping things fresh and exhilarating. We recently had the opportunity to ask DiSalvo our set of Profile questions so head inside to see what he had to say but also to hear the album for yourself.
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
When I was a kid I always gravitated towards music and remembering lyrics and patterns. Back then it was my parents music which was alot of AM Gold type tunes and of course the oldies. They had a record player that you could stack 45’s which would act like a jukebox and they had tons of them with artists like The Beatles, Elvis, Fats Domino, Nat King Cole, stuff like that and I would sit in front of the speakers and just take it all in. I think I was 11 years old when I got my first cassette, it was Journey – Evolution, which I played the shit out of. Next was Zeppelin IV. I eventually became an unstoppable music buyer. Everytime I would get $20 for my birthday or a holiday, I spent it on music. Fast forward to when I was 17 years old, I acted on my dream to start a band but I played no instruments (except for trying a short clarinet stint around 12 years old) so fat chance right? My friends were dabbling with guitars and drums and one of them had an old reporters mic so I stepped on up at a small ham-jam and sang like complete shit…but it was my start. From then on, we would get together with other friends who were learning how to play and eventually over these little get togethers, I started to find my voice. My rhythm was stable, my voice was not. I built on all of it from there. Success wise, sure I am super happy with what I have achieved. Not everyone has the experiences that I have had through music, I mean just the people alone that I have met over the years and the incredibly gifted musicians that I have shared a stage, studio or jam space with is success enough.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
My first actual gigging band was Skeletal Onslaught, an unfortunate name but a major stepping stone in my career. They were my friends and we learned a lot together. We gigged around the Boston area and a few places in New Hampshire and I finally had the big idea to call up The Channel (a famed club in Boston) to see if we could get on a show. It was super far fetched that we would ever get in there but I tried to book us anyways. I reach the booker and right away he says “Oh yeah, you guys are the ones that called about opening for the Morbid Angel gig, right?” To which my immediate answer was ” Yep, that’s us”! He gave us the opening spot for Morbid Angel who was touring for Alters of Madness. Of course this was my first time calling and some other band just got knocked off the bill, haha. That was my first “big show”.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
The great things I see are more and more bands pushing metal to new boundaries. Growth is good, it keeps the scene alive and well. The worst; there is too much shit talking about bands. In the grand scheme of things, the scene is small and it needs the support of the metal community. You may have an opinion but I always wonder why that opinion becomes so personal towards a band you might not like. Wishing somebody dead or personally attacking someone’s integrity because they don’t play your style of metal is absurd. Unity goes a lot further for a scene than picking apart musician’s abilities or decisions on which musical direction they want to go. Again, I am not saying that you can’t form an opinion on whether you think an album sucks or not, just why be so divisive with written or verbal comments. Metal has always been the outsider, let’s keep the shit talkin’ to pop music.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
Well, I used to write on the political side of things when I was younger but I eventually moved out of that phase in terms of lyrical approach. When I do write in that vein, I never use those lyrics anyways, they sit in my black book for my eyes only really. It’s not because I can’t share my political opinions, it’s more like I don’t need to share them openly in this format. Lyrically, some subjects might sneak into a song but it is generally in an indirect way. I don’t need my lyrical content to speak for me in this medium, I can do that myself out of the music context. Issues like social equality, freedom of speech, anti-racism, political preference or an array of others are very important to me, however those subjects may not find themselves directly written about in my passages.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
The easy answer here is AC/DC or Zeppelin but it was probably more like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath that pushed me to look deeper. All four bands I was big into (still am) but as my tastes got heavier, the more I searched out bands. Like I was saying earlier, it got to a point where I would spend $100 in one shot and get 10 cassettes, knowing probably 3 bands and taking a chance on 7 others, most of them metal. No internet back then equals roll the dice on albums. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a metal fan til’ the end. My family…well they were concerned. That said, much to his dismay my Father did buy me my first PA system. Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Good question! In short, I’m not sure I have an answer for that. There are soooooo many bands out there now, not everyone of them can get plugged in the same fashion as a more house-hold name would but perhaps more coverage could be given to smaller up and coming acts in the larger print media outlets. It’s an important job you guys got, to this day I read reviews and often seek out bands because of them. A smartly written review will get me off my ass to find out what a record is all about. I am constantly looking for new albums to listen to, most of them came from reading a critic’s well written review.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
I can safely say that Coma Cluster Void’s goal is to create music that permeates the soul in ways that are infrequently experienced. We push musical boundaries and we push ourselves to be better by getting out of our comfort zones. Anyone can release the same record with the same patterns and same song structure album after album; we choose to take it to the next level on all fronts. I don’t want to do the same shit I have done before, I want to grow as a musician, approach things in a different light and expand on ideas. John Strieder has enabled this for us. May the cult of CCV begin…
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
At present, I am hooked on Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven, Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?, Popul Vuh – Nosferatu OST, Eye – Vision and Ageless Light, Mastodon – Emperor of Sand, Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song and Pallbearer – Heartless, to name a handful. I have an eclectic taste in music, the only styles I won’t listen to is straight up country and bubble gum pop.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Mike for his time!