Today we got to speak with Wilson NG from international based brutal death metal band Facelift Deformation!
MPM: Hello Wilson, thank you for taking the time doing this interview. How are you doing today and those who don’t know who you are, could you introduce yourself and your contributions to the band?
FD: Hello Jake and readers of Metal Purgatory Media! It is my pleasure to have this opportunity! I am doing all good today and hope you guys are the same as well. I am a 25-year-old guitarist from Hong Kong who plays extreme Slamming Brutal Death Metal and Technical Death Metal. I have been a Youtube guitarist since 2013 and earned my first guitar endorsement in 2018. I founded and joined a few online projects in 2016. Currently, I do the guitars and audio productions for my bands such as Facelift Deformation, Virginity Fraud, Incestuous Impregnation, and Vermicular Incubation, just to name a few. You may find my artist profile HERE.
MPM: The band’s been around since 2016 and based out of both Hong Kong and Taiwan. What would you say the extreme metal scene is like in those regions compared to other countries such as North America, Indonesia and others?
FD: I founded Facelift Deformation in 2016 with the intention to make it an Asian cross-countries project because Hong Kong did not have a good foundation for extreme metal in terms of social acceptance, audiences, competitive offerings by local record labels, promotion, and distribution network. I see a lot of local bands strived to survive with years of hard work but missed their great opportunities to gain recognition from the global metal scene. By comparison, Japan has a much better and larger metal scene than Hong Kong. I have been to Japan a few times and watched some shows, checked out their music and CDs store and I was amazed and inspired by how well they have formed a strong and solid group in the scene. Another main inspiration to me was from the Taiwan / USA joined project Coprocephalic which is one of the best known online slam pioneers and gained major success in the big competition. This is why I aimed to form Facelift Deformation and my other projects as international bands and to get them signed by international labels.
MPM: The last material the band has put out was 2021’s latest EP offering of Path To Retribution which Brutal Mind handled the release. What was the drive in making this a EP rather than a full-length and how was the chemistry between Facelift Deformation and Brutal Mind all came to finalize?
FD: As the main songwriter for the band I like to test and experiment a lot in terms of riffing. Releasing short EPs helps to quickly consolidate my fresh ideas and provides a chance to receive fans’ feedback to see if such new ideas are welcome and suit the band. The progression from Dominating the Extermination to Cybernetic Organism Atrocities has inspired me to explore a more technical way of Slam which many of you may have noticed the change of riffs complexity between these two albums and the latest EP.
After the release of two full-lengths, our team aimed to develop a stronger bonding with Asian labels which offer higher variety, shorter production, and logistics lead time in terms of merchants while having a major image in the global slam market. In addition, our bassist Larry Wang is also the owner of Fat Tub of Lard Records, one of the best-known record labels in the slam scene, we decided to team up with both Labels for a co-release EP to gain the advantages of better management and distribution network. In fact, we just team up again with FTOL and BM to release a special Facelift Deformation single, which you guys will see soon on the streaming platform in May. We can see the same will go on for our next full length which is currently in recording progress.
(Our single will be released on 9 May 2022. Depends on the release date of this article, if it is before the release date, please remain the text unchanged, if it is after the release date, please change it to “In fact, we just team up again with FTOL and BM to release the brand new Facelift Deformation single on 9 May.”)
MPM: You’ve been in a lot of projects within the extreme metal community such as Dimensional Decay, Vermicular Incubation and many others. How do you have the availability to be in various bands with such limited time on your hands?
FD: I was quite a lucky guy who could enjoy a certain free time during my university life from 2015 to 2019, I made use of the time to found a few bands and put out releases. It was part of my strategy to explore the music genre and build up my artist profile to be qualified for earning a guitar endorsement.
It is a fact that the number of releases went down after 2020 as I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and started working in construction companies. With limited time, I try to split and sort different objectives into sub-working parts and work them out bit by bit daily. For example, I keep spending 1-1.5 hours each day working on music, whether it can be writing, mixing, or recording. I found that by putting time limits on myself, my work efficiency is actually higher than spending a whole night with random jamming. I would also like to thank my responsible band members here for sharing the work with me who also have rich experience in studio work and album releasing.
MPM: What would you say is your favorite track off on Path To Retribution in terms of musicality, progression and lyrical content?
FD: It is hard to pick one but I love the titled song “Path to Retribution” a lot. It was our great pleasure to invite both Clayton Meade and Jonathan Huber to be our guest vocalists on this EP. You guys definitely know the bands, such as CONDEMNED, Umbilical Asphyxia, Pathology, and Bludgeoned that these two vocalists have been or were working for. It was my dream come true to work especially with Huber as his releases “Awaken to the Suffering” and “The Time of Great Purification” under Pathology back in 2011 & 2012 were two of the major influences on my songwriting in Facelift Deformation. Thus the song “Path to Retribution” has a huge meaning to me.
MPM: Since the brutal death metal scene has grown for long as it existed, what are your current thoughts in the modern-day era of the genre with bands such as Disentomb, Organectomy, Extermination Dismemberment, Party Cannon, Cerebral Incubation, Analepsy and many more?
FD: The brutal metal scene has grown for a long but I am happy to see how the new bands fit themselves into the modern-day era with modern solutions. Back in the day, slams were considered dirty, indie, and lo-fi as most of the founding albums were recorded with very limited gear and budget. It is pleasing to see not only for Slam but the overall heavy music scene has also benefited from the advancing computing technologies to achieve better sound at a lower cost. It becomes more affordable and convenient to write, record, and mix for artists. Also, such advanced software help transfers the songs from old-school sounding to really polished heavy stuff, bands like Analepsy, Extermination Dismemberment, and Organectomy have established their image not only with their signature riffs sounding but also from the iconic modern mixing and mastering sound by their audio engineer. It is also so much fun to see bands such as Party Cannon who build their strong image with a mix of cartoon and brutal music when the traditional “gore, blood, and rape” theme of death metal has seemed to be overused. I just like how the diversity of slams we have now.
MPM: Was the songwriting process for Path To Retribution a difficult challenge and task to create during the pandemic or was it a easier approach since the members of the band live in different locations?
FD: The songwriting process was not much of a difference compared to the pre-covid time because we have our own home studios in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In fact, I got even more time to write music during quarantine to finish up the third full length of Facelift, to join another project, and wrote another full length (to be released in 2023).
MPM: What was the inspiration in wanting to become a guitarist for a extreme metal project and who was your biggest motivation into getting heavier music?
FD: My very first inspiration for picking up a guitar in 2009 was from Japanese rock bands, far from what I am doing today. As my guitar learning progressed, I switched to playing 80s and 90s thrash metal around 2012 to challenge myself on high-speed playing. The same stories happened, I aimed for even higher and more difficult genres such as technical death metal and Aliencore (Rings of Saturn) in 2014. But the game changer was around 2015 when I randomly discovered Abominable Putridity and Pathology on Youtube suggestions, I was totally amazed. Later on, I got my very first recording interface and began to learn recording-related gear and skills, to upload my own guitar cover videos on Youtube. Up until now I have around 210 videos on my channel and built my network in the extreme metal scene by sharing free guitar tabs.
At that time I was mainly covering bands like Coprocephalic, Abominable Putridity, Analepsy, and Pathology, ideas of new riffs just came out from my brain and I knew I have to write them down. The idea of founding my own band then came naturally as I acquired basic knowledge and skills of guitar recording to write and produce a full length on our own. It is also an essential step to gaining recognition in the extreme metal scene in order to earn endorsement offers from guitar companies, which has been my long-term goal.
MPM: With many bands on the horizon whether it brutal death or any form of genres the underground scene for music has been consistent and getting better overtime. Do you think the community is healthier than it ever has been before, if so what’s your intake on that?
FD: It is hard to tell if the overall scene is getting “healthier” because as more bands join the game the tougher the commercial competition will be. I am not totally sure if it is correct to overemphasize the gimmicks such as overusing memes (that have nothing to do with the music) to advertise the band as well. But please don’t get me wrong, I understand it is a commercial strategy and I have no hate towards the personal. What I can say is that the overall slam scene is getting higher diversity which is good for the fans. I believe it will be an endless discussion between the “staying indie” side and the “going trendy” side. But I wish fans to focus on the music and not be “distracted”.
MPM: If you had to choose between streaming music or buying physical copys of vinyls, tapes and cds, what be your format of choosing?
FD: Buying physical copies so the band can get direct profit. We all know the “dark side” of revenue sharing behind all those streaming platforms. Though it is a fact that tracks from the streaming platforms can be provided in a higher bit depth and sample rate (generally 24bits, 48 kHz, or 96 kHz) compared to the CD format (16 bits, 44.1 kHz), the audible difference is so subtle since metal music is heavily compressed at the production stage. If you love the bands, buy physical copies.
MPM: In your opinion, what does music mean to you in terms of creating, performing and reading lyrics?
FD: Music is all about creating my own stuff and being unique. To me, the eagerness to perform leads to the motivation to create. It would be sad if one could play an instrument but no one knew. Reading lyrics is a little bit different topic to me as I found challenging to understand the full context of lyrics since English is not my native language. I rely on the album artwork to get a particular impression of the overall theme along with the lyrics.
MPM: Facelift Deformation is about to build the biggest tour package of the very best bands in today’s music standards. Who would you like to bring out on the road for the ultimate dream lineup?
FD: We would be humbled and grateful to be considered one of the contributors to the development of modern slamming brutal death metal and be ever qualified to team up with other big names in the scene for shows and touring. It was sad to postpone our plan for shows and touring from 2020 to 2022 due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the travel restrictions from different countries. But for future shows and touring, I would definitely be happy to share the stage with bands like Fatuous Rump, Maggot Colony, Vomit Remnants, Gerogot, and Traumatomy, just too much to mention.
MPM: What are your favorite pastime activities that fans of you don’t know about?
FD: Outside of my music creation time I like to read books about war histories (especially WW2), western adventure, and fantasy fiction (like The Lord of the Rings). I am a big fan of first-person shooting games and have been an airsoft player since 2020. Recently I got hooked on another massive online role-playing game called Final Fantasy 14 which I enjoyed a lot……well I am a big nerd lol. But from gaming, I get inspired by the theme or story of my next release. I wrote an album back in 2019 called “Rejected by Death, An Imperishable Torment” for my band Virginity Fraud, released under Miasma Records which is a direct reference to one of the most critically acclaimed cult classics role-playing games “Planescape: Torment” released back in 1999. Also, Dead Space, Fallout, and Alien are also the games, just to name a few, which had a huge influence on our songwriting and theme making for Facelift Deformation.
MPM: If music wasn’t your biggest desire in life, what would be your profession you see yourself doing in the next decade and onward?
FD: Music is my biggest desire in life which I can’t live without. But music won’t feed my family if I told you how high the cost of living in Hong Kong is. So I am keeping it in a “50% hobby 50% career” status. I am also pursuing the path of being a civil engineer after earning my Bachelor’s degree in 2019 and striving for my chartered profession in the coming 5 years. What’s good with my bands is that they are mostly online projects so I don’t have to be bounded to regular band practice and we are always flexible on the creation. But I am definitely happy and looking forward to hitting the road and touring with my bands in the coming years!
MPM: Before we wrap this up I like to thank you once again for doing this interview and I can’t wait to hear more music from your projects down the road. Is there anything you like to add, promote or discuss future plans to the fans reading this interview?
FD: I want to thank all of you who are reading this interview. And to all of you who have been supporting us since Dominating the Extermination. The good news is that we will have a single released this May and we are halfway done with the third album production which is expected to be released in early 2023. I can’t wait to show you all and hopefully hit the road for some touring after Covid-19!
(Also depends on the release date of this article, if it is before the single release date of 9 May, please remain the text unchanged, if it is after the release date, please change it to “Good news is that we have just released a brand new Facelift Deformation single on 9 May”)
Interview by Jake Butler