By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
. . . And Atheism for All
Santa Ana’s Mutilacion might be Richard Dawkins’ favorite death-metal band
Are your lyrics in English or Spanish?
Eric Flores: We have lyrics mostly in Spanish. We have a couple of songs in English. We’re trying to do more lyrics in Nahuatl, which was a language spoken in Mexico before the Europeans came over.
Does the band have a specific message?
Hugo Zambrano: We do write a lot of lyrics that reflect pre-Hispanic culture. We speak about social things, the conquest, history. From that comes a lot of anti-Christian, anti-religious stuff. It’s all connected. There is not one message, but maybe various messages.
Flores: Yeah, to bring awareness about what religion has done or what has happened in the past. I think it’s a thing that is kind of ignored in the history books. Not a lot of people touch on that—the conquest and religious tyranny.
Do you find many other death-metal bands in Orange County?
Zambrano: We’ve been around for a while, but in Santa Ana in the past two years, there have been other death-metal and black-metal bands coming up. I’d say more people are getting into it, but overall, the community really isn’t. Lately, though, there have been more people listening to the music and participating by going to shows or starting a band.
Do you find that people who aren’t into death metal or black metal ask you why you sing in that growly way?
Flores: Even though I don’t like explaining stuff to people, I just tell them that not everything is going to be nice, or that there is always going to be an extreme to life. The sound has to reflect the message. When people say, “Your vocals sound ugly,” I tell them they’re supposed to sound ugly because that matches the ideology and aggressiveness of the music.
People have a general idea of metal imagery as skulls and gore, but your MySpace page also has pre-Hispanic imagery. Are you trying to bring the two together?
Zambrano: Yeah. Well, someone who is into metal has a general idea of what to expect when they go to a show and that kind of thing, but what we like to do when we play live is rape all the senses. We use the elements of blood—like right now, the blood we have has been rotting in my fridge for, like, a month. When people go to the shows, they get a smell. We use anti-Christian imagery with inverted crosses. We have a fog machine blowing at full blast. We try to deliver everything in a complete package.
Blood? Do you use stage blood or animal blood or what?
Zambrano: It’s animal blood. We buy it at our local grocery market.
Flores: Plus, stage blood is way more expensive than real blood.
How do you use it in your show?
Zambrano: Sometimes, it ends up everywhere. It ends up on the equipment. A lot of it goes on us, and sometimes the people get a couple of drops. We feel sorry for the people because sometimes it gets all over the stage.
Will you guys be burning down any churches, like black-metal bands?
Flores: The churches here are made out of bricks. Besides, it’s much more powerful to give a message and raise awareness than just going out and burning a church down.
With Mexico being such a Catholic nation, do you find people there more resistant to your anti-Christian stance?
Zambrano: Not a lot with the people going to shows. But one time, we went to go grab a bite, and this Christian guy came up to us, and he was trying to convert us. The whole band was there, and he asked us what we sang about. We explained it to him. He was Mexican, too, and he didn’t like it one bit. And he just ended up walking away. Knowing our culture, how it’s so heavily Catholic, most people would be resistant to it.
So you occasionally offend people?
Zambrano: Yeah. At one venue, we had two big inverted crosses. The venue sound guy did his job, but at the end of the show, he told some other people that he got offended by the inverted crosses.
Are you bothered when people are offended?
Zambrano: Oh, no, not one bit. That probably just motivates us more.
Visit www.myspace.com/mutilacion for more information.