Tardive Dyskinesia – Anger meets Optimism

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It doesn’t happen very often to have a complete band for an interview. But in October 2015 all the guys from greek’s Modern Progressive Metal Band Tardive Dyskinesia agreed to meet at a american sports bar in Cologne, where they were to play Euroblast Festival. Back then, although only six months ago, the main media topic in Germany was the finanical crisis of Greece, on the edge of bancrupcy. People were losing their Jobs, their  To it was very natural not only to talk about Music, but also about their lives in Greece as Musicians. Manthos (vocals), Nicos (drums), Petros (guitar), Steve (guitar) and Kornelios (bass) spoke very open-heartedly about what’s on their minds. It was a fun Meeting, but it was also very profound, maybe even a little serious. Enjoy the interview with These great five lads as much as I did enjoy Meeting them.

WS: Tell us something about your band that you guys consider as important. What kind of music do you guys stand for.

Manthos: We are a band for about 10 years, our name is Tardive Dyskinesia. We’ve been involved in the greek music scene for about 15 years. We’ve release three full length albums and have been on several tours. Our latest work is the single „The Electric Sun“, which we have released on vinyl. We dig bands like Meshuggah or Textures – progressive stuff. ALL progressive stuff, not only the newest. We really like the classical stuff like Rush or King Crimson also very much.

Steve: You will hear their influences on our coming album.

Nicos: We’d love to put our music in the first place in our lives, but actually it’s the second place right now. We all have to work for a living, so all of us are doing something else in the morning. With our music, we try to give whatever we have inside of us.

WS: So what do you guys do in your everydays jobs?

Manthos: I’m a graphic designer.

Steve: I am a music producer.

Nicos: I’m a lawyer.

Petros: I’m a barber.

Kornelius: I work in a music bar and am also a software designer.

Nicos: And I’m his lawyer. (everbody laughs)

WS: This was actually a question that I was going to ask you later. Because greece has been in the news very much. Because of the financial crisis a lot of people lost their jobs, unemployment and poverty are on the rise. Some people may even have to leave their families behind to make a living in another country. So you seem to be in a rather lucky position.

Manthos: In the moment. We are in the moment. We have enough money to pay our bills, the rent for our houses and to eat. Even enough to come here to attend Euroblast Festival. So we are glad we can afford the basic stuff.

WS: My overall question was if it has become even harder to make a living as a musician?

Manthos: All of that stuff happening is effecting us. Not so much ourselves, but we have many friends that don’t have jobs. We have seen this situation growing for five years and we don’t know how the future is gonna look like.

Nicos: Even if you have your job, your money and your life, what happens to a lot of your friends and family effects you psychologically.

Steve: It’s hard to focus on the music in this situation.

Manthos: Not only the music, but all of your life.

Nicos: You just have to switch on the TV and watch the news – and your going crazy.

Manthos: We quit watching TV (laughs).

Steve: But we keep doing our stuff. The stuff we like.

WS: But compared to the overall situation, you seem to be in a rather lucky position. At least everyone of you appears to have a job.

Petros: We’re all here. Obviously. But we did work hard to come here.

WS: I’m glad to hear that, because I really wondered about that when I prepared myself for the interview. Because there have been so many bad news from Greece.

Manthos: It’s a media war.

WS: Yeah, I always try to look beyond the mainstream media in Germany and inform myself in alternative media as well. I’ve seen reports lately that told me that quite a lot of people don’t even have health care anymore. The state cut it, the salaries of the people working in the hospitals are not paid anymore and sort of that stuff.

Manthos: You see people looking at the garbage. Not so many, but you do see them. That wasn’t usual a few years ago. It’s something new, even though it’s a minority. You see that in other countries as well, maybe Greece is only the first one in Europe and there a more countries coming.

Nicos: I think it’s a general, geo-political situation. Maybe, I say maybe – the other countries and America wann hit Europe through the weakest.

WS: Yeah, maybe. A few years ago I wouldn’t have believed that, but today, I’m not so sure anymore what’s going on behind closed doors.

Petros: But even though we have our difficulties to do „our thing“, we also see the coin from the opposite side. So you can say that the financial crisis effects the band, but on the other hand, it’s even useful in a certain way. Because it makes you feel: „I’m not going to stop this. I will try harder. Maybe I find something else to do with my music. I won’t stop doing this!“

WS: You try to put the emotions, the anger in the creative process to make more music. So your next album will probably be the best to date, because there’s so much anger and emotion.

Manthos: We hope so. We have already a great album, but of course every band says that. All of our albums characterize a special period that we went through in our lives. And of course it’s the same with the new album. We’ve been working on it for almost three years now and it’s finally on the mix with Mr. Steve Lado.

WS: So it’s coming very soon? Did you produce all of your albums on your own and put it out independently?

Steve: I only produced the last one. „Static Apathy In Fast Forward“.

Manthos: Our first album, in 2006, we put out over a greek independent label. After that, we signed with an italian label, Coroner Records. They brought out „The Sea of see Through Skins“ in 2009. Our latest album was released with another greek independent label called „Catch the Soap“. Now we’re looking for a better deal for us. Maybe it will never come, maybe we will release it with ourselves. You never know. But of course we will try for the best.

WS: What kind of things do you absolutely dislike when you read reviews about your music?

Manthos: I have something. I think when people say that we play Djent. I don’t think that we play Djent. Maybe we have some influences, like Meshuggah. But nowadays it has become quite clear what Djent represents. And I don’t know if we represent that. It doesn’t bother me that much but I don’t think that we fit so much with all those bands that represent Djent today.

Petros: For me, it’s a simple thing. I don’t have a problem with freedom of speech. Everybody can say whatever they want. Of course we want to hear things like „They’re a great band“, it doesn’t matter if they call us Djent or Progressive or whatever. So I don’t have a problem with reading reviews. Everybody can say whatever they want. The point is: Honest reactions matter to me.

WS: Do you try to put constructive feedback into your music, if you read something that appeals to you?

All: No.

Manthos: We play the music that we want to listen ourselves. When I write music, I write music that I want to hear from other bands. That’s my concept. It doesn’t really matter to me what people write about our music, if they like it or not. Of course I like to hear that the people like it and of course that’s a reward. But we will put the same effort to a show, even if only ten people show up. But we don’t look to the music press. Whatever that means.

WS: That’s something that I really respect and like about the so called „Progressive“ Bands. Because that’s what „progressive“ means in the first place, doesn’t it? Go beyond the boundaries, beyond the expectations, beyond clicheés and Genres. And that’s usually very passionate and authentic music, even though it might not be the best idea in terms of record sales.

Manthos: There’s no limit. If you start a band and you are only focused to sell records, there are many other sorts of music where that easier.

WS: The title of your last Album is „Static Apathy In Fast Forward“. Did you have something special in your mind when choosing that Title? Has it something to do with the special situation that your country is in? We talked about that already.

Petros: A little bit, but not only in Greece but globally. „Static Apathy In Fast Forward“. You can see that everywhere. Everyone is moving with a hundred miles an hour. Everyone is watching this without doing anything at all. You have your computer, you have access to everything, you can comment on the social media, but it doesn’t change anything.

Nicos: Die Menschheit ist ein Krebsgeschwür.

WS: Seems like a quite political approach to how you guys see the world. Do you see yourself as a political band?

Manthos: Not so much. We are all part of the problem. In my job as a graphic designer, I work with my computer a lot. I read news on the computer, I see people die at the computer. I see all this shit that’s going on. But I stay at my computer. And this is tragic.

WS: So you guys have a great opportunity to express all your thoughts and feelings in your music. And that’s awesome because it’s a way a lot of people can relate to, maybe even more than in most other ways.

WS: What do you think about guitars with more than six strings?

Petros: Useless.

Manthos: Well, sometimes it’s also a little bit of pretending. There are bands that play eight string guitars, but only use four of them. (Laughs)

Kornelios: I have my own theory. I think eight string guitars are a fake bass. They play the same frequences as a bass player does.

Petros: It doesn’t have to do anything with frequences. I think seven or eight strings are useful for guys who have the abilities to use them. Also, the bands want to hear themselves heavier. But it’s not useful for us as a band. I strive already with six strings. (smiles)

Manthos: Yeah, bands like Animals as Leaders. You know, these guys acutally USE all the strings.

WS: Last question: What does the world need?

Kornelios: A restart.

Petros: Well, I think that what we just experience, is kind of a new start. In a sick way. There are a few guys that want it for everybody on this planet. This is my opinion, this is not the bands opinion.

WS: I’m on you side. Because everytime if there is a big thing going on, it’s a good questions to ask: Who benefits? And for the most part, that is not what the mass media is telling you, of course.

Kornelios: The mass media lies. All the time.

Petros: And it has been that way before over the centuries. Few against many.

Manthos: Yeah, and it seems obvious to me that the german media draws a whole different picture then the greek media does.

WS: But there’s still great music out there. At least!

Manthos: Yeah, and that’s sort of why we came here. To share our music and to have a few beers. Prost!

 

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VEKTOR: Sci-Fi or Die! (Interview)

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Vektor is a Progressive Thrash Metal Band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The four guys including singer, guitarist and founder David DiSanto have been around for almost 15 years, creating their very own approach of Metal, including enthusiasm for Science-Fiction. In December 2015 the band were more than excited to get on their very first European Headliner Tour, just very shortly after the horrible terrorist attacks at Bataclan Club in Paris. I talked to David right before their only Swiss Show about their roots and Thrash Metal in general, about philosophy and religion and of course ubout their upcoming third album „Terminal Redux“ (due in May 2016 at Earache Records). This interview is a raw and unedited transcript. There will be an edited, german translation coming up at Whiskey-Soda Webzine, which I conducted the interview for.

Whiskey-Soda Magazine: It’s your first tour to Europe and you’ve been to France and Italy. What are your thoughts touring Europe considering the latest events? It’s only three weeks after the Terrorist attacks at Bataclan in Paris. Do you feel safe and comfortable?

David DiSanto: There was just a very short conversation in the band like: „Are we still gonna do this? Yeah, let’s do it! Fuck that!“ Obviously it’s very sad what happened from these terrorist assholes. But we won’t gonna let detour us from playing. There was already a bunch of people that wanted to see us. After something like that happens, there’s much tighter border control, there’s tighter security. It was a little nervewrecking some night, though. A few days ago when we played in Paris, there was a mobile police station outside the doors. Once we started playing the crowd started going nuts. The venue was close to being sold out. So when everything kicked off, we felt okay.

WS: You are a Thrash Metal Band. What about this Statment: „Thrash Metal is still musically relevant today.“ Agree or Disagree? In my reception, there’s mostly the veteran bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and so on.

DD: At the core, we’re a Thrash-Metal band. There’s a lot of newer bands, and a lot of the new bands only like the old bands. So I kind of fall into this category. My favourite Thrash-Bands are the old ones, although there are a few ones that I really like. Like Antichrist, „Forbidden World“ was a great album. But there’s no huge bands. So People might call it a revival, but it’s not anywhere big as it used to be.

WS: But the old bands are still very popular, or popular again. I think it’s because Thrash has a good part of „old values“ in it, it’s usually raw, straight-forward and authentic. Unlike a lot of polished, over-produced newer Metalbands, that sound pretty much the same and become boring very soon. So why aren’t there more younger Thrash-Bands coming up a little closer to the Surface of success? There are a lot of Death-Metal-Bands that get bigger audiences, and of course the more Mainstream Stuff. So if Thrash is altogether honest and straight, why isn’t that the case for them, too?

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DD: Well, I think it’s a lot of factors. For a lot of Kids today it’s much more easier to copy other people because of the internet. They have the world at their fingertips. They can go to Youtube-Channel after Youtube-Channel and just binge on it. When I was younger, I didn’t have a ton of bands. They way I found out about bands was reading Thank You Notes in Albums. When I decided to start a Thrash-Band I didn’t really know about many Thrash-Bands, but I was listening to all kinds of music. So I ended up blending a lot of different things. But today there’s so much Thrash available so the kids tend to just copy it all. And it doesn’t end up coming off as genuine as a lot of the older bands. You can name them all, they all sound very different: Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Kreator, Destruction, Slayer, Violence, Forbidden. They all got Thrash elements, but you can tell them apart easily. That’s not something you can really do nowadays.

WS: Maybe it is just because there are some many bands nowadays. It’s much easier to produce an album, you don’t necessarily need a record deal. You can pay for the production of your own album with crowdfunding. With the internet, the world is at your fingertips and once the music is done, and album is just „a few“ clicks away.

DD: Well, there probably was a lot of bands back then, but nobody knew who the hell they were. It wasn’t flooded like today. The only people that actually got noticed were the really good bands.

WS: I assume you guys are close to the metal underground, at least at the US East Coast. What exciting stuff is going on there? Are there any great new Metal bands coming up that you can recommend to our Readers?

DD: One of the coolest younger bands coming out of our area is called Noisem, they’re from Baltimore and they’re awesome. When they came oout with there first album, which is just a year or two ago. They’re only teenagers, but they’re ripping it up. So they’re a great band. We’ve some friends in Black Fast, they’re not so much East Coast. They’re getting bigger now and they’re gonna catching the last leg of the Voivod Tour with us. Black Fast is very progressive, for fans of bands like Cynic and late Death and stuff like that.

WS: You are an insider recommendation to discover within the Thrash Metal Scene. Why should any Metal Fan pick up your music in the first place? I give you some room for free promotion and shameless profiling.

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DD: This is the one thing were I don’t like thrown in with the Thrash bands. Because there are so many more elements to our music, it’s not just one thing. It’s a little bit of Black Metal, there is parts that are almost reminiscent of Pink Floyd, very atmospheric, big chords. There are a lot of dynamics in our music, so a lot of proggy guys like it because of all the changes and the technicality. Thrash kids like it because there are a lot of Thrash-Riffs, Black Metal kids like it because of the vocals and there are a lot of Blastbeats.

WS: Let’s come to your upcoming album „Terminal Redux“: I know music can’t be described easily, but will you take the challenge? What are the differences compared to its predecessor or what else do you consider important to know about it?

DD: A little bit. It’s a constant evolution, constant progression with our sound. Without straying, I always despised bands when I was growing up. I like a natural progression, but I hate it when bands just change. Some bands loop around full circle. Like the new Voivod Album for example. I think it is much more reminiscent of their earlier career. Coming back to our album: It has got all the elements that make up a Vektor record: A lot of heavy Thrash riffs, there are nice, pretty clean parts. But everything is just like times ten. I think it maybe sounds a little bit more like „Black Future“ (Debut-Album von 2009), feeling-wise. I tried out a few things, I did clean vocals in parts of the last two songs. We got these two Soul Singer girls from Philadelphia with crazy, powerful, soulful vocals on a couple of songs. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard it.

WS: How did that happen, Soul Singers on a Metal Album? Was it something you tried to challenge yourself with, did just met them?

DD: The guitar happened first, that’s how I work. I just write it all out on guitar. When I play it and listen to it, ideas start to pop up in my head. The first song on the album has this riff that switches from major to minor – going back and forth like the key changes but it has it’s very grandiose sound. I started making up this vocal melody in my head, thinking of some of the guys singing it. When I was thinking I had the feeling of „I need Soul Singers for this.“ I don’t know, it just kinda happened. But I’ve always been a big Pink Floyd fan, which had probably something to do with it.

WS: A lot of Metal Bands deal with Gory Monster, Skulls and Pentagrams and stuff. You developed an fictitious universe telling the story of an individual in the Cygnus regime. Why is metal and science-fiction so close? And why Science-ficiton and not Fantasy?

DD: The easy answer is because we’re all nerds. (Laughs)

Well, I think it just kinda fits with our technical kind of music. And I think people that dig technical music also like science and philosophy, deeper thought patterns. I don’t get into a lot of brutal stuff, I like thought provoking music and I like music that moves me. It can still be Thrash metal, I like Slayer a lot.

WS: So Science-Fiction fits your music much more than pathetic fantasy stuff?

DD: Yeah, safe the fantasy and unicorns for Prog Music and the Dragons for Power Metal. (laughs)

WS: Do you know any other Metal Bands that fascinate you when it comes to the Science-Fiction approach?

DD: Voivod of course, they’ve been one of my favourites for a long time. There’s also Algebra from Switzerland, they’re awesome and Aspid from Russia. They’ve one album, „Extravasation“, it’s from 92.

WS: The protagonist of „Terminal Redux“ takes command over the Cygnus forces after a coup, but eventually realizes that power is just an illusion. This appears very interesting to me. What political or philosophical thoughts are behind that conclusion?

 

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DD: Power is an illusion. At the end of the day, we’re just people. We live in this universe that we don’t fully understand. You can expand the topic into a lot of fields or different paths of life. For my it’s a very personal, kind of reflective approach. Thinking about what my life was, what I wanted in life, about my goals and if I got those things to happen. What if I had everything I wanted and would I be happy. It’s kind of a battle, detaining this, these unreachable things and what happened when you have those. There’s a lot of meaning within the lyrics, like Cygnus itself was chosen because it signifies the bird atop the stellar tree that controls this flow of souls. I don’t really believe in the astrological things like that, but I thought it was just pretty cool. There is certain things in there, there’s a star named „Our Shame“ that explodes. It’s all about balance, and when you put people in charge of life and death – what happens then? Because that’s what we try to do. We try to do it in our cities, in our home, within our friendships – we try to control these factors that aren’t necessarily meant to be controlled.

 WS: For you as a musician, are technical achievements just a tool to get your job done more easily or is it something you also enjoy? You already mentionted that you see yourself as a „Nerd“ also. What’s your opinion?

DD: I like to keep it simple on stage. I still have just an instrument cable from my guitar to my amplifier. I don’t have a lot of crazy effects, as far as making things interesting and new – that comes from my brain. I don’t need a lot of tools to make that happen. A lot of people are very much into weird effects, but I like to keep it simple. Guitar. Distortion or clean. Otherwise I just use effects that have been around since the 70s.

WS: Switch of topics into another direction. We touched the subject of philosophical themes, of responsibility. I had the pleasure of interviewing several christian metal bands in the past. Do you know any christian metal bands and what comes to your mind when you hear the topic? Religion and metal?

DD: Well, there was this particular band, Believer. They’re fucking awesome. I really, really like their music. But lyrics are such an important part of music for me, that I can’t just overlook it. If the lyrics are too cheesy I kind of wanna laugh. Every time I hear very christian lyrics, I reminds me of South Park. (Imitates a South Park song that is overly satirical). If you’re from an educated society, you shouldn’t even be doing anything like that. I like science, and I like reason. For me Christianity or any religion shouldn’t fucking exist in any progressive society nowadays. It doesn’t matter, if it’s connected to metal or something else. Living in Philadelphia I understand why a lot of people are religious. It’s because they’re poor, the education system sucks. A lot of them get a good education, so they can’t really think for themselves. I understand, why it exists, bot it bothers me.

WS: Your band name refers to a a position and a certain direction, like the mathematic term. Right?

DD: Yes and No. Actually I took the name of the biological definition, where it means „carrier of a deasease“, we are the carrier of a deseased music.

WS: Well, sounds a little bit more appealing to a metal band, but it doesn’t fit my last question. (Both Laughing) Because that was: What postition is Vektor now and what direction are you going?

DD: Hopefully up and up. We just gonna stay true to what we do and see where it takes us. If it doesn’t make us happy any more, we figure something else.

WS: I was smiling when I read all your excited comments about the upcoming first tour in europe. You were so enthusiastic and it appealed to me very much in a authentic way. Thank you for your time, looking forward to the Gig, David!

 

An enthusiastic Growl of gratitude and friendship goes out to Carin Vinzens at http://www.bodypics.ch for the photos.

 

 

Revulsed by Filth, Greed and Darkness

 

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He’s sort of a pioneer – at least when it comes to connect Extreme Metal to profound Christian values. Jayson Sherlock was the Drummer in Mortification, whose „Scrolls of the Megilloth“ is still an outstanding Death-Metal-Album almost 25 years after ist release. Sherlock carried on with Death-Doom-Stronghold Paramaecium and was the first musician to release an Christian Black Metal Album with Horde. 2015 marks a new step in the career of the versatile Artist. His new Band is Revulsed – and Sherlocks aim was to take brutality and heaviness to a whole new Level. He was Kind enough to answer a few questions about his new Band. This interview is also available in a german Translation at Whiskey-Soda-Webzine.

Eskapismus: Hi Jayson, could you please tell something about the founding of the Band? In understand that InExordium appeared to be the „father“ of the band. How was Revulsed born?

Jayson Sherlock (JS): Basically without going into too much gory detail, after my long time collaborator and great friend Jason Deron left inExordium, and was replaced by Sheldon D’Costa, Sheldon and myself, after a few months of struggling to keep the excitement and enthusiasim going for inExordium, (the other two members simply no longer exhibited the passion for the music that Sheldon and I had) we decided to leave inExordium. We had a dinner meeting, I made my intentions to leave clear to the 3 other guys. Sheldon, after following my work from the very first Mortification albums, decided to stay with me and form Revulsed. The other guys had full control and creative licence over inExordium, and could have taken it to whatever ends they wished, and they, as proof of their lack of desire, chose to let it die a slow death. Not even advising their fans of the status of the band for months and months. Leaving them in bewilderment as to what had happened. Sheldon and I were then free to forge ahead creatively and pursue our dreams to create brutal old school death metal with a slam-tech modern twist. Some still classify Revulsed as brutal technical death metal, but to us we are death metal, pure and simple, the way it was meant to be.

E.: Is there something special that you want to point out regarding the Revulsed album or something that you are especially proud of? What distinguishes it from the music you did earlier?

JS : I think the main thing is that for most, when one gets older, the norm is to go lighter, slower, simpler and softer, etc… I wanted to do the total opposite. inExordium was the heaviest and most brutal thing I’d done since Mortification – Scrolls of the Megilloth or Paramaecium – Exhumed of the Earth. With Revulsed, I knew I wanted to go even further than inExordium did and Sheldon was totally onboard. Sheldon is a master of brutal riffs and a killer soloist and he is heavily influenced by the early Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation material, so he was just what Revulsed needed and  there would be no Revulsed without him. I guess I always wanted to outdo those earlier albums of mine in terms of speed and overall brutality, everyone always says, when is Mortification going to release Scrolls part two? Scrolls part two is no longer required Revulsed is here. I am not only proud to work with one of my closest friends in Sheldon, but I’m also SUPER proud and blown away to have had the absolute pleasure of working with the best death metal vocalist ever, Mr Konstantin Lühring, whom you should know from Defeated Sanity and Despondency fame.

E.: It’s horrible of me to let a father choose between his « kids », but if you had to pick one Revulsed song, which one would it be and why ?

JS : This is an impossible question to answer honestly because every single song on Infernal Atrocity I’m very happy with. We wanted to make absolutely sure there were no filler songs AT ALL on this record. I honestly can’t choose one song because they all have something unique to say. But, have said ALL THAT, if I absolutely HAD to choose one, it would be Agonising Putrid Self Infliction. This song encapsulates everything the Revulsed is in one song. Agonising Putrid Self Infliction was also the first song we used as a test track for Konni to try out on and he utterly killed it, and in one brutal take I believe

E.: If you had to do some namedropping of similar bands to help new listeners to get an idea how Revulsed sounds, which Bands appear on you mind ?

JS : Well one dude said it took him back to Suffocations first album, Effigy of the Forgotten, which blew me away. But I guess, somewhere between Defeated Sanity, Suffocation – Effigy, Pierced from Within era, Gorguts – The Erosion of Sanity era, and Cannibal Corpse – Tomb of the Mutilated era, with some elements of modern slam thrown in

E.: The Cover Artwork of your new album is absolutely outstanding. In which way does it represent the music or the lyrics on it?

JS: Well, thank you very much, I designed it and came up with the concept, but full credit goes to Pär Olofsson. He brought the cover art to living, breathing, impaling life and he is the master. The cover is basically the Infernal Atrocity itself. It represents the filth that is destroying this world, with each passing day, the world is sinking deeper and deeper into well, shit basically. Just take a look at whats happening in the middle east, and thats only a glimpse of the full picture. So the tree is a symbol of the evil in the world, some folks take it as a symbolic representation, while others as a realistic manifestation of the present state of evil. The tree is impaling it’s victims mercilessly. Just as evil does. The number of dead in the cover art is beyond count or measure. Some of the dead, the spirits are rising to a new life. Finally in the far left side of the art, we see a sun rise, this signifies that the time of evil will come to an end, and the sun (or light) will consume it (the darkness).

 

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E.: You are a graphic designer by profession and created some great cover artworks in the past, mostly for your own projects. Why did you choose to hand your cover concept over to Pär Olofsson (who is of course by far one oft he most outstanding Metal Artists) in the first place?

JS: I knew that this cover art was going to be WAAAAY beyond my pitiful skills. So we had a few artists to choose from, but, at the end of the day, Pär was really the only choice if we wanted perfection, which is what we got. I’m a huge fan of his, and have been for years and years. Loved his work for The Faceless, Immolation, Abysmal Dawn, Psycroptic and so on, so we knew that he was going to be the best choice for us. Also it’s worth mentioning that without Stefan from Permeateds financial intervention we could never have afforded to employ Pär to paint the cover. So a HUGE thanks goes to him.

E.: You are known for your former bands Mortification and Horde. As a christian musician I presume, that your beliefs also effect you art. What topics do the Revulsed Lyrics talk about ?

JS: Revulsed is not a Christian band per se, however we do make it a point to have intelligent positive faith based lyrical content to contrast with 90% of the brutal death metal lyrics out there today. We are just over the violence towards women and general gore for gores sake. It’s all been done to death and it’s getting really old. Our songs are about topics such as greed, the results of a separation from God, hurtful and negative words towards others, the positive transformation of the mind, physical purification and refinement, corporate greed, celestial visions and detailed descriptions of dark entities and their demise. Hope that all makes sense !

E.: The singer on the album is Konstanin Lühring, the former singer of Defeated Sanity. How do you manage to have a singer from the other side of the world? What about the future, touring, more music with this „geographical challenge“? Is Revulsed a „Project“», or a „real band“ ?

JS : First and foremost Revulsed is most definately a band and not just a project, Sheldon and myself have been working with our new bass player, Mark Smith, who has been learning and tabbing out our songs from scratch. Our dream is to start playing this material live sometime very soon. We have been advertising for a local Melbourne based vocalist so we will see how that journey unfirls. Konni is THE Revulsed vocalist right now but due to the distance between us, it makes rehearsals and live shows with him impossible for the moment. However, if we get the opportunity to play live shows in Europe, then it will be totally possible. Revulsed will never be a massive extensive touring band, we would be more than happy to play a very small tour here or a festival there, thats all. We are all family guys who are busy at home, so we cannot be away for too long. How we connected with Konni is an amazing story. Basically in a nutshell, I was wearing a Defeated Sanity shirt in a Revulsed photoshoot we did for the album, and I used the image as my Facebook profile picture. Konni was my Facebook friend at the time but we hadn’t really connected properly yet, so when he saw the profile picture he was blown away, as he was a fan of the early Mortification material back in the 90s. So this started an amazing dialogue between us about basically everything, inlcuding our latest musical pursuits. Which let me to mentioning the fact that all we needed to do for the Revulsed debut was record the vocals, Konni then asked if he could  listen to the material and then offered to learn and perform all the vocals on Infernal Atrocity. I bascially couldn’t breathe. My favourite vocalist from my favorite band just asked me if he could record the vocals for my album. That was a miracle right there. I make no apology for stating that God set that up no doubt.

E.: Anything else you want to tell our readers at the end of this interview?

JS: Just to say thanks for the support and interest! The album is availble in digital format form our bandcamp page: https://revulsed.bandcamp.com/releases

And CD’s and merch from Permeated Records: http://permeated.bigcartel.com/

Thanks for the interview!

 

Album Stream:

 

 

Revulsed are :

Jayson Sherlock (Ex-Mortification, Ex-Paramaecium, Ex-Horde) – Drums

Sheldon D’Acosta (Ex-InExodrium, Ex-Incursion, Ex-Incarnate) – Guitars

Konstantin Lühring (Ex-Despondency, Ex-Defeated Sanity) – Vocals

Mark Smith (Ex-Bind Torture Kill, Ex-Severed Abortion) – Bass

 

 

 

Norwegian Profoundness – Einar Solberg of Leprous (Interview)

 

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Norwegian Proggers Leprous are on their way up. They absolutley deserve to be up there. Their very one-of-a-Kind, emotional Prog-Metal is still getting better and better. At Euroblast Festival in Cologne I had the opportunity to talk to their Musical mastermind Einar Solberg. This is the raw, almost unedited, english Version of the Interview. There’s a German Translation available at Whiskey-Soda Webzine. Enjoy!

 

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WS: You’re on tour now to promote your latest album „The Congregation“, which has just been released a few weeks ago. How has everything been so far?

ES: Well, the response has been really awesome and everything. It’s very nice for us to get such good feedback. But still, we need to distance ourselves a little bit from all the feedback, wether it’s positive or negative we need to keep focused on the music and do things better. The problem is that everyone has his different opinions and when you start considering them, it just becomes chaos. And that really leads you off the path in a way. A lot of people set their opinions as facts, so you just need to keep focused.

WS: Although I’ve been doing it for a few years now, it’s very hard to write about music. You can describe it and try to get something said about it, but it’s still very subjective. More than to write about video games or movies for example. A lot of it is a matter of taste of course. So you gotta keep true to yourself.

ES: It’s the only thing that you can do as an artist actually. That’s why it is very important to us during the writing process of new music to really isolate ourselves. Of course, there are a few selected people, that we share our thoughts, because we trust in their opinion. It’s nice to get some outside views sometimes, but it has to be somebody that we really trust and who knows what he is talking about. I’m the same like this when it comes to other subjects, I have a lot to say, but when it all comes down, I haven’t got a clue (Laughs). Doesn’t matter if its politics or other stuff. Everyone has a lot more opinion then knowledge.

WS: One thing were you obviously don’t care about how your audience reacts is the way you present your vocals. They are intense in a way, but also quite soft considered the style of other vocals in metal bands or even compared to the hard riffs in your music. Is it your natural tone, was it an intentional decision to sing this way? Why do you sing the way you do?

ES: Well, I still scream from time to time, but more like an effect than to sing vocals. It’s still a part of Leprous, but it will never be a main part. The more I develop, the less I think about how to sing. Also I think that you can not sing properly unless you relax yourself – that’s true to a lot of other stuff as well.

WS: Yeah, if you have listened to the last few albums of Leprous you gotta notice that you developed very much as a singer. From time to time you remind me of a famous singer. Can you guess who I mean?

ES: Well, of course I have been told before. There are different people. Because I listen to a lot of Radiohead people tell me that I remind them of Muse – because they are also inspired by Radiohead. Was it Muse?

WS: It’s a guy that comes from Norway and is very famous there.

ES: Morten Harket?

WS: Yeah.

ES: Hmm, I’ve heard that one before amongst other names. But he’s normally singing much clearer than me. But if you think about ‚The Cloak‘, I understand what you mean. Some memories create associations. And of course he’s an awesome vocalist. But I like A-ha very much, so it’s definitely a compliment.

WS: You started your musical career as the Keyboarder of Isahn of Emperor, who is your brother in law I believe. I was asking myself how that experience in particular as a part of the Black Metal Scene influenced the music you went on making later on.

ES: Everything you do, that you spend time on is a part of your shaping of who you are in a way, you cannot control that. I’m not very directly inspired by black metal any more, but still I really appreciate dark and melancholic music in general. Much more than other stuff. So of course a lot of Extreme Metal falls in that category. We still have some sections here and there that resamble that. My favourite record the last year was Behemoth, „The Satanist“. Even though I’m not that much into Extreme Metal any more. Because I think the most of the bands keep repeating themselves.

WS: What did you like about it specifically?

ES: They had the passion – like they were meaning every single note that they were playing. That’s what I need in music – I need a passion, really going deeply into it. That’s what I love about it. I had absolutely zero relation to the band until I saw them live and they played a few songs from that album. I’ve always thought they were not that interesting, but then I saw them live. So I really don’t mind genres in music. I mind mood and atmosphere. Some electronic or pop bands can be darker and more intense than some extreme metal Bands in my opinion. It’s about going deep and some people I believe are playing music just on the surface. When I go on big metal festivals I always think: Same, same, same… Another thing that is very important that a band or their music has it’s own character. I don’t even have to like it, but it needs to have some character. Regardless if I like their music or not. You can recognize that within five seconds. Their are a lot of bands that I don’t like, but I respect them very much for having it. Just take one of your german superstars from Rammstein. I don’t like them, but I respect them very much for having their own sound. You recognize them in two seconds. And that’s what is most important in my opinion. Being true to themselves and not trying to fit into something.

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WS: You told me of Behemoth and I talked about Emperor earlier. So there’s another question on my mind now. Do you think their passion for their music is linked up with their personal view of the world, their beliefs, all the occult and satanistic stuff?

ES: I don’t take that part of it so serious, to be honest. I think it’s more like a gimmick for them. The musical, emotional part of it – that seems to be very very sincere. Like giving their whole soul into making it.

WS: I read an interview of the Bandleader of Behemoth, Nergal, a while ago in a christian metal magazine. And it was very, very interesting. He was very respectful, but also very clear in his words that the occult ideas are something that he relates to very much. Almost like a sort of personal belief. I think, that may be at least a part of the sincerety that you feel.

ES: Well. Maybe.

WS: Artistic Dreams.

ES: The only thing, that I really, really want to do, is to be able to live fully out of the music – and it’s getting closer. So that’s my main dream – so that I can focus only on that. I’m kind of in a good circle now because until now, I had to work a lot besides the band. We’re all still trying to get things better, and the bigger the band gets – and it’s gradually getting better and better for us now – the more time I get to make it even better. I already have the live of my dreams – and now the next thing is to live off the music.

WS: That’s funny because Oystein was telling me the same when I asked him the same question in a e-mail-interview two years ago.

ES: Really? He isn’t that obsessed with living off the music. He’s that kind of guy that needs some of the „normal world“ besides the music. He needs that. And I don’t. (laughs)

Real world, go away, I want to focus on the music. I think everybody who sets long-term goals and works hard enough for them, will finally achieve them if they have the talent. At least in the western world, where you have the economical possibilities. It’s just about not giving up. It sounds like a clichee, but that’s the reason why it’s a clichee. Because it’s actually true.

WS: Did it help you to change to InsideOut Music?

ES: Yes, very much. Because they reach much more people than the last label we had. That definitely helped. And we have our own artistic freedom, sometimes we’re discussing a little bit, but in the end, WE chose what we do. Sometimes they make suggestions like „maybe you should put this there and cut away that song“ and stuff. Sometimes we listen if they got a point, but in the end it becomes what we’re convinced about. That’s also in our contract and that’s very cool. I don’t mind if they got opinions about our music – because sometimes you can get lost a bit in your own world. Sometimes it helps, to see things rationally.

WS: Well, I think it’s always a big tension between staying true to yourself and everything. But of cause these guys now about marketing and all that stuff.

ES: Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes label tend to overthinking everything. They sometimes make the audience more stupid then they are. We had a discussion regarding the length of the album. They wanted it shorter. But we said we won’t cut away two songs. It’s doesn’t matter if the album is long or short. It’s the same with movies. A four hour movie can seem short if you like it. And a 90 minutes movie can seem like an eternity if you don’t like it. That’s what I mean. It’s just numbers. But in the end we agreed and now they’re advertising it: „This 64 Minute Album“ (laughs). And of course a long album is not a bad thing in the Prog Scene.

 

 

 

Pervy Perkin – Six friends & A Hell of a Journey

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They’re six friends from Murcia/Spain and they’re on a Mission: Shake their country’s underground with exciting Music beyond borders and expectations. Their Album „Ink“ is a 147 Minutes Monster of creativity, odd mixtures of Styles, Time Signatures and Instruments. If you’re into Progressive Rock Music, you have to check out these guys! The Band took the challenge to answer a few of my questions about their Music, their upbringing, their relationships and emotions on their Journey as a underground Band. Their answers were very insightful, profound and authentic. Have fun getting to know Dante, Alvaro, Aks, Alex and Carly. And check out their album and support them – you won’t regret it and will be kept busy for months diving into that Double-Album.

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1. Ola Companeros, thanks for taking your time to answer some questions for the Readers of German alternative Music Magazine whiskey-soda.de. The most important thing for the start: Whiskey Soda or some Spanish Brandy?

(All) Hola! Gracias for having us here.
(Alvaro) Apart from Russian vodka and German beer (nationality is very important, you know) I’m not very into alcholic drinks but if you invite me for a whiskey soda I’ will appreciate it 😉 (I can’t stand anything related to wine)
(Carly) I prefer some classic beer, like heavy metal beer with harleys, girls and all that shit, haha just kidding. I have to try some whiskey soda though 😉 .

2. Why don’t we start giving you the opportunity to introduce yourself as a band? You’re quite new to the scene, especially outside of your homecountry Spain.

(Carly) I Think we are quite new here in Spain too, we have a long road to travel.
Well, we are a bunch of guys wanting to express ourselves through music, and we are giving to the music just our grain of sand. Through our life experiences and the wide range of music we listen, we are trying to translate that into notes from our point of view. We are all different personalities, and there lies the magic of it all.

3. Who are you guys, and can you tell us something about the meaning of your bands name? Is your keyboarder Ugo a constant band member? (Your bandcamp lists him, your facebook doesn’t). And if not – why is that? A prog metal band has to feature a keyboarder, right? 😉
(Dante) (laughs) The story of the band’s name… well, in the early stages of the band we were obsessed with the story of Perkin Warbeck, who proclaimed to be the true king of England, the lost son of Edward IV, and the rightful heir. He wasn’t, he was just a son of a seaman but a lot of people believed in him and he got pretty close to rule one of the most powerful empires of the world just by lying. Wonderful. For us this story meant a lot socially, and about the human race, and we used to call him Pervy Perkin so…hence the name.
Ugo is not a band member anymore! He was in the past, in the time we recorded „Ink“. But when the record was in its final stages he told us he wanted to do something else, so he left. In good terms of course, he was a great friend of ours before the band and still is. The bandcamp lists him becouse he was a member in the recording of „Ink“. Right now, the line-up of the band is formed by Alex Macho (lead singer), Alvaro Luis (Guitars), Aks (Bass), Carly Pajarón (Drums and singer) and me, Dante (Guitars and singer). And yes, we consider the keyboard really important in Pervy Perkin, and we are in the search of a new keyboard player!
4. Tell us something about your musical education, maybe you have an anecodte from your childhood days that has to do with it? Moms annoying you to get back to your piano rehearsals? 😉
(Dante) Each one? Hahah ok. Alvaro dale!
(Alvaro) Well, I’ve spent 6 years, since I was 12, in a music academy in Murcia learning classic guitar, music theory and 2 years of piano lessons but I left all of this because I moved to Madrid. I will never forget my first guitar exam because when my turn came I realized that I left my scores at home and I had to play (or at least try) everything by heart… It was so embarrassing… However the first piece came out well but the second one was a total disaster. Nowadays it is just a snug and funny memory and I smile everytime I remember that moment. I think I still have the videotape maybe in a couple of years it will see the light… God forbid hahaha.
(Dante) For me it has been all self-tought. I mean I had a couple of private lessons with some teachers at the begginning; the usual stuff: chords, picking…you know. But it didn’t last long. I don’t remember why actually, I suppose I felt comfortable learning on my own. And an anecdote…well I went into an oficial music school in Murcia when I was like 10 and I quitted after the admirable amount of two days. I wanted to learn guitar but only percussion was available. We had to buy this weird, muted snare that sounded like shit and was possibly the least funny intrument to play. Long story short, fuck this shit.
(Carly) I have quite a few haha. The most important ones: My parents tried to put me in the local academy of music, but I was so embarrassed because singing in front of 20 other children is not my cup of tea (I was 7 at that time) so, well, I’d rather stay at home. The second one is just that they bought me a left-handed guitar because I write with my left hand, not the case for musical instruments…I only lasted 1 month in the guitar academy. Anyways all that I have learned musically is the result of hours of hours in front of live videos, CD’s, mp3’s, and some theory from our band member Alvaro .This band has a lot of self-taught musicians haha.
(Alex) Well, when I was a child, we had those typical Hohner Flute classes at school, and that was pretty fun, because we messed around all the time making noise with our flutes and learning some folk rock songs by ourselves (not the songs our teacher wanted for the exam). Then I started listening to some power metal and I wanted to do all the Jens Johansson stuff with the keyboards, so I took piano classes for a little while with a Flamenco teacher (!) that taught me some basic things about playing piano. After that, I learned how to play keyboard, guitar, bass guitar and drums by myself. I also took some keyboard classes with a Prog Metalhead by the time I was getting into Dream Theater, so that motivated me a lot when I was like 16.
(Aks) My music education up until last summer consisted solely of listening to music. then with the help of the internet I taught myself how to play the bass.
5. What kind of music do you stand for and what do you think is your unique feature musically?
(Dante) What kind of music do we stand for… I’d say we stand for real music. Music that is original, moving. Not a fashion, not a copy of other groups or bands. I think we got something very little people dare to do these days. We make music. Not metal, not rock, not jazz, not blues. Just music. All of it. We listen to everything, we want to hear everything. If we want to do a salsa song, we do it, if we want to do funeral doom, we do it. There is someting special in each style, in each genre, and we won’t be limited by labels and all that stuff. Obviously everything is filtered through that undefined prisma that makes the sound of Pervy Perkin, which I think is just the combination of the members of the band as composers.
6. Your recently published your debut „Ink“ independently. I know, music stands for its own and can’t be described easily (especially when it’s an two hour monster!) but will you take the challenge to describe it? What do you consider important to know about it/is there something you are especially proud of?


(Carly) When I think about “INK“ I think about a massive journey, everything has a whole meaning together for me, but the songs individually have their own meaning.From the inside you know everything is over analyzed and all that stuff in terms of production, mixing, etc. But the soul of it all is very unique and pure. I’m very proud that we’ve made this debut album, the album of the one thousand and one technical struggles, and it is out there for everybody, for free, I’ll never forget this one for sure. From my basement to every wreckage in the world,that’s quite fucking awesome, haha.
(Álvaro) Maybe the colossal “ball“ that appears on the album cover and everything that surrounds it can be a precise description of what is waiting for you. You should know that despite being so long I think you will find a song that you will really enjoy. If a song doesn’t say too much to you just press the skip button, perhaps the most amazing song you will have ever listened to is about to play ;). Being able to record a double album with your friends, working together on it in order to reach the same goal and after all that listening to the result… it’s such an incredible emotion that I can’t describe with words.
7. „Ink“ is a two hour Monument! Other bands would have easily made three albums out of this! Why did you chose to make „only“ one album and how long did it take you from writing the first notes until holding the CD in your hands? Can you tell a funny or awkward story from that whole process?
(Dante) For us it was never a matter of doing one or more albums. It was a necessity, actually. The very essence of Pervy Perkin was too wide to present it in just one cd. If in the composition period one or two songs came more metal, or rock, or prog, everyone could think that that was Pervy Perkin. We are quite proud of this first record becouse it leaves a well founded base of diversity: in music, in styles, in complexity. Everything can come after it, and that’s perfect for us.
(Carly) How long? Since 1867 b.C to 3rd March 2014 haha. The first note sincerelly I don’t know, there are, some licks and melodies that were written 7-8 years ago, but the main composition period was in summer 2012.
(Álvaro) Well let’s just say that during the recording process we spent many nights in a rehearsing room (the place where vocals, bass and guitars were recorded) and one has to feed one’s mind with plentiful meals brimming with nutrients, right? Our savior, the vending machine… I’m not able to remember how many Kit Kats and Huesitos (Spanish chocolate bar) we consumed, a few hundred surely.

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8. How does the writing of new songs look like in Pervy Perkin? Is there a main contributor? The lyrcis/ first and the music after or vice versa?
(Dante)In compositions we’re like a train without brakes. It’s a non-stopping machine. We have already the skeleton of the next album and we are pretty excited with it. Expect the unexpected! Also for this new album, we have Aks and Alex in the composition process, who are proving to be incredible composers.
The writing of the songs is a five-part collaboration. There’s always someone with more in this song or in the other, but we do everything together. Oh and music before lyrics most of the times, but not always.
9. You describe your style of music as „Progressive Metal“. What does the label ‚Progressive‘ mean to you i.e. do you like the label at all?
(Alex) I think labels are made for making people to have an idea about what kind of music they are going to listen to, although most of the times it can only be an approximation, because bands never sound exactly the same, and giving them a label would probably be unfair because of their own sound and details. So I don’t care much about the label “Prog”. I kinda like it because in the end it helps me to identify bands that probably will have creative ideas, odd time signatures, and so on, but it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. In fact, progressive music is so difersified nowadays that you have to explain what kind of prog a band does (Dream Theater prog, Porcupine tree prog, Symphony X prog, and even that leaves things unclear) so I think it’s better to let the music speak for itself. I prefer the label „Metal“, I think it’s somehow related to attitude and sonic power, and it’s less ambiguous.

10. What Band/Album would you choose to convince a newbie to progressive music about how exciting it can be to exceed the conventions and limitations of mainstream/popular music or genres in General ? As you are part of the underground yourself, you certainly know some yet undiscovered treasures when it comes to Metal Bands. Maybe you’ve got a insider tipp, a band not well known or known, but underrated, bands befriended?
(Alex) Wow, that’s a good question. I think it’s difficult, because you can’t surround all the prog elements in one album, but I think I’d say Dream Theater’s Images and Words, because it has many of those elements. Depending on the moment, it’s powerful, mellow, melodic, atmospheric or fucking heavy, and it’s very easy to listen to. It’s perfect. In fact, I’ve made people get into prog because of that album, but then the next album they listen to is Awake: they say it’s fucking horrible and they drop prog away.
About underground bands, yes! I know very good ones. From Spain we have Aiumeen Basoa. They don’t exactly make prog, but they do a very beautiful Pagan Black Metal, with a lot of amazing details. And there is, of course, Edge of Sanity, with Crimson and Crimson II, epic Prog/Death Metal masterpieces. In fact Dan Swanö is one of my main influences when it comes to music and composing in general.
(Dante) Mmm… I would recommend that amazing one man band which is The Algorithm (the music of mister Rémi Gallego will blow your mind) and the beautiful, heartbreaking last album of Alcest: „Shelter“. If you don’t cry listening to it, you have no soul! Hahaha.
About underground bands, I have to say we have an incredible prog scene here in Spain, with bands like Cheetos Magazine or Ipsilon, who have released their first album this year, like us, and have an amazing quality. You should definetively check them out!
(Carly) I think it depends on each person, music will always be music. I’m going to try to explain myself in my no-perfect English. Each person has to take his own path, and know if music is interesting for him or her and expand his/her own emotion, taste, or whatever you wanna call it. For example, my mom has never been interested in progressive music, but with “INK“ she has perceived some new and “more difficult“ beauty in it and she hadn’t perceived that before, and it is common in this kind of music. I think it is only music that fulfills a wider spectrum of emotions but you have to give it time for that to happen. Don’t misunderstand me, I love styles of music far from being progressive, but I think that the accessibility and mainstream and that stuff lies inside of each person. I’d recommend Devin Townsend, all the works he’s done surfs above every emotion, every texture, every mood, I’m listening to him almost every day, it is my Townsend era without any doubt. Here in Spain we have tons of good bands, a great awakening of the scene. Cheeto’s Magazine, Carving Colours, Obsidian Kingdom, Jardin de la Croix, Toundra, The Blinded (and some of them are quite known), that is good news for us all.
(Álvaro) Maybe classic prog rock is a good starting point, Foxtrot (Genesis), Thick as a Brick (Jethro Tull) or even modern bands such as Transatlantic or Dream Theater (if she/he likes metal). In addition of the bands that my mates said I will say Dry River from Spain and Chaos Symmetry from Murcia the city where Pervy Perkin was born.
(Aks) If I wanted to ‚convert‘ someone to prog, depending on the person I would either tell them to listen to Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd or I would introduce them to Tool.
11. At your facebook as one of your influences Opeth is listed. Did you have already have the opportunity to listen the new album, what do you like about or do you like it at all? What are your five cents about their development from a Death Metal Band to some sort of Emotional-Psychedelic Prog Rock Band? If there are opposite opinions on that topic, maybe TWO band members can comment?

(Dante) Sorry, no opposite opinions, we all LOVE IT! Alex, you get this one!
(Alex)I think it’s a masterpiece, a truly beautiful album with a wide range of musical details. It’s wonderful and definitely it deserves a 10/10. Opeth hadn’t done something so rich and preciosistic since Still Life.
I think every Opeth record is different from each other, but all of them are great, because the band have a way to compose that is more related to feelings rather than technique. And that aura, that way of making music, they haven’t lost it; they have developed it in many, many ways, and I would say with no doubt “they are still Opeth” and “they still sound like Opeth”. So yes, I like their evolution. I didn’t enjoy that much Heritage, I gotta admit, but this Pale Communion is just stunning. The other Pervy Perkin members love Opeth as well in all of its forms, although each one of us has its own favorite. Mine is Orchid! Not kidding.
12. Obviously you guys love making music and dedicated quite some time and sweat in your album. Besides being passionate, innovative musicians, do you guys have any other „Secret Talents“ ? What are you not talented in at all? 😉
(Álvaro) I became a poetry lover 4 years ago and got inspired to write some poems in Spanish since last year and… no doubt I’m a horrible drummer.
(Aks) I play basketball very well in my opinion. Something I’m terrible at: I can’t sing.
(Dante) Mmm good at science maybe? I don’t know haha. Oh I suck at basketball (which makes the games with Aks really uninteresting).
(Alex) I’ve done things that involve different arts, like directing short films, drawing comics, acting, even developing videogames. But I’m probably not that good at those things, it was just for fun. And with no doubt, I’m awful at playing Gran Turismo. God dammit, those cars are imposible to drive.
(Carly) Well I’m quite good at eating food, I love eating even if I’m not hungry, If I have to cook my dinner but there are some inlay inside the fridge and bread, the earlier the better. I can’t ride a bike, totally true.

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13. There is a lot to be heard about big unemployment rates in Spain. I think it is hard as a musician to earn some bread and butter in any country, but with that special situation in your country, how do you manage making a livelihood and be a musician?
(Alex) It’s difficult. Of course at this time of our career, it’s imposible to earn enough money to live, you need an additional job. Combining the two things can be problematic, but the hardest thing is finding the job itself. So we keep moving as we can, investing the money we earn in the band. Travelling, buying equipment, renting venues to play… that’s not cheap, but fortunately we’re still able to do it.
(Dante) I’m a private teacher at the moment, but I’ve done several things. Spain is awful to make a living nowadays.
(Aks) I barely manage giving private english lessons weekly, though with my new university timetable I may not be able to continue doing so which means I am fucked.
14. Imagine you were given the opportunity to participate a musical project with Geddy Lee from Rush or John Myung from Dream Theater. Only problem: You would have to choose one of them! Who would you choose and why?
(Aks) I personally got into dream theater only a short while ago and I’ve loved Geddy a lot longer. Plus, I think we would ask him to contribute not only bass and keyboard but also vocals. I love his voice.
(Alex) Good one. Probably Geddy Lee, we surely would make some nice and melodic stuff. Also, I think he’s a very kind person, and his voice is just wow (dat 2112 beginning).
(Dante) Geddy Lee, love his voice.
(Álvaro) I think I’ll choose Geddy Lee I’m afraid that John Myung won’t say a word along all the music project and I have always wanted to visit Canada.
(Carly) I love Geddy but he is in his sixties and I don’t want him to suffer with this teenager. I think I’m going with mr Myung and do something interesting beyond Dream Theater.
15. Imagine sitting in your favourite bar in Murcia and Steven Wilson enters and sits down at the table next to you. What will you do, i.e. what would you like to do and what will you REALLY do? 😉
(Carly) If Steven Wilson arrives in Murcia, I prepare a party for him, honestly.
(All) Yes!! hahah
(Aks) I would love to go over and tell him how much I love him and his music and take a selfie with him and hug him and tell him not to be depressed anymore because aks is here now and everything will be alright hahaha. I would love to talk music with him and other stuff, a nice chat. but in reality I’m shy so I would probably just smile awkwardly from afar and ruin any chances of that happening.
16. We believe that most interviews lack educational values. So, what is the most important thing to know/ to say if you’re a lost stranger in Murcia? Go ahead! 🙂
(Alvaro) If you want to be liked by people from Murcia say „Acho“ before every sentence and they will respect you, they will even think you are native (winks)
(Dante) Ask the locals, they’re good fellas.
(Carly) It has a nice nightlife, you can go from bar to bar on foot, there are nice people, Murcia is a good non stressful town.
17. I believe composing music with an artistic ambition has to be some kind of fascinating, unpredictable voyage, just as life itself. Which moments on that voyage where the most meaningful to you guys?
(Dante) For me it’s composing. There’s something incredibly exciting and magic about coming up with new ideas and crafting them into final pieces of music. There is nothing in this world I can compare to that. Also I love playing live, it fills me up with energy and emotion.
(Alex) Each of the steps we’ve made has taught me something. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and how to deal with many situations. Some of the most special moments have been our gig at Sala Caracol (the first with me in the band), the release of our album, the first good reviews, the first photo sessions at gigs… all those things have made me very happy, and were like a dream come true. But in fact, not-so-good things like bad reviews, comments on how your music should sound, people you love who don’t approve what you do, anxiety and bad sleeping before a gig… those things are hard to deal with at the first time, so I could say those situations have been meaningful to me ‘cause they’ve made me stronger and they’ve improved me as a human being. But the real thing is that everything in Pervy Perkin but those ugly things is fantastic and full of joy, and each one of the concerts we play is like living a dream, I swear. We the bandmates love each other so much, and we love working together and being together doing silly things. We’re friends before bandmates, and if one of us is nervous or worried or has a bad day, we talk about it and dem hugs. So I feel very lucky with all the wonderful things this band gives to me every day, it truly gives my life a meaning.
(Carly) The most surprising of it all for me is that we met each other before being musicians, how the hell will I ever know that I was going to make music with my friend in elementary, or with the boyfriend of this friend of mine, this new guy in class, this friend of Dante that hasn’t got even an instrument? We have grown with a ball, a great ball of desire and need of making music, and we’ve walked that first steps together, that is awesome. Making our first album was a big point in my life, I don’t even know how is it gonna work with the second one? (just kidding, we’re on it but ssh)
(Alvaro) Writing music for this album with your friends has been one of the best experiences of my life, because before being musicians we were very good friends! I’m very lucky to have found these guys and share with them the passion of playing and writing music together. We know each other very well and I think that’s the key, the connection among the members, enjoying the music in a band with present and future.
18. Anything else you want to tell our readers at the end of the interview?
(Dante) It’s been a pleasure to be here, thanks and hope to see you soon in Germany! Expect the unexpected!
(Carly) Cheers! Listen to -Ink- if you haven’t already, it will surprise you. And, you know, hit the „like“ button on our facebook page and all that if you like our music.
(Aks) Peace and love spread the pervy word in germany cause we’re comin.

HIDEOUS DIVINITY – What is Death Metal all about? (ENGLISH)

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Whiskey-Soda: Hey Guys, thank you for spending some time for our readers, answering some of the questions I prepared. Of course I want to talk about your new album „Cobra Verde“ – and I really like the stuff. It’s not the typical clichee Death-Metal-Stuff, and that’s one thing I like the most about it.

Enrico: (Claps hands very slowly)

WS: (Laughs) – Well it’s okay. You can give me a hug later.
(Everybody laughs)

WS: I’m just being honest. Because especially in Death-Metal there are sooo many Clichee-Bands. As a journalist I get all this music – I get flooded by some hundreds of Promotion-Mails of Underground-Black-Metal-Bands. I’m always like : „Okay, Satan and Pentagrams again, Demons and Blood.“ It’s so boring and I don’t really understand it. Because I think if you want to stand out you HAVE to stand out. But you won’t if you do the same stuff everybody else does. And that’s both about the music and the topics.

Enrico: Well, we had a plan for this. The plan was to concentrate on the songs. Let’s just go ten or fifteen years back, when there was no Italian Death Metal Scene. There were like two or three people that were able to play a Blastbeat. That was the time when to be fast was more than enough. There was not so many competition. Hour of Penance for example, which I founded, were the cool ones because we were the fast ones. Today, can you tell me who doesn’t need to be fast in order to be a Death Metal Band? There are just a few. Mainly Immolation. And there’s Immolation, Immolation and Immolation again. So here’s the thing: When I started Hideous Divinity I knew it was not gonna be about speed and brutality. Because we’re surrounded by it. Super-speed, super-brutality. Super cool, polished, blasted productions. We wanted something different. So we just thought: Let’s release the accelerator and concentrate on the songs, their structure. What do I like, what do I enjoy? And then the music just came out in some situations. In some other situations it was so difficult to find that final hook, because that’s what it is all about. We’re in the hook-business. Every song has to have something that helps you remember it. I get very depressed when people say: Ah, yeah, your new album. But in the end, all the songs are the same. On the other hand I get very excited when someone says that each and every song is different. That’s what I wanted!

WS: You have to do this. There’s so many bands. This afternoon I was driving home with the train and I was listening to the new Obituary album. These guys were some of the hardest guys around 25 years ago. And while I was listening to it I thought by myself: It’s a nice Thrash Metal album. But Death Metal? That’s when I realised once more that everything got harder and more extreme. It’s what you just said. Everybody was going faster, harder and more extreme. And because of that, you have to do something different in order to stand out. And if you’re not in one of the Big Bands with a certain name and history, you have to.

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Enrico: I love to do Death Metal. But I don’t have that strong personality. So I started to do something original. The last really Band in our Genre that really does original music is Ulcerate. But they reached that after a long process on their own. My process is different. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to make is sharp. Sharper and sharper. And then, everytime we write something and we arrange something, there’s a lot around of what’s cool those days. For example, our previous album was highly influenced by polish Metal Bands and „Majesty And Decay“ by Immolation. I remember that so well because it was around 2010 and 2011. For this one, I wrote some of the songs I like the most and they were influenced by Ulcerate and the latest Carcass Album for example. So we’re talking about people that really raised the mark to do something different. How can you stand out, you ask? Well, listen to them! When I do, I try to understand what they have in their minds. What is it, that makes them so unique?

WS: You’re analyzing their music?

Enrico: Yes, I do. It’s like studying them. There are so many bands that I drop down after five minutes. They’re very good, they’re very technical but they say nothing to me. Like Portal for example. The ones playing with this really dark masks, play this very, very noisy kind of Death Metal.

Stefano: Their music is really disturbing.

Enrico: Or another Band called Emptiness or Today Is The Day. So there are Bands out their doing really different stuff. What is it that makes me „Whoaaa!“? What is it, that’s so fresh and also perverted in one way? Or the last Gorguts album, „Colored Sands“?

WS: So let’s go on with some more pointed questions. Let’s go into the new album. We already talked about it in an overview perspective. What’s different on the new album compared to your first? What do you consider important in particular or what are you proud of?

Enrico: It’s hard to say because I spend so much time on doing „Cobra Verde“. On each and every song. Writing it, and discussing it with Giulio and also with Stefano, our bass player. One thing I really like about Hideous Divinity in General is the bass presecence. You can always hear the bass which is something that a lot of people like, because it’s not so usual. There was this crazy guy who compared us to Nile, which is a sacrileg to me because noone can compare to certain bands, not even us. He was like: Yeah you are similar to Nile, and even better, because in your music the bass can be heard. That’s one thing I also like about us. We spend a lot of time on production. We spent a lot of time at 16th Cellar Studios with Stefano Morabito. When you’re asking me how the Italian Death Metal Scene came to life – I tell you it was because of him. He made the sound. And he made a sound out of his own experiences. He’s at the same time a sound engineer and a producer. (He also plays Guitar in the italian Metal Band Eyeconoclast) He tells the bands in many situations what to do. He pushes them a lot. He pushes drummers to accel, he pushes singers to sing this way or that way. He has a lot of influence. I really like the songs of that album. We’ve been through a selection and the songs that came out were so complete. It was so special for me to bring these riffs to the other guys. I like that fact that somehow each and every song is different. I like the hooks. There’s a lot of influence of what I like right now. Like the song ‚Cobra Verde‘. You have the arpeggio parts, then you have the very pushy parts and then you have the sort of samba like time, which has to do with the whole concept. There’s a moment when this picture of the whole album comes together in your mind. That’s the moment when you say: Okay. That’s it! Even if each song is different there’s a common soul from the beginning to the end. Once we found that soul, I started to believe that the album is ready. They were nagging me like crazy. We went to studio for five months and they kept asking me: Where’s the album? Not there yet! Enrico made a fantastic job with the lyrics but he wanted to give the best singing possible. So he spent months to try all the vocal patterns. He was very, very strict with me. So I had the pressure of all the other guys: Where is the album? And I kept saying: We’re almost there. Give me some more time. When I got the cover artwork I was sure, that it was complete!

WS: You just mentioned the Lyrics. Who’s in charge? You or your singer, who’s name is also Enrico?

Enrico: Most of the lyrics are written by me. But on this album, Enrico helped me a lot. Especially because of the vocal patterns. He did for example an amazing job with song where he shares singing with Dallas Toler-Wade of Nile, ‚The Alonest Of The Alone‘. He conceived a Death Metal Song with two different voices, doing some kind of a Death Metal Duet. There are so many bands that just go for the guest vocalist because of the Name. But when it comes to Enrico and Dallas, Enrico had a plan. He wanted to do something with Dallas voice really sticking out. He knows what he’s doing because he’a phonetician. He’s a doctor working with vocal chords. He’s teaching extreme singing – he’s helping people to sing without hurting themselves. That’s really cool and important. But in the Death Metal Environment it’s sometimes like: Hahaha, look at this Wannabe-Professor. How can anyone be teaching attitude?

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Stefano: There were all these people on Facebook throwing shit on him because he teaches Death Metal singing and told certain people they are not able to do it: I’m singing Death Metal since ever, what are you gonna tell me? You can’t teach Death Metal! But have to teach people to do it properly, otherwise they’re gonna hurt themselves! And he’s a pro at that!

WS: When it comes to Lyrics or Album Topics in General, you chose to go for Concept Albums, both inspired by films. Why did you choose to use this lyrical approach in general?

Enrico: Cinema is the ultimate art of the past and the present century. Everyone is making lyrics about anti-christian stuff or gory stuff, Zombies and all of that. It has become so boring. We don’t we go for movies which deliver cool concepts? But we’re not gonna do a album about Transformers, Pacific Rim or Twilight. I’ve always been a fan of Werner Herzog, the german director. He made some very epic, physical movies with underground attitude. Does it get more Death Metal like this? Epic, physical and underground? And I also like Klaus Kinski a lot. He’s always on my mind and I used to take quotes from him back in the day when I was making music with Hour of Penance. „Cobra Verde“ delivered that concept of some kind of extreme and tribal. The history of slavery is something extreme but it belongs to the human history. Our music is mostly about: What is the scariest thing to write music about? It’s the human. And the cinema just brings that to us. Why go for zombies, when human beings and their behaviour much more frightening?

WS: Can you give our readers an overview how you work adapting a film into an Metal-Album ? Are there certain steps that are essential ? Is it to get the feeling around the movie that inspires you?

Enrico: Well, it’s kind of both. Some scenes in the movie are just made for a certain sound or song. ‚Sinister and Demented‘ is the story of the King of Dahomey. The madness around him. His life is the Projection of a Dream of a Madman. It was so easy to make a song only about that. The whole feeling is about the history of Slavery. There’s no step for step, no single chapters or characters taken from the movie, if it’s that what you mean. It was the same with the message rising from „They Live!“ Only the end of „Cobra Verde“ is the same like in the movie because it’s about the death of Manoel Da Silva, the death of the protagonist.

WS: So you take certain scenes or topics that speak to you and that gives you kind of a raw strucutre to do everything. Is it like that?

Enrico: Yeah. It starts with ‚In My Land I Was A Snake‘, which is a song that introduces the main character. Then you have ‚The Sombre Empire‘, that is about the landscape, the Dahomey area. Then you have all the other chapters, but not in a particular order. At the end you have ‚Adjinakou‘, which is about the Death of the main character. Death in the true sense of the word. Solitude.

WS: It appears special to me to do a cover Song on a Concept album? What’s the story behind the ‚The Last And Only Son‘ by Ripping Corpse ? Do you feel it really belongs to the whole topic of the album ?

Enrico: Good question! Because it doesn’t fit. But I wanted to do that cover. So that’s it!

Stefano: It took him a year to chose the right song to cover. He said: I wanna chose a song and I sort of wanna rewrite it. Just keeping the feeling of the song, but connect it with my own ideas. We didn’t like the idea.

Enrico: My only chance was to bring them a demo of my version. Because otherwise they would’ve refused it. So I gave them a demo of my version, and I also gave it to Shaune Kelley, who is today in Dim Mak. I asked him for permission and he was like: Sure, go for it. To me, he was a very influential guitarrist and I was really asking for his permission. Can I use a song of yours? And everyone asked me: Why are you doing a Cover of a Demo Song of an unknown band? Why would it fit the concept? And I said: Well, it’s about forgotten heroes and Ripping Corpse are forgotten heroes as well, at least for me. So that’s the similarity.

WS: I was just wondering what the idea behind that was. Because sometimes one song does kill the whole feeling of the album. I don’t feel that in this case, although it’s obvious that it’s not a Hideous Divinity song.

Enrico: I think Ripping Corpse – when it comes to the music – they fit extremely well. They were a band from the Nineties that was already building the sound of bands that would follow, like Hate Eternal for example, which are a very big influence on my music. The idea was to make a cover, changing some of the structures with todays modern sound. It came out so well that it almost sounded like a Hate Eternal song. The song was written in 1992 and when Enrico sang the lyrics for the first time we had a lot of fun. He made an exact imitation of the original singers voice – which has a very Hardcore style. I told him: You’ve got a perfect impersonation – but it’s not gonna work like that. We wanted it our way. But I don’t think the song will work live. I just wanted to have it on the album.

Giulio: It’s different of course – but it’s Hideous Divinity anyway.

WS: We already talked a little bit about Hideous Divinity general style. You don’t go for the gory or satantic stuff. I asked myself if you just find it boring – as you told me before – or if you also don’t want to transport a certain type of ideology that’s behind some of the bands that have this certain direction.

Enrico: Of course everyone is entitled to their own religion and beliefs. I just do this for music – first of all. Second of all: I would say that it’s quite easy to explore something only to be the extreme guy. I never was that kind of believer – not even back when I had long hair.

WS: So no rabbits to rip heads off tonight?

Enrico: No. Even if I did – noone would believe me. Because it’s not me. I still go to concerts with white shirts and flip-flops.

Giulio: We’re sick and tired of attitude. We don’t want to act like metal-rock-guys. We just want to be ourselves.

WS: No grim faces at all?

Giulio: No. We’re really nice guys. We like cats and cooking.

Enrico: (Takes a electric screwdriver and drills it several times with dumb face). Let’s go for Exhumed. (laughs) No, let’s be serious. I lived in Norway for two years. I went to the same pub like all the Norwegian Black Metal Stars.

WS: Nice guys?

Enrico: No, it’s not that they’re nice guys. They’re sad people. Drinking their beer and they became their own characters, probably because they have quite sad and boring lives. And they do it because a country like Norway allows them to do that. But would they behave the same way in Iran or Russia? If I would really believe into that stuff, I should be ready in terms of consistency. To act the same way no matter where you are. I should be ready to do that on the Red Square in front of Putin. Cannibal Corpse just got arrested in Russia. I should be ready to do that everywhere I those were my beliefs. But Norway? Come on! I would believe a Black Metal Band from Bangladesh. They will really know how to talk abpout disgraceful stuff. But Norway? This terrible country where everybody has got a job?

WS: The first thing where your audience notices that you’re not into that gory stuff is the album cover, which is extraordinary. What’s the story behind the cover-artwork of „Cobra Verde“?

Enrico: He’s a polish guy living in Scotland and I like his art because he does a lot of contemporary american art. Something really far away from Death Metal. A lot of his art reminded me of a Polish Artist I know at least Giulio and I enjoy a lot. His name is Beschinsky. That gave me kind of a feeling. Then I was asking him if he was ready to do something for a Death Metal Band playing no Death Metal. He agreed and came up with this concept and we added a lot of details. Nowadays everyone can get nice artwork. There’s this guy from Sweden, Pär Olofsson. This guy makes amazing art, he’s like the Michelangelo of Death Metal. But they cost a shitload of money – I can say it again – shitload of money. Second of all I thought maybe when we find something that is different and it doesn’t give you the immediate feeling of a Death Metal Album maybe it would come out good in a cover, and T-Shirts, of course. Because after all we’re also in the business of selling CD’s and T-Shirts. And it became great!

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WS: So there were no restrictions or ideas? You just told him what the album was about and he came up with his own ideas?

Enrico: He worked in the best way since day one. He said: Before I write or draw anything, before we get to a deal, I’m gonna watch the movie and study it and come out with an idea. He came out with the idea of the main face and the monkeys and the snakes and all other concept you can find on the album. And he just made a first draft, from that point he wanted to be paid of course. But I still keep all the sketches I got from him because it’s so cool to see how it evolved from day one to day 21. So as soon as I saw his ideas I told him to go for it!

WS: Yeah. It’s special and stands out for a Death Metal Album – because you ask yourself What it’s all about when you see the cover.

Enirco: Exactly! You get curious. Who’s that guy? What’s the story behind that face? Why is his face painted black? Because he’s a black man? No! He’s a white man who gets his face painted because if the stays like a white demon no one is able to kill him. So they gonna paint him before and then they kill him because then they will be allowed to do by their gods.

WS: We talked about Black Metal just a few minutes ago. Let’s go 180 degrees into the other direction. Because I just had to pleasure to interview a Christian Death Metal band a while ago. They do a good job with their music and their lyrics are profound and I asked myself if you know any christian Metal Bands or what you think about this subculture in general?

Enrico: I give you a short answer so that Giulio can answer as well. When it comes to me, I have no problems with the teachings of Jesus Christ. After all, what I really disagree is the role of the church. Because in my opinion that is where all the shit starts.

Giulio: In my opinion you can talk about whatever you like as long as you don’t do it as a missionary. If you wanna talk about your religion, God, Jesus Christ, the cross – it’s cool. But don’t teach me anything! Because this is not what I do as well. I don’t teach you.

WS: You don’t want to be evangelized.

Giulio: Exactly. I’m an atheist. I don’t convert you to atheism, I just don’t want it the other way around.

Enrico: It’s the same with all the Pagan People.

Giulio: Yeah, the pagan guys. Wear you axe around your neck if you like to – but don’t force me to do the same.

WS: Thank you for your time and keep on making such awesome music….

Interview with Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth in Stuttgart, 24th October 2014

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WS: Hello Mikael, thank you for your time. Our Magazin is called Whiskey-Soda and we had the pleasure before, not me, but my collegue and you smiled about our Magazines Name. As I know you are big wine drinker, I’m not gonna ask you my usual question. Instead I asked myself if you ever considered to have your own Opeth Wine Line made?

MA: Oh yeah, we’ve talked to two or three wine producers, and we even met one producer from Tuscany, Italy. We talked to them to do a wine, and they were Opeth fans and everything was good. It was gonna happen , we had the wine, a really good wine. But they were cooperating with a big wholesale company in Sweden, who got us in touch with each other. And then the guy who was our contact, left the company – so it didn’t materialize. And with the time, everybody’s doing wine and beer and whiskey and all that. All the metal bands did, so I lost interest in that. I don’t wanna be one of these bands saying: “Here’s another one.”

WS: So when you thought about it, it was quite early when not everybody was doing it yet.

MA: Yeah.

WS: Interesting, but I just wanted to give you this – that was my connection. As I know you like wine I brought you a bottle of wine and we made a Whiskey-Soda-Opeth-Label for it!

MA: Wow! Wow! Thank you very much! I will enjoy it!

WS: So. Let’s talk about your new album a little bit?

MA: (Smiling) That was it with the alcohol questions?

WS: Well, yeah. Next time I’m gonna bring the Whiskey for Whiskey-Soda, okay?

MA: Well, I was a Whiskey Drinker. Scotch – but not the fine stuff. We had cups like this at the tour bus, Grant’s, one liter bottles. Every night, me and Mendez especially. This much Grant’s, and this much Coke. And as the tour progressed, the Grant’s got more and more and the Coke got less and less.

WS: So when the tour was over, you had to go to holiday to recover.

MA: I had to go to rehab. We stopped that, we were drinking too much, I was drinking too much. So we don’t have any hard liquor on the rider any more. Only wine and beer.

WS: I prefer to drink a good glass of wine or a dram of Single Malt and sit down and enjoy it.

MA: Yeah, sometimes I have a Calvados as a digestive nowadays. I like it very much! But I don’t drink hard liquor otherwise. And virtually never cocktails.

WS: So you get away further and further from the Rock Musicians Clichees. No more Metal, no more liquor, no more baby killing, no more girls! (Smiles)

MA: Well, for the most part, we’ve been a drinking band. We’ve never been the typical rockband in that direction. We’re Swedish People. Being Swedish comes with a limit. There’s a word in Swedish called “Jantelagen”. Swedish People are very subdue. Unless we go on holiday in Mallorca. As a band we’ve been fairly calm over the years. And definitely now.

WS: So. Let’s talk about your new album a little bit. I just read an interview with you recently where you said that you are not so much interested in high chart positions. Like you understand that it is good for the label and so it is good for you, but you prefer to focus on the musically side. Now with your new album, being the highest charting album in your band history in Germany. And the sales are some kind of recognition as well, especially after your change in musical style. Isn’t it a good thing in that meaning, to have high sales.

MA: I don’t know what “high sales” means. Sales can be manipulated. While concert attendance can’t. We’ve been touring with bands that sold quarter a million of their album, but they’re still supporting us. So sales are not a finger on the pulse. I don’t think, it can be manipulated by record labels or the industry. We’re on a major label now, because Warner took over Roadrunner. But I still don’t know really what it means. I’m not the guy looking at the sales like: “Wow, it’s finally happening after 25 years!” It’s always good, I’m not stupid. I want to sell as many records as possible, but it doesn’t make me flexing my chest.

WS: So when you say the concert attendance is more of a pulse to you, have they been increasing with the new album?

MA: Well, we just did six shows on this tour, so it’s kind of too early but I think so. The shows in the UK, some of them were really better, some were not. It’s really difficult to say now. When I think about it, it’s not so easy to say with touring either. You don’t know what goes on in the minds of your fans, so to speak. Because your fans might be a fan of another band touring as well, because now it’s busy touring. So you’re competing. It’s really hard to say. But one thing I can say for sure: We haven’t really gone down, either with records sales or concert attendance. I’m expecting a little bit more, though, because now we’ve done two records in a row that don’t appeal to the fans of the really heavy stuff. But it’s still too early to say if we’re going downhill, if we stay the same or if we go up.

WS: When I was reading reviews of “Pale Communion” and I wrote one myself I was feeling that you’re doing better with the new album than with “Heritage”.

MA: Yeah, but I think that might have to do with the people getting used to it. Because “Heritage” was a little bit of a bomb.

WS Like the people going: Okay, they’re not a metal band any more, but a Prog Rock Band.

 

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MA: Sometimes, a little bit. We still swap between being a ballad band, a prog rock band and a metal band. We still play the heavy songs. It’s a dream position to all of us, because we like all of it! That’S been a big misunderstanding of a lot of people, especially about me and the band. That I don’t like the previous records any more, because we feel too mature and everything. It’s never been that way. For me, writing and recording an album it’s not like that I have a plan to go anywhere. We go for what sounds good. If we would’ve approached this band as corporation thinking of a commercial success, we would have done differently. Obviously! We’ve never cut our music to the needs of the industry or the fans. We want to have fans and we love our fans. But on our terms. And of course it’s impossible to please everbody.

WS: So we were just talking about reviews and the general impression that “Pale Communion” made. What do reviews of your art mean to you?

MA: I read them if I stumble on them. I don’t necessarily search for them, even if I have seen a few online. Somebody said: “You got a really good review in that Swedish Newspaper” – so I had to look it up online. And that site also listed other mags and newspapers, so I was like: “Ah, what the fuck are you guys writing?” (laughs). It’s not that I’m not interested, but it won’t change what I am doing and I won’t affect my confidence either. But of course I want good reviews. There was a time, several years ago, when the internet started happening and I got my e-mail set up and everything, I was much more sensitive to negative critizism. But also, which is a paradox, I went looking for them, the negative ones. I didn’t look on the good ones, because back in those days we almost only got good reviews. So I was looking for the negative ones and didn’t give a shit on the good ones. But now I read them, but I don’t get as upset – and don’t get as happy either. A good review is like: “Ah, that’s nice.” And then I forget about it. And another one is like: “Ah, that’s shit.”

WS: I don’t want to go into the depth of analyzing every song. The change in style is obvious, and in my opinion that it’s a great album is obvious, too. But I was wondering if there’s a certain part or something that you are especially proud of.

MA: Well, one thing that I’m proud of is the composition of the album as a whole. The sequenzing, how the songs blend together. And I’m maybe more happy about the songs on their own, as well. Like for instance, on the Deliverance Album, there’s a song I don’t particularly like today, which makes me think less of the whole record. So the composition of all the songs, the packaging, the whole thing means a lot to me. So I’m happy with that. That the songs fit together as a record. I’m still a record guy. I don’t go to spotify and listen to a song. I want it to work as a full record.

WS: There’s another question that just fits in here. It’s about the song “Goblin”. The song, and the sound is quite different from the rest of the album in my opinion. I want to challegenge you with a prevocational question. Wanna go for it? Yeah? Okay, here it comes: I was wandering why you chose to put it on the album in the first place and then, secondly, why did you put it at that particular place, like in the middle of the album and not at the end? Because I was feeling like that would have made a good bonus track or an EP. What was you thaught with that?

MA: Well, I finished the song, played it to the guys, they all liked it. WE all have the reference to the Band Goblin. And why I put it just there. Well, a lot of people tell me “Pale Communion” is an uplifting record, but for me, it’s a very dark record. So that song, and the song after it, ‘River”, at least the beginning part are there as a kind of equilibrium to the darker songs. It’s a bit more kind of playful, If you know what I mean. It’s also a new sound, that we haven’t really indulged in before. Wether you like it or not, it’s still something new for us and I want to have that kind of things on our records. I like that myself, why “Heritage” is all over the place.

WS: Let’s talk about he lyrics a little bit. I was wondering when it comes to Lyrics or Album topics in General, is there something that inspires you in particular. And just to pick up two song titles or citations of songs like “The Devils Orchard” or “God is dead” and also “Faith in others” on the new album now. Does that says something about your beliefs.

MA: No. “The Devils Orchard” – when I wrote that song, the demo version had the same chorus of phrase, “God Is Dead”. And everyone I played it to told me “that’s a really catchy phrase”. I just sang on the demo, making up words – and that was it. Everyone I played it to, it stuck to their minds. I remember I even told Steven Wilson, who mixed that record, that I was thinking about rewrite this part. But he said to me: “Keep that. It’s a strong thing. It kind of dates back to my past, to the early days of being a Death Metal Band. Where I wrote a lot of almost satanic and occult type of lyrics. But basically, the rest of the lyrics didn’t have to do anything with any kind of religious beliefs. The rest didn’t have to do anything with “God Is Dead”. It was just bollocks. But it made it to a song, which topic almost could have fitted on “Ghost Reveries”. So it’s certainly not about any beliefs. “Faith In Others” doesn’t have to do anything with “Faith” as in religion, it’s more about faith in other people.

WS: When talking about beliefs, I’ve got another interesting question for you. I just recently talked to a Swedish Death Metal Band and they’re all Christians. They’re a christian Death Metal Band.

MA: They’re Swedish?

WS: Yeah, and they’re quite awesome musically, they do this kind of Scandinavian, meldodic Metal stuff and they’re also quite profound when it comes to Lyrics and stuff. Do you know any christian Metal Bands, ever heard about that such stuff exists?

MA: Well, there was Mortification, I think they’re from Australia. But I can’t really remember what they sounded like. I am what is called an Atheist, so for me Religious topics in Music have a tendency to turn me off. Most of the religious bands have something about them that is almost like propaganda type of thing going on in their lyrics – and that makes me shy away from it. I’m actually Columnist in a Swedish Rock Magazine and I did a column about that: Music with religious undertones. Or music recorded by religious bands. And I started it with the question about how many great bands with religious beliefs in christianity are out there? How many are there? I could come up with any from my personal taste. Obviously I picked one band because that was what the column was about. This band called Salamander, they’re an old band from the 70’s and their album is called „The Ten Commandmends“. Kind of speaks for itself. They were in my opinion the best band with songs and lyrics based around their beliefs. I was never a big fan of Stryper. I was never a big fan of Mortification, or any of the others. I’m a big Stevie Wonder fan, one of my favourite records of all time is his „Innervisions“, and there’s a song called „Jesus Children of America“ on there. I can’t listen to it.

 

Opeth - LKA Longhorn Stuttgart - 24-10-2014_0024

 

WS: You like the album, but you can’t listen to that particular song?

MA: Yeah, but I can’t really explain it. But I get turned off by music and religion. For me it doesn’t fit. But that’s no personal statement to the guys who are practicing this.

WS: Interesting topic, you could go on for hours about this, but we don’t have that time. So let’s go on to something different. The album release was postponed and I read it was because the Cover Artwork couldn’t get finished in time. Were you not satisfied with the outcome?

MA: No, it just took a lot of time. I had this grandiose idea with the three paintings. Each of this three parts almost took as much time as the Heritage Cover Artwork. I simply wasn’t thinking that far. I was pushing myself with all these ideas I had in my mind, but I didn’t think twice about timing. So he spent a lot of time on it. And I also had so many changes on it. And then I was just like: Wow, we are too late!

WS: Okay, but in the end everything came out like you wanted it to?

MA: Yeah, the Cover, I love it. The rest of the album booklet. There are a few mistakes in the Thank You Lists. Because these days they do so many versions of the same record, so they were sending me all these different Word Files I had to approve. And I didn’t really understand what was going to which version. So I finally went like: „Well, it’s fine!“ (laughs)

WS: I know you are a big Prog Fan and Opeth nowadays could also be described as a Prog Rock Band. I read about you saying that a lot of the Bands nowadays aren’t innovative enough and aren’t rebellious any more, that kind of direction. I asked myself, if there are newer bands in the Progressive Rock or Metal Genre, that you like?

MA: Well, it’s quite difficult. I don’t listen so much to new music. I’m too occupied with my old records. I get compilations sometimes and there are many competent bands. But when I hear an immediate reference to something that I know from the past I tend to get a bit turned off. I don’t wanna talk shit about any new bands and I don’t think they’re shit. They’re actually pretty good. And Metal Music. Well. It’s so easy to think about and it will probably make me sound like an old fart. But back in the seventies and eighties, and to a certain extend the nineties, where most of the metal bands I know had a clear identity. They never mixed up. Scorpions. You Immediately recognize them. Or Judas Priest. Purple. Sabbath. Led Zeppelin. My problem is, that I don’t feel the same about many new bands. When it comes to Metal at least. When it comes to Progressive. Well, as most people would expect I’m a big fan of Steven Wilsons work. I don’t think he’s ever written a bad song. I think it has more to do with taste, which is why I can’t say that bands are bad. Just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean they’re bad. It’s just that there’s a certain type of music that I cling to. Sometimes it only takes a few seconds for me to tell, this is something special.

WS: What about Soen, the band of your former drummer Martin Lopez? Have you heard their new album? It’s coming up now and reminds me of Opeth a little bit.

MA: A little bit. I heard one song from that, which I found sounded good. The first album reminded me of Tool strongly and I know when he was in the Band, he was always a big Tool fan. And that kind of makes sense. As I said: They’re really competent and good band, but not something that I would sit down and listen to.
WS: So you stick with the old stuff?

MA: There’s SO much! And I’m also a bit romantic when it comes to old bands. It’s nostalgia to a certain extend. It happens so often that I’m a few seconds into an old album and it just makes me „Wow, Amazing!“ It happens so often when I go through my records. So there’s no need for me to search for new music yet.

 

All Photos of Florian Stangl @ Metal-Fotos.de

Interview: Daniel Frick