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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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.

 

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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

 

 

Pantokrator – The Lord Reigns the Universe (Interview English)

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Searching Wikipedia for „Pantokrator“, it turns out to be a term of Iconography. The Pantokrator is a incarnation of the biblical god, presenting him as the „Emperor of the Universe“ (greek: Pantokrator). God is portraied looking straight towards the viewer, blessing him with his hand and holding one of the gospels in the other.

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It`s no coincidence that the Swedish Death Metal Outfit out of the Smaland region in the south of the country chose exactly that name. The five guys grew up in the pentecostal church and are avowing christians. Anyone who rolls his eyes now is totally wrong. Pantokrator stand up for their beliefs, but that doesn`t mean they are close-minded preachers up in their ivory-tower. The open minded Scandinavians prefer to let their music and their livestyles speak, rather than trying to convert their fans and friends to christians. At the Elements of Rock Festival in Uster/Switzerland in March 2014 I had the opportunity to speak to the guys about their music, their beliefs and the role they play in a mystical order. Here is the raw transcript of the very diversified, interesting and profound one hour talk with Karl, Jonathan, Rickard and Matthias.

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Whiskey-Soda: You are well known in the Christian Extreme Metal Scene, but still a Insider recommendation to discover for the  Metal Scene in General. Who are you guys, what kind of music do you stand for and what do you think is your unique feature?

Karl: No, we’re a very big fish in a very small bowl.

Jonathan: I guess we play a kind of scandinavian death metal, it’s not the american stlye of death metal. We have all those screams, but we also have a lot of the melodies the scandinavian bands in this genre typically have.

RIckard: Yeah, one of our big brands is that we’ve got strong melodies, strong refrains in our songs.

Karl: Without sacrificing the extreme heaviness, because there are some bands in Sweden that just have strong melodies.
Jonathan: Also there was written in a review recently that we also don’t use breakdowns and stuff. A lot of american bands take Metalcore and put some Death Metal on the top of that, but we go straight to the roots. Similar to bands like At the Gates and all those famous scandinavian Death Metal Bands.

WS: Why should any Metal Fan pick up your music in the first place? Come on, I give you some room for free promotion and shameless profiling. 🙂

Karl: Because the new album may be one of the best things ever written in music.

WS: You’re very self-assured.

Karl: I don’t write any of the music, so I’m allowed to say that. I do just the lyrics and play nothing. So I’m in the best place to say this is really good.

WS: So you developed? Because every band says: „Our new album is the best album we ever wrote.“

Karl: Before this album, I never couldn’t say that the last one is the best. Sometimes one of the guys in the band said: The new one ist the best one. I couldn’t decide before. But since this one, I can honestly say: It’s better than all of them. And that’s a good feeling. Now we did it!

Mattias: It’s a matter of songwriting actually, I think we wrote really good songs on this one.

Jonathan: Yeah, maybe it’s because it’s the first time we had enough time to do the things that we wanted to do. Also, it’s maybe the first time that we were honest to use the ideas that we had and we had the time to look over the songs again and to say: „This is not good enough. Let’s skip that and write something new.“ On the last recording „Aurum“ there were some things we felt that we should do something more here and there, but we didn’t have the time to do it. We had already booked the studio that cost a lot of money so we couldn’t go home and to do that. We just had to record it and get it done. This time we recorded it ourselves and sometimes we said: „Okay, let’s leave this for now and go home for a month and think about it and then let’s get back with new ideas.“

Rickard: A lot of stuff at the album was actually totally rewritten. We recorded it and then we said to each other: „No, this doesn’t feel right.“

Jonathan: When we recorded the lyrics and then listened to the songs that we hadn’t recorded yet we were like: „This part isn’t good enough. So we changed it and recorded a new version.“

WS: So that’s probably one of the reasons it took you several years, seven years I think since you released „Aurum“?

Jonathan: Well, it’s one reason. It’s not the main reason actually. We’re really lazy guys sometimes and of course there had to be done a lot of logistics and stuff, mostly because we live so far from each other.

Karl: And it’s also finding our form after „Aurum“. Where do we go now? It took quite some time to find that.

Mattias: And also to find a simple way to use the creativity, to record our ideas, how to write songs. I think this album has helped us a lot in the sense to really use the ideas and record them.

WS: Your recent Album „Incarnate“ is a Killer and got a lot of great Reviews from different Music Magazines. I know music stands for its own and can’t be described easily, but will you take the challenge to describe it? What are the differences compared to its predecessor or what else do you consider important to know about it?

Rickard: I’m proud about the fact, that inthe music itself it’s much more us. As I said already, the songs have really grown from where they started, from the idea to the complete songs. Overall it’s just great songs.

Mattias: It’s not that technical as aurum, but it’s better songs.

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Karl: I think for example „Blod“ (First Full Album from 2002) is very chaotic, very weird but it has an special atmosphere, that I kind of missed a little in „Aurum“. That’s why I’ve got a really hard time to decide which album I like most. When we recorded „Aurum“ we started with the attitude: „Well, let’s do traditional songs – Verse, Chorus, Bridge. Not just chaos! We continued on that with „Incarnate“, doing songs „the old way“, the album came out with good structure. But it has a little of that feeling that I was missing in aurum.

WS: So you got the best part of both albums!

Karl: Exactly! Or actually the best part of the three last albums, because I feel something of „Songs of Solomon“ in it, too when it comes to some of the melodies. But it has to develop. You can take the best parts of each album and they will kill each other.

Jonathan: With this album, I don’t think that I ever feels forced. It feels very natural that this part follows that part. With „Blod“ – I wasn’t on that album, I heard the songs afterwards and tried to learn them – I thought by myself: „What Is this? It felt like: We have this riffs, let’s put them in somewhere.“ This time, we really had the time to think about what was the best way to write everything.

Mattias: We found our great formula to put the songs together.

WS: Your Lyrics are obviously Christian or even Biblical like Passages from the Reveleation or the Sermon on the Mount. I just read an interview with Ryan Clark from Demon Hunter, which are also a band with avowing christians. He was talking about how it is to be in a christian band or a band consisting of christians. He said: When it comes to the lyrics, you can’t do it right. On one side there are the people where your lyrics can’t be christian enough and on the other side there are people that write bad reviews just from reading a „Thank you to Jesus Christ“ in the personal liner notes, not even in the lyrics.
Why did you choose to use this lyrical approach in particular?

Karl: It’s more on the older albums that are truly based on parts of the bible. I think „Incarnate“ is more like through the filter of inspiration, of course I read the bible. But when you mention the people having different feelings about it. I was reading one review about „Aurum“ and the guy wrote: „Well, I thought it was strange that it was christian metal. But then I decided: Well, there’s metal bands with pagan mythology or viking mythology – I should read this that way. And it works!“
Because you can believe it, or you can just read it like other lyrics based on some kind of mythology. Like Amon Amarth for example. So why can’t we just take the christian lyrics that way?

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Well, to be honest, it’s Jonathans fault. After „Aurum“ I started to write lyrics for „Incarnate“ and then I wrote more songs, that are not recorded yet. I sent them to him and he said: „That’s great! Can’t we just skip „Incarnate“ and go record the newer songs? They’ve got more attitude!“ But of course, I didn’t want to do that. So I had to rewrite the lyrics to make them good enough. So I started to write more „Aurum“. My mind, my own language in a way. First I wanted to rewrite them, but that didn’t work. So I put them aside and started all over. Some of the parts of the older versions where sticking in my mind, they didn’t get better. Then I compared the two and kept the parts that I thought they couldn’t get better on the newer versions. So he was the one who inspired the text change in a way. When it comes to: „Why did you chose this approach?“ – It’s actually where we come from. To play in a pentecostal church. It has also been based on a need. „The Songs of Solomon“ is mostly about the erotic love between a man and a woman from a christian perspective. That’s what it’s all about. There are no mystical layers of some parabel. It’s just about love. We felt a need, there was a big hole to be filled in the christian music with erotic love. So if we didn’t do that record, who would? So we did it! And after that I felt an urge to go back to more biblical topics, in „Blod“ it’s from Adam and Eve unto the cross. It’s like going through sunday school in a metal way. In „Aurum“ I wanted to go to the mystical parts of the bible, that no one really talks about. Because noone really understands it. You don’t hear people preach about these parts because they are so cryptic. I might not understand them even, but I think those parts should be lifted up. They’re inspiring, and they start questions, you know? I wanna know more about this. „Incarnate“ is kind of a follow-up on „Blod“ when it comes to the lyrics. There are actually two different themes, but now they’re mixed together. In the early part of the project it was supposed to be two EP’s with different themes, if you want to find those storylines, you have to scramble around the songs to find the topics. Because on the CD it’s all about what sounds best, what order of the songs makes the album sound as good as possible. There’s also an anagram. You can move around the lyrics and you can get two storylines.

WS: We talked about it already a little bit. But I’m still curious: What kinds of Feedback do you get from Metal Fans or Publications, that are not specifically Christian? What do you hear mostly when it comes to you as a Christian band?

Mattias: It’s more like „It’s okay for me“ nowadays. Because we have a lot of non-christian fans as well. From South-Korea and there are the brazilian guys.

Rickard: We get a lot of E-Mails on our facebook page from people that are not christian who are writing things like „you guys are a great band.“

Jonathan: Most people we meet when we’re out playing they are obviously on the concert, they came there for a reason or they seem to have some kind of interest in it and think it’s okay. But I think Sweden in general is quite anti-religious. There’s more of these guys that roll their eyes and say things like: Oh my, a christian band!“

Karl: There’s an interesting example of this. 2005 we played the Gates of Metal Festival in Sweden. One day after it was announced, there was a very hot debate about wether we should be there or not. We didn’t even get into that at all. We just watched it. There were these guys that were like: „Aaaah, they’re christian. They shouldn’t be here, we should shoot them!“ And then there were the other voices like: „Why don’t you just shut the fuck up and go take a beer if you don’t like their music?“ (Laughter) They were literally throwing stones at each other and we just watched it! After the show, there was no negative response at all. The ones that really didn’t want to hear us took their beer and the others who were more open minded gave us a shot.

Jonathan: I think it’s kind of weird because when you sing about Satan, no one believes, but no one really cares, too. But once you sing some christian lyrics, people get offended!

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WS: One reason why I ask this is the recent state of western societys when it comes to acceptance of confessing faith in Media, in Public and so on. It’s not only about music, of course. Sometimes theres even hostility. I’ve got an example of this, that comes to my mind right now. There was a big public debate in Baden-Wurrttemberg about the curriculums in public schools, which were planned to be based completely on the gender-mainstream theory. Like: We have to teach the children, that they can chose their gender, they can be what they want and there’s not right or wrong in being transgender or whatever. And there was this christian teacher who was starting a petition on the internet against this new curriculum. In my opionion as a christian, the petition was quite sensitive. It was clear, but not offensive or excluding someone, but standing for the values of the bible when it comes to sexuality. There was a huge impact all over the media and the political parties, even from the federal government in Berlin. There were protest marches from christian against the initiative, they where thrown eggs at and attacked from the backers of the plans or from this special community. It think they climate is turing hostile more and more in society when it comes to christian values that are spoken out and christians in general.

Karl: This is very interesting. My wife is studiny sociology and she had a teacher that said: „There are still today priests in Sweden, that don’t want to marry homosexual couples.“ She was biting her lip, but what she wanted to ask was: „What Imams or Rabbi do you think would do this?“ People don’t mind. It’s just about forcing themselves into the Swedish State church.“

Jonathan: When we talk about church, we got a State Church in Sweden, but it isn’t even controlled by the State anymore. If we’re talking about schools, I think it’s very important that the things to learn are actually based on facts. Religion should be thought in religion classes. We don’t want it to be like in the United States, where Creationism is preached in the schools. It’s only religious propaganda, because they can’t really prove it’s true but they still want it to be. And that’s also quite weird. You have to tell people everything! You can’t really say:“This is right and this is wrong.“ You have to teach them, that these opinions exist and that opinions exist.

Karl: In Sweden there’s another problem. They’re still teaching evolution theory, which was disproved 50 years ago. It’s old news. But the teachers are no scientist and don’t really know what they’re talking about. But they keep on telling: „This was proved – and all the scientist are turning in their graves: No, that was disproved 45 years ago!“ If there were real scientist teaching they would tell that these are theories. It’s a more humble approach. But the Swedish teachers are like: „This is the proven facts, forever and ever, written in stone.“ And that’s just sad. So we’ve got like the opposite problem of the US in Sweden. In both countries there seem to be no teachers that can admit: „This is a theory, and that is a theory. And now make up your own mind!“

WS: In my opinion, teaching Homosexualtiy in School, to keep the example, appears to be an ideology in it’s own. It doesn’t seem to be equaled out. If something just looks christian you will get offended and meet hostility. You will not meet the tolerance that they demand for their own beliefs and lifestyle.

Karl: If you are in the Gay movement, you can say everything and noone will say anything about it. There was this Jesus Proclamation March somewhere in Sweden and there were these queer gangs standing beside them shouting: „We’re here, we’re queer, we’re gonna fuck your children!!“ For me, it’s the mentality behind it. Before this whole gay movement, people could find out that they were gay for themselves. You didn’t have to tell everyone to „try a little faggory.“ If you are, you will find out.

Jonathan: On the other hand, you have to tell the people, that it’s okay. If you’re okay, it’s fine. Because I think there’s a big problem that most people don’t actually think that it’s okay. That is something I think has to change, because I don’t think that anyone can really decide to be or not to be.

WS: You’ve got this special thing going on, that you call the „The Golden Order of the Almighty“ and that appears like a real religious order with a history getting back two thousand years. But it’s kind of mysterious, too and I didn’t really get the whole thing. Can you tell me something about it without getting our readers losing their curiosity about it?

Karl: (Smiling) If you want to find out, you have to dig.

Jonathan: If you got questions, we’ve got a book. And if you’re going to read it, you’re going to have a whole lot of more questions. (Laughs)

Karl: What the Order is or will be, depends on each member. We don’t have a very strict form for this. It has a life of it’s own and we hope that people will take it in different directions. There’s some kind of teachings and some aesthetics around it and it’s like the backbone of the „Aurum“ album. It’s like what the „Silmarillion“ is to the „Lord of the Rings“.

Jonathan: In a way, it’s kind of like a fanclub, but it’s been given its own life. We don’t control it. We’ve got all this different degrees. The more the people are interested in the degrees, the more they’ll get to know and the more they’ll rise in the degrees.

Rickard: You’ll find most of the answer to the questions in the book in the Bible.

WS: Yeah, well that’s one thing I was wondering about. If it is just like some kind of bible studies stuff mixed up with some provocational winks in the direction of occult orders that actually exist.

Karl: (Smiles) There might be some provocations with everything we do.

Jonathan: It’s obviously based on the mystery theme of the „Aurum“ album, which is kind of based on one or the other order which is there and have these mysteries around themselves. But to be honest: You won’t really get what’s going on until you’re going into the order and rise in the degrees.

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Karl: One thing that inspired us as well is that a lot of people think they know what the bible says, but they have never opened it. And other people have read it ten times and they still don’t know what it says because they’re reading it only through their own point of view. You don’t have to like it but this gets people a chance to start your own search and find stuff. But we’re not responsible for what you find in the bible and we don’t tell you what’s right or wrong. And to get all of the questions you also have to go to other books that are related to the bible like the Book of Henoch and stuff like that. If you are a curious or eager for knowledge, then the order is for you.

WS: Your music is categorized as  „Progressive Death Metal“. Even tough I know most bands roll their eyes with journalists labelling them as This-or-That-Style of Metal I wanna ask you: Do you see yourself as a Death Metal Band or more as a Progressive Metal Band?

Karl: Everybody says that, but that was not by ourselves, the label came from the record label.

WS: So you don’t agree with it?

Jonathan: I think most musicians don’t like to label their own music. Our music has Death Metal vocals, but it’s not really Death Metal. It’s hard to describe actually, it’s similar to Death Metal, but it’s something totally different. I can accept if somebody gives us that label, but it’s not our own.

Rickard: Some people also connect the label „Progressive Death Metal“ to „Technical Death Metal“ and think that’s what we’re playing. But that’s completely wrong. We don’t.

WS: So as you don’t see yourself as a Progressive Death Metal Band, what does the term mean to you. Are there maybe even some bands from that kind of stylistic direction that had a certain influence on the music you play today? Or is that something you don’t mind or reflect about at all?

Jonathan: Well, we don’t play some kind of particular music because we decided to write music that sounds similar to a certain band. We don’t really do that. Everytime I find a new band I usually listen to that all day. And in the evening, when I go to bed, I have songs in my head that are similar to them but not the same. Some of those things stick and the next day you listen to some other band and then everything get mixed up.

Karl: I think it was a quote by Rachmaninow that said: „In a composers music you should hear the books he’s been reading, everything he likes, where he grew up and everything.“ And I think that’s what happens when you write music.

WS: Imagine yourself being the boss of your own record label. Is there a talented Band that you were willing to support or if not what kind of new band would you set up? How would you cope with the dilemma to chose music to be convinced of artistically and also have to earn money from it?

Karl: Oookay, I think that’s why we’re not at the head of a record label.

Jonathan: Well, I think it depends on what goals you have. In these days, you can record an album for not so much money because you to go to a studio. You can buy some gear and do it at home. So it can be quite cheap to record an album but that’s still good. Then you can release it on ITunes, which doesn’t really cost anything in terms of manufacturing. So in that sense I think that I would try to find bands that I like myself and try to get their music out. I wouldn’t worry so much about the sales but of course on the other hand, if you run a label to earn money from it, you might have to think about what people will probably like and not what you like yourself. You have to go mainstream. Or if you have a lot of money you can take anything you like and tell the people it’s good and they’re gonna buy it. With the internet nowadays you also can just put out your songs and ask the people what they like and what not and then do more of that stuff.

WS: So what was you actual approach to bring out „Incarnate“? You recorded it yourselves and took your time. We already talked about that. And then you took the final album and got it to the labels to release? And was it hard to get this done?

Karl: Yeah, exactly. We sent it around to a lot of labels.

Rickard: The label for the American market, „Rottweiler Records“, we got in contact with them quite fast and they liked it when they heard the songs. But we continued to search for another label in Europe and other markets.

Karl: Yeah, I thought by myself „What about Australia“ so I sent a message to Steve Rowe from Mortification: „Is this something for you?“ He answered: „Well, I think this might be something for my friend at Soundmass – I will forward it to him.“ And he contacted us. So it was more like labels finding us because all the labels we tried to bring it out were not interested.

Jonathan: There are SO many labels out there. And the ones you try say „No“ usually, especially when they are bigger ones. They deny most Bands. It can be quite tricky to find the right ones. I guess only time will tell if we made the right choices. We did think about this Kickstarter-Thing as well, but then we felt we didn’t need that much money, so we might as well just pay it ourselves. But maybe next time! I’ve seen bands being really successful in getting money with this approach because it cost a lot. I think I just recently got my money back that I paid for the last recording which was seven years ago. So we do pay quite a bit of money and it takes long to get it back. It’s not the same amount this time, though. But of course you can do a lot of things on that funding-platforms. You can try to get the money to fund a US Tour. It’s the exact problem with the gigs. The most places don’t have the money to pay what it actually costs, especially for us who come from Sweden. We have to cross bridges and that becomes quickly expensive. I kind of like the idea that it’s our problem, but on the other hand we don’t really have the money.

Karl: It’s also the problem of the fans. Some say: Please come to Brazil. They could to their own kickstarter to bring us to their country.

Jonathan: What I really like about kickstarter is that the ones who really want to reach something can make it happen, even for all the other ones!

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Karl: And of course it’s better to be ruled by your fans than by a label. Those are the people we play for and if they want us to do it, they will pay us to do it! And if they don’t pay us, then we’re probably not good enough! It’s better to do what the fans want then to do what a label thinks the fans might like. You’ll get the receipt directly from your fans if you ask them: „Do you want us to do another record?“

Jonathan: It’s of course a great way to get your expenses in advance and it’s also a great way to give the fans some special things. I saw that Devin Townsend had a kickstarter campaign and he did like 100% of the amount demanded in three hours! If you pledged 3000 Pounds, you could get his guitar. Or you could get things like a voicemail-message that you can put on your voicemail. And handwritten lyrics and drawings other stuff. It’s really interesting because of the interaction with your audience. But even though with the internet platforms the labels might not be as important then they used to be, they’re still needed to spread the word and do the distribution and stuff. We don’t feel like doing that work on our own.

WS: So thanks, guys! I think I tortured you for almost an hour, it’s enough now! Thank you for your time and effort. Looking forward to seeing you play tonight! All the best for the gig!

Copyright of the Photos by Rebecka Marie Gustafsson and Michael Bolli. Thanks buddy!

Israel Nash – Ponds, Bonds and Music that is real (Interview English)

1.1

Whiskey-Soda: Hi Israel, thanks for taking your time to answer some questions for our Readers. We are here in Zurich, at the very cool club „Bogen F“ and I was wondering, what comes to your mind when you think of Switzerland?

Israel Nash: I haven’t spent much time in Switzerland, this is maybe the fourth time to play in Zurich, but each time it’s been like we’ve been going from somewhere so far away, get in just for soundcheck in the club and after the gig we wake up early to go somewhere else. Last time I was here I dig it to walk around by myself – that was my first time to actually see a small part of the city. Sometimes it’s hard to make an incredible judgement about a place because in reality you spent so little time there. You’re always inside of the venue so long. But I dig it to go walk around for about an hour, that was in March when I was here for the last time. I think it’s a beautiful city, I think of it as some kind of an exotic place in Europe that’s kind of tucked away. You get there, and everything’s a little bit more expensive as well.

WS: I stumbled over your music about a year ago, over your new album. I bought myself a new music magazine where it was presented. I listened to your album and I was absolutely blown away. But I haven’t heard of you before, I have to admit and I think a lot of people who aren’t in this kind of music you make, don’t know your name. So can you maybe present yourself from your point of view: Who are you, what kind of music do you stand for and what’s important to know about your music?

IN: My Name is Israel Nash and I stand for an idea that I think music should be real, a song should mean something. To the person writing it, and it should be performed in a live way, it should be indelicate and real as well. It’s just the thing that I do. I’m a songwriter, and I’m proud of that. It’s something that I’ve been doing and pursuing my whole life, since I was twelve years old. Maybe it’s also the only thing that I’m good at, but I feel that I get what I was just supposed to do. Other people, friends along the way, they don’t play guitar any more. They don’t pursue anything. I was never that guy. But for me, it’s just what I was supposed to do. The thing is about being a real person and being a real artist, inspired by the things around me, my family and the world around me. And pursuing making art based on that, to give something real.

WS: You have to tell us something about your alias name. Israel Nash is not your given name, is it? Why Israel? I can think of one or two inspirations to „Nash“….

IN: My father was a minister, I grew up in a very religious family and they felt the want to name me Israel. They’re not jewish, and Israel is a fairly typical name in spanish-speaking countries. I think it was a expression of their journey through their faith. So that’s why it’s my name.

WS: I read in other interviews that you’ve got quite some impact in the UK and Scandinavia. As Americana has to be considered as a
niche in German speaking countries, is there some kind of special Feedback that differs from the usual feedback you get in the States, that’s where the music comes from. Also „Country“ has a special recognition. There are some „German Country Bands“, they’re really embarassing, singing in German and everything and most people just rolling their eyes.

IN: First of all, I think all these labels have become unproperly defined. You know: „Americana“ – some people cringe to that idea. I don’t think that that music is. I think of „Americana“ in a general sense, it’s really american music. That’s a really general category. Obviously, there’s a lot more depth going on. I think this label is sort of unfortunate.

WS: Which label do you prefer for yourself, for you music?

IN: I call it my own term, which is „Deserted Folklore“. Which is of course some branch of americana music. For me, a lot of my growth has been in Europe. „Rain Plans“, it just came out in the states two weeks ago. I had kind of an interesting path. My first record came out on a small label in the Netherlands, from there on, things just kind of started growing. Here, I had a team around me, but for some reason, that wasn’t happening in the States. It was almost frustrating, things were growing in Europe steadily, but I couldn’t afford to touring the States. I just hadn’t the people behind me that are needed to support the growth of an artist, so I stopped playing the States. And with „Rain Plans“, it fell through, we didn’t have a label to put it out. And I didn’t want to release it independently, I really wanted to have a team of people that could really work it. What I thought it deserved. Finally everything worked out, it just happend to take some time. So the album just came out in the States. So it’s kinda funny: I just had interviews on the phone from the States, now the States are picking up. We’re leaving here at the 14th and we fly to Nashville, meet the rest of the band and play the AMA’s in Nashville. And then we’re on tour for a month. The US are supporting the album for the first time. I’m really looking forward to that because it will be a new period in my life, playing at home. It’s really ironic, but it happens to artists. It happened to Jimi Hendrix, you just go where people wanna hear you play and you can make a living out of it. For me, that was Europe for the last three years and finally I got some people that wanna see me in the States. Now we can go there and we already have this experience on a professional level.

WS: So if I understand it right, the impact the album made in Europe made it possible for you to bring it out in your homecountry?

IN: „Uncut“, the british magazine, ranked it in the top twenty americana albums of 2013. From there, KEXP, which is a radio station in Seattle, was a great supporter of me and the album, awesome people! Kevin, their Program director gets all the magazines and discovered the album. He bought an import copy because it wasn’t available in the States. He started playing it and from there a few other things finally fell into place. Which was rewarding, because on some levels it felt frustrating over the years and I’ve been asking myself: „What’s going on?“ So it feels very rewarding and more natural now, I feel more mature through it, it’s not new. At the end of the day, playing in the States is no different than playing in Europe on many levels. I mean, you’re playing shows, and you have people coming. So it has been exciting to go that way and it feels natural. It’s been nice, yeah.

WS: You talked about it already, but I asked myself if you ever considered to pusblish the album independently using a crowdfunding platform. As a music journalists, I’ve seen some great projects coming up over the last years only by the support of the fans. So is this something you ever considered, to publish „Rain Plans“ independently?

IN: You know, it is independent. I don’t think there’s a very easy way to release an album worldwide by yourself. There’s so many people, distributors and everything, just like many cogs in a big system. It’s just the nature of the business side of things. The moment you play music and you’re making a living on it, you’ve entered in some sort of business arrangement by its nature. It’s hard to keep this separated as an artist. When you’re going on the road as a grown-up man, noone is making much money of it, but you have to live and survive. And I think the best way to do that is to surround yourself with good people, people that are as good as I am in their profession. If you have a publicist who loves the album he works so hard or a label who supports it, it’s great to see that family come together and I think it’s about building a good team.

WS: What Band/Album would you choose to convince a newbie to
americana music? Maybe you’ve got a insider tipp, maybe a band not well known or underrated? Close friends but maybe also classic bands, whose music you adore?

IN: That’s a really tough questions. A recommendation? Well, a band that I recently discovered, in the past six months has been a band from the UK from the late sixties called „Pretty Things“. They were part of that kind of movement in the UK of artrock, prog and fusions of that with almost even blues stuff. I’d say: Listen to their album called „Parachute“. It’s a beautiful piece of music, it has guitar rock elements, it has musical progressions like medley-type-stuff and it’s really well executed. They’re incredibly good musicians, you can tell. That’s unfortunately something I am missing too much. I love the heavy classic bands like Led Zepplin or Pink Floyd, all these incredible musicians. It’s real, handmade music. That’s what I’m into. It’s a lot of older stuff, but it’s hard for me to point one out. I mean, there are albums that I’ve been listening to since I was 19, there’s all these emotions I went through. That’s why an album feels classic. But there’s also a lot of new material that I like.

WS: I want to ask you about a special moment. Can you remember how you felt when you got asked for your first autograph?

IN: I can’t remember exactly, probably I was asked by a buddy. But when I was in Europe for the first time, I played at the „Take Root Festival“ in Holland. We are actually playing it again now, in a few days. I just had out my first album „New York Town“, it was brand new. And I know I signed records, but I can’t remember the first one because it was just overwhelming. There were 20 people lined up to get a record signed all of a sudden. Just the whole experience was overwhelming. I was so nervous to play that show, that’s not the same anymore today. But I remember the hardest part was back then I tried to write everyones name to dedicate it personally. I do that today when someone asks, but I don’t do it automatically because I was spelling names incorrectly constantly. And you don’t want a signed album with the wrong spelling of your name. So I had people writing their names down and stuff. But you know: It’s been overwhelming, some mix of overwhelming and bizarre. It’s almost like a dream. I also remember it because I was on that tour with my wife, it was our first time in Europe together. From the pay, the record sales and the merch sales of that show we made like 1800 Euro. And I remember her saying to me: „You CAN make money on this“. Of course she ever since said: „Oh, you can loose money in this“, too. But that was such a cool time in my life. First record, being in Europe for the first time, meeting fans for the first time. My music seemed to have made some sense at some level and we finally saw a little bit of money coming in. It was an excitig time! Now it’s an exciting time for new reasons, there should always be exciting times. An album to me is like a vision, this big thing you gotta figure out all these details on. It’s not just songs, it’s the whole thing. And the first thing to doing something big is to get excited. I think Excitement changes when you get older but it hasn’t to be ever be gone. I’m excited living this life, I’m excited about the people that have chosen to be around me, all these relationships. I can do what I wanna do, all this family and friends mean so much to me.

WS: So you wouldn’t change this life if you had the opportunity. Like someone getting to you, offering you a good job with a good salary and enough free time to go on making music.

IN: I have a masters degree in political philosophy, I have an education. My parents at that time felt that I should have a backup plan. So my bachup plan was to be an attorney, it was a very distant backup plan. So I could have had a job, it just wasn’t what I was meant to do in this life.

WS: Are there any unfulfilled or yet unreached artistic dreams you have? Something like „I would love to do this or that some day“?

IN: Well, I have 15 acres of land in Texas, I bought a house there and I’ve got some land. There’s a big area that’s been washed out over the time and I wanna turn that into a pond and wann have it stocked with fish and want to build a dock. So, that’s my dream: I wanna build a pond. Music takes me around the world, I see a lot of things, experience things in a cool and exciting way. I wanna build a pond. I like the concept of it, because, it won’t hold water by itself, the ground has to be treated. It has to be clay based, rocks have to be put in, alge needs to grow for fish, it’s not just putting a garden out. There’s so much beauty in the land, there’s also beauty in man-treated land. It doesn’t have to be these two separate things. I spend a lot of time in cities, I used to live in New York City, but I gotta love to be on the country. I got a marriage between living there and being a part of it. I don’t want to exploit the land, but I want to use it and value it. There’s good water on the land, too. No thirst no more.

WS: And I can figure if you’re really doing it some day, there certaintly will be new inspirations for great music. I think that’s great ending sentence for the interview.

The raw, unedited Interview with Israel Nash took place in Zurich, Switzerland at September 10th, 2014.

Groove-Metal-Veteranen PRONG veröffentlichen Neues Album

Sie sind die Urväter der Groove-Metal, zahlreiche inzwischen populärere Bands wie sie selbst wie z.B. Machine Head, KoRn oder Nine Inch Nails zählen PRONG zu ihren wichtigsten musikalischen Einflüssen. Am 25.04. erscheint nun das zehnte Album der New Yorker mit dem Titel „Ruining Lives“ beim Label SPV in etlichen hübschen Editionen. Die Herren sind in der kommenden Woche auf Tour und werden im nochmals einige Clubkonzerte und Festivals spielen. Infos vom Label zum Album, Tourdaten und alles weitere per Klick auf das Banner:

 

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PRONG live 2014

15.04. D-Berlin Lido
16.04. D-Bremen – Tower
17.04. D-Hamburg – Knust
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26.07. D-Viersen – Eier mit Speck Festival
30.07. D-Weinheim – Cafe Central
31.07. D-Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
01.08. D-Wacken – Wacken Open Air
23.08. D-Bad Wünnenberg – Wünnstock Open Air