INTERVIEWS

BLACKDAHLIA (for Terroraiser 60/2014)

Interview was prepared by Thrasnmentor (for Terroraiser 60/2014)

Итальянская команда BLACKDAHUA станет открытиям для любителей достаточно тяжелой, но гласным образом вполне романтической музыки. Не сказать чтобы творчество в этих рамках было большой редкостью в мире, однако BLACKDAHUA делают это вполне уверенно и явно заслуживают внимание аудипюрии. Представить группу нам помог гитарист.

 

BLACKDAHLIA started as an acoustic duo, but then but sometimes later it transformed into regular band. What were the reasons for this transformation?
Not a particular reason but a chain of events. In the early days just me and Samuela were involved in the project, simply because we didn’t meet the right persons. It’s been a very short period made of a couple of live gigs and a single-track demo recorded. The family grew-up soon and Blackdahlia became what they are right now: a five-piece goth metal band. This is what we like to do, this is what we are.

The music of BLACKDAHLIA include many different elements – from classical stuff to modern metal sound. How would you define BLACKDAHLIA’s sound? What are your main musical influences? What are your roots?
Well, you’re right. One of the most important strength of the band is the eclecticism, the ability to tie together a myriad of different souls in an unique way. I am not very good with tags, but gothic metal could be the right definition to highlight the elegiac spirit of the band enclosed in a powerful body: The balance between the dreamy and evocative Samuela’s voice and the rage burst out by the music. I guess our roots are our influences: listening to Blackdahlia you will get the Samuela’s classical background, the modern metal-oriented guitar approach of Luca and me, the Ludovico’s heavy drumming and the Antonio’s big Stoner hand on the bass. If it’s not enough, you will find strong references to darkwave electro-music and an alternative mood. Our aim is to use the path of the top players, such as Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation, to find new boundaries.

What inspires you most? Do you need a special atmosphere to be creative?
The first element which inspires our music is Life itself. The title of our debut album has a strong evocative meaning, as each song is a fragment, a little but deep view on a page of our life and own experiences, narrated thru the eyes of the memory. In this way life becomes a tale, because it’s transposed in a mental dimension and screened with an elegiac approach.

How would you describe your debut album “Fragments”? What – according to you – are the most unusual musical elements for traditional metal and rock music?
“Fragments” is a mirror on our souls, on our past, on our fears and hopes. It’s an album which deals with life, tracing the most decadent and melancholy contour of our memories.
In my personal opinion what makes “Fragments” an interesting work is the ability in mixing very different aspects, such as electronic and aggressive sounds with strongly lyrical elements.

Can you try to explain the lyrical contents of album “Fragments”? How important is lyrics for you as a band?
First of all, both lyrics and music are essential for our tracks. In fact, Blackdahlia songs are a flow of words and images, and so music and lyrics works together to evoke completely the emotions, memories and icons of our mind.BLACKDAHLIA DREAMS OF VICTORY

Tell me something about the live gigs you did already. With what bands did you play?
We had the chance to perform with some important Italian artists, such Bud Spencer Blues Explosion and Rezophonic (a rock combo featuring artists as Cristina Scabbia, Mario Riso and Pino Scotto): a great experience which helped us to grow up as artists. Moreover during the Italian tour for “Fragments” we shared the stage with a lot very interesting bands: Prime Target (we are so excited to perform with them again in December, in Pescara), The Furies, Raving Season, Heretic’s Dream…I am quite sure to forget someone, but the important aspect is that sharing the stage with kickass bands always help you to find new targets. Live dimension is a very important aspect for us and we prepare our performances in a very accurate way. We usually perform with a sequencer, in order to have the opportunity to keep the symphonic and elegiac mood on the stage mixed up with the rawest soul of the band.

You have shared the stage with great artists. Who has given you the best advice whilst on the road and what was it?
This is a good point. For me the most important advice was from Gianni Colonna, guitar player from Superzoo. At our early days he suggested us to invest all that we could in our music. “If you don’t bet on yourselves, who will do it?” He said. We did it and “Fragments” is the score.

What is a BLACKDAHLIA gig like, do you use any special effects or do you rather concentrate on the music?
No special effect, aside from a sequencer and a smoke maker machine, that we started to use from our first performance. It’s an obsession, our Bass player doesn’t perform if the machine is not on the stage!!! We like to concentrate on the music, which we approach in a theatrical way.

Is will be the chance to see BLACKDAHLIA live in Ukraine? What can we expect from BLACKDAHLIA in the near future?
Live in Ukraine? Maybe yes. We started collaboration with Total Metal Agency with very good results. A tour over there is not a remote chance…we’ll see.
We are working on new stuff and soon an acoustic EP will be released, because we wanna give value to the most introspective side of the band. It will happen in the end of 2014 or in the early 2015. At the same time the works for the “Fragments” successor are in progress. Stay tuned and see you on the road!

DEVILISH IMPRESSIONS (WACKEN ROAD Show''08)

With Devilish Impressions I became acquainted, at once after their appearance which simply struck down me outright. Boys appeared very merry and sociable. Not hiding the delight from a stay, as participants, on this festival, boys gladly answered questions and shared the impressions. Any persons interested could walk up and made photo with a group having great time straight in a lobby, drinking beer and communicating with fans.

Directly at Devilish Impressions I took an interview already after completion of festival, in the street, already somewhere, around midnight. So, befit with the included chamber and at once “imprint” everything. Likable keys Turquoissa and vocalist Quazarre discuss the successfully last concert with Dmitriy – main organizer of today’s festival.

 

Kruger: – May I come to you, boys?
Turquoissa: – Dark Channel?! (General laughter. It was dark in the street! – auth.)
Dima: – Meet Kruger from Western-Ukrainian label Metal Scrap Production. Almost your countryman, therefore well talks on Polish.
Turquoissa: – And we are acquainted already with this uncle! Come on, be not afraid, will beat, but not strongly!

And here, with a terrible roar, an unknown diabolic-impressive monster attacks me. I hardly a chamber was not dropped.
Turquoissa: – Not frightened, it is our drummer – Maliy.
Maliy (Icanraz): -It is a joke from Dimmu Borgir!
Quazarre: – Kruger, why did not you confess that you from Metal Scrap?

Kruger: – And you, what did you hear of Metal Scrap?

Kruger: – You can mix up us with other name. Eight years we were not on arena, only here, regenerated recently.
Quazarre: – No, I can’t mix up, I remember Metal Scrap Production well!

Kruger: – Ok, then a few questions for Metal Scrap.
Quazarre: -Ok, no problem!

Kruger: – How do you like it here in Ukraine?
Turquoissa: – Very much! We here already not first time, but us, however, heaves up here. Alike country, alike people, concepts, interests. We like Kiev very much!
Quazarre: – Yes, fully agree!

Kruger: – What about organization of festival as to you?
Quazarre: – All high-level! We were not afraid to ride here, as, on the reviews of other groups, knew that Dmitriy is an excellent organizer and always behaves to the groups-participants very well. And more, we are friends long ago. And arrive, on invitation of Dmitriy, not a first time. Residence, feed, passage is all organization at European level. And organization of concerts too. Sound, light – all super! For this reason, as I know western commands left off to be afraid to arrive with concerts to your country. And plenty of “stars” already visited Ukraine.

Kruger: – And what city are you from?
Quazarre: – From Opole.

Kruger: – So it nearer to German, that to us. I was there a few years ago.
Turquoissa: – Next time necessarily visit us!

Kruger: – Thank you, certainly!
Quazarre: – Yes, a closeness to Western Europe, certainly, played some role in the personal interest known labels.

Kruger: – How much suggestions you’ve got?
Quazarre: – Yes, it was a few.

Kruger: – And from whom, if it not a secret?
Quazarre: – I can not say it, as you never know with whom you’ll work in the future.

Kruger: – So whom did you choose?
Quazarre: – It Conguer Records from London. “Diabolicanos. Act III: Armageddon” went out on this label, exactly, as well as previous release.

Kruger: – And what styles does this firm work with?
Quazarre: – They always produced, in a sum, some death metal, black metal, that, stylistically fits (on this mark recently went out “live” editions of SATYRICON, IMMORTAL, DARK THRONE and MAYHEM – auth.)

Kruger: – Why did your choice fall exactly on them?
Quazarre: – Well, from all suggestions which acted to us, their terms seemed to us most suitable.

Kruger: – And how many albums did you sign agreeing on with Conguer Records?
Quazarre: – While on two albums: last and previous. Although, not eliminated, that we will continue a contract with them, for the issue of our next material.

Kruger: – Well, and what do you have from it?
Quazarre: – What we have? Great number of pleasure! (Universal laughter – auth.) And many debts.
Turquoissa: – Yes.

Kruger: And many debts?!
Quazarre: – Yes. We live in fact, unfortunately, not due to music. And if we play concerts, we do not work already. If does not work – are out of pocket. But have debts!
Turquoissa: – Because we have to eat!

Kruger: – Does not publisher pay to you?
Turquoissa: – No, on this stage we do not earn, but also does not pay them! So far it arranges us.

Kruger: – But does label execute the terms of contract though?
Quazarre: – Yes, fully.
Turquoissa: – For us, while, no claims are present.
Quazarre: – They do for us even more than it was stipulated in the conditions of contract!

Kruger: – Well, if spoilt, pass to my label! (friendly laughter – auth.)
Turquoissa: – Ok, but while everything is all right.
Quazarre: – Recently they did a tour us together with BEHEMOTH. To lose one’s wits! They appeared such class boys! Joint trip, appearances, rest… We are simply happy!

Kruger: – To say honestly: you are the real heirs of BEHEMOTH! Thank you that answered my questions!
Turquoissa, Quazarre: – And thank you! We’ll wait you in guests!

 

HATE (for ATMOSFEAR #22)

Польские ветераны HATE после насыщенного фестивалями лета нынешней осенью отправятся в очередной тур, где числятся Украина, Россия, Белоруссия, а также восточные азиатские страны. Что сейчас происходит в стане группы, нам удалось выяснить из первых рук у лидера группы Адама, прямо после выступления на Brutal Assault. Благо, наш корреспондент оказался на этом фестивале.

 

Привет. Ну как прошел концерт? Какие новости у группы?
Привет! У нас все хорошо. Вот буквально час назад отыграли на Brutal Assault в Чехии, один из наиболее важных для нас фестивалей этим летом. Из новостей, могу сказать, что недавно подписали новый контракт с американским лейблом Metal Blade Records, и уже в декабре-январе садимся за запись нового альбома для этого лейбла. Премьера запланирована на начало весны 2019. Но, между этим, мы успеем сыграть на немалом количестве концертов, в том числе едем в тур с VADER по далекой Азии, впервые в Китае, Японии и Монголии. А также по России, ну и посетим Украину с концертом в Киеве, вместе с VADER.

Долгое время вы были под патронатом Napalm Records, но недавно подписались на Metal Blade Records. Какие перспективы вы видите, начав сотрудничество с данным лейблом?
Мне не нравится, что с Napalm Records мы уже уперлись в стену, исчерпали определенный лимит. И поэтому приняли решение сменить лейбл. Кроме того, Metal Blade были заинтересованы в сотрудничестве с нами, и сделали нам более выгодное предложение. Это и есть причина, по которой мы подписали контракт с новым лейблом. Хочу сказать, что связываем с этим контрактом большие надежды.

После выхода альбома “Tremendum” уже прошел год. Как встретили этот альбом слушатели, и как он был воспринят на концертных площадках?
Реакции были разные, в основном хорошие… но разные. Потому, что это есть альбом, который отходит от death metal более в сторону black metal. Хотя новые треки, которые делаем сейчас, являются, наоборот, поворотом к нашим корням, поворотом к альбомам “Erebos” и “Soulflesh”. Но, не могу сказать больше, поскольку именно сейчас готовим новый материал. И в декабре-январе будем его записывать.

Сколько уже имеется готового материала?
Есть уже пять готовых песен, одна из которых опубликована на ютьюбе, но в виде демо – неофициальный вариант, который будет на альбоме. Трек называется “Path To Arkhen”, мы его называем demo 2018, и это как раз одна из новых композиций.DSC 1949 2

Возвращаясь к концертам. Почему вам пришлось отменить тур по Великобритании?
Потому, что важный фестиваль, который должен бы завершить эту трассу, а именно Heavy Scotland, был отменен, и это подорвало весь план нашего тура. Поэтому мы решили не делать этот тур сейчас, а перенести его на весну 2019. Поэтому тур, можно сказать, не отменен, а перенесен.

Как прошел ваш летний фестивальный период?
Мы отыграли несколько важных фестивалей, таких как In Flammen в Германии, Metal Days в Словении, Brutal Assault сегодня, также отыграли на хорошем и очень важном фестивале в Барселоне – Move Your Fucking Brain. А две недели назад закончили европейский тур. Потому, считаю, что летний сезон был использован по максимуму.

Этой осенью HATE будет выступать в Киеве, вместе с VADER и THY DISEASE, именно этот город открывает ваш восточноевропейский тур. Что вы ожидаете от этой поездки? Будут ли представлены какие-то новые песни со сцены?
Да, сыграем одну новую вещь, ту о которой уже упоминал. Эту вещь будем играть на концертах. В остальном, это будет такой разноплановый сэт, с треками из последнего альбо
ма “Tremendum”, немного треков из “Erebos”, один или два трека с альбома “Soulflesh”. Такая соляночка из последних наших четырех альбомов.

Вы уже не один раз были в Украине. Что вам больше всего понравилось и запомнилось?
Больше всего мне нравится в Украине то, что страна меняется, и мне кажется, очень динамично, в сторону Запада (надеюсь). Это то, что мне сейчас больше всего нравится в Украине. С другой стороны, есть ли у Украины шанс выйти из “советского мышления”? Это шанс, это потенциал, воспользуется ли ним Украина – мне предсказать трудно. Но те движения, что она делает в данный момент – движения в правильную сторону. Хотелось бы, чтобы они закончились успехом для Украины.

Так же, как ты упоминал, вы будете играть в России. Что вы знаете и что думаете о войне в Украине?
Я убежден в том, что это не конфликт, а агрессия России против Украины. Это агрессивная война, которая была никому не нужна. Желаю HateУкраине, чтобы она закончилась как можно быстрее.

Знаете ли вы о том, что Россия подбрасывает разную фиктивную информацию в Польшу, чтобы рассорить поляков и украинцев? Например, нанимает людей, которые обливают краской польские памятники в Украине и, наоборот, украинские в Польше.
Да, мы здесь в Польше, даем себе отчет в том, что есть определенные силы, которые мешают в развитии польско-украинских отношений. Большинство людей в Польше отдают себе в этом отчет.

После выступлений в СНГ у вас продолжится тур по Монголии, Китаю и Японии. Как ты уже говорил, вы еще там не выступали, а бывали ли вы вообще в этих странах раньше?
Нет, не были там никогда. И это вообще наше первое турне по далекой Азии. Надеемся, что это будет хорошее экзотическое приключение, тем более, что едем туда с нашими хорошими товарищами VADER, которых знаем много лет, и с которыми отыграли множество концертов в разные периоды нашей карьеры. Поэтому, мы очень счастливы, что едем в этот тур, не можем уже дождаться его.

На заре вашей карьеры, исполняя более скоростную музыку, некоторые люди сравнивали вас с творчеством группы DEICIDE. Но с тех пор ваша музыка изменилась. Как ты относишься к данной группе, и какой твой любимый альбом DEICIDE?
Когда был юношей, очень любил и ценил DEICIDE. Больше всего мне нравится первый альбом “Deicide” и второй – “Legion”. Это мои любимые альбомы этой группы. Скорее всего, первые шаги нашей группы были инспирированы американским Death Metal’ом из Флориды, а именно такими группами, как DEICIDE или MORBID ANGEL. Это было очень выразительно слышно в нашем раннем творчестве. В то время мы только искали наш индивидуальный звук, свой индивидуальный подход к металлу вообще. Заняло это несколько лет. Хочу сказать, что вспоминаю те времена с ностальгией, но не хотел бы в них возвращаться. Развиваемся в музыкальном плане натуральным способом – это скорее больше эволюция, чем революция. И мне кажется, что направление, в котором мы идем сейчас, может быть интересным в музыкальном плане, и как мне кажется, даже чем-то исключительным вообще… даже на фоне польской метал-сцены …

У HATE пару последних лет двое сессионных музыкантов? Почему вы не переведете их в разряд постоянных?
Это еще не точно… может быть… может быть они станут постоянными участниками группы, но это будет зависеть от того, как мы будем вместе, как группа, работать над созданием нового альбома, который сейчас готовим. И его написанием, и записью. Поэтому есть шанс, что группа HATE снова станет квартетом, но… это шанс, потенциал… еще не знаю, еще не принял решение в отношении этого вопроса.DSC 1960 2

Как ваш барабанщик успевает играть в стольких группах?
Pavulon является очень занятым музыкантом. Также потому, что он уже много лет занимается только музыкой, зарабатывая себе этим на жизнь. В некоторые проекты он ангажируется меньше, в некоторые больше, но HATE есть его приоритетом, и это для меня наиболее важно.

Какие стратегические цели группы?
Продолжать наше дело, стремиться большего индивидуализма нашего послания – нашей музыки, ну и…хотелось бы сказать по-английски Keep Metal Alive / Keep Metal Burning! Эти английские слова больше выражают то, что я хочу сказать в данном случае.

NECRONOMICON (for Metal Brothers)

Interview was prepared by Vpower (for Metal Brothers)

NECRONOMICON is a secure value when it comes to Thrash Metal, a long career and legion of fans growing year after year. So, it’s always nice to have Freedy back with a new chapter. Now “The Final Chapter”, NECRONOMICON’s new album. Is their tenth full-length and the first time that the band features an international line-up with Canadian drummer Rik Charron (ex-Exciter) and American solo-guitarist Glen Shannon, who played with members of Fates Warning, Pentagram and others. Apart of that in this interview Freddy shares with us some sad and tragic news in the middle of the pandemonium we are living with the damned Covid. From here we send Freddy our most sincere affection and support.

 

Hi Freddy, Necronomicon is back with a new album, then tenth already. It means something special for you?
I am quite sentimental about it, of course, and proud of it , too. Although this is probably my best album (songwriting), and yes, I think everyone says that when they release a new album, the signature is unmistakable. And I want it to stay that way.
I just hope that I hit a point with the fans in my way of music-& songwriting, which simply pleases. That’s why you make music with passion and dedication and of course your own conviction, without wanting to sound arrogant. The music industry is already brutal and merciless. So it’s even nicer to get something back if people like it and it’s also honored. And that’s what I hope to have achieved with the new album.

The title The Final Chapter has something to do with the last album of the band, I hope not…?
I had the most horrible year of my life. Within 2 days I lost my parents to Corona and I had to struggle with that too. That paralyzes you for the time being; also concerning the planned recordings of the new album. We had fortunately recorded the drums in December 2019 and so we could then, after I had digested the shock to some extent (although that will probably never really go) in August then finally continue. Originally we wanted to have the album ready in April 2020; to the European tour start. But there it went to us like all the others. Nothing went more. I don’t think we’ve had a crisis like this in the world since the Spanish flu. Especially the music & event industry are totally down. We are fighting for survival. We’ll see what the new album brings. I hope there also very strongly, on the support of the label. The canceled European tour will be made up as soon as the situation out there improves, and then we’ll see. I can’t stop completely anyway, I’m too much of a musician and I love this kind of music too much. We will see what comes in 2021. That’s why our lyrics on the new album are darker than usual. Since I often use metaphors in the lyrics or work with metaphors, I have this time the theme of “death” very strongly focused. This is certainly also a certain processing of the events of last year.

We feel very sorry about the bad news you give us, such a huge loss as that, all our support from here Freddy, it’s terrible all this situation we are living, as you said. For this new album you have recruited American solo-guitarist Glen Shannon, how was it?
When you’ve been making music for 35 years, you always have to deal with change. I met Rik in 2017 on our European tour. He supported us with his band ” Dark Ministry ” and somehow the spark between him and me jumped right away. After Chris had to confess to us on the last tour that he just can’t do it anymore (health problems) I asked Rik without further ado, who immediately agreed and also got Glen on board. Rik knows Glen from previous projects and was full of praise of him. So I asked Glen if he would like to join Necronomicon
Rik and Glen joining us is a win-win situation. They really wanted to make music again and we (me) are completely fascinated from Rik`s drumming style and I was naturally curious how Glen would interpret the music as lead guitarist.
They are really sympathetic and honest person, who fits especially humanly to us.

I like the work of Glen in the album and I think he emphasizes the melodic side of the band
The songwriting is 100% up to me. I create the framework of the individual songs, so to speak, so that everyone gets enough freedom within this construct, his ideas for his instrument can flow. That worked out very well this time; and yes, because of the two guys we sound also more powerful. And of course this is also due to Glen. He has his own personal style, which fits perfectly to Necronomicon. And he is a meticulous worker. He is not satisfied until everything is 100%. I like that a lot, of course and he is a really good guy.

As you said, we also find Canadian drummer Rik Charron. This way the line-up became something like more international?
Yes, absolutely. Through the two guys we sound “more international” and also more powerful. Rik has a very individual drumming and we never had that with Necronomicon. And Glen has also contributed to this with his somewhat “snotty” way of playing the solos. In addition, Achim Köhler, who made the mix and mastering once again had a lot of time for the production , because of the Corona crises, and you can hear that incredibly. The sound is much powerful and bombastic.

You have a solid fan base, no doubt, but I think in the last years you have come to be more popular than ever and a little less underground, do you feel the same?
Yes, that is absolutely right. Since “Construction of evil” it goes more and more forward; but for me, the underground is very popular. And I’d rather be underground than one of millions in the commercial scene. But we haven’t been an underground band in years. And at the latest since “Invictus ” we have gained incredible popularity and we don’t have to hide from anyone in the Thrash Metal scene, especially in Germany.

How long have you worked in the composition of The Final Chapter and how was the recording process?
We had to be a little creative there. The rhythm guitars and the bass we recorded at Marco, my bass player at home. Luckily he has a small home studio and it wasn’t a problem, because we recorded the last records the same way, regarding guitar and bass. For the vocals we did an experiment: I have a pretty big closet, a wall cabinet, and that’s where we produced the vocals.
Achim gave me the tip and it worked gigantically well :-))
Glenn also recorded the solo guitar at home. Achim then got all the files in September and then went to mix and master. The drums we had fortunately already recorded in the fall of 2019. Rik flew to germany especially for the recordings and so the most important part of the rhythm work was already done.

This new record continues the legacy of Necronomicon, a band with a solid path that never disappoints the fans
Throughout my life I have always tried to make and write the music that I myself would like to hear or play. This is now please not misunderstood or even come across arrogant… I am very very bad at copying or reproducing other songs or bands. I just can’t do it. I sometimes admire the people who can cover the solos or the rhythm 1 to 1 from this or that band. That’s why I get my ideas mainly from movies or series. Often a concise melody is enough, from which I then make a complete song. I’ve always done it that way to avoid being confronted with comparisons to other bands. But of course you can’t reinvent the wheel, and so one or the other will always find a parallel to related bands. I think our fans honor this, because I often get the statement from the writing guild, that NECRONOMCION are not only always on the bell, but can also offer rock songs or even ballads. Of course, this does not have to please everyone, but this is now my own and personal musical style.

As usual, we are going to enjoy some aggressive thrash songs but I think this new album is also kind of more diverse than Unleashed Bastards was?
The first thing you can hear immediately is that the drums no longer have the typical thrash metal rhythm. Rik asked me if he had a free hand or if he had to adapt to the predecessors. I said only: “Fire freely my good one and bang out everything what you have on it”. Also Glen should not orientate himself on Andi, who interpreted the lead guitar very melodious and almost too commercial. Glen has this “dirty” also sometimes unconventional kind, which I never heard so with NECRONOMICON. My vocals also come across quite differently, although I haven’t changed much there. And you are already right. Some melodies already sound “Maiden” like; although this was not intended at all and is. Perhaps this also comes through Marco`s bass playing much stronger to bear. And I am really proud of our rock number ”The Unnaimend“.

Freddy, your voice sounds so rough and aggressive as ever, do you follow any special care or it’s a natural thing of yours?
You could say that it is given by God; I have no influence on it at all, nor do I take special care of my voice. Maybe it’s the good wine or the delicious beer, which do my voice particularly well. hahahaha

Must be that then hahaha. Looking at the titles it seems the lyrics go around evil, death, etc, the usual package in Necronomicon, right?
They are more somber than usual. Since I often use metaphors in the lyrics or work with metaphors, I have this time the theme of “death” very strongly focused. This is certainly also a certain processing of the events of last year. For me, “The Final Chapter” is also a reappraisal, a kind of “healing process” of the events of the last year, which was very difficult for me.

I understand. Any favorite song in the album or anyone that will be for sure in the set list for the gigs?
Hahaha, that’s unfair my friend. Since I wrote the songs, of course I like all of them very much…:-)) but of course there is one or the other favorite. “Purgatory ” “I am the violence ” “Justice ” “Walls of Pain ” and “The Unnamed ” are some of my favorite songs. But, as you know, tastes are different and so I hope that there is something for everyone. I already said that I am very very proud of this album and I put all hopes now on the success with this production. There will also be 2 videos from this album: “Me against You ” and “Walls of Pain “; both a mix of video and lyric video. We didn’t have the opportunity to shoot a video with Rik and Glen, so we had to come up with something there as well. The result is quite good.

Talking about gigs, how are you doing with this and you have any plans for the following months?
All the promoters assured our management that the concerts and the tour will take place as soon as it is possible again. On the contrary, many promoters still want to dock to the upcoming European tour. Now we are eagerly waiting for the vaccine and that this will happen quickly. And I want to tour in South-America again. Argentina, Brasil and Chile are in planning and if all things running well, we could go to Japan to promote the new album as well.
It’s the same for all musicians; Covid-19 has changed everything. The music industry and especially the musicians and bands are completely down and fear for their existence. It’s the same for us. We had to cancel the European tour 3 days before it started. This was a disaster for everyone financially as well. The vaccine is the only chance to get back on our feet. If all goes well, we can possibly restart the tour in fall.

Crossing fingers. Necronomicon is getting closer and closer to their 40th anniversary, would you like to make some special event to celebrate it or it is still early to think about that?
To be honest, last year I had the thought of quitting. One more disc and then it’s over….I just couldn’t motivate myself anymore.
We’ll see what the new album brings. I hope there also very strongly, on the support of the label. The canceled European tour will be made up as soon as the situation out there improves, and then we’ll see. I can’t stop completely anyway, I’m too much of a musician and I love this kind of music too much. We will see what future will bring….! And I’m also fully committed to the new album now. I am very proud of what we have produced with „ The Final Chapter „. Rik, Marco and Glen of course hope that it will continue, because especially for the two guys from North America this is a new chapter in their music career.

Freddy, tell us some moment of your long career that you will never forget.
That we picked ourselves up again after the total collapse and produced “Construction of evil”. That was also largely due to Jogi’s work, who kept pushing us to not let up. I still tell him that today when we see each other and meet each other. We were really down after the legal battle with our label and the bankruptcy of the following label. If we hadn’t picked ourselves up then, Necronomicon wouldn’t exist anymore. Even though this might be a gloomy impression, it was the most important one in my and our career. And Necronomicon still has a few chapters free in their own book…..:-))

Hopefully so. And finally, with your experience how do you see the world nowadays and what would you recommend to the young guys starting in this business?
Believe in what you are doing; and do it with all your heart. Then you will also be successful. The music industry is like a shark tank. Brutal and merciless. You always have to fight for your success. Only if you are ready to give everything, you will get something back.

Thanks a lot Freddy and take care, if you wish to add something…
I have to thank you, it was a pleasure for me. I really hope that we can come to South Europe, especially Spain and Portugal, as soon as possible. This is a wish of my heart. I would like to make it short and yet it is immensely important for me: Stay healthy out there and look after yourself! Beware the beast!

NECRONOMICON (for Metal Temple)

Interview was prepared by Lior “Steinmetal” Stein (for Metal Temple)

Right after hitting the last chord, there are thoughts about what to do next, however, when life hits, and there is that major effect of being hit hard, at times, it is difficult to get back to business as if nothing happened. It is a process, digestion and understanding, comprehending the situation and trying to live with it. There are those that can and there are those that will decide that enough is enough, a time to move on. Germany’s long running Necronomicon, led by Freddy, have seen quite a lot throughout the long span career. Eventually, it was getting back out there with a new album, “The Last Chapter”, and who knows if it is the end or not. Steinmetal wanted to find out more by discussing it with Freddy.

 

Hello Freddy, it is a great honor to have you for this talk for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir in these challenging times?

Hi, and first of all thanks for the interest in the new album and in Necronomicon and it´s an honor for me, too, to do this interview. At the moment we are working very hard on the release of our new album, which will be released worldwide on march 26th. We are all looking forward to it enormously and are also a bit proud of this album, especially if you know the circumstances how this album was created. You can certainly say that this has become my most personal and also most emotional album ever.

With uncertainty hovering above on nearly a daily basis, the future as we know it, in particular in regards to coming back to a normal way of life, is currently under a curtain of Grey. How do you deal with this sort of disquiet, not knowing what is going to happen next? How have you been dealing throughout this period of the pandemic?

I had the most horrible year of my life. Within 2 days I lost my parents to Corona and I had to struggle with that too. That paralyzes you for the time being; also concerning the planned recordings of the new album. We had fortunately recorded the drums in December 2019 and so we could then, after I had digested the shock to some extent (although that will probably never really go away) in August then finally continue. Originally we wanted to have the album ready in April 2020; to the European tour start. But there it went to us like all the others. Nothing went forward anymore. I don’t think we’ve had a crisis like this in the world since the Spanish flu. Especially the music & event industry is totally down. We are fighting for survival. It’s really hard.

Your band Necronomicon has always been searching for opportunities and options to perform live, you even had a scheduled tour that got postponed. This situation led from being a busy bee on the road to another form of bee so to speak. Have you considered other options to promote the band further with the road option currently unavailable? How do you keep your spirit up and motivated?

It’s certainly not that simple. But that’s what happens to every musician in these dark times. The European tour was cancelled 3 days before the tour started last year…. but all the promoters assured our management that the concerts and the tour will take place as soon as it is possible again. On the contrary, many promoters still want to dock to the upcoming European tour. Now we are eagerly waiting for the vaccine and that this will happen quickly. And I want to tour in South-America again. Argentina, Brazil and Chile are in planning and if all things running well, we could go to Japan to promote the new album as well.

Right before the pandemic hit, Necronomicon underwent a substantial change in its personnel, and somewhat also in its image. For the first time ever actually, half of the band is now North American, introducing ex-Exciter Rik Charron to man the skins and the six string warrior, ex-Savior From Anger, Glenn Shannon. With the German Metal scene, along with its neighbours, harboring so many amazing musicians for example, why go for off-shore musicians?

When you’ve been making music for 35 years, you always have to deal with change. I met Rik in 2017 on our European tour. He supported us with his band “Dark Ministry” and somehow the spark between him and me jumped right away. After Chris had to confess to us on the last tour that he just can’t do it anymore (health problems) I asked Rik without further a due, who immediately agreed and also got Glen on board. Rik joining us is a win-win situation. He really wanted to make music again and we (me) are completely fascinated by his drumming style. In addition, he is a really sympathetic and honest person, who fits especially humanly to us. Glenn, too, by the way. Through the two guys we sound “more international” and also more powerful. Rik has a very individual drumming and we never had that with Necronomicon. And Glen has also contributed to this with his somewhat “snotty” way of playing the solos. In addition, Achim Köhler, who made the mix and mastering once again had a lot of time for the production, because of the Corona crisis, and you can hear that incredibly. The sound is much powerful and bombastic

How did you know that Charron and Shannon are the ones that are Necronomicon made material? Have you tried other musicians that are also off-shore? What were your prime criterions for accepting new members?

For me, the individual personality is of the highest priority. Only then comes the musical part. I’ve met so many different musicians in the course of my career, so you become very sensitive. As I mentioned, I met Rik on our European tour in 2017. That worked humanly right away. And I was sure if Rik put a person close to my heart, that person would also fit in with us. So it was no big deal with Glen. Both are quite great people who stand behind Necronomicon 100%. On our last big European tour, we had a substitute guitarist…. after the first concert he dropped out and we had to play the whole tour with three people. The guy was a complete human disaster and a real ass…., ( sorry for the expression ) as we were to learn painfully. Unfortunately, you can’t look inside a person. I am really happy to have Glen and Rik on board.

Armed and ready, you are set to release Necronomicon’s tenth album, “The Final Chapter”, once again via El Puerto Records. I have to tell you that you had me going there, I thought right from the start that this is going to be the final Necronomicon album, yet this title could be misleading, as it might be the end of a chapter but the beginning of a new one, rather said, a new era. Where was I right, help me out here please?

To be honest, last year I had the thought of quitting. One more album and then it’s over…. I just couldn’t motivate myself anymore. We’ll see what the new album will bring. I hope there also very strongly, on the support of our label and the cancelled European tour will be made up as soon as the situation out there improves, and then we’ll see. I can’t stop completely anyway, but I’m too much of a musician and I love this kind of music too much. The album title allows many speculations. This can also be a new beginning. A new chapter of the band with Rik and Glen. We will see what comes in 2021/22

Throughout the album I felt facing questions and a form of fascination towards the occult, perhaps trying to understand it better or rather provide personal insights. What would you say is the path that was paved within “The Final Chapter” on a philosophical level?

You’re right. If you start from the song titles, there is definitely a certain occult touch. Especially the song “Purgatory” with the intro suggests this. But I have largely processed the last year and the worldwide disasters and events. Whether that was the situation in the U.S. with Trump, the global climate change, the pollution of the oceans and environment and its consequences. Of course, there is also the theme “Corona” processed or rulers and other criminals who mercilessly exploit their power and the population leaves in a mess. All these topics and of course my own personal situation, which is still in my bones.

As you stated, I am sure that there are songs of the album that you find closer to you on a personal level, parts of you that you implemented in the songwriting. How does this album find you on that level? What kind of an own message were trying to provide through the lyrics?

They are more sombre than usual. Since I often use metaphors in the lyrics or work with metaphors, I have this time the theme of “death” very strongly focused. This is certainly also a certain processing of the events of last year. Especially regarding the lyrics, we are still very punk oriented. Often socially critical. With this album, you could almost say that the lyrics are a “horror fairy tale for adults”.

I remember the wickedness and crude kind of Thrash Metal of the band’s early days, yet in time, in particular in the last decade, you added layers of melodies, took the band’s genre into a diverse form while keeping the core intact. I believe that “The Final Chapter” is probably Necronomicon’s melodic album to date, and it crosses swords with different Metal subgenre under the title of Traditional Metal quite impressively. How do you feel that this record took you forward musically in comparison to your previous record?

Just let me explain, how we handled this. At first; the songwriting is 100% up to me. I create the framework of the individual songs, so to speak, everyone gets enough freedom and space within this construct, his ideas for his instrument can flow. That also worked out very well this time. And we had to be a little creative in recording the new album because of Corona and the sad situation. The rhythm guitars and the bass we recorded at Marco, my bass player at home. Luckily he has a small home studio and it wasn’t a problem, because we recorded the last records the same way, regarding guitar and bass. For the vocals we did an experiment: I have a pretty big closet, a wall cabinet, and that’s where we produced the vocals. Achim gave me the tip and it worked gigantically well :-))

Glenn also recorded the solo guitar at home. Achim then got all the files in September and then went to mix and master. And I got my ideas mainly from movies or series. Often a concise melody is enough, from which I then make a complete song. I’ve always done it that way to avoid being confronted with comparisons to other bands. But of course you can’t reinvent the wheel, and so one or the other will always find a parallel to related bands. In this case, Metal Hammer pointed out to me that some of the songs are very reminiscent of Iron Maiden; at least the guitar riffing. I think our fans honour this, because I often get the statement from the journalists, that NECRONOMCION are not only pure thrash metal. They can also offer rock songs or even ballads. Of course, this does not have to please everyone, but this is now my own and personal musical style. And that hasn’t changed on the new album.

Necronomicon is close to clicking four decades of activity, you have seen a lot and I have the feeling that you also heard quite a lot. With the current Metal market swamped with releases, on a weekly basis, thanks to modern technology, what do you think that Necronomicon brings fresh to the table with such a record as “The Final Chapter”?

It very quickly gives the impression of arrogance when you praise your album yourself. Although this is probably my best album (songwriting), my signature is unmistakable. And it should stay that way. I just hope that I hit on my way of music & songwriting with the fans a point that simply pleases. That’s why you make music with passion and dedication and of course your own conviction, without wanting to sound big headed. The music industry is already brutal and merciless. So it’s even nicer to get something back if people like it and it’s also honoured. And that’s what I hope to have achieved with the new album. Necronomicon is like my baby. I will always give EVERYTHING for this band. And I also think that there are no better and more loyal fans than in the metal scene, which gives you so much back.

Going back to your new guys in the group, how do you find the guys’ contribution to the songwriting process of the album and of course the general feel of the band’s musical image through it?

As already mentioned, we sound more international. German Thrash Metal, also known as Teutonic Thrash, has its own special style. Especially the drumming is and the interpretation is very peculiar. Through Rik we got a completely different sound characteristic. The drums, especially the bass drums, are very „round“ ( not the typical thrash metal rhythm) and just whip the songs forward. That suits my songwriting and also my voice very well. Glen has interpreted my songs in a completely different way than Andi did for all those years (brilliantly). I was very curious to see how it would fit together. And I was very positively surprised. Both guys have done a huge job.

What forms of challenges were in your way while making the record, whether through the songwriting and recording of the album? How did you tackle these challenges to go forward strong with completing the release?

The biggest problem was me. To motivate myself again and again and to suppress all the negative thoughts and experiences and then to be creative…. that was the real challenge. And Necronomicon bears my musical signature. I never will and never want to give it up, then it wouldn’t be Necronomicon anymore. Thanks to the support of the guys and my friends it was possible and I’m glad and grateful to be able to make these recordings that way.

“Purgatory”, as if feeling lost, in limbo, between Heaven and Hell, but for some reason it is quite enigmatic, this song created something no doubt. Its main riff and punishing tempo provided enough fuel to the fire, and it was hard for me to let it go. What can you tell about this song and its creation?

This is one of my absolute favourites. I remember that I wrote the song in one day. I had this distinctive melody in my head and had to immediately start writing and creating this song. Then I had the idea with the intro, which makes this song even more interesting, because it’s really a game between good and evil, where even the angels are afraid. There again, you can draw the current comparison, what is happening in the world or what challenge we just have to overcome. And that is not ONLY Corona

“Spilling Blood” has that dramatic flavor running around, it punctures but in a different kind of way, it lets you in rather smoothly, slowly building up its force, until the big boom arrives moments later. What is your appreciation of this track, which I also found to be rather emotional to a certain level?

This is one of the songs that can be compared with Iron Maiden; Marco, my bass player, is completely fascinated by the song, because here he also gets the opportunity to interpret the bass so beautifully “Maiden like“. I really wanted to create the song with a chord intro and then incorporate this theme in the intermediate piece in a slightly modified way; in addition, I had the idea with the choir. I’m already looking forward to playing this song live and the fans will accompany us with the choir. That already gives goose bumps.

Old vibes, old school prowess, speeding things up and keeping it brutal till the end is “Me Against You”. How do you find this old kind of crudeness, somewhat raw youth the spews off this number? Is this a sort of longing to the old days?

Completely correct and very well recognized. I wanted to write a short and really brutal number. A mix of old school punk and thrash metal. Like it used to be, with a current theme. Everybody against everybody. No one shows any consideration for the other; only the strongest survives. No matter whether that is in world politics or every day in life. Man is the most terrible virus that exists on this planet. Destroy everything and do not think about the consequences. That is the human being!!!

We talked about plans getting postponed due to the pandemic, do you intend to go forward with the same tour in 2021 or rather keep it safe for 2022?

All the promoters assured our management that the concerts and the tour will take place as soon as it is possible again. On the contrary, many promoters still want to dock to the upcoming European tour. Now we are eagerly waiting for the vaccine and that this will happen quickly. And like I said, I want to tour in South-America again.

Freddy, major thanks for your time and effort on this interview. I was glad to hear that you guys haven’t lost your touch on this new record. Well done job. Cheers sir.

I have to thank you, it was a pleasure and great honor for me. I would like to make it short and yet it is immensely important for me: Stay healthy out there and look after yourself! Beware the beast!

POKERFACE (for Rock Hard #43)

IInterview prepared by PIKES MIKELLSON (for Rock Hard #43)

 

Здравствуйте! Could you recommend us anything in Moscow? What shouldn’t we miss when we visit the city and what should be avoid?
LadyOwl (Vocal): Привет!!! Well, I prefer to walk through Moscow streets! You better have a nice guide! Let me know when you‘ll be here ahahha
Ritter (Guitar): Добрый день! There are Boulevard ring, Arbat and Zaryadje in the very center of the city. Pretty sure, you will enjoy walking along streets to the Kremlin. There are lots of interesting things, bars, installations, live musicians, museums. Very similar to some European capital.
Avoid policemen. Fuck the police!
Moscow belongs to one of the most expensive cities to live in. How does a common person manages to survive there?
DedMoroz (Bass): I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Life in any capital is more expensive, than in rest of the country. But also you have bigger earnings. You have to be faster, smarter and stronger – and you will have no problems with survival in Moscow. It’s a quite usual story.

You’re a young band and I’d say you’re not that well known in our area. You’ve been together for four years and I believe you weren‘t in any other band before. Could you introduce POKERFACE and tell us more about you?
DedMoroz: We are not as well known as some local band playing in your area every day, but we’ve already made several tours and we are not going to stop. Moreover, your magazine posts a big flyer with POKERFACE’s spring tour.
Regarding members, actually, we’ve had quite many changes in band’s life. Now we have a stable line-up. Our frontwoman – Alexandra LadyOwl – is the best extreme vocalist in Russia, she has beautiful voice and strong professional skills. Xen Ritter – our lead guitarist – makes our sound aggressive and melodic, her solos are amazing. Roman – our new drummer – as soon as Doctor left the band, Roman joined us several months ago. He shows good skills that helps POKERFACE to improve live performance. As for me – I’m not only a bass player from this band, but also a manager, a driver, a stage worker and so on.
LadyOwl: Well, I guess, you are not right about your area, and actually all of us played in bands before 🙂

Does the inspiration for a band name come from Lady Gaga’s song „Pokerface“ J? I think your name describes perfectly your way of thinking in which you deal with anti-Christian themes.
Ritter: If you mean these horns on the logo – well, I think, it was made more to separate from Lady Gaga (to show clearly that we are metal band), than for anti-Christian stuff. But if you think so, that’s great. Or… is this antireligious theme still cool?
Anyway, it’s all about Lemmy. He is our idol, both founders of POKERFACE (Doctor and Dietrich) have been strongly influenced by him. That’s how the idea with the name have come – It’s all about irony, sense of humour and flashback of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades”. Lemmy still unites and inspires.
So, let people google “Pokerface”, meaning Lady Gaga. To find us and say “wow!”. It is rather fun.
LadyOwl: I guess, nobody was thinking about Lady Gaga when the name was chosen.

Is there enough male metal singers in Russia? Most bands I know have a frontwoman (SATARIAL, MERLIN). Or is metal a woman thing in Russia? Btw. do you think there’s a chance for MERLIN to ressurect?
Ritter: Sorry, I don’t know anything about Merlin.
When I started, there were only few girls on Russian metal stage. And mostly these band were inspired by Nightwish and Evanescence. Nowadays boobs are everywhere, it is not only Russian feature. Maybe, it is more pleasant to watch pretty girls on stage, or maybe, it is all about contrast effect. Tiny, nice and tender girl brings brain-crushing metal with a creepy grimace on a pretty face. Who knows? Anyway, as Nekrasov said about russian women: “She would stop a running horse, and rush in a burning house…”
DedMoroz: I know for sure, that Merlin will never ressurect.
LadyOwl: Well, if you know Satarial and Merlin, that means, you know an underground part of Russian music well. If you will pay attention to more famous male bands like Aria, Amatory, Epidemia, Korrozia Metalla, Stigmata, Lumen and a lot more.., you will understand, that it’s pretty same with female.

Few months ago you released secod album of yours – „Game On“. Could you tell us more about composing process?
Ritter: We all take part in a music-writing process. Best songs are coming out, when two guitarists bring their own-style ideas and then Dmitry (DedMoroz) makes a whole composition from them, adds drums and bass. After that the track is ready for LadyOwl to do vocal parts. Everyone can focus on it’s own part of work.
As to “Game On”, the main objective was to do professional-sounding album and not to lose previous band songs’ aggression and drive at the same time. I think, we did it well, I’m happy with this release.

The album was released via M & O Music. Now you’re with Metal Scrap. Why did you decide to change label? Personally I think that Metal Scrap does its best for their bands.
DedMoroz: Actually, we are an independent band. We are looking for an effective label. As for M&O Music. We only have distribution and promotional deal with them. It’s not a big contract like “we sign you and give you a big pile of money”. As for Metal Scrap – we haven’t contract with them, but I know Anatoly personally, he is very kind man and he helped POKERFACE a lot. I will recommend my friends to work with him. Maybe one day we will sign a contract with Metal Scrap Records.

What do your lyrics deal with? Who is their author?
LadyOwl: For the first time in POKERFACE history we’ve had the lyricist Nana Traum Mond. That wasn’t a purpose, she just offered to try to match her textes and our music. About lyrics. “Game on” is not an ordinary album consisted of separated songs, but has its own deep sense and concept. All songs have a kind of certain line and different games of chance, casino theme, inner monsters and fears of people looking for simple ways to solve difficult self-problems inspired their conception. Everyone knows that the most simple way as usual is not the right one, but being under social pressure force the hero of this album to make aggressive and cruel decisions. His own behavior puts him into a trap of greed, fear and betrayal. His inner problems appear in images of monsters like Bone Reaper and Fatal Scythe, which hunt him and lead to the deeper layer of his own subconscious. Games that demons make him to play are in general ways to solve these personal problems. The hero tries these different ways, each of which leads to loss of all he earned during his entire life. The labyrinth with no beginning, no end, no exit. But diamonds are formed only under great pressure and temperature, and the hero of this album is not an exception. In the end of his struggle he understands, that the main treasure he owns is himself as a person, and until he remembers who he is, he is a winner in all dreadful demons’ games and the one who won his own life and right to live as a strong-willed person.

Is it hard in Russia to make metal music? What’s the quality of local recording studios and how is it with rehearsal rooms? Is there a strong metal fan base? Do you feel the government makes it harder for metal bands?
Ritter: We are not persecuted for what we are playing, althought some time ago we had a series of cancellation of big concerts (Cannibal Corpse, Marilyn Manson, Belphegor) because of religious fanatics. So, the government just let things flow.
In Russia generally there is no musical industry, few good clubs, it is difficult to find a good music store. But in Moscow and St. Petersburg there is everything you need to make a metal band live – rehearsal rooms, stores, big and small clubs with good backline, a lot of good musicians, stage wear. Recording studios are cheaper than in Europe, and some sound-engineers in them are much better. “Game On” was recorded, mastered and mixed in Moscow studio, and it has the European-quality sound. The other side is that metal fans here make sold outs for Slayer and Black Sabbath, but they don’t believe in russian metal scene. And we have stupid logistics and long distances between cities, that is bad for touring.Pokerface Rock Hard 43

I think Alexandra is inspired by former ARCH ENEMY singer Angela when it comes to the way of singing and image. Am I wrong? What bands have inspired you?
LadyOwl: Well, correctly would said, firstly I haven’t any extreme vocal idol, but when I got a job in my first band – they asked me to growl and I started to search some role models, Angela wasn’t first. I’m more inspired by Alissa than Angela, but they are both amazing. And before I was inspired by extreme vocals of Chester Benington, Cory Taylor, Deny Filth.. etc., more male than female. And then I found a huge world of female extreme vocals.

After the album was out you did quite a long tour and you stoped by in Slovakia and Czech republic as well. What do you recall about this tour and how did you feel in Slovakia and Czechia? Did you have some time to check out the towns and try local food and drinks? Did you like them?
LadyOwl: I must say, that some of our best concerts were in Czech Republic! Especially in Brno and Mlada Boleslav! I had an ability to walk through Prague and Brno, and Brno really reminds me Moscow a lil bit. The country and cities are very beautiful and full of amazing historical things everywhere! Beautiful castles, temples and so on. Amazing. Slovakia impressed me by nature! My instagram was full of pics of mountains and lakes that lie there!

What have surprised you about music indrustry lately? Both in positive or negative way.
Ritter: Resurrection of vinyl and even tapes. Hails to the stone age! Although, I love vinyl.
LadyOwl: Well, I guess, everything that could surprise me happened quite long time ago. In 2009, I think. If you want to work in music industry, you really need to forget about many things, including the thought, that you need just your songs to have a success. But I don’t want to disclose all sides of it publicly, let people have dreams hahah
DedMoroz: I like how the music industry works. You have some kind of game rules, and if you do everything right, you will have a result. But, at the other side, you have to deal with organizers and promoters. I can’t understand these people very often.

How is it with CD, LP and merchandise availability in Russia?
DedMoroz: We have no problems with buying any merchandise of well-known bands. If you’re looking for local bands, it’s better to go to their shows and visit their social media pages. Btw, our merchandise is available at Bandcamp store: https://pokerfacerus.bandcamp.com/

Thank you for the interview.
LadyOwl: Thank you for considering us as an interesting band for making this interview. Listen to good music and stay metal \m/

Rik Charron (for K.K. Downing)

Interview was prepared by Heather Williams (for K.K. Downing)

A new era of Exciter emerged in the late nineties, morphing from an 1980’s speed metal powerhouse into a brutal, thrash metal -machine. They made appearances at festivals around the world, most notably Wacken (twice) in Germany, the Bang Your Head, Rock Hard and Keep It True festivals also in Germany, True Thrash Fest in Japan, and Sweden Rock.

Exciter changed their lineup many times over the years, but three members have stood the longest: guitarist John Ricci, drummer Dan Beehler, and drummer Rik Charron.

In this interview, we put the spotlight on Rik Charron. Rik pounded the kit for Exciter in the 1990’s era of the band. Currently, Rik is drumming for German 1980’s thrash band Necronomicon. He’s on a little downtime now because of the current pandemic as are most other musicians around the planet and gave me some time for an interview.

 

First, I must bring this up as it’s only fitting. You’ve mentioned before that one of your favorite bands is Judas Priest and one of your favorite albums is “Unleashed In The East”. Why are these your favorite?

I was and still am a huge original Kiss, Ace (Frehley) and Peter (Criss) -era fan. They were an amazing hard rock band. Hell, if it weren’t for Peter Criss and his thundering drums, I wouldn’t be a drummer right now. One day, however, while browsing at the local record store looking at LP’s , yes… I said LP’s (laughs), I came across the band Judas Priest who looked heavy with all the leather and flying V guitars and asked the store owner what the album on the rack sounded like (“Unleashed In The East”).

There were other albums from them on the rack but “Unleashed in the East” caught my eye because it had a cool pic of the band in a live setting so I chose that one. The owner said it was a great live album. I said “ like Kiss “Alive” and “Alive II”? “. He said, “better!” I said “no way”… He said “trust me”. So I bought it and OMG! that album blew me away!!!! I’ve been a major Priest fan ever since.

For most fans of Exciter, Exciter is John Ricci, Dan Beehler, and Allen Johnson, but you spent an enormous amount of time in Exciter, 18 1/2 years to be exact and made five studio albums with them. As far as I am concerned, there are two eras of drummers in Exciter. Dan Beehler was in the beginning. He founded the band and played in that magical time, and there is no denying his legacy, but you came in and took over with your own power, your own sound and held your own for a very long time. You also have a legacy with Exciter. But also, in a sense, did you feel cool playing in a band that has such a huge footprint in metal music? Like maybe you said to yourself ” Wow, I’m here playing drums where Dan Beehler played” type thing?

Let me just say this… I knew when I was chosen to be the new drummer of Exciter that I’d have big shoes to fill because Dan Beehler was such a prominent presence in the band being the drummer/vocalist. At least I only had to fill the drum spot in the band as John Ricci didn’t want another singing drummer in Exciter. It was overwhelming at first being in the band. I didn’t know if I would EVER get accepted as the drummer because for almost three years the fans were still screaming out “BEEHLER” when I played shows.

My drumming is quite different from Dan’s, so I knew people would eventually accept me because for a small guy I do play very aggressively and with a lot of power and was quite visual on stage, so it took three years of playing shows and two albums to actually be accepted as the drummer of Exciter and, a snap of the finger for the fans to forget the 18 plus years I played in the band when the original band reformed. That’s what happens when you aren’t an original member…C’est la vie. I’m just happy I was there and part of the rebirth of the band in 1996 to 2014.

A little breaking news: you, Dan, and Allen actually talk now. How’d that come about? I know your departure from Exciter was bizarre and totally unexpected and Dan has no hard feelings with you nor you with him. You two need to get a picture together! That would drive fans wild. Could that be possible?

Yes, Dan, Allan and I speak from time to time. It all came about after John Ricci shockingly left the band about two years ago. Dan and Allan were looking for a rehearsal space which they lost with John’s departure. One of their roadies (friends) contacted me to see if I still had a rehearsal space and if I’d willing to share it with them. Since my band Dark Ministry was on hiatus because of things I just don’t want to get into right now, I told them they could come and see it and rent half the space if they needed to.

Dan and Allan came to see the space and you could feel a little tension in the air but after talking, a bit of the tension all fizzled away as we all saw that neither they or I had any hard feelings for what happened and said they’d take the space. You see, contrary to popular belief… I didn’t really know Dan or Allan nor did they know me. I had met them only a few times when I was in the band and it was always cordial. I’m not sure why fans, friends and interviewers thought we disliked each other because we never really actually spoke to each other… rumors suck, man.

In actual fact, when I technically was ousted from the band in 2014 for things that weren’t of my doing or fault… and heard of the original band reforming… I was happy and excited for them. Not sure what happened or why John decided to leave this time, nor is it my business to know. Dan and Allan are cool guys…not sure what they think of me (laughs) but I think the feeling is mutual.

As for Dan and I getting a pic together, that would be cool and possibly stop some of the rumors out there. I’m sure many fans, old and new, would like it as well and you never know… it may happen in time.

Could you say that in the nineties, Exciter was part of the second wave of thrash metal which ran from the late 1980s to early-to-mid 1990s? You came in right at that time when this second wave was flourishing. The albums you guys made during that time were phenomenal. “Blood of Tyrants”, “Thrash Speed Burn” and “The Dark Command” were thrash gems full of pure speed and heavy aggression. Maybe Exciter didn’t get much credit for that because the industry was too busy promoting others like Testament, Sepultura, and Pantera.

Yeah, I guess you could say we came in during the second wave. But as a Canadian band doing it all ourselves with no agent or manager and no corporate backing from the labels or the music industry at large, Exciter didn’t get as much recognition as other American or European bands. Another possibility is because of too many line-up changes over the years in the band, not to mention taking almost four years writing songs between album releases didn’t help either.

I want to approach this question carefully, but what was the deal with Dan Beehler’s exit and your entry into Exciter?

I heard stories as to why Dan was fed up and left Exciter but in actual fact, I don’t really know why he decided to leave the band in 1993 or 1994. Like I said all I heard were secondhand stories so I can’t say nor do I want to speculate why he left the group. As for my entry in 1995, I heard an announcement on the local radio station of a professional established band seeking a drummer and to call to make an appointment for an audition. I recognized the phone number, called, did two auditions for Exciter and got the drummer’s position.

What do you think prepared you for your role in Exciter and why do you think you had what it took to be in the band? You were up against a huge, iconic band whose legacy was firmly cemented in the magic of 1980’s old school heavy metal. What was it like when you found yourself in the band?

What prepared me was determination and confidence in my abilities as a drummer. Yes, it was a huge legacy I was joining, and I knew it would be a hard road to gain the admiration and respect of Exciter fans worldwide. For the first many years, I felt like an outsider in the band. Even though I gave it my all on stage and while recording earning the respect from the fans and other musicians worldwide, I still felt like a fill in drummer of sorts. Like a feeling I was part of Exciter and at the same time… not really part of Exciter. You know what I mean? I was always prepared for Dan’s return… which only happened 20 years late.

Did you think, after entering the band that you’d literally have to pick up where Dan left off concerning style or sound or was John open to trying something new? Was he looking for a different sound than what Exciter was previously known for?

I didn’t really know what to expect when I joined the band. I just knew that I had to learn all the original songs that Dan played on, so I felt like I had some big shoes to fill. When it came time to start writing the first album “Dark Command”, I started out playing or I should say imitating Dan’s drumming but John said to take my own ideas and make it heavier and faster with lots of double bass drums – as he wanted Exciter to be faster and heavier than before. I did what was asked of me and I did that concept of drumming for all the albums I played on. For John Ricci, the faster the drumming and as much double bass as possible… the better.

Tell us about your time in Exciter? You shared the stage with John Ricci who is a founding and longest running member. You toured and played albums with him and I think people dismiss that too easily. What was it like working with John?

My time in Exciter was a roller coaster ride to say the least. Sometimes it was hard to remember what day it was because though we did two or three actual European and South American tours, most of our shows were weekend jaunts to Europe as well as other parts of the world for a festival here and show there. Here’s what I mean by a roller coaster ride: we’d leave Canada on a Thursday, arrive at our destination on a Friday, play the show on a Saturday and back on a plane to Canada on a Sunday. I did that for 18 years. Not sure why we didn’t actually tour as opposed to accepting so many weekend jaunts all over the world, because I personally could have toured extensively and I’m sure Exciter fans would have liked to see us on a full-blown tour, but it just never seemed to happen for whatever reason.

“Blood of Tyrants” is my number one out of the albums you’ve made with Exciter and is a GREAT album! This album is pure energy, strong, solid and gives off major old school Priest vibes. What’s up with that?

When we started out recording this album, John wanted a straightforward speed album and I think we delivered on that. Needless to say, the fans that got to see us play those songs live were in awe because we played them faster live and even more aggressive during a live show.

I know you’ve had your share of amazing times while playing with Exciter, tell us some of the highlights?

Some of the major highlights I had in the band was playing some huge metal festivals in front of thousands of screaming fans in Europe, South America, Canada and Japan, meeting fans and other musicians from bands I grew up listening to and admired from around the world and playing on the 70000 tons of metal cruise. The most memorable festival I played at was Wacken (twice). I played in front of 70 or 80 thousand people at one of those shows. Other shows I enjoyed playing were Sweden Rock, 70000 tons of Metal and Bang your Head festival. I personally had a great time touring with Anvil as well.

You auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne once. Tell us about that.

Not much to tell really… I failed! (laughs) I was only one drummer of many at the audition. I was recorded playing a few songs in front of a camera. I think I played the songs too fast because nerves got the better of me and I got my rejection letter a few months later thanking me to have taken the time and effort to audition. However, they chose another drummer. I didn’t even get to meet Ozzy. (laughs)

Let’s talk about your drumming style. Listening to you play, it’s just amazing. The speed, the aggression, you really keep it tight. Describe your “signature double bass” drumming style? Tell us why you’ve never used triggers, you’re au natural!

I like playing intricate double bass patterns when I play drums, like following the guitar riff pattern to strengthen the main riff of a song. Playing paradiddles on the bass drums is another thing I sometimes do. I never got into triggers when it was all the rage in metal drumming because I rather hear and feel each subtle bass drum stroke which gives it a more human feel. You can hear the slightly different tuning of the bass drum head and you yourself control the power and intensity of each stroke… you can’t get that with triggers. Each hit is triggered to the same intensity, sound and volume. You don’t get that human feel or sound from triggers.

What kind of drum set up do you have?

I have a Pearl custom all chrome 8 ply maple shell kit with 2x 24” bass drums, 10, 12, 13 and 14 inch rack toms, a 16 inch floor tom, 7 cymbals of varying sizes and types made by TRX cymbals and a massive 14inch diameter by 16 inch deep free floating wooden Pearl snake drum.

Right now, as mentioned earlier, you currently drum for 1980’s thrash band Necronomicon. There is a new album you guys are putting together (the tenth studio album) which had to be cut short because of the pandemic. Also, you were getting ready to go on a European tour which also had to be canceled. Tell us what’s going on?

Right, so I joined Necronomicon in 2019 and went to Germany and recorded all the drum parts for the album within a few days back in December 2019. Then an Eastern European tour was announced for March/April 2020, so I flew out to Germany to rehearse with the band in early March, but the tour got cancelled due to the pandemic just a few days after I arrived in Europe. Took me ten days to find a flight home to Canada because each flight was being cancelled left, right and center!

In the meantime, since the tour was cancelled, the rest of the guys in Necronomicon were finishing off all their parts for the album and had it mixed and mastered. The album is called “The Final Chapter” and should be released by the end of March 2021. Management is hoping to reschedule the tour for some time this year but the way the pandemic is spreading with new variants, I don’t foresee it happening. It’s too bad because I’m itching to play live again. I could be wrong about us not touring again this year, but my gut instinct tells me it won’t happen, and my instincts are usually correct. However, Necronomicon will tour as soon as the world pandemic and lockdowns permits.

Thanks Rik for this great interview and giving us some insight into Exciter from your end and we wish you the best with Necronomicon!

Thank you for the opportunity and great interview Heather.

QUO VADIS (for Metal Centre)

Interview was prepared by Pavel (for Metal Centre)

Muzyka QUO VADIS towarzyszyła mi prawie początku mojej drogi z Metalem, tzn. od kiedy usłyszałem demo „Monofobia” zakupione w budce z kasetami w okolicach 1990 roku, będąc zbuntowanym nastolatkiem… W tamtym okresie Telewizja Polska także emitowała pierwsze teledyski QUO VADIS, bodajże w programie LUZ… To było naprawdę coś wspaniałego! Już wtedy, zespół dzięki swojej muzyce i podejściu do pewnych ważnych spraw, które dotyczyły także młodych fanów (jak chociażby przymusowe wcielanie do wojska) zyskał miano ważnej kapeli na Polskiej Scenie Metalowej… …Minęło ponad 20 lat a w mojej głowie nadal huczą „Monofobia”, „Trzy szósteczki”, „KGB”, czy kultowe covery „Kocham Cię kochanie moje”, „Pretty Woman”, nie wspominając już o kolejnych utworach, albumach, etc. … Ponadto ich ostatni album „Born To Die” tym bardziej mnie zaciekawił (nie tylko muzycznie) ale także w pewien sposób – sentymentalnie, gdyż jego tytuł jest tożsamy z nazwą zine’a, którego kiedyś współtworzyłem na przełomie wieku XX/XXI (jako Gnom)… Ale żeby nie przedłużać zapraszam was na spotkanie ze Skayą – liderem, wokalistą i basistą QUO VADIS!!!

 

Witaj Skaya! Za rok będziecie obchodzić swoje 30-lecie. To szmat czasu! Jak wspominasz początki powstawiania zespołu? Dzisiaj zakładanie kapeli, organizowanie prób i nagrywanie muzyki jest o niebo (a raczej o piekło) prostsze…
Może jest to i prostsze natomiast… właśnie dlatego, że kiedyś człowiek o wszystko musiał walczyć, zdobywać, kombinować itp. to wszystko bardziej szanował ? pamiętam jak jechaliśmy osobiście do Wrocławia, żeby zamówić i zakupić wzmacniacze Adama Laboga czy do braci Jakubiszyn, kiedy zamawialiśmy gitary. Jak już mieliśmy piece to „Duży Skaya” (czyli mój tata robił nam w chacie kolumny – a mieszkaliśmy w wieżowcu, więc warsztat był w przedpokoju ? – ale to nic bo przecież w sklepach nie było głośników, więc przez znajomego mojej mamy załatwiliśmy w fabryce Tonsilu, że sprzedadzą nam 12 sztuk i po to jechaliśmy pociągiem do Wrześni…, albo jak Wojtek SŁABY zamawiał perkusję u Szpanerskiego i w kilka osób jechaliśmy do Szpanerskiego pociągiem i przewoziliśmy to pociągiem – każdy brał po dwa bębny lub statywy i do pociągu… w tej sytuacji coś co w taki sposób zdobyłeś staje się obiektem twojego kultu ;-)… dzisiaj rodzic idzie do sklepu z synem kupuje Fendera, BC Richa czy co tam se dziecko chce, a po miesiącu gitara idzie w kąt ;-)))

Dzisiejsi Metalowcy są już bardziej ułożeni, kulturalni… nawet ich wygląd i image ulega zmianie… A pamiętasz czasy braterskiej wojny między Metalowcami? Wojny Północ-Południe…
No ten element zawsze był mi obcy ;-)… i niejednokrotnie mieliśmy sytuacje kiedy jadąc na nasz koncert pociągiem padało pytanie skąd jesteście i po haśle Szczecin – następowała niezręczna cisza… ?

… Hahaha… Szczecińscy Metalowcy byli wówczas znani z tego, że ostro dymią. Pamiętam jak w 93. na Sthrashydle w Ciechanowie napotkaliśmy w mieście liczną ekipę ze Szczecina. Całe szczęście, że my z Lubelszczyzny byliśmy neutralni, więc dołączając się do grona fanów z Północy wspólnie dotarliśmy pod zamek na koncert… aczkolwiek potem okazało się, że grupa skinheadów próbowała zbojkotować koncert wywołując bójki. Jednak wewnątrz murów zamkowych wszyscy byli bezpieczni. Gorzej było po wyjściu…

… Ok. wróćmy do QUO VADIS… Zapewne bywało różnie. Raz z górki, raz pod górkę… Czy przez te lata miałeś chwile zwątpienia by rzucić to wszystko w cholerę… ten zespół?
Hm… paradoksalnie nie… to jest nieodłączny element mojego życia i nie ma takiej opcji, bez względu czy jest super czy wręcz przeciwnie to nie widzę innej opcji… alternatywą byłoby co? siedzenie przed telewizorem? rower? majsterkowanie? ? ? zapuszczanie brzucha? ;-)… poza tym lubię taki cytat z filmu „Król komedii”: „Lepiej być kimś przez jeden wieczór, niż nikim przez całe życie” ?

Ze starego składu pozostałeś tylko ty. Co się stało z byłymi członkami?
Starzy członkowie się po prostu wykruszali czasami po przyjacielsku, przestało ich bawić, mieli inne pomysły na siebie, a czasami było to w atmosferze mniej miłej, ale na szczęście dzisiaj ze wszystkimi jest OK.

Jak trafił do zespołu brazylijski gitarzysta Ian Bemolator? Mieszka w Polsce czy próby robicie na odległość?
Ian „Źdźbło” Bemolator ? to ciekawa historia… on mieszka w Szczecinie, przyjechał tutaj bo poznał miłość swojego życia i się z nią ożenił… szukał zespołu metalowego bo w tym się najlepiej czuje ;-)… no i akurat u nas sytuacja się klarowała bo Cimas był na wylocie… co do klasy Źdźbła to było to tak, że za dwa tygodnie mieliśmy zaczynać trasę z Valkenrag… i w niedzielę dałem Yankowi dwa numery, żeby go sprawdzić, on poprosił, że posłuchałby wszystkich żeby tak się już osłuchiwać… no to w tąż niedzielę przesłałem mu wszystkie… na próbie we wtorek zagrał 7 numerów, w czwartek pozostałe 8, w kolejny wtorek graliśmy już razem cały set, a w piątek był już pierwszy koncert ;-))) !!!

Kolejnym nowym członkiem jest perkusista Szymon „SAJMON” Synówka…
No to jest kolejny wspaniały TRANSFER ? Seba Borel niestety ze względów zdrowotnych – kłopoty ze słuchem (60% bezpowrotny ubytek słuchu…) musiał odejść, a w jego miejsce trafił Sajmon – zajebisty bębniarz, zajebisty przyjaciel – odpowiedni człowiek na odpowiednim miejscu !!! Bardzo się cieszę, że gramy razem ?

Jak ci się współpracuje z tymi muzykami? Czy mają jakiś wpływ na komponowanie?
Współpraca – to jest nowa jakość Quo Vadis !!! to widać i słychać na koncertach. Co do komponowania to Born To Die była już zrobiona, więc ich wkład będzie widać na następnej… Duże oczekiwania wiążę z Yankiem już jesteśmy umówieni, żeby usiąść do robienia w lipcu jak wróci z Brazylii ;-)… na razie jak słucham poszczególnych wyrwanych riffów jakie proponuje to będzie MOC !!!! ?

No właśnie, w 2016 wydaliście dziewiąty album „Born To Die”. Gdybyś mógł go porównać do waszego pierwszego albumu „Quo Vadis” z 1991… Także nie bez powodu wspomniałem o pierwszym albumie, gdyż na tym ostatnim jest utwór „Quo Vadis II”. Czy w jakimś sensie jest on kontynuacją lub nawiązaniem do tytułowego utworu „Quo Vadis”?
Born To Die – Quo Vadis ? Częścią wspólną jest to, że jest na nowej płycie dużo szybkich numerów ? … poza tym to jednak 25 lat różnicy we wszystkim: myśleniu, brzmieniu, sytuacji, instrumentów, studio itp. Quo Vadis II nie jest kontynuacją Quo Vadis, gdyż Quo Vadis z pierwszej płyty poświęcony jest naszemu przyjacielowi Cecilowi, który popełnił samobójstwo… a w Quo Vadis II bohaterem jest „CZAS” ?

Czy na oficjalnym teledysku do „Quo Vadis II” jesteś w swoim domu? Potem zapewne jest to jakiś klub?
Tak, tak ? na teledysku zaczyna się u mnie w chacie ? – mam takie poddasze, które jest moim sanktuarium ;-)))) … i wszyscy mi zazdroszczą ;-), a potem jest zajebisty klub K4… w którym jest mnóstwo miejsca i klimatu na jeszcze wiele teledysków ?

Pomysł z wykorzystaniem potencjału pięciu wokalistek na „Born To Die” był naprawdę trafny. Kim są te panie – Maja Konarska, Joanna Lacher, Katarzyna Bromirska, Cristina Bogdanowa i Agnieszka Wołyńska – nie wszyscy je znają?
Maja Konarska to wokalna Bogini znana przede wszystkim z zespołu Moonlight, Pozostałe dziewczyny to Boginie z Percival Schuttenbach ? !!! Po pierwsze są to nasze przyjaciółki znamy się od lat… i zawsze marzyliśmy, żeby je zaprosić do wspólnego projektu ?

Oczywiście militarno-polityczna tematyka nadal jest natchnieniem?
Kurcze niby nie poszukuję tematów w tych zagadnieniach, ale trudno jest przejść obok tego co się dzieje… Co do tekstów to jestem wyjątkowo zadowolony z tych na Born To Die!!!!

Tytuł albumu „Born To Die” wywołuje u mnie miłe skojarzenia. Kiedyś współtworzyłem zine’a „Born To Die”… A co decyduje o tym, że dany utwór będzie po polsku lub po angielsku? „Born To Die” był w większości po polsku, z kolei poprzednik „Infernal Chaos” po angielsku…
Born To Die jest również w wersji całej po angielsku, ale mamy kłopoty z tym, żeby udało się to wyda na zachodzie, ale materiał jest ?

Ale takie żonglowanie językami nie przeszkadza byście mieli fanów na całym świecie. Wiem, że słuchają was także w Japonii… Ale z drugiej strony… QUO VADIS mimo tylu lat na scenie, mimo tylu wydanych naprawdę dobrych materiałów i zagranych koncertów wciąż nie może przebić się do światowego mainstreamu, jak chociażby VADER czy BEHEMOTH… Czy nie jest to przypadkiem świadome założenie, by „pozostać” w kraju, a reszta popularności to tylko działanie uboczne?
No tak… pewnie wiele czynników się na to składa… nie jest to zaplanowane działanie ? !!!!!! Cieszymy się tym co mamy, ale ducha nie gasimy ? !

Nawet koncertujecie głównie w Polsce…
Koncerty to ostatnio w Polsce i Anglii na równo ?

Dawno nie słyszałem jakiegoś nowego coveru w waszym wykonaniu. Kiedyś „Kocham Cię kochanie moje” MAANAM czy „Pretty Woman” ROY’a ORBISON’a lub „Ta ostatnia niedziela” MIECZYSŁAW’a FOG’a robiły niezłe zamieszanie w metalowym środowisku (w pozytywnym znaczeniu). Czy w przyszłości zrobicie jakiś fajny kawałek?
Co do roverów to w pewnym momencie wpadliśmy w pułapkę tychże, jedni albo chcieli tylko rovery, a inni wręcz przeciwnie… wiesz mamy tyle swoich numerów, że w sumie gramy trzy rovery na koncertach: Maanam, Pretty i … Symphony of Destruction Megadeth… ten ostatni nagraliśmy z myślą o angielsko-języcznej wersji Born To Die ;-)… na razie nie dorabiamy ?

To jest dowód, że QUO VADIS lubi przygody z eksperymentami muzycznymi… utwór do filmu „Sezon na leszcza”, utwór do konkursu „Hit na mundial”, hymn „My Porotwcy” i współpraca z innymi muzykami, zespołami, jak chociażby PERCIVAL SCHUTTENBACH… Ciągle coś się działo…
Oj tak to o czym piszesz plus autorski utwór do filmu (który nie powstał – „Płonący Szczecin”)…, a który też jest ? … fajnie jest tak czasem przełamać tzw.: „stylistyczny gorset” ? … dlatego też razem z Sebastianem „Borelem” Górskim i Przemkiem Nowakiem z ROCKASTY gram we wspaniałym akustycznym projekcie ;: „Pan Górski i Spółka” gdzie śpiewa właśnie Seba… jest to połączenie Kaczmarskiego, Wysockiego z lekkim graniem z przymrużeniem oka na gitarę, bas i akordeon ? – POLECAM ?

Rzeczywiście jest to bardzo natchnione Kaczmarskim i nie tylko poprzez cover „Mury”… A czy już snujesz jakieś plany co do uczczenia waszego 30-lecia w następnym roku?
Planujemy wydać 10 płytowy BOX ze wszystkimi dotychczasowymi płytami ? … i pewnie trasa ?

O kurcze! Taki box to marzenie!… …Czy mały Skaya – Miki – ma już ciągoty do muzyki ekstremalnej? Moja prawie półtoraroczna córeczka kocha muzykę i nie gardzi nawet death metalem, hahaha…
Miki słucha wszystkich płyt Quo Vadis plus Pana Górskiego… sam ma ciągoty do śpiewania, ale… w Panu Górskim ;-)))))

Ok. Dziękuję za rozmowę! Ostatnie zdanie należy do QUO VADIS…
Zapraszamy na nasze koncerty – zobaczcie nową jakość i nową krew w Quo Vadis – napierdalamy jak nigdy dotąd ? !!!! Pozdrawiam Ciebie i czytelników Metal Centre i do zobaczenia! Dzięki za wywiad ?

VENDETTA (for Metal Centre)

Somewhere at the turn of the 80’s-90’s of the last century, being a teenager and young Metal fan then a poster of VENDETTA’s album “Go And Live… Stay And Die” hanged on the wall. Then without knowing this music, I felt it must be something great. Some time later I was able to buy a piratical tape with the album “Brain Damage” of the same band. This bass-line in the introduction and the all music made the name VENDETTA stay in my head for many years. And even though the band has ceased to exist, that I still feel great sentiment for their music… It’s been many years, the band returned on the stage, but I learned about it recently… It turned out that they have already next three great Thrash albums and will go on the European tour and quite coincidentally Metal Centre got media patronage for this tour… so it would be a sin not to do an interview with them… It is a great honor for us to host this legendary German band on our website!

Interview was prepared by Pavel (Metal Centre)

 

Greet! Why “Vendetta”, not German “Rache” or “Vergeltung”?
Heiner: Haha – Good first question. It was not usual that time – it was cool to have something from another language.

The band began existing many years ago, 33 years… How do you remember those times?
Heiner: We were young – haha – We only wanted to play music – We ad no plan about the music business, and everything was cool for us – It was a great time!!

What bands did inspire you at that time?
Heiner: Everything aggressive, METALLICA, SLAYER, ANTHRAX, it was new, means “Wow” that time…

Your first album “Go And Live… Stay And Die” (whose I had the cover-art on a poster on the wall of my room) was released in 1987 on the vinyl. Then such action was the norm, today a vinyl record is a rarity… Besides there was such a term as Speed Metal, something between Heavy and Thrash Metal. Did the term Speed Metal match to this album?
Heiner: I am not sure , many people are saying it’s Thrash, but I think its just good metal. I’m happy that vinyl is going forward again. Our album „Feed the Extermination” went out on vinyl and the album “Hate” is getting re-released on vinyl in November. I think – That’s great.

I think you always played Thrash Metal but someone people sometimes called your music as Speed Metal. And do you still listen to this album sometimes?
Heiner: Not so much – haha – I’m also back in times when we play the old songs live – haha.

A year later you released another album, “Brain Damage”, on the vinyl (in Poland I had it on the piratical tape). This introduction to the first song sounds in my head today! The interesting bass, introducing energetic, powerful and melodious Thrash Metal. Why did you stop to exist a few years later?
Heiner: We had a lot of problems, personal, and the band did not work like before, also private things, it was a little bit too much for young guys, I think.

But still in 1988 you were involved in a split with the English SABBAT (notabene nice band but does not exist). I suspect that such the 7 “vinyl is hard to find and probably costs a lot today…
Heiner: I don’t know if people pay money for… haha – it was a cool thing that time, we went in touch with lots of metal fans – i think it was a flexi-disc??? Right?? haha.

On the Internet I did not find someone to sell it… The demo of 2003 announced the return of the band after many years of non-existence. How did VENDETTA come back on the stage?
Heiner: It starts with a gig, where we recorded a LIVE 2000 CD – just for Fun, then we were looking for musicians. First was Lubber on the drums. He brought Mario into the band later.

Was it hard to go back to the scene at that time?
Heiner: Of course, and we needed a singer. The labels told us to search for. We also did not know how the people react after all that years.

The new songs were still in the style of the old VENDETTA, albeit with a fresh approach to the playing and of course with a different vocal sound…
Heiner: Thank you – and yes, the style is old school and a modern style. Mario is able to sing loads of different vocals, he has a lot ob possibilities to sing, so we can do lots of things, but he is singing in another style to throw out the words. I would say, more aggressive.

In the song “Hannibal” appears the lyrics with the words “Kill’em all”. Do not you mind that the phrase is associated with METALLICA?
Heiner: No, the lyrics are from Daxx , and the theme of the song is another one.

With your return you recorded 3 albums for discs. As you said before „Feed the Extermination” was released on the vinyl and „Hate” will be released on the vinyl… Do you release your last album “Th 5th” on the vinyl too?
Mario: First CD’s yes, but “Feed the Extermination” was thrown out by vinyl and CD, “Hate” is coming back end of this year on vinyl. I am not sure by our new album „The 5th” – I hope too… in the future.

Somewhere on the way of the band there was a change the line-up. Kalus, You have remained alone from the old line-up. What happened to the old members?
Heiner: Daxx is not playing live music anymore, but he is still writing songs, sometimes lyrics for us, and also for PARADOX in the past. Mickey is still playing, Samson i don’t know exactly.

And how did the new people get to the band?
Heiner : Lubber, our drummer, and Frank Heller were playing together in a band called BLOODY CLIMAX. They also had a record deal and they were on tour with RAILWAY and W.A.S.P in the past. Mario was also in a band with Lubber before. Frank Schölch and Opf are from the Metal-Scene in our area. We know each other before, by playing gigs and party…
As we started we were complete without Samson. Then Mickey left the band and Daxx came back.
We wanted to have a second guitar player, so Frank Heller joined us the first time. A few years later Frank Schölch joined for Daxx and we had only one guitar player again. He quit after “Feed…” album so Frank Heller came back and a few weeks after Michael ”OPF” Opfermann completed the Line Up.
Uff … I did not really get understanding these changes of line-up but the final effect is important…

The last album “The 5th” from February this year… Is there anything you do not like on this album?
Heiner: No, I think we chose the right songs. The critics were OK, haha,

And is there something in the music of this album that has not yet been on your previous productions?
Heiner: That’s difficult, because music is always changing, you’re getting older, music changes, and of course people means musicians and fans are changing, Listening is changing.

I love instrumental classic-guitar insertions in the style of “The Search”. Once upon a time the bands more often inserted these types of musical passages, I remember even the song “Mode III” of ATOMKRAFT (they also tried to return after many years of silence, but I do not know if they still do something)… Despite of the years and line-up changes VENDETTA still keeps that style.
Mario: Thank you. The song is by Frank Heller. Also “Nevermind” written because his father and mother died short time before. And why we should not try a slow song or an instrumental one…
All the other songs from the new album are written and arranged by Klaus „Heiner” Ullrich.

Well, this bass introduction to the song “Religion is a Killer”, like in the song “War” from the album “Brain Damage”… or of course another classic thing in Thrash Metal, this is obviously before mentioned a power-ballad “Nevermind”… It all proves that you do not succumb contemporary trends…
Mario: It’s not easy, If you play only old school, some people say you are not going forward, you don’t advance, and if your playing a complete new style, it’s not old school for the other people. We hope they recognize the band… haha.

You had the opportunity to watch how Metal music was changed over the years, how it intertwined with other musical genres, how it evolved… What do not you like in modern (Modernist) Metal, and maybe is there something you like among these modern post-metal-core new bands?
Heiner: I am listening to everything, there is no rock or metal i don’t agree with. But I like DISTURBED for example.
Mario: Yep DISTURBED and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. They created a new thing, something special, I think.

And when it comes to contemporary image of fans of Modern Metal music? I mean the departure from the stereotypical image of long-haired naughty boy (dressed in narrow jeans, leather clothes and high boots) to short hair, nice clothes, personal culture, often musical education, etc.
Heiner: The image is not like in the past. Today everybody could be a metal fan. A doctor, a lawyer, short hair, long hair. It depends on the person how to wear clothes and hair. But I think there are also more people listening to metal music. Look how crowded are concerts, especially open airs…

You are about to start touring across South-East Europe, promoting the latest album. The organizer of the tour is the Ukrainian company. How did you get agreement with them?
Mario: They were in touch with our manager, Michael Hansen. They checked out everything.

What attractions do you prepare for fans during this tour?
Heiner: I think we’ll play songs from all albums, of course also from “Brain Damage” and “Go And Live… Stay And Die” – we hope they want to listen to old school stuff.

You will share the scene with the Canadian DARK MINISTRY. I do not know this band but I know that ex-drummer of EXCITER play there…
Heiner: Yeah, I think that fits together – old band – same age… haha.

But it’s probably not the only concerts in this year?
Mario: No, we re planning more shows in Europe in November and December, for example Germany and Italy.

How does a person of your age feel on stage that performing so energetic music? Do you care about your physical fitness?
Heiner: Haha – yeah – we are getting older, we are not in the twenties but it works… haha.

So, I wish you great concerts and the hearts of the fans! Last words I belong for the band…
Heiner: We are happy to be on tour, join us.
Mario: and keep Thrashing.