Sven and Thijs interviewed by PSL
Expectations are quite high to the follow-up to Goremageddon. Are you confident in the outcome of your stay at Antfarm?
Sven: I think it's a little bit hard to say already now because we basically had to write everything in a couple of months and we still haven't heard anything finished but as far as the songs themselves go I think it's definitely a step up music-wise because there's more variation and things have been worked through.
Thijs: I think we have evolved more as a band music-wise. It's just we don't want to repeat ourselves. We are pretty satisfied with Goremageddon but we don't want to make the same album over and over again.
Sven: You have these bands that just find an album that get good critics and they just write the same thing over and over. That's not what we want to do, of course we sound as the same band but we just want to try to make what we ourselves think could be done better than what we did before and not just copy.
Thijs: I think that's also because we are not listening just to death metal. Personally I listen to a lot of different music and you can hear that in the music I guess.
How long have you been working on the new material?
Thijs: Two or three months. I started in September.
Sven: Fre the guitarist worked on it for maybe three months but as a band not more than two months I think.
Thijs: Yeah, but I just graduated so I worked everyday on the songs. So it's not like we did it one hour a day, it was pretty intense.
Sven: We were really working hard and we had this deadline so we had to get things done in time so everybody did a lot of sacrifice and devotion in order to get this record done.
So you have written it collectively?
Sven: Let's say the guitarists basically came up with riffs and the basic songs and we then all went through it and everybody had their opinion like; "This could be better and maybe we could try this" and stuff like that. Basically it came up from the guitarists but the whole band kinda had their influence in piecing the puzzle together.
To people who haven't heard the new material how would you say it compares to Goremageddon?
Sven: I'd say it's in the vein of Goremageddon and the EP but maybe just a bit more mature and diverse I guess. There's definitely a lot more variation which is what we wanted to do.
Thijs: Yeah because we really like fast music and making fast music. I think when you have variation the fast parts have more effect and if it's just one running train of blastbeats then I think it's less in your face. When you have a slow part, a headbanging part and then you go back to the fast part then it's more in your face.
Sven: And the other way around, I guess.
Thijs: And I don't think it's less brutal because it's not always blast, you know.
Sven: Yeah. Personally I find it cool that way and I know it's the case with everyone in the band. We don't listen that much or enjoy listening to an album that is full throttle all the time and there's nothing else going on there. I mean it's pointless, after two songs you've heard the CD. I think it's more interesting to mix it up with some different things and still keeping the main focus on being a fast and brutal band but making it a little more interesting.
You have some guest appearances on the album, could you tell a little about that?
Thijs: We asked Bo Summer because we've been Illdisposed fans for awhile and we appreciate him as a singer and I think it worked out pretty cool with him.
Sven: For me it was really special to have Bo Summer here because he's one of the vocalists I've been looking up to for years, so that was really special. We also had Jakob from HateSphere who did a really cool job too and they are also a very cool band too. Basically all the guests including Michael from Mnemic as well and Tue are from bands that we personally look up to and think they are really great. It's very cool for us to have these little extras on the album.
Yeah, it makes it a little more special!
Thijs: Yeah special but it also adds a little bit of diversity in the vocal patterns as well I guess. They have a different interpretation of riffs and stuff and I think that makes it very interesting. We are not working with clean vocals but I know Sven is really working on having a lot of variation in the vocals and I'm really satisfied with that on this record.
Sven: Yeah, I just didn't want the album to be the same type of thing. Not only music-wise it has evolved but also vocal-wise I tried to do a little bit more too. The guests had of course to follow the lyrics but as far as the phasing goes we basically let them do whatever they wanted because they also have their own view and it makes it a little more interesting.
Your original drummer Frank left the band earlier this year. Has this had any effect on the songwriting?
Sven: No, I don't think the old drummer ever did any songwritng with us.
Thijs: He was never actually involved in making songs. I think we grew apart that's basically the reason especially music-wise.
Sven: It's been really cool working with the new guy. He's a really big asset, a plus point for the band that's for sure.
You have recorded your two latest albums Goremageddon and The Haematobic EP in Hansen Studios. What made you decide to tryout Antfarm this time around?
Sven: Jakob is a very good producer and like every producer he has his own sound. We think the sound Tue makes fits us better than the typical Jakob sound which for an example fits Raunchy way better than us. I think the sound of Tue is maybe more punchier and wider in the mix and a little more defined for fast music and that's why we came here. Especially for the guitars and the vocals I guess.
What about the lyrics, is there's any significant concept this time around?
Sven: Ahh, well it depends on the songs, I mean as with the songs it had to go fast. In one month I had to come up with ten lyrics which is a lot for the mind to digest and I guess there… let me think… "The Inertia" is actually my view on those reality programs like "The Swan" and "Extreme Makeover" but what if the extreme makeover was done by the doctor? [laughs]. Then there's "Hecatomb" which is a song dedicated to a certain person which has been very annoying to me the past year. The persons name of course isn't worth mentioning but still it was a source of inspiration. "Dead Wreckoning" is the first song on the record and is more like an introduction to the whole album. There's a whole concept of The Archaic Abattoir which is basically the surgeon from Goremageddon being exiled to this foreign thingy where he continues to do his experimenting. There is a song called "Cold Logistic Slaughter" which is about Robert Berdella who had like a warehouse/store with household supplies where he just kept his clients and did some funny things with them. Basically that kinda stuff you know, a mix of serial killers with whatever that comes to mind and some personal stuff.
Thijs: Typical Aborted stuff I would say.
So there are really not a lot of surprises here?
Sven: Lyric-wise no but maybe the way of writing has evolved more in a way where I try to write it differently than just; "hack, slash, kill and I will kill you" and stuff like that. I guess it's a little bit more "English" written than the usual gore-lyrics.
Have you recorded any cover-songs this time?
Sven: No we didn't.
Thijs: We don't want to do covers on every album. We did it on Goremageddon and that's about it. We did it on the EP because that's something special. I don't think we want to do a cover on every full-length album.
Sven: We don't want to be the band that goes; "let's see what else should we cover this time around?"
Thijs: On Goremageddon we did the Carcass cover because we love the band and you can hear it in our music but we're not another Carcass clone. We like to put Carcass stuff in our music but I don't really appreciate bands that want to sound like old Carcass. Why? Carcass did it already! It naturally to be influenced by Carcass of course. It's a classic band but we don't want to copy them.
Sven: I think there's a difference between bands that sound like Carcass and have influences of them and take it to the level that yes they sound like Carcass but they are not exact clones which is the difference. There are some bands out there that are just doing the exact same thing which is… I mean its okay since they are disbanded but where's the point? Why would you put on a band that is an exact copy of Symphonies of Sickness if you can put on Symphonies of Sickness?
No there's really no point in that.
How are things progressing with the artwork?
Sven: Well, we are pretty curious about that ourselves. We have been having a lot of problems because this one guy was supposed to do it and he had the whole concept a half year ago and he didn't answer to anything until like a month ago and he showed us something that we totally didn't like. We emailed him with changes but he never answered to those either, so we found this new guy and we're waiting to see something from him hopefully tomorrow.
Thijs: And I think he's pretty good that guy.
Sven: The stuff that he does is really cool. It's the guy who did the last Carnal Forge record and some other records. Killustrations is his website. His technic is really cool so…
Thijs: We're definitely into what he's doing. I think it will be cool.
When do you expect to have The Archaic Abattoir out?
Sven: Around March/April or something like that. Promos are of course out earlier but around April and maybe in May in the US.
It's a little bizarre the thing you're doing with the limited edition of the new album. How did you come up with this idea?
Sven: [Laughs] basically we got the idea because we saw this really crazy, crazy limited edition of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" DVD where they had evidence, photographs as if the thing really happened and the album kinda have a theme similar to the one in the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and we thought like; "maybe we can do this a lot crazier" and I think that's basically the idea and we also really wanted to do something for the fans…
Thijs: Like involve them…
Sven: We are definitely a live band and we really would like to thank the people that come out to our shows and support us. What we're basically going to, at least try because it's going to be a lot of work and effort from our part as well to assemble the whole thing. To assemble everything and send people who send their stuff back to themselves. They kinda get their own stuff worked into the concept.
Thijs: The response is great. They are very enthusiastic about it. They can participate on the album in some way which is kinda cool I think.
Sven: We'll spend the whole weekend signing booklets, making bags and stuff like that. People will get their own hair, teeth, nails whatever they send in put into their own bag and have their own name printed on the record which I think is cool for someone who's into the band.
Thijs: And they are sending everything to the record label so we're off the hook. Which is great because I think there are some crazy fucks that will send some horrible gross things [laughs].
Sven: If someone gets SARS then at least it's not us [laughs].
How has the response been so far?
Sven: Well, a lot of people are really into it and of course some people think its stupid and make fun of it. But no matter which way you turn it people are talking about it so it's cool for us. I mean if they talk shit about it still all their friends will know about it and will probably want to check it out because it's a weird thing even if they don't want to participate.
Thijs: The main reason is not to do a publicity stunt but instead to have the fans participate on the album.
Sven: It's for the people who want to do it.
Thijs: If you don't want to do it then don't do it. Seeing most forums and stuff most of the people are really enthusiastic about it.
Yeah, it was kinda funny to read all the comments on Blabbermouth.net. Some people really liked the idea but others thought it was gross.
Sven: Yeah, it's the same with records. There are people who's going to talk shit and there's people who like it so. You just do it for the people who do like it and for yourselves.
Thijs: If we wanted everyone to like what we do we would be a rock band or something. There are always people when you sing about gore and make extreme music who doesn't like what you're doing but we actually don't give a shit.
Sven: I think it's something that goes way more into the concept and gets people more involved in what we're doing.
You were supposed to tour with Immolation early next year but things fell to the ground, right?
Sven: Yeah, I think it was for money reasons.
So do you have any tourplans in the making?
Sven: We're working on several things but nothing is really confirmed at this point. There's certainly going to be some things and we will definitely play in Denmark. We don't want to announce another tour and have someone else pull the plug again. You know, look like asses again. I'd rather be certain before I announce anything. But one thing is certain we're going to play a lot next year to promote the record. We will play everywhere on tour and not on tour. We really want to get out there.
Have you ever played in Denmark?
Sven: No, we had a couple of offers before but last time we were in the studio and the next time we were already booked on another festival but we really want to play here.
Thijs: You have a really good scene here.
It's a small scene but…
Thijs: Perhaps but you got some great bands here.
Sven: There are some people we know here from other bands. It would be cool to play and have them come over or whatever if they are in town.
The Belgian scene doesn't seem that big compared to other countries.
Thijs: No it isn't.
Sven: I'd say the scene is big. I guess you can compare it to any country where there are a lot of bands and a lot of shitty bands.
Thijs: If you count in the crap then it's big.
Sven: There are just a lot of shit-talkers from other bands but I guess it's the same everywhere else.
Any closing comments?
Sven: I guess thanks for coming out and checking the record and doing the interview and I hope we'll see Denmark from a stage soon and that we will get a tour. And people who want to check it out I'm sure we'll have some preview tracks on the website when the mix is done so check the site out.