Tan Møhl-Hansen interviewed by PSL
By The Patient used to live on the island of Bornholm, but moved to Copenhagen some time ago. What motivated the move?
The band wanted to get serious playing music and living on Bornholm was limiting the possibilities of doing so.
You seem to be a very determined band. I guess there's no room to be sloppy in this business if you want to make it past the demo stage?
No, there's no room for slacking off. We're a very dedicated and determined band. We set our goals high and we reach them. If we don't, we try again and again to we do. If you don't work hard 24/7 as a band you're not going to make it.
You put out the demo EP Catenation of Adversity in 2009. How has the feedback been on that effort?
The feedback has been great. I mean, there are always some zines that don't appreciate what you do, but actually 80% or more of the 100 plus zines we sent the demo to rated it high.
Did it generate any label interest?
Yeah, it did. But we think there were faults on the EP, and to get picked up by a label everything has to be just right. I think the music on the Servants has what it takes for us to find a good label.
I think it's safe to say that By The Patient doesn't sound like most Danish death metal bands. Has it been a goal to create music that isn't typical Danish or has it just turned out that way?
We've always made the music we like. We didn't like many of the bands out there so we made the music that we like. It's always question of daring to show what you are and show your personality via the music. I don't think you can decide exactly what you want to do music-wise. It's a cluttered process and even though you have in mind what you want to create, it almost never turns out exactly how you planned. But that's not such a bad thing.
To me it sounds like you're heavily inspired by American death metal and deathcore in general. Could you say something about the bands and music that you like?
I really don't want to mention any bands because I think the music on Servants is more a product of death metal in general rather than certain bands and how much these inspired us. Our music today is nowhere near deathcore, it is death metal. If you look at the history of the band there've always been different styles and different inspirations. Catenation of Adversity had bits of deathcore on it, but the music on Servants is inspired by old school death metal, technical death metal and so on. I don't think that we sound like this or that band today. It's possible that we may have on the EP, but when you're young you have to find the direction to where you want to take your music and that's not something that just happens right away. We were 17-18 years when the EP was written. Now we've grown and become more mature and better musicians. I think that you can really hear that on Servants.
Besides getting better, has the song-writing and style changed drastically from the point where the band first began in 2006?
By The Patient began as a metalcore band. Later on it was more death metal with hints of deathcore and now we play death metal. So yeah, the song-writing and style has changed drastically. We're still finding ourselves musically, but I think the songs on Servants is a good guideline as to where we want to go musically.
How do you go about writing songs? Is there some sort of blueprint you use each time or does it vary from song to song?
No, there's no blueprint. This time around Simon and I wrote the music by sitting and trying to figure out different structures for each song. It wasn't deliberate, but that's just the way it turned out this time. Simon would write a riff and I then came up with some ideas for how it could build up.
How big a role do the lyrics play for band, and music? Do you use a lot of time on the lyrics?
The lyrics play a big role. I use a lot of time on the lyrics, trying to find the right way to express what I think. There are many interesting lyrical subjects on Servants. There's a song about lobbyism in the US and the huge impact lobbyism has on politics. Another song is a bit too relevant I guess because of the sexual abuse of children that has been going on in the Catholic church. The title of that song refers to a chapter in the Bible where Jesus says: "let the children come to me". I think you can tell that the lyrics play a big part for us as a band when you read them and listen to the vocals on Servants.
You're currently putting the finishing touches on your debut Servants if I'm not mistaken? Could you say something about that?
That's correct. We'll record the last things in May and then it's going to be mixed in June. I think we've outdone ourselves on Servants. It's so much better than what we've done before. Everything from the music to the vocals has gotten better. There will be nine songs on the CD. There's everything from epic parts to technical and slam parts. Not to mention elements of groove and melody as well. I think it has everything that you would expect from a strong death metal record. It has all the parts that made Catenation of Adversity good, but we've taken a step up or two with regards to the song-writing. Our drummer Adam has really outdone himself on the album. It has the fastest blastbeats and the most challenging and interesting rhythms he has ever done with the band. I think it's safe to say that what we've done on Servants has not been heard in Denmark before.
You recorded Catenation of Adversity in Msound Studios, but have chosen to use a studio in Copenhagen this time. Could you say something about what made you go with that studio?
We had the possibility of recording in Copenhagen with a drum technician we like so that was what we did. We wanted to make the drums organic and that's the style we chose for this one. The vocals however were recorded with Jacob Bredahl in his Dead Rat Studio in Aarhus. As with the drums many of the vocals were done in one takes. I think we really captured the strength of our live performance on those recordings.
Yes, we've chosen to work with Toshihiro Egawa for the artwork. We've sent him a sketch of what our idea for the artwork is, and he's developing it, adding his own style and details to make it look great. He's a gifted artist and he has done a lot of great art. We want the cover to look like an old school death metal cover and what he's shown us so far looks great. So we're happy that we decided on using Egawa.
Do you pay for the recording, artwork and so on out of your own pockets or have you inked a deal with a label?
We've paid for everything ourselves and we're looking to find the right label to release the album.
You won the Danish edition of W.O.A. Metal Battle 2010. What are your expectations regarding playing at Wacken and do you think it will open some doors for the band?
We expect to play an energetic live show. We hope that it will open some doors and maybe it will, but you never know. We don't have any expectations. We just look forward to be playing at Wacken.
What do you think of the Danish metal scene? Do you think it's diverse enough, and are there any interesting bands that you'll like to point out?
I don't think it's diverse enough. It's slowly getting there, but there are a lot of bands who don't have the talent or dare to try to create something that isn't just a copy of something else. In terms of interesting bands I really like Vira for what they're doing. Also bands like The Psyke Project, Dødning and Scarred By Beauty are interesting and good at what they're doing. I really enjoy music with nerve and intensity. Music that tells you that a band is serious and truthful about what they're doing.
Besides the show at Wacken and the release of the debut what else do you have planned for 2010?
We have some tours in the works. We have a tour in Denmark and some tours in Europe coming up. I can't tell more about it right now because most of the shows aren't confirmed yet, but check our MySpace page for more updates.
Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Do what you want. Don't be a servant of any other purpose than your own.