The Dutch death metal machine Disavowed have been laying low for quite a while, but now it seems that the band is back on track after a change of label and drummer. The Dutchmen are currently topical with their Neurotic Records debut Stagnated Existence. Some weeks ago I had a chat with vocalist Robbe K. The centre of the conversation was of course Stagnated Existence, but we touched many other subjects as well.

Robbe K interviewed by PSL

It seems as if Disavowed haven't been very active for quite some time. Why is it that it has taken this long to get another CD out?
Stagnated Existence is our sophomore release. Our first record Perceptive Deception was put out in 2001 and it took us six years to release another one. One of the main reasons for this long delay is the fact that our first drummer Robbert Vrijenhoek got problems with his wrist, so he wasn't able to play drums for a long time. In the end, we had to look for another drummer, because his injury didn't heal.

Musically it appears as if you've approached things a little differently this time. Where do you think the biggest changes in the music are?
I think the music is a bit catchier and more technical than our first record. I also think that the songs are better structured and are more in balance with each other.

When you worked on the new material, were there any basics from Perceptive Deception that you wanted to retain or things you were looking to improve?
Yes, we wanted to retain the overall tightness, brutality and insane blasting. We wanted to improve on the variety between the songs and the overall sound.

I really like the production a lot. The sound is fat and powerful, and none of the details seem to vanish in the soundscape. Did you achieve the sound that you were looking for?
Thanks! I think we got near to what we were looking for. After every record there's always things to improve, but overall I think we have managed to make a record with a fat sound and in a way a very 90's feel.

You've more or less recorded everything by yourselves. I assume this gave the band more freedom to experiment and try out different things. How much experimenting did you do before you ended up with the result you wanted?
We made some pre-productions last summer to see how certain songs worked out. We tested different equipment and microphone-setups to see what their effect were when we started the recordings. I also experimented a lot with my vocal recordings!

What was it that made you switch label from Unique Leader Records to Neurotic Records?
The main thing that made us switch labels was the fact that it was hard to communicate with Unique Leader because of the big distance between us and them. We also wanted a record label that had more connections in Europe itself, so we signed with Neurotic Records!

Is it any different being on a Dutch label than an American?
Yes, it is. The communication is easier and we have far more European support. Earlier this year Neurotic Records also put us on a big tour with Cannibal Corpse so we can't complain.

I understand that Stagnated Existence was supposed to have been released back in February. What went wrong?
A lot of things went wrong with the factory that was supposed to print the CD's. They didn't deliver any of the CD's at all so Neurotic Records had to find another place to get the CD's printed, although bills were already paid.

Like many other bands on the Neurotic Records rooster you've used Pär Olofsson to do the artwork for the CD. What made you decide on using him?
We liked the artwork he did for Psycroptic. Initially I worked out some concepts with Daniel and we gave Pär these sketches and intensively worked with him to get the result we wanted!

Do you think it's important that the artwork represents the feel of the music?
Yes, I do. I also think it's important that the music, the lyrics and other parts of the product like the artwork, the shirts and so on are in balance with each other.

You've recently filmed a video for the song "Treason". Was this purely made for the fun of it or does it actually serve a promotional purpose? I mean not many music programs are likely show extreme music like this or are they?
It was made for fun, of course. But also as a promotional teaser for our live shows just like the video clip "Biased Existence" that is on Stagnated Existence.

I know some of you are involved in other bands besides Disavowed. What is your main priority and does it ever happen that things collide?
It is hard to tell, but basically it never collides. Whenever a bands needs to be the priority it becomes the priority. For instance when we recorded Stagnated Existence Disavowed was the main priority. It's really not been much of a problem so far.

How much touring are you going to do in support of Stagnated Existence?
We already did the Cannibal Corpse tour and we are going to do some small mini-tours/weekends to support the album. We are also going to the States next year to play at Maryland Deathfest. We'll just have to wait and see what else happens.

The Dutch death metal scene has always appeared to be very productive. How is it doing nowadays?

It seems to be a little less productive in my opinion compared to how it was some years ago. The main reason for this is that a lot of the important bands have ceased to exist. Bands like for instance Pyaemia, Massmurder are no more. I also believe death metal is somewhat less popular today than it was five years ago. There are less new bands emerging, but a lot of the older bands like Putrefied, Severe Torture and Caedere are still here.

You recorded Stagnated Existence in October/November 2006. Have you begun toying with ideas for new material or can we expect to wait almost another six years for the next Disavowed CD?
No worries, no more six years between albums. We have already written two new songs and it it's quite possible that we will record again some time next year.

When looking ahead what next is in store for Disavowed?
A lot of live shows I hope. Probably a new album next year, which will raise the bar further. A DVD perhaps? A US tour or a new European tour? Maybe a second trip to Japan and Hong Kong? We're open to all possibilities.

Are there any comments you want to make to conclude this interview?
Keep up your good work with Supreme Brutality! The genre needs people like you that pay attention the underground! Thanks for all the exposure! Hope to see you some time on the road!

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