Bastian Herzog Swart interviewed by PSL
How are things in the Fleshcrawl camp at the moment?
Really good! Our new album Made of Flesh was just released in Europe and the US and we just returned from a very successful European tour with Six Feet Under. Things couldn't be better at the moment!
Made of Flesh is you seventh full-length release, do you feel you have just as much to offer as earlier on? How do you feel Made of Flesh compares to your previous efforts?
Well, I think we have even much more to offer nowadays! The new record is really the most varied and diversified one, Fleshcrawl has ever done. The songs are brutal and intense, but also at the same time very catchy with a lot of melodies. We are really satisfied with Made of Flesh, song wise and also production wise. On the new record we lowered the speed of the songs a little bit, but that didn't stop the record from becoming brutal: brutal and aggressive music is not only defined through playing fast - at least that's the opinion of Fleshcrawl! Compared to our older stuff, Made of Flesh contains the most mature song material we've ever done. We spent a lot of time on the song writing and also on the production and I think that can be heard clearly.
Have you approached things any different this time? You've had a slight change in line-up since the release of you previous album Soulskinner have this had any significant influences on the writing process?
Basically not. We were writing the new songs the same way as always before. The only new thing is that we included our new guitarist Oliver in the song writing process right from the beginning. He contributed quite a few cool riffs to the songs. I guess that also had some influence on the outcome on the song material. Every guitarist is working different and has different ideas and inputs. In the end, we managed to consolidate all the ideas to form a unique Fleshcrawl record. I think this is the important and essential part about doing albums with a lot of songwriters.
Your guitar sound seems to be inspired by the early Swedish scene and in particular Dismember and I also spot some references to early Bolt Thrower. Were they a source to inspiration back in the day?
Definitely yes. We still love the music of the early Swedish scene as that started the whole movement somehow. It is our favourite style in extreme metal. We prefer that classical stuff much more than all the modern influences in metal which can be heard nowadays and which already formed some of the modern styles. Fleshcrawl is a damn fuckin' old-school machine and we'll also stick to that concept!
Or has it something to do with that you've recorded all you albums in Swedish studios?
The fact that we are recording in Sweden is because we want to work with studio people who are experienced and have good knowledge with this kind of sound. We don't wanna take any risks there. Achieving a good production and sound is damn important to us.
I was wondering how come you've recorded all you albums in Sweden! Did it start because your first label Black Mark was based in Sweden?
Right. I guess that was the initial reason. They sent us up to Stockholm to record our debut album Descend into the Absurd and from that on we never even thought about not to record in Sweden.
Do you feel you've finally found the perfect studio in Studio Underground in which you've recorded the last two records?
Definitely yes. Studio Underground really turned out to be the right home for us. We felt very comfortable there, both for living and working. It offers a very nice atmosphere and still also has very fair prices.
What inspires you musically today?
Well, I think the fact that we wanna release good old-school death metal music and that we still have much fun in playing that kind of sound. This style in extreme metal gives us the most energy and aggression. We want to improve ourselves from album to album.
From where do you get the ideas for the lyrics?
Basically from the dictionary. I start writing lyrics as soon as the corresponding song is musically finished. First I am looking for a good song title, and then I try to build stuff around that and form words and phrases to fit perfectly to the vocal-lines of the song. I never start writing in order to get a certain story told. Our lyrics support the music and cannot be seen separately without the music - at least not from my point of view. Maybe the listener thinks different about that, but that's ok because then people start to think about the stuff we write.
Fleshcrawl was originally formed as far back as in '87 and has since undergone a few line-up changes but is there really any difference as how things were in the early days compared to have it is today?
We were facing a few line-up changes, but the band survived all that and managed to keep up a high level of song quality which I think is some cool achievement. The biggest difference is the way our song material evolved over the years. I think we managed to develop as good songwriters over the years.
Is it as easy to find the motivation and inspiration as back in the earlier days?
As long as we have fun in doing it, we will get inspired and motivated. If that should be gone someday, I guess it will become hard to go on... But so far, the machine is running well...
Many death metal bands have in recent years released live albums, a thing that was unthinkable just ten years ago. Have you ever considered putting out a live album?
So far never. Maybe this is worth some thoughts in the future, but I am even not sure if we have good enough live material in our archive. Let's see...
A new trend in death metal and metal in general seem to be DVD's many bands are either about to release one or currently working on it. So I thought it would be logically to hear if you also got one in the pipeline?
Not yet. We are filming as much as possible of the shows and also some backstage stuff - to get the funny side into it. Maybe we can put something together someday, I really cannot say right now. But this might be some interesting thing, to me much more interesting than a live album for example.
As far as I can judge this, I think the extreme metal scene in Germany is doing well and is alive. I see a lot of concerts everywhere and people seem to show up again in decent numbers to those shows. So people seem to be interested in extreme music again - much more than during the mid-90s where everybody gave death metal a hard time. In general I have a good feeling about the scene. Extreme music is demanded again and that's fuckin' cool!
Any new and upcoming German death metal bands to watch out for?
To be honest, I do not really know what is going on in the underground scene as I do not have the time to check it out. I listen to some stuff from time to time, but every time asked, I can't remember shit! So I guess I am not the right person to ask for the scene and stuff. Our singer Sven would be the man for that!
What are the future plans for Fleshcrawl?
Now, we will promote our Made of Flesh record the best we can, try to get good shows, festivals and of course have a lot of fun in doing all this!!! After that we'll see where the journey takes us...
Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks for the interview. Keep supporting the extreme shit!