(Comrade Aleks, our doom-devoted interviewer from Russia, brings us this conversation with Andrej Ktalj of Italy’s A Day In Venice.)
A Day In Venice was founded as Narcotic Luxuria by the painter, poet, and musician Andrej Kralj as a solo project, later joined by the drummer Paolo Marchesich (Sinestesia) and the keyboard player Alberto Bravin (Sinestesia) in 2003. They performed live shows at festivals and venues in Northern Italy, and released a 5-track demo and then a split in late 2004.
But all that matters now is a full-length self-titled work of A Day In Venice – the members of the project finished it about three months ago, and it’s still fresh and hot. If you have few minutes, then try and taste these picturesque and ugly views of Venice from a gothic doom perspective.
(NCS contributor KevinP interviews the ubiquitous Anil Carrier, pictured above right in the line-up of Britain’s Towers of Flesh. He is also a member of Binah, Exsequor, Necrotize, Purify the Horror, The Solemn Curse, and Theoktony — though we don’t claim that’s a complete list.)
K: I always joke how you are in like 532 bands, so I find it more than ironic we are talking TOWERS OF FLESH today while you are recording the new THEOKTONY. How do you find the time for all these projects?
A: Generally it’s very difficult and time consuming. You have to sacrifice a lot to do this on the level that I do. But as time goes on it definitely becomes worthwhile.
My role in each band differs. I may play all instruments and compose everything on a record or I might just jump in for the drums and leave the rest to others.
K: Do you ever feel burnt out or the need to just get away from it all with so many projects?
A: It can sometimes be very tiresome. But I have always been driven to build a body of work and although I wouldn’t say that it’s a selfish need it’s definitely something that drives me to carry on. I have periods where I don’t write music and other times when I can’t stop, so I wouldn’t say I ever get burnt out.
(NCS contributor KevinP interviews guitarist Alexander Awn of Detroit’s Temple of Void, whose new album (Of Terror and the Supernatural will be released later this month.)
K: Alexander, thanks for taking the time with me today. I will admit, I was only recently aware of you chaps when I saw the song “Savage Howl” posted (somewhere). Now after spinning your debut album quite a few times, I’m kinda taken aback at how “new” a band you are.
A: Kevin, thanks for getting in touch with us and taking the time to check our shit out. We’re a new band…but we’re not new to this scene or making music by any stretch of the imagination. Our demo came out in May 2013 and the album is coming out Sept 2014. We’ve only played about 10 shows. We’re all in our 30′s and 40′s. So doing something on this level is natural at this point.
K: Where would people know you from before this?
A: Probably our most notorious face would our vocalist Mike Erdody aka Mike Tuff. He’s currently kicking ass in a variety of bands like Acid Witch, Failed, Nuke, Harbinger, and probably some more that I’ve forgotten off the top of my head.
I play in Hellmouth. But I’ve been doing bands and touring the country since I was a teenager. Brent (bassist) is in the same category. We’ve probably done 4 bands together. Jason (drums) was in a well known Detroit punk band called The Feisty Cadavers. And he rips it up in the Motrorcity Troubadours.
Eric (guitars) was most recently in Knife. But he’s been doing music since he was a teenager, too. One of his early bands was a death metal band called Kathode (that also had Andrew W.K.).
(In this post we present BadWolf’s interview with Tomas Lindberg of Lock Up, Disfear, and of course At the Gates, whose comeback album At War With Reality is headed our way in October)
“We still have a sense of urgency.”
That’s what Thomas “Tompa” Lindberg, vocalist of Swedish death metal legends At The Gates told me in between vocal takes as he called No Clean Singing from the studio. Now that At The Gates have finally released the cover art for their upcoming album At War With Reality, their first in 19 years, Lindberg is ready to talk—about finding his screaming voice, his political views, and the magical realist literature that has informed his new work.
So, you’re in the studio right now?
How’s it going?
Very well. All the drum tracks are totally done, and guitar tone is set and Anders has done the long song. We’re going to do guitars on one song, then I’m going to do vocals, because we do the whole setup so I can alternate so I don’t burn out the voice. You know, we’re going to have the first song written, really, finished today.
It’s good that you’re taking care of your voice, because I saw you at MDF and I have no idea how you can do what you do for an entire hour.
Me neither. Sometimes, life is a bit of a struggle, but it’s intense live because then no one can really . . . you can’t rewind and listen to it again. Well, you can on YouTube. In the studio, you need to be perfect 100%, all the time.
(Our guest Gemma Alexander, who recently brought us a three-part report on this summer’s Eistnaflug festival in Iceland, has delivered one more gift from visit to the festival: An interview with Guðmundur Óli Pálmason, the drummer of Sólstafir. As a bonus, we’re also including at the end of the interview a new video of Sólstafir performing the title track from their new album Ótta live at a large hunting cabin in the Austrian Alps. Visit Gemma’s own excellent blog here
When I talked to Sólstafir’s drummer, Guðmundur (Gummi) Óli Pálmason on the Monday after Eistnaflug, hardly anyone had heard their new album, Ótta. Some of the songs I had only heard played live at Eistnaflug. So at the time, neither of us knew what kind of response Ótta was going to get. If Gummi suspected that it was going to be the Sunbather of 2014, he didn’t let on.
Even without the glowing album reviews that have erupted since, it was already obvious that Sólstafir are swimming in bigger ponds than they were when I first spoke with them (here) in 2012. Then, touring the U.S. seemed like a pipe dream. This year marked their first small tour in North America, five shows plus Maryland Deathfest. Finding a supporting slot on a full U.S. tour seems like a reasonable next step. A headlining tour in Europe is planned for November. Have Sólstafir hit the big time?
“I don’t know. We’re still broke,” said Gummi before admitting, “People think that as bands get bigger things get easier. Actually, the opposite is true. You play more festivals, go on more tours, get less time off, and things get more expensive. We played 15 festivals this summer.” When a schedule change at Hellfest landed Sólstafir in the same time slot as Emperor, people started giving them condolences, and even their label warned them to expect a small turnout. In the event, their venue was packed. “People came to see us anyway. It was a big change to see crowds like that.”
(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks returns with another interview. This time his conversation is with Sami Hynninen, who has been involved in a diverse array of musical projects over a 30-year career, now including Opium Warlords and Azrael Rising.)
Sami Hynninen is one of most extravagant men in the Finnish artistic world. He has explored realms of the musical underground for about 30 years, and some of his excursions are well-known by metal heads (especially “doom” heads) of this miserable planet. For example, Reverend Bizarre were a damned famous band of the traditional doom new wave. As this band is long gone, Sami continues his searches with Opium Warlords, Spiritus Mortis, March 15, another his electro projects, Tähtiportti, and the black metal band Azrael Rising. Maybe I’ve forgotten to mention something… well, in this case Sami will correct me. Terve Sami!
Terve Sami! This year you have reached an interesting date — the 30th-year anniversary of your musical career. It’s a pretty long road, but dare I ask how you would sum up the experience of these years?
First of all I have to point out that those early years 1984 – 1990 were very rudimentary, but still, all of that chaotic noise I started with has connection to what I do now, so I think it is appropriate for me to celebrate these thirty years. It is all the same journey I am still on.
My career as a published music maker – first with noisecore tapes released by underground “labels” – started when I was sixteen or seventeen, and since then I have done the same thing that I keep doing today. Because of this I have never felt getting older, in the same sense as some people I used to know are really starting to look tired with their lives. I am that same sixteen year old boy. I have just gained some experience, and knowledge, and intelligence. But emotionally I am just as fragile as I was back then.
Editor’s Note: Terry Butler has had an enviable career as a metal musician. He was one of the early members of Massacre (along with Kam Lee, Rick Rozz, and Bill Andrews), a band whose comeback album Back From Beyond was released earlier this year. He was a member of Death from ’87-’90, playing bass on Spiritual Healing (which is being reissued in remastered form by Relapse next month); he was a member of Six Feet Under from 1993 to 2011; and he became a full-time member of Obituary in 2011 and appears on the band’s new forthcoming album Inked In Blood, which is due for release by Relapse on October 28 in the U.S.
This week NCS contributor KevinP talked with Terry about Inked In Blood, Obituary’s decision to release it through Relapse after successfully completing a Kickstarter campaign to finance the making of the album, Obituary’s forthcoming tour with Carcass, Massacre’s comeback album, and more.
K: We are less than 2 months away from the new Obituary album, Inked in Blood, how do you think it turned out?
T: I think it sounds amazing. We took our time writing the album, after all it had been several years since the last one, so why rush it. We mixed it ourselves and took time to make sure we liked the mix.
K: It just dawned on me that this was your first album with the band. Feels like you’ve been there much longer for some reason. It’s been over 4 years now, right?
T: Yeah, I started helping out in Feb 2010 and joined full time in March 2011.
K: Do you think being there that long before recording/writing an album helped you and/or the others?
T: It definitely helped as far as knowing how Donald and Trevor approach writing and arranging songs. I’ve known the guys for over 25 years, so we definitely get along and understand each other.
(Our man BadWolf interviews Jeff Lohrber of Enabler; he also took the photos in this post at Enabler’s show in Detroit at The Loving Touch on June 10, 2014.)
In the months since Inquisitiongate (can we agree on that as the formal term?), it seems like virtually any extreme metal band could come under fire for suspicion of racism—Dragonforce and Bölzer have both come under fire as of late, and rebuffed those accusation with varying degrees of success.
Let’s scratch one band off the suspicion list: Enabler are not racist. In a brief conversation with Jeff Lohrber, guitarist/vocalist of the three-piece crust outfit, he made that much perfectly clear, alongside talking about his love of classic rock and breaking down my favorite track on what very well might be my favorite record of the year, La Fin Absolue Du Monde.
To begin, things I didn’t notice at Maryland Deathfest: not only do you have a Today is the Day tattoo, but you have an Ohio knuckle tattoo.
What’s up with that?
Well, I’ve been in Today’s the Day three times now. I’m currently the drummer for the band, and I grew up in Ohio.
Around Dayton. I actually live back in Ohio again. We were in Milwaukee. We started in Milwaukee but we’re based out of Ohio now. We have one member who lives in Milwaukee still.
Where do you live, Dayton?
No, I live in the middle of nowhere.
EDITOR’S NOTE: West Virginia’s Byzantine are nearing the end of a Pledgemusic crowd-funding campaign to help finance the making of their next album, To Release Is To Resolve, and NCS writer TheMadIsraeli caught up with the band’s main man, Chris “OJ” Ojeda, in an exclusive audio interview that we’re streaming at the end of this post. TheMadIsraeli introduces the conversation as follows:
Chris “OJ” Ojeda from Byzantine is a riot. The guy’s got an obvious fire for what he’s doing, and handles the hardships he’s endured with a surprisingly casual and hopeful outlook. He’s one of my favorite vocalists out there, and his riffs are distinct and have always stood out to me.
As the driving force behind Byzantine, the guy may feel like he’s got a load on his shoulders to prove that the band’s stellar comeback comeback album (2013′s Byzantine) wasn’t a fluke. From what I’ve heard of the new record, though, I’d say we’re in for something better than even that last one. You’ll get a taste of it at the end of this post.
(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks interviews guitarist Björn Anderssen of Sweden’s Ocean Chief.)
Björn Anderssen is a skilled channeler who transforms chthonic energies of primordial forces into massive and distorted guitar vibes. He is one of the founders of Swedish doom/sludge/stoner act Ocean Chief, who released their new album Universums härd through the well-known I Hate Records.
As the sea of sound spreads its black waves and consumes us, to become one with the cosmic ocean and find ourselves as tiny sparks of light amidst its senseless vastness… just try to relax and find the joy of primitive and wild delight.
Hail Björn! How are you? How goes the promotion of Ocean Chief’s new album Universums härd?
Hey! So far it’s all been good. The reviews has been overly positive, and most people seem to embrace the change since the previous albums. This one is much more dynamic in tempos and songs, hence easier to digest for the listener. Obviously not everyone has been as happy as others, but what can you do?!