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Interview - TRIBE OF PAZUZU - The imagery is perfect for death metal.

Interview with black death metal band TRIBE OF PAZUZU.

Answered bassist and vocalist Nick Sagias, thank you!

Translated by Duzl, thank you!

Recenze/review - TRIBE OF PAZUZU - King of All Demons (2020):

Ave TRIBE OF PAZUZU! Greetings to Canada. I hope you are doing well in these difficult times. I’m just listening to your new EP this year’s “King of All Demons” and I’m literally excited. I feel like someone locked me in an old dungeon. How did the novelty come about? I have the previous “Heretical Uprising” from you at home, and this year’s deed seems crueler, more cruel.

Thanks! I was definitely channelling a lot of hate into the newer material, with an effort at keeping it relentless and catchy at the same time. A song like 'Retaliation & Wrath' is wholly uncompromising, from start to finish, but still really catchy and memorable. I think I felt more comfortable about pushing the boundaries of speed and aggression on the second EP. Perhaps some people will take this the wrong way, but 'hate' as an energy is necessary for this style of music. It helps serve the intensity, I find that missing in a lot of bands these days.

TRIBE OF PAZUZU is a band composed of just famous names.- John McEntee, Flo Mounier, Randy Harris and Nick Sagias. Just write you side by side and it sounds great in itself. But how did the band even start? How did you get together? It must be very difficult to meet at all, right? Everyone has their bands, tours, responsibilities.

The band started simply because I was fed up with playing with musicians that limited the way I write. People who were just not serious enough to get anything done. So, in 2017, I was already writing in this style. By the end of that year, I mentioned to a friend who has ties in the industry that I have a handful of songs. Right away he offered up Flo and John, then we got Randy to play leads. I heard Randy play and knew right away he would be able to pull off the rhythm guitars as well. Of course, both Flo and John are busy with their own bands, and Randy is busy with a job and home life. As such, we don't ever get together. I try and meet up with Randy once or twice before we head into the studio to go over some finer points. Everyone else just hears the demo and goes off of that.

I know that it can be recorded today, even if every musician is on a different end of the world. The Internet and technology allow us to do that. But how do you record? Have you ever met? The sound of your EP is dense, massive, cool. It reminds me a bit of the production of MORBID ANGEL base plates. How and where did you record? And who is signed under the final mix?

For both EPs, we have gone to Montreal to record at Cryptopsy's studio, The Grid, with Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy guitarist) at the helm (mixing and mastering). In fact, we haven't all been in the studio at the same time. Flo's parts are usually recorded the day before Randy and I get into the studio. John is pretty busy, so he does his parts from his studio or Kyle's (Severn - Incantation drummer) place. This is the same studio where Incantation do all their recordings. All the bass, rhythm and lead tracking is done with Marco Freche, engineer at The Grid in Montreal. It's so great working with Marco. We just motor through the songs with him. Christian then comes in and I do the vocals, which again goes by so smooth and fast. At this point, Christian comes in and does the mixing and mastering.

The drums are clear to me, the vocals too, but who actually took care of the main motifs, the riffs? Was it John or you Nick? I ask because John has such a typical and unmistakable handwriting that I'm a little confused, because I can’t hear it here.

Yes, good ear. John's writing is a lot different than mine. I’m honored he has the time to work with us. It's a huge compliment that he chose to be a part of Tribe. From the beginning, I have written all the music and lyrics for Tribe of Pazuzu. There was talk at the beginning of John helping with some writing, but he got busy with Incan. That said, he did add some second guitar type stuff on the first EP. Additionally, Randy has full reign over the solos and Flo has all the fills. In fact, he often improves on the beats. When I demo the tracks, the demo is usually approx. around 10 bpm, slower than when we get into the studio. It's quite amazing to hear this team of great musicians and studio professionals bring these songs to life.

In your texts, you criticize the church, but they are also about cultism, war and other dark topics. Who is their author and how did they come about? I wonder where do you get your inspiration for? Pazuzu was, I think, the king of demons in Mesopotamia, am I right?

There are lots of places I draw inspiration from. This includes books, movies, documentaries. In fact, when certain words or phrases catch your ear, sometimes you will hear rhythms in those phrases. I usually compile all my ideas early. As it gets closer to recording, I then finish them. I usually know how they will flow. That being said, it's not all worked out or written down until a week or two before we enter the studio.

Regarding the band name, Pazuzu is a demon from the old Sumerian religion. He seems to have a few titles, such as 'King Of The Demons' or 'The Bringer Of Plagues'. The imagery is perfect for death metal. I was obsessed with him from an early age, watching the Exorcist and especially Heretic. In fact, Exorcist 2 goes further into the Pazuzu story. So, when it was time to come up with a  name for this band, I immediately knew it needed to have something to do with the things that I'm most passionate about. Pazuzu, in his very own way, helped give this band focus.

I like the Canadian metal scene. Your bands seem different to me, different from the others. I love VOIVOD. This is how it seems to boil over from us in Europe, but how is it really? Is the approach of musicians different than in the USA? And what about the scene as a whole, how does it work?

Something that many people might not know is that the Canadian music scene has never really been that supportive of death metal. To clarify this point, I am not talking about the fans. We have killer fans here in Toronto and across Canada. My point is, that the general vibe is not supportive of straight-up, REAL death metal. It never has been in this country, definitely from an 'industry' perspective. Of course, the sheep flock to the melodic or symphonic stuff, which is safe and has wider appeal. This satisfies their overt need to be unique. But, make no mistake, this is not death metal, even if it has smatterings of death metal-like elements buried deep within all the melody and frills. Those who don't understand, the same ones that scoff at true death metal, can then claim to be edgy. So, in return, it impacts the style that band's choose to play here in Canada. If they want to be written about by Canadian journalists, then the driving force becomes one where band's play it safe and comfortable. Tribe Of Pazuzu spits in the face of this mentality. We will never compromise. If you like us, you like us. If you don't, well, we could give two fucks. Long live true death metal!

Why did you choose the EP format at all? Is it because you didn’t have enough material for a full- length album? Or as black metal SCOUR claims, for example, that the records aren’t sold today, so we give fans the opportunity to buy vinyl and let the rest download it? It’s the same, it’s just a fact. How do you actually react to downloading?

We chose the EP format simply because we are a new band. It didn't make sense to spend a couple of years working on a full-length album, but rather to have more exposure during this beginning stage. I had about fifteen tracks as early as 2017, so that wasn't an issue. The idea behind releasing the EPs was to just hit hard and fast, and then follow-up with that almost right away. My listening tastes have changed. As a result, I have noticed the way people are consuming music these days.

In reality, as with everything else, it seems that attention spans have diminished. So, it made sense to go the EP route. Additionally, the way people access music these days, as far as platforms like Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, also was a motivating factor. I have always been a huge fan of music and the medium in which it is delivered. I loved vinyl, and had a big collection. When CDs came out, I jumped on immediately. The benefits - clarity, ease-of-use, space-saving - were just too great to ignore. Later, when things moved from disc to digital - sure, there was some hesitation due to the fact that you no longer held a physical product in your hand. It took some time, but music lovers tend to adapt. The benefits of digital are incredibly appealing, instant access being the biggest. I'm not so nostalgic that I scoff at digital. Of course, I understand that there are fans out there that love holding a physical product in their hand. As such, we aren't going to ignore these fans. If you support the Tribe, we will do our best to support your platform of choice. With this in mind, we have plans to release vinyl for all the vinyl junkies out there... even cassettes, if we get offers to do so.

It really comes down to being open-minded enough to embrace all technology, as each has its own benefits for creators. In the end, it just makes things easier. Of course, I suppose you have to know your end goal, and why you use these technologies, and what makes most sense for you and the way you consume.

What about you and new technologies? Do you watch them, do you use them? Do you enjoy the possibility that the whole world is interconnected or does it sometimes scare you a little like me? And how did new technologies affect you as a musician?

As far as things like social media, I don't really have much use to have personal accounts, other than to promote my music. I make an effort to only connect with those I admire and respect... like-minded people. If it wasn't for social media, I don't think much of what we have accomplished could have happened. The whole band came together via social media. The studio and producer came together via social media. The artist who creates our incredible covers came together via social media. All our merch... social media. Everything. All the amazing bands I have discovered over the last few years can be credited to social media. Every single day I discover and share bands via social media. It's akin to the days of tape-trading, now on an infinite scale. When I  post music, I now have 5000 friends on Facebook who have instant access to it. The spread of information is much quicker. It allows you to target your audience. Almost all of the music I post is death metal or black metal.

For each band, the best feedback is the reaction of the fans to the live concert. Will TRIBE OF PAZUZU ever play live? Doesn’t that appeal to you? Maybe just a few times, for fun? I know it would be so hard to put them all together, but it would be worth the experience, don’t you think?

Yes, of course we would love to play. Each of us has expressed the interest to take Tribe live. It would be a most amazing thing to hear this beast come to life. This is not an easy task, taking into account the full-time projects of the various band members. Additionally, this 'virus' has really put the brakes on the entirety of the entertainment industry, impacting the music industry the hardest. Hitting the road has been a huge outlet for both bands and fans. It is very sad to see what has happened.

Nick, you played in SOULSTORM, OVERTHROW, even in PESTILENCE. But if I’m not mistaken, are all the bands over? If so, why? I know that, for example, SOULSTORM had a very good start to the future? Is TRIBE OF PAZUZU your current only band?

Well, Overthrow I started in my teens... thirty years ago. Soulstorm was an experiment in abrasive heaviness. The intention was to mix the aggressiveness of death metal with other elements. The basic template was one that saw combining elements of Obituary and Celtic Frost, as far as the riffs/vocals, with electronic elements from bands like Ministry. We then mixed these elements with the repetitive pounding of something like the Swans.

Anyway, Soulstorm was on and off for so long that I eventually just wanted to get away from that sound and return to a more organic, old-school death metal vibe. I really wanted the focus to be more on just one style, instead of trying to incorporate so many different styles. There was always a heavy doom element in Soulstorm, and I was just pretty much done writing in that slower style. Moving into the writing for Tribe, I was very conscious not to get bogged down in slow parts that might drag on too long. Tribe is meant to rip your face off... fast... my approach to death metal mixed  with elements of black and thrash.

Are you a fan too? By that I mean not just death metal. And do you collect, look for new records? Do you buy, support bands? What’s new recently?

Yes, of course. I'm a huge music fan. I used to have about six milk crates full of vinyl in my teens. When CDs dropped, it was around 89/90, right around the time death metal really became the new exciting force. As a result, my collection became enormous. About ten years ago, I had about eighteen milk crates full of CDs. I sold almost all of them, apart from four crates. Now, I have nothing to play them on. These days, I really don't collect much in the form of CDs or vinyl. That said, I always stay on top of new music. I regularly buy merch from the bands I love. I post new bands daily. I find them all over the place. It's pretty exciting to me, and I like to share these bands to help spread the word and support the underground.

What are TRIBE OF PAZUZU going to do in the future? Have you already prepared the new material? Do you compose?

The future for Tribe of Pazuzu is one which will always see us delivering relentless death metal... no exceptions. Brazil's Eat My Records will be releasing both our first two EPs on one 12” vinyl. We are all looking forward to that. If all goes well, we should be ready with those in a few months. Things have been going better than expected. We sold out of both CDs, as well as selling out our first two shirt styles. We've now restocked our store with those first two shirt designs, along with beanies, flags and patches. Additionally, I have been busy writing the first full-length Tribe album. I pretty much started from scratch. We have about ten or eleven song ideas. This just happens to be the perfect amount, as we had been planning on about eight songs for the full-length, which leaves us with a handful of songs for two split recordings that are planned for the future. These will be exclusive tracks, a nice bonus for fans. If all goes as planned, we will have a split 7” with Zealot Cult, and another split 7” with Abyss Of Perdition. 

Thank you very much for the interview, I really appreciate it. And I'm so glad that there are still bands like yours. I wish you the best sales, lots of enthusiastic fans and good luck in private. I'm going to release the TRIBE OF PAUSE again and get lost among the demons.

Recenze/review - TRIBE OF PAZUZU - King of All Demons (2020):

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