středa 1. června 2022

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Interview - CHAOTIAN - Disease-soaked, rotten death metal with a brutal imprint!

Interview with death metal band from Denmark - CHAOTIAN.

Answered Søren Willatzen (vocals, guitars), thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Recenze/review - CHAOTIAN - Effigies of Obsolescence (2022):

Ave CHAOTIAN! Greetings to the Danish underground. Let's go straight to the most important thing. You have released a new record „Effigies of Obsolescence“, which is literally packed with honest, dusty death metal. How did the album come about and how do you feel about it? Jakým směrem se CHAOTIAN od demonahrávek posunuli?

- Greetings Jakub! Honest, dusty death metal is what we aimed for to be frank. The album had been in the works for quite a while with some songs being written way back in 2018 and then undergoing several edits along the way, other songs were sort of purposefully written for the album to achieve the blend of some faster, some slower and some mid-tempo songs to keep the listener (and ourselves) entertained. I feel like it came out quite well - much better than initially anticipated, lots of songs got a completely different character during the recording process, but I still believe it remains true to the Chaotian sound.

You released a new record in the strange times. No one could have known that Covid 19 would hit the world. Has the current situation affected releasing process in any way? Or is everything getting back to normal?

- Definitely, the Covid-19 lockdowns affected writing, and pretty much all of us in the band professionally as well. It was tough, and being in a band at a time where you couldn’t really do much but write, rehearse and record it was a bit detached from what we were supposed to do at this period. Everything is pretty much back to normal now, but I do feel like Covid-19 shaved off some years of progress for the band. Lasse, who we recorded with, was also affected by it but in a more positive light, as he was completely booked whenever we asked if we could find a slot with him. It took a while, but we got our dates in and recorded the thing in roughly 8 days times.

What is the current situation regarding Covid 19 in Denmark? Clubs are already open, can you have a tour, for example? Many summer festivals have been canceled in our country, foreign groups will hardly reach us.

- The current situation is that Covid-19’s been forced a bit into the background of things. The war in Ukraine fills the news a lot more these days, and people don’t seem to get very sick after their vaccines, so yes - clubs are open, tours are now a possibility again, same with festivals and such. You can tell that we’ve been more liberal and open here in Denmark than in most of Europe, especially after the vaccines. I guess we’ll see how it goes, but for the band it’s definitely been positive to see how things have opened up and given us the possibility to play shows outside of Copenhagen again.

But let's talk about new record. I'm listening to it right now, and I have to write that this time it took me a while to get this record into my blood. I put the album into the player, I am listening to it in the car. I really like the sound. It is lively, organic, old school and at the same time clear. It seems different to me from your previous records. Where did you record and who is signed under the sound?

- We recorded this album with Lasse Ballade at Ballade Studios and had Greg Wilkinson from Earhammer Studios mix/master this album. It is definitely a ‘new’ and dare I say, more polished sound. But by comparison, it’s not exactly clean or clinical sounding - it’s very true to how we play live, I think - organic/old school yet clear are nice terms as you put it. It’s a pretty natural progression from the very rough demo tapes, then to the less rough Adipocere Feast single and now to the album. It makes sense, people expect a clearer sound, and I do believe it suits our style of death metal as well. As long as we don’t sound too clean or too compressed, then I’m all for it. I like hearing all the nasty details of our playing.

You'll probably agree with me that the cover sells. Your cover is really dark and powerful this year. The author is Alexander Gjerdevik Skjøtt. Personally, I like this cover. How did you get together with Alex and what exactly does the motive have to express in relation to music?

- Alexander outdid himself again, it’s a fantastic cover. So much depth in it, I could stare at it for hours haha! Jonas’ friend actually recommended Jonas to check out Alexander’s portfolio, and he then sent it on to Andreas and I. We instantly loved his stuff, and decided to get him working on the Festering Excarnation compilation release. Be assured that we were very satisfied with it, and I felt like he had a fresh yet completely mad take on death metal covers. So we had to continue working with him. We usually give Alexander the music to listen to as well as the texts, and in this round he was focusing on the more infernal side of our music. We have faith in his abilities, and his inspirations seem to be closely linked with the lyrics to Into Megatopheth and the title track.

I put „Effigies of Obsolescence“ in my head again and again and I say to myself that I like the most this old school death metal feeling that's hard to describe. Looks like we're of the same blood. Who were and are actually your idols? Every musician started somehow, there are patterns that shaped his signature. What about you?

-- My idols in death metal were Immolation, Infester, Death, Morbid Angel, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Imprecation, Demilich, Convulse, Abhorrence, Autopsy, Mortician and a fuck ton of other groups. I do feel like these bands have had a major impact on our sound, and the way we think death metal should be. If I had to choose musicians that made the biggest impact on me, I’d argue that would be Trey Azagthoth, Ross Dolan, and Chuck Schuldiner. I often study how they compose, what they write and how they play, as - to me - it’s just the embodiment of death metal and what it should sound like. All this shaped me, but my way of playing guitar has more facets than just death metal.

What do you think about the current trends, widespread mainly among young bands, where they try to play as technically as possible, they often insert a saxophone, various keyboards into death metal and look for a way in a very complicated way. Do you enjoy such bands? For example, if I ever come to a concert and someone like this performs there, I'm confused. It seems like a rehearsal of a jazz school to me, but in the end I don't remember anything at all. What about you and current trends in death metal?

- I do like when people try and create something new from death metal, as long as it’s not contrived in any way. If it’s somehow natural to infuse a keyboard into a band’s type of death metal (like Imprecation/Infester), then I’m all for it. I’ve never been a fan of technical metal bands for the sake of playing technically demanding things. There needs to be a reason behind playing something that requires a lot of technique. Same goes for playing super primitive in death metal. If it helps getting the point across in the music, then I’m all for it - if it’s just primitive for the sake of it without any catchiness and raw aggression, then it loses its magic for me. Current trends in death metal seem to be more towards primitive hooks with a dirty sound. It sure beats the hyper technical stuff that was in 10 years ago, but generally - trends suck.

When we look back at the beginning ... What was the first impulse to found the band? And why the death metal? It's not the typical style which can would give you great "glory".

- The first impulse was actually to found a death/thrash band. I was looking for musicians for another more thrash oriented band, but that fell through. Andreas contacted me through an online ad, and we got together to play some early Sepultura, and that was it - we started this journey there. The further we got, the more flexibility we wanted in the music, so we wanted go full death metal. It was quite lucky that Copenhagen had a great scene with the same interests in death metal as us, and that the scene could broaden our horizon as well. And why death metal? Because that’s what we love. Glory is meaningless in modern music.

You come from Denmark and you play extreme death metal. Our readers would certainly wonder how the death metal scene works in Denmark. To tell you the truth, so lately I hear only the great bands from there. Does this mean that the scene there is so strong at the moment? What about concerts, how many people coming to them?

- I’d argue that Copenhagen specifically has a very, very strong death metal scene. Lots of bands popping up, most of which with the right attitude and the sound that we completely dig. David from Undergang has lots of shows through Extremely Rotten Production, and lately Killtown Bookings have started to do their own regular shows in town. Same with Desiccated Productions that Malik and Mathias have. People are showing up, mostly locals and the same old, but it’s growing more and more. Young guys shows up more now, which is cool to see.

From your music is possible to feel that you are influenced by American death metal school and as well by the old European bands. How do you feel about it as a fan? Do you prefer the original death metal of the 1990s or do you get inspiration as well from the new albums? If yes so I am wondering which bands had the greatest impact on CHAOTIAN.

- I think almost everyone prefers the originals from the 1980’s and 1990’s, but I definitely get lots of inspiration from newer bands. Many local bands like Phrenelith, Undergang, Deiquisitor, Septage, Hyperdontia, Ascendency etc. compose some great songs that I really enjoy as a fan as much as I enjoy them as a friend in the scene. I will always prefer the old stuff like Immolation, Morbid Angel, Death, Infester etc., as it still feels a tad fresher, but when you look at how well bands like Blood Incantation, Dead Congregation, Undergang, Cruciamentum, Corpsessed, Mortuous etc. play, you can’t help but be inspired by that as well.

In the end I always ask a slightly philosophical question. How would you define death metal and what does it mean to you? I don't mean the playing technique now, but rather what it brings to you, how you perceive it in relation to the fans. Did you grow up on it?

- I would argue that I grew up on it in my teens. It is my escape from reality at times, somewhat like a cruel fantasy world that allows me to put whatever real life thoughts I have into perspective in a worst-case scenario. It means a lot, not just as a listener, but as a composer as well. Death metal gives me a lot of artistic freedom to write what I feel like, not necessarily what I have to do.

Thank you so much for the interview. I appreciate it. Now let's talk music. I'm going to play „Effigies of Obsolescence“ really loud! I wish you good luck and all the best in your personal lives. Thank you!

- Thank you too, it’s been fun! I hope you enjoy it, and I wish you the best as well. Stay sick, and enjoy life… While you have it!

Recenze/review - CHAOTIAN - Effigies of Obsolescence (2022):

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