sobota 29. října 2022

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Interview - HEADLESS DAWN - Snowflake free grindcore!

Interview with grind death metal band from Holland - HEADLESS DAWN.

Answered Wim and Jonny Pettersson, thank you!

Translated and questions prepared Duzl, thank you!

HEADLESS DAWN - Crap on Demand (2022):

Hell-o Wim/ Headless Dawn!

After two singles your first album "Crap on Demand" is out (Meat 5000 Records, Into the records). The album has been out for a month and the cassette that was released by "INTO THE RECORD" sold out in one week, which is absolutely great, what do you think? Is it a sign for you, an impulse,...are you planning to increase the number of copies?

Hi Duzl, whats up? Yeah album is out for some weeks now, and the cassette was sold out in the blink of an eye. This was a pleasant surprise! Seems most people only seem to be into buying vinyl these days and now that gets really expensive to make, a lot of labels seem to not release it anymore, So we were kinda dissapointed and worried at the same time that it wouldn’t sell to/so good, at least in our home country. But the tapes went fast and we already talked about doing a new run. We're also talking about adding something extra to the second press, so that this will also be a special run and not just a reprint.

The recording is straight, furious from beginning to the end. Great raw guitar sound. I don't even need to mention the speed and punch, which is absolutely essential in grind-core and you have it there on the album, but I heard that songwriting and recording of this album went really strange, can you tell me more about this?

Well I really like Terrorizer and Repulsion and had the idea to do a band/record in that style for quite some time. Now that the whole world was on hold due to covid there finally was time to make it happen. We decided not to write anything, but just plugin the guitar and hit the record button and see what happens. This way some really energetic bursts of music came out, although they didnt really sound perfect or anything. We just decided we kept these rough takes to work with, because you almost felt the energy and therefore they were used on the final recordings. It was all very spontaneous and that is what you here. Maybe it lacks a bit in recording quality, but who cares. This kind of music is for passion and not for fashion. After the recordings we still needed someone to do vocals and we had a release date set. So when we finally found Carl and agreed on the concept of the lyrics. Since there was some kind of pressure, all lyrics were written in a matter of four weeks or something. It seemed like Carl needed to prove some point and wrote like a maniac. I'm not sure I want to make a record this way again. It worked this time, but the next time there are expectations, at least from ourselves. But we will send the songs over to Carl two weeks before the deadline tho. He seems to be working great under stress without cutting corners.

I once witnessed a quite passionate discussion in a pub about what is the optimal length of a grind-core song, what do you think?

Well it’s a good discussion to have in a pub if you ask me. Then again if it’s up to me I would talk about music all the time anyway. But I don’t think there’s an optimal length for a song. In my opinion a song writes itself. You come up with a riff and another one and then you just feels what it needs. With really fast songs 40 seconds can be enough, where another song needs 3 minutes before it feels finished. For Headless Dawn I never thought about how long a song should be, whatever came out was fine. The whole album lasts for 30 minutes, which I think is max for a grindcore album. Actually we exceeded that max with a few seconds, which kind of makes me bummed out tho. I blame this on Carl, he came up with the ending of the record.

And is it harder for you to write a short fast-paced grind-core song that kicks ass or a classic song made up of a few riffs and melodies?

To me its all the same, it starts with a riff. Every style of music demands a different kind of riff, but in the end the riff gives the character tot a song. It needs a certain energy, or hook, to stand out. The hard part is to come with one or two riffs for each song that really stick in your head. And when I think I have that it’s not sure the listener feels the same. When I write or play a song I want to feel it and get energy from playing it, whether it’s grindcore or a doomy song.

The lyrics on "Crap on Demand" are provocative and ridiculing, pointing out what's going on in our society, not just the filth of the current social media age, when people need to have an opinion on everything and spread it everywhere, human stupidity, uselessness, political topics, sexual assault, up the green deal. You go really straight to solar, are you holding a mirror up to society do you prank them with your songs?

I would love to say that we hold a mirror up, but that would be really arrogant, like we know it all. I think the lyrics are a reflection of whats going on in the world these days and how we respond to it. But reading lyrics and understanding what is being said seems to be a problem these days. We get some reactions from people who obviously only read the titles and not the lyrics, let alone they thought about it for more than a second what it is about. The biggest problem these days seems that a lot of people want to profile themselves as really tolerant towards everything in order to be some kind of super correct human. Well think again fuckers, you just fooling yourself and better make up your mind about things before projecting your crap on others. I mean do they really think I give a shit about their opinion? I have an opinion about them bothering me with their crap. But when you address that, they react like you commited a serious crime. Really fuck those snowflakes and those high horses they rode in on. But the again: Opinions are like assholes....

Who is the author? And which text do you consider like a masterpiece and why?

Carl wrote the lyrics and I think he really did a great job. We really talked a lot about a lot of the subjects and most of the times we agree on things and sometimes we have slightly different opinions, but we can talk about it and understand each others points. Not that it did change any lyrics Carl wrote tho, since he was writing faster than I could figure out what exactly he had written two songs earlier. I have to say I'm really proud of what Carl came up with. There’s a lot of thought behind every word. Even the “trigger” words are chosen for a reason, which sometimes are there to point out the exact opposite thing. For some songs I gave him a title and he came up with fitting words, because he felt that he should not dismiss any given input. He was actually used to writing all the lyrics himself and add all kinds of layers and hidden features in them, that even those band members didn't get. There is an idea behind every song on the album and I really hope people take the time to read them and think about them. Not everything is like it seems to be. I guess you can say that all the lyrics on the album have some sort of conflict in them. Speaking about conflicts, here's an inside scoop: the third song on the album, “Conflicting Theorists”, was slated to be the first song on the record. Those lyrics were written for that intend.

Your promotion is also based on quite controversial slogans and certain provocation ("Make metal hate again", "We willl make you wish your mama swallowed you" , "16 inches of go fuck yourself" takes it with exaggeration, but don't you ever have problems with it on social sites? How many times have you gotten "banned" in today's hyper-correct world? :) Is the whole band behind the slogans or is it from the head of an individual ....and can you reveal a few more we can look forward to?

Is it controversial or is it humor? I guess that’s something that differs for each receiver. Lets put it like this, there is a serious message behind all these statements, but on the same time there is humor involved in it. One can’t deny that in order to get noticed in the social media war you need to do something different. Thinking about it now it’s not so different at all except there lies more behind the statements. Not everybody can deal with it and especially the snowflakes from the Facebook staff dont seem to appreciate it. I only heard of the word shadow-ban a few times before, but in the meantime I know from experience what it means. The censorship on social media is quite shocking. Freedom of speech as long as you support the same opinion as the happy idiots at Facebook. Not that we really care, but it makes it harder to promote and sell an album. Still quite some people seem to feel the same way we do and support us and buy our shit. In the band I think no one has a problem with it, since we share the slogans between us and each of us could have said that we’re going too far, but that hasn’t happened yet. We have no new slogans ready but whenever one pops up you will read it on Facebook or Instagram, at least when we are not blocked. And on the topic of blocking or banning, Carl received his first ban on Facebook for posting an image of an album where a certain band was named in an advertisement part. So I would not be surprised that we will have a few new ones pretty soon.

"Snowflake free grindcore" is a brilliant slogan in my opinion and it's clear what you are referring to. How did this idea come about? And what do you think about anti-fa in general and their approach and work in the metal scene?

Thank you! I'm not sure who came up with it anymore. We talked a lot about the lyrics as I mentioned before. Most of the time Carl went out hiking in the woods and called me and we start discussing topics for lyrics. The longer the conversations last, the less serious we get and things like “Snowflake free grindcore” is suddenly on the table. To me personally in the grindcore scene a lot of people seem to be left and correct, just because it is something that is expected in that scene. Well I don't care about that or what people think of me. Antifa is a difficult story. In theory it could be a good thing, but these days they act in a way that they became what they were against. They fight everything that they are against like some kind of elite force with lots of aggression and violence. Its like fighting fire with fire. And to be honest, I’m totally not interested in what they think. When it comes to the metalscene where they try to cancel shows of bands with different ideas is plain pathetic. So they think their opinion is the only one. When you can’t tolerate other peoples opinions you only get into fights. Same with religion by the way.

I guess the "political matter" is coming from your "punks background"? The Wild Nineties, as they say ... do you remember something from this era? Think back to your younger years and throw in some alcohol and drug memorable, long overdue stories…

Well I was an angry young punk too once, but the political topics don't have much to do with that. Growing up you have ideals and like a lot of people that age I tended to have left wing ideas. These days I don't give a fuck about left or right, some things that happen in society have an effect on my life and I have my opinions on these matters. The last couple of years we have to deal with subjects like covid, carbon footprint bullshit, immigration, etc. The results of that really have a big impact on society and that is more why we deal with these topics. About the wild nineties I don't remember a lot due to the side effects of straightedge, or may be the huge amounts of alcohol and other substances. Well growing up in the eighties and nineties was great in hindsight. The second half of the eighties was all about thrash metal and the beginning of death metal for me and later on also hardcore. That music still runs through my life everyday. Also there was no mobile-phone, no internet, or anything. It was great when it came up, but these days I sometimes think everything was better back in the day. Or maybe I'm just getting an old grumpy asshole. It's also funny to see that Carl walked a similar path as I did, minus the straightedge and hardcore. He's a few years younger and spent many drunken days and nights at grind- and crust-shows.

On the album there is also a song inspired by and dedicated to Jonny Pettersson - "Scandinavian Scooter Massacre" , who if I'm not mistaken was originally supposed to be a singer in this band, but was eventually replaced by Karl, what happened?

Jonny is a good friend of us and he indeed was supposed to be the original vocalist. He also mixed albums of my other bands. Of course he’s an asshole for not doing vocals on this album hehehehe. No, conflicting schedules made that Carl did the vocals and that is perfect, but no hard feelings. I know he liked the project, so when Carl came up with a true story about Jonny we decide to make a song about it. It’s funny, absurd and still has a serious note to it as well. Jonny we love you bro, just keep your bike away from water! Or better yet: keep away from your bike....and water....

Jonny, despite the fact that you didn't contribute your vocals to the record as originally planned, you are a part of it. The guys from the band dedicated a song to you, did you know about it beforehand or was it a surprise for you as well? I think they did a great job with the visuals for the song as well. How do you like the song and the record in general? Any message for the guys?

Jonny Pettersson: It was a big surprise! It was really cool to be included in the album like that, specially since the theme of the song is something that we were joking around with many, many years ago, and to finally hear it in a song is super cool. This album is what grind is meant to sound like. It's a raw, angry middle finger to everyone!

You are a member of three bands HEADLESS DAWN, BURIAL REMAINS, GRIM FATE, in all bands you meet Philippus, I guess your collaboration suits you, but do you also have some friction areas? Do the ideas of all the bands sometimes intersect, or can they enrich or inspire each other in some way?

I hope there is friction every now and then, otherwise It would not be good. We obvious have like minded ideas on music, but sometimes we think different and that's where creativity has to come to work. So far so good and I think we are making music together in one way or another since 2005 or something. It’s almost like a musical marriage hahahaha. But yeah we already made quite some albums together and even more than people know of. It’s not even that we only want to make music together. For instance I started Grim Fate without Philippus, but after a few months he was part of the pack. We really understand each other on a musical level and that works perfect. It’s hard to say if the ideas of bands intersect. I tend to believe not, since most bands differ in style. I mean the grind-core of Headless Dawn differs a lot from the HM2 driven sound of Burial Remains or the doom death of Grim Fate. Maybe some ideas of the Grim Fate could be used in Burial Remains or vice versa, but since every band plays in a different tuning I already have a certain mindset whenever I pick up a guitar. And even though we play in multiple bands and projects together it hardly happens that we make music for more than one band in one session. Still a good question, since I didnt really think about this myself, we just do what we do.

When it comes to writing music what would you say influences you the most and are you able to work on material for all bands at the same time?

I work on music for all bands all the time, but never on the same time. Not like I play some riffs for Headless Dawn and pick up another guitar and start playing Grim Fate songs. I guess at the moment we work on music for 5 different albums or something. Some have more priority than others, but I love doing them all. Some people ask me why not to focus on 1 or 2 bands, but when you have the ideas it’s better to use them I think. When there are no ideas, we wouldn't make albums and we really enjoy making music.

You sing in BURIAL REMAINS, but you are a composer and guitarist in Headless Dawn. But did you ever have a tendency to lecture Carl? How to build lines, advise him on vocals, do you ever have different visions?

I’m also a composer and guitarist in Burial Remains of course, that I became vocalist was never planned. I recorded the vocals together with Carl and maybe there’s one part on the album where I interfered in the vocal lines. Not that his lines weren’t good, but I had a different idea I wanted to try and we agreed on that. To be honest, I want Carl to do his job and he does that really well and is a way more experienced vocalist than I am. We had a lot of fun during recording and since my home-studio is not really isolated my neighbors had some fun as well. You have to know Carl screams really loud and when we were done and went outside, since it was really nice weather a neighbor came up to us to tell how loud it was. Still she was really supportive and interested in what we were doing. Fun part is that I recorded so much music there and this was the first time people really came up to me about it. So if I should be kicked out of my home somewhere in time, I know who to blame: Carl....

What about HEADLESS DAWN concerts? As far as I know it's a studio project, are you planning live shows as well? Could you and Philippus imagine doing a two/three gig marathon of BURIAL REMAINS and HEADLESS DAWN and GRIM FATE haha?

Well Im not sure to be honest. My priority lies with Burial Remains when it comes to playing shows, but you will never know. When the right offer comes, you might see us on a stage somewhere, but it has no priority for me. A three gig marathon sounds insane. Although if we get three times the amount of beer and whisky it‘s not even a bad idea, although I dont know if we can still stand on our feet in the end. I don't think my liver thinks it‘s a good idea.

How do you perceive the underground scene in Holland? You have there lots of great bands like Asphyx, Sinister, Pentacle, Deadhead, Acrostichon, and many more. You have a lot of great festivals there and you don't seem to suffer from low attendance, if I'm not mistaken?

I think for a small country like the Netherlands we have quite some shows and festivals going on. Maybe not as much as in the old days, but when I look at how many shows I visited this year and how many I missed it’s safe to say it’s not to bad. About the attendance it’s a bit hard to say after covid. Some festivals were really packed and others had a hard time. But it almost seemed like there was even more than in other years and people can only spent so much. Also presale is something that is really different than before. Due to covid lots of shows and festivals got postponed and you had a great number of tickets waiting for shows to finally happen. It seems that people aren't really doing much wholesale and wait if the show takes place and buy tickets at the door again. And from back in the days we always had great bands and all of the old bands you named are still around and right now we have some good younger bands like Graceless, Bodyfarm and Mouflon.

Is there anything you would change about the Dutch scene, is there anything that annoys you? (I personally would lobby for better beer at events there, but that's probably not really related to the scene)! :)))

Well it would be really great that there wont be served any Jupiler at shows and festivals any longer, except to some Czech fans, since they really seem to like that piss. Other than that I don't really know. Maybe more underground tours with bands from allover the world and more young people into real metal would be great, but saying that I already know it doesn't work that way.

You're quite an active person, are you planning any other projects, what's occupying your mind at the moment? What about other bands, any news that we shouldn't forget to mention, anything coming up?

Well we are working on new Headless Dawn material and part of it is recorded already. Also new Burial Remains stuff is being written and we have a lot of songs finished, so we have something to choose from. Also our debut album will be re-released by Raw Skull Recordz soon. This time it will be how it was supposed to be in the beginning and we recorded some new tracks which are mixed at the moment and will be added as a bonus. We‘re also thinking of doing a new Grim Fate record and some new projects that I don't want say too much about at this point. Also I do some mixing jobs for other bands as well, so it‘s all about music.

You are also part of the production team of "Drachten Deathfest", which takes place every year in February, the date is approaching but I haven't seen any promo so far, will the festival take place this year and can you reveal some details?

Well the next edition will be February 4 and we are a bit late with the announcements, since it was quite hard to find the right bands this time. It‘s not officially announced yet, but I can say that Cancer, Master, Kanonenfieber and Wormrot are playing among others. Just keep an eye out for the official announcement. And definitely visit the fest, it‘s at a great venue and the atmosphere is really good. And we have beer… well we have a great atmosphere… heheheh

Thanks a lot Wim, for your time, it was fun! I wish you lots of creativity and ideas and time for your bands and projects. Keep up the good work, hopefully we'll have a beer somewhere soon and the last words are yours…!

Thank you Duzl for your support and the interview! Really appreciate your active role in the scene not only as fan, but also working for zines, playing in bands and working on festivals, etc. I hope people get interested in Headless Dawn and check out our music and buy our cd and we have shirts coming up! See you soon and we definitely have a beer!

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