středa 8. března 2017

Home » » Interview - HYPNOS - New album “The Whitecrow” is about a young guy who doesn´t want to follow majority opinions and ideological clichés.

Interview - HYPNOS - New album “The Whitecrow” is about a young guy who doesn´t want to follow majority opinions and ideological clichés.

Interview with Czech death metal band HYPNOS.
- answered Bruno.

translated by Markéta, thank you!

Ave HYPNOS! You are realising your new album “The Whitecrow” in March. What can the audience expect? I have heard two of the new songs live and they both were slower and colder. Please, introduce the new album from your point of view.

Hi, Jakub. It is hard to judge when I am the one who put the album together, recorded it and has been listening to it for almost a year now. So I cannot be very objective here. However, if I had to evaluate the album, I would say that it differs from the previous ones. Perhaps it stepped out of the classic death metal template although I think death metal is still the majority of this album. It is more atmospheric and definitely slower – which is probably something faithful fans were worried about. Overall, for me it feels more “softer” with some subtle references to black metal and doom metal but also (oddly enough) to doom metal. That is something I did not expected. The sound is great and for me even better than in the previous albums. It is very raw and has almost rock´n´roll feel with a minimum of digital sounds. Even the drums (except the bass drums) are not sampled. Every listener has to say for himself if he likes it or not but I have no doubt that the range of opinions will be very broad. Besides, that is the destiny for all musicians – to go out on a limb. We were aware of some risks but we also want to reach up other regions of music. We would not enjoy playing the same template for 20 years. This is fresher and more interesting…

I think that “The Whitecrow” is a great name for your album. It is clear, concise and at the same time mysterious and appealing. But what does it mean? Is it a story? Any theme? Or who is “The Whitecrow”?

Although there is no direct link among the lyrics, there is one main subject of all main topics of each song. It is about positivity so I would say that the album is monothematic. “Whitecrow” is a young guy who doesn´t want to follow majority opinions and ideological clichés. He wants to break out of the bad moods and opinions and even focus his life on positive things, go out and be beneficial for people around him.  It may sound a little complicated but it is very simple. We don´t have to automatically accept everything which is presented to us. We can use our own brain to influence the quality of our life. Take it or leave it – and that is something which cannot be taken from us.

Bruno, you are like a captain in HYPNOS. You are the person who is noticed by everyone. Pegas is in the back, playing the drums so he is not that visible. But you are both the main duo in your band. I have seen you play with Igor Hubík (with the guitar) and with Canni and Vlasta and recent years. Who is a permanent member of the band and who participated in the recording of “The Whitecrow”?

Igorr decided (at his own request) to leave HYPNOS after the tour with AMON AMARTH in 2014. He wanted to focus mainly on ROOT. Canni had already occasionally played instead of him so he was the first choice for us. Since then he has been a permanent guitarist of HYPNOS. Vlasta has been playing with us since 2010 and we don´t even have to talk about Pegas. I have to admit that this setup is very nice. There are no problems among the members which is very important. There is a good atmosphere in the band and I don ´t have to deal with any personal matters. I can fully focus on our music and the support of HYPNOS respectively the associated activities.

How did you compose your songs for the new album? I have read somewhere that the album will have 50 minutes. That is a lot of material. How do you feel about it? I mean when you compare the new songs with your older records – what is the advance for HYPNOS?

Exactly, it is 50 minutes (with a few seconds more). That is our personal record so far. I was quite natural. Although we have a ritual of composing 8 songs per album (which was mainly for KRABATHOR), we did not try to make it longer just because. Also there are 3 acoustic songs from Igorr and a spoken word by Paul Speckmann. And as a whole it feels very compact. We all feel very good about the album and we are looking forward to see our fans reactions because it has been one year exactly since the album has been recorded so we are quite impatient.

There is one thing which I always appreciate on HYPNOS: everything sits in one piece. Your concerts, the look of your albums, merchandise – everything has one single manuscript. It looks like it is very important for you (and that is great). I was wondering, who does that? It feels like there is some artist behind it – someone who looks after “your brand”. Do you have someone like that?

What do you think?:)

Speaking of graphics and looks of your albums, who did your cover for “The Whitecrow”?

I had a basic idea how I wanted the whole graphic to look like. I wanted it to be white, simple and should include a motive of plague doctor who cures people from anger and hate plague…I had someone to sew a mask for us, we did a photoshoot with Frodys from AWRIZIS/POSTCARDS from Arkham. We sent it to Joseph Mercieca from Malta who did the graphic for “Heretic Commando” which we really liked. Jo sent us a few drafts from which we selected the final one. Unfortunately, Jo was not able to finish the graphics on the album because he was really busy. So Frodys helped us with the deadline and he did the whole booklet for the CD and for our LP version. Moreover, we have 3 music videos which we are working on and one of them has been already published online (it is the pilot song of the album). We will start to film the second one this Saturday and I am so curious about it. All three videos will be connected and it will be like a musical trilogy.

Our previous album “Heretic Commando – Rise of the New Antikrist” has a great, big, cold and dark sound. You recorded in Shaark Studio in Bzenec and the sound mixing was done by the master Børge Finstad. I have read somewhere that did the same with “The Whitecrow”. You did not want any change? Was there any old album which inspired you? I have no idea about your studio work but I image you standing there and saying: “Put the guitars more in the old MAYHEM!”

But you have looked the name Børge Finstad up online right? Just in case? It was written in a different font :).  We did not want any change because we were satisfied with the previous album´s sound. The chosen system is right on the edge of our financial possibilities. We say that you do not change winning team. I believed that working together before would give us the possibility of making the production even better and we did. I always aspire to make our records competitive on an international level. And although we have great sound-masters, I can´t help myself but think that you can hear the handicap of the Czech “tail” and I did not want that. You cannot really copy sound of other band because each band plays and composes in its own way and each sound is like an imprint of band´s personalities. That is why we did not compare our album with a different one or with our own albums. We wanted to make as great sound as possible this time.

There will be a lot of guests on your new album. Santura (DARK FORTRESS, TRIPTYKON), Martin Missy (PROTECTOR), Paul Speckmann (MASTER), & Christopher (KRABATHOR). What kind of “hosting” is it? Are there only vocals or also solos, etc.? How did you picked up your guests for the new album?

I think it is clear that you are inviting people on your album to increase the attractiveness of your record and its sale force. On the other hand, there is a lot of personalities or bands I would like to work with in the future. And that was this case and I am glad that it worked out. There are solo guitarist on the new album: Victor Santura and Børge, Paul Speckmann did the narrator, Martin Štědroň did the incidental music, orchestration and effects, Igorr from ROOT did acoustic guitars. There were some singers like: Martin Missy, Christopher, Zuzana Jelínková from DYING PASSION and Skuny from SHATOON. It is like a small opera:).

Bruno, you have mentioned somewhere that death metal has been past its prime for like 20 years already. The truth is that I listen to the 90s albums also but death metal went to a completely different direction. Today it is played more technically and even beyond human possibilities. Music is often supplemented by computer. What do you think about technical brutal death metal? Are there any new modern bands which have caught your attention?

I remember the interview when I mentioned that and I am so sorry that the title was so badly chosen. It was quite out of context. However, I definitely emphasized that although I believe that the peak of death metal was like 25 years ago, there is still a lot of albums which are exceptional. The truth is that the supermodern technical bands do not interest us because we think it is more like a sport. They only care about how much BMP per minute you play and they forget about the song itself. Who will have it stuck in his head, who will remember the song in 10 years and who will make it happy when he plays it in his head? For me, the musical art should be just a device which helps to create the final songs. But I am not here to criticise other creators – everyone can do what he wants and the market will determine who will be successful. For me the most interesting bands on the field of death metal are the Polish HATE and Fisher´s TRIPTYKON but our interest is very broad and does not include only metal.

I have read your book REVOLTIKON like 10 times already and it looks like you are also a good writer. Some people might argue and comment on it but the book is easy to read. Have you ever thought about doing a sequel? In REVOLTIKON you nicely described “the old times” but what about the present? Has it appealed to you?

It has appealed to me and I already planned it. But I need the time to go by so I have something to actually write about. And there is also time – you need to have time to write but I have been in a time pressure in the last few years. I want to write the book before my fiftieth birthday which is in 3 years, but that is too soon. :)

I always liked to read your reports on Volumemax. It was really interesting to see the musician´s point of view – the opinion of someone “who works in the industry”. For us, the fans, these articles were the ones which we literally devoured. I expected to see a report from your autumn tour with DEBUSTROL. Why have you stopped writing reports?

I do not even realize why I have stopped but probably because of the lack of time. I take care about the mucis, booking, management, merchandise, everything around the new HYPNOS album, I go on our concerts, do promo, interviews, etc. In addition I go to work every day. I need days to have more hours. I sometimes found myself being angry but at the same time I really enjoy this and no one is forcing me to do it. Another thing is that we have stepped back from the fame and do not go abroad that much to play. There are some bands who fly to another continents to play (CULT OF FIRE, TORTHARRY, INGROWING, CONTRASTIC, FLESHLESS,…) and right now they have definitely more experiences than us. Also, printed media are declining and extreme metal is not in the centre of attention any more. We do not have Rock Report, Bang, Whiplash and I have to admit that it is inefficient to use so much energy on writing one article which will be read by only 20 people on a website. 

How did you perceive current metal scene in the Czech Republic (and in the world) when HYPNOS came back and survived the initial shock and excitement? The internet has a massive impact, young fans perceive music differently. Today, you just make a few clicks, one listening and also deleting. Everything is faster and less personal. Does all of this have any influence on attendance at your concerts or selling of your albums? How do you, as a musician and creator, feel about music today when you compare it to your beginnings?

Basically, yes. I agree with you but the world has always been changing. If a band wants to survive it have to know how at any time. There has always been a competition and tough conditions and the best of the bests are always on the top. Nothing is for free and sacrifice is always required. Today, when you look at BEHEMOTH or GOJIRA you can see that you can go really high even on the extreme metal field.

HYPNOS will publish the new album “The Whitecrow” by the German Einheit Produktionen. It looks like they did a good job with your previous album. What is the label´s job for you? What do they do for you? Do they just publish the album or they do your media promo, distribute CDs for reviews or arrange concerts?

The truth is more prosaic. There is not a lot of labels for our success level and if there is the do not want to work with us. Everyone wants a profit from their investment and I totally understand. I wanted to publish the album abroad so we ensure at least a basic media service, reviews and interviews in the most important (especially) Western magazines (Rock Hard, Metal Hammer, Legacy, Metallian, Deaf Forever, etc.), global and good European distribution (e.g. Soulfood) etc. All of this is perfectly done by Einheit. They do not take care about concerts which is too bad but I am very glad that they supported us in everything else, again. Although concerning the sales we are one of the worst bands at this company. In our defence, Einheit is focused on pagan, folk and black metal so our position is not so easy and we are like a “white crow”. Me and the boss Olaf have a long friendship which definitely plays a role. He has stood by us since the mid-nineties and I really appreciate it. Let´s hope that we can improve the statistics with our new album.

“The Whitecrow” will be released as CD, LP and digital download. The last time we did an interview together you said that you sell more LPs on your concerts than CDs. That was five years ago. Do people still buy LPs? Where does band like HYPNOS sell the most records? On concerts or through an ordinary distribution?

People are no longer interested that much in LPs. I think the whole selling situation has been rolled over by the internet and particularly by the possibility of free downloads. We sell roughly half and half – at home and abroad. Let me just add that the distribution of our CD and limited digipack with DVD is done by Mystic Production, again. Monster Nation publishes the LP and their e-shops work great.

Finally, there is the most important question: What are HYPNOS´s plans for the next few months? Where can we see you play live?

In the near future we will shoot our second music video for the song “One Flesh, One Blood” and then concerts which you can see below:

17.3.    AUT      Wr. Neustadt  SUB Club
18.3.    CZ        Dolní Němčí u UH Robfest
24.3.    CZ        Praha   Nová Chmelnice
25.3.    CZ        Brno    Brooklyn
8.4.      CZ        Ostrava   Barrák
26.5.    CZ        Lesnice u Zábřehu Hřiště
27.5.    CZ        Krnov    Kofola
3.6.      GER     Gahlen Moscht festival (Spremberg)
17.6.    CZ        Czech Death Fest  Červený Kostelec
1.7.      CZ        Basinfire festival   Spálené Poříčí
15.7.    CZ        Týnec nad Labem Týnecký Mazec
22.7.  SVK        Gothoom festival  Žarnovica
16.9.  CZ          Kyjov/Sobůlky   Sportovní hala
27.9.  CZ          České Budějovice Velbloud
28.9.  CZ          Praha  Modrá Vopice
29.9.  CZ          t.b.a.
30.9.  CZ          Pardubice Ponorka
20.10. GER      t.b.a.
21.10. GER      Berlin  Blackland
15.11.  SVK      Bratislava Randal
16.11.  SVK      Banská Bystrica    Tartaros
17.11.  SVK      Košice  Colloseum
18.11.  SVK      Celestial Helpfest Bánovce nad Bebravou
22.12.  CZ        t.b.a.
23.12.  CZ        Uherské Hradiště  Mír

Thank you so much for the interview and I wish to your album “The Whitecrow” to fly around the world and to sell well. And also I wish you and the whole band the best on stages but also in your personal lives.

Thank you so much, Jakub!

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