Recenze/review - ROTTEN CASKET - First Nail in the Casket (2022)



úterý 14. dubna 2020

Home » » Interview - GRACELESS - There is something about reality that can be much darker and difficult to deal with than fantasy.

Interview - GRACELESS - There is something about reality that can be much darker and difficult to deal with than fantasy.

Interview with death doom metal band from Netherlands - GRACELESS.

Answered Jasper (bass), thank you!

Translated Markéta, thank you!

Question prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Recenze/review - GRACELESS - Where Vultures Know Your Name (2020):

Ave GRACELESS! Greetings to Holland. Just yesterday I was thinking about which band I would put on first position as "my private discovery in the last time" and you come to my mind as a first. Do you know how different challenges are going through Facebook now? Recently someone just asked me about this. You just kicked my ass with the Shadowlands album in 2017, so I had to have everything from you. After years, I have also done a thing that is unusual for me - I ordered your new "Where Vultures Know Your Name" on CD and T-shirt without hearing a single note. This I did last time when I was about twenty, and it's been a long time ago. How do you perceive the new album? For me, it's darker, cooler, more melodic. Did You wanted to move this way? 

Thank you so much for the kind words. They are much appreciated and thank you for trusting us enough to buy it without being able to check it first.

The idea was to make death metal that is more personal and maybe even emotional. We really wanted the vibe of the songs to become more relatable to anyone who listens to it including ourselves. It’s more about the suffering of individuals and not so much about wars, Satan and murderers. These subjects are very interesting and have been inspirations for a lot of great albums, but we just wanted something different. There is something about reality that can be much darker and difficult to deal with than fantasy. 

The music and lyrics reflected this idea in the new album and we are really proud of how it turned out. 

The new album is out for a while and what I was looking at, so you collect just positive reviews. Even I praised you to hell. Seriously, nowadays there are just a few bands that have their own way to play. Sound contributes a lot to this. It is again signed by Jan-Will van Voorst. Your sound is old, dark, melancholic. How did you achieve it? Does it make me feel that you have recorded analogue or am I wrong? 

All reviews have been insanely positive. We were really hoping people would enjoy it but this has exceeded anything we dared to dream up. Feedback and reviews have been nothing but great. This music is an acquired taste and some bad reviews are to be expected but so far, we haven’t seen any yet. 

Jan Willem van Voorst has been the one and only consideration when started talking about recording. He is our live sound engineer and really knows what we want. He get’s the music and is a nice guy who is pleasant to work with. He did an amazing job and we could not be happier with the sound he created. 

The recording was done on the second floor of a guitar shop called Brandin/Herwegh guitars. There is a rehearsal space that resemble a studio and the owner was generous enough to support us by giving us the time to properly record the acoustic drums. Nowadays there are good drum samplers available but there’s something about the actual sound of drums being beaten that always sounds better to me. 

The bass and guitars where recorded separately at different studios. Vocals where recorded in Jan Willem’s studio. 

Mixing and mastering were done by Jan Willem in his studio. Results were sent back and forth a few times and we asked a very limited number of people for their input. 

The result is great, and the sound is exactly what we where going for. 

I am an old dog and also a fan, when I like some music I am trying to support it. I saw the cover for the new album somewhere in the preview of your label and immediately bought a shirt. As long as they're extra-large sizes available, haha. As with the sound, you stayed faithful and the cover was painted by Mark Cooper again. I like his work very much, I really like what he did for MASTER. How did you get together and how did the cooperation work? Did Mark have a ready-made motive in advance or did he make it just for you? 

Sorry if this disappoints you but the artwork was not by Marc Cooper this time. 

We contacted a great artist called Alex Tartsus and give him very limited instructions of what the album was all about. We believed that to many details from our end will only limit his creativity. 

It was up to him to create something and he hit the nail on the head immediately. From the first drafts we received ne knew that he was on the right track. Alex really captured the essence of the record and vibe we wanted. 

With GRACELESS you move between death metal and doom. Back in the 1990s I listened a lot American WINTER and their "Into Darkness" and the mood of your records reminds me them a lot. You are also dark, cold, melancholic. I'm a very emotional listener, the band has to give me some emotions, nail me to the speakers. In my opinion, it is not possible without the chemistry in the band. How do you compose new music? Do you create a nice old fashion together in the rehearsal room or do you send ideas over the Internet? 

Kreft writes riffs and comes up with a basic arrangement. Then we all start doing are own thing and write parts for our instruments in our own style. After we start rehearsing song and that helps us to really figure out who is going to do what. 

What I usually do is listen to the basic arrangement from Kreft a lot and then use the rehearsal to try different things. For some reason I start adding and making up of a lot of bass licks and additional stuff to songs and then decide not to use about 80% when it’s time to start recording. 

For all of us it really is about the songs and not about the ego’s or individuals. We don’t care about showing off what we can do on our instruments. Not only because there are others that can do that way better than we can but primarily because we just want it to sound like an cool old school death metal song. 

You are right about the chemistry in the band. I have played in death metal bands for over 25 years and never have I experienced an atmosphere that feels as comfortable to work in like the combination of these guys. 

It's strange anyway. One flu is enough and the whole world has changed totally. In our country musicians cannot perform, everything is closed, the Czech Republic is in quarantine. I know that today it is important for many bands to do concerts, because the current state does not allow them to profit only by selling CDs and merchandise, but you probably do not make a living with music or am I wrong? How has coronavirus affected you and your lives? 

We are in lockdown in the Netherlands as well. This really is a worst-case scenario for a band that has just released a new album. Some awesome festivals and shows have already been cancelled and we fear that there’s more cancellations to come. We will make up for all gigs if possible but most of the momentum we tried to build in preparing the release of the album has been lost. 

This sucks for us but is nothing compared to the suffering of people who caught the virus or even lost loved ones. 

When it comes to finances, we do miss out on merch and show income. We are not full-time musicians, and all have so called daytime jobs. It’s like that for just about all death metal bands. There just isn’t enough money in the scene to make a decent living. This is not a complaint because we enjoy this so much that we will do this for free if we must. Its more of a calling then a career we just have to and want to plat this music. 

In our personal life we have been fortunate to only be inconvenienced in the same way that just about everyone has. We can’t have any band practice right now and that is annoying. But more importantly we and our families are heathy. 

You are all experienced musicians in the band. You played in bands like NAILGUN MASSACRE and XENOMORPH. You're part of the scene. You experienced the time when the metal was on top. How has your perception of music changed over time? Fans getting older, many labels have gone bankrupt, music is being downloaded from the internet and maybe a lot of people don't go to small club concerts. Did you have to adapt a lot? 

We really can’t complain about the scene and I can annoyed if people or bands do that. We received nothing but support and we are very grateful. Things changed over time but that’s ok. 

Within metal people still buy cd’s, vinyl and band merch and generally really want to support bands they like. So I also don’t understand bands whining about downloads and streams. This music became popular by people trading tapes. These are just a newer, faster and more convenient ways of doing that. 

We want people to hear our music. We make this music because we want to, but it is so much more fun if others like it and listen to it. Nowadays people can check out our songs from anywhere on the planet and we receive messages from all over world. How cool is that ! ! ! 

You just can’t expect people to able to buy every record that is released. I can’t do that, it’s just too expensive and there is too much cool stuff that I want to give a listen to. You just have to check out some stuff online to be able to follow everything. 

It makes us very happy and proud if people check our music and I don’t really care how they do that. If they buy an album or some merch it makes us even happier. 

A music video was made for "Embrace in Rain". Simple but impressive. To me, it accurately depicts what is happening on the new album. The album is more melodic, but I find it cooler. Were you in a different mood while composing? Who actually came up with the idea for this video and who shot it? I heard "Where Vultures Know Your Name" for the first time in the morning on the way to work when there was just such a mist. I live upstairs over the city, on the outskirts, and everything is beautifully combined into one. 

Sounds like you live in a cool place. 

I made the video myself and used footage found on YouTube made by a guy who’s name I can’t remember now. He makes cool nature clips and has one where he drives through the forest in the mist and rain. We asked for permission to use some of the footage and he agreed. 

To be honest I really don’t like a lot of metal video clips. Most are all the same and they don’t really represent the songs. We also didn’t like the idea of fake playing and trying to look evil in front of a camera. That is just not us. 

We wanted a video that does justice to the depressive sounds and lyric of the song. Like most of things I do I tried a lot and after taking about everything out it was finally good. The minimalistic visuals just really worked for the song. 

When I interviewed you a few years ago, you had 10 concerts. GRACELESS gradually got into the subconscious of the fans and if I look at YouTube now on your gigs it is great. Do you enjoy them a lot? Do you like to play live? And what do you prefer, small clubs or big festivals? I just think, have you ever played outside the Netherlands? What about Europe tour? 

Playing live is really what we are about. If we could we would do that every day. We played most of our shows in the Netherlands and Germany. Especially Germany has been good for us. They just seem to really appreciate that old school stuff. 

Touring has not yet happened but who knows. If we get descent offer than we might do that. We do have our day jobs and families so there’s quite some thigs to arrange before we can go for longer periods. So far we have mostly done gigs where we drive or fly in for one or two shows in a weekend and then go back home. 

How did you start playing music? And which musician influenced you the most? Please remember your musical beginnings for us. 

During the teenage years I was fortunate enough that someone gave me 3 tapes with Bolt Thrower, Pestilence and Ancient Rites. That moment changed everything for me. Before that time I liked music and played a bit but wasn’t a fanatic. 

There was just something about the sound that I couldn’t let go. The aggression and lack of respect for everything that the general public thought music should be resonated hard with me. 

Ever since then I wanted to play just like the all the bands that I started to discovere and it has become an obsession to find that sound and vibe where and when I can. 

When starting playing in bands It became even more exciting. It took amny years before it sounded even slightly descent but is alsways been a lot fun. 

At the end one philosophical question. What does death doom metal mean to you? How would you characterize it with regard to your experience, many albums released and concerts played? What gives and takes? Is it energy, darkness, relaxation? Friends? Fans? Please try to describe your relationship to music. 

When it comes to the music I think it’s everything that you mentioned and more. 

This is what I enjoy most in life next to my family. I really don’t know how to explain why I love this specific type of music so much. 

It’s probably the same for most of us: You either get it and are instantly addicted, or you‘ll never understand. 

The concerts we play often feel like an explosion of energy. Something happens that I can’t explain but it changes us instantly and for the moments on stage we feel invisible. For the duration of the show we are one machine with one goal. 

Its a shared experience between band member and crowds as intense as shared experience can be while keeping your clothes on. We do prefer that band member and most of the crowd keep their clothes on by the way. 

Thank you very much for the interview. For me, music is so important in my life. And GRACELESS is for me a band that I really appreciate. I wish you a lot of inspiration, great concerts, enthusiastic fans and good luck in private life. I firmly believe I'll see you live sometime. One of my metal dreams would come true! Be strong! 

Tanks Jakub ! ! I’m sure we will meet sometime on the road. Hopefully we will get the change to head in your direction! !


Recenze/review - GRACELESS - Shadowlands (2017)


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