úterý 1. prosince 2020

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Interview - HEADS FOR THE DEAD - When there is no more room in hell - The dead will walk the earth.

Interview with horror death metal band HEADS FOR THE DEAD.

Answered Ralf Hauber and Jonny Pettersson, thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Recenze/review - HEADS FOR THE DEAD - Into The Red (2020):

Ave HEADS FOR THE DEAD! Greetings to the catacombs, and I hope you do well in these difficult times. Here, in the Czech Republic, we can't go to concerts, and that really sucks. At least, there’s still a lot of great music coming out. I have to thank you, the new "Into the Red" is one of the albums that is currently helping me survive. How was the recording, and in what direction did you want to move from the previous album "Serpent's Curse"? I see the new record as even darker and colder. 

Ralf: Hey Jakub! Well, sitting in Germany as well in a sort of Covid 19 related lockdown - so NO mosh - NO fun at all, BUT as usual you have to make the best out of the current situation. For the creative spirit 2020 has been a good one. We really had a good flow with HEADS FOR THE DEAD and to give you a little insider information; we have been really productive during the day of the ongoing pandemic, because there is so much inspiration for fictional horror left! 

Glad that you like "Into the red"; it’s more or less a natural progression from the debut album. Keeping it more extreme, but also more atmospheric. Jonny gets very inspired by horror movie soundtracks as well, so I think this vibe comes up more clear in the new album. "Into the red" more or less contains 2 years of work, while we finished the whole production process already in late summer 2019. It got delayed due to other obligations of the bandmembers and the final process of getting the artwork, layout etc. together took longer than expected. Needless to say that the ongoing pandemic ruined our release schedule. But anyway time to kill is now! 

Jonny: We’re on full lock down here as well, though apart from not being able to play shows, it’s not much different for me. I avoid people in general even in normal times. I rather stay home and work on music, haha. 

When writing “Into the red” I picked up where we left off with Serpent. The sound and the songs that came out of it was an unintentional evolution of our sound. You have a vision in your head, and you have to chase that vision until you have an album that sounds like you want it. 

HEADS FOR THE DEAD is represented by Ralf Hauber and Jonny Petersson. How did you actually get together, and how was the band formed? Please take us through the history of your pack. 

Jonny: Me and Ralf got to know each other by doing a split between our other bands Revel in Flesh and Wombbath. We talked a lot online about music, bands we like and things like that. Ralf approached me with the idea of making music together, and it felt like the right time for it. I visited Ralf in Germany when I was on my way to a festival, and that was even more fuel to the fire. 

You can hear and feel that you are playing death metal with your heart, that you are completely devoted to it, and that you believe in what you create. For me, as a fan, it's a very important thing. But you both live somewhere else. When you’re composing new material, how does it work? Does all the music come from Jonny’s studio? Or do you communicate via the Internet? 

Ralf: All the songwriting is going on through internet file - sharing process. Means Ed records the drums in the Netherlands, I do the vocals nearby Stuttgart in South of Germany and all the material gets collected together at Jonny’s UNBOUND Studio located currently still in the UK. Of course we have chat groups for communication and we actually talk a lot about ideas, visions, lyrics etc. -the usual freaking stuff! 

It may kills a little bit the old romantic idea, but HEADS FOR THE DEAD is certainly not a classical rehearsal room band. Everything has its pro and contra, but to see things real, it’s hard nowadays to find really dedicated maniacs in your direct local surrounding, so why not use the advantage of a world wide connected world to create a massive horror injected album!?! 

Jonny: As much as I hate the whole social media world we live in now, it is perfect in the way of communicating and working with musicians from all over the world. For Head for example, I will write the foundation to the songs, and send them to Ralf and Ed. They will come with their input to possible changes to the song and when we have a solid foundation to each track, I hand them over to Ralf and Ed to record their bits on it. A lot of the time when I hear Ralf’s vocals on a track it will give me further ideas for small horror sounds to add to the track and things like that. The devil is in the details, so for me it’s important to have all these small details that you discover more and more of each time you listen to the album.  

Ralf is from Germany, Jonny from Sweden, Ed from the Netherlands. Has the HEADS FOR THE DEAD ever played live? I think it would be a pity if the band remained studio-based. I would imagine a small club with occult decor… What do you think? Is it real? 

Jonny: After Ed got the first Heads album, he contacted us to let us know how much he enjoyed it. Both me and Ralf are big fans of Gorefest, so that was a huge honour. Ralf and Ed started talking a little, and we asked Ed if he would like to join the band, and much to our advantage he said yes. 

I think the chance of us playing live is very small, but we should never say never. If we do play live, it has to be something special. Full stage production, with something that really shows off the visual horror aspect of the band. 

"Into the Red", like "Serpent's Curse", has a dark, cold, old school sound. It was recorded in Jonny’s studio. Does that mean it's all his work? Or, Ralfe, did you have comments, did you change anything, maybe record again? 

Jonny: I write the songs, creating a foundation to build from. Ralf and Ed will have ideas for changes, to a lead, or make a riff longer and things like that. Details that will elevate the songs. When we have a clear vision for each song and how we want it to be, I hand it all over to Ralf and Ed to record their bit, and then at the end I take all the pieces and turn it into the final result. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas between us and to have an interactive process when writing the songs. 

The graphics is featured by Branca Studio or, more precisely, Pol Abran from Spain. I like his work for PARADISE LOST, but mainly my favorite SATAN. However, the covers for HEADS FOR THE DEAD are different, distinct, not typical for Pol. What was the assignment, and how did the cooperation go? 

Ralf: The works of BRANCA Studio have a sort of fresh breath and if you look at the artwork of "Into the red" it not clearly unveils you the style behind the band. It could be Black, Doom, Death, Crust, Grind or just a Horror movie. Pol Abram basically comes more from the Doom/Stoner inspired style. His arts have a massive "retro" touch and it differs a lot from what is nowadays typical in the genre and sub genres of Death Metal. Both artworks - "Serpent’s curse" and the new one are "eye catchers". It attracts your interest and you simply wanna find out what’s behind the scenery, so to say! This is truely intentional, because I see HEADS FOR THE DEAD as an extreme (!) Band, which is not limited in its elements. The music evolves in a natural way without limitations! 

I read that a great inspiration for the lyrics, and in fact, the whole HEADS FOR THE DEAD is the old British horror series House of Hammer from the '80s. Why this series? As a little boy, I watched it secretly on Polish television, the signal of which we could get at our cottage in the mountains. The series had its own atmosphere, but today I see the bigger picture of it. But it’s true that I remember some parts to this day. 

Ralf: Personally I really love this type of "classy" 60ies/70ies British horror; which is more about to scare your imagination and get yourself drenched in a creepy and dark atmosphere. The HAMMER HORROR stuff really have something artistic, also connected with the certain characters like Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing. Regarding HEADS FOR THE DEAD we try to catch up the atmosphere, but a lot of influences come up as well from the 80ies type of Horror movies, since I grow up with these ones on TV. 

You both (Ralf and Jonny) have a lot of other death metal activities. Jonny also has a studio. However, HEADS FOR THE DEAD is a slightly different band. More occult, doom, cold. As if a person was an actor in some real evil horror. What is your relationship to occultism, magic, secrets, spiritism, and mystery? 

Ralf: Being a Metal freak with a certain kind of addiction to horror stuff it’s simply natural to enjoy getting mesmerized by those topics. Of course I love books, audiobooks, films, documentaries dealing with it, but I do not not practise that stuff in a religious/personal way. It’s more about getting obsessed with dark, scarry stuff that fits the mood of the music! Music with that atmosphere can certainly not deal with flowers and happy shining stuff, Ha! 

Jonny: Most people probably think we are odd for having this obsession with the strange and macabre. But then again most people are boring and a waste of space. I think the fascination for the darker things in life with anything from the fictional in horror movies to the very real with serial killers adds layers and contrast. It’s something that resonates through the extreme metal community, which is why you get a much wider artistic expression in extreme metal, well extreme music in general. Plus the horror we portray is nothing compared to the nightmare of being stuck in a life where watching mindless reality shows on TV idolising self-obsessed cunts is the highlight of your week. 

What are your future plans with HEADS FOR THE DEAD? I know, "Into the Red" is still a very fresh album, but do you have any other plans? 

Ralf: Oh yes! We are already one step ahead and have created something special during the summer and autumn pandemic days. Being productive is a healthy way to withstand the bullshit of reality at the current stage. To unveil little details: We have recorded five new tunes, the production process is a already finished and we are currently working on possible release ways for 2021. The EP will be a closed chapter, it will differ from the regular HEADS FOR THE DEAD albums. Big inspirations for this one have been Rock’n’Roll, Punk & Slasher movies. It’s gonna be a catchy one - so stay tuned!!! 

Thank you very much for the interview. I'm really looking forward to receiving the pre-ordered CD and T-shirt. Your label Transcending Obscurity has done a great job again, and HEADS FOR THE DEAD must not be missing in my collection. I wish you a lot of success also in your personal lives. Good luck, guys! I'm going to listen to "Into the Red" and really loud! 

Ralf: We wanna thank you Jakub & your team; glad to be once more in the most dedicated Death Metal webzine from Czech Republic! Cheerz for supporting HEADS FOR THE DEAD! "Into the red" will be out in the middle of December 2020 - get yourself our latest horror injection! "When there is no more room in hell - The dead will walk the earth" - so stay tuned!!!  

Recenze/review - HEADS FOR THE DEAD - Into The Red (2020):

Recenze/review - HEADS FOR THE DEAD - Serpent's Curse (2018):

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