sobota 21. srpna 2021

Home » , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , » Interview - REQUIEM - I personally think that all our albums have a lot of energy, drive and that honest old school death metal brutality.

Interview - REQUIEM - I personally think that all our albums have a lot of energy, drive and that honest old school death metal brutality.

Interview with legendary death metal band from Switzerland - REQUIEM.

Answered Ralf W. Garcia (Bass, Lyrics), thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Recenze/review - REQUIEM - Collapse into Chaos (2021):

Ave REQUIEM! Greetings to beautiful Switzerland. I recently made a map of metal Europe at home over the weekend and I made a note of your country - CORONER, HELLHAMMER, CELTIC FROST, MESSIAH and then I thought of someone "younger". Then you get to my mind first! And your new album "Collapse into Chaos" is excellent! How did the album come about and in which direction did you wanted to move?

Ralf W. Garcia (Bass, Lyrics): Hello Jakub, thanks for your feedback on our new album. It’s very nice to hear that you like it. Well the original idea to write and release another album dates back to the end of 2019. We just felt that it was again time to write new songs and develop an overall concept for a new full-length after our previous album „Global Resistance Rising“ was released in March 2018. So the songwriting proces began during the winter of 2019/2020. It’s always different with us regarding the direction of a new album. Usually it’s more of a developmental process. Most songs are developed over time step by step from skeleton song forms to the final stages when all instruments and the vocals are added. Now most of the time during that process it becomes apparent what sort of album it’ll be. If you’d listen to our older albums you can always hear typical ingredients that we always use plus a few suprises here and there. Over the course of the past 25 years we refined our own way of Death Metal which is mixed with a pinch of Grindcore and Crust/Punk sometimes as well. Now for „Collapse Into Chaos“ we decided during the songwriting that we’d reduce all songs to their bare minimum without unnecessary repetitions of certain parts. In hindsight it was more like a kind of „less is more“ approach in comparison to our other albums. All the typical Requiem trademarks are still there of course but in a very clear and straightforward manner I’d say.

The new record is packed to the brim with real, aggressive old-style death metal. Nevertheless, it is fresh and interesting. You have your own clear and distinct signature, you bet a lot on the atmosphere. Who is the main author of the music and how do you create new songs? The album incredibly cuts to the alive! How did manage it?

Ralf W. Garcia (Bass, Lyrics): So this time we used the same songwriting process as on the last 3-4 albums. Just because we know that it works very well. Phil (Guitars) and Reto (Drums) always write and create particular riffs, segments and parts after which they build the basic song forms using the aforementioned instrumental material. One song after another. When they decide that certain songs are finished everything will be documented using a notation software. The notation/sheet music is then sent to Matthias (Guitars) and me (Bass). We’ll write our additional instrumental parts on top of the existing song forms. Simultaneously I start to write the lyrics for all songs. Now sometimes I use stuff from my archive of lyrics which I‘ve collected over time or I write brand new lyrics from scratch. The final lyrics build the basis for Michi (Vocals) to develop his lines for the verse and chorus for each song. Now sometimes it’s a bit of a back and forth process and he‘d ask me to change or edit certain sentences or paragraphs or rhymes but most of the time it’s a quick and straighforward process. So that’s basically how we develop new songs up to the point for when we’d have enough material for a full album.

In relation to the atmosphere and energy of „Collapse Into Chaos“. It’s not something that we deliberately planned. We were all very motivated to get a new album done. We had drive and a lot of enthusiasm so I personally think that that’s one of the reasons why the album sounds fresh and „alive“ in relation to what you mentioned in your question. It’s just a matter of energy I guess. Our albums are always only a snapshot of a certain period of time that can never be reproduced in the exact same way. I personally think that all our albums have a lot of energy, drive and that honest old school Death Metal brutality. It’s just always a little bit different.

At "old" bands, I always really like how they play with sound. This is especially true for death metal. The individual instruments must stand out, at the same time I literally hate "modern" artificial plastic sound. "Collapse into Chaos" sounds raw, old school, dark, cold. Sound signed V.O. Pulver from POLTERGEIST. How did you cooperate and what was your assignment? Did you were a direct participant in the mix or you left everything to V.O. Pulver?

Ralf W. Garcia (Bass, Lyrics): I personally agree with your assessment of sounds and in particular with the words about the sound of our own new album. We like it old school, organic and honest too. Naturally it must be very brutal and transparent at the same time. Regarding the mix of the album. It was always the case that Phil (Guitars) and Reto (Drums) know exactly what kind of sound we as Requiem need for our albums. That’s a fact that even goes back to the very first release. Now as you can imagine after so many albums and after 25 years of experience with countless hours in the studio and on tours – it helps a lot to get a good understanding of how our band should sound like. We were always a band where every indivdual musician cared a lot about the sound of his own instrument. Now when you combine that with the vision and experience of Phil (Guitars) and Reto (Drums) it’s very clear how the mix should be done. Phil and Reto were both always involved in the mixing process. Now Reto (Drums) and I know V.O. Pulver very well because we both play with him in Poltergeist too. So it was a very familiar situation to get the mixing done together with him. He knows how to implement and apply the ideas and sonic visions of Phil and Reto. It was always like that and it always worked for us. That’s just the way we do it. It just feels right to us as a band.

It is said that a good package sells and the one from Kumislizer Design is great. I can't help myself, but feel inspiration from the world of H.P. LOVECRAFT or am I wrong? How does the theme relate to the content of the album and how did you actually get together with this artist from Indonesia?

Ralf W. Garcia (Bass): Thanks for that. We think it fits the album very well and it‘s very appropriate in relation to the title „Collapse Into Chaos“. Phil (Guitars) always took care of the visual side of Requiem and the cover artworks and layout of all our albums. As you might know the cover artworks of our last three albums (Global Resistance Rising, Within Darkened Disorder and Infiltrate…Obliterate…Dominate) were all created by Dan Seagrave who needs no introduction anymore I’d say. So for „Collapse Into Chaos“ it seemed like a good idea for a change regarding the visual aspect. Phil (Guitars) did some research and got in contact with Tata Kumislizer who created illustrations for bands like Annotations Of An Autopsy and many other Death Metal bands. The influence of the world of Lovecraft might be there just because it’s a very iconic style. Tata Kumislizer might‘ve been influenced by that but it wasn’t something that Phil (Guitars) had on his radar at all. It wasn’t intended to go into that direction. It was more the case of a very professional understanding between two creative persons which then convinced us to use him for the creation of the album artwork for „Collapse Into Chaos“ and apart from the brilliant colours the overal theme of the artwork fits the process of a „Collapse Into Chaos“ to the point. It’s spot on and fits like a glove if you get my drift.

The lyrics are a very underestimated discipline in many death metal bands. It's also very difficult to write lyrics for music, at least I think so. It has to sit in phrasing, at the same time be understandable and express some emotions. Who is the author of the lyrics on "Collapse into Chaos" and where did he get the inspiration for them?

Ralf W. Garcia: Well there are some great lyricists within the Death Metal genre I think. Like Barney Greenway from Napalm Death, Chuck Schuldiner from Death, Dave Ingram from Benediction or Karl Willets from Memorian/Bolt Thrower but in general I know what you’re referring too. Lyrics within the Death Metal genre are often a bit overlooked and don’t seem very important. Naturally depending on the concept of a particular band of course. But even a horror/splatter/gore based lyrical concept can work quite well if it’s done with passion, quality and focus like Cannibal Corpse’s doing it for example. But that’s their thing. We always did our own thing. Now with Requiem we always went in a different direction. I wrote the lyrics for the past 6 albums so far. My personal inspiration derives from various real life experiences, scientific studies and psychological and philosophical books and/or reports. In general it’s always about topics that would concern all of us as human beings in one way or another. In addition we’re a band which is deeply rooted in the underground scene and we all have a youth background that is connected to Crust/Punk too. So all of that probably plays and mixes into the lyrical content of our songs. Like I said before it’s always about real life topics and/or about events that happened and which had an impact on us as people. Regarding the concept. Normally there is no overal concept that would lead all the content of the lyrics but sometimes it tends to go in a certain direction. The lyrics for „Collapse Into Chaos“ are depicting what is going on in the world we live in. It’s about the environmental, societal and economical changes and struggles which have become very obvious to all of us. So the inspiration is just out there. It’s happening every day. That might be another reason why I’ve still quite an archive of unused material that might end up on another future album too. Who knows.

I'm going through your discography and I've found that you are quite responsible. You've never released an outright weak record. Each album is a bit different, but at the same time you keep your direction and I can recognize you in several tones. This is a great gift and ability in overproduction today. But who are REQUIEM like people? I believe that there is a sense of chemistry among musicians. Do you go for a beer together, do you meet even out of concerts? According to the photos, you look like a bunch of nice guys, whom I would like to invite to a shot :).

Ralf W. Garcia: That’s a good question and a rather rare question for that matter as well. I think we’ve never been asked a question like that before. So in relation to the chemistry of us as musicians. We know us very well which is not surprising because we spent many hours together in nightliner/buses/vans on tour or on the way to club gigs and festivals. That’s definitely an advantage we already have used for us as a band. We use all our individual strengths. Personally I’d say we’re a very mixed bunch of people. We’re all more or less in the same age group in our end 40s. Some of us have families with kids – some of us don’t. Some of us studied music and music theory – others didn’t. But it’s the combination of all our experiences and skills what makes us Requiem I think. The mix and diversity of all our backgrounds and personalities adds to us as a collective which creates music. It’s a very good thing for us and we appreciate what we have and what we’ve achieved so far. Naturally we’ve all changed and developed as individuals over the course of the existence of Requiem. We’re in a very good place at the moment and of course we’re having drinks together when we do have the oppurtunity for that. Most of us live in different areas and cities so it’s not always possible to see each other every week but we always make time to practise especially before club gigs and/or tours of course. We usually keep a regular contact by using our online band chat and of course there are some of us who see each other more often than others which is completely normal as well. But our overal vibe in the band is almost like an average family with every aspect that comes with it. Sometimes it’s more frequent and sometimes it’s not. It really depends. I’d say that we’re approachable and social people who are always interested in having a good chat with someone as well. We don’t take ourselves too serious too and a good and very dark humour is probably another thing about us that makes the band experience very enjoyable.

What about REQUIEM and concerts? I know, now are the restrictions in Europe due to covid 19, but when everything is coming to an end, are you planning a tour? Do you play often? I'd love to see you somewhere in the club! Like you and MESSIAH, that would be amazing!

Ralf W. Garcia: That’s a very good question but a very tricky one at the same time. Everything is still very unpredictable at the moment. So it’s a bit tricky to say somehting or to give you some sort of reliable information. Under normal circumstances we’d be already on the road touring in support of the new album of course. Usually we play a club gig or some sort of festival every month. Sometimes several times a month and/or every weekend. It really depends. But in general we’re a band that plays quite often. The only thing I can say at this point is that we have several gigs already booked for the rest of this year and if it’s possible and if most of the restrictions would be lifted in Europe we’ll embark on a full tour next year 2022. But again as I mentioned before it’s still early days. We can’t say for certain in which month that’s gonna happen. The only thing we do know is that we will play as often as possible to bring the new songs to as many stages in Europe as we possibly can. In the past we’ve played many times in the Czech Republic and naturally we’d like to come back more often. Some of these shows are still remembered quite vividly. Regarding Messiah. We will play a few shows with them in Switzerland in November since they are old friends of us and I personally usually work for them as stage manager and guitar/bass tech. So there’s always been a longtime friendship and close relation between our bands anyway. We’ll see what happens next. Naturally it’d make sense for us to play together more often in different countries but again as I said. We’ll see when and if that’s gonna happen. We as Requiem are up for it anyway and there have been plans already to do a full European tour again especially on the back of „Collapse Into Chaos“. What’s left to say is that we hope to announce something soon, I mean like a tour schedule of some sort, reliable and precise and of course rather sooner than later.

In the Czech Republic, Switzerland has a very good sound. But mostly we only pass through your country when we go somewhere to the sea or the mountains. What is it like for you with death metal, concerts, fans? What is the Swiss underground like?

Ralf W. Garcia: There is a quite old and long lasting underground scene in Switzerland with a few local promoters who organised Indoor- and Outdoor Festivals for a long time especially for Death Metal bands like Mountains Of Death Festival, Rock The Hell and the long running Meh Suff Festival series. So there’s a scene and a lot of clubs and festivals that provide the chance for Metal bands in general to play live on a regular basis. Naturally it’s not the case that it’d be a very big scene since Switzerland is a quite small country in comparison to most other European countries. But for being rather small it generated quite a high number of well-known bands and artists since the early 80s. Now of course all of that has changed over the course of the past 30 or 40 years which is obviously the case in most countries as well but there is still a very lively and healthy underground scene for all sorts of Metal music.

Which bands influenced REQUIEM when you started? Did you have any idols you worshiped? For us, please remember what the beginnings of the band were and guide us through your history.

Ralf W.Garcia: Naturally we all had our fair share of influences while growing up. But we never had idols to speak of. There were and there still are bands and artists for which we have great respect but we’ve never been the kind of persons who turned into fanboys of a particular band or artist. Stylistically and musically Requiem was influenced by a lot of bands from the late 1980s and early 1990s like Malevolent Creation, Napalm Death, Obituary, Monstrosity and so on. In the beginning it was more a mixture of the Florida style of Death Metal mixed with Grindcore like Brutal Truth and a bit of European/UK styled Death Metal and Crust/Punk and of course there were even influences from early Slayer albums and some first wave Black Metal bands as well which is quite normal and natural when you look back at the time we’re talking about. I personally think that these early influences are still in our music but we developed our own unique way of writing and playing Death Metal. Requiem’s songs always had and will always have a mixture of a lot of blast beats, classic old school Death Metal guitar riffs, very intricate rhythmic drum patterns and a very dirty tendency to include grooves and raging crust/punk parts. Sometimes everything mixed together in one song.

As you know Requiem was formed in 1997 by Phil Klauser (Guitars) and some other musicians and shortly after Michi (Vocals) joined. There were a few line up changes over the course of time but the current line up is together since more or less 2004. So as you can imagine we all lived through the first wave of Death Metal at the end of the 1980s with Death, Possessed etc. and then we all witnessed and experienced everything that came after that with the start of the Florida scene, the UK scene with Bolt Thrower, Benediction and Napalm Death for example and of course the Swedish or Scandinavian Death Metal that began at the same time. I reckon that all of that had some kind of influence on us. I personally was into a lot of bands like Sadus, Autopsy, Dismember, Entombed and of course the more technical stuff like the later Death albums and Control Denied, Cynic, Atheist etc. But at the same time most of us listened to a lot of other bands/artists as well. I believe that it’s always beneficial to listen to a lot of different music. It enhances the musiscianship and overal vision for composition, chord progressions and song structures for example. Nowadays we’re still fans of Death Metal of course but at the same time we can appreciate a lot of other styles/genres at the same time like other forms of Metal like Doom and Thrash and so on.

When you say death metal, everyone imagines a little different. What does it mean for you? How do you, as the author, perceive this music and what do you want to express with it? Is it anger, darkness, cold? Other emotions?

Ralf W. Garcia: That’s another interesting question. Thanks for that. The topic is quite complex. I personally always felt that it was a new form of extreme music at first. It was about pushing the envelope. The main goal was to play faster and more brutal or at least I perceived it like that when I witnessed the origin of Death Metal in the late 1980s. Back then of course I had heard and bought stuff from acts like Cryptic Slaughter, D.R.I and Repulsion etc. Very fast music altogether but Death Metal then was just very different. I still remember the day when I bought the album „Scream Bloody Gore“ by Death. I bought it on the day it was released in 1987. Back then it was like I mentioned before. Everything that came after that had some kind of unique and different style to it and all the bands were very recognizable back then. It was music to vent a lot of emotions in general I think. Any sort of emotion really. But bottom line is that it was music which helped a lot of us to process and cope with events that were going on in our personal lives and I think that’s a very positive and healthy thing for us as human beings. Now 35 years later music and that includes Death Metal as well still plays a very important role. It can still act as a vent of frustration and/or just as a way and means to enjoy the time with some friends over drinks for example. It’s multifunctional and most definitely a vital and essential part in our lives to this day. Sometimes it’s just music but most of the time it is way more than just that.

What are REQUIEM planning in the upcoming months? Do you want to say something to the fans?

Ralf W. Garcia: Well as I mentioned before we already booked gigs for Sept., Oct., Nov. December. So we’ll be busy at the end of the year if everything goes according to plan and in addition we’ll keep on working on a possible tour for next year 2022 as well. Depending on the current and/or future restrictions there might be even some more songwriting in the cards as well. Who knows. Like I said before it is still unpredictable at the moment. But we always were a band which adapted very quickly to new or changing situations. In any way we’ll keep on playing and writing music. Now preferably we’d like to tour in support of „Collapse Into Chaos“ first. To the fans and/or people who have heard us before or who might have just discovered our music. We appreciate every support and interest in our band and our music and we hope to see many old/familiar and new faces when we will play gigs in your town, city or a festival that you’ll attend. We don’t take it for granted that there are still people out there who supported us from the very beginning and who always were helping us out over the course of the pst 25 years. Thanks a million for that. Naturally we intend to reach more people in the coming years. So if you’re into Death Metal we’d really appreciate it if you’d take some time out of your day to listen to our new album for example.

Thank you so much for the interview, I really appreciate your time. I'll do one thing now. I'm going to listen "Collapse into Chaos" really loud! It's a really great album, which got pretty under my skin. Thanks a lot for it too. I wish you great sales. Also good luck in your private lives!

Ralf W. Garcia: Thank you very much Jakub. It was my pleasure. Thanks for having us and thanks for the support and interest in our band and the new album. Who knows. Maybe we’ll meet somewhere at a festival or club gig in the future. Take care. All the best.

Recenze/review - REQUIEM - Collapse into Chaos (2021):


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