|Archive | Interviews | Metal Heart, 2005|
1. The last 2 or 2 ½
years can perhaps be described as the calm after the storm. I mean
that although you have been on the road a couple of times, Primordial
seemed to be fallen asleep to some extent. Maybe you will argue that
it wasn't like that (of course you also had to write the new album).
Of course, well we don't rush things ever.
It takes us time to write songs and for things to click into gear. After rleasing an album we usually don't start writing for a year or so. We arent a band that rehearses 3 times a week or anything. We do things when we feel like it. It felt about the right time to start so we did. We also had some legal hassles and things like that as well.
a. But would you agree that you needed this time to settle some things (e.g. the legal stuff with Karmageddon/Hammerheart) in order to be able to fully concentrate on the new album and make it as strong as possible?
That's also true, there where so many things we needed so sort out and a lot of time spent waiting around for things to be resolved and you cant completely focus when all this stuff is going on at the same time.
b. Concerning the legal issues you had to fight, are you willing to tell me something about it, or do you not want to talk about it at all?
Well the fact that we did have legal hassles and as you say have to fight should be able to tell you its own story. Simple and plain. We had reached the end of the line with hammerheart, neither of us could really take things any further. However its in the past now. thankfully.
c. Would you say, that this point in time can be described as a Journey's End concerning the struggles you had in the past (label problems) and the fact that you maybe didn't have the label support (in terms of better and bigger) you deserved?
Perhaps, but you know I feel its almost testament to our willpower and I almost feel vindicated now for not having given in and for always pushing for something more. It is indeed like a new chapter for us but you know now almost 15 years later we are in the strongest position we have ever been in, many bands took off faster and became bigger then us who were from the same scene but we just kept doing what we do and perhaps what goes around comes around.
2. You now have a deal with Metal Blade, so how did you get in contact?
I was good friends with gerrit from sacred steel who worked there since the late 90's and we kept in touch and when we finally got out of our contract with hammerheart they were the first people I thought of. We had other offers but theirs was by far the best so we signed with them. simple enough thankfully.
a. What can you tell me about your cooperation so far (as it is still in an early stage)?
For once I have no complaints. and anyone who knows me or has read interviews with me over the years will know that that is some statement !. what I like about them is that in metal terms they are not like a multinational you know, they are big but not too big and they sign what they want (even though I don't like most of it !) and they don't promise what they cannot offer.
b. Did you also receive offers from other labels? If yes, what made you decide to sign with Metal Blade?
Ans : I answered that above I guess before I looked at the next question. One of the other important things was really that no one on metal blade is like primordial at all so it makes it very easy for us to really stand out there you know.
3. As I said before, The Gathering Wilderness seems to be the start of a new era in Primordials history, not only in terms of a new start with a new label, but also in terms of how you went close to recordings and production.
True, I mean some people might have decided to play it safe considering we were on a new label and there were more expectations but we figured we needed a change and a challenge so we shook everything up.
a. You worked together with Billy Anderson for the first time. What can you tell me about the cooperation with him?
We had a mutual friend and she gave me his number and I called him up, I was really impressed with the sound on high on fire surrounded by thieves and neurosis as well. We wanted simply to strip things back and sound like we do when you stand in our rehersal room. Like a real band not a fucking computer. Hes a cool and crazy guy.up for anything
b. To which degree can his effort be heard on the new album?
Well, we knew what we wanted and we have our style you know that will impact on anything we try and do but we talked a lot about it beforehand and we were referencing albums like mob rules, killers, bomber, blood fire death, even thin lizzy and dio and saying we want a bottom end like this, a drum sound far more real and live.I mean the album would have sounded more like I wanted if we had done it with martin birch in 1981 but for what we tried I think it works.
c. What was the main reason to work with him? Maybe his past works (e.g. Neurosis, who also build up their albums on a very dark and hypnotic basis)?
We just wanted this live sound and that's what hes famous for and we also wanted a challenge and a new approach to some things.
4. To some extent, The Gathering Wilderness shows again some "new" and different sides of Primordial. On the one side you went a couple of steps further concerning the strength expressiveness of your music, but on the other side you went back to a more organic and natural sound (what I appreciate a lot and that is something that many other bands should do).
Fuck tell me about it, the sound of most albums makes me puke these days, computerised soul less bullshit, most of them sound like they are played by computers. We wanted the feeling of a live band back, mistakes and all. We just wanted things as natural as we could get them this time round. And in some ways we are going against the trend right now which seems to sound as plastic and synthetic as possible just like everyone tried to do in 1986. heaven and hell doesn't date, imagine how dated all those damn triggers will sound in ten years.
a. How would you describe the differences between Storm Before Calm and The Gathering Wilderness?
I don't know really, the sound is more organic and natural this time round but you know we don't really think about this and that and the difference in songwriting as there really isnt one, we just write primordial songs and what you get is what you hear you know. Perhaps its darker and more desperate sounding
b. What were the main (musial) changes that came into your mind when writing the new album?
None really, people don't believe me but we don't really analyse things too much, we just write songs as we do, it all sounds primordial and then we take it from there. Only when we really get into the studio do we really begin to be able to see the main differences.
c. On this album the mood is getting more somber and gloomy not only in terms of having more calmer and darker parts in the songs, but also having lyrics that are getting more and more oppressive. Where does this development come from?
I guess u only have to look around the world to see where, even since storm before calm the world seems a darker more desperate place and the gathering wilderness reflects this. I wouldn't call the album negative as I don't look at things like that but it has a certain wild desperation about it.
5. In the "own words" that are on the promo CD you stated that doing this album was harder than ever before and you had a lot more pressure. What did you mean by that? Was it rather the pressure you put on yourselves than pressure from outside (as I think you don't give a shit about things that people outside the band are saying)?
Yeah you are right we couldn't really care less, there was a time in the beginning when I did listen but these days I don't pay much attention. Personally speaking I don't like being in the studio, the routine and being with the same people day in day out gets hard and I swear I nearly went fucking mad this time round. But it seems this tension helps the songs perhaps.
6. I've read that the topics of your lyrics are influenced a lot by both recent happenings around the globe (e.g. political or economic issues) and the loss of cultural awareness and values. But the lyrics themselves refer mainly to the past (I hope you can get the point, cause it's quite diffuicult for me to find the right words here.). How challenging is it to transfer the present themes into your writing style, how do you connect both present and past?
I don't really get the point as the lyrics are definitely not mostly in the past, they are very much in the here and now, if I use something from the past or something with a historical leaning it always has some kind of resonance for today, for the world we live in here and now. We are not romantics, we don't wish to live 3000 years ago and we don't sing only about mythology or our pagan past which is a common misconception. We use our past as a stepping stone, there are so many great values we can learn from the past, or rather re-learn, and without roots we are nothing facing this brave new world.
a. You are also deeply rooted with the history of Ireland, which can for example be seen in the lyrics for The Coffin Ships. As I'm interested in Ireland and its history, I know a bit about the famine you are talking about and after being to Ireland twice, my experiences were that in Ireland the past and the history and traditional values are still in the minds of the people and that one can still feel this when being there. This makes Ireland to something very special for me, because you can't find such a thing in
most of the "western" countries. But what is it that makes Ireland special for you?
Almost impossible to answer really, however I think that we are an island has a massive impact. We have an island mentality that is different to the mainland I think, also almost all of our history is born from oppression and struggle and I think it has made ireland rich and fertile ground for artists. There are many reasons but I don't know, its hard to view things when you are on the inside looking out.
7. Another song that I really feel attracted to is Cities Carved In Stone. To this one you didn't drop any liner notes. Was there any special reason for not commenting on the lyrics?
There is liner notes in the actual cd ?. I don't know if it's a mistake in the promo I didn't look at the extra details. This is a simple song really, I was in rome at the start of last year and one day was walking around the city and realised no one knew where I was, that I could easily disappear somewhere never to be seen again and on that trip I did a lot of thinking about home and people at home and it all went into cities. Its about travelling really.
a. Concerning the lyrics in general, you are again searching for your place in the world (if I can call it like that). It seems that you are on the one side getting closer to it, but on the other side with this song at the end it seems that you still feel like being lost somewhere. Has the journey brought you any closer to finding your place or is it more like a spiral that is turning on and on?
I get restless really easily and always have to have something planned and I think if I had the means I would just travel around most of the months of the year. In some ways I am getting closer but I think the despair and bleakness comes from realising that it seems people in general are getting further and further away and nothing is going to change this. This is really the album of the underdog, its about alienation, the loss of liberty, martyrdom, civil unrest, the selling of cultures and rewriting of history, so many things.
8. You also stated that you are one of those (in my opinion few) bands that don't make music just for the sake of making it, but because there is a deeper meaning in your music and lyrics. By saying that you hit the nail on the head. In my opinion there are only a few bands out there that create something special and make "honest" music. So what do you think about most of the other bands. or which bands do you consider as being "honest"?
The nature of all real art is to move people, to be moved, we are artists not entertainers. We play music because we have to, if you find us when we are 50 we will all be making music, not primordial but something. We play music because as I said we have to, its in our culture and in our blood. This is music that stands for something in a three minute fast food world. If you want bullshit about zombies, unicorns, dragons or angels then turn the page. But you know not every band can be as honest as we are, the world doesn't work like that. In any field or walk of life but I don't give a fuck that some bunch of idiots singing about nothing outsells us 10 to 1. I don't think they change peoples lives or touch them deeply or will be remembered by anyone in ten years or twenty years time. Its all superficial and skin deep. And we wont ever change.its all or nothing.
9. You are also one of the few bands that have a strong harmony among its members (at least it seems like that). But I guess you also have some disagreements within the band when writing new songs. Am I right by saying that all the members in Primordial have the same basic attitude towards the songs, topics and things you want to express?
These days yes, in the past there was much more conflict but we all grew and evolved as people you know. Sure we still fight sometimes but primordial is like an institution in our lives and although we are 5 different people we share a common focus. Just to make music as honestly and purely as possible.
10. To which extent do you regard your music as some kind of therapy? Again, you are one of the few bands that really seem to melt with their music when playing it.
Therapy ?, I guess there is an element of catharsis in making music, of releasing emotion and energy, and that transferal of our energy to the listener is vital. And live that's when it is at its most raw and emotive. We just do what we do and don't analyse it as I said before.
a. I've seen you playing live a couple of times and the impressive thing always was the way you dive into the music and lyrics when performing. It always seems like you are only physically on stage. Is it rather a state of trance than some kind of mask you are putting on?
Totally, whether its 50 people, 500 or 5000 when you mean what you say and say what you mean then you should become these songs when you play them live. I guess it is almost ritualistic or trance like.
b. You are still using stuff like blood etc. on stage. Does this help you to get in the right mood? (It seems like you are preparing for the "battle" on stage by doing this)
You know, I like the ritualism of it all. The preparation. The focus for all your energy so you wont be seeing me in jeans and a faded metallica shirt anytime soon. I also think its part of the metal tradition and we uphold that as well. When I was a kid I was drawn to sabbat, celtic frost, bathory, manowar, bands like that. I always knew what I wanted to do within a band long before I was ever in one.
11. As I mentioned before, you did some touring during the last couple of years. I'm especially interested in the experiences you made in Bulgaria and Romania. I guess it was the first time you played there.
eah it was and to be honest very few bands have played there. It was great and we hope to go back there in 2005. Live there is poor but the people give you everything they have its almost too much sometimes and they are so proud. It made me so fuckin angry to be there and see how their countries are economically under the yoke of western capitalism and multinationalism but the people struggle on and we tried our best to give everything we could when we were there.
a. What can you tell me about those gigs in general? How was the crowd over there?
sometimes the people take some time to get into it almost that they are too excited as they are watching what you are doing intently but they loosen up. It was strange to be in cold venues with no bars and no music between the bands and people outside who could not get in but stayed there all night. Many people actually did not believe we were coming so couldn't afford the train fares if we didn't show.etc. however you know I think the irish have a great affinity with countries like that you know, we seem to have a similar spirit and energy.
b. Did you also have time to get to know the countries a little bit better? Did you have some off-stage activities?
yeah we got to see for us a lot, of course not as much as I would have liked but I will go back there as a visitor even if we never play there again, sofia is such a beautiful city for example !.
12. The limited edition of The Gathering Wilderness also contains a bonus DVD. What can we see on it?
mostly us in the hot tub with some porno chicks, driving harleys, drinking beer etc.
Nah just a making of the album. Its not bad I think !.
a. Besides this bonus DVD and the one released by Karmageddon last year, do you have any plans for releasing a "real" DVD?
ah that, yeah as the bonus for the dark romanticism, take it as bootleg quality for what it is. Not bad. I would love to do a proper dvd alright. Hopefully this year.
13. Regarding The Gathering Wilderness as a "new" starting point, do you already have any indications for where the journey will lead you to (musically and personally)?
I don't know, I just wait and see what happens. Hopefully we can sell a few more albums, get more festivals, tours, get out there more and meet people, see places we have never been. Personally ?. I cant wait to get out there and play these songs to people. these songs cut so deep some of them its not going to be pretty !!!
14. And last but not least could you please tell me what your future plans are. when will we be able to see you again in Germany?
Future plans are to see how the album does, hopefully.surely be on tour in 2005 sometime. At the moment in germany we only can confirm under the black sun and up from the ground festivals.hopefully more soon. But we will be there in 2005.
Joy and strength to you all
I want to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish
you and the band all the best for the future.
© 2005 Primordial
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