Monday, June 16, 2014

Excruciation Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

Well, the usual things when you release an album. Making promo, looking for additional way to distribute the record, had a really great release show and of course spreading the news that a ghost is coming after you this year!

2.In May you released your new album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the newer music and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Speaking about the new album there was a slight change in the musical direction
due to the fact  that José, the main song-writer of the last two records, left the band
and although we had almost finished the new album we decided to discard all but one song that has been written by him and started over. So Hannes brought a lot of his influences to the band, having a Black Metal background. But it still sounds like Excruciation.
Speaking about the 80's, well, there has definitely been a change. I never wanted to repeat what we did in the past. It just doesn't make sense to me artistically. You know, we were 15 when we started the band, were little testosterone-filled bastards trying to conquer the world. But we have grown up and  I think, so has our music.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new album?

Most of the lyrics are about what surrounds me, family, friends. Being originally from the south of Italy there's a lot to tell. Mafia, as in "Mother South", the Catholic Church, as in "Crawl", "Devil wears Christ" and "Under the Linden Tree". In one way or an other it's all about the dark side of life.

4.The band broke up in 1991 and re-formed in 2005, what was the cause of the split and also the decision to reform?

As I told before, we started the band really early, were hanging out together almost every day and in the end maybe we were just fed up with each other. So everyone had to find a life of their own.
And then in 2005, Andy, the drummer, having found out  the address of everyone, (some of us hadn't met for up to 18 years) and invited us for dinner, just to see what happened to all of us in the meantime. A lot of drinks later we decided to do some noise together and see what happens. We took it step by step, wrote a few songs, made a record, a few shows and then we finally agreed to reform the band and to go on. For me the crucial thing was, that we were able to write new songs, as I had no intention to repeat myself.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Excruciation'?

To be honest,  not much. When I joined the band they already called themselves Excruciation, which, by the way, was proposed by Martin Ain, and I also thought that it sounded cool.

6.The band formed in 1984 30 years ago and where ahead of the times musically, do you feel that you have been a huge musical influence on some of the later death and doom metal bands that have came out of Switzerland in the last 3 decades?

I really don't know how big our influence was on the Swiss extreme Metal. Of course a lot of people who later formed bands were banging their brains out of their heads at our gigs but they did the same when foreign bands played. I think it had a bigger impact on them, to see that a band from Switzerland was able to deliver a  cool show and good records.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I think the most memorable gigs for me were the early ones, our third gig and first sold out show where the people went mad for the first time or a bit later as we played our first gig in Italy headlining, though still being a demo-band and having 800 people going crazy. And all our record release shows were also very special.
Live we move a lot, a lot headbanging going on, trying to live the music.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?

No touring, as we don't want to be part of the whole pay-to-play circus and organizing a whole tour by ourselves takes just too much time. We plan some gigs in Switzerland in October/November and we will have an appearance at the Dutch Doom Days in Rotterdam, November 1st. But we're open for any inquiries.

9.The new album was released on Auric Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Actually it's run by us. As Twilight went bankrupt we decided to do it ourselves, having enough knowledge, our drummer used to be the A&R of a big Major.
Most of the labels nowadays can't afford to pay for studio time unless you already are  big name, and that is the most expensive part. So we do it ourselves and have the total control. It's more work, we have to build a reputation, but it's also more fun.
We also plan to release some other Swiss bands, mostly re-releasing records from the past that have been forgotten. The first ones should be the debut of Caustic, a great thrash band, and early works of the space-thrashers Bloodstar.

10.Over the years how has the feedback been to your music by fans of death, doom and thrash metal?

Well, feedback has always been good. You usually don't go to a band to tell them that they are total crap.;-) What we have noticed is that we have fans from any genres. Be it Doom or Black Metal, Death or Thrash.

11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Tough question, time will tell. We started writing new songs for our next EP that has a preliminary title "[c]rust". It may  be a little dirtier as the title suggests. Anyway, there is no master plan.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Obviously, being from the 80s bands like Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Bathory, Paul Chain, Saint Vitus, Mercyful Fate etc... had a big impact on us. But also Punk/Hardcore like Exploited, Discharge, Amebix and Goth Rock bands like Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division have influenced me a lot. Apart from that I also dig a lot of electronic music, be it early EBM à la Nitzer Ebb, ambient like Parallel Worlds and also some trip hop like Portishead, Tricky, etc....

13.Outside of music what are some of your interests?

I like reading, at the moment everything written by Joe R. Lansdale, and I like to collect books, especially illustrated ones from early the 19th century.  I'm also into ancient numismatic, especially Roman. It's exciting having a coin in your hand that someone may have used to pay for a living, to buy wine, whatever, 2000 years ago.
As well as researching on it. It turns history alive.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for the interview!  And to all others, go back, buy a tape deck, a turntable and start listening music the old school way! Only hardware is real ware!

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