Against The Plagues interview (10/2008)
|With:||Varyen Chylinski (drums)|
|Conducted by:||Thryce (e-mail)|
Against The Plagues
First of all, I would like to thank you, Varyen, once more for taking the time to answer these questions, I appreciate it a lot!
Now, people need to know about Against The Plagues. Can you briefly introduce Against The Plagues first. How did the band come to be? And how would you define the music style in a few words?
Against The Plagues - its international act consists of musicians from US, Sweden and Poland. Adrian and I originally were involved in Chicago based black metal formation Forest Of Impaled. We worked together for the new songs for Forest but after several circumstances I decided to leave this band and we took four new songs originally written for FOI for the new project. We recorded a demo in the winter of 2006. Songs sounded great but I quickly realized that if we wanted to record a killer album we needed someone who was going to be our producer and also someone who would be ready to put something extra ideas on that material... My first impression was Wojtek Lisicki (Luciferion/Lost Horizon). We know each other for the last 20 years and we always wanted to create our own band. I sent him our stuff and after a while he responded me and said that our music sounded awesome and he agreed to be part of the project. We began working together as a team and all songs you hear on "Architecture of Oppression" are the result of our cooperation. I think it's a collage of brutal extreme metal styles with symphonic parts with very professional production. I don't like to pronounce any styles, I think we recorded an album we always wanted to hear by ourselves, and with such a solid group of great musicians we finally did.
Like you said, the band features members and ex-members from all kinds of bands, like Lost Horizon, Forest Of Impaled, Luciferion, Damnation and recently also Malevolent Creation/Kult ov Azazel. I can only imagine how it would be like to work together with such a big amount of talent, experience and inspiration. Do you think the richness of your sound comes mainly from this fact? And how is the cooperation working?
We were involved with different bands before and we still are. We had our own experience during all those years and when we started working together I knew that it would be very tough but in the same time very unique. All members of Against The Plagues are very talented individuals and it is an honor to be working with such a great team, and we proved to ourselves that we can create something new and fresh instead of our previous bands and albums. It took us so long to record all songs because we had a lot of arguments and musical differences, but the final product just proved us that if you put all your energy and attitude together and if you are ready to cooperate - we can pass by all problems and release such a great album.
When was the exact moment you all knew you wanted to work together and form a new band, playing melodic extreme metal?
That's a good question. I think all of us - we always wanted to create extreme melodic death/black metal quality music. In my previous bands I never was fully satisfied. In Damnation back in 90's I played old school death metal and I missed keyboards and melodic harmonies, in Forest Of Impaled we were an extreme black metal band and for me the sound wasn't that massive and powerful like in death metal bands. There was always something bothering me and I never fulfilled my all needs regarding the music and generally the band I was into. In Against The Plagues I finally reached enough space to arrange strong death metal songs with combination of melodic parts and very brutal riffs. Keyboards are dark and atmospheric like in old Nocturnus and in the same time we have different parts of vocals - from black metal high pitch to deep death growl. Everybody from that band used to play different styles of metal, and we found the path together when we fulfilled our needs as musicians and as creative artists. It was natural and very clear when we started working together back in 2006. We were burned out a little bit from our previous bands, Against The Plagues was something new and fresh for us.
Downside of this story, you guys are all from different kind of places from all over the world, from the Unites States to Sweden. How hard is it to work together as a band in this way? And did you also encounter any advantages or unforeseen opportunities in such a laborious working process, for example when working on "The Architecture Of Oppression"?
It's not that hard like we thought so in the beginning... hehe. It's much more complicated than regular practicing in a rehearsal room when you all just write the songs together. But on the other hand, it's much more enjoyable and professional when you can work with pro tools and change or add anything you want at any time. In practice room there is always too much load and too much pressure around to focus your mind only on the music. Of course we were working in the practice room with Adrian but when we were ready with ideas and started recording them in the studio, we knew that Wojtek would change some of the arrangements and he would put something new on the record. That's why I loved that way of recording because we did the skeleton of the songs but the soul and the flesh we sculptured together. We used internet and pro tools. We spend tons of hours on the phone during the night. It was a new challenge and new dimension for me to work like that. I learned a lot and I proved myself that everything is possible, especially when you are determine to finish your art and your dream. That was the big advantage because I love to take challenges in my life and fulfill them. It was a great opportunity to work with Wojtek and to see the whole progress during the recording.
It's been over a year now since the album got released. If you would have the chance, would you change something about the album now? What will you do in another way or in a better way the next time Against The Plagues will record an album?
I don't feel like it's over a year… For me it's only like a few months... I am still enjoying this album and after 2 years of hard, very stressful work I can't even imagine that we can change something more than we did during the recording time... hehe. When I read the reviews, some of the people said there's too many keyboard sounds or some of the others didn't like the production... I tell you something - I don't care what those so-called specialists think about our band and our sound. People, specially journalists are fucking ignorants. We did this album for ourselves and production and songs are perfect for us. I don't see the better way to record that stuff like we did. We used several different studios in US and Europe to create the best production ever in our careers, and the whole album is the masterpiece of death/black metal. Don't ask me about the next album because it's too early and we need to recharge our batteries with touring and playing those songs live and show to the masses how awesome those songs sound on stage.
Now that you're on it already, could you tell us in short the background story behind the making of "The Architecture Of Oppression" too? And who came up with the concept behind the album?
I don't want to spend another few hours talking about all the details because the whole recording process took us almost 2 years, three different studios, a lot of logistic problems etc. Interesting story is the fact that we create this band during the recording time. When we first time came to the studio with Adrian the line up of our group wasn't ready yet. Wojtek joined the band few months later. We were so desperate at that time, and I remember we still didn't have a vocalist when the whole album was almost ready. We found Logan and I visited him in Texas to be sure that he's the right person for that position. We spend the whole weekend talking about vocals arrangements, how it would suppose to sound, what kind of effects we needed to use, we also practiced together and after that he came to Chicago and did several practices with me and Adrian. It was a complex process to put all things together and release this album. That's why I am so proud about the final result. The original concept was done by me and Adrian but when Wojtek joined to the fold, he put some new ideas into it and we changed a lot since then. I would say the whole concept was created by the three of us, but without all members of the band it couldn't have been finished.
In the media, you guys stressed several times Against The Plagues is not some side-project but a whole new independent band. Do you still have the same point of view about this? I mean, after all a lot of members have certain obligations with other bands too, right?
Definitely yes. When we started this band it was clear from day one that it will be an independent band. We didn't say it will be our only band. Everybody in ATP has his own projects and other bands but there's no conflict at all. Wojtek is still working with new Lost Horizon material, Adrian finished up and just released new Forest Of Impaled album, Logan is in the studio with Vex right now and probably their album will be available next year, Marco is still stand in bass player for Malevolent Creation and is also working with Derek Rhody with some extra projects. I am very proud that I am involved in team of such a talented, hard working individuals and it's even more excited when you see that everybody is being busy and creative at all the time. It's giving you even more energy.
Since it's really intriguing me, I have to ask. What's the meaning of the band name actually? Whose idea was it?
It was our idea to create the name which is adequate to our hatred and opposition to all the bullshit that is poisoning our lives and our minds. Today we are living in society force-feeded by brainwashing media and organized religion institutions. They are the plagues of our time. People are living in a huge system cell, fully controlled and kept in fear. All what they can see is another bill to pay and another stupid TV show on their big plasma screens. Sadly I realized that most of human beings wanted to be slaves and serve for the system they're living in. All what we are trying to say through our music is to show this mechanism which is keeping down our freedom and independence. We strongly believe in human potential and creativity, that's why we are against all kind of components who are forced to still our happiness and real sense of existence. It's very hard to be open-mined during all those media expansion today. We are talking about all those things in our lyrics. Any kind of organized religion are dangerous for your freedom, the same thing is with nationalism and other bullshit. They are the real plagues of our mankind.
"The Architecture Of Oppression" was released in June last year. Looking back over the past year, how were the reactions on the album so far? And what was the most memorable comment (positive of negative) you got about the band and the album?
Reactions were very positive, especially from the metal fans in US which was very surprising for me, because I was thinking that our music is more oriented to European metalheads. We received great reviews from several top metal magazines around the world and crucially as a band we created our own fan base which is the most important thing. We did a short "warm up" tour last year and it was great when a lot of people who saw us for the first time came to us after the show and told us how they enjoyed our music and our performance. The most memorable comment I remember was when one of the fans who bought the album sended us an e-mail and asked if it was possible to play on his wedding because he and his bride were obsessed about our album... A negative comment - one of the European magazines (I don't want to pronounce the name) reviewed our album and this emo kid who did that review said that we are a young band and our keyboards sounded like shit... I was upset because if you're doing any kind of review just try to listen the whole album, read more about the band you reviewing and if you are not about the real metal at all just go fuck yourself.
I couldn't help but noticing that Logan's black metal vocal parts by times sound a lot like some other certain famous black metal vocalist. And reading other reviews, I'm not really the only one thinking this. What's your point of view on that comparison with Dimmu Borgir? Do you think it's a good indicator of fame or a shameful rapprochement?
We really wanted to put some strong quality high pitch black metal voices on the album. Logan did a fantastic job - exactly how we expected and how we asked him to do it. He's very talented vocalist who can sing for different styles of metal. Actually he is also a great power metal singer and huge fan of heavy rock bands like Triumph and Uriah Heep. He is a comprehensive vocalist and it was our choice to put that kind of vocals on the album. I disagree that he just copied other "famous" black metal singers. The whole idea was to mix death metal growls with black metal pitches because we wanted to create more expression and changes on the album. We used two different kidn of vocals to record a more progressive and vital album. Some of the lyrics sounded much darker and extreme when you're using a black metal voice, and some of them are more groovy when you're hearing a death metal growl. We tried to create some kind of 'collage' of vocals and Logan's voice was the great part of our sound. I think people who are listening "Architecture..." suppose to read our music as a complex story and multi-sound production. We used many different styles in our vocals, solos, riffs and drums arrangements. Maybe it's too much for someone who doesn't like the progression and variety based on extreme music. Nothing I can do with that...
What kind of bands and music do you listen to yourself? And do you also consider these bands to be an influence for Against The Plagues?
To be honest with you, we listen to any kind of good quality music which can inspire us and help us to find unique energy to come up with some new ideas and conceptions. It's not only metal music of course. Personally I am huge fan of classic heavy metal and rock bands from 70's and 80's. I don't want to waste the time and point out all those bands but there's a several artist from death/black metal scene who are the most important influences for me as a musician and composer... First of all - Morbid Angel, the best death metal group ever with David Vincent era of course, first two Deicide albums, Immolation "Dawn of Possession" was a killer back in '91 and till today its one of my favorite album, Emperor - all albums are great inspirations, Immortal "Battle in the North" and Mayhem "De Misteriis...". I have to mention Pestilence too - especially "Sphere" album, most under-rated record in metal gengre but for me completely magic and cosmic stuff. If we talking about current scene I have to name Behemoth - killer band, also new Nile is a devastating stuff... We listen to a lot of bands... The list is never ending story so let's stop for now.
And which is your personal favorite song on "The Architecture Of Oppression", and why?
I love all songs on "Architecture..." but if I have to choose only one, I am going to pick "War Against The Plagues". It's a massive song representing all potential of the band. Great death metal riffs with combination of melodies and majestic keyboards. Mix of death metal growls and black metal screams, many changes and different expressions and of course world class solos recorded by Wojtek. I recommend the whole album but if someone wants to listen just one track to find out what ATP is about - "War Against The Plagues" is definitely the essence of the band potential and our signature.
Against The Plagues have been working on the debut album for two years. Since then the band found a new bassist in Marco Martell, and recently you guys singed a US distribution deal with Century Media. What's the next big step for Against The Plagues you think?
Touring. We are still working on it and that's the next step for this band. It's really hard to put the band on the good professional tour here in US, but I am negotiating with some booking agents and looks like we will play 20-25 dates in the beginning of next year in North America. It's not confirmed yet but I hope we will do it. I would like to continue with ATP promotion. We signed for US distribution but we are still looking forward to get deal for European market. Also we are talking with one of the label from Japan to release "Architecture..." there. I think next year 2009 will be the big opportunity for Against The Plagues.
Alright! Thanks again for sharing the Against The Plagues experience with our readers. Here on Metal Storm it's a custom to leave the last words to the band. So feel free to end this interview with whatever you feel like adding.
I would like to thank you Thryce for the great support and help you did for ATP. To all of you who just finished reading this interview, check out our sites: http://www.myspace.com/againsttheplagues, and official site http://www.againsttheplagues.com - all informations are there. Hopefully we'll see you on our upcoming tours. Stay metal and never give up!! Support Against The Plagues!!
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