First off, I want to thank you sincerely for taking the time and effort to do this interview.
Hey Thryce, no problem, we want to thank you and Metal Storm for interviewing us!!!
Now, let's start with a few typical warm-up questions. What kind of metal band is Patriarch? How would you "sell" Patriarch to people who have never heard of the band before?
We play Metal with a little Thrash/Progressive edge added. Names that pop up regularly in reviews are for example Nevermore, Metal Church, Pantera...
A couple of weeks ago (at the end of December), Patriarch played a 25-anniversary gig. How did it go?
Well it went great. We invited some guest musicians that played in previous line-ups of the band, rehearsed a few times with them (we dug up some old songs) and the gig was great. We had lots of fun playing that old stuff again and also the audience had a great time that evening.
How does it feel to host such a 25-anniversary concert? What went through your mind when you were rocking it there on that stage?
Although it was lots of work to get the thing organized, it felt really good. First we played a big part of the "Mankind - The Virus" album and after that we played some songs from the first demo we did till the "Black Harvest" demo and also some covers we played over the years.
To see all these musicians amuse themselves, playing our music, and the fans hearing some stuff we didn't play for a long time, was really a blast. So that goes through your mind, being satisfied that all people had a great time...
How was the reaction of the crowd, and what kind of an audience was there?
We have seen some fans there from the very beginning of the band that are still into Patriarch now, and also some people we haven't seen for years. Also big parts of the audience were younger fans that heard from us with our new album. So the audience was pretty diverse.
Patriarch - The Band. From left to right: Ronny Clé (guitar), Luc "Tweeva" Deckers (bass), Ortwin Lietaert (vocals), Fred Mylemans (guitar), Kris De Bie (drums)
Looking back at your long-running career, is this where you think you wanted to be when people would have asked you twenty-five years ago where you think Patriarch would be in twenty-five years?
Absolutely not, we still are a rather small band, but we hope to gain some more recognition with our new album. But I'm very happy I have this band still going and we can play our music the way we want it.
And what is the most remarkable change when you have to compare the metal scene as it is today and the one of the eighties and nineties?
I think the scene is much bigger nowadays, and of course there are much more metal bands and subgenres today than there were in the 80/90's. On the other hand I think there was much more enthusiasm in the crowds in the early days...
Let's talk about the new album a bit. What can people expect from "Mankind - The Virus"?
There's almost 60 minutes of metal on it. We have some pretty diverse songs on the album. There are some heavy songs on it and also a few mid-tempo/groovy songs. Ortwin Lietaert did a great job putting some good vocals and lyrics on it... So if you want to give it a listen, give it some time to grow on you, 'cause some songs are quite lengthy. I think production-wise the album also turned out very good, we've had some very good comments on the production in some reviews.
"Mankind - The Virus" is only Patriarch's third full-length and also the first record in roughly fifteen years. What's the biggest difference between this record and the earlier ones, you think?
I think on this album all the songs are great. The song writing and the arrangements of the songs are also more mature than on our previous albums. Now the songs are more coherent, on our 2 first albums the songs were maybe a little more experimental and fragmentary. The production of "Mankind - The Virus" is also more modern than "Prophecy" or "World Within Worlds", but I think that's normal since those albums were released a long time ago.
How did the recording of the album go actually? Any worthwhile and/or funny anecdotes you want to mention?
The recording of the album turned out great, but we had our share of setback too. The recording itself wasn't a big problem since we also recorded the "Black Harvest" demo ourselves. Some problems occurred during the mixing of the album. At first the hard disc that contained the tracks broke down, all the tracks were lost. Luckily all the tracks were still on the recording machine!
During the mixing also the computer crashed a few times, so that took a lot of time. Unfortunately the album wasn't ready for the release show that we had planned, it was finished almost 2 months later... But the result turned out great.
How were the reactions on the album so far? What do you think about those? And what are your own thoughts about the album?
We've had some great reviews till now and a few mediocre, but still good. Most of the reviews can be read on our MySpace blog. Of course it's great to hear/read that your music is appreciated by some people so we are very happy to receive such great reviews.
We are still very pleased with the album, and we still have a lot of work to do for the promotion of it, but our minds already drift of to the next album. We have some new songs ready, and with the recording of "Mankind - The Virus", we learned a lot and also as a band we gained some more experience, So we hope the next album will be even better.
Patriarch has been around for quite some time now, what would you say, is the absolute highlight, the absolute golden moment in the band's history?
Well, releasing an album is always a highlight, but releasing our new album was something really special since we did all the recordings ourselves. The 25th anniversary gig was also a great moment for us but we hope there are some highlights coming our way in the future.
And how does this story continue? What can we expect from Patriarch in the future? Another more twenty-five years to go perhaps?
I already mentioned that we currently are working on new material, so we hope we can start recording a new album this year. We will continue this band as long as we have fun playing our music, creating new stuff, recording and so on, but 25 more years, that's a fuckin' long time to go. I think we'll be far too old by then to hit the stage, but I guess we'll still be playing music then, maybe in some other form, somewhere in a virtual space or so...
Since everybody is making up a year recap these days, what were your favorite albums of 2008 actually?
There's a whole list of albums that I/we like: Testament, Meshuggah, Textures, Oceans Of Sadness and the Jeff Loomis and Warrel Dane solo albums,...
Can these the bands also be considered an influence for your work in Patriarch?
Surely every musician picks up influences from things he's listening too, one way or another... We don't say that we are influenced by these bands directly 'cause every band wants to create a sound of their own I guess. And it's not only music that influences us, it can be the mood you're in, or a painting you like or even words...
One last question (and secretly also one of my all-time favorites), if you could meet anyone - dead or alive - who would that be, and of course why?
Bassist Luc "Tweeva" Deckers: Sri Ramana Maharshi. He's an intriguing person to me.
Fred: Salvador Dali. He made some incredible art, and it would be great to see how he created his paintings/jewellery/other stuff.
Okay, that's about it. The last words are yours. Feel free to say whatever you want to all the Metal Storm readers, both fans and those who've never heard of you.
Vocalist Ortwin Lietaert: I would like to close with the words Rob Halford used in court against the PMRC: "Be good, do your homework, obey your parents and BUY MY ALBUMS".
Fred: Thanks Thryce and Metal Storm.