TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with guitarist Bobby Undertaker from Deathchain was done by Georgios Sidiropoulos in April 2004.
I listen to extreme Metal since 1983. I truly believe that you have produced the best Thrash – Death album ever. I happen to have your “Poltergeist” 2002 demo and 2 out of the 4 songs in this demo appear in your debut album “Deadmeat Disciples” that was released just a few months ago by the Finish Dynamic Arts records. What about the other songs in the album? Are they all brand new or where they all written in 2003? I am trying to find how long it took you to compose this masterpiece and be able to execute these songs with the surgical precision and the totally devastating aggression that you do.
“Undertaker” and “Poltergeist” appeared also on the demo. For the album we did a few changes to them, changed some riffs on the Undertaker and boost up the tempo on Poltergeist. So they’re quite old songs and so is Skeletal Claws, which we did just after the demo. All the rest are from pretty short period of time. When Corpse and me started writing songs for the album, after a few weeks we had nearly 10 songs ready. But from those songs there’s not a single riff left on the album. So the songs changed fast all the time. We didn’t want to put any shitty riffs on the album. Finally all the songs for the album came out pretty fast, songs like “Chaos Wartech” in only a few hours. We didn’t have so much time to rehearse those songs, as we would have wanted. We had studio reserved and we had to kind of rush in. Hopefully that doesn’t sound on the album that much. Nevertheless, we’re all pleased for our debut. But best thrash – death album ever? I think that’s a bit too much said. We have still a long road for that. But on next album we will kick some serious ass and I think we’re just a bit closer achieving that.
Since Bobby Undertaker gave me this answer, I naturally thought of asking him to give me his top 5 list of his all time favoured thrash – death albums.
1. The Crown - Deathrace King
2. Dew-scented - Inwards
3. Dew-scented - Impact
4. The Haunted - The Haunted
5. The Crown - Possessed 13
I would really like to know how you manage to sound so magnificently brutal, amazingly energetic and powerful but at the same time keep everything in control and sound so ultra tight. I suspect that you practise quit a lot both individually and also collectively as a band. How many hours per day do you usually spend doing your individual and band practises and even more importantly, what makes you tick, think and play the way that you do? What are the contributing factors? Is there anything in the water supplies of Kuopio, your hometown in Finland? Especially your drummer is an absolute maniac. The guy is unbelievable; great drum patterns, genuine aggression. His drumming is totally devastating. What king of drugs is he on? Ha ha ha!
I can’t come up with any other reason than the fact that our line-up is so great. We’re all good friends outside the band too. We’re all different persons and we all listen different kinds of bands. But when Deathchain is the thing “at hand”, we all give 110% for the band. I think when Corpse was searching new players for the band in 2001, we wanted just that. Dedication for the band but also a good chemistry between players. And skill of course. When me and Corpse first time started writing songs for the demo, we instantly realized that we can deal, you know? It was easy to write riffs and lyrics, and to discuss about the songs in order to make them better and better. I personally wouldn’t want to be in a band where the members are just like some fucking puppets. No friends with each other and so on. I think the good band chemistry is the key for us. Of course we practise a lot, sometimes more sometimes less. It varies. If we have gigs coming up, we practise like maniacs. If things are a bit slower, we can concentrate on individual practicing. Kassara is a maniac in a true sense of the word and he rehearses a lot. And that can be heard in his playing. I myself try to play every day at least something. Sometimes it can be many hours and some times only 10 minutes. I have no solid pattern for that, I just go by the feeling. But the truth is that we still are pretty shitty players and we still have to develop as a band and as individual players as well.
I know that this is an awkward question, but I am impressed by your ability to switch from ultra fast tempos to slower owns and then come back to a fast part sounding even more aggressive, enraged and devastating (whilst as always you keep sounding ultra tight). Nothing and I mean NOTHING in your album sounds forced or premeditated. How do you achieve that in your opinion? There are thousands of bands that cannot achieve that. They write some good riffs here and some good riffs there, but they just don’t connect properly. Quite often the songs don’t flow and there is no cohesion. (They will play a faster part and when they drop the tempo and stay in that slower tempo, that part sounds “forced”). Could you please give some tips as to how you work as a band and how you avoid problems like the ones that I have mentioned when you compose? Don’t just tell me that it comes out naturally or it part of your personalities. Please give me some details and explain how you go on about achieving what you have achieved in “Deadmeat Disciples”.
Well writing good riffs has never been a problem for us. But arranging the songs is really hard for us and that’s why we had to spent so much time for the structures. It usually goes like this: Me and Corpse have a song ready. We call to Kassara and say: “What’s up sick fuck, let’s go to the reheasing place.” Then the three of us start working with the song. It’s very hard for Corpse and me to figure out what works or not. But when we have drums backing us up, we can almost instantly hear what goes and what doesn’t. Kassara always has some good ideas for the songs and then we just keep pushing it until it’s fucking done. It sounds very simple but almost all the time it isn’t. But that’s the way we do it. On the next album we want to fuck around more with the tempos. On this one we didn’t quite know how to do that. On new songs we want to slow down a bit more here and there and then on the other hand we want to boost up the tempo to it’s max!
I know that it is a bit early to ask questions like this, but do you have any new material at all ready at this moment? Any songs that might make it to your second album?
Actually we have a few songs ready. Let’s see if any of them make it to the album. I think so, because the new material is very strong. But it’s too early to say yet.
So far you have only been performing live in Finland, but thankfully you have gigs coming up in continental Europe. I hope that I will come over to see you play gigs in Suomi (Finland), but until then can you describe the reactions of the Finish crowds that you have played for? How fierce is the mosh pit when you play in Finland? I can’t possibly think of any other band that can initiate a more violent mosh pit. The way that I am imagining it, is that if anyone gets caught in this type of a mosh pit, his or her health must be in serious mortal danger, no matter how much experience one might have in being part of fierce mosh pits!
We’ve had some good mosh pits for sure. The crowd has been great everywhere, not just here in Kuopio. And that’s the way it should be. When the crowd is loud the band is louder. And the more people there are in the audience the better we play for sure. We have played to the audiences between 100 and 300 people, it’s not that much but it’s getting better all the time. In Finland mosh pits are not that sick I think. The gents are usually gentlemen and pick up any ladies who have fallen down and that’s the way it should be. You can and you should go crazy like a twisted fuck but nobody wants to see anyone get hurt.
What are your thoughts on your hometown’s scene? I know that the Deathchain members are involved in other bands too, but I don’t know of any other bands coming from that city. I hear that a "Kuopio Metal Music Union" has just been established, so how many people are into Metal in Kuopio? How big is the city and how is it to leave there? I am one of the people that believe that Suomi is going to be –if it is not already- the new Sweden. You produce hundreds and hundreds of bands. Why do you think that is? What are the contributing factors and what is your opinion on the Finish scene? Can you mention any bands that you guys like / appreciate and maybe some that you recommend to our readers?
Well I must say that the metal scene here in Kuopio is stronger than ever. And that goes for the rest of the country as well. Although the city is not that big (about 85,000 people), there all lots of good and talented bands in here. And they’re all doing their own thing and not trying to copy anyone else. There’s death, thrash and black bands and most of them have already released some albums. To mention a few, De Lirium’s Order, a technical deathrash band including Corpse on vocals is pretty amazing. They came up with their debut album “Victim No. 52” just some weeks ago. And then there’s this band called Shade Empire, a melodic blackmetal band including Kuolio on vocals. They also released their debut album a month ago called “Sinthetic”. And then there’s also Trollheims Grott, a black metal band founded by our drummer Kassara many years ago. They’ve released two albums already titled “Bizarre Troll Technology” and “Bloodsoaked and Ill-fated”. Nowadays me, Corpse and Kuolio are also fulltime members of Trollheims Grott, and vocals are handled by Kassara’s brother Spellgoth. Of course when the population of the city is not that big, it leads to the fact that same guys play in some same bands. Then there’s a band called Flame, an old school blackmetal band and Turmion Kätilöt, they released two singles so far in the vein on Rammstein. But the Finland’s metal scene in general is very strong at the moment. Last year was a good year for new bands. Bands like Machine Men, Swallow the Sun, Diablo and Deathbound came up with their amazing albums. You must check them all out! So beyond the bigger names like Children of Bodom, the underground is very strong. New bands coming from everywhere. I don’t know the reason for that but the fact is that Finland is a fucking metal country. I think the key factor is just that the new generation is growing up and they want to kick some ass. Another great thing is that there’s so much different kinds of bands, not just death or thrash. Ten years ago our capital city Helsinki was also a heavy metal capital of our country, almost every single metal band came from there. But now the things have changed radically. The central and northern Finland have joined the game with dozens of great bands. What can I say, it looks pretty fucking good at the moment. Fuck Sweden.
What can we expect from Deathchain in the near future? Give me your thoughts on how you see this band developing and what you think that you have managed to achieve so far. Tell me if you are happy with the kind of tempo that you are developing and if you can do anything to improve on your development. Mind you, I think that because you are a new band from a new label you have to work harder than a way more average band than you that is signed to a very established label. I hear that your album –and rightfully so- has only received fantastic reviews in your home country, but I see that in some other areas –and it is sad that my home country Hellas (Greece) is one such example- your reviews are good but somehow (?) the review marks are not representative of the actual value of the masterpiece that you have produced, as I strongly feel that “Deadmeat Disciples” is a 10 / 10 type of an album. I know that I have saved the only unpleasant question for last, but I want to ask you how you feel about the reviewers who just passed your effort without giving the appropriate attention to “Deadmeat Disciples” and if you would advice these people to take the wax of their ears, so that they can hear properly by visiting their local doctor more often ;-)
The near future of Deathchain? Lots and lots of gigs. Lots and lots of practising. And writing new songs for the next album that we’re gonna records sometime on the fall I think. Nothing has been confirmed yet. Right now we want to play as many gigs as possible and outside Finland too. Thats about it. Well I think we have worked really hard to get this point so there’s no point to stop here. Of course we want to develop as a band and make a lot of killer records. We’re still quite a new band and we still have a lot to learn. We know that nowdays some bands who doesn’t deserve it, get themselves a record deal. Back in the old days you had to be really good to get one. But we think that we have deserved it with our hard work and strong material. And what comes to the reviews…they’re always an opinions of single person. I don’t take them too seriously. Everybody has a right to like or dislike our album, I don’t care that much. Of course it’s a great thing whenever someone likes our album like you, but I don’t get any sleepless nights if someone says our album is a piece of shit. Don’t take it wrong, of course the fans are important for us. But if someone doesn’t like us, it’s ok and not our problem. But if you’re not into Slayer you should fucking die hah hah haa!!! Thanks man, for the interview and everything!!! Stay metal and if you want some more detailed info about Deathchain’s legions log on to www.deathchain.com.
Just before we go, I have asked Deathchain’s label manager to tell me how people can buy the album. Here is his reply:
Actually we are now on accepting credit cards (Visa, EuroCard and MasterCard) in our shop!! So it's very easy to make an order for now on! Price of the album is 13 euros and the price includes also packing and postage bills. Shop can be found here: www.dynamicartsrecords.com/shop.php. There's also a link from our main page (SHOP).
Links of interest:
Dynamic Arts Records