This is not a normal interview (Qui versione Italiana). Probably because the people involved aren’t normal. Anyway I wanted to take you with me, backstage (ouch!), sitting there, with The Monolith Deathcult guys. We talked, joked, laughed (a lot), took pictures, drank coffee… Rather a group of mates having fun after the show, instead of a normal journalist vs band relationship, with everybody stuck in their professional role. So, follow me…
I arrived to RockHard Festival 2014 at early hours. I texted Robin, who hadn’t any better thing to do than replying me almost immediately. So we met. Took stupid pictures. And agreed to meet after their gig for this interview. TMDC arrived at the venue the same day of the gig. As previous day flight got cancelled due to a storm. They had issues with luggage. Stuff got broken. Lost. They probably almost got arrested and -still probably of course- were at the gig on parole, or they bought their freedom bribing some custom agent.
So I get to the backstage with Robin and Michiel. My photographer got almost arrested by the security, but got released thanks to a kind smile from my side -that read like ‘you either let him in or you come to take the pics’-… something the Security guy wasn’t interested into, as I wasn’t about to interview the sexy performers of the last band of the bill, rather two nasty death metallers, taller than him (but not than me!).
At a point I turn on the recorder, I do record interviews… I use a device of the same brand of the one that didn’t work on stage, so I ain’t sure it recorded what we actually said. Anyway when I hit REC we were talking about what a monolithic disaster the gig has been. This after we got a cup of boiling coffee, took a seat, Michiel pushed the bench that felt on the ground with such a loud noise I thought Deicide were already onstage. Nevertheless, here it is.
MH, me. The director of this absurd unearthly orchestra.
R: Robin Kok and his dementia. Also fretless bass (frets were too expensive) and voice.
M: Michiel Dekker, the Dictator. Also Guitars and Voice, whenever they’re properly plugged.
The Photographer. He doesn’t speak. He is the photographer. But he was there witnessing this scum.
Enjoy this adventure. If you’ll experience permanent anxiety afterward, or any other kind of mental disorder, don’t forget they are both shrink. They can help if the price is right.
M: …drummer lost his click track, what was going on, so we did three reboot
R: We rebooted the entire system after we rebuilt the rack in the backstage room because we had to figure everything out from scratch again
MH: anyway congratulations for how you managed it. I’ve seen million gigs, important bands, big bands, even bigger than you…
R: are there bigger bands than us?
MH: mmhh… no! … and they get pissed off and say NO, we don’t play anymore.
R: we had few choices. Either wait until it’s fixed…
R:… than might not happen, we walk away and that is not the kind of people we are, or we just try to manage the situation, take control, and we just play what we can play without backing tracks
M: totally dry
MH: yes, it was really evil!
R: you know, leaving with few hundred people watching… I mean, just for us, for our honor, and also for the people, I mean, they could say “they cannot play anything without a laptop, they are shit” you know…
MH: no really, congratulations for how you managed it, it was even funny
M: it was the only thing we could do, even the crew, the sound guy said “If was on the stage I would stop the show”. (but) he wasn’t on stage, we were on stage…
R: with 400 people on front of us
M: we were looking forward to the show!
MH: ok, shall we do…
R: the real interview?
MH: the 666 questions I’ve for you?
And here we start laughing. As we did already. And will do in the next 40 minutes: 5 minutes of spoken interview, the rest is laughter.
M: I’d like to say before the real thing starts, we promise we will make it all right, we will come back. I will discuss it with promoters, we can see what we can do, because we can do much better. It sucks so hard….
and stopping whatever crap Michiel was saying, sorry Michiel…
MH: .. there are two things, all of us will have free gig…
R: of course
MH: and you need a new computer.
R: you know, it’s been 11 years since we’ve been to Italy, and we really … I know you hate the word, but we were excited to be here. And everything went right. I mean we lost a piece of luggage, and it was sorted… and we were on the way back and we were like “what could possibly go wrong”! This could possibly go wrong! Everything at this fest is handled so well (and I’ve to thanks the promoters), all so professionally, even the food is delicious. We are ashamed to be in our underwear like this …
aehm, not literally, to be clear…
R: We want to fix it. Someway.
M: …we will find a way to fix it with the Italian people.
R: WE WILL BE BACK
…this was with almost Transformers-alike evil 666 death bloody voice…
M: we played ok, but it was not much fun for us because we were distressing, “What would the crowd think?”
R: we want the crowd to get the full experience
MH: I do relationship with a public too, and when something go wrong…
R: you have to do some damage control
he says this stopping whatever crap I was saying…so…trying to gain control….
but he did hit me with a baseball bat to make me shut the fuck up… and…
R: we didn’t fake it. We just played without backing tracks, we know our songs, but it’s not the full deathcult we know we can give to people, we know we can give to people, we want to give to people.
MH: tomorrow maybe, stay here overnight!
And this proved them how smart and brilliant I am.
M: why not?
Ok, no comment…
R: very probably it will work tomorrow!
MH: I know the organizer, I could ask him! So….
M: The real interview….
R: The real interview….
MH: the first question is…
but Robin stops me with a blaze of his monolithic deathcult eyes…
R: the first question is why do you have always perfect live performances…
And now it’s getting hard to hold back laugther… and we haven’t started yet. I love my job!
MH: Where’s Peter Cullen? Because you told me I was supposed to interview him
for those of you ignoring who he is, you don’t deserve to live. Google it!
R: no… this is a bit embarrassing, because you know we locked him in a box to get our samples, that went well and we sudden lost the keys to the box, so he’s like Schrödiner’s Cullen, he may or may not be alive in the box right now…
…more laughter thundering…
R: well I don’t want to know!
MH: Me neither!
MH: It is 11 years you don’t come here.
R: We played….
I fucking stop him and continue my question! Ha! I won!
MH: Considering the band is 12 years old is almost like saying you never been here…
R: Statistically… Yes! Realistically… No!
And this proved me that Robin is a math freak too. He will regret this later on…
MH:So, and the flight that was cancelled. Was it a real storm or some fake news to cover some terrorist threat?
R: no there was a computer problem in London Heathrow…
M: always a computer problem!
MH: I saw it!
R: …south western storms in the Netherlands and as usually Italy, all of it was on strike!
I turn to Enrico, my photographer, he is a pro-shrink exactly as both the Deathculter I got in front of me… my inner self started to freak out… I was being checked…
MH: true, we were on strike yesterday. I worked, but we were on strike.
R: The only one working!
M: we saw on a news edition, shouting people, …
MH: yeah, typical Italian!
R: it’s just a typical Friday in Italy
MH: yeah, we wanted that Friday off!
…and more laughter… actually I shall clearly write when we weren’t laughing, but the interview would be over…. here.
MH: Let’s talk a little business. About your last album. Everybody asked you everything, I’ve read everything. But what I don’t know is about the cover. That has been done by Andrew Android Jones…
of course another evil attempt to control the scene, fucking frontmen, my question wasn’t over!
MH: How did you find him, was him free to create the cover, or did you give him some guidelines such like a gun pointed at his head?
R: It’s your story
he tells this to Michiel, who’s sitting at his right side
M: The creation is a story that isn’t a great story.
MH: because I hope he would design a Nintendo’s Mario on the cover, as he worked for Nintendo too
news: we were laughing!
MH: use it as next cover!
M: ok, the story was we didn’t have a cover for well hours before the deadline. We were always people working to the deadline and in the last week suddenly pops up and we get something brilliant. But this time it didn’t happen!
R: can we give the back story of it?
Again talking to Michiel. Still sitting at his right side, but a little further away… wonder why…
R: the back story is that we really wanted to have the front cover of the album done … to be a picture of HR Giger who passed away last year. And we worked for month on that but it didn’t work at last moments. The artwork we wanted is a photograph in the museum in Switzerland but we couldn’t get the right photograph from the right angle on time, so we had to find something withing 12 hours while we were actually mixing the album itself. And we were sitting in a room, just waiting for the kid at the mixer to finish something
M: got the laptop, internet
R: google images…
…aehm…laughter…and Robin describing and keyboard miming the search query on google, properly hitting fingers on the table, I am sure he typed it correctly, even if I ain’t sure whether Dutch keyboard has the same layout as mine:
R: ‘RANDOM COOL EVIL METAL COVERS SATAN 666 ENTER’
M: I did a google search on a alien life form, because I like aliens and stuff, and then I saw that picture! Wow that’s very cool! So we tried to reach Android Jones. But Android Jones is sort of a cyber hippie, you can’t reach him…
MH: send him an email!
M: so the time was ticking away… so we got a picture we paid a lot of money for it and finally just hours from the deadline we got it on the cover, and all the flags and stuff. But it was a last minute decision.
R: there’s no concept or idea, rather what we put up for concept it’s a CLICK CLICK CLICK that’s cool, I want it!
M: The picture fits onto the concept for the album, alien life forms, some terrible transformers aliens, you name independence day, so picture is sort of a alien Sheeva, it fits into the album but we had to find the guy because the picture on the internet is good enough to print
R: yeah, also copyright issues etc etc
M: so I was awake at night checking my emails
Robin starts hitting a finger on the table as to click an instant message sending button or something:
R: PLEASE ANSWER! PLEASE ANSWER! PLEASE ANSWER! PLEASE ANSWER! PLEASE ANSWER! WOOH BOOOH!!!!
…I guess that meant Android Jones (can I call him Indy?) finally answered…
MH: as I didn’t know him, I checked wikipedia and his art is described as Electromineralism with a tendency of Pop-Shamanism. Does this fit in any way with your music?
…wondering what the fuck I asked…
R: Yes and no.
R: I thought “NO”. Let’s decide on “MAYBE”. I mean if you’re the kind of question that goes for like pretentious wankery, well that’s your kind of style. Cool artwork. Full stop.
MH: still another serious question. What kind of Italian food would represent your music?
They think about it for a while…
R: Tonight probably just re-heated formate.
R+M: with pepper on top!
MH: now that I saw the gig I have more information… but anyway the question is: Recently on facebook you wrote that as a band you always did a strong DIY ethic saying “We never settled for ‘something like that doesn’t exist’ – we just build it ourselves!”. And there was a picture of a device. Which probably is the one that didn’t work tonight
R: No, it’s the one that isn’t finished yet! Like all the hi fi projects!
MH: What electric device would you really dream to build?
R: I would try to build an electric device that eliminates all electronic problems, with a big button on top.
MH: It makes sense…
R: Yeah… In the light of the night I would build that first, and then finish my project me & electronics
MH: and what is the non existing thing you mostly want to create. Musically I meant!? …The music that doesn’t exist and you would like to create.
M: this is a good one, the music we play now…
MH: I got some serious questions too…
M: that’s no problem
R: that’s right!
M: … for me the music we play at this moment, it’s not to be bla bla, I think it’s fairly unique cuz all other bands just feels like BEHEMOTH, but BEHEMOTH uses a lot of sample and orchestration and they have a totally different sound vibes. You got Septic Flesh, cuz we played last with Septic Flesh, they have also orchestration and stuff but the band, for me, what they do is too easy, how I would say that…
R: It’s like apology music. It’s like deep down you feel they can do better. But they just settle for good enough.
M: I think the music we play is a mixture of cools band of tonight… I am 35 now, and the coolest bands for me were Type O Negative and the old Fear Factory industry, the old Strapping Young Lad, a little bit of Cradle Of Filth… put ’em all together and you got Monolith Deathcult, the music we play now.
R: Only much more commercial!
And more laughter….
MH: you have to make a living out of that…
M: For me…
R: We all working for the money!
M: the music we play now is sort of Strapping Young Lads with Death metal touch. And I think it’s unique. I don’t mean unique cuz “look we are so good”…
R: But we are. Just not tonight…
MH: there are two bands I really feel are unique, one is you the other is Mysticum that recently put out an album.
R: Yeah, they just put out an album “Planet Satan” which is absolutely fantastic
MH: yeah! I rated it 666/10!
M: oh really!
MH: You look like a pretty unite team, a technology nerds team. You changed just ONE member in story of the bands…
…And Robin tried again to take some evil control of this interview that should be mine….
R: …and there’s one who left to get famous, didn’t get famous, and got back, after we did all kind of cool gigs…
To spoil his secret agent attitude, you shall know he’s talking about Carsten Altena, keyboards.
M: and we lost Martijn
…Martijn Moes, guitars, yes, I checked metal-archives…
R: and we lost Martijn, yeah!
M: we got Ivo for these three years, he replaced original player who left the band without arguments… or something
R: he just wanted to do something else, so, respect for that.
MH: What is the secret to be so fit together? Because a lot of bands keep changing line up. I mean Vektor that just played, is one original guy and the others are new.
M: I think….
R: he is a dictator and he doesn’t allow people to leave…
R: that’s one…
M: and we have the same age, we came from the same area, all easy going…
R: we came from the same background
M: we all have jobs, I am a teacher, he works in university and is sort of a teacher, you know we got job…
R: I think we all come from the same place…
M: We’re sort of friend, sort of friends…
R: I hate your guts!
M: Yeah, you hate my guts but the the rest of the band are friends… there’s no no main reason for that. It just happens. Just now, it was very bad for us the show, all bands would fight and have arguments…
R: and we were backstage and we were like “what went wrong, how can we solve this”
M: the keyboard player was totally… so we said “it’s not your fault! It’s a fuck up!”
R: it’s not anyone’s fault in particular, it happens
MH: it’s %&$£€ fault!
As you see, evil governments won’t let me freely express, and they censored the brand of that computer!
R: we will tell him it is his fault, but deep down we know it’s not his fault. We just don’t tell him that! We just keep blaming him!
MH: And what are the advantages to be the same band members all the time? If you do an album now you are the same guys that have been there for the past 10 years or about.
R: I don’t think we are the same guys at all, I mean you change in 10 years, I mean we changed between the first album “The Apotheosis” and the second album “The White Crematorium”, then we changed again for “Trivmvirate”, and we changed again for “Tetragrammaton”… but we all change together. That’s the difference. I mean you change and…
MH: putting the friendship as a basis?
R: well…you can change and move different directions, or also change as a group together. Also he is a dictator. Main reason. He is a dictator.
Michiel looks pleased as his subject seems like recognizing his supremacy…
M: we know what other people can do within the band, so there’s no distress “oh my god, the album isn’t finished, the artwork isn’t finished”. We all know everything is going to be all right be all right for 12 years…
But Robin overrides whatever the Dictator wanted to say, and that sounds like a revolution, isn’t it?
R: Bottom line is that we have great working relationship -no homo… no touching…-
And Michiel trying to save himself from what Robin overrode…
M: … I can’t remember that we had huge arguments. I can’t remember. As a band.
But the revolution goes on… hasta la victoria siempre…
R: because we all know there’s no point in doing so, because …
So, trying to save some decency and keeping the topic serious…
MH: you fit together because you fit, not because of the business…
R: I think because we all have similar working background, and the same mid class background whatever, we all have a really strong working attitude, that’s “let’s get the job done!”. And that’s it. No whining. No arguments. We need to get the job done. We need to do the best we can with the stuff we have, no whining, just get stuff done. Now. No egos, whatever. Except that he is a dictator.
MH: of course
Here I am losing all my hopes… I start thinking they are having fun of me. So I fight back with some cynic metallic fucking evil math. Math kills. And I show no mercy:
MH: Your country, you’re some 16 million inhabitants.
MH: well about, just the cut number without digits details…
And Robin using an academic voice, kinda like a voice user manual
R: “Check it on wikipedia dot org, search for The Netherlands”
MH: yeah, I did… Metal Archives says there are 2000 bands in Holland. That means there’s a metal band every 8,000 inhabitants. In Italy this is about a band every 11,000 inhabitants, for Germany -with a lot more people- it’s a band every 8,700 inhabitants. What’s the secret of such an impressive proliferation in Holland? Even in a wide range of music genres from prog to death metal…
R: A musical Incest!
M: Everybody is playing…
MH: …of course apart that you have nothing better to do!
R: we’re bored shitless
M: You can also think Holland is very small. If you live in the south and have your band in the north..
But Robin is trying to take control, he wants to dethrone the dictator!
R: No problem! It’s just 2 hours train right away. I live on the west of The Netherlands, they live in the East. It’s one hour and a half maximum traveling!
M: we are one of the few bands where just one man plays in another metal band. But most of the bands in Holland, say drummer plays in four or five bands. So it’s sort of a incest like he said. And I think this is why there are so many band in Holland and there is a lot of places where you can practice for less money…every village, every town has a rehearsal space, where you can hire your players for a afternoon for 7 Euros.
R: if you want to start a band, you google for half an afternoon and then you are done, you got a band together, you got a drummer, you got two guitars and basses, that’s it!
M: That’s not maybe professional but….
I don’t know what they said, they were talking one over the other, so whatever useless stuff they claimed will be forever lost. Who cares anyway?
MH: Is it easy for your band in Netherlands, in Europe, in the planet? Is music still feeding artists like you nowadays?
M: you mean if we make money out of it?
MH: If you are living out of it, at least if you’re trying … and be close to…
M: well, we can’t complain
R: it’s not feeding us, but we all have decent jobs, but it’s not like we have to sink huge amount of personal money into it
M: sometimes… sometimes…
R: we are doing, but we aim at best for break even. That’s good. Break even is good.
M: Because that’s a hobby, it’s good to do, for me it’s not a problem if I’ve to pay for a flight ticket, but it’s very cool to have the break even, it good to break even because you can’t do 3 times a month and pay for your own fly tickets to go do the show…
Robin is worried, and he whispers to Michiel:
R: we are totally ruining my image of being commercial, I am playing for the money…
MH: I’ve the commercial questions upcoming
R: Oh Excellent!
M: erase everything just said before that…
and speaking like he was in front of a crowd of slaves, His Majesty’s subjects…
R: Yes! Just give us your money, you worms!
Guess what? laughter!
MH: Well: Tetra-whatever-tron was released…
R: No Tetra-Gramma-tLon!
And Robin, speaking in a tantric foreign planet language…
R: ….. Tetra-Megaloni!
MH: Ok, that album, the one with the cover we just talked about.
R: The last one?
MH: The last one… was released 583 days ago today
…and that was December 13rd 2014… and to be clear, it was 16×247 or 8×1107 or 2×10.0100.0111 days it got released, that day…
MH: I did the math
R: Time for a party!!! RELEASE PARTY
inviting everybody around us, a lot of people, but sadly no one gave a fuck about this party… such a pity since nobody brought us free alcohol. Or drugs! And I go like:
MH: … it’s about 1.6 years ago. And, are you doing something new? Something that I can listen to in 148 days from today, which is the average an album every two years, that a proper rockstar should do.
R: we’ll be sooner because we’ll be releasing an EP in…
M: March 22nd!
MH: Wow this is a news! Thanks for the news!
Of course I sold the news to biggest magazines in the planet, hoping to become awfully rich. But those fuckers didn’t wire transferred the cash to my account yet!
M: it’s not in the internet yet, because at the moment it’s mixed, but we’re working on the cover and stuff…
MH: well, the cover is for the last day, the last 12 hours!
R: We tried that, it didn’t work!
…he -and my photographer- laugh loud about this pretty stupid joke. Which was second -in a stupidity ranking- only to mine….
M: we got that problem, yes, but we are working on a very disturbing cover, sort of “mind fuck you” that you will check out.. and we’ll start promoting it in January, when we’re done with the gigs, we have two gigs after this one… and what we did is our first album “The Apotheosis” was totally sold out, really sold out, so what can we do….
R: Because we are sells out…
his jokes are getting worse and worse… wondering if he’s drinking coffee or what…
M: right, so what we can do…
R: because we’re sell-outs!
M: we own the rights, we can go to the record plant and say “print another two thousands” but we… I’ve to check… I was never satisfied with the music on… that’s on this album, so… I called all and said, why aren’t we rerecording the six best tracks of “The Apotheosis”…
there were 9 tracks on that album. It’s a miracle if they can save 2 or 3… let’s see how the get to 6!!! This is optimism!
M:…in a way as we sound now. So it’s what we did, we took the best tracks of “The Apotheosis”, give it another name….
so they will be selling us stuff as new, when it’s actually rebadged old crap! At least I hope they’ll price it 6,66€ -or 66,6€- just to complete that ‘we fucked you bastards’ attitude
M: …so you say ‘wow, new music’
exactly my idea… I shall run some business with these beasts!…
M: ah, we wrote new lyrics for it…
at this point I wonder if it wasn’t easier doing a cover EP, choosing stuff from either Rihanna or Justin Bieber… just to be pretty fucking commercial. Try to imagine that crap with double bass drum and growl!
M:…and Carsten our keyboard player, and the result was very cool! So called from Season of Mist and they said they’re interested and want to release it. We did an acoustic track, really, from “Tetragrammaton” album… the acoustic track…
MH: like tonight…
They both laugh. Hopelessly. I am now sure they thing I am an idiot. And I agree.
M: I don’t know if you know what we did in Iceland. This summer we played in Iceland, and we did an acoustic track on the national radio….
…Probably the only national radio in the world accepting to broadcast a performance of these guys…
M: and the idea was so cool that we decided…
and trying to shut this crap off… after all we all want death metal, not acoustic Icelandic tango…
MH: I’ve seen, I’ve heard about it…
M: back to the EP, it’s not new music…
R: we just re-did the shit…
M: yes, but for the younger fans that has learned to know us from 2008, they do not know that for sure, so this is not to be a sell out, because…
R: We are sells out
M: … it costs four to five years to write a new album because of jobs and the fact I am not satisfied with the songs, so to fill the gap between “Tetragrammaton” and the new album, we release the EP, and start writing for new stuff.
MH: and making some money
M: yeah, of course, of course
R: Essentially, we’re just making money and trying, you know, to pass off some old shit as new stuff.
M: On March 23 the of the EP is released and it’s called “BLOODCVLTS”.
Before they said March 22. This confirm how serious they are. NOT. Moreover when you’re going to read this, it will be known that the release date is going to be March 15, Ides Of March (Long Life Caesar!).
M: That’s about Boko Haram, ISIS, you name all the bloodcults we have, and I think it’s a really cool release. Because I wrote the songs of course.
R: also the profit margin is really high on that one
And with this sentence we end the commercial break. Back to the fucking interview.
MH: Since Optimus Prime will probably not be available, because he I still locked in the box and dead, who will do, if you will have, those cool introduction text like on the Tetra Gramma Whatever is Called Album.. because it’s really good!
M: Agree, agree. There’s not a plan. But I could never imagine we would work with… we just mailed the guy, talked about some money…
R: We threatened his family and stuff, just some low level….
M: So I said ok, I give you the money, and I want you to do one hour of stuff for us. He did a lot of samples we can use, but after Optimus Prime I don’t know how to…
R: If we’d do it again it’d just become a gimmick. It’s nice for one album…
M: …we will do it again, just not with Optimus Prime
MH: yeah, that’s what I am asking, who would do it
M: Morgan Freeman
Michiel continues the sentence with a cool imitation of Morgan Freeman, but I cut this for pure copyright reasons (also I didn’t get what movie it was and I might sound silly).
R: maybe Stephen Hawking
Robin does a similar illegal thing… with a robotic voice of course. Cut. But I laughed till I almost died!
MH: Whatever money can buy!
M: it’s a good idea, Stephen Hawking
Robin answers Michiel, still from his alternate personality (Stephen Hawking) with robotic voice. Hope he gets back to be Robin, otherwise my interview is fucked.
M: that’s a really good one!
No. Robin is stuck into the other personality. At a point he sounds like fucking Mickey Mouse. Out of the recording, that now I’ve erased to preserve humanity, I hear myself screaming:
MH: How the fuck will I transcribe this to a text!?
M: you can do that!
Thanks for trusting me Michiel. That boosted my self-esteem. Good shrink boy.
MH: Social networks. You are using them pretty good to feed information to fans. This is a topic I raise with almost very musician I interview, so this makes quite a boring idiot out of me. But nevertheless, what is the power of social network nowadays for musicians like you and your business?
R: I think this is a serious question
MH: well, about…
R: is it about facebook?
MH: yeah, facebook, twitter… youporn…
R: I like youporn!
Everybody is laughing out loud… and this was supposed to be a serious question… Michiel, who doesn’t use these powerful social networks everyday (I mean youporn and pornhub) asks for further info…
MH: It’s a social network!
MH: it socializes people!
R: it’s like xHamster, only I don’t know what xHamster is.
And I am thankful to Robin, I didn’t know about this great social network!
M: but what was the question?
This is the only serious question that went around this meeting: “what was the question?”
MH: what’s the power of social networks in promoting bands nowadays. This is the serious part.
M: I think we came exactly at the right moment to use social media because we started in 2000. 2002.
M: we had our first page. Then myspace came…
MH: is myspace still alive?
R: some form…
M: but social media is a sort of online life.
Here I cannot hear two or three seconds of what he said. Deicide were probably torturing the crowd loud. But does it really matter? I mean, shall I really care if I’ve lost few words? Naaaaa……
M:Social media it’s very cool that people can react immediately to something we put in the internet. If we make a sort of joke, a lot of people are looking on our site if there’s something stupid or our stuff
R: sometimes I do stupid jokes, and I can actually track in realtime the number of people who unlike our page! It’s fun to play with! I think my record is 20 people who un-liked our page in one day!
M: the people who wants to check us out, they just go to internet and check us out, they go to our facebook, they can talk directly…
and me, revealing my high level journalism tricks:
MH: that’s how I set up this interview!
R: so, it works! Proof of concept.
MH: Would you sign a worldwide petition to obtain a “DONT’T LIKE” button on facebook?
R: Sorry, I don’t like what?
Ok, he is gone tosome other personalities
MH: for facebook to create a button which is “DON’T LIKE”.
Is it clear now?
M: A don’t like button!
It is …
R: yeah, why not!
M: I actually wondered for years why there isn’t the DON’T LIKE button
here dialog goes beserk, we all were playing as we were pressing this dream button, un-liking people and everything…
MH: I would like the fuck you button, but I don’t think they are going to do it.
R: or maybe a Grumpy Cat button, that just says: NO.
M: or just fuck yourself…
MH: You’ve abut 7000 likes optimistically on facebook
R: 6,6K or something, but after tonight only few hundreds likes left.
MH: this means that most human beings have no internet access or no they have no facebook account, or they dislike you, or they simply don’t know you. So I’ve four quick questions to let you advertise your band using METALHEAD.IT
R: this is an opportunity in the hypothesis as we just didn’t have enough money to pay the other 7 Billion people to like our page. We have enough money for 6.6K likes, so that’s it.
MH: so to advertise the band…
M: We have to threaten them with nuclear!
R: yeah, why not!
MH: well, to advertise you: How would you define your music genre of your band among Death metal? Melodic death metal? Industrial death metal? Black metal? Hard rock? Pop? Disco or Dance?
M: Industrial death metal
R: yes, the same! Unless you have Glam Disco in there somewhere…
MH: ok, I will add it.
R: OK, Industrial death metal glam disco.
MH: for the new fans or not fans yet, what mental illness shall somebody suffer of, to become a fan of yours?
R: I am a psychologist, so…
And here is where I really freaked out. I had forgotten my pills, was surrounded by shrinks…
MH: also the photographer is a psychologist… so I leave. Bye. Enjoy…
but they all beg me to stay, wondering why…
R: I will send you the DSM-5 file classification
ok, at home I googled for DSM-5, found it, it’s “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” … but there, a the venue, since I did not get any answer, meaning you can suffer any disease to become a fan of theirs… I bravely continue:
MH: Three words to define your music and lyrics
R: Sell out. Commercial. Shit.
MH: And three words to NOT define your music and lyrics
M: Fun, and Happiness!
MH: this was really clear! I am almost at the end, let’s get back to some serious things… the world want to know how you craft a songs. I mean lyrics aren’t easy or simple, and they need a decent historical and society knowledge. What’s the background to arrive to such lyrics.
M: Mostly it starts with a good hook, with a cool sentence; just like with “Todesnacht From Stammheim”, the live set opener from the last album, Robin came up with a sentence “Wir verstehen nur Gewalt”, “We only know violence” in german. I was thinking about that sentence, it is very powerful. Shall we do it quick, or very shouting like. then came the riff. Mostly of each songs there are from 40 to 50 different versions.
MH: 40 to 50????
M: his iTunes is totally spoiled with Deathcult Version 1, Deathcult Version 2…
R: actually at the merchandising we have a tape, a cassette, of course for sale, which has 90 minutes full of those odd versions.
At this point me and my photographer freaked out. We tell them we were discussing about the topic before, while driving to the venue. Talking about the return of those great things such as vinyl and cassettes. We say we want to buy their cassette, and they looked at us, they felt pity for us, saw how much we suffer and starve… and…
R: we’ll give you tapes!
M: we have tapes and we’ll give you tapes.
… let me add they really did. After this worthless interview Michiel quickly ran to the merch booth and gifted us with two tapes! One each! Thanks mates, and to say the only serious thing here: THANKS!
M: the point is I am never satisfied. Sometimes, I am a teacher, I got holidays, and I am at home and I plug my guitar, my computer, I am ready, drink a cup of coffee, and now we’re gonna write some song! NOTHING! NOTHING! So when we’re at last day, some day I’ve to start working on Monday, just been on holidays, and it’s Sunday evening, when the clock is ticking, you’ve to go to bed because tomorrow you’re working… and then it’s coming! It’s coming all the way!
MH: it’s how I write! It’s always 2 or 3 AM! And you got to wake up at 7!
R: I think metal is not just relaxed music! So you cannot write it in a relaxed state!
M: and then the song is ready, and people are listening to it, and say “that’s good!”. But for me it’s not good. So I’ve to restart, redo whole stuff, take music from another that gets totally blended, so they get a new mp3. So that’s how it works. We crafted and crafted and crafted, even when it’s mixed I change it! “Oh that riff must be one time extra and we did a new bridge”.
MH: well, I change my reviews when they’re online!
Everybody laughs. I guess they feel sorry for me..
R: I was wrong. This is shit.
Probably he was pointing his finger to METALHEAD.IT stickers, whatever. So, a shitty webzine interviewing a not talented (their words) band. And you’re wasting your worthless time to read this. I love it!!!
MH: How can you remember all those lyrics when sing live? Do you sing whatever comes into your mind, since you’re growling so people can’t understand a shit?
M: you don’t know if we remember it, because we’re doing growling!
MH: so, you probably sing… whatever…
R: usually I remember the lyrics, sometimes I get mixed up, and quite often there’s someone in the audience who does know the lyrics by heart because fans does, and they would look at me, sing with me, and then confused because I am off track and I am looking at them for guidance!!
M: we read the lyrics so much and we listen to the songs one hundred times before getting mixed. We know the lyrics, but sometimes I forget them. If I am not focused like tonight, I forgot some part of the lyrics.
R: It’s not conscious memory. If you ask me to write down the lyrics I’ll have to think hard, but when I start playing they just come naturally. I don’t even know what I am singing because I am playing as well.
MH: About your look. Because image is important nowadays. On the last album, in the pictures, you look… rather than a death metal band, like bunch of evil attorney…
R+M: Yeah! That was exactly what we were looking for!
MH: what was the idea behind it?
M: we wanted a symptomatic look. Carsten, the keyboard player who fucked up tonight…
this killed us, of course… poor guy! We laughed hard!
M: … he is an art designer, and he is very into movies, the artwork we used on past work looked like a movie, so we had these expendable pictures, that’s what we had in mind, so people standing and looking forward. And… we don’t want to look like a normal death metal band…
MH: Congratulations! I really like that! It was really nice!
M:…for the new album we didn’t do a photo shoot, but we got someone in our home town who can draw very good with the ballpoint and there’s an image of us as judges, so we are all sitting there, judges, firm look, and Carsten the keyboard player who fucked up tonight, the pro-judge with the hammer and he is pointing at you like “Guilty!”. It’s very good. I am sure you will like it!
MH: Fantastic! Well, the last serious thing, then I have two more stupid things… TMDC and religions and politics. If you want to say something about. What’s your relationship with religion and politics?
M: not really with politics. I would call the politics because we sing about things that happened in the past which interested us. But mostly we see a movie. And we saw the movie “Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex” I don’t know if you’ve seen it?
No, I fucking didn’t… I only watch Transformers movies, being a trve deathcult fan, aren’t I?
M: …it’s about the Rote Armee Fraktion of Germany. We watched it and immediately we had to do something with it. Maybe it would look like it’s politics, but it isn’t. Because we aren’t saying who’s right or wrong, we’re just describing what happened. And religious stuff, well it interests me…
MH: I got a suggestion!
I said this showing off, like a poser, my beautiful tshirt that reads “Burn your local church”. That caused further laughing, with everybody enlightened by this wonderful evil idea!
M: look at all that stuff that’s now happening with ISIS. With extremist Islam. Think about inquisition and the church. What it did! A lot of shit is coming from religion. I was raised as a christian, but not going to church anymore, I know the doctrine an stuff but for me it’s easy to write about it, and it is a little offending people, disturbing, it gets into your skin. I think just normal death metal lyrics are sometimes just joke. Just like Deicide, they are very anti religious but, it’s for me a joke, it’s not on your skin. We like to have people out of the comfort side.
MH: Do you take yourself seriously?
R: we take ourselves seriously and not taking ourselves seriously
M: we take ourselves seriously as a band, as an act, we try to do as good as possible, we like to entertain, we have artworks, we like to do good albums, but we are not… we are joking about a lot of stuff, we are sarcastic, I think a lot of people are too serious in the death metal scene. Too serious.
R: we take our work seriously, but if you insult our album we won’t be, you know, angry or something. We’d just go “so what”. We don’t take ourselves THAT seriously. I know a lot of bands that take themselves so seriously you can’t say anything negative about them because they’re like a bunch of teens
M: we make jokes about the metal scene, and the people in the metal scene feel provoked! So you’re a metal act who feels provoked… and that’s the whole thing about metal…
R: it’s ok to provoke outside the metal scene, but it’s somehow wrong to provoke inside the metal scene
M: so you can write lyrics about slaughtering, raping, everything.
MH: Like Cannibal Corpse
M: And we wrote lyrics that aren’t anti christian but anti islam. Because it’s for us the same… and the scene says, especially in Germany… “oh they are very wild … we feel so provoked… oh my god”. And I think “what the fuck, OF COURSE YOU’RE PROVOKED, we are a metal band!”. We don’t sing about flowers, you know!
R: a scene that pride itself for having a very fuck-you attitude, it’s really hypercritical to be very selective in what you’re supposed to provoke, I mean, you can provoke this… but you can’t provoke this! Off limits somehow. How do you rhyme that with being a metal guy who’s like “fuck the world”, “I don’t care”… ? It doesn’t make sense!
M: Sometimes it happens with one of the people we work a lot with, around management or something, he says, one time he said to us “Try to be less provocative on next album”. What? NO!
R: NO! We don’t do less provocative, we don’t even know how to!
R: We don’t do safe music. Metal isn’t safe music! Disco is safe music!
M: And we’re always like that, we are very proud of it. We’re tongue in cheek! We can write very nasty lyrics about the Third Reich. We can write very nasty lyrics about the Soviet Union like we are communist. It’s very tongue in cheek. People who don’t get that, feel provoked. It’s exactly our mission. It gets very entertaining for us.
R: We laugh at anyone, but we’d be glad to just laugh about ourselves. We thought about doing an album about every imaginable war crime that the Dutch did, you know? Just looking at ourselves. Why not. Who’s got a problem with that?
MH: The next with the Italians too?
M: there’s something like a metal bible saying you can’t sing about this, you can sing only about that.
R: yes, that’s safe, that’s not…
M: don’t sing about Judaic, cuz you’re right wing, don’t sing about radical islam… no no no, that’s forbidden, you can only sing about slaughtering, satanist…
R: Kill the christian is fine…
M: but just don’t kill the muslim…
R: A necro-pedophilia from Cannibal Corpse is fine, you know?
M: but also we never said “kill the cristian”, we never did some lyrics like that, also we never did the “kill the muslim” one, our lyrics are more, are deeper, are more dealing with…
MH: Yes, agree, I read them, so…
M: but for me it’s fun that people in the metal scene feel provoked, for me it’s victory…
R: Mission accomplished! I can watch “Faces of Death” movie three times without crying, you know, but don’t make songs about islam!
Ok that was fucking serious. I fully agree with the dudes. But I got a dignity. I must bring this dialogue back to crap and stupid jokes. Just for not getting you too bored… so…
MH: Do you think I am asking you some professional and deep questions?
MH: OK, thank you…
Robin breaks out laughing… I guess he cannot believe I am so stupid. Probably none of his personalities can believe it. But I am very serious…
MH: this was a REAL question! I will not cut it, it will be in the interview! What do you think about you fans and mostly about the readers of METALHEAD.IT ?
R: Considering as most of them saw us performing tonight… we really love them! Hope that will make it up… And we’re happy they didn’t run away!
MH: It’s a political answer!
R: no, because we really mean it!
MH: Thank you. Well, this is the last one. Since I’ve been abusing of your time… before you send me an invoice for this…
R: We will just get killed inside here… by angry fans
MH: Ah…Can I have the last cigarette?
MH: Thanks! Can you close this worthless interview with a Monolithic Deathcultish message to the few friends and relatives that will maybe read, or maybe not, this amount of shit?
R: Buy our stuff. Make us rich!
M: Make us rich and famous!
R: I wanna quit my job and snort coke off a stripper arsehole
MH: and a private Jet
MH: And groupies!
M: Don’t be jealous now
R: Don’t to drugs. Give it to me
M: Always use condoms
MH: Thanks for it
R: You’re welcome
MH: Can I stop it?
MH: You don’t want to add something?
And with a sexy voice…
M: We’re so sorry.
And that was it. Luckily no fans came to kill the band, with us of METALHEAD.IT included. We kept on making stupid jokes and taking stupid pics (sorry photographer, but if you take pics of us, you are taking stupid pics).
I didn’t took myself seriously. As the band didn’t take me seriously and didn’t take themselves seriously either. Also I was so impressed they were there, doing the interview, relaxed after the stage issues they had. When I saw the problems they had during the gig, I was afraid Robin would don’t even text me to tell the interview was cancelled. If that happened I would have even understood it, of course. But they were there, even joking about what happened. I truly believe I met a different band. And I am not just talking about the music they do, after all it’s a sequence of chords and words, with few keys in between (when they work). I am truly saying I met some different musicians. They are almost the garage band, doing it in the free time after Saturday lunch, before dinner…but they just keep releasing stuff, great stuff, with a great work behind it. This is not even comparable with any garage band level. They’re simply great.
But they are real. After the interview one guy of their staff, an older dude, took one of those METALHEAD.IT stickers I gifted the band with. I later learned this man was Robin’s father. He was there. With his son and the band. As a roadie somehow. He was there seeing what his son and the band have created. And humanly I think this is great. Before meeting them, I just had some online chats (probably there was another guy behind the online account, some hacker, how can I know?), but after meeting Robin and Michiel I felt like I’ve been knowing them for a life time. Now when I listen to their songs I can paint that picture in my head, understanding who’s singing every single part (there are three singers in this band), kinda like I am in the rehearsal room with them. And that’s fucking fantastic! I met two great musicians, part of a great band: but there was nobody playing a role. They were Robin Kok and Michiel Dekker: the same guys on those album pictures, the same guys onstage, the same guys by the merchandising booth, the same guys I interviewed, the same guys they are in their daily life. And that’s pretty rare nowadays. And simply great!
(Photos: Enrico ‘Burzum’ Pauletto)