Saturday, June 15, 2013

Atrocity Interview In The Latest Issue Of New Noise Magazine (Exclusive Unused Questions!)

Atrocity have not only performed death metal, but have also experimented with industrial, classical and gothic elements as well as full on darkwave akin to DEAD CAN DANCE, making you one of the most versatile bands on the market today. But how do you decide exactly what kind of album you’re going to make?

Tosso: All the different facets and evolutions in our band have never been planned or decided rationally. They happened because of our love and passion for music and the will to push the boundaries, to move into exciting and new musical territories. We always took a high risk with these musical adventures and made it difficult for the press to categorize the band. But it’s not our intention to be categorized. We wanna play the music that we feel, instead of bringing the same kind of albums on the market over and over again.
Okkult is a return to the classic death metal nature of the band and is the first part of a trilogy. You’ve described the music and subject matter to be very heavy in tone. Can you tell us a little bit about this first chapter to the trilogy? Where was it recorded, and what was that process like?
Alex: Yes, I think that Okkult contains many elements from our musical past, especially the very heavy stuff from our 1990's releases but also Atlantis. "Death by Metal" is the best example for that: Our tribute to death metal actually contains the main riffs of the song, which I wrote originally in 1991 in addition to some brand new riffs! So Okkult combines our roots with new musical ideas and this is simply a new era for Atrocity after such a long history of challenging metal music!

Your last album (After The Storm 2010) took me by complete surprise. Being a fan of Dead Can Dance for several years, I was completely shocked and amazed to see their influence appear on that album. What can you say about this album now and will Okkult build onto this formula, or is it a new sound altogether?
Tosso: After The Storm was a completely different approach to our band than Okkult. With the support of Alex’s sister Yasmin, who already did the Calling The Rain EP in 1995 together with us, we wanted to mix the music styles of metal and ambient ethno music to a kind of "Ethno Metal" which resulted in a great atmospheric album with great songs like "Call Of Yesteryear", "Transilvania" or "Black  Mountain". The mix of all these different elements, including ancient flutes and percussion with tons of ambient sounds, created a very special atmosphere and tension on this album, which we are very proud of. The album is really unique in my opinion.
Let’s talk about the Werk 80 albums. More songs from the 80’s seem to be covered in metal than songs from any other era in music history. What do you think it is about the 80’s that is so appealing to modern music like heavy metal or industrial?
Tosso: Actually when we came up with the idea to perform 80’s pop songs in a metal way in 1996/1997 people were mostly shocked and didn’t understand why we wanted to do such an album. Shortly after, it got a kind of fashionable to do an 80’s pop cover. But when Werk 80 was released, we took a high risk. Many people said that this would be the end of the band, but luckily they were all wrong. Personally I think that music goes in circles and there will always be some kind of revival movement. The 80’s were a very important decade for metal and maybe even more for electronic music, so it’s no wonder that many musicians are influenced by that era or use sounds and ideas from that age.
Alex: Actually, Werk 80 II was a darker version of these classics which we performed together with orchestra and choir, exchanging the electronic elements and keyboards with classical arrangements. I like the combination and idea behind it as well.
How did you come to the decision that you wanted the band to be as versatile as having two distinct sounds and titles to accompany these distinctions?
Alex: Let's see it like this: We like to paint pictures with our music, if we want the picture to be a brutal and scary one we use different ways and colors to paint it than one which is more atmospheric and beautiful.
Much of the music of Atrocity has dealt with arcane and occult mysticism. Recently, you have given us Atlantis and then After The Storm which have both embraced occult concepts, obviously Crowley wrote an interesting account on Atlantis and I would most certainly say that there is an all-around sense of the otherworldly on the last album. Now you’ve given us the most blatant sense of this on the new album, which you’ve simply entitled Okkult. Do you actually study and practice the occult? Where do your lyrics come from?
Alex: I was always very much into history, legends, myths and the dark backgrounds and secrets of mankind and researching them from different sources. The idea to start the Okkult trilogy came up after the release of the Atlantis record (2004). Researching the Atlantis secrets was very inspiring, so the next step was to make an epic trilogy about the mysteries of the world. It is an even bigger challenge and concept, so that is why we’ve decided to make an album trilogy. The lyrics relate to occult magic, mysterious places, conspiracy theories and mysteries that are still unsolved. Actually it's great to take the listener and ourselves on a heavy trip through these dark and mysterious tales, happenings and places in time and there is another very interesting aspect connected to the whole topic: Forever, religion and politics control and manipulate people by their own primal fears... and darkness has been mankind's fear ever since.
Do you think that it is time for mankind to regain these hidden secrets that were lost to them and suppressed by modern religion? Science is coming even closer to proving that things like the string theory may exist with the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle which might suggest the existence of magickal energy. In short, that we can really affect others with our projected thoughts as a dimension would exist for each action.
Alex: It is not modern religion alone. In these fast and furious times of internet and modern technology it seems that there is no more space for things like magic, hidden old wisdom or even paranormal science. Our senses are overloaded by so many new things in daily life but at the same time we lose our connection to our natural surroundings. Too much stress in daily life takes you even away from the simplest ways of thinking and feeling. If we continue like this, we’ll probably end up losing our natural feelings and become like machines. But today's modern societies believe that they know everything although we only use a small part of our brain. But why are there still the same questions? Who are we? Is there a god? Who made god? Where does the universe start and where does it end? These are things we just don't know and that we can't answer. Religion pretends to know the answers, but there are things happening on this planet and in this universe that we just can't explain as human beings. And as our human nature seems to destroy everything which it is afraid of or for the reason of controlling others like politics and religion do, it probably will take a long time until we are really to know how to use our full powers, mind and senses.
What kind of equipment currently makes up the Atrocity sound? What kinds of drums, keyboards, guitars, pedals, amps, and microphones do you use? Do you have any preferred brands?
Alex: In the studio I work with Pro Tools and I like outboard equipment from TL Audio, SPL and TC Electronics for example. For recordings we use e.g. Shure Microphone which is based around the corner from our place.
Tosso: Concerning bass and guitar we have a great support from our endorsers. We used ESP guitars for the album and a mix of Mesa Boogie and Randall amps to get this brutal sound.
As far as touring goes, what bands have you been fortunate to play with? What is your most memorable tour or band meeting? What’s the funniest thing you’ve had happen to you while on tour?
Tosso: We have toured together in almost 40 countries and with tons of bands, for example Morbid Angel, Carcass, Entombed, Sodom, Deicide, Obituary and Cradle Of Filth. We also did a lot of festival shows in the whole world and were supported by bands that later got well known like In Flames, Haggard, Theatre of Tragedy and Samsas Traum. 
Alex: The funniest thing on tour? That's really hard to tell. (laughs) Too many moments have been very cool or funny! Maybe the story about where I couldn't find the way back to the stage and I think it was even in Cleveland, and the same venue where they made the Spinal Tap movie! (laughs hysterically)
You’ve recorded several albums over the years and out of all of them, what is your personal favorite? What songs do people love to hear on stage? Are there any tracks that you used to play a long time ago that you want to bring back to the live setting? 
Tosso: I always enjoy playing old classics like "Necropolis" or "Blut". The live shows for the new album will feature a very brutal set list with some old songs and new songs from the Okkult album, as well as some songs that we didn't play for a while. It will be well worth checking us out in live shows.

I was curious that since you are both Atrocity and Leaves Eyes, have you ever done a show with both bands on the same tour?

Tosso: Yes, we did shows and even tours with both bands. That’s very demanding because you might be onstage for about two and a half hours then…(laughs) with the exception of our two drummers, Joris in Atrocity and Felix in LEAVES’ EYES. 
Finally, without getting too political; what do you think of society and mankind’s treatment of the Earth? Is there still hope for mankind, or are we as doomed as Atlantis?
Alex: There is a very big chance that this world will end up just like Atlantis! Just look around at how we are treating this planet. I can't go on like this forever. Humanity is doomed… by itself.
Thank you for your answers and I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for those hidden bonus tracks as well as checking out the new album Okkult!
Alex: Thank you for the interview!
Tosso: Thanks and see you on tour!
But Wait! That's not all!

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