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Martyr Music Group

Necrophagia's return from the "dead" couldn't have come at a better time. After a five year wait between full length albums, the follow up to 1998's 'Holocausto De La Morte' is finally upon us and I couldn't be happier about it. Titled 'The Divine Art Of Torture', the album is pure Necrophagia, all of the elements you've come to expect from the band are here including a few surprises. I spoke to founder Killjoy from his home as he was in the process of shipping stage props to Europe in preparation for the bands first proper tour.

MIDWEST METAL: My first question to you is I thought I'd read not too long ago that there would be no interviews in support of the new album? Why the change of heart?

KILLJOY: Yeah I'd said that a few months ago and it came down to this: if we wanted any type of Horror promotion in magazines like Fangoria or Rue Morgue etc., I had to do regular press as well, so it was kind of like blackmail. (laughs) But it's all good, it's just so time consuming and with the new line up there's really no one who could do them [interviews] at this point. From here on out the other guys will be able to do them and it'll take some of the pressure off of me. I mean, I've done interviews for Wurdulak, Necrophagia, Ravenous and all these other bands over the past five years what more can I really say? It's not at all that I don't like the press or truly appreciate it, it's just very, very consuming.

MM: I suppose I can see that, what else can someone say especially with certain interviews asking the same questions over and over.

K: Not even that as much as my philosophies and outlook hasn't changed at all, but it is the nature of the beast. Without magazines there's a lot of kids who may not be exposed to certain bands. But this year has just been so unbelievably hectic as I started the year doing the Ravenous record then the Enoch record then went to Brazil for a few weeks to do some videos, came back only a week and a half ago and in three days I leave for Europe for six weeks.

MM: You've kept an insane pace for the past few years with the bands and label and projects. Back in the mid 1990's when you were away from the scene did you ever think you'd be back and especially at this capacity?

K: No, in my mind I was just done with all of it. Having been a fan of the early 90's Black Metal, I was just content listening to music not creating it. I know I didn't like where death metal was heading from the late 80's even some up until now, so I didn't want to go out and do straight out black metal, so for me I was done. Necrophagia was always the sore thumb [of the scene] sticking out as we never conformed to any standard or whatever, so I was content and my life was a lot less stressful (laughs) and relaxed. There are a lot of times I miss that, you know what I mean?

Necrophagia - Band Photo

MM: Oh, the ability to just turn things off for awhile, some people just can't no matter what.

K: Yeah, but I'm one of those people as I do a lot if it to myself, I get involved with so many things and I actually turn down about one hundred times more than what I end up doing. And what I end up doing usually takes up about sixteen hours per day with the bands and the label, so I have no outside life whatsoever.

MM: Let's talk about 'The Divine Art Of Torture', one of the reasons we're speaking today is the tone! This new album still has that tone and retains the Necrophagia foundation. I figured with all the new members there's no way it would still be here, especially with all the new musicians and increased abilities, do you know what I'm saying?

K: Yeah, that it would change a lot musically as the caliber of musicians has dramatically changed. . .

MM: Totally, I mean to me 'Holocausto. . .' is a record I still listen to all the time, so I was just relieved that the legacy is alive.

K: We always want to keep the most basic elements and then expand on them, not expand like a night and day thing, but evolve it a little. Necrophagia since day one, from the earliest demos to 'Season Of The Dead' to 'Holocausto. . .' to the new one - it's been a constant shape shifting form. But the constant besides my vocals, which change as well, has been a riff that creates a sound of horror, to me listening to a Necrophagia riff is like watching a scene from a horror movie. And whether it something very violent or something building before the scare comes up it's just pure horror.

MM: Was there ever a point when the new music was coming together that it could have gotten away from you? Especially with Mirai coming in on keyboards, that had me wondering.

K: Not really because we had a pretty clear idea of what we were going after with this. For the writing I went to Norway for a few weeks and everything went relativity quick and I let the guys know the direction I wanted to go with this. After I'd written a few songs myself, showed it to the guys and after that they were able to really hear the direction and they adapted to that as well as adding their own ideas to build upon. I've said all along when we use synth and keyboards that it wouldn't be like what certain black metal bands or gothic bands use, ours would be used more in the way like John Carpenter or Fabio Fritzi would use them like a horror soundtrack. Sort of leaning toward a progressive rock feel like Goblin, just taking the creepy elements to compliment the riffs and not take away from them.

MM: With all the lineup changes. . . was this something that was also planned? Was it ever in the back of your mind to take the band to the next level you had to tour, and with the previous line up that was just not possible?

K: Not really, I never thought it would ever get to the point where it wasn't Philip and I not working together with Necrophagia. It was always, in my mind when we'd get to a point where we wouldn't be able to coordinate everything then it'd be time to walk away from it. Because, to me, looking from the outside in, the last thing you want to see is when you start getting into a band and then the next thing is bam - it's only one guy there. So it was something that I really had to think hard about and it just got to the point with him being involved in so many things - and Necrophagia was a big part of his life for over five years. I mean, he really bent over backwards and did a lot of great stuff. But it just never got to the point where we'd be able to tour or having the time to sit down for two months and write and record another record so I knew if I wanted to keep Necrophagia going it was not going to be with that lineup. Even a chance of doing a two or three week tour was just not going to happen, so I totally understood that and he and I talked and I told him I had to do something here to continue the band. So I'm not going to say he was happy about the decision. He didn't get all pissed off or anything, but he was receptive towards the decision. We parted on good terms and as friends, but I don't see us making music together in the future. Anything that I do now I want to be able to do shows or if an opportunity arises to do a song for a movie I feel is right I don't want to have to wait or say "I don't know" and then get back with people at a later date. Same with tours, with the old lineup we got offered so many great shows, headlining festivals and everything and part of it was the nostalgic thing because Necrophagia was back and the other part was because the guy from Pantera is in the band and this was the first thing outside of Down he did apart from Pantera. But we had to turn everything down.

MM: I think it was a cool thing that he was receptive and it must have been tough for you as, yeah, he was the reason for the band coming back and that record was, to me, the best thing he's ever done musically. Those riffs are clearly from the heart.

K: That's the way I feel too. Even if I wasn't a part of that recording, if there was someone else singing on it I still would've felt that way. That record was a total throwback. Without sounding retro, it added new elements. And it is a really heavy, dark and raw record and was the perfect time and perfect situation.

MM: Situation?

K: Back then I wasn't expecting to get that back into it [the scene], I figured we'd do a record and then it kept growing and growing and my enthusiasm kept growing as well. At first I actually regretted it. I mean, I got so tired of defending my decision of having him [Phil] in the band and finally said, "Look, you can think whatever you want, but the bottom line is you can't fake those riffs." I mean, if the singer of Poison can write that record, well then. . .

Necrophagia - Cover Art

MM: I suppose he's someone you'd want to know! (laughing)

K: (laughing) But I don't regret a thing. It's something I'm definitely proud of, but right now I'm even more enthused about music than I was when Necrophagia first got back together. The possibilities are really endless as far as tours, do videos with certain directors and the fact that we don't have to work around anyone else's schedule other than our own. Also, musically, like you were saying before, the stuff Philip played was raw and from the heart but he'd be the first to tell you that he's not a guitar player's guitar player. He writes from the heart and very heavy, but it's stuff that was very catchy. His style reminded me of Venom and Celtic Frost which is great, it's very simplistic and to me it's like a jackhammer going into your brain. So, musically, the new line up will be going more towards the horror side of things which is the way I've always wanted them to keep them going towards.

MM: A lot of people have really been buzzing about the album cover for 'The Divine Art Of Torture' which is a bit of a departure for the band.

K: The cover along with the rest of the packaging is something we like to do as, I don't know, a little extra incentive - make the cover and booklet something the people want to own. The cover I paid for myself as it cost quite a bit of money. We were looking to capture the vibe of the album on the cover and, yeah, it's a little different from the past covers. It's not like we intentionally toned down the gore covers because we've had quite a few of those and those were in turn banned and I'll never go for a censored version of any of our covers. I may let them put a sticker over it or something, but no way would I do a censored version. For the next album we're hoping to have Basil [Gogos] do it, but it will be a much more violent cover because that's what the music calls for.

MM: With Fangoria and Rue Morgue, how's the cross promotion going?

K: They're all very receptive, sure. It's always something that was very important to me personally as well. I mean, the response we got from being on 'The Beyond' DVD from kids that had never heard any extreme metal or never heard Celtic Frost or Possessed or Venom or Slayer - maybe they'd heard Slipknot or something. And because we were on the DVD it literally gave 'Holocausto. . .' a second life two years after it had come out, it just started selling a lot again and it was because of that.

MM: Now for the first time, it's tour time for Necrophagia. You've got to be thrilled to. . . well. . . death!! (laughs)

K: Definitely, I mean, I've done six or seven shows with Ravenous over the past few years but to get out there and play night after night and have our own sound and not doing festivals or one off's, for me it's a great feeling.

MM: What type of stage show have you got planned?

K: We've got a few different props all working on their own motors like a six foot tall mobile, similar to the mobile from the first Hellraiser movie with all the faces nailed to it, it's cool, it spins around with the ominous blue light coming from it. Then we have a lot of very realistic looking corpses that hang from meat hooks and severed heads on spikes etc.

MM: What type of set list is planned?

K: We're probably doing like half the new record, I think "Reincarnation" from 'Season Of The Dead', "Cannibal Holocaust", "Burning Moon Sickness", "Embalmed Yet I Breathe" maybe three or four from 'Holocausto. . .' and then some really old stuff like "Young Burial", "Chainsaw Lust", "Death Is Fun" - so it will definitely be a pretty good mixture.

MM: When will a US tour happen?

K: If it happens it will be sometime in the fall as we go back into the studio in August to record 'Harvest Ritual' and then go back on the road.









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