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,
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?
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
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.
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. . .
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
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
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
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
SEASON OF MIST
MIDWEST METAL MAGAZINE #26
MIDWEST METAL MAGAZINE
Post Office Box 183
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Interview: Tom T. Vader [ TVader666@msn.com ]
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