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This week Aristocrazia Webzine hosts the Polish act Calm Hatchery; I had the chance to review three of their works including the latest "Fading Reliefs". Through this chat, we will try and find something more about this interesting death metal project.
Welcome Piotr, how is Calm Hatchery doing and what was your summer like?
Hi. Firstly I would like to say hello to Aristocrazia Webzine! We are fine, thanks. In mid-September was the premiere of our new CD "Fading Reliefs". We played the tour "Blitzkrieg VII" over Poland, fourteen gigs as a support for Vesania and Vader. So this was a very intense period for us. Now until the end of this year we will take some vacations. We are also sending promo cd's, so that we can try to find some contacts to make a gig.
Who are the members of Calm Hatchery? How did the band start and what are the goals you are planning to reach?
It's a long story. Calm Hatchery was born in 2002, Bialystok city (eastern Poland), because I studied there. With the first original line-up we recorded our first album "El Alamein". So in 2005, some friends who played with me left the band for many different reasons. First my friends lost faith in this kind of music, at the same time I have to decide on what to do next with my life because I had finished my studies. So I decided to return to my home city Slupsk (northern Poland), find a job and get a fresh start about playing with the band. In 2006 the small label Via Nocturna released our album. At the same time I found Daniel "Hacel" Szymanowicz (bass), Arek "Zombie" Józefowicz (guitar) and Marcin "Szczepan" Szczepanski (vocals) and in 2008 Radek Szczepanski (drums) joined. So with this line-up we wrote new material for "Sacrilege Of Humanity". We also won the Battle Of The Bands in 2010. As part of the jury there was our future publisher Karol with his Selfmadegod label. In the final we played with Vader and Napalm Death. We met Peter and we started our new adventure with Vader. In 2012 we played two tours with Vader (Blitzkrieg tour). After that we worked on the new album "Fading Reliefs", in 2013 we recorded it in Hertz Studio and we got invitations from Vader manager for another tour with Vader and Vesania. So that's all briefly…
Usually people tend to consider a band's third work as a way to prove their coming of age, and I believe you dealt with it and succeeded brilliantly with "Fading Reliefs". What was the making of the album like? Has anything changed in your composition process since "El-Alamein" and "Sacrilege Of Humanity"?
Yes, so there is an opinion about third album syndrome among people, you are right. We think that it is not our best album. We feel that this album is between something new and old. This album closes a chapter of some musical thinking. The process of composition was different from "El-Alamein" because on the first album I wrote at home most of its parts and brought them to the rehearsal room afterwards. Now this has changed. We are working together. Everybody can bring some riffs and if this riff is good we work with it. In my experience it's much better when more than one people bring some music. This is like a puzzle, that way you have more chances to create something fresh.
All your albums seem to be thematically connected, is there an actual link between them? Especially the latest two have that ethnic flavor "à la Nile" that seems aimed at rooting them into the quicksands of history. What are the aspects of the past you find more fascinating, and what is the lesson that modern people should learn from them?
I like deserts and empty landscapes, they inspire me. It's not too much history, it's more philosophy. "Sacrilege Of Humanity" is a spiritual journey, with narcotic visions about the men who took some narcotics and thanks to it they travelled to the past to the beginning of the world and the human race. "Fading Reliefs" tells about the human irrational belief in God and gods. What is inexplicable must be just divine (of course it is my point of view). One of the songs is about the wars of religion, about the false prophets who lead his subjects to war – Holy War! But there are some lyrics about self-improvement. Meditation and spiritual purity inspired by Tibetan philosophy. Of course there is some history. Modern people should know that in the world of extreme materialism there are precious values like individual thinking, our inner spiritual world. And make a good Karma for beings around. Everything else is just an illusion. People should know some history because it is the basis of knowledge about humanity with blind religions, wars, etc…
In recent years there is always lots of talking about death metal albums production, mainly torn between old-school sounding bands and those that seem to be coming straight out of a toys factory, given the feeling of plastic they carry with them. Calm Hatchery chose Hertz Studios once again for "Fading Reliefs", how did you decide its sound? What was the equipment you used?
When we recorded our previous album "Sacrilege Of Humanity" we knew that we would record the following album. Wieslawscy brothers are cool and very professional sound engineers and the cooperation with these two guys was a big pleasure. After that they rebuilt their studio for recording live natural drums and live sessions. On our last album the drums are more natural than on the previous, this was our target. I know that many people don’t like Hertz but we trust them and we are pleased with the final result. Gear in studio: I used Jackson Soloist XL Professional Series, Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, BB Xotic, David Laboga and Mesa Boogie Cabinets 4×12.
What is the feedback you are receiving when you play tracks off "Fading Reliefs" live? Were there any comments you were particularly happy to hear?
I realized that this is not material for a single listen, but only when we played the tour Blitzkrieg VII with Vesania and Vader. Many people told us after the gigs that our music is interesting and as a band we had made progress. But sometimes several reviewers don't like this album too much. But I understand it, it depends on your point of view.
Are you touring these days? Where can we find you? Any chances we will see you in Italy?
We had a tour (fourteen gigs) with Vader and Vesania as I wrote above in September 2014 over Poland. Now we are relaxing, but we are still looking for some places to play shows. We have a problem to organize tours over Europe. The problem is that we do not have such contacts. Of course I would like to play in Italy with pleasure, yes! But now we still don't know what will be in 2015 with our shows. We sent some promo cds to Summer Fest but no response. We need some guy who can help us…
What do you think about the contemporary music scene? What are the pros and cons of it?
I think the music scene is full of bands. Too many, but on the other side everybody can take an instrument, practice and start with the band, it's cool. Cons: each year there are hundreds of albums but most of them are musically bland, It's difficult to find some original and interesting album, too similar to each other; lack of feelings in most of the bands, many bands try to show their technique but they forget about more important things (emotions and arrangments); too many people on YouTube, too few at live shows (sometimes). Pros: cheap equipment (guitars, effects, amps, etc.); It's cool that this kind of music is somehow going ahead and has some new faces; there are many tours and fests on the world, so this kind of music is still needed.
Since you founded the band until now it has been more than a decade, what were the main difficulties you have encountered on the way?
The main difficulty is in finding good musicians and friends as one, that feel the same emotions and passion for this kind of music. It's a big thing. To find a few people with different characters and make with them a good band. It is like a puzzle. Secondly, for many years I had problems with the rehearsal room.
Quality of the music / quantity of bands ratio: do you think there is a disproportion between the two?
I think that the technical level of the bands is very good now, but as I wrote above, very often there is lack of good arrangements, emotions in music.
If a kid asked you about a few albums to listen to in order to discover the world of death metal, what would you recommend and why?
I would recommend for sure: "Altars Of Madness", "Blessed Are The Sick" and "Covenant" by Morbid Angel," "Human" by Death, "Necroticism – Descanting The Insalubrious" by Carcass, "The Key" by Nocturnus, "Legion" by Decide, "Testimony Of The Ancients" by Pestilence, "De Profundis" by Vader; I recommend these albums because these are some of the best timeless death metal albums.
Your five favorite Polish and five favorite foreign bands; no matter which genre, but they must have had a big influence on you as a person and an artist.
Polish bands: unfortunely most are metal, Behemoth, Decapitated, Vader, Betrayer, Kinsky. Foreign bands: Morbid Angel, Van Halen, Steve Vai, Dead Can Dance, Steve Roach, Allan Holdsworth.
Vinyl, CD, tape, mp3, streaming; what would be suitable definitions for each of these formats?
For me personally: vinyl is sacred, tape is climate, CD is dying, mp3 is a modern kind of trash but comfortable.
The Polish metal scene has always carried on a tough battle on "Christian values" and religion in general, do you think this hatred is still one of the main forces behind the will to create new metal? What do you think about the situation all over the world, continuously lacerated because of conflicts related to this? Are we stuck in an endless age of crusades?
I think that today religion is not the main reason to play metal in our country. Maybe religion pushes young rebel bands. For me personally it doesn't matter, and without it I would play metal too. I don't like the situation in our country. The Catholic church has a big influence in our Government. In Poland, taxpayers' money go for example to build a huge and very expensive temple. It's madness! I think that religion is stupid. I come from a Catholic family, but with time I could see more and more aspects of it which were illogical to me. I can distinguish good from evil, without the faith. For centuries, religion has been and is a tool in the hands of a few people, who thus fulfill their interests. Religion is divided into superior and inferior people. Religion means conflict and this is very dangerous tool. The world is in this situation at the time of the dark age of the impact of religion.
What do you have in store at the moment? Are you planning an actual tour or any other projects?
At the moment we have in stock our new album, last items of "Sacrilege Of Humanity", several models of t-shirts and we try to find some places to play gigs and tour… It is not too easy, but if someone wants to hear our band live please write to us : calmhatchery[at]wp.pl. We are amenable.
Who is Piotr outside of the band? What are your interests besides music?
I work as an architect, I design houses and I like my job. Outside the job and band I'm interested in history, philosophy. I read a lot of books on these topics. I also like very much comics and every kind of art, I listen to a lot of music. Sometimes I play in WW II PC war games. I'm a dreamer, the whole time I've been having a lot of crazy ideas and visions, I cannot help it [laughs].
Here we get to the end of this interview, and I can't but thank you for your time. Our best wishes to Calm Hatchery, feel free to leave a message to our readers.
Thank you so much for these interesting questions. I would like to salute you, Aristocrazia Webzine and those who will read this interview. Please support us! We put our souls and a huge amount of energy and blood to create and record this album.