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Today we are together with Simon of Defaced. This Swiss band has just released the second album "Forging The Sanctuary" and we're taking this chance to know them better.
Welcome on Aristocrazia. How did this 2015 begin for Defaced?
Simon: Hi Gabriele! Thanks for the interview! Everything started very well for us! Hope yours too.
Who are Defaced and how were they born? What is wealth of experience of the band?
We are a five men combo and play Death Metal. Our goal is to have fun and to kick some serious asses with our music! We do not aim for bringing new things into the scene, but add some high quality compositions, peppered with fine details and catchy melodies. So fans of Malevolent Creation, Belphegor or Kataklysm get fresh meat and something, they may have not heard in this combination before. For all others: try never hurts! I promise! If you would like to dig deeper, visit us at our site! Or stream our whole discography on Soundcloud!
Which are the fundamental steps that brought you to play Death Metal? What do you think of the today death metal scene?
There was never a moment like: «Hey, let’s do fucking Death Metal!» — «Yeah awesome!». It was a progress during our history and we believe, the listener will hear that Defaced was not born out of pure brutality. There is something more that gleams through the hard shell. Regarding today's Death Metal Scene, I think there is not a huge difference between today and twenty or thirty years ago… Of course I'm not the right person to answer this question, since back in 1995 I didn't even now what Death Metal is. But the past and the present have one thing in common: it takes a shit load of hard work to get stuff done the way you want. With this in mind, only the circumstances changed in the years. And that's something you need to accept. Some things are way better today, some not. Live with it!
Since the first listening, "Forging The Sanctuary" sounded more mature, solid and professional than "On The Frontline". Did anything change in these two years between the two albums about the composition and the attitude towards the genre?
First of all, "On The Frontline" was our debut. None of us did a full length record before. So the main thing that changed was the experience. But also a lot of other stuff. Let's start with what did not change: The attitude towards the genre. And now what did change: "Forging The Sanctuary" is the first release in which Marco (Guitar) was fully involved into the songwriting process. He brought a lot of different ideas into our music. We tried to add a tiny piece of Black Metal into our songs. That was really like: «Hey, let’s add Black Metal slightly». We never set such goals for the songwriting before. All the lyrics were written by Romano and Simon. We got pro support from Wojtek and Slawek from Hertz Studio PL. We wanted to have more guitar solos on this record. We've changed the singer. And a lot more I don't have in mind now…
How do your songs take shape? Do you follow your instict or do you have a perfect "formula" for what you want to play? Do all the members partecipate in the composition process?
No, we don't have a formula. But there are things that we don't change. For example, everyone is and was always involved in the songwriting process. What worked good for us recently is not to start without some basic ideas from single members. Usually the guitarists prepare some riffs and then we jam around. All together. As soon as we have a basic song structure, we do dirty recordings. Usually only with a cell phone. But this is enough to remember the riffs and song structures and for the vocalist to write the lyrics at home. Then we let the songs rest, change things, rerecord, move things around, rerecord. As soon as we have three or four songs together, that sound good to us when played live in the rehearsal room, we do a semi pro studio session. You can take it as a pre-production towards an album.
Which are your favorite themes for your lyrics? From what I've read in the booklet I think there are some points of contact with Dante's Inferno and Sir William Blake's paintings.
We don't have a favorite theme for lyrics. So far, we have changed the overall theme for every record. And I think we will keep doing this. Regarding Dante's Inferno, you are right. On "Forging The Sanctuary" we do have one song that plays with this book. Not only Dante's Inferno. The song is inspired by the whole "Divine Comedy". Regarding William Blake you are wrong. More Gustave Doré. We let his art underpin almost every song in the booklet. Not the lyrics, but the songs. We thought that Gustave Doré supports the cover from Dan Seagrave pretty well, in case of illustrating the whole album.
Hertz Studio followed the production and mastering, Dan Seagrave worked on the artwork, how did you come in contact with these two professionals and why did you choose them?
This is easy to answer. By simply asking them and perhaps with a bit of luck. We contacted all of them just a few months after the release of "On The Frontline". So we had a lot of time and were also able to wait for a free slot. Perhaps it was also helpful to have a clear idea of what we would like to do. Why we chose them? Simply because they are professionals and they do a lot of great work. And most important: they matched best with what we had in mind.
Talking again about the booklet, I found out is you the man at the vocals in "Forging The Sanctuary". Did Thomas join the band after recording the album?
Yes, you are right. We separated from our previous singer Manuel directly before the recording session. We had musical differences for a pretty long time. That was also the reason why Romano and Simon wrote the lyrics. The closer the recording session, the bigger the differences. In the end, we didn't see a way for the album to turn out perfect for everyone. So we've started to find a vocalist, but couldn't find the right one in time. And as you might guess, one does not simply postpone Hertz Studio! Certainly not a band of our size. Therefore, we had to choose the best alternative. And now we're all glad and proud of what finally came out.
I'll change the topic now: you are part of one of the Metal scenes that gave a huge contribution to the metal world, Switzerland may be small but it gave us a lot of good bands. How do you see and live it? Which are your favorite bands from your country?
Well – I can only speak for myself and I avoid binding the metal scene to countries, political aisles or religious movements. We all belong to the same scene. We all take care of it and we all give it back the best we can. But there are some, let's say country specific trends. We all know some called American Death Metal, Swedish Death Metal etc. But I don't like that. There are bands that play the American way of Death Metal better and never even visited the States. To come back to the original question and speaking of "trends" I think only a small amount of Swiss bands are able to stay within a single genre. At least the more famous ones always need to do some experimental stuff. I don't know the right words. Maybe struggling for uniqueness nails it best.
Back to the album: have you already had the chance to play it live?
Yes and no. We had a great start in 2015 and played more concerts than ever before during this period of time. But now we're kind of struggling to reach our next target: to promote "Forging The Sanctuary" outside Switzerland.
Do Defaced have any scheduled date or will they be in some festival? Where can we see you playing live?
Some things are in plan, but nothing nailed so far. But we will be back on stage this year!
If I asked you to form an all-star Death Metal band with your favorite artists, which musicians would you choose?
That's a cool question! If you ask all five members you will probably end up with fifteen bands. I would like to hear Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation) on vocals, Vogg (Decapitated) and Morgan (Marduk) on guitar, Abbath (Immortal R.I.P.) on bass and Krimh on drums. That would be a funny mixture I guess! And I know, Abbath is playing guitar, but there was a time he also played bass.
In the past living on your own music was hard, today it's amost impossible, what is your target as a band?
Simple and easy: always have fun with what we are doing!
The music we listen, the books we read and the movies we watch are part of us; paintings, sculptures and any other form of art define us. If you had to make a top ten with anything you love, which art work would you choose and why?
That will be the most boring answer within the interview: I simply can't give you a top ten list. It depends on the mood. Everything you see at the H.R. Giger museum is outstanding! Art-wise. A crystal clear and black winter night is mind blowing. A cold beer on a hot summer day, so inspiring! The dude who did a painting out of vagina printouts is crazy. Personally, I enjoy the moments the most that hit you like a train. Live is full of short little moments that define us.
Any project for the next future?
Sure! Play outside Switzerland, write new songs, working hard, enjoying life.
I think we can end the interview here, thank you for your time, you can greet our readers…
Thank you very much for reading this. And supporting us! And remember what Batman said to Robin before they got in the car: «Get in the car!»