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Aristocrazia Webzine is glad to welcome the Polish band Masachist; we will try to know them better and to exchange impressions about their latest effort, "Scorned", who knows what they'll have to tell us? Let's skip any further introduction and start with the questions.
Welcome on our website! How does it feel to get back on stage with a new album? What was the sensation, once the production was completed?
Thrufel: Hi! Thanks for taking interest in Masachist. It always feels great to have an album done, we are very satisfied with the results. It came out exactly like we wanted.
Let's take a step back and talk about the origins of your band; how was the name chosen and who are the musicians involved in this project?
The name just sounded good to my ears, there's no special story behind it. As for the origins of the band, I had this idea for years, but first I had to learn how to play. That's why I joined other people's bands. I liked their music of course and playing with them was very exciting and satisfying at first, but I always wanted to do my own thing. I tried with some local musicians who were friends of mine, but it didn't work out. Some time later I met Daray and he was interested in playing this kind of death metal, so we jammed a little bit and that’s how it really started. He had a lot of experience as a drummer so I could perform my music on a level that I was used to with the bands that I already played in. We completed the line up with Aro (guitar) and Heinrich (bass), and after the first recording we asked Pig to join us as a vocalist. These are all old friends and experienced musicians, which gave as the label of a super-group or some kind of a side project, but it couldn't be further from the truth. At least that's how I see it, as this band is something very serious to me.
Most of the people were expecting some sort of confirmation from this second album, but you decided instead to change completely your sound, with a more diversified performance; a change that, indeed, doesn't scratch your very nature. Can you explain your choice? Personally I found it very interesting, the releases from Poland sometimes are a little too alike, and you surprised me.
We never intended to sound like anyone else, and I see no challenge in recording the same album twice. Making music has to be exciting and we must please ourselves before we please anyone else. So don't expect the next album to sound like "Scorned", we constantly evolve as a band and we do what we feel is right for this moment in time.
If compared, "Death March Fury" and "Scorned" are two deeply different stories, even if both totally death metal; how would you describe these albums to someone who hasn't listened to them?
"Death March Fury" – very fast and intense death metal, played with skill and aggression. The sound of the apocalypse. "Scorned" – more atmosphere and diversity within the songs, better arrangements and more natural sound than on the debut album. Still very aggressive and in your face.
You invested a lot of effort on the atmospheric element, songs like "Innervoid" and the brief instrumental "Liberation II" leave their peculiar mark on the listening; has your way of composing songs changed since three years ago?
We definitely evolved as musicians. You can hear all those years of playing in our music. The other thing is that I didn't want to only go for the speed factor like on the first album. I wanted to write some slower, heavier and more atmospheric songs as well. Death Metal is not only about blast beats.
How are the title of the album, "Scorned", and the artwork, depicting a figure committing karakiri, linked? Are we talking about a scorn towards life itself? I perceive a hint of auto-elimination ("Process of Elimination") throughout the album, a liberating sensation.
There is a link between the artwork and the title, but this “scorn” is towards a person that has dishonored himself, not towards life as such. Harakiri was a ritual that allowed you to redeem yourself, so that you and your family’s name was not stained by your former mistakes. There could be a liberating sensation there (as the title of one of the songs suggests), but also a lot of self induced suffering. It’s an attempt to describe it, not to judge it. And I think it is difficult to understand for people who were not raised in this culture (ourselves included). As for "The Process of Elimination", it’s actually about something that can make your life a little better, about getting rid of people who are parasites and feed on you in one way or another. It might be exaggerated a little bit to fit with the concept, as it's not really about killing anyone – just knowing who your friends are and who are not. I think there were more self-destructive elements on the first album, which was negative in every aspect of the lyrics. "Scorned" is a little different, it's about the way of the warrior, so apart from death and brutality there's also a constructive element to it. Forged in fire.
The lyrics are mostly inspired to the Bushido code (the way of the warrior), how did you take an interest for this topic, in the first place?
For years I’ve been into martial arts and I always wanted to make a link between this tradition and death metal. I had this idea even before the debut album, but the time wasn't right and we went in a different direction. But I kept it in my mind for later. I think this subject matter fits better with the music on "Scorned".
As musicians, you've been active for a long time in the extreme metal scene; have there been any changes in the musical or social way of intending this genre that have bothered you? Has the "extreme" become fashionable?
You know, grown ups will always say that the old times were better. Maybe they were, because you had to put a lot of effort in everything: from getting a copy of some demo tape to buying instruments, which were not easily available. Today it's within everyone’s reach. Also the metal public became more tame and tolerant. There was a time when metalheads in Poland didn’t let System of a Down play before Slayer, and now some nu metal bands can support traditional metal groups and nothing happens. That's just a small example of how things changed. In a way it's a shame that metalheads here became so calm, that attitude was something that set us apart from others.
In its history, Death Metal's popularity has, surprisingly, always remained the same; personally, however, I think that the concept of "popularity" is in contrast with what this genre stands for. Am i wrong, or the image that is given to Death Metal is that of a genre desirable for everybody? Didn't they once say that you if you want something, you have to earn it? Between digital files and countless remasterings (sometimes useful, sometimes avoidable), it looks more like a fish market (referring to the noise) than an underground-oriented artistic scene, doesn't it?
Its natural for people to follow trends, it doesn’t matter if it’s the music, fashion or – very popular thing in Poland – going for vacation to Egypt Playing with Lego bricks is a trend among the children, but not all of them will later become construction engineers. But this kind of fun can later turn into serious passion. Older people have different "toys" and it can be music as well. It can be Death Metal for example. For some it's just a temporary fascination, others are in it for life. And its life itself that shows us if it this was about being "fashionable" or not. Let it stay this way.
What do you think about the current metal scene? Pros and cons? Are there bands in particular that you like to follow?
I mostly follow the old masters of the genre. Not many new things grab my attention. Plus I have less time to seek out new bands than I used to, I’m too busy with my everyday life. But I’m glad that I can still find time to make some music with Masachist and be part of the worldwide Death Metal scene.
What does Death Metal mean for you? What's it like to play it and live it from the inside?
For me Death Metal is this childhood passion that I mentioned earlier. It's a great kind of music to perform, full of emotions, and sometimes it gives you a feeling of power, like you are in control of other people. Especially live it’s an amazing feeling. Apart form that, this music showed me that there are other kinds of culture, not only the Christian one that they keep forcing on us. As much as it may seem the opposite, Death Metal is an intelligent music created by intelligent people. Although it's not always the case with the fans, as some of them tend to take things at face value.
Is it possible to turn this passion for music in a real job, one that allows someone to earn a living, or at least to survive?
It's possible, look at Behemoth, Vader or Cannibal Corpse. But in order to achieve that your albums must first become very popular, and then you have to tour constantly. I don't think that many bands can do it, and I can't really imagine Masachist touring all the time. We're content with playing the music that we like and recording good albums, we have regular jobs to pay the bills.
Let's talk about your life on-stage, what has been your first live gig as Masachist?
Our first gig was a big one. I'd say that was a little to big, even for us. We were supporting Gojira, who are a great band and amazing people. Luckily we were not eaten by stage fright and we did well. To be honest I prefer more underground gigs in smaller venues. Than you can fell the atmosphere of the music. But we'll see, maybe this time we will play more gigs than we did before.
Do you recall any live performance that left you with a peculiar memory, or any funny story that you would like to share?
I have a lot of memories of this kind, but the thing that I particularly remember is when I was playing with Yattering and I ripped some chick hair out, a lot of it actually. You know, it was a small club, with no safety zone between the stage and the headbanging audience. I used to swing my guitar a lot those days, and unfortunately the head of the guitar caught this girl hair. It ripped so much hair that you could make a wig with it. And it was a girl, a pretty one by the way. To this day she and I both laugh when we meet and someone mentions it.
Is there going to be a tour to support the releasing of "Scorned"? Do you know if you'll come playing in Italy, too?
We're not going to organize it ourselves, we're too lazy. But if someone offers us good conditions, than why not? It would be great to play in Italy, especially with Undertakers, if they still exist. Cool people – we (Yattering) did a tour with them once.
The last album you've bought and the last concert you've been to (as audience)?
I bought a lot of records recently, but mostly stuff that I already knew, things that I only had on a CDr copy or something like that. But I'm definitely into the new Gojira album, great band!
I'll leave you the word one last time to give an end to the interview as you see fit.
Thanks for the interview. See you at the gigs! Hail Puttana!