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Hi Willie, welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine. May we have a short presentation of your band:
Morbid greetings, Gabriele and to all the maniac readers of Aristocrasia webzine! Pathogen was formed almost a decade ago, In January 2001, to be exact. During our nine year existence we have released three demos, two split releases and two full-length album. Today, it is only I and Erwin(Javier)-guitar remain as the original members. Vic (Jarlego)-drums, joined in late 2002 and our current bassist, Nino (Aranza) joined in 2007. This lineup today remains stable.
Which is the main cause that pushed you in giving birth to this project?
It was an idea of mine back in 2000. Back then I was playing in a thrash/heavy metal band Effluvium, which later became Negatron. And I wanted to play that kind of ugly, bestial death metal just like the old masters which influenced me as a teenage metal maniac. Another reason is that I wanted to react against the so called extreme metal trends which are happening back then and up to now…In the beginning Pathogen was only a side project and when we recorded our first demo tape, "Invoking Disease" (July 2001) we didn’t expected to last for more than a year to be honest. We weren't particularly happy with the sound and our performance on that demo it. And we can’t really play our instruments very well at that time so only a few copies of that demo were ever spread out. I think only 40-50 copies were made and it was mostly given to friends, fanzines and bands. We also participated on a compilation album released by Maelstrom 666 Production in Thailand. That was our first release on CD-r, which was starting to become quite prominent at that time. Anyway, right after we recorded our second demo, "Into The Subconscious Void" in 2004 that we started to become more of a full-time band because of the very good reaction we got with the international network of demo traders, 'zines and other bands. And that inspired us to continue on and forge more metal of death.
I have listened to your first album "Blasphemous Communion" a real slap in the face, in your sound the presence of Slayer, Possessed, Autopsy or Europeans act as Nihilist and Carnage is cool and old fashioned. Which are your favorite bands and inspiration when you compose death metal?
Aarrgghh!!!!! Those bands you mentioned are where we get a lot of our shit from along with other bands such as early Sodom, early Sepultura, Obituary, Impetigo, Sarcofago, Repulsion, Bathory, Celtic Frost/Hellhammer, early Tiamat, Mindrot, Deceased, Thergothon, Morgion, Beherit, Macabre, Master, Terrorizer, early Xysma, Nuclear Death, Radiation Sickness, Loudblast and many others. Those were the bands we listen to when we want to get really inspired to write our songs! To be perfectly honest, we didn't think a lot of metal maniacs world-wide would totally worship our first album, "Blasphemous Communion". We couldn't believe that a lot of die-hard maniacs would be into it because of it was horridly under-produced and was not even mixed properly. It was so far against the acceptable norms of the so-called music industry. Our original intentions for it was simple: We just wanted "Blasphemous…" to sound like it was recorded in 1986 just like those early Sodom, Sepultura , Hellhammer, Possessed, Death and Sarcofago records and demos. We just write riffs that feel most comfortable to us. I never wanted to write music that is too technical because it kills off a lot of feeling in the music and the dark, evil atmosphere. It's usually the simplest riffs that are the most powerful and instantly memorable ones.
"Blood Orgy", "Necrovore", "Vultures Of War" and "Towards The Infernal Oblivion" are tracks totally devoted to old school metal, how do you compose the songs? Do you have specific fees in the band?
We never really have any specific fees in the band. I mean, we rarely get paid at any of our gigs here, and we would gladly play for free if we like it. Anyway, there is no real process when we are writing our music. If any one of us can come up with a good guitar riff, then we would jam it on rehearsals and then add different parts to it to form a song. And then we add lyrics, etc… We do not try force ideas out of our heads. We just allow creativity to come across naturally. The only thing is that creativity comes when you least expect it. I really enjoyed writing music without the approval of any experts who might show us what we should do. I never really cared about what other people might say about our music as long as we enjoy playing it ourselves then that's what all matters to us. It's always been an interest of mine to compose music ever since I was young. I really admire bands that write great, well structured songs than bands who can play technical…
Who does compose the lyrics? What are the issues?
I write most of the lyrics. I always liked to read other band's lyrics and also books, poetry, etc… I'd like to believe that I'm pretty good at it. Anyway, our lyrics are basically about the anguish of death and dying, the cruelties of history, war, nihilism, the macabre, misanthrophy and other cool things. Actually they are your typical death metal lyrics and subject matter but I try to make it really interesting and more comprehensible. I didn't want our lyrics to be too poetic or philosophical. I wanted to create a balance of using some poetic phrases and straight to the point phrases to give it more edge. I never studied poetry. But I am amazed on how powerful words, when put together coherently, can trigger our imaginations in whatever expressions you are trying to express.
This year is the time for "Miscreants Of Bloodlusting Aberrations", how do you describe it?
It's hard for me to describe it in words but I think our second album is a skull-searing, festering brush with hell from start to finish. That's one way of putting it. It's just like "Blasphemous Communion", only the second album is delivered in a little bit more refined way, but it's still deadly and raw. I guess we are improving together as musicians because we've been playing together for many years that you can really hear it on all our recordings.( I'm curious to know what you yourself think about our second album compared to "Blasphemous…").
What are the main differences between the two albums?
"Miscreants…" is actually recorded in a far less and time and budget than "Blasphemous…" But it is a little bit better sounding than "Blasphemous…" Because it we have had a little bit more time working on it during the mixing process. Also the songwriting on "Miscreants…" is so much better and powerful compared to our first album. In my own opinion I think "Miscreants…" is the best recording we ever made so far.
Are you satisfied for how it was made?
We're never really 100% satisfied with all our recordings, but for "Miscreants…" we're very happy and proud about it. It just something we dreamed about for so long and it seems to have come to reality, achieving a perfect balance of rawness and clarity with a killer songwriting.
What are you doing to prepare the promotion of the album?
We've been sending a lot of promos of the second album to a lot of 'zines, labels, bands and contacts overseas. So it requires more hard work and dedication to promote it. Also "Miscreants…" has already been released on tape by Satanized Productions in France last March. We are currently looking for a label to do a vinyl release for it. We're also negotiating a deal with Triumph Of Darkness Records in the US for a pro-CD release maybe by late 2010 or so. The Cd version was supposed to be released by Berdugo Records but apparently things fell apart and so we started to look for other interested labels who could handle our music and really be into it.
What can you tell us about metal in Philippines? Can you suggest us some bands coming from your country?
The scene here is not as big as in other Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia or Thailand. There are many bands here that knows nothing about recording demos, trading and all that wanna-be and poser attitude. They just play to get chicks I think. Luckily, there are bands here that are worth mentioning and really knows the true underground ways by promoting themselves overseas such as Incisor, Rabies, Demonic, Maniak, Infestor, Riit, Servorum, Paganfire, Corrupt Insanity, Kratornas, and a few others. There are also few 'zines here that are really doing their part to support the real metal underground. It's a small tight-knit community but it's cool.
What do you think about the today extreme metal scene?
I never really like a lot of the newer generation of extreme metal. It just sounds too sterile and clean. But I do however like bands that continues the tradition of the old ways and also add their own original ideas to it. Many great new bands are really deep in the real underground scene so you have to do a little bit more research. All the great underground labels that used to put out cutting-edge music back in the 80's and 90's like Relapse, Nuclear Blast, Earache, Osmose, Century Media, Noise Records all sucks now! They released some really terrible shit during the past ten years! I hope the big independent labels would give a lot of great Asian bands the recognition they all truly deserve. In a few years I think many the scene in Asia would be very well known world-wide.
You have almost ten years of career behind him, which are the moments you remember with pleasure? And those who have scored, leaving the bitter?
We have countless memorable times during all those years including all the good and bad gigs, recording sessions, drinking parties, fucking women, travelling and hitching rides to other places. I don't think there ever was any bitter moments. We enjoyed every minute even during the very difficult times when we were just starting out. Even with the other members I think they all enjoyed it. We all get along very well as band mates. We consider ourselves as brothers.
What kind of relation do you have with your supporters? What do you think of virtual communities and social networks?
Well, I would like to think of all our supporters as friends and metal comrades bonded by the brotherhood of metal. We never saw ourselves as higher than our supporters. We are just the same people as them because we are all metal fans and we like the same bands as them. So there is no reason to have big rockstar egos or anything like that, as for the virtual communities there are both good and bad things about it. I just use it to get in contact with longtime friends or communicate with labels, 'zines or other bands. I still write a lot of snail mail though.
Would we ever see you live in Italy?
Who knows? Maybe someone would give a chance to do a European tour someday. I hope to play in Italy someday. I think it would be really killer to play some metal to all the maniacs over there. Our guitar player, Erwin (Javier) would have liked that because his parents, brother and some cousin lives in Italy.
Thanks for the time you spent with us, the last message for our readers is up to you.
Metallic regards to you, Gabriele for this great interview. I sincerely enjoyed it. Thanks for your support and we hope to see all of you someday if we get a chance to play there. All you maniacs get in touch!
Pathogen c/o Willie Desamero, #4M. Fule Sahagun street, San Pablo City, Laguna 4000 Philippines
Email: [email protected]