You were supposed to be on tour with Katalepsy and Yardfield Colony right now and I was going to ask you how the tour is going, but I found out the tour was cancelled. What happened?
Lars: Unfortunately, the tour has been canceled by the booking agency, Enemy Booking. We were told that there were lots of misunderstandings with local promoters and locations, a van was stolen and the main booking agent had lots of private problems. We were disappointed about the news but we hope to catch up on playing a tour with Katalepsy at some point in the future.
’Your debut album ‘Pyres’ is out now for about a week, and from your bandpage on Facebook I have noticed you are getting a lot of cool reviews. How does that feel? And have you had any bad reviews?
Lars: It's always great to receive positive feedback, of course. Because then you know that the amount of work you put into it was worth it. We have not seen any negative reviews yet, some mediocre ones though, but we try to consider their points of criticism for our next album.
The album is released by Rising Nemesis Records and Rebirth The Metal Productions. Why did you end up with two record companies instead of just one?
Lars: We cannot talk about details concerning the contract between us and our two labels. But we can definitely say that the label deal saved us from more financial troubles as we did not have to participate in costs for pressing of the CDs, ad agency, etc.
’Pyres’ was recorded at the Iguana Studios in Freiburg with Christoph Brandes and the production sounds really massive and impressive. What made you decide to go to this studio and can you tell us something about the recording process?
Lars: Yes, we were and still are very content with the production. We did not have to think about working with him for too long, as we already knew his work from earlier projects such as Deadborn, Virvum and Necrophagist, of course. Besides that, he’s an incredibly relaxed guy, the cost-benefit ratio is great and travel distance to his studio was also manageable. We recorded guitars and bass ourselves at home, but drums, vocals, re-amping and of course mixing/mastering were done at Iguana Studios. Recording guitars and bass was the most tedious part and took us about half a year, because sometimes we required three or four recording sessions for one song just to obtain results that we were happy with, but we saved a lot of money with home recording. The recording of the other instruments at Iguana Studios went down pretty quickly.
I noticed you re-recorded five songs from your first two EP’s and you wrote three new songs for this album. How come you didn’t record only new songs?
Lars: Actually, we could have written more new songs for our album, but Lars often needs a few months to finish a new song which would have meant quite a delay for recording and releasing the album. Besides that, we just did not want to leave our older songs with their horrible recording quality and wanted to re-record some of them. We considered that this would not impair our listeners’ excitement because we think, most people would initially discover us with ‘Pyres’ anyways.
Which albums of other bands inspired you the most when you wrote and recorded the songs for ‘Pyres’
Lars: My main influences were ‘Heirs to Thievery’ (Misery Index), ‘Reign Supreme’ & ‘Stop at Nothing’ (Dying Fetus), ‘Enduring The Massacre’ (Dyscarnate) and ‘Ob(Servant)’ (Psycroptic).
In the song ‘The Zealot’ you are using a sound clip from a speech from extremist Christian pastor Steven Anderson. What is this really song about?
Chris: ‘The Zealot’ is about the bigotry of religion and political extremism. Steve Anderson did exactly what the lyrics of the Zealot are about: He is preaching hate and has a point of view that everybody with a different confession of faith or opinion does not deserve to live. But in the opinion of a lot of Christians, Christianity should be about peace and acceptance. So, in my opinion, Steve Anderson is also a fanatic and a zealot.
For the album cover you went to an artist in Indonesia. Tell us something about the artwork, what does the cover stand for?
Chris: The cover shows a priest with a burning head and a scorched face. Also, the atmosphere of the artwork is pretty dark and pretty chaotic because of all the textures. We were thinking that this piece of art was fitting perfectly to the mood of our album. The artwork looks like what I am thinking of, when looking at the lyrics of ‘The Zealot’, which is lyrically one of the center-pieces of the album.
You made a video for ‘Martyr’, the opening track of the new album. Why did you choose this track as the first single and tell us something about the recording of the video?
Mick: We chose this track, because it is a new song, nobody heard it before and we thought, it contains everything ‘Pyres’ stands for. It has groovy rhythms, but also an atmospheric part in the middle. Originally, we wanted to create just a lyric video. Our idea was, to create something like a ‘vocal’-playthrough. Because just showing Chris the whole time seemed a bit boring to us, so we had decided to put as playing instruments between the vocal parts. Therefore, it turned out to be more like a ‘real’ music video. Every shot was done in our rehearsal room, which is luckily completely covered in black Molton – it has helped a lot to create the ‘infinite black background’-effect we wanted to use to keep the focus on the music.
Now that you guys are not touring Eastern Europe this time, do you have other plans in the making for touring?
Lars: Unfortunately, at this moment no live shows or a tour are planned. But we would like to play as many shows as possible in the future and are looking forward to any request or invitation.
What are you guys planning in the near future, will we hear more from Pestilent Reign soon?
Lars: We are already in the process of writing new songs for an upcoming release, but of course that will take a while to realize and we have no idea when we may release new material. We also do not know right know whether our next release will be a new EP or a LP. It depends on how long we need for new songs, but we really would like to release something in the beginning of the next year. But first, we will release a playthrough video for the song ‘savior’ soon.
Any last words to our readers and your fans??
Lars: Thanks to everyone who supports us and in this sense: buy our debut album „Pyres’, wear sweatpants and show bobs and vagene!