Hi, I hope everything's all right? I guess it must be some sort of relief that you finally have a new album out since your last full-length from 2005 and the split EP's from 2007?
Everything seems ok at the moment. The beer is cold, the Metal is heavy, and I just got done with some much needed yard work. Now, if only I could figure out a way of making money to pay the bills, other than being the slave that I am at the job. Ugghhhh….. Pim man, it's a total fucking relief to be done with this album!!! To have it finally see the light of day is the equivalent of having finished a marathon (not that I'd know what that feels like….too busy drinking and listening to records). But, the outcome is 100% what we had in mind…Heavy and honest Death Fuckin' Metal. We're stoked on it and I'd recommend everyone to get the vinyl. It sounds massive to my ears. There were many, many reasons for us not getting this out sooner. Life ain't easy man. We are middle aged men who have tons of normal life shit going on, bills, mortgages, kids, jobs we hate, taking care of it all and just trying to get through shit is a day to day headfuck. Thankfully we have this band where Mike, Andy and I can go down once a week and just fucking rage some metal. Being loud as fuck down in the Cianide dungeon and drinking some beers is total therapy for us. Always has been and Satan willing, always will be.
I understood you recorded 'Gods Of Death' in 2009. Did you finish the recordings first and then started shopping for labels? How did you end up on Hells Headbangers Records (HHR)?
The recording went well into 2010. We were done around June/2010. We had worked with the HHR before on the Machetazo/Cianide split 7” and thought it would be cool to work with them again. So, a few years back the mighty Nifelheim played Chicago and I met Chase briefly afterwards and we more or less just did a hand-shake on the deal. I told him what we needed, he was cool with that and then it took us another year to do the record!! Haha! HHR had no problem with how long we took and are by far the coolest label we've had the pleasure of dealing with. 100% honesty is all we get from them and we're more than happy to be part of what they are all about…fucking METAL!
You recorded the album yourselves in your home studio. The album sounds really massive, the guitar tone is just immense. How did you manage to sound so heavy?
Heaviness is just what we are about man. We have no idea how to play anything other than what we do. It's just natural for us I guess. It's in the way your hands play the guitars and your approach. This is the only music we know how to play. Seriously, we're musically daft as fuck. Mike and I taught each other how to play and this is what we came up with. Nothing crafty about our approach, just the hammer to the fucking nail and that's it. No tricks up our sleeves or trying to go out of way to 'push' the boundaries of our limited musical abilities. I got better shit to do than sit around and try and get better as a guitar player, you know, like listen to some Acid or Pentacle albums with an ice cold beer in hand. That's all I care about….were just total fans of metal. Ok ok…I'm drifting off topic some…haha!
Our approach to recording is quite simple. We try and sound exactly like we do when we play live in the basement. That's the best for Death Metal…no need for all the studio tricks. Just mic stuff up properly until it sounds like yourself, and press record. Mixing gets a bit tricky and I never go down for that, as I've been known to fight with Mike over just about everything. Andy and Mike take care of the mix and I get the final say. It works best that way for us.
For you guitar nerds out there….for this recording I used the following:
Gibson 1994 Les Paul Studio for one channel
Gibson 1993 SG for the other channel
Both double mic'd with Shure SM 57's
Panned hard left/right with one mic and 10/2 one the other mic
1960s 4X12 Marshall cab
Marshall JCM2000 DSL
I think you haven't been the luckiest band when it comes to labels since you started out in 1990. Do you feel the tide has turned now? Do you reckon the general interest in death/doom is on the rise again?
This does not matter. We do what we know and that is that. Period. Whether it is on the rise again is of little interest to me. Maybe the rest of the world is finally catching up to us? HA!! Trends come and go yearly, who really cares? Not me! (Those are some wise words, thing about it!-PB)
The new album has been released on both CD and vinyl and news got out recently that The Crypt will reissue the first to albums 'The Dying Truth' and 'A Descent Into Hell' on LP too. These albums have been long out of print and I think they haven't been available on vinyl before. There's some bonus tracks added as well. What can you tell about these reissues? Any chance they'll be released on CD too for those who appreciate this format?
'The Dying Truth' and 'Decent Into Hell' coming out on vinyl is a dream come true. The demos that came along with the albums were never available on vinyl, as they were supposed to on the 'Ashes to Dust' demo CD that From Beyond put out. And From Beyond fucked us on that deal….all of our old demos were supposed to be compiled on a triple LP set, like the Goatlord. At the end they said “we can't afford it”, and put the double CD out without us even going over the layout together. Fucking gay!
Anyhooo…the Crypt stepped up and has done the utmost amazing job. Adhering to drunken visions and everything, and they've sold out in pre-order from the label already!! They've been nothing short of easy to work with and dedicated to their craft. Maybe a CDversion will come out or not….could care less really, but I'm sure they will come out sometime soon(ish) for those how care.
When it comes to your style I would say Cianide is a typical exponent of the Chicago death metal sound, a mix of Master and Celtic Frost. I think you're also one of the few bands that are still here to this day. In the past you had bands like Scepter, Usurper, Funeral Nation to name a few. Did you actually felt like you were part of a scene back in the day and what makes this 'Chicago sound'?
Funeral Nation was a bit before us. Scepter/Usurper/Dead Youth were all kinda the same band. They were both formed out of the ashes that were The Dead Youth. So, I suppose they are really close in sound. We were always doing our own thing back then, well, today too for that matter! If by 'scene' you mean a bunch of metal kids playing shows together and drinking gallons of beer and making fun of each other, then I guess we were a part of that. HA! It was never an organized thing or anything. Just a bunch of metal maniacs who all loved Frost, Master, Venom etc. etc... We've been asked about this Chicago Sound thing a lot lately and I really don't have a good answer for that. We're a very working class city and everyone kinda sticks to themselves. No hopes of conquering the world or anything like that…just a lot of down to earth metalheads who like their metal played HEAVY!!
I got the idea that you see Cianide as a hobby, a very important hobby that is. So, have you got any goals left that you'd like to achieve with the band?
I'd say 95% of all bands are hobby. (That's right-PB) If the band ain't paying your bills and putting food on the table, then it's a hobby. Sorry people, that's just the facts and it's not a bad thing either. So, yeah this is a total hobby for us and one I wouldn't give up for the world. It's a great feeling to be able to play metal with your best friends. Nothing beats it!! I think we've more than achieved of what we wanted to do when we started. Hell, we just wanted to do a demo and here we are 20+ years later!!
You recently played at the Maryland Death Fest and looking at the vids on YouTube it was a killer show. Do you actually play live often and isn't it about time you guys head over to Europe? I mean a band like Asphyx plays live quite often over here and I can't imagine people into that band don't want to see you guys play on these shores?
Playing live at clubs is not really what we're all about. We play live in the basement just about every week and pretty damn happy about that! Ha! It is pretty fun to get out and have a crowd react to what you're doing, and the Maryland Death Fest really was a 'high' I've never experienced before. We've honestly never had one serious offer to play Europe and for sure would like too!! I guess that would be one of the last goals we like to do.
All right, I guess I covered everything. Anything you might want to add?
Never Surrender……Metal Never Bends!! Cheers Pim!!