For starters, how are you doing these days?
Awesome! We have a great new album; my family life is good and I am jamming with good people in both Incantation and Funerus.
Your new effort 'Vanquish In Vengeance' is yet another amazing album, congratulations with that! It has been quite some time since you came up with a full-length again. Why so?
After we did the touring for the 'Primordial Domination' release, we just felt that we were not going to do another album until we were able to have the right line up and inspiration. We did not just want to release a record because its is the industry thing to do. If we were going to do another album after 'Primordial Domination' we wanted it to be a duel guitar album, unlike its predecessor. I think we achieved that, plus with the addition of Chuck on bass we were able to add an extra layer of darkness to the songs. So pretty much all the cards just fell into place. We are extremely proud of the new album. it was a true team effort. It was exactly what we were looking for. It was quite easy to write and arrange the songs. Everybody in the band had great ideas and if anything, it took us longer to decide which great ideas to use and which to save for another song or the next album.
'Vanquish In Vengeance' once again radiates a foul, threatening atmosphere and for the first time, I discovered a track that reminded me of 'Onward To Golgotha' immediately. I am talking about 'Haruspex'. This turned into my favourite track of the entire album. Do you have a certain track that appeals to you most?
I do not have a favourite track, I think the whole album works together in a great way. The overall vibe on the album I am extremely happy with. I have been hearing from a lot of people that they really like 'Haruspex'. We are just happy that other people can get enjoyment out of the music we came up with for the album.
How did you experience the recording process? How would you compare recording an album nowadays, in comparison to before?
We recorded all the basic tracks live in the studio. All of us in the same room, almost like a band practice or live show. There was not a lot of isolation. We purposely wanted to capture a live vibe of the band on this recording and not have to be sterile, like so many other bands do these days. But probably the hardest thing was not having as much control over the production of the album as we usually do. It is not that we do not like to production or anything we all think it is great. But usually on our albums we are there every step of the way. This time we handed over production duties to Dan Swan. He did an amazing job and he worked really hard to get the sound we were looking for. We could not be happier with the way it came out, but it was definitely a big change of pace for us to do things this way. The recording presses is a lot shorter then it was in the 90's and 80's; things are easier and more time efficient now for sure.
'Vanquish In Vengeance' contains more than amazing artwork, who made it?
Our good friend Worthless did it for us. We gave him our concept and he just did his own interpretation of it. It was totally different than what I was thinking but great none the less. We wanted to have something dark and different than what we have done in the past art wise. We hope to work with him again in the future.
So, you have been around for 24 years now and still going strong! The necessary changes have occurred, but sound-wise, you have held the pure essence of what Incantation is about. That must make you proud, right?
I still can not believe what we have accomplished over the years. We started off as just kids wanting to push metal to even more extreme limits. When I started the band I made a decision to play music for myself and to not care about trends. For me music is a way of expressing myself and death metal is the perfect outlet for it. One of my biggest struggles over the years was to find other people in the band that share my vision. I feel very fortunate to have a great line up now with great players and good friends.
In this time span, more than a lot of line-up changes happened in the band; about 30 different people have played in Incantation. Was this necessary to keep Incantation the no-compromise death metal band it is and always have been?
Yes, you have it pretty much right. There are so many reasons why things do not work out with different members. After the touring for 'Primordial domination', the most important thing for me was that I wanted to make sure if I was going to ever do the band again; I wanted to have the right line up. With members that really believe in what Incantation's essence really is. I must say I have gotten the opportunity to jam with so many great musicians. I feel very lucky to get that experience.
Not only me, but also others have mentioned the fact that if you would have adapted to a slightly more commercial sound, that you would be one of the biggest death metal bands on the planet right now. Instead of that, you chose to remain one of the best death metal bands, I have always said. Have you ever gotten offers that would have obliged you to change your sound to a somewhat more listener friendly sound?
The way I look at it, we have to do things our way. It is more important for us to be true to ourselves then sell out for cash. We have had many opportunities to sell out over the years but I just cannot play music to please other people's trends. We just do what we like and if people like it that is great and if not; oh well, too bad. But the people that enjoy Incantation's music they like us for being true to ourselves.
I would not be surprised if you music taste has changed over a long period of time. Are there certain music styles that you would not have been listening to back in the days, but that do catch your attention nowadays?
Hm, I am not sure. I pretty much like most of the same stuff. I listen to more 70's hard rock now than in the early 90's but that is nothing of a drastic change. I have always been a hard rock, heavy metal, death and grind metal fan.
About music styles catching your attention; are there any newer death metal bands that have caught your attention recently?
I like Abysme and Hail of Bullets a lot. Most of the new music I listen to is a new album from older bands I enjoy.
Well, these were all the questions, really. Once again a big thanks for taking the effort of answering. I wish you the best!
Thank you very much for the support and interview! It is great to see such a great response of the new album. Also check out my other band Funerus. I look forward to seeing you guys in Europe sometime in 2012.