Hails and congratulations on your new killer record, ‘Wildfire’, and welcome back to the metal front once again. It’s been almost seven long years since the release of ‘Defiance’. Things seemed to go pretty well again for Deströyer 666, although I understand that the geographical distance between the band members also made things pretty difficult. What happened after the release of ‘Defiance’ that resulted in a long period of silence?
Cheers fella. Not sure I felt like I was ever gone. I was certainly outta my mind for a while. But that was both voluntary and highly enjoyable. I lost every member there at one time. But ya know, things are never as bad as they seem, and things usually have a way of turning out for the best. Unless you have terminal cancer or you catch ya woman getting gangbanged by a family of gorillas. The distance has certainly been a pain in the arse no doubt about it. But ya play the cards ya dealt and I reckon Iive played most pretty damn well. After living in the Netherlands for six years I moved to Denmark and discovered a European language even more ugly than Dutch, which I thought was an impossibility. In fact, such was my revulsion for the Danish tongue that I came to really love the Dutch language and in fact I actually enjoy speaking it when I return. I would have written this interview in Dutch, but it would have taken me six years and would still be mostly unintelligible. I consider Holland a kind of second home nowadays to be honest. Albeit the kinda home where ya uncle molested you and ya mum butted her cigarettes out on forehead. But a home of sorts no less.
With ‘Wildfire’ Deströyer strikes hard with a new line-up. Of course you are not unfamiliar with line-up changes. But the most important change this time was the departure with Shrapnel, who had been a part of the band ever since the debut album and who was also an important factor for the Deströyer sound and image. What did Shrapnel’s departure mean to you, and how was working without him after eighteen years?
Well it was tough for sure, but life’s a bitch, sometimes ya get head, other time she wants to fuck you with a strap on. Ironically it was the kick up the arse I needed to learn how to play some solos. Folks come and go. Like the men on those PornHub movies. As I say, Shrapnel’s departure forced me to learn how to play solos and I taught myself to sing clean vocals. Bear in mind I do both of these things moderately badly, but never the less I felt pretty fucking pleased with myself for doing so. I’ve always though the best part about working with other musos is getting to work with other musos, and the worst part about it is having to work with other musos.
Despite the change of line-up ‘Wildfire’ is again a 100% pure Deströyer album, with your signature sound, riffs, melodies and atmosphere, and again uncompromised, hard-hitting, extreme metal in which thrash, speed, black and death metal merge into one catchy, neck-breaking chunk of pure metal. And although melodies again play an important role in the whole, ‘Wildfire’ in my opinion in general is even more aggressive than your previous releases, and seems like a harsh statement despite all obstacles and misfortunes Deströyer is still indestructible. Your opinion please…
Ya do what ya do. I play metal and surround myself with metal heads. Everything else falls into place. Albeit with lots of hard work and a healthy diet of sex drugs and heavy metal.
As I mentioned in my review, Deströyer has always kept to its distinctive sound and style, but never made the same record twice. And so also ‘Wildfire’ shows a different side of the band. Apart from the fact that the black metal influences are kept more limited and this is the most thrashy album from you guys to date, the songwriting approach in my opinion also has much in common with traditional heavy metal. Again your opinion please…
Well, I’ve been listening to lots of heavy metal the past five years, and I’ve got a job DJing a few weekends a month to finance my high rolling jetsetting lifestyle. I guess it all had an influence. To my mind there’s many great bands playing avante garde music today, for lack of a more general term. So I don’t think I could contribute to that in any meaningful way. I’ve always believed if you can’t be original, then aim to be unique. To be recognizable. Have a bit of fucking dignity about yaself. Metal has been my life so I’m obliged to view it with a equal measure of seriousness, scorn and pleasure.
Another striking point – to me – is that the old spirits of Bathory and Venom are even more present on this album that ever before… all this of course without losing the recognizable Deströyer sound! What did you have in mind in general as for the direction of the record when you started working on it?
To write memorable tunes. To do the honorable thing by Shrapnel and myself. By that I mean, it would have been dishonorable to 1.Not continue and 2. Not to make the classic metal album we both set out to do before he left.
In how far did the new members influence the direction of the additional aspects and the general sound and vibe of the new material?
They all contributed in their own way, but the songs were for the most part written before they arrived, or predominantly by myself. But again, they all contributed and the album couldn’t have been exactly what it was without them. The solos Ro played, the bass lines and vocals Felipe put down and the beats by Perra, all added to the final product.
And in how far has your own view on the musical direction of the band and music in general changed since you first started the band?
I agree with Nietzsche, Music is a Narcotic. I think a lot nowadays about how it seems we were allowed to be anti-Christian. And now that we are confronted by a far greater religious threat ,we are told that to sing about that religion could be an arrestable offence with a charge of 'incitement to religious hatred'. Or some equate it with racism even. As if a religion is of only one race. Though to be fair that word is thrown around so fucking much its almost lost all meaning. This new age censorship is a very worrying trend and one I hope all metalheads take the time to consider. How it’s come to pass and why it’s come to pass .
What can you tell us about the lyrical content of this album, in how far your subjects of interest have developed during the years, and the important of the words in Deströyer 666 in general?
It covers the invasive legislation against Biker clubs in Australia, namely the V.L.A.D laws put in place in some states and how I feel that is a precursor to far greater infringements of our civil liberties. There’s a track dedicated to Dionysus, because I figure the devil has enough songs written for him, and for me, a god surrounded by dancing naked women high on ecstasy sounds like the god for me. Apart from ‘Die you fucking Pig’ ,I decided this time round to take it easy on the vitriol. My soapbox is in for repairs and having a predilection for honest lyrics I wrote about my life the past few years more than anything.
Deströyer is one of the most influential bands in the extreme metal underground from the past two decades and one with a loyal following. But that also means that the expectation are quite high in general. In the additional info sheet it – rightly – states that you have no need to prove anything. I can also imagine that releasing a new album after almost seven years is an exciting matter. Was there any pressure during the songwriting considering the developments in the band since the last album?
There was a certain pressure from myself yeah. I wanted to write an album I enjoyed from start to finish. I lack that self-love most musicians seem to have and view everything I’ve done very very critically. I had something to prove to myself. One that i could play some damned solos and two that I could get these songs together alone.
Another statement from the info sheet is that you guys ‘have nothing in common with a bunch of kids trying to emulate the eighties’. Although that is absolutely true and you have always embraced the spirit of true metal since the very beginning, that statement is also quite bold and shows some sort of displeasure towards the new old-school movement. Could you please explain a bit more about this? How do you look at the new old-school revival that has been going on the past few years?
I’m oblivious to it. Maybe indifferent is a better description.
Deströyer 666 will hit the road in April with Bölzer for a European tour. Are there more plans to take the band across the globe this year, and of course festival appearances in the summer?
Oh yeah,2016 is gonna be Worldwide Wildfire. Every continent and every sin.
In continuance to the previous question, it is of course no secret that it’s getting harder and harder nowadays to get decent gigs and tours. How does that work for a long-running and established band, and with a cult status like Deströyer 666, apart from when offered touring package?
Seems to me that the proliferation of festivals has not helped the touring scene at all. I honestly wish some of them would fuck off and die. And I wish bands would stop fucking playing them all the fucking time. I think this is indicative of a greater phenomenon in society of centralizing everything. Festivals can seem like disgusting shopping malls, and I assume most metalheads, like myself, find shopping malls truly repugnant establishments. Full of mindless drones walking about sampling a bit of each thing, but never committing much energy to anything in particular. I’m sure the inevitable terror attacks on music festivals in the next few years will insure many who can’t afford top security will have to shut up shop and fuck off back to suburbia and wait in front of their laptops for the next Game of Thrones series. I guess that’ll leave just those too small for terrorists to attack and those big ugly ones.
So I guess we can make it fast with one last question; what’s next for Deströyer 666? After all, 2017 embarks ‘Unchain The Wolves’’s 20th anniversary. I know 2016 has just started, but are there any plans or ideas to celebrate that?
Meh, I don’t go in for all that self-congratulatory crap. That’s stuff for record labels to do. Nostalgia is a term that comes from the ancient Greeks, and was considered a disease of sentimentality. I like to think I’m cured of any such ailment. Then again, I like to think I’m pretty fucking cool too, but my Mum says I’m really just a twat.
Well Keith, I guess we can call it a day for now. Unless of course there is something left that you’d like to mention…
Hartstikke bedankt for u tijd jonge.