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Vorige maand kwam ’The Darkside’ uit van Stass, vernoemd naar (Crematory) zanger Felix Stass. Waar de muziek van Crematory behoorlijk in de gothic metal hoek zit, is Stass oldschool death met gothic invloeden. Prima verklaarbaar, want naast Felix Stass is ook death metal duizendpoot Rogga Johansson een belangrijk onderdeel van Stass. Afijn, fijne plaat, mooie aanleiding om eens met de koning van de bakkebaard himself te praten: Felix Stass!

Door: Sicktus | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Hi Felix, First off, congrats on the Stass album! I really enjoyed that one. But before we begin: who does your sideburns? And the Big Dividing Question: razor, scissors or electric?
Yes... Thans for your compliment!!! Hahaha... My sideburns... I do every third morning with wetshavers and scissors!!!

Alright, on to the serious stuff... ‘The Dark Side’ is about to be released, so it might be a bit early to ask, but how have reactions been, so far? Reviews, people who’ve heard the album, fan reactions to the one song that is on YouTube? Are you looking forward to release day?
The reactions are very positive so far. I have a very big musician friendship circle and they all love the cd. And of course I get many positive resonances on Facebook!!! I look forward to the release with tension.

The first seeds for Stass were planted in 2012 already. Then came a couple of guest appearances on some of Rogga’s projects. What was the last spark that made you guys decide that you just had to do this?
The idea had been longer in the room, but that was my fault that I did not have the time... Because I have a lot of work as a kitchen chef... I make chili sauces and Crematory need a lot of time, too!!!!

This is not your first trip down Death Metal Boulevard, but this one does stand out. Early/mid nineties, you did some stuff in various death / death related bands, then came a long period with a lot of focus on Crematory and the last couple of years, you’ve been doing some (guest) death metal stuff again. And now the Stass album. Why now? And what makes this different compared to your earlier endeavours in death metal?
Yes. My first death band started in 1988, Reborn Angel, but we were only a practise room band!!! In 1991 Crematory started and in 1997 I had a side project named Ab:Norm. And of course I have sung here and there over the years. Just for fun!

Is this the most satisfying dive into death metal territory of your career so far? Any other genres you’re fond of you might be open to doing an album / project on? A return to doom, perhaps?
Of course, this is a very exciting project for me. For us, because we simply wanted to show other musical aspects of ourselves!!! I hear a lot of different music and I don´t know where the next trip goes.

band imageThe band was started as a combination of the Crematory and Paganizer sound, but I also hear a lot of Demiurg in the album – which of course isn’t all that strange, given who play on the album. Besides you and Rogga, how did the line up take shape, how did you guys decide on who to ask?
Yes, yes I love Swedish death metal very much and Demiurg is one of the masterpiece bands! Since Rogga has taken over the whole instrumental arrangement and he also looked for the guys who had the bock on it... hahaha!!!! And I´m very proud and satisfied with his decision!

Can you shed some light on how the songwriting process is with STASS? Is there a main composer, or is everybody contributing ideas, or...? I’m curious because there are a lot of song writers / composers on this line up. Who has the last word when you have to decide on some artistic matter?
There is no light in the darkside. Hahaha!!! I came up with the idea to record different kinds of style and sounds and Rogga is the riff god and he did it! Since there was neither dispute nor discussions. The songs were so cool. Everything has been voted in at the first take! We are all on the same wavelength. We see eye to eye so to say.

Is there a difference in writing lyrics for STASS or Crematory? Is there a main theme in the STASS songs?
Actually there are no big differences. At Crematory it is more gothic themes. Like love, grief and life crises. The Stass lyrics move around fiction themes like doomsday, war, and cruel humanity.

You recorded fifteen tracks, but there are only ten on the album, does that mean we have a EP or split coming up anytime soon?
I don´t know. This was a decision by the record company. But I hope the songs will still be used for bonus tracks or an EP, because the other five songs are very interesting and important. It is a grindcore song, a slamcore song, a black metal one, a hardcore and a groovy death metal one like Obituary style. They show many variations!

Is Stass a recording/studio band only, or will we see some live gigs popping up here and there? Anything planned as of now?
Yes it is studio only. Because it would be very difficult. First: there is 1235 kilometres separating us and second it´s of course a time problem. Rogga has maybe 399 bands, hahaha!!! And I can´t remember any lyrics when I´m drunk and I´m always drunk when playing live... Hahahaha!!!!!

Naming the band STASS is a pretty bold statement. Or, well, kind off. Anyway, it works, it fits the bill, but what made you go with that? Did you have any doubts? Were any other names considered, or did it just have to be STASS from the first moment on?
It´s very difficult to find a good name that also says everything and makes you curious! So, the name Stass was the idea of Rogga. I slept a night on it and became friends with it. No, fun aside, it’s the best name we can have!

I can’t do an interview with you and not ask about Crematory, now can I? How are things in the Crematory camp? Any plans / dates for a follow up to 2016’s ‘Monument’ yet - or any other news or plans you’d like to share? The new live CD / DVD ‘Live Insurrection’ is out by now, if I’m not mistaken?
Sure, no problem because Crematory has been my life for 27 years! Everything is fine with the band. Lot of festivals and shows and we have a lot of fun. We are in the record studio right now for the new cd, which will come out in 2018. And yes you´re right, the new live cd/dvd is out. This is also the reason why the interview took some time!

Alright, that wraps it up. Any last words?
Thanks for your interest for the Stass cd and for the interview. Have a good time and keep the metal in your heart!!! Greetz from Germany!

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