Hi, thanks for taking the time to do this e-mail interview. How’s life been treating you?
Life has been treating me fairly well, thanks for asking!
Strangely enough this is the first time Lords Of Metal is doing an interview with you, even though Deinonychus has been active around a quarter of a century now (that includes the hiatus period). So, could you tell us about the band’s history through the years?
Well where to start? Back in late ’91 early ’92 I was in a black metal band called Malefic Oath; together with Michel Jongboom (guitars) and Maurice Swinkels (drums, nowadays vocals with Legion Of The Damned). I did bass and vocals for my part. At some point Maurice left the band and I took over drums and vocals, and Michel guitars and bass, and so we recorded the legendary demo ‘The Land Where Evil Dwells’ somewhere in mid ’92. After that I left the band to start things on my own, and that’s how Deinonychus was born. Unlike what everybody thinks, Deinonychus was founded as a two piece outfit, because I started the band together with Maurice Swinkels who did shared vocals with me. That must have been somewhere late ’92. In between ’92 and ’93 I started to compose songs for Deinonychus and released a rehearsal tape (instrumental) called ‘A Shining Blaze Over Darkland’. In late ’93 Maurice and I did record the infamous ‘Promo 1993’ tape, which resulted immediately after in a record deal with Cacophonous Records from the UK. From there on things just went on and on. Deinonychus released eight albums between 1995 and 2017, being ‘The Silence Of December 1994/95)’/ ‘The Weeping of a Thousand Years 1996’/ ‘Ark of Thought 1997’/ ‘Deinonychus 1999’/ ‘Mournument 2002’/ ‘Insomnia 2004’/ ‘Warfare Machines 2007’ and the recently released album ‘Ode To Acts Of Murder, Dystopia And Suicide 2017’. Through the years Deinonychus has coped with lots of line-up changes, as the first couple years I did record most things on my own. As for now the line-up consists out of Steve Wolz-Drums, Markus Stock-Keyboards and me doing vocals, bass, guitars. 75% of the band hails from Germany.
Just like any artist you surely must have your influences both musically and from the non-music world. What has influenced you all these years?
I reckon most part of influences I have taken from life around me and the things which move me emotionally. I like to generalize these aspects as well from musical as non-musical influences, as my spectrum in this is very wide and versatile. And so I’d rather say that I’m musically influenced by everything, dark, aggressive, melancholic, everything which moves me in a certain way.
Besides Deinonychus you’re also know for your work with Bethlehem in the past and also for other projects such as Stahlmantel and Nihil Novi Sub Sole. What is the current status of those other projects and will there ever be a chance that you will work with Bethlehem again? If not, is there any specific reason for it?
Not to mention that I also did an album with the French band Dark Sanctuary back in 2003. Well Stahlmantel is the project of Jürgen Bartsch from Bethlehem, I did record one demo with them (as we still where a trio), and then left the project. I’m not sure whether it’s still active. As for Nihil Novi Sub Sole; it was a project I most of the part did within the hiatus of silence with Deinonychus between 2008-2012. I did record one album in 2010 with this project (martial/ industrial music) and we did some live gigs in Germany and Spain, after 2012 nothing really happened anymore. Hence a new album is in the making at the moment. It will so to say the prequel album to ‘Jupiter Temple’ from 2010, as the album will contain a variety of material composed between 2008-2010. A release is planned for early 2018. No I will never work for Bethlehem again, simply for the fact that I decided to leave the band on a permanent basis back in 1999, now as you see, eighteen years ago.
I Would say you started off as a purely black metal band but evolved into much more of a doom band over the years. How that come about?
I’m not sure if that is the case with Deinonychus in general. I can say that the album ‘Insomnia’ was intentionally made a doom album, and it was quite hard to do so. But overall I think the slow parts give the music just that more emotion and dreariness , I still would consider Deinonychus to be a mixture of doom/black/death metal…. But suicidal metal just says it all.
The band split in 2008 and reformed in 2011. What made you decide to start up Deinonychus again? And why did it take so long (six years) before you released a new albums?
I don’t know who ever said that Deinonychus reformed in 2011? I can see that that is stated at the Encyclopaedia Metallum-The Metal Archives website, and it is just not true, as more things in there are just no facts. The band more or less split up, and revived in 2016. So it took me ten years to do a new album.
How did you cope with the rumours Deinonychus to be a Nazi band after the release of ‘Warfare Machines’?
Here I have to answer the same thing as above, this also was mentioned at Encyclopaedia Metallum-The Metal Archives website. Never after the release of ‘Warfare Machines’ I have been accused of anything. Only the German Bundesprüfstelle für Jugendeschütze Medien were sceptical about the lyrics and first banned the cd for three weeks in German speaking countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but they took the ban back, as they saw that there was no conclusive reason to do so. ‘Warfare Machines’ in no way is offensive or political disputable. Of course one could take offense in it, when approach the album with a narrow view. But isn’t that always with more or less WWII thematics?
Where did those rumours originate?
I only know one website which clearly has put this out as a rumor, I can’t read anything anywhere else? The Encyclopaedia Metallum-The Metal Archives website!
Mentioning ‘Warfare Machines’, that album was quite a departure from the sound of ‘Insomnia’ which was quite a logical follow-up to ‘Mournument’. What was the reason for this quite drastic change of sound?
I really wanted to make a solid and short album for one time, but also came to the conclusion back then, that I was getting weary with the whole music thing. Even though ‘Warfare Machines’ is still a really good album for my liking. It is the album which has less of a spirit than any other Deinonychus album, and one can hear that sort of. It is more an album written by the head rather than written from the heart!
If I remember correctly ‘Warfare Machines’ wasn’t received all that well back when it was released. How did you view the album back then and also the reviews at the time?
I didn’t experience that the album wasn’t well received, can’t say that happened. Surely there are some bad reviews around, but that is with all releases. So, I can’t say that I had any negative experience with that album as it came out. Surely there are some people who moaned about the overall approach of the album, but those people will moan now again with the new album. Deinonychus is something you love or just hate, there is no in between.
To me ‘Ode To Acts Of Murder, Dystopia and Suicide’ sounds like the logical follow-up to ‘Insomnia’. Was it intended to be like that? And if so why continue on that path and not the one set in with ‘Warfare Machines’?
No it was not that intended. Frankly seen I had no blueprint at all when composing the new album. There was only one huge difference between composing both albums. With composing ‘Ode To…’ I felt really fresh again, batteries where loaded full. And I really was motivated to do this album, as with ‘Warfare Machines’ I was all used up, and was not motivated at all. Hence like said before, that album still does it for my liking. I even can’t say what a follow up to ‘Ode To…’( if it will ever happen) will sound like.
How do you go about writing the lyrics and music for something as intense as Deinonychus?
I’m quite a rapid composer and lyric writer. I don’t spend too much time on experimenting, but focus 100%, and spend only time on things when I feel in the mood. And that is when I feel good. And as I do most of the time. It is a matter of several weeks.
Did you go about the writing of ‘Ode’ any differently than before?
No, pretty much the same approach as with all other albums.
Like I said in my review of ‘Ode To Acts Of Murder, Dystopia And Suicide’ the high point of the album for me is ‘Buried Under The Frangipanis’. I personally associate frangipani with life and not with death due to its fragrance and appearance. So why choose for that flower/tree for burying someone under?
I have this question answer forwarded to Shane Davison who wrote the lyric for this song: “It is a complex song to fully explain lyrically. The line is meant to seduce and revolt you at the same time. You associate the smell and look of Frangipanis with beauty, life and sensory pleasure but then this song isn't a thing of beauty. It is a story of a mother who has lost her son to a truly horrible crime. It is the killer taunting her, gaining pleasure from her suffering, making sure she knows her child suffered. He is telling her from your child's pain, I have altered your life forever and that her son now rests, buried under a frangipani tree. From his death, life is renewed with a thing of beauty.”
If I am not mistaken the album has just been released. How has it been received up to now?
Can’t complain at all at the moment. So far the album gains a lot of positive feedback as well from magazines as people who already own a hardcopy or digital stuff.
Will you be continuing with Deinonychus and will you be taking a shorter time for a next album?
I really can’t tell. At the moment I’m investing my time in just other things which need my priority.
I asked for your musical influences earlier on. There are of course also bands that have been influenced by you. For example the French extreme doom acts such as Mourning Dawn, Funeralium, Ataraxie and I would also dare say the Dutch band Abysmal Darkening. How do you regard that, are you familiar with those bands and do you listen to those sorts of bands yourself and do you enjoy their sort of music?
I’m actually not listening to such bands myself, for no other reason that I’m simply more into other stuff. Weird eh? However I’m familiar with Funeralium and that sounds pretty sick if you ask me! Of course I feel quite flattered by the fact that bands such as these are influenced by my music in one or the other way. And I must say that particularly it is the French bands who have some sort of connection, can’t tell why. Abysmal Darkening you say? Got to check them out now.
Since Deinonychus is back at the front again, will you be playing live? And if so, any time soon and where? Is there anywhere specific you would like to play and with any specific bands?
Short answer: No!
What are your plans for the distant and not so distant future?
I have no plans with Deinonychus whatsoever. Things come as they come. Can’t tell yet as other things in my life gain more priority at the moment.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for the most interesting interview and support. From this side, as always much appreciated. What I like to add……. Go fucking buy our album lads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!