I didnít need a better excuse in order to be in the Underworld on the 28th of February, rather than the fact that my countrymen Rotting Christ and the new Death Metal phenomenon called Decapitated were to share the same stage. Somewhere between the sound checks of the bands I managed to chat with Martin, the bassist of Decapitated.
Hi Martin. 'Negation' is Decapitatedís third album and from what I know the word means the creation of something negative. Why did you choose this specific name for the album?
Martin: The idea behind the name of the album? Negation means being negative to something, and itís a title similar to the one we chose for our previous album 'Nihility'. It can be for example against Christianity. You probably know that Poland is a very religious country and there is quite a lot of intolerance towards people who like Rock music and do not follow the path that the Catholic Church chose for them. Personally for us, the 'Negation'means many things. Being a Christian and believing in God has become so commercial, but itís all about the money, thatís why you find the band against this whole situation.
How do you explain the fact that almost all the Polish Metal bands like Decapitated, Immemorial and Vader belong in the extreme Metal scene? Is there something strange in your genes that we should know about? (laughs)
Martin: Another journalist once asked me exactly the same thing. Why are there so many brutal bands from Poland. This is something that I cannot explain. I was born and grew up in Poland so I cannot be objective about this.
Could the reasons be political or even social?
Martin: I think that itís easier for you as an Ďoutsiderí to come with a conclusion. I cannot reach to a conclusion since I live in that country and in a way Iím part of it.
'Negation' is the bandís third studio album. Give us a few tips as to how it was recorded.
Martin: 'Negation' was recorded at the same studio as the previous albums
Which studio are we talking about?
Martin: Hertz studio, which for us is the best place in Poland to record an extreme Metal album. We had two sound engineers working on our album who both studied music engineering in the States, and that of course means that they have plenty of experience and knowledge on how a Metal album must sound. They are recording many different styles of music, but if you check on their schedule, you will see that most of the bands that they work with belong to the brutal Metal scene.
Who are they, since we are talking about them?
Martin: Swarek and Voltec (I couldnít catch their last name), theyíre brothers.
What is the recipe that you use in order to create a song?
Martin: Vogg, our guitarist is normally the one to begin the song-writting process. He will create a riff or a melodic part and based on that the rest of us will create what is to become a Decapitated song, but if you have to name one person as the bandís main composer, that would definitely be Vogg.
How about the lyrics? Is Sauron (the bandís vocalist) the only person involved with them
Martin: Sauron, he is the vocalist so writing lyrics is his main responsibility in the band. Heís really good at it so we trust him 100% with that.
From what you just said, I understand that you wonít be able to tell me what the lyrics of the album are about...
Martin: I think that itís better to ask Sauron that question, I think that heís sitting in the next room (unfortunately the interview took place 15 minutes before Anata, one of the four bands of the bill, appeared on stage and at the time I couldnít find Sauron to answer this question for me).
Death Metal was really popular in the 80ís but after the appearance of Black Metal in the early 90ís, the record labels and the fans kind of lost interest in the scene. Do you think that Death Metal re-appeared stronger with the new Millennium?
Martin: Yes I believe so. We started to play music in 1996 and at that time there were only Black Metal bands around. You would open a magazine and all the interviews and reviews you could read were for Black Metal bands, since that was the most popular music to play. Now, of course, things are much better and the Death Metal scene becomes bigger and stronger every day.
When you recorded 'The First Damned', your first album, you had an average age of sixteen years. Why did you choose to play Death Metal, instead of following the more popular direction and become a Black Metal band?
Martin: Because Death Metal is the music that we started listening to, and the only kind of music that we wanted to play. We knew that by playing Black Metal we had better chances of earning good money, but that was something that we didnít care about.
How important is it for Decapitated to be on tour?
Martin: Touring is the most important thing. Most of the Death Metal bands that I know record an album every two or three years, so what are they supposed to do between every release? Being able to promote your music by playing live in front of an energetic audience is the best thing. TV and the Radio can help a band as far as promotion is concerned, but people/fans need to see how good the bands are live. Thatís what Metal is all about!
Name the band that you enjoyed touring the most. Have there been many?
Martin: We have played with many good bands, too many to mention. I believe that my favourite time was in 2002 when we toured with Vader and Krisiun. For us Krisiun are the best band to tour with. Itís not so much about the music as it is about the character of the people involved. We had a great time touring with them.
'Negation' is the perfect example on how a band can combine technicality with brutality. Do you believe that being brutal is not enough in order to play Death Metal? Which, in your opinion, is the right formula for a successful Death Metal band?
Martin: Brutality is the basic element in Death Metal music. For the members of Decapitated, playing fast is not our first priority. There are cases where we prefer to play slower or even more melodic than we normally would. Sometimes a mid tempo riff can be more powerful and heavy than a fast one.
The changes in the band since the days that you recorded your debut album are quite visible. How would you judge your evolution as a band?
Martin: The band has definitely evolved through the years. We grew up as a band and things just happened naturally, nothing was planned. We practice constantly and we are still learning a lot of things. No one is perfect, you need to always try to improve yourself if you respect what youíre doing.
My first impression after listening to the 'Negation' is that you must be pretty much influenced by Morbid Angel, as most of the Death Metal bands that I know. Do you agree with what Iíve just said?
Martin: Of course we listen to Morbid Angel, but we do not play like them. We like many Death Metal band but we try to create our own style. But yes, they are one of the bands that we like to listen to and also a source of inspiration.
Do you listen to other kinds of music apart from Metal, and if yes, which are they?
Martin: Of course! We also listen to Classical music. All the members of the band have attended music schools where the basis of the education is Classical music. Our vocalist even listens to some Polish Hip-Hop music (I am intrigued to find out what Polish Hip-Hop music sounds like!!!). We try to be as open minded as possible and draw our inspiration from many different sources.
Thatís really impressive. Thatís not how things used to be when Death Metal first appeared. Back then you had to belong to a specific category.
Martin: Categories? Categories were created from the media. Musicians shouldnít really care about them in my opinion.
How would you rate your releases if you had to do so?
Martin: The best album is definitely the 'Negation'. I hope that our future releases will only become better and better. It is really hard to describe the previous releases. (I chose not to insist on this one).
Having a big label supporting your 'cause' is a very important thing. Are you satisfied with the way Earache records is promoting the band?
Martin: Of course we are satisfied, thatís why weíre with them. We are working fine with them, never had any problems.
∑ Have you heard of any good music lately? Which was the last CD that you bought?
Martin: I didnít have enough time to listen to any new music lately, just my old favourite records. The last thing I remember listening to was Bjork, who in my opinion is one of the best female singers in the world.
Today youíre sharing the same stage with the guys from Rotting Christ, Anata and Thus Defiled. What do you expect to gain from this show?
Martin: I expect this gig to be better that the previous ones. London is always a good place to play live and I hope that once again Iím right.
Ok Martin, the last words are yours.
Martin: Buy our albums and keep supporting Metal.
Interview © 2004