Ahab Interview with Christian Hector
1st November 2014
Interview by Caitlin Smith
Nautical themed doom giants Ahab may be making a name for themselves on the doom scene, and have been enjoying unparalleled success since their latest full-length masterpiece ‘The Giant’ hit the shelves in 2012. Returning this year for Damnation Festival, it is only the 2nd time these doom titans have set foot on UK soil. Sitting down the bassist Christian Hector at Damnation, we chat about their recent venture into charity work, the new album and their love of good literature.
For those who don’t know about Ahab, can you give us a quick introduction to the band?
Yes of course. We started out in 2004, 10 years ago, and Daniel and me started 2 different projects in the funeral doom genre. He had a song and I had an idea, this concept about Moby Dick. I heard this song and he heard about my concept and we were like, lets do it together. We’ve known each other 20 years already and did music together all the way. That’s when it started as a two man project and we recorded a demo back then, The Oath. Cornelius our drummer was a session drummer on the first album. I think 2 or 3 years later Stephen joined and ever since then we’ve been a band. Nowadays we’ve developed a bit further than just playing funeral doom. We’ve obviously got some classic doom stuff and sludgy riffs but the main theme about the sea and integrating books, that’s stable stuff for us.
You guys have taken a lot of inspiration from nautical themes. Could you tell us about some reoccurring literature?
Well of course Moby Dick was the spark that started it but I’m into pretty much literature all the way. The German author Gunter Grass, he did Die Blechtrommel, I love Paul Auster for example and some trashy stuff like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, I’ve read that too. We did Edgar Alan Poe on the Giant and the new book, I cant yet say what it is. Main influence is the book the book we try to integrate. Lyrics wise, when I write it’s more I try to be influenced by the book and by almost more non-metal lyricists that you usually use. I mean metal is mostly like death and the other stuff is more sophisticated probably.
Tell us a bit more about your fundraising towards the Oceana fundraising campaign Project Marine Wildlife.
Daniel and me are vegetarians nowadays. I mean we’re not ideological vegetarians that go out and say you have to be vegetarian and stuff like that. At least me, I’m pretty much interested in all the stuff going on in the world. I just think everybody says its shitty but nobody does anything for it so I just thought why not do a t-shirt. I was like ‘lets do something like that’ and the other guys were like ‘yeah cool, why not.’ I asked a friend of mine to do a more punk style layout for us with the Napalm Death stuff. I don’t know how much we earned but I think something around 1,000 euros and we just gave it away. It felt good. I think it’s for a good cause.
Will we see any future fundraising?
Probably. I mean there’s so much you could fundraise. What I’m interested in at the moment is all these homeless people for example. I mean, everybody spends money fundraising for Africa or for the Ocean like we did but there’s so much going wrong in your own country so that could probably be something.
Back to the sea, is there something that specifically inspires your interest in it?
Of course. The sea is something when I was young it was a holiday, it was nice, it was warm. Later on when I got interested in biology, I studied biology back then, I was always totally fascinated by this strange stuff that going on in the deep sea, all the black smokers and stuff like that. Also if you’ve ever been on the sea when it’s stormy you feel fucking small, so its this ambiguity about the sea. When it’s calm it’s really nice but you know that it can be devastating. That’s something that fits with Ahab perfectly because we have this really calm stuff, the more dramatic stuff and then we play this brutal stuff with the death growls. I think there are very few people who don’t like the sea so we are not different in that respect.
Theres a new album on the way. Can you tell us about how it’s progressing?
We have two songs almost ready. The lyrics are written but the voices aren’t developed yet because Daniel does it on his own. We already have a book of course, but I wont tell anything about that yet. What I can say about the book is it’s a bit in the vein of HP Lovecraft. It is not HP Lovecraft because so many metal bands write about that and it would be boring. We have 3 more songs to be arranged and probably at least 2 songs are a bit more sludgy. I would say the rest are more or less typical Ahab stuff. We are going into the studio in late March next year, so probably summer or early autumn there could be an album.
What do you hope fans will take from an Ahab show?
I was at a Jex Thoth show 2 or 3 weeks ago in Stuttgart and it was amazing. It was like when the band didn’t play and the incense was smoking nobody spoke any words. It was almost silence, it was amazing. That would be perfect for us as well because I like that if you play really calm stuff nobody is talking. I hate it when people stand beside the stage and its like shut the fuck up, go outside and have a beer. Of course they go crazy while the hard stuff is playing but that’s what I like about live shows. Hopefully they will like it because its our second show in the UK and the big show in the UK so I’m quite curious what will happen.
Speaking of your UK shows, why have you visited us so infrequently?
Because nobody asked us… No, actually the plan for next year is a couple more UK and more France. I think in German were a special interest band and I don’t think there’s much to grow there. Of course for us its always more expensive to go to the UK that’s one reason. The Doom over London show was probably the chance to go here, and probably Damnation is the chance to go to two or three shows next year. If you post a concert on Facebook everyone’s always like ‘come to Mexico, come to New York, come to wherever.’ I’m always like ‘Hey, if you book us of course we would come’ but we can’t pay it ourselves because its fucking expensive.
So whats next for Ahab?
We will go on tour like three dates in November: Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. In 2015 of course we are writing new stuff and arranging the stuff we already have. We are playing one really big festival next year. It’s not announced yet so I can’t say where it is or what it is but it’s one of the really big festivals in Europe, not Germany but Europe. Hopefully UK shows next year, I don’t know if there are any festivals we could play and France of course. Probably a small tour round Europe, probably Slovenia, they’ve asked already.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
My favourite motto is ‘Live Slow, Die Old’