Heart of Steel: Interviews

Quietus - Chris Waters

Interviewed by EvilG, Rick & Los Muertos

Did you get the name Quietus from the name of the Roman Emperor who was "made" Emperor and was later killed? OR Does the name come from elsewhere? What does it mean and why did you choose it?

Back in 1997, I wrote a poetry project called "The Last Day", which was about the Armageddon within one's soul. I've been wanting to put it to music for quite sometime. One of the last songs is called "Celestial Quietus". "Quietus" is another word for "death", but it also means "putting an end to something". I prefer the latter definition because in order for us as a society to have new beginnings there must be an end.

 

When I did an online search for bands with the name Quietus, I came across a couple others. Have you considered changing the name? (I know I asked this,  but I wanted to make sure it was worded properly to match the question.)

I have considered changing it if necessary, or at least adding to it (maybe going with "Celestial Quietus" or "Quietus Unearthed"). I already got permission from Kimmo from Finland's Quietus since she said they've been broken up for some time. As far as the band from Fort Wayne, IN--I just recently discovered them. The latest stuff I can find on them dates back to 1996, the same year they released a CD. So I'm thinking they're no longer around, but if they are I want to know. I don't want to steal from anyone!

 

Quietus is a one-man project. Why did you choose to go this route rather than recruit other band members?

Part of it is because of the time issue. I'm a working father with two kids, and I go to college part-time trying to finish what I started 8 years ago! So there's hardly any way to rehearse with a band 3 nights a week or more. Also, it's always been hard for me to find all the members I need for a full outfit, especially for the type of music I want to play. We either lacked a singer, bass player, drummer, etc. The cool thing about it was that I finally had all the technology and resources to do it myself after all these years! And it seems like a lot of bands are shrinking down in members--just look at Emperor's last two CDs. Hell, in "Prometheus", Ihsahn did most of the music himself. Why not? The technology is here, and it's a helluva lot cheaper.

 

Do you think the reason for being a one-man band has anything to do with your location (Georgia, USA)?

As far as finding band members, definitely! I know of only a few bands who even remotely play death/black metal here.

 

Is there much of a metal scene there (Georgia)? 

Atlanta probably has the biggest metal scene (obviously!) There are a few bands like Stuck Mojo, Bible-Belt Byproduct and Narcolepsy, but mostly metal bands come to play there. I'm originally from Savannah, and most of the scene there is made up of punk and hardcore bands, which aren't too bad. Right now, I live on the Georgia side of Chattanooga, TN. I sent my demo to a local rock station that has a show for local bands. Most of the shit I heard was mallcore rap-metal or I-wanna-be-a-metal-band-who-has-an-Eddie-Vedder-imitator-for-a-singer type stuff! Then came "Bloodsworn"--I don't think they liked it (heheheh)!

 

There are some pretty famous examples of one-man bands out there (Mortiis, Burzum, etc.), but there aren't a lot of them. What do you admire about  one-person projects and would you like to see more of them??

Actually I would like to see more bands like that. This gives the chance for one person to display they're ideas as they see it. Original material can change in a band, especially if no one is open-minded and there is a lot of politics involved. Sometimes art is meant to be performed by just one person so the full picture can be seen and no meaning can be taken away from it (from an artistic perspective). Why do you think Mortiis and Bathory became so powerful? Because of pure, unaltered vision.

 

Many people are wary of one-man bands, how do you deal with the often negative stigma associated with these types of bands?

I just say be open-minded and give it a chance. Nowadays, people can do just as much by themselves as they can with a 5 or 6 man band. I'm not trying to knock multi-member bands at all--I'm just saying that it's possible for one person to do it all and do it good.

Since you are a one man band, you obviously cannot play live!?! Have you ever played live, would you like to, even if it were with musicians who were not a part of the recording, but who like your music and wouldn't mind playing it live with you?

I would look pretty silly on stage by myself, wouldn't I? Yeah, here's a tape monitor of all my shit--just hear me sing! (LOL) I've always wanted to play live, and unfortunately I never had the chance to do it. Hopefully one day I can gain enough attention to get a few musicians to practice my material for some live shows. Although I don't want to constantly tour, I think it would be fun to have a few shows here and there just for the fans.

 

You recorded and produced your own CD called DESTROYER OF WORLDS. Can you tell me a bit about where you recorded the disc and the actual recording  process?

I recorded everything at home, believe it or not! Maybe eventually I can either upgrade my equipment or use a professional studio, but so far this works great. Basically what I did was write some guitar rhythms and come up with a loose structure, and I used this to program the drums with a program called PCDrummer. This took a while, but it was well worth it! There were only a few drum sequences I used more than once, but the rest were all different so it wouldn't sound like I looped the stuff over and over making it sound "programmed". It took me about 4 hours to get 30 seconds or less of material, so you can imagine how long that took! After that, I plugged my guitar through my effects processor, routed that through a damn good receiver for volume control, and plugged it into the Line-In jack on my computer. I have a program called n-Track Studio from Fasoft where I created all my tracks (you can have as many as your computer processor will let you have), edited them, and mixed them down using its digital mixing board and studio effects (most of the effects were on the vocals to clean them up). The samples were made with a program called Mellosoftron III through Polyhedric Software and a keyboard hooked up to the computer. The sound samples are .wav files I made or downloaded--you can use any sound you want in your music. There are tons of musicians using this!

 

As the ability to cheaply create a CD propagates because of new and cheaper technologies do you foresee a day when traditional recording studios will become obsolete and all CDs will be recorded at home?

Not exactly. Many musicians still prefer all analog equipment and having albums produced by professionals who have been producing albums for years. But you know as well as I do--analog equipment isn't cheap, and neither is studio time! That's why I also feel that this trend will grow tremendously! I know when I was in high school I would have killed for even a four-track! Now I've got a multi-track studio with effects and everything (even a CD burner and label creators) on my computer, and I wish I would have done all of this years ago, even if it was just on tape! This is almost as much as a real recording studio can do! Hell, now there's magazines devoted to this type of thing, and they're equipment is getting cheaper by the minute.

 

Does the term "Destroyer of Worlds" refer to the line from Hindu mythology that was quoted at the explosion of the first atom bomb in 1945?? ("I shall become Death, the destroyer of worlds.") 

I've heard that quote associated with the A-bomb. I have a lot of weird shit running through my head half the time, and one of the main themes presented in these songs was "vengeance". What better vengeance than to have civilizations or worlds of enemies destroyed? The music and lyrics of this song were written to preserve the true spirit of heavy metal--to hit and hit hard!

 

What is your vision for Quietus? Would you like it to remain a one-man project or would you prefer to see it expand into more of a band situation?

I would love to work with other musicians when needed, or if the efforts stem toward a collaboration of talents. As far as Quietus itself, I would like to see it be my sole vision. I have several recording projects in mind for it on many topics concerning my apocalyptic visions, including spiritual internal apocalypse. "The Last Day", which I mentioned earlier, I hope will be one of them. I also plan on releasing songs that remain true to the spirit of heavy metal in all of its chaotic glory!

 

Your bio mentions that you've been in bands off and on for 11 years and that nothing came from it. Did any of the bands record, or would anyone (besides  former members) know who these bands are? 

Maybe people in high school will remember me mentioning the never-really-became-a-band Paranoia. Other than that, I've been in bands where we couldn't find essential members, people don't contribute or want to practice, or we just had other things come up in our lives. I auditioned for a well-known goth band in Atlanta called The Flowers for Luci, and I ended up playing in a related punk/alt band that actually had a practice space and everything. At that time, I was about to move to Chattanooga and get married. I have practice recordings of two other bands I was in. In 1993, the drummer of Paranoia and I recorded "Life Sucks", a nice punk metal anthem, with only guitars and drums. In 1994, another drummer named Robert Olson and I recorded some Slayer covers, sessions on riffs I would come up with, and an original song called "Suicide" (which I plan on releasing eventually). Of course, all these recordings were on a tape recorder! We started going under the name Rester, and we tried auditioning singers and bass players around Savannah. No luck, and he went off to Athens, GA.

 

What was your primary "instrument" prior to Quietus? 

Mostly just writing poetry and lyrics, hoping to put them to music. I would pick up my guitar and bass to start coming up with some riffs, but there was no direction to go with it. I had the band in Atlanta (no name, but it was a full outfit), and we lasted about 6 months. It was mostly big jam sessions where we played off each other's riffs, but it worked well. We just had a lot of other things going on at that time.

 

Quietus had already recorded a full CD of material that you have not released. That CD was named WILT. Why didn't you release those songs and will any of  them show up in the future?

WILT was the project that Chad Dove and I started with. Basically, I was going to send him tapes of the guitar, bass, and vocal tracks I recorded and sequenced, and he would provide the rest (he was a techno/industrial musician). We lost touch, and I was burning to write some MUCH heavier material. The stuff I have recorded for WILT was very simplistic, and it went in too many directions other than metal. There were songs like "Suicide" and "Scars Never Heal" that were really heavy, but the rest were straying far from what I wanted Quietus to be. We were originally going to release a single for the first song, "Nihilum", and I worked with it in my programs even after I lost touch with Chad, hoping to release it in an EP with the yet-to-be-written "Bloodsworn" and "Destroyer of Worlds". I got SICK of that song! It was too dry, and it was barely metal at all! So I scrapped all of it for now, but I'm hoping to rewrite everything except "Suicide" (I wrote that in '93 and it still has balls!). I may even put it with another name. Quietus, in my opinion, should be heavy! I want it to be a hyperspeed metal force that will tear into the soul and make it bleed for more!

 

In what way would you categorize the music of Quietus?

Hyperspeed brutal apocalyptic metal! Apocalyptic metal I think covers it all since that is what I write about, and that is what Quietus is all about--ending the orders that plague us! It's not super-gory enough to be death metal nor demonic enough to be black metal, even though I incorporate those musical styles along with classic thrash/speed metal.

 

Can you speak a bit about your influences? What bands or artists were (and are?) instrumental in shaping your musical path and the music you create? 

I have a lot of influences, ranging from Mayhem and Emperor to the Misfits to classic Alice Cooper and David Bowie. As far as what has made my music what it is, I can definitely credit black metal bands such as Abigor, Emperor, Mayhem, and Arcturus, and death metal bands such as Malevolent Creation and Morbid Angel. I can also say my influences come from the thrash bands of old such as Venom, Celtic Frost, and old Slayer, guitarists such as Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.), bands such as Priest and Iron Maiden, and vocals from Rob Halford and King Diamond. It's hard to say what is a direct influence because there are so many great bands and musicians. My guitar riffs have evolved mostly from 80s thrash, which is what I started out playing, into the death and black metal sounds of today without losing my roots.

 

Where do you think the future of metal is headed?

I think boundaries will be hard to define as far as what is black metal, what is death metal, what is power metal, etc. More people are experimenting with what sounds good and unique. But there are also bands that want to bring back classic material instead of wandering into new, dangerous territory (the kind that can take the "metal" classification away!). For example, P.K. from Abigor is about to unleash his new band Hellbound with an onslaught of classic black metal in the vein of Darkthrone. So I think we will have a little of everything--we'll just keep expanding!

 

How did you get started in metal in general?

I got into early Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer (the Fab Four of Thrash back then) back in the mid 80s. A friend in high school introduced me to a lot of stuff, and so did Metal Maniacs magazine! As time went on, I got into death metal bands such as Naplam Death, Entombed, Obituary, and Morbid Angel. And it went from there.

 

You wrote for the zine Vibrations of Doom. How did you get involved with that and why did you "retire"? 

Steve Cannon is a good friend of mine, and we met in high school, but I didn't get to work with him until I saw him hanging out in the industrial clubs in Savannah. I asked him if I could help out, maybe do some CD reviews for him. I did that, and I also got to videotape shows, interview a few bands (I even interviewed Entombed and Dave Vanian from the Damned), and put my two cents worth for a while. I "retired" because I didn't have a lot of time to devote to the magazine anymore. I could do an e-mail interview and maybe a CD review on occasion, but I was starting a family and living a totally different life than he was. I couldn't just run off to a show and leave my wife and kid behind all the time (that's just a once-in-a-while occurance ;-)). I also wanted to do what I always wanted to do--write and eventually record music. I had to come up with a game plan for that.

 

Since you've written a number of reviews in the past, and no doubt have had both positive and negative things to say about various bands....how does it now feel to be on the receiving end now? :-) 

Very interesting! So far, I've had a review with Metalhordes.com Extreme Metal Promotion, and I was actually surprised how good it was for a first recording effort! If anyone wants to check it out, go here: http://www.metalhordes.com/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=85 

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say about "Destroyer of Worlds", mostly so I'll know what to improve on and soak up the good stuff ;-)

 

You mentioned to me that you were planning to soon write material for a new 4-song EP tentatively titled "The Oblivion Factor". First of all where does this title come from?

Oblivion is a factor in death with no afterlife. Just the soul being sucked out into a cosmic vacuum of no return. I wrote this in a weird mood--it's an envisioning of what it is like to disappear into a nothingness, a subject I ponder often.

 

What lessons did you learn from the previous recording and writing that you will apply for this EP?

Keep the heaviness and hyperspeed, use the varying vocals (just not too many effects on them!), make the drums more dynamic (pitch shift may work on some of that). Also, I plan to downtune for a song or two--just for the death metal effect!

 

Do you expect to have any other musicians help you out as perhaps even a guest appearance? 

Maybe--one person I have in mind right now is the former guitarist of local band Den Of Iniquity, Frank Walters. Hell, I could name quite a few musicians I would like to work with later on.

 

After the EP, you plan to record a full album. Will this contain all new songs, or will you re-record anything from the EP's?

I plan to re-record the songs from the EPs, make some adjustments and improvements, and record 3 or 4 new songs to add with them. All hyperspeed brutality, and definitely heavier than the originals!

 

Regarding the EP and the forthcoming album. What is a rough estimate of when people can pick them up? Will we have to wait until 2003?

Hopefully not for the EP--I'm anticipating November or December. The album I would look for around Spring 2003. I will keep everyone posted! Check the site if you have to: http://www.geocities.com/quietusband.

 

If there's anything else about Quietus that you'd like people to know about here's your chance to rant....

Quietus is all about being a unique, heavy, and hyperspeed mass of brutality! Spread the word about me to all the musicians, labels, magazines, and metal heads you can! As of right now, I do all my own stuff--the music, the artwork, the CDs, even the web site. Visit the site at http://www.geocities.com/quietusband, check out the samples, order CDs--hell, I may even have T-shirts soon! I'm all about keeping heavy metal alive and kicking through all the poser shit out there now! I just started writing material for the next EP--look for it soon! 

Thanks for the interview! Stay true, STAY METAL!!!

 

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