Trey Azagthoth – The mastermind of MORBID ANGEL
Interview by Luxi Lahtinen
Live Pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
Morbid Angel are planning to enter a studio this year to record their long-awaited follow-up album to HERETIC, that was released 2003 - already 6 years ago! The band´s next studio album will also see David Vincent returning back to the Morbid Angel ranks, for the first time in 14 years as far as recording a studio album is concerned – recording the next Morbid Angel album together with Trey and Pete, and surely also making it all a bit more exciting to the fans of the band.
I contacted Trey Azagthoth through Myspace, and Trey was kind enough to give a brief survey into Morbid Angel´s current situation with plans to record a new Morbid Angel opus sometime during this year. And keep in mind, the forthcoming Morbid Angel album won´t be entitled IBLIS THE GREAT either as it has been speculated quite a bit around the internet… ;o)
NEXT MORBID ANGEL ALBUM IN 2010?
You have been working with the follow-up to the HERETIC album. What kind of process has the creation of new Morbid Angel songs been like? Would you consider writing new Morbid Angel material as one kind of psychological warfare for yourself personally, in the deepest abyss of the mind when getting into this writing and composing mood?
Hmm, for me it´s just an adventure, exploration. Seeking new things to inspire me and from that the riffs and parts come. Listening to different types of music and also just observing things in life. I get ideas from all sorts of things. As for when they start flowing thats kinda random. I can certainly just play guitar and make new things but are they really flowing and exciting?? This takes time and can be frustrating. I don´t feel I´m on a clock so it will all happen when it´s to happen… ;o)
You have been soaking up more of hardcore styles into the sound of Morbid Angel during the past years. How do these styles influence you and your songwriting process in general? How much do you generally incorporate influences from other music styles into your songwriting? Is the writing of new material one kind of mental process for yourself to make everything click the best way in the songs in general that you could be happy and pleased as long until the album comes out?
Yes, I like this type of music. Even if it´s not made with real drums and a guitar, it still has energy and the basic elements of music. Melodies over a beat. I listen to it as it comes out of the speakers and see where it takes me. Music for me is like a ride. When I´m moved by something then I start getting ideas of something I can make. Even sometimes the music I listen to, makes me see images and then from those images I see my own notes and beats for my new music. I can listen to all sorts of stuff, be inspired and then make something from that inspiration and it does not sound anything like the source.
We talked briefly at Tuska festival in Finland last summer right before your gig – and when I asked from you about this new Morbid Angel song called “Nevermore”, which you also played at Tuska festival, you described the song being sort of a mix of the HERETIC material and old school. Can also the rest of your new material be compared to the material on HERETIC, added with this vibe from old school´s direction?
This new record will be new – like all the others. It will be its own flow I think. It will have bits inspired from other records we made I´m sure. People have their own way to see things, for me I really like where the music went on GATEWAYS and HERETIC, the sick polyrhythms over swinging beats. I love this flow and it´s still quite unique to what other bands make as for music. But then such things are present on earlier records as well, the sick polyrhythms over swinging beats, lol. Just in a different overall way I guess. I will certainly use more of this with the new songs but also use straight forward in the face stuff. Music for me is a ride, it is to take people places, and I like to make all kinds of rides with what I do.
What´s been the hardest part for you in creating all these new Morbid Angel songs for your new record? You have told that you are always striving for some sort of perfection with your songs, so do you think that your constant strive for perfection is kind of restrictive factor for yourself to come up with the new songs for the band if there´s some certain time frame set for this process?
Well, I don´t think I will write all the songs myself, I like to have David and Pete contribute whatever ideas they have. David will write most if not all the lyrics I think. I want to make music that have imagination and feeling. I want it to move the body in other ways instead of only head banging, lol.
Is there any particular period in a year when you feel that your creative juices are floating way better for a song writing process of yours than possibly some other periods in a year? For some, spring is the best time for being creative, for some it´s autumn and so on…
Not really. I really find it to be somewhat random. I can spend a lot of time playing guitar, etc. – and come up with nothing I like. I am always going for what I think is special. I throw a lot of stuff away cause I get bored with it. There is a lot of music no matter how fast, technical, dark, whatever…, that just plain sounds flat to me.
THE TUSKA EXPERIENCE
This was your 2nd time to play in Finland when you did your show at Tuska last summer. You played at Nummirock festival in 2004 when you still had Steve Tucker fronting Morbid Angel. How would you say that your second visit to Finland was different compared to your first appearance at Nummirock – apart from the fact David Vincent had returned back to the band?
Oh, that 2nd show was fantastic, the sound on stage rocks, good amps, etc. The fans had a lot of energy. It was a really good experience I think.
People´s reactions toward Morbid Angel at Tuska, were overwhelmingly supportive – and overall the crowd welcomed Morbid Angel in such a warm way by screaming their lungs out with the band´s name, singing along your songs, and generally responding to your songs in a great way. What was your honest opinion about the crowd at Tuska? Did you feel like their support worked out like an extra fuel for the band when Morbid Angel conquered the stage at Tuska in the end of June this year?
Yes, it makes a different for sure to feel the enthusiasm of the fans. Sometimes there are places where the fans are more reserved and I wonder in my mind if they enjoy it instead of just playing and flowing. Then I talk to fans after show and they say they enjoyed it. Some people enjoy stuff differently I guess. If I see people moving to the music that´s always something that i enjoy.
As far as I know Morbid Angel crisscrossed across Europe in 2006 by doing a handful of European festival dates. But since then you haven’t been seen on stages until now. Do you feel that this “over-one-year” break from the touring commitments, have kind of recharged your batteries, providing you more time to concentrate on building up and creating the next Morbid Angel album?
Well, as for the new record, last year just wasn´t the best time. People had other things going on so we didn´t all get together as we needed to, but this year is the time. Everyone is here together and we will make it happen. )
Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) returned to the band as a special guest to do those European festival tour dates in 2006. Did you ever go through any conversations with him at that time whether he even could become a permanent member of Morbid Angel, and put his own band Hate Eternal on ice, at least for time being?
I don´t think so. Erik has the studio too so he is quite busy and doing great things. I knew eventually we would find a new guitarist and Thor is awesome I think.
Lyrically Morbid Angel have always had a strong bond with the music itself. Do you overall think that people out there are more attracted and fascinated about the music of Morbid Angel, or the lyrics of the band?
Oh, I don´t really know that. I do think a lot of the Morbid Angel fans think about the subject matter and such things I would speak about with the occult, etc. They know we aren´t just singing about killing christians and hail Satan, ha! For some they share with me how they were inspired in some way with something in the message, and it was an inspiration to further explore such things for themselves. With what I share concerning the occult- spirituality, I am only sharing what it means for me and with such things it´s always best to experience for yourself and place your own meaning to. I would never want people to follow me in some way. I´m only here to share things I learn and perhaps aid in some way for people to find their own understanding with things. When I was a teen I was so interested in magic and ritual. After many years of exploring such things I see it in a whole new light. It´s as real as anything else and there is a process for it. ;o)
As far as the new guitarist is concerned named Thor Anders "Destructhor" Myhren (Zyklon, Myrkskog), will he be involved in the recording process of an upcoming, yet untitled Morbid Angel studio album? Or will his role in the band be more like a touring guitarist?
I would like this, we will see how it all works out.
How did you end up choosing him for the second guitarist of Morbid Angel anyway? Was he a rather easy find after all (a long-time Morbid Angel fan, perhaps?)?
I had toured the USA with him in Zyklon. He was always really cool to hang out with and a damn strong guitarist. When we announced we had tryouts he sent some stuff ad it was great.
Where are you currently at with the recordings of your new album anyway? When are you supposed to get it recorded completely, and have you already talked about a possible release date for it?
All I can say is it will be this year.
BREAKING NEW BARRIERS
You have told in your official site that “your new album will break some barriers again” – in which way? Could you kindly be more specific about that?
Well, that was a news type clip. I have no idea what the scene will see the new record as. Each person sees what is the product of their beliefs and values so it´s tough to know such things. For me it will have a new flowing stuff. Some different song formulas, but all the record had such unique type ideas when compared to the previous.
It´s been rumored that your next album will be called IBLIS THE GREAT. Is this just a hoax that some vicious minds have been spreading around, or is there any truth behind that supposed, new Morbid Angel album title?
Lol, there isn´t a title yet… ;o)
You parted ways with Earache Records after the HERETIC album. Obviously many labels have laid their eyes on you since then, so can Morbid Angel´s new home be announced officially already?
We will decide soon on which label and then it will be announced.
The last question: Earache just auctioned off the original master tape of your BLESSED ARE THE SICK album in eBay last June – and the winning bid for it was about $654. What are your thoughts about that? A greedy label just trying to cash in a little bit – or a truly wacho, die-hard Morbid Angel fan with some extra $$$ in his/her pockets, eh?
I guess so, hahah )))))
Thank you Trey for your time for doing this interview and all the best for Morbid Angel with the recordings of your new album – and with whatever that may come to your way. Any last words maybe?
It was my pleasure, sorry for the delay. Embrace to all the readers, w00p ;o)