Eliminator Interview with Vocalist & Guitarist Eiman Nejad (Warchild)
By Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us!
Eiman Nejad – No problem! The pleasure is mine!
So how is the winter treating you so far? When it’s cold out what do you like to do?
Eiman – The winter’s been good so far; not too snowy, which is always a plus for me because I tend not to like precipitation in any of its varieties. However, since I go to school in upstate NY, I’m used to freezing winters. It’s been cold but tolerable. During the cold I usually stay in and work on different projects (music, writing, school work). I definitely enjoy taking a break and going out to the local hang out for coffee, working out, and on the weekends a bit of wine.
I think it’s fair to say that Eliminator musically has a lot in common with the old guard of thrash bands – how do you keep that flame burning bright for a modern audience?
Eiman – Well Eliminator has changed a lot from the original inception of the band. When we started our vision was definitely more in line with what you would call the old guard of thrash. We did come out during a time when a lot of bands were playing in this style, and a genuine scene was erupting.
However, our sound and philosophy has definitely evolved. With our subsequent albums after “Breaking the Wheel”, we like to incorporate outside influences within the paradigm of metal, with a strong thrash metal understructure. We combine many different influences, from 50’s rhythm and blues, to pop music.
We are not afraid to do what we want in terms of combining these outside influences within the thrash metal arena. Thrash metal’s stylistic architecture contains much needed adrenaline and aggression, but over time we discovered that this style can easily unite with ostensibly external influences, to produce a totality of chaos and musical color.
This is how we stay relevant for a modern audience, because that is what we feel is the future of extreme metal. We are purveyors of this philosophy of incorporation while maintaining the time tested ethos of metal.
Over the band’s lifetime there’s been some upheaval and coming and going of members – how have you dealt with this? Has it had an impact upon your music?
Eiman – Eliminator has had some struggles in the maintenance of members but we’ve always barrelled our way through.
Samus and I have been holding the fort for the longest time, but the band originally started with Barbarian on drums, who performed on the demo “…Will Kill You”. He is currently in a band called Disobey. After that we temporarily had Scythe on rhythm guitar who contributed on “Breaking the Wheel”, who has several projects right now.
There was some tenuous line up formations with members that never really amounted to playing gigs, but we did get an excellent punk/grindcore drummer named Ed B to play a few gigs with us when Samus was out touring with Decrepit Birth. Ed also ended up playing on a live yet to be released, hardcore inspired rendition of the “Breaking the Wheel” songs entitled “No Friends No Trends”.
Samus and I have been performing on the recordings of all the actual studio productions for Eliminator (with the addition of studio musicians). We have been the backbone of this band, although it looks like we have found a promising new bassist, Menschen Hasser, to make this project an official trio in the tradition of our heroes Motorhead and Sodom. Jerry Bakman, formerly of the death metal band Gorematory, has also been an excellent addition to the Eliminator fold, as a talented live drummer with strong death metal and punk influences.
In terms of your current line up, do you think this is one of the strongest yet for the band?
Eiman – The current lineup is everything I could want for Eliminator at this point in time.
Now, 2012 has brought a CD pressing of your third, and newest album, And The Brokenhearted Balladeers – but this was already released the previous year as a download – why did you take this approach?
Eiman – It was long overdue for us to release “And the Brokenhearted Balladeers” on CD. Although it has been available for download we also like to have physical copies of our material out for the public. This is also the first pressing by our own label, Saucy Airs Records, in conjunction with our main label Obscure Sombre Records.
Have you had a lot of feedback on the album from people who weren’t aware that it was released before?
Eiman – The reviews for “And the Brokenhearted Balladeers” have been very mixed, because of its extreme quality – extreme in the opposite direction from what you would expect, since it is very conspicuously pop/rock n’ roll inspired with a substratum of metal to hold it through. Currently this integration has not been easily digested by most, but it has also gained us new fans – those who can appreciate hearing blues piano and shuffle riffs over double bass.
Also, those who can appreciate melodic music by metal heads juxtaposed with proper heavy metal by said metal heads. Consider it a musical continuum – variety music! But this album is truly an anomaly in the Eliminator discography, and we will not be revisiting this peculiar extreme any time soon. However, in order to fully explicate Eliminator’s musical philosophy, this extreme needed to be visited.
The download version of the album appeared at the same time as your second album The One They Were Waiting For – why did you choose to release these both so close together?
Eiman – “The One They Were Waiting For” was recorded at least a year prior to “And the Brokenhearted Balladeers”. Both releases were sitting around collecting dust for a while – mainly because it was so hard to find a label that wanted to release our new music. The change in the sound from the first record was not easily digested by labels two years back.
We felt that it was long overdue to have the fans hear what Eliminator was really about, because we were still being associated with the general sound of the New Wave of Thrash Metal. As a result, we decided to release both albums pretty much at the same time. This is also in line with the Eliminator philosophy of releasing multiple albums per year – a tradition inspired by 60’s and 70’s artists. We are a variety metal band and there is no one Eliminator sound – the best way to demonstrate that is through a lot of recordings.
Was there a long period of writing and recording before hand to generate enough material for two albums?
Eiman – “The One They Were Waiting For” took a while to complete as a result of scheduling conflicts. “And the Brokenhearted Balladeers” was recorded in 12 days, but the writing process lasted for at least two months.
I believe that you have also recently written your first book – ‘Open Your Eyes: Choose Silence’ – Congratulations! Can you give us a brief overview of it?
Eiman – Thank you! “Open Your Eyes: Choose Silence” is a book that really travels the depths of nihilistic thought, in the aphoristic tradition of Freidrich Nietzsche. It does not return from this nihilistic depth, and demonstrates a complete transvaluation of convictions/morality into their opposite: nothingness. But this nothingness is also contradicted with a faith in the unity of all things; so there is an inherent tension in the book.
The second half of the book contains poetry, which also demonstrates this inherent unresolved tension that ultimately lends itself towards a compact, step by step formula for nihilism, that is, the destruction of all values. At the same time it is positive in that it espouses an Apollonian appreciation for the affirmation of life, to veil what is an inherent chaotic Dionysian bliss: two sides of the same coin. Interestingly, I am not at all a nihilist in any common understanding anymore, and this book was written two years before my current philosophical state.
It is the beginning of my philosophy, and is integral for understanding what is to come. In order to maintain and build values, one must first get to the bottom of them – to destroy them.
Why did you choose to write a book? Did it flow quite naturally?
Eiman – I had gone through some turmoil in my life with personal relationships (inspiring the album “And the Brokenhearted Balladeers”). During that time, I discovered that I had a knack for words and pithy sayings.
I started to jot down axioms and aphorisms, and from there I developed a cadence and musical understanding of words (things I was already doing with my lyric writing, but it had become more refined and poetic).
It really did appear overnight; it was as if all the emotional pain I had gone through from those relationships had chiselled away a style, unbeknownst to me, that demonstrated itself when I would go for walks and would have sayings repeated in my head. I chose to write this book because I felt I had something to say – I really had no idea that it would be a condensed formula for nihilism. It became that way, and now it has a life of its own, very much like the music that I write for Eliminator.
What does the book title refer to? Are the themes of the book quite important to your personally?
Eiman – I think the title pretty much says it all. It’s best to open your eyes, next to choose silence. Words rarely can relate what the senses have been bred to feel. I trust the instincts, and it’s quite salient in the themes presented in this book. However, without a doubt, it does represent some of the aggression that nihilism tends to betray. In that sense, it is quite congruent with the themes presented in the book.
Are the themes of the book important to me? Well, I’m an expert on nihilism. That basically means I am an expert in nothing. I like to cut to the chase: “Oh you like to collect stamps? Oh you’re an expert on Elvis? Bullshit. I’m an expert in nothing! ” I see your bull shit and raise you…bullshit!
You’ve recently announced two new shows in your local area – is this setting the stage for a wider tour perhaps?
Eiman – I certainly hope that we have many shows to come in the future. I would love to do a tour this summer.
After two or three very productive years, will you be taking some time out or ploughing straight into your next material?
Eiman – That would be like taking time off breathing! We have material lined up for the next EP and most of the subsequent LP is recorded.
If this year could hold anything for Eliminator, what would you most like to achieve?
Eiman – I would really like to complete the next two recordings and do as many shows as we possibly can.
On that note, you’ve come a long way since first upsetting your neighbours with your practicing, what advice would you give to new acts trying to do the same?
Eiman – Take the time to listen to great music. Read books, study history – anything! Give meaning to your music with raw experience.Train yourself in musical theory, improve your ears, do both – anything that works for you.
Never give up your ambitions, and follow your heart – it will take you to your destiny much quicker than any advice I could give outside of telling you that. Keep your integrity, and don’t sell out for the dollar sign. Make friends, not enemies.
A young band can get cocky, and it can even lead to violence (as seen in the history of this genre). We are no strangers to that arrogance, and frankly, I am ashamed of any of that sort of behaviour that I might have partaken in when we were young and immature.
There’s no room for that in our scene – it should be about unity and family. Work hard and you will find your niche. Don’t get too caught up in the image, or the glitz and glam either. Be prepared to fight if you want to get anything out of it – it’s a tough business!
Also, stay away from drugs and alcohol abuse. Treat your bodies with respect – your health is where it all starts. Too many musicians and those who live “alternate lifestyles” (for lack of a better word) lose themselves in this sort of behaviour. Just look at what happened to Morrison or Hendrix, and more recently, Peter Steele. Great minds, great musicians – terrible lifestyles of self abnegation. Don’t take the easy way out – creativity is within all of us; you don’t need to turn your brain to mush to reach the fountain. Keith Richards is the exception, not the rule!