@ The Garage, London
19th January 2014
Interview by Ben Spencer
Photography by Graham Hilling
After walking past the band’s sound checking on the stage of the main venue, it was time to meet Alexander Krull (vocalist from Atrocity) in the side bar, where fans could be seen queuing outside through the window.
After setting up our equipment it was time grab a sofa and learn more about the progressive Death Metal band’s extensive career in the music scene.
So how has the tour with Leaves Eyes been so far? Could you take us through some of the experiences you have shared with these guys that have stood out for you.
Alex: Highlights… I think the whole UK is a highlight its been really cool. We have been quite busy before hand in Asia and Russia and we had some pretty drastic weather changes, but the UK is really great. You have a lot of loyalty to music and the shows have been packed out which is great! We got a lot of people asking us ‘Are you sure you want to go on Tour In January? it’s the time of year when all the bands go home’ but so far its been incredible (smiles).
Back in your early days you guys started out as a grind core band, but have evolved into creating Death Metal, as well as incorporating medieval and horror influences and even electronic remixes. How did all these changes come about? Would you say it was a natural progression?
Alex: Back when we started the band we always wanted to be a diverse band and not like anyone else. We always wanted to be different. At the time what was heavy back then was bands that were either grind or death metal and we wanted to spice it up with more technical and progressive elements. We wanted to have more variety than just the Death Metal genre. I remember back then we wanted to an orchestral version of the songs and have choirs and lyrical concepts back in the early days.
The thing is with the two extreme albums in between Atlantis and Okkult we had time to prepare it. We had to time to pre work and pre production long before its release which gave us more time explore ideas and work on it.
You guys became rather quite around the year 2000 but then made a return four years later. When you returned did you feel that you had returned stronger than ever as a band?
Alex: I mean, the break was when we had problems we had with the studio is there now. We had to build the studio somewhere else with two control rooms, big office etc. That’s probably part of the reason why we took a break as after having one or two years with the community they didn’t want to have a studio in the nature safety place where we were living.
So I was like ‘Hey what’s the problem for you guys?’. I mean after that we had some problems we can do these things because at the time with a 5000 square meter complex and they wanted to change the building. So I requested setting up at my old property and then we re built that afterwards. So it was a lot of work building a studio.
Your album Atlantis is said to be a concept record featuring the sunken city of Atlantis, could you tell us about other concepts explored within your music in terms of themes and lyrical content?
Alex: (Strokes chin) Yeah I mean we’ve done several stuff, its all connected to the dark side of themes, especially with Okkult album which tells individual stories while Atlantis was linked to one myth, the biggest myth on earth. What was great about this was exploring the mystery where as with Okkult its part of a trilogy as I knew we couldn’t fit everything onto one album. Other albums have focused more around ancient Egypt or Celtic myths and more than kind of stuff.
You have also released a DVD celebrating the band’s 25 year anniversary, could you tell us about the DVD and how well it has been received by your fans.
Alex: I think the fans were able to watch it were totally blown away! I mean its like a 3 hour movie, its actually like short movies being put together. You could easily watch one of the stories without watching the other ones. Due to the diversity of the band, people can watch it and be like ‘Oh that was the period where they were with dark wave and Gothic bands for the first time metal was actually doing this back in 1995. At the time there was nothing like this going on, and it wasn’t really until after the touring that it became a big break through with this style of music. (pauses) At that time it was something very new.
I guess the only sad thing nowadays is that DVDs are not so much a popular format. The fans watching it were blown away and saying things like ‘Oh wow that’s amazing I didn’t know that about the band, because not everybody knows everything about us so with this it was like they get the whole package.
You stated that OKKULT album will be part of a trilogy release could you tell us about this album and how it will it be the start of this musical journey and what lay ahead in the future of this project?
Alex: I mean the idea was coming together whilst doing the Atlantis album and I thought it would be really cool to make an album trilogy which include all the dark stories you’d like cover.
At the moment there is a lot of conspiracy theories as well some of which appear to be true and it gets you thinking, you know we have a lot of stuff in the real world which is really connected to the occult. Its not just a fantasy and its quite interesting when you do research and you find stuff out and it was like that in history in certain politics and religions in that they can grab the primal fear of the people or they’re just afraid of new stuff that could be dangerous and so they use it to manipulate the people. That is what we have explored with the Okkult record. I knew that we couldn’t do this for just one album and therefore we needed three (laughs).
When recording this album you worked with Kate Halliday who worked on SAW V/VI. How did you come to meet and work with her and would you carry on working with her for future releases?
Alex: She’s a Metal fan! Pure and simple. (laughs)
We met her on Tour in Canada and we just started talking in a bar and she was doing the movies and then I was like ‘Why not try doing something like this with a metal band, would you like to do this?’ and she said ‘Wow yeah that would be like a dream come true’ so here we are. (Smiles).
Which do you guys prefer, recording or playing live?
Alex: Well that’s interesting because when you’re in a studio sometimes there’s hardly any sleep and you link to the musically wholly and its demanding to spend so much time being focused. On the other side when you go on tour it’s very hectic, like meeting the fans and promoters and its like a fast track train. You go there you play and you don’t know what the next day will be like. I mean you go and play in Asia its totally different from when you play over here or Europe with the temperature difference with 50 degrees difference in between like going from Thailand to St. Petersburg.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Alex: (thinks) Erm just that I’m looking for more and interesting stories to tell in the upcoming albums and I hope everyone is up for the ride and hopefully we will be able to come back to the UK soon, you guys have been great!