INTERVIEW WITH SUICIDAL ANGELS
Metal-Rules.com: Hello Nick! It’s Hellias Papadopoulos from Metal-Rules.com. I am very happy for this interview! First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?
Hello Hellias, nice talking to you, I’m pretty fine, I hope the same for you as well my friend. I would like to thank you very much for this interview, and send out thrashing hello to you and all your readers. Right now, I’m checking in from home, since we have returned from the “Conquering Europe “ Tour 2014, a totally crazy month…!!!
Metal-Rules.com: Congratulations for your latest effort, Divide and Conquer! It’s really fantastic and different to the other Suicidal Angel releases as its duration is too long for an regular thrash metal album. You slow down your speed in parts being mid-tempo and too rhythmic. It’s kinda progressive (not with the close meaning of the musical term). What’s your opinion about DIVIDE AND CONQUER album’s otherness?
As you also said, “Divide and Conquer” is a totally different album, compared to the previous Suicidal Angels’ albums. Personally i believe that it is the best SA album so far, i know that it may sound as a cliche, because everybody says this, when they have a new album out, but for me it isn’t, since “Divide and Conquer” has many different elements. I will start from the songs themselves. As you mentioned there are a lot of different songs in this album, slower parts, faster parts, more atmospheric parts, you know, there is variety. I don’t know if it is progressive or not, we totally like it. Concerning the production, this time we have worked for the album in 4 different studios. First we did the pre-production and part of the guitars in Athens at the Zero Gravity Studios and then we flew over to Germany to the Music Factory and Prophecy studios to complete the recordings. We had some special treatment at the drums in another studio in Germany, Soundlodge Studios and finally we flew over to Sweden for the mix and master, at the Fredman Studios. This time we chose to work with Fredrik Nordstrom, a really experienced sound engineer, with his own personal and unique sound, absolutely characteristic. We didn’t know what to expect, since he hasn’t done thrash metal for quite a long time, but since we had a different album for us, we wanted to have somebody special to mix it, so that in the end, we have, what we wanted, personality in each song. Fredrik, totally made it, managed to create a killer up to date production with a strong old school feeling, exactly as we wanted.
Metal-Rules.com: This album made Suicidal Angels making one step further. What does future holds for the band?
Who can actually predict the future, so he can also tell me…haha. We just came back from a really successful European tour, we have already confirmed shows in Japan for September, summer festivals and some other single shows, around Europe. TO be honest, we have already started working on some new ideas for a future album, but nothing ready or planned yet. For the time being, we are making all the necessary discussions for possible shows all over the world. Stay tuned and more news will be coming soon.
Metal-Rules.com: Suicidal Angels member have been half-replaced. Why is that?
You know, it is really hard to find people to work with. To be ready to sacrifice everything in their life, in order to dedicate themselves in the band. It is always like that, even after records, people realise that are tired of touring, or tired being away from their girlfriends or family, tired of the whole thing. As you possibly understand, these people automatically become a problem, and are not functional anymore. Most of the times they decide to leave on their own, but sometimes you have to kick them out as well. It is how it is, we have to accept reality. The fact, and this is the only thing that actually matters, is that we have found two new members, Chris on guitar and Angel on bass, who totally fit in the band, in the way of the band is working, and ready to sacrifice everything to be on the road. They are the perfect match since they are as crazy as i am, hahaha!!!
Metal-Rules.com: Please speak some words about the album production. I know that RD Liapakis put his own hand on it! How is working with him in the studio?
RD Lia, above all he is a friend. We didn’t know each other, before we work together in “Sanctify the Darkness”, but we worked really well, and we also enjoyed each others company and friendship, so through the years we have become friends as well. It is really cool working with Lia, since we are talking the same language, it is way easier to communicate and make everything quicker. Moreover, he is a fan of the 80’s music and he totally understands our feeling about music. Great guy, easy going co-operation, i don’t need more, absolutely perfect!
Metal-Rules.com: How did you record DIVIDE AND CONQUER? Please speak some words about the recording process and album production.
We haven’t done anything weird, haha. Guitars as i said before were recorded some of them parts in Athens and some in Germany. We have used ENGL Savage 120 for one guitar, and Peavey 5150 II for the other, both of them on ENGL cabinets. Bass was recorded with Mesa Boogie amplifiers and all recordings, mix and master were done on Pro Tools. We spent quite a lot of time, especially on the drums and the guitars. The drum tracks have been especially treated in another studio in Germany, at Soundloge Studios, and we also spent a lot of time with the guitars, since we wanted to catch the live aggressive feeling of playing. You know, it’s a but hard to explain, since, what we wanted to create in this record, is the feeling that you have the band in front of you playing. Mr Nordstrom helped a lot in this.
Metal-Rules.com: You recently moved to Germany. Is that a necessary move to make your dream true or?
No it wasn’t necessary to move, to make any dream come true. The dream had become true since the first time that we hit the road on 2007, from that period and then, was totally in our hand to keep it and maintain it. We just moved to Germany, because every time of touring or festival time, we had to fly back and forth a lot of time, spending a lot of time and money with no reason, we couldn’t even bring our equipment on the tour, because we had to pay a shitload of money on cargo expenses. Now everything is on driving distance, or at least is way closer than before. It’s also easier to book some single shows, since the travel expenses aren’t that big anymore. It was just one more step, one more decision that was needed to be taken, in order to make our life easier.
Metal-Rules.com: Suicidal Angels are around for the almost 10 years. In one word, how do you describe this route to date?
Dedication and sacrifice. It’s 2 words, but that’s the truth.
Metal-Rules.com: What do you think of today’s music industry in general?
I think that music industry now, is not as it used to be. The sales are going down, because of the downloading, and there are also thousands of bands out there nowadays, totally different compared to the past. I believe that most of all have been affected the people working there and the labels themselves, because they were used to another situation. I don’t personally know how was it in the past, I’m just transferring what i have heard. I think that because of the huge variety of styles and bands that exist nowadays, it is really hard to stand out, and if you do so, definitely it needs way bigger effort than before to maintain your music in good level as well as the live performance. Different situation that we all need to comply somehow in.
Metal-Rules.com: Is technology (e.g.: pro-tools) part of your life or are you still a “romantic”?
There is no balance in the whole thing, there is no need to search for a balance. Technology is there, exists, you just decide the percentage you want to use it, in your music. We are somehow, more traditional, more romantic as you say, we like to have as mush as possible, warm sound in our production, not too much industrialised. Of course, in the end of the day, this is just a matter of taste. Everybody chooses whatever believes is more suitable for his music. There is no magic recipe or filter to use. The best thing to do is to record as tight and clean as you can, so in the end, everything becomes really really easy.
Metal-Rules.com: What was the last album kicked your arse?
I was really impressed by the latest Behemoth album, “The Satanist”. Great atmosphere and really evil.
Metal-Rules.com: Vinyl junkie or ipod flunky?
To be honest i am a cd collector. I am of this generation, haha. I love vinyls especially for the great artwork, you know its bigger in size and there is space to have all the details of the artwork, clearer. On the other hand, there is no chance to have a vinyl player with you in a trip…so the iPod solution is unavoidable. We had walkman and portable cd players in the past, the modern way is the iPod. Cant easily escape! I’m not against the iPod thing or mp3s, but i strongly believe that, if you like an album, it is good to buy it as well, in order to support the band, it’s the best way! Of course you can’t buy everything, because you need a lot of money, but those that you like deserve the support!!
Metal-Rules.com: I would like to hear from your own lips the story behind the ‘Suicidal’success? The ‘incident’ with the Rock The Nation Contest and your win. (We all are proud of that!)
We are going to 2009, when we have start the recordings of our second album, “Sanctify the Darkness”. It was almost done, we needed to sort out artworks and these kind of stuff, when we hear about this Rock the Nation contest. It was an internet contest, where from the 1st of August till the 15th, everybody could subscribe his band. From the 15th till the end of August ( if i remember correctly the dates ) the whole thing was open to everybody, to vote which band wanted to win. They were over 1200 bands subscribed…One more morning, i wake up, i check the mails as usually, and i see a mail saying congratulations you won the Rock the Nation Contest. You can easily imagine that i thought it was spam in the beginning, or some kind of joke…but it wasn’t!!! The rest is history.
Metal-Rules.com: How important is it to you that people pay attention to your lyrics apart from listening to your music? What do Suicidal Angels try to say with the new album to the people? Is there any political message?
I believe that lyrics are really important in a song. They can take the song in to another level, or just destroy it. More or less, i prefer spending some time on writing the lyrics, instead of writing of funny meaningless stories, booze or parties. There are a lot of different themes and subjects to write about. I prefer writing about personal experiences or some stuff that concern me and my band. You know, there have been many times that i have thrown away the lyrics of a song because i didn’t like it anymore. It has to be something in the lyrics, for the ones who are interested in reading lyrics, because i don’t know how many people nowadays are paying attention to them. This album is also different lyric wise compared to the previous. This time, there are songs in there like “Marching over Blood”, “Divide and Conquer” and “Pit of Snakes” which represent the contemporary situation that we all are living in, songs like “Control the twisted Mind” describing a really weird state of mind and last but not least, there is a song in there, the last one “White Wizard” which is a real story. It is about drugs, and the true story of close friend of mine who managed to get away from drugs alone, without any medical help because he couldn’t afford it. So he decided to come back to life alone, suffered for 2 weeks until his body was detoxicated…It was a really strong story.
Metal-Rules.com: I have beholden that heavy metal changes through the decades. Heavy and Thrash metal dominated over in 80’s, Death, Black and Power metal in 90’s and Metalcore and Nu Metal in the 00’s in general. 2010 was the beginning sign of the new decade. What do you see for the future?
I have seen since the late 00’s that there is a huge come back of the thrash metal scene. It seems that this decade belongs to the thrash metal movement again. The 80’s bands are being reunited, new, young, fresh bands are coming up from every single corner of the planet, there is a thrash party going on everywhere!!
Metal-Rules.com: If you could pick only one musician to work with that you have not collaborated with to date, who would that be and why?
ZZ Top or Michael Jackson!!! I love the groovy music and ZZ Top are one of my favourites. I would also say AC/Dc!!! Rock n Roll rules!!
Metal-Rules.com: I’d like to say a name and then your thoughts about it: Rotting Christ
The only word that comes to my mind when I hear the name Rotting Christ, is RESPECT!! They are the biggest metal band Greece ever had. They are on the road since late 80’s one of the first bands of black metal wave. There no words to say but RESPECT!
Metal-Rules.com: Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:
Thrash metal: Life
Favorite TV series: Prison Break
Black Sabbath: Evil
Strip Show: Pleasure
Thank you very very much for your time spent with me and my questions. I wish you and the rest Suicidal Angels guys all the best!!!!
Thank you very much for this interview, as well. I wish you all the best for you and your readers. Keep the horns rising and thrash till death!