Interview with Eastern Front
14th February, 2015
Interview by Jarod Lawley
They tore up the Garage a couple of hours later, but before the carnage unfolded, we sat down with a more melancholic Eastern Front for a catch up.
You’re supporting Tsjuder tonight on their first ever UK date, how does this feel?
Extremely good. The show got offered to us about six or seven months ago just through an email, kind of off the back of playing Incineration Festival, and I emailed the guys saying we got offered the show, I already knew everybody would be interested in doing it, so I said, “Of course, we’re interested.”
Descent Into Genocide has been out for about a year now, how are you reflecting on it?
Umm, well it’s the same with everything, particularly if you’ve lived with a concept/songs for so long, I think we’re potentially our biggest critics, but I think we’re still all just so proud of it, and pleased how well it was received as well I think. It’s the first thing we’ve done where even the artwork reflected the entire concept, which is certainly something I think we’re gonna push.
Also, anything that perhaps we think could have been improved, which, well we wouldn’t talk about, just helps with the next record. So I’m hugely proud of that.
Obviously looking back on it there will always be bits we could have done differently, or we could have done “this” instead, but that’s part of being a musician I suppose, you’re never going to be one hundred percent happy.
Are you looking ahead to future releases now?
Yeah we are. We’ve already started the next steps of pre-production for album three, which has already got a concept for artwork. That’s the whole thing about the band, each member does different things, and we all stick to our strengths, but it’s still run by committee, so the way it’s going is erm… interesting!
It’s very engaging for us! So that’s started and then we’re kind of taking a bit of a break from the live scene, there’s a few shows coming up but essentially the next six months is all album three. So it’s exciting times, it will be really good to get back into the studio, we are using the same producer, Danny B at HRV Studios, and already pushing forward with that, so we’ll keep you posted.
Have you got any upcoming shows aswell?
Next date is April 26th in Cardiff, that’s Eradication Festival. One day is death metal day, with Desecration and Skinned, from America, and then the next day is the black metal day with Hecate Enthroned who are headlining, us, Old Corpse Road, Ethereal, Infernal Sea, Primitive Graven Image, Sidious. A lot of bands!
You have more than a passing interest in World War Two; I wanted to know where this comes from personally.
It kind of, initially came from a desire to have more of a black metal sound, actually from Holocaust’s earlier band, which was a really good death metal band. The concept kind of came from none of us having any interest in the religious or nihilistic side of black metal in terms of what we want to portray, so having an inherent interest in The Second World War it seemed like a natural progression to look into that. Our peers like Marduk and Endstille aswell have obviously touched on those subjects, so yeah that’s what it sort of stemmed from and so far it’s suited the way we write, the way we formed, the way we want to appear, so I don’t think that’s gonna change anytime soon.
You have rather extreme stage names, where do they originate from?
Destroyer- (laughs) it was actually something I inherited, I joined late 2008 so I thought, “well, I better live up to the name,” which is the reason for my reputation on some occasions. It’s also difficult when we put on our war-paint and put on our outfits, then we’re are not who we are everyday, so it’s difficult to be this kind of person if you’re still going by your given name, it doesn’t add as much, you know.
Holocaust- When we started there was a lot of, “Why are you called Holocaust?” You think of the Eastern Front, and the holocaust was a big part of that, and it’s not like I’m praising it, it’s to remind people of the whole subject and everything, and for me that was obvious name, what I should use.
Nagant- Similair to Destroyer my name was inherited from a previous band. The Nagant rifle is where the name comes from. There was a stand in for a few months while I wasn’t in the band, and I joined, then came out and then rejoined, and in terms of the Nagant rifle and the Descent Into Genocide album, the rifle was one of the things behind the artwork concept for Destroyer.
Before you write the lyrics about a particular topic or battle do you engagingly heavily with research to make sure what you’re saying is accurate?
Oh yes. Definitely. How long did we spend!?!
We were asked in an interview once, “Could theses songs be used for teaching history?” And erm, yeah they could be because all our facts are right, because we triple check them, each.
It could also be a stepping stone cause someone who listens to black metal or listens to us could get more involved, read the lyrics and then they’ve already got points there which way or make not make them want to read more about it, we hope.
Do you think it can work the other way as well, could somebody who’s interested in World War Two get into your music because of the lyrics.
That’s why we always try and make sure what we say is accurate, and then if they like it, that’s great.
I’m also quite happy if they know we’ve done the research.
Destroyer, I know you’ve told me personally about the lengths you go to make your stage wear authentic, could you share these?
I could share a few, I don’t want to give the game away, but I come from a background of really enjoying bands who put on a show which is an actual experience. We’ve got friends in other bands and other successful bands who turn up in jeans and T-shirts and still blow people away but that’s not what I/we wanna achieve, so having outfits and props (you’ll see some new props this evening) that are bespoke and all DIY (because I’ve always thought why pay somebody to do something you can do yourself? Take pride in what you do) are all based on a war-torn idea- that suits us.
There aren’t any spiked gauntlets because; A- that’s already been done, and B- it’s not what Eastern Front do. Going down to B&Q, buying 9-inch nails and sticking them through a leather thing, what’s that got to do with the campaigns or the emotions that we’re trying to convey!? And that’s actually the reason why the image evolved the way it did, because I (Destroyer) personally was not comfortable with that and I even thought it was detrimental and cheapening to the subject. See, I got away with that and I didn’t tell you anything that I do! I’ve told you, but I won’t tell the public!
Do you have any plans for future things like props?
Oh yes! Yes I do.
And these grand plans are?
You’ll see the ones tonight, we’ve got a few more aswell.
It’s limited to logistics, because I would have a lot more, and when I (Destroyer) turn up the rest of the band are pleasantly surprised I think we can say, we have to carry more things up the stairs in venues. I think if somebody’s paying to come and see us I want them to away having experienced a show, and that will never change, I can’t change the way I am (laughs). Even to the point that at our album launch, where because it was so hot at The Black Heart, (it was 52 degrees, and for some reason I had some kind of sugar crash or something because I’m normally okay with the heat), I literally played the last note of “Blood on Snow” and next thing I knew I woke up in the dressing room on the floor because I was completely passed out.
The guys there had said, “You’re not going on with your stage gear are you? It’s so hot!” But I told them I was, because it was our album launch, and that’s what people expect, so you have to do your job and suffer the consequences, and that’s really important to me.
There’s no Summer version to the Eastern Front?
No. It depends the way I’m thinking, for the third album I have a few ideas and deigns, I mock up designs on Photoshop and I always give the other members of the band a choice, and everybody throws their ideas in and so far it’s working. If we want to do this patch or whatever, it’s good to be evolving and be behind that.
We do a lot of support slots and it’s a way of remembering us, even if people don’t remember the name, it’s a way of being noticed, “Oh, what’s that band in uniforms?” As Gary Numan said, “I’d rather be hated than ignored”. I don’t care what people think, aslong as they don’t ignore it.
Well, I’m sure you won’t be ignored, thanks very much!
Thank you so much, you’re very welcome.