Hi there. Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a “long” briefing in the band's biography.
First of all, Arthur, thank you so much for granting Deathevokation space in your mighty zine! We absolutely appreciate it and hail you for that, my friend!
So you want to know how it all started. Well, I should start with how I got into Death Metal in the first place in order for it all to make sense. I got into Death Metal in the fall of 1989 when one of my friends and classmates back in the day played the Paradise Lost demo for me. He was the main man in Germany’s Splutter and wanted to get me exposed to Death fuckin’ Metal..and I was hooked instantly. I knew right then and there that this day would change my live forever. The experience was so intense, that even now, 16 years later, I still remember everything about that day. I grabbed my pocket money, hopped on the bus downtown and started buying Vinyl. And it was like a second birth. I discovered all these amazing bands such as Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Macabre, Obituary, Bolt Thrower, Death and so on. And within a year I started reading fanzines. As you may know I am originally from Germany and a lot of German mail orders carried fanzines back in the day. Unlike nowadays, were you have to hunt down the few remaining print zines like a wounded animal. And that was how Death Metal cast its unholy spell on me, fanzines and the music made me a fan for life! A fan, which seems to be something hardly anyone wants to be these days. A simple fan, nothing else to it. I read everything I could get my dirty hands on to learn about the bands, the scenes and the labels. I looked up and respected everyone; I guess that this was the legacy of the Thrash movement. The RESPECT you had for each and everyone. These days I am surrounded by “experts”, rock stars, elitarian attitude, everybody is an expert from the start and his sole purpose is to judges everyone else, and at shows I am one of the few up front, and most of the time the only one banging my fuckin head off, everybody else seems to be too cool for school. Metal moved on and I stood still in time, it seems. At times I feel alone in a crowd. So what did I do? I started reading fanzines again, you guys (the fanzine editors) make me feel like I am still part of something, reading fanzines, written by fans for fans, give me that long lost feeling of belonging to a brotherhood and unity that seems to be lost in most local scenes. Reading fanzines is now the ONLY way I can be the same fan I was 1989. Obsessed, worshipping bands such as Pentacle, Kamaos, Nominon, Adramelech etc. And a few years ago I started jamming with a local band here in San Diego, but in the end playing US GoreGrind and being in a band with nice guys that don’t feel the same way about Metal I do didn’t last for too long. Sure, some kids liked our music and we had a lot of fun, but I did not want to write music just to be “cool”. I wanted to be true to my soul and longing heart. So I quit that band and started Deathevokation and within a week some of my best friends joined me and here we are, playing old Death Metal, 15 years to late, hahaha. Deathevokation only exists for one reason, and that is the friendship us band members share, a friendship that existed long time before I gathered them in DE. And our music is “normal” sounding thing to my ears, not out of date. Others might call it old Death Metal, but heck, I am old myself, this is what I grew up with and that is the reason Deathevokation sounds the way it does. Deathevokation was started as a safe-haven for us guys. A place me and the guys can retreat to and play Death fuckin Metal all night long, bang our heads and chop some beers. To ignore the dull world outside of those 4 walls and play some covers of Entombed, Paradise Lost, Unleashed and Bolt Thrower. I have over 40 tourposters from Germany up on the walls, everything is 89 to 92, and it is great to be in that room for that reason alone. You jam and you are surrounded by bandnames like Nocturnus, Disharmonic Orchestra, Lemming Project, Death, Cadaver etc. Anyways, I got he guys together in January of 2005 and we have been having best of times every since. In March, after only 10 weeks we recorded the Blood 2005 Demo, which is still available through our website www.deathevokation.com. And to my surprise there ARE people out there who appreciate our music. And it makes me proud, it gives me strength to see that in this oh so different scene there still are forces left that fight the good fight and are Old School Warriors!
Your Demo 2005 “Blood” is great and sounded like the early 90s from Europe. Please describe the reactions all over the countries to the Tape so far.
It has been very humbling and an amazing experience for us. Just when you think that it is over, you meet all these amazing people through your band. And this is the greatest aspect of being in Deathevokation, meeting people like yourself, making friends around the globe. Especially since I never expected anyone to get into Deathevokation in the first place, it just doesn’t follow trends of moderns times and must bore “contemporary” metal heads to tears. It delights me that there are people like you, relicts of tymes long gone, hahaha, that seem to appreciate that someone else is an old fart, as well. So far France has stood out when it comes to the amount of response and orders we got, which really boggles my mind. I never expected France, the great home of bands such as Massacra, Loudblast and Supuration, to still have an active old-school Underground. What a great surprise! We made many friends over there as well as from around the globe, Japan to Australia. It has been a fantastic experience.
You create your Demo as a TAPE, why not on a CD, like the most of the bands nowadays?
People ask me that all the time and the explanation is, I am sorry to say, a simple one. Tape format is what I am accustomed to. The demo is not different in its format and presentation from what I grew up with. And that is all that matters to us, to preserve the original idea and feel of Death Metal. When I was growing up I bought the Morgoth demos, Nocturnus “Science of Horror” etc. And therefore tape format is what I think of when I hear the term “demo”. So, chosing tape was not to be “different”, it was to be “normal”, if that makes any sense. And I was always impressed by those pro-made demos. They gave you the feeling of having acquired something of great value. And that is what I wanted for those who are kind enough to buy our demo to experience, as well. It is up to others are to judge the quality of the music, but at least the presentation is the “most bang for the buck”, the most traditional way of getting your art out. It is, in my humble opinion, the most value for your hard-earned money. The demo is professionally copied and the clear shell has actual print on it, the booklet is high gloss, full color, heavy stock and 3 pages long. And on top of it the demo comes with a mini-CD with all tracks in MP3 format as well as a huge sticker. And in the end I’m actually loosing money on each demo sold. But it was never about the money, it was always about us being fair and doing the best we can. I realized a few years ago that hardly any band releases demo’s anymore. They are all too “cool” and “awesome” to be plain demo bands, but to their defence, the Internet makes it VERY convenient to post on MySpace, and home computers make it way too convenient to burn your “album”, people simply stopped striving for more than the easy way out. They lost interest in giving their art the soul it deserves. All I see if CD-R “albums”, CD-R “EPs” and so on. I would honestly trade in my huge stack of CD-R I got over the years for ONE real demo tape added to my collection! But that’s just me. And for those who do not like tapes at all we included the MP3 CD, as I said. I didn’t want to punish other for me being an old idiotic fart that’s out of the loop, hahaha!
Your website looks like a Zine in the 80s oder early 90s? What can you tell us about it and who create/designed it?
Thank you Arthur, I am very happy that the site does what I wanted it to do. And it is all done by me, can’t you tell, hahah. I taught myself Photoshop and some basic html in order to present the band online the way I want it to. I wanted it to look like a fanzine instead of flashy MySpace. I went ahead and contacted Costa Stoios and asked him for permission to use some of his old artworks he used in Tales #2 and #3 since I am artistically retarded (drawing the Deathevokation Logo took me over 80 hours), and he was kind enough to give me the ok. Hail Costa, you rule! This and other details (anyone notice the beer stains on the website?? hahha) got me closer to my goal of the site looking like a printzine and I was surprised that no-one had done such an obvious design before me. Making it was tons of fun and I still have many ideas left, but am too busy as of late to get it done. I am in no way an expert in web design and it always takes me a few hours to “update”, hahah. I am actually planning on featuring some old interviews I have in some of my old fanzines (Isten, Tales etc) in the future, as well. But I need to contact the zine editors first and since most of the interviews are ancient, it might be difficult to get the ok. But Mikko and Costa are still around and maybe I’ll get it done soon. Plus we will add shirts to the merch section. The “Alte Schule” shirt was printed just for us guys in the band and friends, but tons of people like the design and the initial print was gone in days, to my surprise. Wannes from Pentacle even wore one on stage a few weeks ago, the sheer thought of it makes me faint, hahah! The downside to the site is that it might take some metalfans a while to load it, since it consists of nothing but graphic files, no html “text” at all.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
Man, Arthur, you keep hitting me with really interesting questions. Reason I am saying this is that now that you have asked me, I am thinking about it for the very first time. So, I guess that means that we don’t care, hahaha! At least not while we write music or lyrics. Of course we love to see raised fists and drunken headbanging when we play live. And of course we are overjoyed in case someone out there is getting even the smallest kick out of Deathevokation. But, see, all of us are simple fans. None of us consider ourselves “band people” that need to prove a damn thing to anyone else, we are fans. If a riff makes us smile, if we have fun playing a song in the rehearsal room, then we keep it. If it does nothing for us, we’ll move on. We are, and this might sound completely retarded to most people out there, simple fans. And I think being a fan is the GREATEST thing in metal. Example: We saw Avenger of Blood a few days ago. What a killer band. Any Kreator/Sodom/Slayer-head out there, you guys have to check that band out. Sure, they are stuck in time, but heck, do they play from the right place in their heart! I was first row, banging my head off like a madman, and they put on the most energetic show to grace the stages of San Diego in a long time. I was sure that the room was packed, that’s how the guys up there on stage went off and enjoyed it. 6 songs down I turned around. Arthur…it was 8 of us in the room! Did Avenger of Blood care? I bet they would have preferred playing to 80 people. But did it change the love for their music? No fuckin way! They love what they are doing.
What is the message of "Deathevokation” and of course of the tracks of “Blood”?
Sure enough the German is writing the lyrics, hahaha…great idea, guys, seriously, make the “Bock zum Gaertner”, will you! No, seriously, as I meantiond before, I was in a local band before Deathevokation and that band played typical US GoreGrind. And I was beyond annoyed by the complete lack of real, meaningful lyrics and a sense of pride for Metal. It was all silly gore stuff, written in 2 minutes and their sole purpose was to be funny. I never understood that. If you sing, don’t you want to be into what you sing about? Plus, you cheat fans out of what I love most about listening to my old albums: sitting down, reading the lyrics and connecting with the music on yet another level. With Deathevokation lyrics are just as important as the music itself. Just like a song has to feel powerful when we, as a band, play it, the lyrics have to take me away as well. Make me a messenger of my soul instead of a reciter of mindless lines. And just like the music it can take me either half a day or even months to finish the lyrics. After the process is complete I present the lyrics to the guys before they are being implemented, since I want everyone to be 100% ok with them. And I am trying to stay within the vision we have for DE. Deathevokation the band has a different message than the lyrics, obviously. The band is about drinking beers, being friends, having fun, banging your head, being fans and playing old Death Metal, the lyrics are about the dark side if man.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
“Embers of a dying world” was our first song written and doesn’t really go too deep compared to our newer tracks. It is a typical endtyme scenario, how the greed of man leads to the total destruction of the human race, it seems to be tolerable as long as long as certain leaders can count it as a final victory over the opponent. The Song “the Monument” is very dear to me. And as much as I would like the fans to figure the meaning out for themselves I will give a little hint. In my opinion over a decade ago there was build something powerful and very creative, something that gives me and others strength and pleasure until this day. But I see many, many people spit on our heritage these days and they “destroy, not create”. The song “Blood” itself is an interesting approach to dealing with the blindness of people who let religious leaders (lying sacks of shit) guide them into wretchedness, hatred and ultimately, death. BTW, a certain President started calling his enemies the “Enemy of God”, just when we thought the intelligent rationale had won over caveman antics.
Where do you get your inspirations and musical influences from? I hope not only from the European-Bands like from Sweden?
I have been sitting on this question for 10 minutes by now, and still don’t know how to answer it, haha. If we would play Brootal Death Metal, then I could list you the band that we copy. But us guys in Deathevokation go for a feeling inside our hearts, not a certain style per se. If we write a song and it sounds to me like I have played it for 10 years already, then I am happy. If it has that eerie effect of “hey, I have heard/felt that before”, then I am happy. While others push alleged boundaries, we just stay within the framework of original Death Metal. Anything goes as long as it makes us smile and bang our heads. And obviously we prefer the obscure over tech. I wish I could answer this in a more satisfying way, Arthur. But I just cannot seem to put it in a nutshell since we simply do not have a “Formula”. That Deathevokation sounds more European is obviously due to the fact that I am German. But yet on the other hand, I don’t know how many bands from Germany sound like us, so I guess I would say that we are not a band from a certain place, but from a certain place in my heart!
Any plans for the future Deathevokation or maybe other band-projects?
We are already where we want to be: a bunch of friends that gather a few times a week to play Death Metal, appreciate each others friendship in these “online” times, drink beers, laugh and bang out heads off. There can be no other goal for us. We already achieved my wildest dreams by having the fun we have. People that know us will know that I am NOT stating that we have a lack of drive, far from it. But WHAT drives us seems to be different from what drives most these days. That we got signed by one of my favourite labels in the world, by one of the statesman of Death fuckin Metal, blows my mind, it keeps me from sleeping at night, I just wanna jam 24/7. But getting signed was never the rason for us jamming. I read in Thrash Magazine ( a Metal Hammer spinoff in 1992 or so) Jan from Gorefest stating: “If we wouldn’t have gotten signed within a year, we would have split up”. What a horrible thing to say, in my opinion. But anyways, future plans for Deathevokation will include recording our debut next year and keep playing live as much as we can with bands that we can relate to.
For individual plans: I myself am helping out Nibiru from San Diego on 2nd guitar. It is the band of Noctural Overlord’s. You may know him from Crimson Moon. Very epic, enchanting, ritualistic Black Metal. But I am solely helping out as a live-member. The band is 110% his. The only person in DE that has more plates on the table is our bass-animal Steven Nelson. He plays both in Noctuary as well having his own band, Winterthrall, who I highly recommend. One of the few original sounding US BM bands left these days, I truly hope they get signed, they are amazing.
We'd like to know something about your background in making music. How did you learn to play, what are your experiences and which musicians are your main technical influence?
Oh man, you almost make it sound like I know what I am doing, hahaha. Somehow a guitar has always been around in my house, and I always doodled around on it, it seems. I mean, what self-respecting metalhead does NOT have a bass or guitar flying around at home, right, hahah? The only thing that tells me apart is that I was fortunate to have made great friends that happen to share my love for music and play an instrument as well, on top of things. I wish I could ask Brian Shuff for his technical influences. He actually goes to school for music and plays pretty much every instrument out there. I cannot stress how much we really go for feeling rather than “style” or technique. I would rather say I love Bolt Thrower instead of saying I like Baz Thomson, I rather like God Macabre than Ola. And so on. It is all about the band, the music, the complete package. I wish you would have asked me about my favourite beer..that would have been easier, hahah!
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Pentacle – Under the Black Cross
Infinitum Obscure – Infernal Dark Force rough-mix
Unleashed – Sworn Allegiance
Nominon – Recreamation
Adramelech – Terror of thousand faces
The Chasm – The Spell of Retribution
Ares Kingdom – Promo CD
Kaamos – Lucifer Rising
Verminous – Impious Sacriledge
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like? “What´s up” in the USA?
I keep reading about bands whose members state that they don’t listen to metal, nor are in touch with the scene anymore. Something I cannot riddle. Plus, the internet making the scene a global playground seems to have pushed everyone into competitive mode, instead of head banging mode. But heck, I was in Chicago a few weeks ago.
and we all had a blast. Chicago was a great experience, there were headbangers from all over the USA, it was a unique gathering of metalheads and both Ares kingdom and The Chasm crushed me!
I guess San Diego’s most known band these days is Disgorge, and they are as tech as it gets, great fuckin guys, they are beyond fun to hang out with and I love them all on a personal level, but the music just isn’t my style of beer. Neither will DE appeal to them, so its fair game, haha. Then we have Cattle Decap who by now play a weird mix of Punk, Grind and Noise. They definitely changed a whole lot the last few months, people will be surprised. Then we have Warface who are about to finish their great debut CD. Traditional US DM and again, the nicest people you can imagine are in that band. Both their drummer Scott and I are huge gamers and play Battlefield 2 a lot and whoop each other around on servers all the time. Other than that we have MetalNightmare fanzine, which is really great and run by my friend Tom Wren and right across the border we have the best band from down here, the mighty Infinitum Obscure! These guys are true Death Metal Warriors, the band I love them most down here. I dare everyone out there to buy their new album on Utterly Somber Creations Records, this is the real deal.
What about the Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
As you know, Arthur, I am actually from the “Ruhrpott” in Germany and moved to the States in 1998. By 1998 we already had a few years of the Grim and Necro in Germany, but there were still real Thrashers around by the time I moved away. We still shared beers, friendship, headbanged arm in arm…and then I moved to La Jolla, right north of San Diego. We have, in this town of 1 million, only a handful of real metalheads. It is insane. What I am referring to is “Gens Metallis”. The rest down here in San Diego are punks and what we call “Bro’s”. But I am not complaining, without those “modern fans” of brootal Death Metal there would be no-one at shows at all and San Diego would be an ever sadder state of affairs. And it’s not like Germany, where there are too many shows and people do not show up for that sole reason, no, it’s just a lack of metalheads, period. The US is nothing like Germany, as we all know. The sheer size of this country is barrier to creating a functioning scene. It is rather little nests of mini-scenes instead of one big scene. The scene in San Diego in specific went from being quite sizeable 4 years ago and being tons of fun to being small and competitive with people declaring themselves being the “best vocalist in Death Metal” and so on. You get the picture…it’s sad. Tons of rumours abound and a general MySpace mentality. But then again there are some real Metalheads inj San Diego like a Tony Eastman from “Command of Death Unity Promotions”, Tom Wren from MetalNightmare, Roberto from Infinitum and so on. True bangers that have friendship, respect and support as virtues. So..it’s not over yet, hahaahah! And I am in touch with some great people via Mail and I am not complaining, at all.
Where are the differences in the USA and Europe in your eyes? What is better and so on?
Oh, this whole topic is interesting. And please note, these are my views, opinions, not “official” facts, obviously. I might be completely wrong here, but I would say:
Europe: Guitars and Heart/ Soul
USA: Drums and Brain/ Logic
Old and even most contemporary European (and global, just take Australia and South America) Death Metal seems to stem from guitars and the overall feeling, while US bands, or at least the majority of them, base Death Metal on drums and rhythm, on impressing with skills instead of writing great songs. It’s the white man’s rap music over here, if you like. I know I will get flak for this, but please be easy on an old man, will ya, hahha!
The US, although the Bay Area is obviously over here, does NOT have the Thrash mentality anymore that us Europeans still have. That respect for each other, the friendship as a core value, the headbanging etc. Let’s just say I don’t prefer one continent over the other, I prefer old, friendly Thrashers over brootal DM antics.
Last but not least: Say some words to our readers….:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to bore your readers to sleep, Ficken Fussball Alkohol, Lokalmatadore for life!