1. Isaac, you have recently finished the work on your new masterpiece „The Toxic Touch“, and for me it is the best GOD DETHRONED album ever, just right after „Lair Of The White Worm“.
It has all the force and blasting power I love in extreme music, and still comes out with some melodic tunes and long soli.
Thanks a lot for sharing me your opinion about the new album. I must say I’m overwhelmed by the great comments we get; just everyone seems to like this album very much. I’ve done dozens of interviews now, and everyone tells us this is our most mature album so far.
„The Toxic Touch“ was created while you have been touring all across Europe and America with bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE and BOLT THROWER...Can you tell us how the writing process was and how long it took to get the songs together?
In between touring and playing single shows, we spent a lot of time to collect new ideas/riffs/parts and to record them in the computer. Then right before the Bolt Thrower tour earlier this year, we started working on new songs. First we would only do the first half of the Bolt Thrower tour, so we would be able to finish the new songs before entering the studio, but as you might have heard somewhere, Kataklysm (who’d do the second half of that tour) went back to Canada earlier than expected. We were asked to do the rest of the tour, and as the guys in Bolt Thrower are so much fun to hang around with, we simply couldn’t refuse.
One day after that tour we went straight into the studio, and still had to work on a couple of songs. But the past has proven that God Dethroned gets the best results under very high pressure, and I think you can’t deny that after hearing our new album.
2. Henri has recently said in an interview that „The Toxic Touch“ is the result of 2 years of touring with GOD DETHRONED. Do you see it the same way or is the album someway different to you?
I definitely agree with Henri! We’ve been playing so many shows in the last 2 years. It made us a very tight live-act. But what Henri probably was saying un-pronounced, is that the new line-up has proven to be very effective, and that God Dethroned is stronger than ever. This is the first album we can make all together, so it’s pretty logical that there are some new influences now. I’m more of a thrash metal guitarplayer, more technical, and that’s just a perfect match with the stuff Henri and Ariën are writing. There hasn’t been a single disagreement about what “The Toxic Touch” should sound like.
3. GOD DETHRONED are known for really powerful and interesting songs, perfectly piled out and always performed on a very high technical level. Would you point out some elements in your music which you do consider as typical GOD DETHRONED ?
First and foremost, we try to make catchy songs; songs that can stay in your head for a long long time. We’re a death metalband, but we try to spice it up with whatever influences we like, trying to push the boundaries. If you listen to our albums, you can hear thrash/black/rock influences. You never know what to expect from God Dethroned, cause we don’t wanna make the same album twice. This time we added more groovy parts and lots of melody, and we also tried to use blastbeats as an extra this time, not as a trademark. Honestly, I never miss the blastbeats while listening to our new album, cause Ariën came up with a lot of different drum parts and amazing fills.
4. Who is responsible for the mix? Which studio did you choose this time for the recordings?
This time we didn’t go to the Berno Studios in Sweden as with the last 2 albums. As we heard a couple of great demos, recorded at the Soundlodge Studio in Germany, we wanted to go there instead. It’s not as far from home, so we could come and go whenever we wanted. This made the recording process a lot more comfortable.
Producer Jörg Uken has proven to be a very professional guy. He was on top of it all the time and definitely took our playing to a higher level. And I think he did a terrific job with the production and the mixing. “The Toxic Touch” sounds killer!
5. „The Toxic Touch“, at first sight, doesn´t seem to follow a concept like your previous album, „Liar Of the White Worm“, did. But when you look on the song titles, you see that most of them deal with themes like desperation, emptiness, frustration and depression as well as diseases. Does it have something to do with the new dutch laws concerning euthanasie, maybe?
No, not at all! :) Actually we do have a certain “concept” on this album. Maybe I should tell you a bit about “Typhoid Mary” first: she lived in the early 20st century, and was infected with the typhoid virus. She was the first person who didn’t die from it, and you couldn’t notice she was the carrier of the virus. Because she worked in hospitals and as a family worker, she infected numerous persons. When authorities started to investigate all the deads, Mary seemed to be the “missing link”, so she got arrested… So, without being aware of it, Mary killed a lot of people and caused a lot of pain. And that’s the meaning of “The Toxic Touch”: touch someone’s soul, hurt someone without wanting to. If you keep this in mind, you can read the lyrics with a different perspective.
By the way, the person on the cover of our album is also Mary. It’s a cold-looking picture, with a dark atmosphere.
6. Ariën came in the band in 2001, a couple of month after the release of the „Ravenous“ album, and took over the drums, after Tony Laureano and Roel Sanders. Was it difficult for him in the beginning to find an own approach of playing with GOD DETHRONED?
Ariën has been playing in a lot of bands for a very long time, so he already had his own way of drumming. He’s a very aggressive and tight player, hitting the drums in a very consistent way and playing tons of complicated drum fills. He didn’t became the new God Dethroned player because he could handle the drum parts of his predecessors, but simply because he is a great drummer, definitely adding a lot to the overall sound of the band.
7. How much of a perfectionist are you on a scala from 1 to 9 ?
It’s impossible to do everything perfect, but I always try to do things as good as possible and to get close to perfection. Playing and mastering an instrument needs a lot of practice and discipline, and you’ve got to be a perfectionist to get things right. And with this album we wanted everything to be perfect: music, artwork, production, etc. And I think we came pretty close, hehe…
8.Is there anything you like/hate about touring?
Personally, touring is the reason why I wanted to play in a band in the first place. I don’t like being in a studio, cause it has nothing to do with what metal music is all about. I prefer a life on the road: playing shows every day, hanging around with fans and with people who just discovered the band, playing as good as possible and trying to interact with the audience as much as I can, having a beer with people who like the same kinda music, etc.
The only thing I hate about touring, are the days off, sitting in a tourbus, travelling to another country, or just standing at a gas station for a whole day. A day off just makes me tired…
9. Any experiences you have made on tour and wouldn´t want to miss anymore?
Hm… not really. Every tour is different, and cool in a different way. It’s always a big surprise…so we’ll see what happens next!
10. How satisfied are you with your record label and tour management so far?
Before “The Lair of the White Worm” we signed a new deal for 3 albums with Metal Blade Records, which means we’ve always been happy with them. They are doing a great job for us, and all of the people who work at MB have become friends during the years. It’s one of the most important labels in metal music, so they know what they’re doing.
About the management, actually we’ve always done bookings and stuff like that on our own, until the last album, cause we got so many offers and we were on the road so many times. We simply couldn’t take care of it ourselves anymore. We’ve been working with Dragon Productions for 2 years now, and things are still going great!
11. Do you all have a "proper" job in your daily life?
Ariën and me basically live from the band, but we do teach respectively drums and guitar. Henke and Henri have a regular job though.
12. Do you like days off while on tour?
Nope, cfr. Question 8
13. The gig you´ve always wanted to play with GOD DETHRONED, but never had the chance yet?
God Dethroned already played Wacken OA in the past, but then I wasn’t in the band yet. So hopefully we can play the festival next year!
14. Back to "Toxic Touch" - what do you think, which song will be appreciated mostly by the fans?
That’s a very difficult question, ´cause as usual, we have a lot of variety on the album. Some people like very fast stuff, others like slower stuff… But if I had to pick one song of the album which gives the best description of what God Dethroned is all about, then I’d pick “On Wings of Pestilence”, cause that song has everything: groove, ultra-fast drumming, catchy lyrics, melodies, thrash influences, etc.
15. What is your personal favourite song on the album?
That would be “Falling Down”, cause I just love the groovy part in the middle. Can’t listen to it without feeling the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
16. Were there any challenges for you as guitarplayer in the new song material or any goals you wanted to achieve?
With every album you just try to top the performance of the last album. So this time I started practicing some technical stuff a couple of months before entering the studio. Every new song you write is difficult to play in the beginning, so I had to work on that quite a lot.
For me a solo is about a certain feeling, not playing as fast as you can. So it’s always a challenge to come up with a nice melody and trying to make a killer solo out of it. It’s the slower parts that make the difference, cause then you’ve got space enough to incorporate guitar techniques like vibrato, bendings, and stuff like that. To me, that’s more interesting than playing fast stuff.
17. Your opinion about some of the songs....
This is the intro of the album. Not what you’d expect as an intro; no big choir or an orchestra, but a groovy part with very sarcastic/ironic lyrics on it. I love it! And I can’t wait to use it for our live shows.
Starts with very fast double bass rolls, and typical God Dethroned riffing, going to a modern thrashy chorus. I really like this song, cause there’s a lot going on and the atmosphere is changing constantly. For us, this is how death metal should sound like anno 2006.
-"Away From Emptiness"?
Hehe, I just knew you would ask me something about that song. It’s an instrumental song, starting with clean guitars, going to an epic solo part. This isn’t death metal at all, but it just shows you we’re more than your average death metalband, and it also proves that we’re very open-minded as a band. Everything is possible, as long as it sounds good within the God Dethroned concept.
18. Where do you see GOD DETHRONED in 5 years?
You never know of course, but I hope all the touring for the last years, and all the energy we put into the band, will make us grow as a band. We already have a very wide fanbase, and of course we only want it to become bigger in the future. So hopefully we’ll be still around in 5 years!
19. I have been to a few GOD DETHRONED shows in clubs and on open air festivals and I am everytime surprised how you manage to keep up a high technical level of performance, despite the conditions of the venue and how much support you get by the audience. How important are your fans for you?
Without the fans, we wouldn’t be able to go on tour and to keep recording albums, so they are extremely important for us. I like to chat with people before/after a show and every time I get an email from someone, I try to answer it as fast as possible. That’s the least I can do after all the support they’ve given us.
Besides that, I think it’s very important to give people the best performance live. People pay to see God Dethroned, and it would be not very respectful to put on a lazy show. And like I said before, we like to play, so I guess you can see that.
20. What do you think about the Deathmetal scene at the moment?
There are still a lot of new bands rising, so I think we can’t complain.
21. What was your first thought when you heard about DISSECTION and the suicide of Jon Nöstveid?
I’ve never really been into Dissection, cause I’m more of a thrasher like I said before, but it’s still a strange thing. I’ve never understood why people commit suicide actually… maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s a very easy way to cope with your problems, or whatever is going on in your life.
22. Can you tell me something about your current playlist - old and new bands?
I’ve just been listening to the latest Soilwork album, and I recently discovered The Arcane Order. Other bands I like are Pantera, Dimmu Borgir, Testament, Mors Principium Est, Nevermore, stuff like that. Besides metal, I got a pretty good musical background from my parents: Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, John Hiatt, Neil Young, etc. I just try to be open-minded for everything that crosses my ears.
23. What was the last show of another band you have attended?
Actually I went to see a couple of local band here in Belgium last weekend. Some old band-mates played on of their first shows with their new band. Didn’t have the opportunity to see them before, as I was always on the road with God Dethroned when they had a show. Was pretty cool!
24. Can you tell us something about your future plans - there´s a tour with VADER coming up...will you include some of the new songs in the tour setlist?
Yeah, of course! This tour will be a good way to promote the release of “The Toxic Touch”. We don’t know exactly which new songs we’ll be playing yet, but I think we’ll try some combinations during the first couple of shows, just to get an idea of which songs are working in a live situation and how people react.
After the tour we’re gonna shoot a videoclip, and play some single club shows. Early next year we should do a European headliner tour, and hopefully another US tour. And I think we’ll be able to play a lot of metal festivals next summer.
Thank you very much for taking your time to answer our questions. Hope to see you on tour soon!
My pleasure. Would be cool!
Any last words?
For all the people out there: hopefully you’ll check our new album, and I hope to see y’all during one of our upcoming shows. Thanx for the support!