Bobby Undertaker of Deathchain interviewed
I listen to extreme Metal since 1983. I truly believe that you have produced the best Thrash – Death album ever. I happen to have your “Poltergeist” 2002 demo and 2 out of the 4 songs in this demo appear in your debut album “Deadmeat Disciples” that was released just a few months ago by the Finish Dynamic Arts records. What about the other songs in the album? Are they all brand new or where they all written in 2003? I am trying to find how long it took you to compose this masterpiece and be able to execute these songs with the surgical precision and the totally devastating aggression that you do.
“Undertaker” and “Poltergeist” appeared also on the demo. For the album we did a few changes to them, changed some riffs on the Undertaker and boost up the tempo on Poltergeist. So they’re quite old songs and so is Skeletal Claws, which we did just after the demo. All the rest are from pretty short period of time. When Corpse and me started writing songs for the album, after a few weeks we had nearly 10 songs ready. But from those songs there’s not a single riff left on the album. So the songs changed fast all the time. We didn’t want to put any shitty riffs on the album. Finally all the songs for the album came out pretty fast, songs like “Chaos Wartech” in only a few hours. We didn’t have so much time to rehearse those songs, as we would have wanted. We had studio reserved and we had to kind of rush in. Hopefully that doesn’t sound on the album that much. Nevertheless, we’re all pleased for our debut. But best thrash – death album ever? I think that’s a bit too much said. We have still a long road for that. But on next album we will kick some serious ass and I think we’re just a bit closer achieving that.
Since Bobby Undertaker gave me this answer, I naturally thought of asking him to give me his top 5 list of his all time favoured thrash – death albums.
1. The Crown - Deathrace King
2. Dew-scented - Inwards
3. Dew-scented - Impact
4. The Haunted - The Haunted
5. The Crown - Possessed 13
I would really like to know how you manage to sound so magnificently brutal, amazingly energetic and powerful but at the same time keep everything in control and sound so ultra tight. I suspect that you practise quit a lot both individually and also collectively as a band. How many hours per day do you usually spend doing your individual and band practises and even more importantly, what makes you tick, think and play the way that you do? What are the contributing factors? Is there anything in the water supplies of Kuopio, your hometown in Finland? Especially your drummer is an absolute maniac. The guy is unbelievable; great drum patterns, genuine aggression. His drumming is totally devastating. What king of drugs is he on? Ha ha ha!
I can’t come up with any other reason than the fact that our line-up is so great. We’re all good friends outside the band too. We’re all different persons and we all listen different kinds of bands. But when Deathchain is the thing “at hand”, we all give 110% for the band. I think when Corpse was searching new players for the band in 2001, we wanted just that. Dedication for the band but also a good chemistry between players. And skill of course. When me and Corpse first time started writing songs for the demo, we instantly realized that we can deal, you know? It was easy to write riffs and lyrics, and to discuss about the songs in order to make them better and better. I personally wouldn’t want to be in a band where the members are just like some fucking puppets. No friends with each other and so on. I think the good band chemistry is the key for us. Of course we practise a lot, sometimes more sometimes less. It varies. If we have gigs coming up, we practise like maniacs. If things are a bit slower, we can concentrate on individual practicing. Kassara is a maniac in a true sense of the word and he rehearses a lot. And that can be heard in his playing. I myself try to play every day at least something. Sometimes it can be many hours and some times only 10 minutes. I have no solid pattern for that, I just go by the feeling. But the truth is that we still are pretty shitty players and we still have to develop as a band and as individual players as well.
I know that this is an awkward question, but I am impressed by your ability to switch from ultra fast tempos to slower owns and then come back to a fast part sounding even more aggressive, enraged and devastating (whilst as always you keep sounding ultra tight). Nothing and I mean NOTHING in your album sounds forced or premeditated. How do you achieve that in your opinion? There are thousands of bands that cannot achieve that. They write some good riffs here and some good riffs there, but they just don’t connect properly. Quite often the songs don’t flow and there is no cohesion. (They will play a faster part and when they drop the tempo and stay in that slower tempo, that part sounds “forced”). Could you please give some tips as to how you work as a band and how you avoid problems like the ones that I have mentioned when you compose? Don’t just tell me that it comes out naturally or it part of your personalities. Please give me some details and explain how you go on about achieving what you have achieved in “Deadmeat Disciples”.
Well writing good riffs has never been a problem for us. But arranging the songs is really hard for us and that’s why we had to spent so much time for the structures. It usually goes like this: Me and Corpse have a song ready. We call to Kassara and say: “What’s up sick fuck, let’s go to the reheasing place.” Then the three of us start working with the song. It’s very hard for Corpse and me to figure out what works or not. But when we have drums backing us up, we can almost instantly hear what goes and what doesn’t. Kassara always has some good ideas for the songs and then we just keep pushing it until it’s fucking done. It sounds very simple but almost all the time it isn’t. But that’s the way we do it. On the next album we want to fuck around more with the tempos. On this one we didn’t quite know how to do that. On new songs we want to slow down a bit more here and there and then on the other hand we want to boost up the tempo to it’s max!
I know that it is a bit early to ask questions like this, but do you have any new material at all ready at this moment? Any songs that might make it to your second album?
Actually we have a few songs ready. Let’s see if any of them make it to the album. I think so, because the new material is very strong. But it’s too early to say yet.
So far you have only been performing live in Finland, but thankfully you have gigs coming up in continental Europe. I hope that I will come over to see you play gigs in Suomi (Finland), but until then can you describe the reactions of the Finish crowds that you have played for? How fierce is the mosh pit when you play in Finland? I can’t possibly think of any other band that can initiate a more violent mosh pit. The way that I am imagining it, is that if anyone gets caught in this type of a mosh pit, his or her health must be in serious mortal danger, no matter how much experience one might have in being part of fierce mosh pits!
We’ve had some good mosh pits for sure. The crowd has been great everywhere, not just here in Kuopio. And that’s the way it should be. When the crowd is loud the band is louder. And the more people there are in the audience the better we play for sure. We have played to the audiences between 100 and 300 people, it’s not that much but it’s getting better all the time. In Finland mosh pits are not that sick I think. The gents are usually gentlemen and pick up any ladies who have fallen down and that’s the way it should be. You can and you should go crazy like a twisted fuck but nobody wants to see anyone get hurt.
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