Saturday, December 7, 2019

interview: Blood Incantation

In 2019 the reviewers and the fans seemed to agree rather vociferously that Blood Incantation’s album Hidden History of the Human Race is an album worthy of the positive vibes. Working with lots of old-school death metal, progressive and melodic tendencies, the album found its target with many fans of extreme metal. Here is an exchange between this publication and the band about the album and upcoming tours.
Congratulations on the album! Now that it’s finished, what’s on the agenda for 2020? Does your band have the problem that you have too many show offers?!
Thanks for writing. We are excited to share HHotHR with people, especially since it has been so long since Starspawn was unleashed. We have been lucky to have tremendous support for our music since the beginning, and are eager to see where this next album cycle takes the band. For 2020 we are going to be busy working on the first phase of what is ultimately a world tour that will last through most of 2021: Starting in Europe for the summer, then returning to Australia where we will head up through SE Asia and end the year in Japan. We are looking to do both North and South America in 2021, but plans change all the time. We do not have the problem of too many offers, but we do have the problem of too many promoters not understanding the actual logistics of travel and all of the necessary ingredients (such as proper backline equipment, all of the additional luggage for merch, cymbals, pedalboards, etc.) required for us to be able to bring the full BI experience to their audiences.
Given that album continues to get such positive, do y’all feel content with the monetary return for all your blood, sweat and tears?
The money we invested for the recording was basically all of Blood Incantation’s savings from the past several tours – we put all our eggs in one basket because wanted to make the album exactly how we wanted, which paid off in both the production and performances on the album. Not having anyone be able to say, “Oh, I don’t know about that”, “This is too crazy” or “What if we did this a little less psycho?” while we were in the studio was very important to us. Saving the labels that production money gave us more leverage in the negotiations for our respective contracts, as well as the money they saved by me doing all of the album layouts and graphic design, merch, etc. in-house. Similarly, my demands for the album layouts were very specific, and simply would not have been accommodated by the labels had we not held all the cards already. We’d had first-hand experience in the production and manufacturing of records as well, since we self-released the Live Vitrification 12” on our own, so we were able to go to bat with some legitimate economics. To that end, I recommend self-production to every band. There are risks, but the greater the risk...
Now what about the returns on touring? Metal musicians say that touring gets more difficult for DIY bands as the musicians get closer to the age of 30 due to the rigors of the road. How do you y’all feel at your age to tour?
We would be on tour regardless if anyone was showing up, as we simply enjoy the touring lifestyle. I’ve personally been on tour every year since 2007, in the circumstances you described, and it suits me just fine. The last two years are the first time in my life I’ve ever seen a return on all the years I’ve put into the road, which has been really gratifying, but it’s not what motivates me to tour. I enjoy the rhythm of the road, getting into the groove with the load-ins and setups, hanging out with friends I wouldn’t otherwise get to see, and seeing new places every day. Most of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life have been because of touring. More to your questions, I’m 32 and have done 16 tours the past four years between Spectral Voice, Blood Incantation and Scolex, so you tell me.
Your album was recorded “completely analogue.” Can you explain to those us of who are not musicians what exactly does “completely analogue” mean?
Analog production simply means we recorded the music live onto analog tape, rather than digitally into a computer. This means that there was no metronome for the drums, and that the four main instruments (drums, bass, and both guitars) were recorded simultaneously rather than individually – so you are hearing the performances in the same manner you would experience from a band at a show. The only overdubs are guitar solos, vocals, synths, and other ancillary instruments like acoustic guitar, gongs, bongos, tamboura, etc. This also means that the songs were played and recorded as one piece, with the exception of the final track “Awakening…” since there is a natural break for the ambient interlude – but since we were recording to tape, we still had to time out the break and record 90 seconds of silence which were later filled in with the synthesizers.
Why did you make the decision to do it that way?
This is simply a personal preference for how we prefer to record. We rehearse live, we play shows live, the music is written and refined in a live setting – it is only natural to record it live. It is also a more satisfying experience to know that you are able to perform your music correctly, without the handicap of digital conveniences. There’s no inherent right or wrong way to record: Plenty of records are recorded digitally and sound heavy and capture great performances. We simply prefer the old school methods.
What do you think is causing the excitement about your new album?
I personally don’t have an opinion on why people like our band more than others beyond my own simple bias: I like the music, that’s why we make it. If we didn’t think it was sick, we wouldn’t record it, simple as that. So, it seems other people just enjoy the same type of music we do, which is totally natural as we are all listening to the same classic bands, albums, etc.
It’s possible that your lyrical approach is another reason why people are liking your album. Do you think that younger generations are tired of the usual satanic or gore lyrics of death metal?
I’ve personally never been motivated by typical gore or satanic lyrics, for any of my bands. When I was younger, these bands seemed to be everywhere so there was never any need for me to contribute to that style of lyricism. All of my bands throughout my life have been focused on nature, cosmos, mysticism, metaphysics, etc. The mysteries of life in general are my greatest inspiration; it’s simply an extension of my personal being and interests. Bands like Gorguts, Death and Morbid Angel all began with similar, teenage-style shock/gore lyrics but later grew into much deeper introspective, inquisitive, and mystical lyrics, and it is these later styles which influence me the most.
Where is your music available? What are some additional places you plan to tour? Any chance of returning to Turkey and Israel?!
Our music is available on every streaming platform, and the new album is available from Dark Descent Records and many other distributors. In the USA, Blood Incantation merch is regularly available from both our Inferno Screen Printing and Holy Mountain Printing webstores, the Dark Descent Records website, and occasionally our own site (bloodincantation.org). In Europe, we have an online store through Evil Greed in Germany, and HHotHR is distributed worldwide by Century Media. In addition to the tours I’ve previously mentioned, we are always looking to expand our horizons and reach more parts of the world. Istanbul and Tel Aviv were some of the best shows we have ever played, and would love to return someday.
darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race

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