Thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview. Please introduce
yourself to the readers.
Hell-o Patrick, and thanx for
letting the evil spirit into your world. I am Azter, guitarist and composer
for Denial Of God since the band was formed 21 years ago.
At what age
did you first get into metal? Who were some of the first bands you
listened to? Who are some of your current favorite bands?
I got into Metal in 1986, at
the age of 12. By then I probably had heard a couple of major Metal bands,
but what bewitched me one night was Venom. When I first heard the “Black
Metal” album…Despite being so extreme and unlike anything else I had heard
at that time, this album captured me with its utter darkness, and this is
where my love for Metal began. Besides getting into a lot of the more well
known bands like Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, I
also – almost by coincidence – discovered that there was an underground with
totally unknown bands that had only released demo tapes, so you could say
that I experienced and enjoyed the dark pleasures of the underground along
with the famous bands. Very early on I discovered Alice Cooper of whom I
obtained every single release I could get hold of. Despite not really being
Metal all the time, I found such an enormous musical legacy and story
telling which to this day makes me a devoted fan, and Alice is for sure one
of the most important artists (or bands, if you count the original Alice
Cooper band in) along with bands like Venom, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond,
Death SS, Paul Chain Violet Theatre/Paul Chain, Mayhem, Bathory, Hellhammer,
Celtic Frost, Ripper, Infernäl Mäjesty, Slayer etc. etc. As you can see, I
never had THE band or artist to influence me, I have always been listening
to such a wide variety of musical styles because I found something that
connected with me in so many bands. The bands which I was exposed to at such
a young and impressionable age will always remain the most important ones
for me, and I still listen to them today with the same devotion as I did 20
years ago. Of newer bands my favourites are definitely those that I have
done releases of on Horror Records, like Abysmal Grief, Black Oath and Hands
of Orlac along with Confraternita del Vuoto Immenso (of whom I will release
the debut LP next year) and Evil Spirit to name a few. Furthermore I want to
give a special mention to Kraftwerk who are anything but Metal, but whom at
such an early age taught me that music could have a real concept and was
more than something one would just hear on the radio. This band will always
remain one of my all-time faves.
you get the idea to form Denial of God? The band was formed over twenty
years ago! When you first started up the band did you ever think you would
still be going this strong today?
When the band was formed in
1991 at our first rehearsal, we already had played with the idea of forming
a band for a while (even before picking up any instruments), so the idea
definitely goes back to the late ´80s. What do you do when you cannot play
(nor own) any instruments but wish to start a band? You try to write lyrics,
think about concepts and come up with an array of song titles. One of these
early song titles and lyrical ideas was “Klabautermanden” which was written
and recorded about 10 years later. So the horror was always there from the
God has quite a variety of traditional metal styles combining black, death,
even some doom. When you had the vision for D.O.G did you plan to bring all
these styles into the bands sound or did it just evolve over the years?
As I said previously, I/we
were always into so many different styles, so it was obvious that we were
not going to copy any band(s). I can not agree with anyone who says that we
have with time brought any styles into the band because they have always
been there. Our influences and sources of inspiration have been the same
since day one. It is no secret, however, that what we are doing now is the
closest we have come to what we always wanted to create, and this involves
using very dynamic song structures which obviously will make listeners think
of various musical styles. After all, we are writing 2012 and one is bound
to be compared to what came before (and even being compared to bands that
did not even exist when we first started). Listen to early songs like “The
Crypt Has Eyes” or “Follow Those Who Died” and you will see that already
back then our sound involved a lot of styles. Denial Of God was never about
just doing one thing, and this is also why we can evolve so much without
really changing into something we never were before.
newest cd "Death and The Beyond" was recently released through Hells
Headbangers rec. How did you come in contact with the label? Are you happy
with them so far?
Since I run my own label
Horror Records I have been doing a lot of business with Hells Headbangers
through the years and when I learned that Justin of Hells Headbangers was
really into our “The Horrors of Satan” album, I asked them if they would
have any interest in releasing the new album “Death and The Beyond”. At this
point in time we were in very heavy doubts if we should ever sign to any
label again due to the bad experiences in the past, but after some
negotiations we reached a very fair deal and decided that we would go for
it. It is of course still very early in our cooperation with them, but so
far I can definitely say that we are very happy with them as everything was
released when and as we imagined. And their promotional work is also very
good as we have definitely received more press these past months than we
have had for years. So far I have only good things to say about the Hells
How has the
response been from the fans and the press so far?
It is important to note that
we did the album exactly the way WE wanted to hear it, so what everyone else
thinks is secondary. But, of course, I am delighted to know that some of our
most hardcore and long time fans have been embracing this album and that
many of them consider this our best work to date. That is very rewarding, of
course! The press response has mainly been of a very positive nature as
well, but to be honest this means a lot less to me. While it is nice to read
some good reviews, I also notice that a lot of the people who seem to like
the album do not seem to have the slightest knowledge about us, our music or
music in general. I do not fall into major depressions over bad reviews,
hence I do not go crazy over good ones either.
mentioned earlier the band have been a part of the scene for over 20 years.
How do you feel the scene has changed since you first got into the
underground? What are your thoughts and opinion on technology like
computers, email, social-networks etc.. Do you feel these are good tools for
the UG bands, labels to use or more of a way for unwanted posers to find out
and infect our scene?
While I do acknowledge that we
somehow may be part of a scene, I do not FEEL that we are anymore. To me the
word “scene” should imply a group of individuals who have some common
ground, but to be really honest, as the years have passed I have felt that I
have less and less in common with anyone around me. And this goes for the
band in connection with the scene as well. What people call a scene has long
been a come-and-go swing door phenomena with people entering and leaving all
the time. Trends have come and gone and Denial Of God has remained
artistically unaffected by this because no matter what happens we will
always remain the same band and evolve on our own terms. The internet is
definitely a good and cheap tool for promotion, but on the other hand it is
also available to absolutely everyone these days, so there is such an
overkill of information that no one has the ability to get a proper overview
of everything. Here today, forgotten tomorrow! It no longer takes any
dedication to get knowledge about music and what you call the scene, so the
majority of people into it will never ever feel (or need) the same
dedication as it took 20 years ago.
last 5-6 years I have read and heard some people say the underground metal
scene is dead or dying. Would you agree with this statement? Or maybe just
evolving with the times?
There is still an underground
with truly dedicated persons, but with the internet and all everything is
becoming more blurry and the step from underground into mainstream is
smaller. It also depends on what you consider “underground” to be, but in
the past it was a scene of music which did not have any commercial success
and thrived on its own DIY way of working. Nowadays the underground has a
lot of labels which was definitely not the case in the past where there were
fewer labels. And if you go way further back, you either were on a big label
or on no label at all. I think there still is an underground but it has
become more similar to how the rest of the business works.
comes out of the Denmark underground scene so I was curious what your
opinion was of the scene in Denmark?
I never had high thoughts of
the underground scene in Denmark because there were too many unserious
people around. Mere jokers who did not respect the Darkness which we
ourselves conceived our music in. The swingdoor phenomena is still present,
but I do see that nowadays there are more people into the underground than
before. The question is how many of these people will stick to their
guns…Only time will tell!
some of your all-time favorite bands from Denmark? Are their any new bands
the readers should check out?
Definitely Mercyful Fate and
then King Diamond (if you wanna consider that a purely Danish band). One of
the most (if not the most) underrated bands is definitely Metal Cross of
whom I will release an anthology on Horror Records next year. Other bands
from Denmark I really like(d), past and present, are Witch Cross, Samhain/DesExult,
Wasted, Evil, Crystal Knight, Heavy Chainzz, Victimizer, Church Bizarre,
Altar of Oblivion, Death Rides a Horse, Mirage, Black Creed/Invocator and
lyrics seem to be based around classic horror/suspense movies. What are some
of your favorite horror movies of all-time?
While our lyrics certainly
take inspiration from horror movies (or rather the feeling of them) as well,
not a single one has ever been based on a movie! Favorite movies include (in
no particular order and leaving out too many): Halloween, Friday the 13th,
A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead,
Phenomena, Suspiria, The Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Living
Dead, Nosferatu, Dracula, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Devil Rides Out,
Shutter, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist, Jaws, The Omen, The Exorcist, Dead
Silence, Wake Wood and many, many more! And these are just some of the
horror movies – I do like a lot of other movies as well, even if horror will
always be my favorite genre.
What do you
feel makes a good horror/suspense movie?
I feel about movies the way I
feel about music. I like different kinds and feel that what is produced
today often lacks that certain something that made the old masters as great
as they were. Some movies are great because they have a great storyline (for
example the old Universal and Hammer movies), others because they manage to
create an intense atmosphere (like those of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento or
a movie like Shutter from Thailand). It is hard to pinpoint exactly what
makes a movie great because it all depends and many different ways to
approach the work can work well. While I absolutely love the extreme
violence portrayed for example in an Argento or Fulci movie, I think that
too many new movies rely too much on the violence itself and lack the dark
aspect of a really good horror movie. I hate the thousand-cuts-per-minute
approach of many new movies which in my opinion is just made to cover up the
lack of a good story and because the modern movie watcher has such a short
attention span. I like the zeitgeist of old movies.
we have reached the end of the interview, do you have any final comments for
the readers before we close the interview?
Go to the Hollow Hills