2018. október 31., szerda

Erik Sprooten

Interview with Erik Sprooten
(Ancient Rites, Inquisitor, Plusminus)
Hail Erik, we are very glad to talk with you again here at Archangel’s Lantern. I must say, “Stigmata Me, I’m in Misery” is just a brilliant masterpiece of old school Thrash metal. Are you satisfied with how the album turned out? (In my humble opinion Inquisitor sounds stronger than ever)
- Hail Georgius, thanks for your kind words. Oh yeah, we are very much satisfied with the new album. We stuck to our guns even after almost twenty years, which is remarkable in itself, but we also managed to make some progress as well musically. Alex Wesdijk wrote all the lyrics, and some of his  lyrics are a bit more personal compared to our older lyrics. The new album definitely has an old school vibe and it sounds 100% like Inquisitor and it's great to have this album recorded in the original line-up too. We recorded our second album at the Toneshed Studio in The Netherlands, which is run by Erwin Hermsen, who is a former guitarist of Mangled and he did a fantastic job! I  recorded my guitar solos at home and sent the audio files of those to Erwin. “Stigmata Me, I'm In Misery” sounds like what people were used from us, but we also managed to include musical ideas which we couldn't have done or wouldn't have come up with in the 90's. For instance, the beginning of “Holy Man's Gallows Pole”, is something which we probably wouldn't have done in 1995 and I also wouldn't and couldn't have played slide guitar back then, but slide guitar playing by me can be heard in “Hammering Rusty Nails” now. The end solo of "I am Sick, I must Die" was in it's early incarnation just a nice guitar solo in D-minor, but later I changed it to what it has become now. Alex Bakker (bass player) showed us in the rehearsal room what he played underneath that D-minor solo, which was a very great bass line so I changed the guitar solo to compliment his bass playing. I rewrote it by adding a few unison bends followed by some fretboard tapping. The very end of “Northern Goliath – Death A Black Rose” was a great idea of our singer Alex Wesdijk. Our drummer Wim is highly involved in structuring the songs, and is always thinking how to improve his drumming and drumfills. Each member in the band contributed to the music and everyone had made progress throughout the years and widened his musical space. We do what we like to do without restricting ourselves regardless of any trend, criticism, image or whatsoever and we will continue to do so. 
Hey Erik, it has been a while, tell me the latest news about Inquisitor. (Anita vH)
- We finally have a new album out for some months now, and we are promoting it the best way we can, but we also started working on new songs again for a possible new album. We still have some new music in us to unleash upon mankind and there are quite some new really interesting ideas. Some ideas may be leftovers but some of those are great and will be used. We certainly do want to make another album, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Although we hardly have any budget, there are plans to make a video clip. In this digital and visual age it's important to have a video clip.

Saw you had a few gigs with Pestilence, Dead End and Dead Head. How were these? Any abroad gigs planned? (Anita vH)
- Those gigs were arranged via Hammerheart Records, and they were absolutely great. One was on a Sunday in Maastricht, in the South of The Netherlands and the other one was on a Friday in Drachten, which is in the North of The Netherlands. I personally felt that the gig in Drachten was the best in my opinion. The sound on stage was good, and I think that we performed damn well. However Alex Bakker, our bass player, felt that he had the perfect monitor mix on stage in Maastricht. Anyway, it was great to do these gigs as support for Dead Head and Pestilence. For us it was a great opportunity to open for Pestilence and Dead Head. Behind the scenes we are trying to get gigs abroad, and it seems that we will do a gig in Belgium next year! And we are looking forward to play with Pestilence again in December. 
“Laguz” has been your last album after 9 years from “Rubicon”. Will there be a new album soon? (Paco, Spain)
- I don't expect a new album very soon unfortunately, but there may be a chance that some of our older albums will be re-released. Most of the older album have been out of print for a very long time and  need a proper re-release in my opinion. Some have never been released on vinyl but there are bootleg versions circulating. For a new album we definitely need some budget, and that is hard to get nowadays. Because of this, we most likely need to change the way how we will write & record a new album. We probably can't do that the way we used to do. But we'll see what happens...

How were the Ancient Rites shows in Roeselare and Rotterdam this year and in Athens in 2017? Share us please your memories from these concerts.
- Although the schedule was delayed, we did get a great response from the Greek audience, and it was about 18 years ago since we last played in Greece, so some fans were kinda hungry to see us again but there were also new fans. And of course it was nice to visit some ancient areas  in Athens the day before the gig. We don't always have time or get the chance to visit beautiful spots in the area where we play live.
In Rotterdam we played in a venue called “Baroeg” in The Netherlands where we have played a lot, and I mean A LOT. This particular gig on the 31st of May was great, even a bit beyond my own expectations. So I felt very satisfied after the gig in Rotterdam.
Roeselare was also very good! The audience was fucking great, and it's always a pleasure to play in our own territory. Roeselare has always been good to us, also in the past. The venue (De Verlichte Geest) reminded me a bit of the kind of venues we used to play in the 90's. 
Recently we did a live show on Malta, which was a nice experience. We also spent a little time with the whole band near a historical place on the island close to our hotel, which was extremely satisfying.
Are you going to do any European tours (you might include some dates for Valencia, Spain – I believe you never done any shows somewhere here)? (Paco, Spain)
- Due to obligations, mainly work-related, extensive tours are not possible for us anymore but we can do weekend shows. Promoters can contact me directly for that.

I’m a faithful follower of the underground scene since the early 90s. Currently, several bands inside it are the scene, but... How do you see now the underground scene in general? Any bands are there that you like specially? (Paco, Spain)
- The underground scene is still vibrant and in some ways it still works the same way as it did in the 90's but internet has changed a lot of it and metal has seen an increase of substyles too throughout the years. I still go to underground metal concerts but not as much as I used to do. It's not always possible for several reasons, but I like to go to more underground concerts than I do now. I certainly like to have a good time and maybe discover new bands at those concerts. Nowadays via Facebook I get a lot like requests from people who want me to like their band and sometimes, some of those underground bands are interesting which is great. I remember liking a thrash band from South America called Maze of Terror, Cruentator from Italy and more recently Ancestor, a thrash metal band from China. I still like bands from the old underground days like for instance Sathanas, and Hellwitch.
How it’s going with your cover band, Plusminus? Did you play any live shows lately? What is your current line-up?
- Plusminus is doing fine. The line-up hasn't changed since December 2006, so we have a pretty stable line-up (Arie Kampman – vocals, Erik Sprooten – guitar, Peter Jung – guitar, Alex Bakker – bass guitar, Chiel Lozeman - drums). Meanwhile, we are working on “new” cover tunes to add to our set list. We just keep going and it's always fun to play together. In February we did a special but bittersweet performance at the “Celebration of  Life” of a good friend of ours who passed away a few days before. He performed TNT from AC/DC a few times with us since he was diagnosed with a terrible disease. On a Saturday exactly between the Inquisitor shows with Pestilence, Plusminus played a nice show not that far away from our area. Next year we will play again close to Belgium.

It’s a little bit hard question, but what do you think about an idea to play some massive shows together with following bands: Ancient Rites/Inquisitor/Sammath? 
- I'm certainly in for it. I'm pretty sure that I can handle playing guitar for Ancient Rites and Inquisitor on one evening. For Wim it may be tough but I'm sure he can handle it but after two shows on the same evening, he might be totally wrecked but certainly satisfied, but I guess he can answer that question much better.
(my Ancient Rites and Inquisitor-treasures with dedications- GF) 

What is/are your favorite cartoon(s) from your old band-mate of Ancient Rites, Gunther’s work?
- I can't name a particular cartoon from Gunther which might be my favorite but I always enjoy his cartoons every Friday on Facebook. It's great that he does this 'cause he certainly has talent for this. I also love to see another comic by him of Van Roy & Sid.
Dank je wel/thank you very very much, Erik, please send some thoughts from the medieval inquisitor chamber to the readers.
- Georgius and also Anita & Paco  Thanks a lot for this interview. Your support is highly appreciated!

(Questions compiled by Anita vH, Paco and Georgius)

Important links: 

2018. október 2., kedd

Tobias Fongelius (Voodus)

Interview with Tobias Fongelius (Voodus)

Hail my old friend/brother Tobbe, it has been a while since our last conversation, hope you are doing fine! Thanks so much for sending me the pre-listening stuff of the debut full-length Voodus-album, called “Into the Wild”, congratulations, excellent work! Tell to the readers please, when and where it will be released officially? Share all the important information about the circumstances of the recording process, lyrical-conception, guest-songwriters and cover-art.
- Hail! It´s great to hear from you again! Hope that everything works out fine with you.
Thank you very mutch! We are extremely proud of the album. It ended up being exactly as good as we wanted it to be! The album will be released by Shadow Records November 26. It will come in all formats! Double LP, CD,Tape and Digital!
The recording session was very intence. We had only 10 days to “make it happen”. And Ingo, our drummer, did get sick or something so we had to call for a stand in. Jocke Wallgren from Amon Amarth was just back from his world tour and he had a lot of time off, so he came down to the studio. He listened to the songs for about 5-6 hours. Then, like the fucking machine he is, he just went in to the recording room an fucking nailed the whole album! I think it took him about 2 days to record everything, and he had never heard the songs before! I am still stunned by his professionalism! The result of this drum-mess in the beginning of the recording did catch up on us in the end of the recording. Me and Erik had only 5 days to record all our guitars! And if you have in mind that every single guitar track must be recorded with 4 ( 2+2 ) guitars + a lead + solo! Man! Thats very tight with time! We worked like 12-13 hours everyday. We didnt have any time to do song or bass in Necromorbus because of this. So the bass is recorded in Armageddon Studio (Anders Backelin from Lord Belials studio). And the vocals in Studio Fabriken in Gothenburg.
Just like you mention we have two guestwriters on the album! A friend and magical inspiration of mine “Idlu Lili Regulus” did write the lyrics to “Communion amid the graves” and the fantastic Johannes Kvarnbrink (ex-Ofermod, Mortuus, Head of the Demon etc) did write the lyrics to our longest opus this far! The Terrain of Moloch, the last track of the album.

Let’s talk a little bit about Voodus: “Serpent Seducer Saviour” EP, which has been released through Swedish Shadow Records (distributed & marketed by Regain Records) in Summer, 2017. Enlighten us about the lyrics and songwriting processes. 
- I guess that the lyrics speaks for themselves.. But we can speak a bit about the songwriting process! It´s quite easy for me and Erik to write together nowdays. We know each other so so well after all this years! I have a riff, Erik has a riff and then it´s just to go with the flow! I use to do the fundamental melodies, bridges and paths in our songs. And Erik lay his magic upon all this riffs, and then we have Voodus! It´s not always like this thou. Erik has for example written every single riff in the song The Golden, except for one passage, on our new album!

How was your Scandinavian tour with legendary Mayhem last year? Hope, we can see some live Voodus-video very soon from these hellish performances.
- It was a fucking blast! I mean wake up on the hotell and knew that tonight we will standing on the stage with fucking MAYHEM!!!!!! And tomorrow! And the day after that! Haha! All my respect to Mayhem. They are the real deal, I promise you. They give 666% every fucking night! It´s very inspiring to see and to be a part of! We did get along really good with the whole band, so we hold our thumbs for more rituals together!

I have listened to your debut material “NightQueen” EP under Voodus name a lot of times (my personal favourite tracks are “Mors Ianua Vitae” and “The Burning Light of Daath”). How were the reactions from the black metal fans after this release?
- Mutch better if you compare the reactions from our Jormundgand-era! We felt in a early phase that we were on the right track with this recreation of the band! 

There’s a little change in the Voodus line-up. Desekrator debuted on bass at the Belsepub gig along with Grá the 1/6 in Gothenburg. How was this live-performance?
- Yeah! That was a great show!!! And Grá is a great band! As you said Desekrator did his first live performance with us that evening. He is a powerful individual who fits perfect in our band. We have done one more change in the line-up lately! We have a new drummer. Marcus Fors (ex-Vornth, Death Reich, XUL, Vulcanic etc etc) has now joined us instead of Ingo. He is a great drummer and contribute with a great deal of fierce fire and aggression to the bands energy!

Are you playing at your live-shows a few Jormundgand-tracks or just Voodus-songs?
- Just Voodus. Jormundgand is dead to us.

What is the situation with covering other, legendary bands? Do you plan to play live some covers or record them? I’m really curious, how it would sound a Dissection-cover for example by Voodus.
- We do never play covers, and we will probably never do. But yes, I can see what you mean! Dissection is absolutely a band that would have been great to pay our tribute to. But they have already done the songs 100% to the max, so the only thing you can do by trying to cover Dissection, is to disgrace yourself. I have never heard a good cover on Dissection this far at least.

Which bands/albums are you listening to currently? Could you maybe recommend some interesting bands from Sweden?
- Hmm… I do not listen to so mutch Swedish bands now days. I think that the German and the Greek scene is more interesting with bands like Ascension, The Ruins Of Beverast, Katharsis, Acrimonious, Thy Darkened Shade etc etc. 
But you asked for Swedish bands! So i have to say Valkyrja, they are coming out with a new album very soon and i have heard a little bit from this beast to be unleashed! And man! That album will kick some serious fucking ass! Then we have the absolute amazing Funeral Mist and the new “Hekatomb” album! Mortuus is another band that I found very inspiring. Mephorash is recording a new album as well. I think it will be a fucking killer! And of course Voodus!

After the official release of Voodus: “Into the Wild” will you plan to play in Europe? It would be awesome to meet and see you live.
- Yes! We have the hooks out for a lot of festivals and promoters around Europe. We just have to wait and see I guess!

What landscapes, museums and places do you recommend to visit in Sweden?
- Västkusten (the westcoast) or the far north if you want to visit the nature. The westcoast of Sweden is loaded with pure magic! You can almost feel the breath of the old when you standing on a windy shore at this wild landscape! With lots of runes and petroglyphs carved in the rocks around the area, it contribute to this whole “sacred” feeling. If you want to visit museums then you have a great deal to choose between! But I guess that Stockholm is the city to visit if you want to learn more about our national history and our nations more palmy days!

Tack så mycket/Thanks a lot, brother, it was great feeling to talk you again. Hail and Total Support from us to Voodus!  In the end send some thoughts from the “Communion Amid the Graves”…
- It is a monumental song, with a wide spectre. It´s one of the most intense tracks on the album. The lyrical theme is based on an ancient ritual of Hekate. And the song should be played with respect and devotion to HER in your mind!

Io Io Hekate!
Io Io Hekate!
Io Io Hekate!

Important links: