Wednesday, 20 February 2013

An interview with Kalevi Uibo from Chaos Echœs

2011 - On the ashes of Bloody Sign (1995-2010), the guitar player Kalevi Uibo & drummer Ilmar Uibo – later joined by guitar player Etienne Testart (Children Of Doom, Evisceration) and bass player/visual artist Stefan Thanneur – found Chaos Echœs with the intent to transport their dark death metal to a black hole of improvisations, psychedelic and trance. Another distinctive feature is their will to extract the material out of its formal and acoustic envelope to generate hybrid vitality. Thus, from the Chaos Echœs entity, various shapes can emanate: solo, duo, art installation.

April 2012 - Recording of the first manifestation, "Tone Of Things To Come", during three days at Le Grillen, Colmar (France) with Guillaume Schleret. Vocals recording, editing by Sébastien Eidenschenck at Le Bon Home Studio, Le Bonhomme (France).

May 2012 - Mix and mastering by Patrick Engel at Temple Of Disharmony (Germany).

August 2012 - First ever live appearance as Chaos Echœs Duo Experience at Kill-Town Death Fest 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. During three days, Kalevi and Ilmar play five sets of dark, death driven improvisations, obscure and creepy soundscapes – including guitars, drums, percussion  horns, vocals, effects and more –, with special guest Marcelo Aguirre on vocals... sharing the bill with bands like Sadistic Intent, Necros Christos, Master, etc.

Interview conducted by Ebby Sasi. 

ST: How did you manage to introduce those refined sounds in Chaos Echoes?

Kalevi: I guess it’s like a hurricane of sound with all our influences; there’s a specific direction, a centre, and it carries, drags and rushes everything around. Darkness in music is everywhere, and obviously not limited to metal.

ST: What are your plans and where do you want to take the band in the coming a few years? Kalevi Uibo has traveled a quiet and determined path ‘Bloody Sign’ over the past a decade but Chaos Echoes is your most profound act which you put a lot of energies and time to it.

We recently signed with Debemur Morti Prodactions, a very good label. They’ll release “Tone…” on LP, and our first album later. About the other plans, a tape, made of improvised stuff during a rehearsal session, one year ago, will be released on Inkantator Koura Productions. We’ll also self-release a new CD, made of improvisations recorded last august, when my brother Ilmar and I were working on the sets we did at Kill-Town Death Fest. We’re only at the beginning, so I cannot see clearly our future. We all want to try different things through different sides of things, may it be as the Chaos Echoes duo experience, solo, art exhibition, movie, dance, guest musicians… Let see what opportunities will be on our road and what we’ll do with that. It’s too early to have a plan. As long as we’re focused on the darkest side of music. About the recording and writing of Tone of Things to Come, it came out quite naturally and a lot of simple ideas worked really well. And, by the way, I remember putting a lot more energy in the making of the last Bloody Sign album.

ST: ‘Tone of Things to Come’ is a journey through the void of darkness, on a related note; as far as I understand the 6 tracks are taken in charge by Patrick Engel (Katharsis, Ascension,) for both mix and mastering. How did you get the idea to let Patrick Engel do works on your debut release? Besides, what can you mention about your studio experience?

Patrick already worked on the last Bloody Sign album, and it was one of the best meetings we had, sound wise. He really drowns into it and tries to catch the essence of each band’s sound. He’s also a true metal maniac, a very open-minded guy, curious; and, like all of us, is a die-hard fan of 70’s music… and almost any kind of music. So it was quite natural to ask him to do the same for Tone of Things to Come. My studio experience with Chaos Echoes? We recorded live 2 days at Le Grillen, a concert place in my hometown, and then did all vocals and a few more stuff at le Bon Home Studio, a nice studio owned by a very good friend of us. And regarding my own studio experience, it is quite varied as I recorded a lot of different projects in the last decade!

ST: ‘Tone of Things to Come’ is an interesting, eclectic work which is difficult to categorize. Ilmar and Kalevi also play in several non-metal projects, from medieval music to contemporary music, besides psychedelic jazz rock, progressive rock, etc. What do you think makes your band unique in terms of approach music compared to other experimental acts in your country? France, the metal scene there is a hundred times stronger than anything you have in Europe.

Don’t know if we’re unique or whatsoever, I don’t give a fuck about that. It’s about spreading an amount of audio darkness full of shapes, colors  emotions, elaborating ideas and stick to them to try to find the essence of it. Of course the fact that some of us also play in various non metal bands help the thing, but that’s a part of our music I don’t think about. All is natural.

ST: TOTTC drawing influence from sludge to black metal and passing through doom. Engaging in new forms, thoughts, and structures. ‘Black Mantra’ is a great track which is actually refreshing to hear this but it is intricacy played through a different plane of creation. You guys have solid and true musical integrity. How did the rest of the line-up come together? Kalevi brothers on the other hand are the men who truly make Chaos Echoes into its own entity. You are lucky to be among extremely talented musicians.

I can only thank you for your words, and cannot add that much about that. Tétar and Stefan are long time friends, so when I and Ilmar were thinking about a line-up, we directly ended by asking them, and they agreed. Tétar is also playing in Children of Doom, Evisceration and few more; Stefan has been playing bass for numerous years but he’s best known as a graphic artist. "We were looking for musicians with heart and soul, not for the skilled side of things ; open-minded yet elitists in a kind of way, opened to improvisation, dirt, mud, chaos, psychedelia and ready to create death metal in another way".

ST: You are capable to write something so vehemently held close to you musically and talent wise. Luckily you are all rather like minded with what you wished to achieve as a final outcome. The lengths of the songs are perfect. It’s challenging as much as it is exiting to adapt to different genres and composing styles. Songs are from the heart besides there can be technique or formula for creativity. Since any besotted aficionados can take the technological advancement and start a band, sometime it kills the true craft. Too many bands are doing everything perfectly on the click to the point where the entire album might as well be programmed.

I think that music has to be alive. Music has to live, and has to come from the heart, the soul and the body. Bands should think a bit more and try to focus on their sound; I mean the essence of their sound. Too many of them are on the materialistic way of being, and pay too much attention to skills, mechanics, sound perfection. In the end, it’s too difficult for them to look inside, and catch the sound from the inner self  instead of focusing on the mechanics of fingers and the mechanic of memory. They just play a type of music, but have nothing to say. But we don’t have time to waste, so… listen to good bands!

ST: For me the third track ‘The Inner most Depths of Knowledge’ stands out for its impeccable mind-blowing composition and simply loved the structures of the song and your way of thinking has a profundity. You have a sharp sense of observation and a fair for precision.

Thank you very much! Actually, as I already stated it, as long as you’re focused on what you do/create, you know you can only deliver the best. It’s important to elaborate ideas, but after that, it’s important not to think too much. Things are inside of you, let them flow. But as mankind is closer to mechanism than freedom, almost nobody is able to “really” create. We only “pick” things, and then organize them to end into a music piece.

ST: Earthy tones dominate on the album. Unchained the chaos as ‘Weather The Storm’ continues where Black Mantra leaves of. Its song structure works perfectly. It’s an amazing trip. I think you can confidently depict your deep-rooted philosophies and ideas through Chaos Echoes.

Definitely! Chaos Echoes is a wonderful way to express the deepest ideas and metaphysics. We’re all, in a way or another, looking for the essence of things, death, life, music/sound, magic… it’s all about one common way to explore the depths of consciousness. Almost all cosmogonies, ancient systems from ancient civilizations, shamanism, and trance rituals are surrounded by music/sounds and/or express the primeval state of sound. Art is a way to communicate, as well as a way to know about you.

ST: Your first ever live performance as Chaos Echoes was at Kill-Town Death Fest 2012 at Copenhagen in Denmark.  You welcomed ‘Marcelo Aguirre’ as a special guest as vocalist. Sharing stage with mighty bands such as Necros Christos and Sadistic Intent were an unforgettable experience for you. Can you explain?

Daniel, Kill-Town organizer, asked me what was going on musically for us when I met him at a Funebrarum show. I spoke a bit about Chaos Echoes, and he was interested to make our first live appearance; but as it was too early to perform with the whole line-up. So I gave him the idea of improvising during 3 days: only guitar and drums, and creepy, eerie, psychedelia, death metal driven kind of sounds… And he was still into it! He said “Let’s do it! I like crazy ideas!” Marcello ended in the game, yeah! We know each other for few years. He’s one of the few metal-to-the-bone maniacs I know who can also deeply speak about old prog, 70’s psyché, free jazz bands, Magma, Univers Zéro, Coltrane, Zorn and a lot of free music improvisers, so… We've already spoken about making music together a couple of years ago. For our first live performance as Chaos Echoes duo, we had a quite good sound. It was quite funny to play this kind of music in a death metal oriented festival, but it seems a lot of people are way more open-minded these days than 10 years ago. Working on this duo side of the project was a great opportunity; also, because it is one of the different sides of Chaos Echoes we want to spread. Kill-Town is a fucking great festival: atmosphere, people, music, a really nice gathering! Sadistic Intent is one of my all time fave death metal bands, it was amazing! As well as Necros Christos and I particularly enjoyed Swallowed.

ST: Your future seems to be very bright. How do you feel man? Besides I am sure that you are going to bestow us with another killer release next year.

For the moment, it’s just the beginning. Reviews are surprisingly really good ; we have a new label ; we’ll play at this year Hell’s Pleasure – and few more gigs, I hope – ; we have a lot of new creative ideas… So, yes! I feel good. Let’s see what 2013 will bring.

Thanks a lot for this first Chaos Echoes interview, Ebby!

Interview with Odem.

Odem have gained a lot of attention through their debut album Rape Your God and Pray for Reprieve. Black/death songwriting simply cannot get better than this in these days. For music journalists, especially, it is always tempting to conduct interviews with bands like this. Odem are currently one of the best bands from Russia. The debut album was a very remarkable which sounds technical, chaotic and brutal! I conducted this interview for Imhotep Webzine. Now they are working on second full length album and they say. 

We’re densely busy about the stuff for the next album at the moment. It’s our main objective now."

“Rape Your God and Pray for Reprieve” came as a breath of fresh air, and metal aficionados instantly took Odem’s music. It was not a formulaic album. Music is very interesting and unique. Uniqueness is something that is forgotten all too often in the music scene these days. Could you may be give us some info’s  about how you've managed to create something different and were you got influence from?

To be honest, there was no certain idea to create something drastically new, we just realized our ideas of oeuvre, trying to make such a musical canvas, that would satisfy us, ourselves, first. I would not say we had some particular influences through making the Album. Often we worked intuitively, interspersing those details needed to conclude the right result for us. When satisfaction was achieved, the album got its existence.

I realized how profound and masterfully crafted Rape your God… It is as close to perfection as a modern blackened death metal can be. The label played a big role. The album was originally self-released but later officially released on CD by Daemon Worship Productions in December 2011. Not only did they do an excellent job with the production of the CD besides they promoted Odem via trading, advertising and radio etc. I quote “Odem created by you but shaped by the listeners”. How the deal with DWP did come along? In their roster includes such notable acts as Necrosadist, Svartidaudi, Nefandus, Funeral Goat and Serpent Noir among others.

After spreading “RYGAPFR” as a promo, there came a demand to purchase it officially by worthy label with suitable outlook. After long time taken by searching for a suitable one, we focused on Daemon Worship Prod. Victor took interest in our stuff, and soon the pact’d been achieved. DWP and Odem have a contiguous view on some important ideological terms, that’s why, having common interests, purposes and ideas; we succeed with finding common ground.

Besides just released an EP called “The Valley of Cut Tongues”. You just bestowed us with another killer release. The guitar works are pretty technical in nature with nice groovy/slam vocal parts but for me, it’s bringing nothing new to the table. A more proper term would perhaps be brutal death metal. Tell us about the production on it. What were you trying to achieve when composing The Valley of Cut Tongues?

First, that what’s interpreted on MCD, was to become part of the second album. But then it was clear that those anthems are to be put on a separate release, to make’em look what they deserve to look like. Thus, “The Valley of Cut Tongues” was born.

The only way I can comment the EP is that it has imbibed the strongest from “RYGAPFR”, but was provided with a fair share of aggression and roughness, that, for me, we've been short of. It was intentionally not to employ kinds of supernovas, for it’s not shape being primary in this case, but sense.  Nevertheless, the displays of our arts increased a lot. This MCD’s motivation and that of all our acts per se, is well reflected in lyrics, not in their separate meaning in concrete chapter, but the whole pastoral of ODEM.

The vocals are also impressive on new release. Well, it’s awesome. Atmosphere is achieved with the right production techniques, anyway. Nowadays the situation of metal scene is quite the same everywhere, I prefer to search something inspiring in art besides Black and death metal has seen a dramatic change in the past a few years. Many bands with new sounds, themes and thoughts! The listeners want to hear something new as they wish that the bands should experiment with music like Ulcerate or Negative Plane do. These bands bring out a fresh air in today's metal scenario with their brand of unadulterated music. Don’t you feel that there has been a difference in the tastes of metal fans as well?

Tastes definitely differ. More often than frequently I meet people, who strongly and faithfully claim themselves fans of what was sought-after 20 years ago, calling this passion a cute term “old-school-adherence”. On the contrary, some of listeners search for something radically emergent and fresh in music, and in this case we may agree that evolution is to be raised, but it must be at least well-balanced. I can’t be against experiments, especially when they succeed and validate themselves as the things go with Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega. But according to practice, most of experimental representations we are having today in Death and Black metal don’t present any seriousness and durability. Nevertheless, each one runs his own path. As for Odem in this issue – we do not pursue target to gain maximum of innovations itself. As I’ve already mentioned, we work more intuitively.

I want to know that what your views on extreme metal are. Cult of Flesh is an awesome composition of splendid grace and speed. The vocalist brought in immense variety in his vocalization and guitarist did his best to support vocals. Satanskin is a well-structured song in a good way. Healing Catalepsy, a very well-written song for me. The Valley of Cut Tongues is all about speed and destruction!

Honestly, Odem performs no interest in such workshops as ‘underground’, ‘extreme metal-scene’, etc. Few serious bands and too much affectation, mock artificiality and “homunculusness” in all that. We prefer being outside that ‘hippodrome’.

This EP is just barely twenty minutes long. Why has there been two years long gap since your debut album in 2010? Are you guys playing in other bands as well? 

Such long pause does not mean a thing, as we are not bounded by any commitments, contracts or other useless conventions. Also we’re against “manufacturing” albums, as it’s often seen with plenty of bands. We need to feel satisfied with the stuff we create, that’s the basic clue. So, in order to be sated we may need unlimited interim. None of ODEM members are involved in other projects for rather a long time.

What do you think makes your band unique in terms of approach music compared to other bands in your country? Or general. Odem came as a separate unit after the split up of a death metal formation named Deviant Prophet in 2008.

The attitude to music as to it’s adeptness and skill grade  and to all that matters we affect in our lyrics. I've already answered this question partly before, we prefer maximally distancing from contacting with all the gatherings.

Do you think death metal bands have become less important now from the days when you started your band Deviant Prophet? Was that why you decided to quite Deviant Prophet and created Odem?

That wasn't  Deviant Prophet’s non viability as of a sterling squad – that is why it’s stopped. Death Metal, as a genre, couldn't afford us with ability to realize our ideas fully within the confines of D.P. Odem gives us fertile “foothold” to develop in our origination exertions, balancing among few manners, realizing our potential at no allowance. So, the following should be said: even if D.P. had not split up, we would still have established ODEM.

Crucifixion – His blessing is a refreshing composition of technique, style and grace. People compare Odem with Mitochondrion or Ulcerate. I think there might be something in such a comparison but I hear so many different influences, and it all works together really well. The album sounds like taking blackened death metal to new heights.

It’s possibly right. I prefer not to try any comparing, for Odem is Odem. I’d choose to perceive things how they appear.

Hails as the Weapon of Hatred - guitar works are majestic and alternate drums. The vocals, by the way, are absolutely brilliant. I think the band’s philosophical outlook is so enrich and music also consolidates your philosophical and intellectual vision. “I came to preach, knowledge is my present… It’s the Abyss what I’m carrying in my heart…” You depict your deep-rooted philosophies and ideas through your music. I liked that Odem are truthful in their beliefs

Thanks. You've correctly noticed the candor of philosophic visions, for there’s no sense in bargain with self, acting self-deifying and indulging too humane illusions about own significance on the self-chosen track. It shouldn’t be forgotten about human understanding’s finiteness and about negligibility of human being as it is. Destruction of own humaneness in all its displays, leads us necessarily to abolition of false perception.

The lyrics come with many more ideas whereas anybody can understand the lyrics on the debut album at once. There are a lot of details that can be found in the lyrics. What are your views on religions? There is an impressive thought from the mind of ‘Elizabeth Cady Stanton’ that is “the immutable laws of the universe can teach more impressive and exalted lessons than the holy books of the all religions on earth”.

ODEM is a religious formation mostly, and it’s easy to see that metaphysical and theological terms mean fundamentally a lot for us. Many aspects of our research originate in monotheism, but some exertions of our arts are headed to some other spheres, more fleshly.

My views and my comprehension of matters can’t help forbidding me to exclude displays of Cruel Will, transfusing the creation. But I can partly agree with the statement before, for all those spiritual references that we are having today, are only a drop of that we are to discover in fact. Thereby, we need to search for truth in physical perspectives that surround us.

Does the band take inspiration from other bands or other forms of art? Do you think that Satan and Christian related themes are such vague concepts today as completely irrelevant in 21st century? 

Other spheres of art, such as literature, pictorial art or cinema might influence on identity of each member of the band, but the inspiration comes from other, transcendental experiences.The Devil and Christian motives, with other of any divine manifestations generally, mean clearer lineament for those who have eyes to see. And these topics will be relevant regardless the time periods, including 21st century.

What does the song VII deal with? The lyrics on it are strong. There are brutal vocals/riffs and less drone dissonant chords.

“VII” reflects my impressions, mirrors my thoughts and feelings, focused at metaphysical autopsy, and projected onto originative plane, by symbols, surreal forms/images and archetypes of that what’s beyond. The song is pretty abstract and self-abandoned, some kind of a materialized, uncontrolled stream of mind, a projection of morbidity and disgust in musical shape. Working on it I let my mind build perfect pictures of the universe on canvases of hatred, building images of “Nothing” at the mental heights of my own visions of benediction, own vision of reality, followed by aversion to it.

It is deeply satisfying when complex songs such as Completing Myself  and Tortured by Razors engage the listeners on multiple levels and offer takeaways both ecstatic and intellectual but I could not find these feeling on recently released EP. Those bass tunes on Tortured by Razors are still ring a bell in my head. Man, do you think have you got ideas for second full-length album already?

Now a major portion of stuff for the new album is done, and according to what we are having today, it’s clearly going to be our best piece. It also needs to be mentioned that second LP is a direct extension of our first act, but much heavier and more sinister. The record-session is planned to happen in second half of 2013. Till then we’ll keep consummating the stuff we already have, bringing new ingredients to our art.

It’s heard that there might be a split between Odem and Excommunion. Tell about it. Okay, let me conclude this interview here and ask final question to you. Any plans for live performances in support of the new release?

It might be. There were some arrangements with Excommunion, but nothing concrete was gained. Now all that is just possible plans for future.Due to some obstacles live performances can’t happen in the close future.