Friday, 12 April 2013

Interview: Preludium

Preludium is a Death/Black Metal band from Poland that is signed to Transcending Obscurity (formerly known as Diabolical Conquest). Preludium crashed into the underground Black/Death Metal scene with its 'Infernal Force' demo which was recorded in the legendary Hertz Studio where bands such as Vader, Decapitated, Hate record their music. It created a phenomenon in the Polish underground and was promptly signed by Polish record label Redrum 666 for a multiple album deal. In 2004, Preludium unleashed 'Eternal Wrath' which was very well-received and the demand for it grew so much over the years that it had to be reissued in 2008. Preludium released its second album to worldwide fanfare and critical acclaim. 'Rape Mankind Disorder' was a beast of an album, precise, blistering and powerful. It sent shockwaves around the continent. It was followed up by the 'Abomination' EP all of which were released by the same label to increasing fan-following and shows with established bands from around the world. Preludium was noticed by Kunal Choksi of Diabolical Conquest who signed the band for a multiple album deal and gave global exposure to the Polish band. 'Impending Hostility' proves to one of the heaviest releases in recent times with a crushing sound inspired by the World Wars. Guitars never sounded so close to tanks running over skeletons, drums were too reminiscent of machine-gun firing and vocals were all-powerful and outright frightening.

It’s nice to have you in this interview for Imhotep Webzine. Preludium are coming straight out of the same land where masters of death metal like Vader, Hate and Behemoth were spawned. But I want to know the circumstances that brought the members together?

"Hello my friend. The band was formed by the Skowron brothers. First they played raw black metal in the Scandinavian way. I joined the band as a session bass player before "Infernal Force" demo recording session. After that Janek and Piotr started to compose material with many death metal influences. Unfortunately in 2003 Piotr died in an accident. August from another death metal band, Deception, joined the band as a drummer, I became a guitarist/vocalist and I brought in Wojciech as a bass player from my former band. With this line-up we recorded our debut album "Eternal Wrath" and second one "Raping Mankind Disorder".  August and Wojciech are no longer a part of Preludium. We recorded "Abomination" and "Impending Hostility" with Piotr Ungeheuer as a drummer and Deszczu as a bass player and we will record next album with the same line-up. It is very difficult to find appropriate people in such a small town like Mielec."

Preludium plays blackened death metal and have been around for years. The band have existed since 1998; have released three full-length albums, along with three demos, Have you ever felt that Preludium are still unheard in many ears and are you happy with what you've achieved with the band? 

"I'm aware of the fact that Preludium's music is unknown to many people in Poland, not to mention the whole world. Our previous label Redrum666 did nothing to promote our band; no promo sending, no concert opportunities - they limited the promotion activities of their bands to pressing the CDs. To be honest, the fault is on both sides - we're picky, so we didn't want to take part in every show we were asked to play. On the top of that Preludium is not a very popular band in Polish underground and the offers of the concerts are rare, that's why! We'd like to get our music to the wider audience by playing more concerts not only in Poland but also in different foreign countries. We count greatly on some positive reviews of our albums in western webzines or magazines. There's a lot of work to be done. I wish we didn't lose our enthusiasm."

I think that you guys haven’t progressed and advanced too massively since your last effort "Abomination" as it was a very good release. The songs are very memorable as the riffs stick with me for hours. The vocalist puts on a good performance. I heard that you are working on the fourth full-length album now. Would it be a major step forward for Preludium in creating your own distinct sound? Because, after listening to "Impending Hostility" I can think of other bands that would sound the same or similar.

"Abomination" was our first release with a new rhythm section. There were 4 pieces that we composed together. Originally, those 4 compositions were to be released on a split with another band, however for many reasons we had to drop this idea. We decided to release it as a MCD. As a result of some experiments with the sound we achieved guitar tones and vocals unprecedented in death metal.Recently we are in progress of recording of our fourth album - its working title is "Redemption". It won't be a drastic step forward; we can't change our music radically. However, consecutively we add new elements to our style. We are not geared for experiments with music. We focus on making good extreme compositions filled with dark atmosphere. The atmosphere, arrangement and well-done riffs – these are our aims in music. We don't put effort in insincere experiments for the sake of doing experiments. Hopefully, we will develop our original style in each and every piece of music we compose."

Kunal of Diabolical Conquest (now Transcending Obscurity) zine will be writing spiritual lyrics for the upcoming album based on the teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda - the author of "Autobiography of a Yogi". It should be very interesting and what are your expectations about the upcoming album?

"I asked Kunal to help us with the lyrics to the upcoming album. It is a little bit risky, since Kunal comes from the other end of the world - geographically and culturally as we are. Yet, I think that such insightful, multi-dimensional and far-reaching lyrics are unique among releases of other bands. Thanks to them we will be able to get to a greater number of metal fans around the whole world."

Preludium was noticed by Kunal Choksi of Diabolical Conquest years ago, who then signed the band for a multiple album deal and "Impending Hostility" was the second release of Diabolical Conquest Records. How the cooperation with DCR did came up and how is it going on?

"Kunal reviewed our previous album "Raping Mankind Disorder"; what's more he printed the review in his webzine. He was very enthusiastic about this release. He added "RMD" to the list of the best releases of 2008. We started to correspond with each other and when we recorded "Impending Hostility" I asked him to help me with finding a suitable label for us. After some time he responded with a proposal that he could release our album under his label. This is how we started our cooperation with Diabolical Conquest. Our album is available in many distros around the world, we receive lots of reviews and were asked to make interviews - it's obvious that we are very satisfied with Kunal's work. Our new album will be released under Diabolical Conquest too. At the moment we are waiting for printing t-shirts from "Impending Hostility" album."

Lukasz Dziamarski

What were your major musical influences while writing the album? And walk with me through the different stages from the idea to the launch of “Impending Hostility”. The song structure and execution of "Death Campaign" are reminiscent of what Deicide are doing (Glen’s vocals are way more structured and rhythmic. The ways his vocals go along with the rhythm of the songs are awesome). The song "Bitter Cold" begins with a siren that soon bursts into a storm of raw hatred, vocals are powerful and the drumming is rather straightforward, though there are some tempo changes to keep things interesting. This is what I liked from "Impending Hostility". 

"Our major inspiration is metal music. Personally, I listen to different types of music. Recently death metal is not on my main playlist, however composing music for Preludium is like a catalyst for me. I prefer simple, atmospheric and brutal music. After close examination, my influences of electronic, film and Neofolk music can be heard in our death metal too.

There are two ways in which we compose music in Preludium. Janek composes lots of various riffs at home, and then both Janek and Piotrek think about how to put together the particular pieces of music. They don't do anything by force. If they are at a deadlock, they drop the subject and come back to it after some time in our workshop and make a basic frame of the composition. Since I don't live in the same town as the rest of the band, we have our practice sessions 2-3 times a month. Then we work on arrangements, guitar and drum tracks as long as we achieve satisfying result. I compose music in a different manner. I try to compose the whole piece all by myself, I write out the guitar tracks in tabs and I send it to the rest of the band. During the sessions we try to put life into them. Sometimes, the ideas which were to sound excellent in theory turn out to be insufficient and need more tuning. Only when compositions are ready, we focus on vocal parts. If it comes to vocals, no one tells me what to do; I enjoy the freedom in interpretation. This is how we work, and we will stick to it."

"Realm of Void" is dynamic. The speed and intensity are maintained throughout the album and the band keeps things tight and hit the listeners with catchy and killer riffs. The drummer in particular absolutely kicks ass. I have noticed that Preludium tracks are relatively short and the albums barely last half an hour. How much was your dedication to "Impending Hostility"? The band used a specially modified 7-string guitar for extra heaviness on the album. Besides the title "Impending Hostility" was given by Transcending Obscurity UK staff writer Ewan Gibb. 

"In my opinion, 30 minutes or so of such intense music in enough. Many ideas were omitted during the composing process. Those elements which didn't fully satisfy us were sorted out because they didn't match to the rest of the compositions. The CD was supposed to be a little bit longer, but the drummer at the last moment decided to speed up the tempo of a metronome. You won't find 10 minute epic hymns in our compositions. If someone doesn't like it, we don't care. We're too old to think about becoming rock stars. We do what we want bucking the trends and fashions. Composing the music doesn't keep us awake at night; we do things spontaneously, leaving some space for improvisation. To record "Abomination" and "Impending Hostility" we used a non-standard 7-string guitar for death metal music tunes. It appears to be trivial, yet it gives an element of surprise and originality."

Impending Hostility 2010
The album has an excellent war theme which goes very well with raging music; it seems that you are interested in World War and History. What other themes are important to you? And what does the band really want to express through Preludium?

"The lyrics of "Impending Hostility" written by Janek depict the motives of war, suffering, pain, sex, deviation and such themes. You can say typical 'metal' themes. As you noticed, the lyrics harmonise with music and cover artwork. What we really want to stress through our music is the individuality of the human being. What's more we'd like to entertain people without exaggerated preaching. In our new album we gave up the clichéd metal themes and we decided to make use of the spiritual and philosophical lyrics written by Kunal. They are thoughtful and open to interpretation."

The packing of "Impending Hostility" is specially made for the extensive war-ravaged artwork of the artist following the band's instructions. The 8-panel booklet with beautiful war artworks on both sides but the lyrics is not available as it was your choice to just keep the war-themed lyrics. Were there any particular reasons for that? 

"As I said before Janek was the initiator of creating album in the military style. The idea of the cover artwork and booklet was mine. I introduced my concepts to our graphic designer Wojciech (former bass guitarist of Preludium). He accurately conveyed my ideas about bleakness and asceticism of the booklet - no lyrics, no photos, only the scenes of an extensive battle aftermath."

When was the last time Preludium played live? I have seen some video clips on YouTube and its fucking crushing and brutal. The band is perfect to play live. You should come back for more shows. Best wishes for that. 

"Thanks for your words of appreciation. The clips on YouTube cannot express the spontaneity and chemistry which exists between the band and the audience during the gig. Our last concert took place last year. In February we played with Ulcerate and Svart Crown in Cracow. Of course we want to play more shows, however serious concert offers are few and far between. Six months ago we were to play on a big festival in Poland with such bands like Krisiun, Entombed, DHG, however due to foolishness and carelessness of the festival organizer, it was cancelled a day before the concert. We had a few inquiries about shows at the end of 2012, but it was nothing of interest for us so we decided to focus our attention on preparing material for our new album, taking into consideration that the frequency of our practice sessions in full line-up in preparation to play shows and preparing new songs simultaneously would be ineffective and would slow down our work on new material."

"Antimatter" from Mord'A'Stigmata is powerful and effective. You need to spend more time on this project, man. I heard that Ion has to travel by train every weekend to practice with bands. That's an amazing dedication to the music. Ok man, it ends here

"When it comes to Mord'A'Stigmata project we are working now on a new material. The recording session is planned for May/June. Recently, we played a 40-minute show consisting of only 4 new compositions. In case of M'a'S it would be entirely different staff. Working on Antimatter we had to travel to Biłgoraj (it's the home town of our drummer). We used to have practice sessions every 2-3 weeks and to get there it took us usually 8 hours by car both ways. Fortunately, it has changed, and now we play in Cracow - a city where I live, so it's no longer such a dedication especially on my part. 

"Thank you for the interview."