Prepare yourselves to dive into the realm of ancient wisdoom! EVIL SPIRIT will take you by surprise, like a cloud of opium. Your brain will take a trip into the morbid hallucinations of your dormant inner traumas. And the worst is that it's going to be the most pleasurable experience you'll ever live. Into the cauldron, EVIL SPIRIT cast its life. Let's celebrate the birth of the deformed demigods. This, my friends is the first interview ever answered by this filthy entity.
1- Marcelo, it's been a while you're bathing in music in many different forms, but obviously Metal is the root of all your evil spirit! I am not aware of previous bands in which you were involved. Is EVIL SPIRIT the first serious attempt at adding a stone to the mighty temple of musical creativity?
You hitting the nail indeed Nathaniel; I've been involved in music in many different settings, both as a fan and as a performer, since I got infected some aeons ago. My upbringings as a child up until I was a teenager were very, very modest (not only monetary but also culturally speaking), so I had not all the access kids have nowadays, since I grow up in a tiny village of 100 houses in the North of Argentina, and my family was constantly broken, a condition I seem to have inherited haha! However, I would always find the way to get exposed to music, through friends and acquaintances, and avidly devour the most I could, even if the amounts and variety in offer were really limited. I'm talking pre-internet times, and provincial South America, where life is cheap. Since I was deprived of any scene at the beginning and had no clear guidance until my middle teens, I will put an ear to whatever crossed my path and sounded interesting; so I was lucky to go from King Crimson and Genesis to The Damned, 13th Floor Elevators and The Doors. It must be said that in the early eighties, when democracy got reinstalled after military dictatorship (and the Falklands war) there was a resurgence of national consciousness and pride, so the "Rock Nacional", which was mostly crap, was very strong at the time, so I eventually paid attention to that because of friends and not having too much choices, but realized soon after that that was not my cup of tea, even though all things rock were of interest, the wilder the better. i will then start doing my own research and discoveries, dwelling in the corners of outsider music, brewed by punk and new wave, but eventually no wave will get infiltrated, to damaging consequences. Eventually, someone heard me sing in one of those nightly meetings with alcohol, since I was possessed by Jim Morrison's phantom, and introduced me to a band looking for a vocalist. That band was called LA INSIGNIA DE LA ROSA BLANCA, shortened for practical reasons to LA INSIGNIA, which went on to play several shows and had a growing following, even though we didn't manage to make any recordings nor releases during my stay. That's where I would go doing my first stints as a full frontman and lyricist, and it was in this period, my late teens/late eighties, where my exposure to music will take a dramatic turn. I got acquainted with a circle of freaks where all tribes where represented, and tape trading was at its height, so I will start consuming loads of metal.Then I had a short stint in a blackthrash band called NECROFAGIA, that lamentably went nowhere. When both bands ended, it was clear I wanted to pursue musical activities, which ended in moving 1200 kilometers away to the capital Buenos Aires. I stayed 10 years there and any attempt at meeting like minded people failed, so I got involved into the core of a publishing group releasing and writing for a mag, ESCULPIENDO MILAGROS, covering the outer limits of the musical spectrum. When this came to an end in the late '90s, it was evident my thirst for musical creation had to be satisfied, so I picked drums to learn, and moved to Berlin, where another long, though more fruitful travelogue started, mainly on what generically is called experimental music. I have since played many countries and festivals (Portugal, France, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland) working under my solo alias SPASTIC DEMENTIA, put to rest, now renamed LIGHTBRINGER, and duo or group settings, among them GODS OF RAIN, SUS FUTUROS, ONDE or PICKAXE.
2- What reeks of originality in EVIL SPIRIT is your approach to the music. You're not hesitating to mix different styles into a big bowl (doom, rock, black) and that's especially noticeable through the wide range of vocal tessitures you're using here. How did this idea of mixing all these different influences come to fruition? Is this just a teaser for the next tracks of EVIL SPIRIT to come?
Since we didn't invent the wheel, we can't be called original I guess. However, even if both of us wanted to play doom with a death metal stench, there was no limitation from the let-go. Some of our influences and sources of inspiration are evident, some others not. I won't go on listing which ones are and are not, and at the moment of writing music, they become somewhat irrelevant, because at the very instance of composing, you are put in front of a void, of the blank, naked piece of paper that has to be filled with, hopefully, your own ideas. That's where our approach to styles and influences starts, and where it ends, too. It is all about having an organic approach to music making, to try bringing what the actual piece needs, and come up with a result that has an internal logic, a meaning. Without forcing the process or filling the piece with unnecessary twists and turns, or boring arrangements that play in detriment of where the music has to go. In that sense, we can rightfully be called "old school". Though in the other hand, we address songwriting which seems a tradition in extinction, and not many care about their disappearance.
3-Sure, you're "reiferting" the band by playing drums and singing at the same time. As you're a two piece, I wanted to know how you share the composition work with Ari Almeida (guitar and bass). Are you also composing riffs by any chance? Do you see expanding the band to a third member? So far, wasn't it a problem for you when you played gigs to be just 2 (and you stuck behind the drum kit)?
I only can tell that I was a singer before I started playing the drums ov death. I in fact, like all in my life, started really late for what is considered a good learning age (I was 29!). Since there was a strong need to play drums, I forced the process, bought a drum kit, and tortuously did teach myself to play, even though some other stupid drummers discouraged me on the way, they can actually go fuck off! It was never on my interests to become a highly technical drummer and it will never be. If something, I would aim for having taste and a personal style rather than breaking any speed record, simply because I'm basically more interested in playing music than showing off. To make a long story short, the singing while drumming (or vice-versa) came from not wanting to give up singing once it became prominent that the drums where here to stay. I did play a lot of improvised and free music, where both things became natural, at least to me, and since i never ever gave a shit about what others told, said or considered right or wrong, there was (is) no rules!
In Evil Spirit, Ari (Almeida) and I composed all the material together in the rehearsal room starting basically from improvisations, even though Ari will come with some great riff beforehand, riffs need to get housed in tank armor, then put ready to kill . Since we weren't lucky finding a fitting bass player, and because Ari's guitar is so heavily down tuned (he plays though a bass amp indeed), we skipped that for the time being and concentrated in writing and arranging the songs. As a practice that harks back to my tenure on the experimental music scene, we won't go just jamming and playing randomly, but instead, trying to find a focus from where a structure is more likely to take shape, and once we found it, go from there. Like also breaking in the middle of a sequence and trying to get back a certain riff and put it to work, sometimes in my case, by singing musical lines to Ari to play, or make it fit in the sequence. Ari is a magnificent riff machine, so we interact in each detail and in accordance to where the music leads.
So far we only had a debut show appearance, for which occasion we asked the services of Arsenij, a friend of us. No, we didn't perform as a duo with a drummer singer, and no, we don't want to look even weirder as a two-piece live band haha! I think being a duo has been a forced situation so far, but the good side of it is that the working chemistry solidified and we kinda developed our own take on metal, that's the only that always matter!
At the moment of writing this we got Chris Westby on board on bass duties, who most notably played with Cruciamentum on their last European tour, and we hope he wants to stay with us!!!!
4-Nevertheless, it looks like your "sempiternal punishment" demo sells fast and well, and is pretty well received. Does the connexion to Iron Bonehead records help to get your band a good exposure? By the way, you dwell in Berlin and have already helped and worked for Iron Bonehead several times in the past. How did you meet Patrick in the first place? Was it him who offered to release your demo?
We couldn't be more fortunate than be part of Iron Bonehead's roster; in fact, a line of excellence. Patrick Bonehead has been into the band's music from the beginning, he heard our first rehearsal recordings and was already into it, since then he's been following the slow development of our material, so when we finally managed to nail the demo recordings together, he didn't hesitate in offering us a release. Something I wholeheartedly approved and appreciate, and a fact of mutual respect and support. There was no need to look further. Iron Bonehead has been exploring the abysses of the underground where few have the temerity to delve, unearthing raw gems of obscure brilliance. Not for the uninitiated, and certainly not for the faint of heart!! Our alliance and camaraderie harks back to the times previous to the first Nuclear War Now! Fest held in Berlin. I had found out this label, carrying an incredible and carefully selected amount of mostly obscure vinyl artillery, was in fact based in Berlin: I got in touch and was received with cold beer, so the pilgrimage to the IB headquarters turned into a religious commemoration, and as far as my individual forces reached, spreading their gospels of satanic metal madness.
IB has also been an important mover into shaping the local metal scene and what Berlin has to offer, when it comes to live shows. Really a lot of obscure bands from all over the globe wouldn't have had a chance to perform in this city wouldn't have been Patrick (and Anna, his girlfriend, who runs Witches' Tone and Necro Shrine Rds) in the first place. Really amazing, hard working people, and no nonsense. This adds an extra degree of cultural importance to their tireless efforts that will be sorely missed, since they relocating outside of this city.
5-Now you've got good connections in Denmark too. Not only was your logo drawn by the hand of doom of Ustumallagam, of DENIAL OF GOD's fame, but you'll also take part in the warm up show for the next METAL MAGIC festival in Fredericia in summer 2012! Good points for such a young band. Is your passion for horror movies related to your meeting with Ustu? What are your expectations for the gig? Will you have new stuff for sale at this special occasion?
Again another killer close encounter (of the third kind hoho)! I don't remember exactly how I got in touch personally with Ustu, sure I'm a great admirer of DoG (my Kutte has a couple great looking patches by them) but it might have been by getting his Tornado Mag (which I totally recommend). Being a flick freak and digging dirty raw stuff brings all the drunk fucks together, right? I had seen some of the logos Ustu had done and liked they were all different. Unlike artists who draw logos and have a signature style they sort of reproduce, Ustu's ones are straight to the point, I could see something of a NWOBHM-ish approach very suitable to our music. I asked and 3 fucking days later the logo was in the mail!!!!! I couldn't fucking believe how fast it came, that was extraordinary to say the least, plus the logo fits our dreary imagery (I wanted claws on it as both Ari and I are Zé do Caixão -aka Coffin- Joe fans!). Ustu likes our music and even though I know this lagoon creature a little bit he talks no bullshit, so we have been invited by him in the first place, and by Martin (of BONE/SERPENT SAINTS fame and MMF main force) who also likes what we doing, so is really a honor to play there. As for expectations, we are looking forward to meet the Danish beauties, deliver the shit and get drunk! for sure it's gonna be good times haha! And I know those people know how to have fun. We are working meanwhile in a limited edition t-shirt which is gonna look great since we have the approval to use the killer drawing of Daniel ''Desecrator'' Corcuera we used for the artwork on our tape! Which turns out, has to be said, was another lightning stroke in a path of blessings. To me Daniel is one of the most important and one of my favorite artists working on the metal underground today; if you didn't yet, check out the work of The Master! His drawing, which we picked for the cover, was lying around since 2007, however it looks like if we had commissioned the work as it couldn't have been better fitting.
6-The lyrics are pretty varied along the 3 tracks. Some are pretty blasphemous, others are dark and the last song has a necromantique edge. All of them topped by a pretty Liebling-esque interpretation. What inspires you when it comes to writing lyrics? As metal is loaded with clichés, I'd like to know if you try to avoid them at any cost, or rather enjoy playing with them. Where's the boundary between sounding "inspired" and "blatantly stealing from the elder ones"? Mind you, I saw very well some tributes hidden in your texts under the shape of: "jump in the fire", "surrender or die"... héhé! First class tastes!
What is a cliché remains a cliché. I'm not interested in writing cliched lyrics, since i want them where they belong, printed into the booklet that's it, so they have to sustain themselves and have something to say. That's part of the tradition of songwriting at the end. The topics chosen in our lyrics are however not alien to the way of writing common in metal, for the sake of hell, I did not innovate much on topics already established. However, I tried to give them a bit of a twist, a personal vision, even though you can keep on going with finding references, quotations, or whatever people might discern, which turns out, haven't been quite intentional, but i recognize that being a music junkie, that seemed inevitable. The way we write music applies to the way I wrote the lyrics: organic, without forcing them, otherwise, you have to deal with pronunciation, and english is far from being my lingua mater. There is a tribute though, and it is credited on the booklet, an adaptation - on the first track of the demo - of the 1911 silent classic L'Inferno, by Giuseppe de Liguoro, which is loosely based but in part textually quoting sentences on the film. Indeed, film should be considered as the greatest source of inspiration to my writings, the other comes from some obscure corners of my mind.
It has to be noted that for me there was a gap of 20 years without having written a song lyric, so it was a scabrous process…but that's been so far a new start, which hopefully will keep evolving into more fruitful, uncharted territories.
7-Talking about tastes, it looks like you're a metal and music junkie. What makes you still feeling enthusiasm when it comes to discovering new bands? I remember that some months ago you talked about some recent purchases of yours (mostly ep's in the death metal style), and you were somehow regretting not to be totally blown away by these new bands and their music. Still, where does the future of good metal is hiding according to you? Which bands do possess the soul that will make us go on?
That's a different terrain and at the same time, part of the same area: music-making and avid music consuming are entirely related in my case as it is my school: i learned by listening, and my record collection is also my library filled with "study books". I had no musical training nor my parents paid piano or violin lessons when I was a child. So i always been a record fetishist that wished I had more money to afford even greater amounts of records. That's a senseless obsession for most common people, but I'm sure many a reader of your zine share a passion. Since my interests cover a wide range of musics (besides metal, contemporary classical, industrial, noise, fluxus, sound art, free jazz, soundtracks, electroacoustic, and outsider musics in general) it's been difficult for me to focus on exhausting certain artist's discographies, though I've been getting closer with Mercyful Fate/ Diamond and a couple more. At the moment of discovering music, there is new in the old, and old in the new, so to say there is no time barriers, since, as we all know, lots of music have been discarded, discredited or merely overlooked at their time, so I enjoy quite much the sort of music archeology. Still hard to tell what strikes a nerve when listening to new stuff, still it proves right that the first impression is what actually count, even though there is exceptions of rediscovering stuff I found dull at first listen. Some recent records of bands I have been into (though not all of them really new) are the ones by Pustulation (Dk), Anima Morte (Swe), Invidious (Swe), Necronomicon Beast (Br), Hades Archer (Chl), Griftegard (Swe), Bestial Raids/ Cultes des Ghoules (Pol), Kerasphorus (US, RIP), Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Chl), Necrolisis (CR), Pseudogod (Rus), Heresiarch (NZ), Anhedonist (US), Black Oath (It), Necrowretch (Fr), Ilsa (US), Nocturnal Witch (Ger), Hellbringer (Aus), 40 Watt Sun (UK), Black Salvation (Ger), Bloody Vengeance (Ger), Ritualization (Fr), Vassafor (NZ), Antichrist (Swe), Swallowed (Fin), Absconder (US), Voids of Vomit (It), Innsmouth (Aus), Antedeluvian (Can), Negative Plane (US), Druid Lord (US), Cruciamentum (UK), Pallbearer (US), Sepulcral (It), Loss (US), Procession/Vein (Chl/Swe/Dk), and countless others…dig deep underground, that's where the gems of quality stuff reside. A mixed bag but for the metalhead of nowadays, I assume we almost all listen rather to the music than a determined style. Still, there is a strange feeling of missing the train since bands keep popping around every day. I just think we shouldn't care much on innovations but quality, at least that's my policy. At the end, innovations will happen beyond a conscious, determined choice, or a will to innovate. In other words, new things will happen when bands decide to take risks and venture into the unknown. And in music, innovations have been taking place in so many different directions, it's difficult to determine a clear path towards what really new things take place…
8-To which extent other musical styles than metal find their way into your approach of EVIL SPIRIT?
Other non-metal musical styles can be perceived but aren't that self-evident. I guess that film and film-soundtrack play an interesting role, in my case also certain approaches derived from new classical music and improvisation, alien forms that contribute to create an atmosphere. I might mention Christian Vander and Magma being great influences, and certain streams of progressive rock, even though we aren't remotely tech in any sense, we actually despise technicality! Same to psychedelic rock and hard-krautrock, but at certain extent that is implied in the metal canon anyway.
Having listened to many different kinds of music, I find it difficult nowadays to recognize what is actually non-metal, since metal has been nurturing from many other sources, regardless of the purists, and incorporating other styles of music seems inevitable. We embrace diversity, but at the same time, are very conscious of a tradition we want to follow, although there is no fuckin' rules!
9-Hey Berliner, you're in fact originating from Argentina! When did you land in Germoney? How did you adapt to the occidental rites of degringolade? It must feel like a strength to have your feet and soul rooted in 2 cultures. Any schizophrenic anecdotes to share? What are the southamerican/argentinian bands of old and modern days you can recommend to us (please avoid the classic stuff everybody knows like SARCOFAGO, and dig some obscure bones)!
By now I'm approaching 12 years in Germany and it feels alright, if it weren't for certain whims of the weather, though nothing one can't get adapted to. I moved here with a clear goal, to deepen the musical path, so I pretty much embraced the experience, letting myself be metamorphosed by the environment, and injecting blood into making of this a worthwhile and enjoyable transition. I paid my duties learning German as soon as I could, and feel part of this society. In the other hand, I never was the kind of person that has a sense of nostalgia about years gone by; there is some good and other forgettable episodes when moving from one country to another, but they aren't worth mentioning here. In any case, German society and codes are certainly quite different than those in South America, but seen in retrospect, it's something I had no big troubles to deal with. Anybody wanting to dig into Argentine hard rock should first and foremost approach the holy trinity of Pappo's Blues/Riff, Pescado Rabioso/Invisible and V8. Given the circumstances, being into a post traumatic military regime, many quality metal bands resurfaced since the eighties with their own brand of heavy NWOBHM hints and speed thrashing rage, to name a few, El Reloj, Bloke, El Dragon, Hellion, Uzi, Militia, Horcas, Boxer, Samson, RetroSatan, Apocalipsis, Vibrion, 1917, Leviathan, Lethal, Bunker, Thor, Cancerbero, Corpus Christi, Dhak, and more recently, Infernal Curse/ Nocturnal Evil…As a side-note and without generalizing, several an Argentine metal band was impregnated by a nationalistic pride, which they exteriorized not only by singing in spanish, but by addressing it on the lyrics and cover art. An attitude, to be honest I at large found to be pretty stupid.
Another South American bands from different eras worth mentioning are Graf Spee (Ur), Kulto Maldito (Bol), Exterminator (Br), Mortuorio (Per), The Force (Par), Mirthless (Per), Bestial Holocaust (Bol), Morbid Spell (Par), Ekron Cult (Par), Diabolical Messiah (Chl), Violent Attack (Par), Curriculum Mortis (Per), Warpath (Chl), Azul Limao (Br), Alta Tensao (Br), Hadez (Per), Flageladör (Br)…this list would be endless, I recommend checking if you haven't yet, the Retrospectiva al Metal Chileno (1983-1993) book (though written in Spanish) and LP or the site www.metaleros.de to get a greater insight into the vibrant scenes of these countries.
10-What is the future looking like for EVIL SPIRIT? Some new stuff composed already? A move on a different label maybe? More gigs? More fun? More dirt? Tell us all and then go relax with a beer and some chaos echoes in your ears. You deserved it after such an exhausting interview! Gracias mein Freund. Hope to meet your first class moustache and laughing eyes soon.
By now we keep on composing and working on new stuff, at our own slow pace. There is a couple non-demo songs already worked and some surprise for the upcoming shows, and many unfinished ideas we might work on. If the forces of the afterlife keep with us, there will be more studio recordings this year, let's see where the travelogue goes, and who keeps interested in supporting us. I can only tell we keep very active even though each of us has their own normal-life commitments (and miseries) to deal with. So far there is two shows coming in April 2012 (Fredericia and Berlin), but we are certain there will be others. Thanks Nath for the well thought questions, it has been fun to answer the first Evil Spirit interview ever! Keep the flame burning with your own Résistance! Metal & Hell!