Interview to THE HERETIC
PRESENT YOURSELVES OUR READERS...
“Hi guys, We’re The Heretic, we come from Spain and some people say that we play some short of symphonic black/death metal. And it’s true in a sense, but I’d say that we play some short of bastard extreme metal music; despite melodic black/death is the mainstay of our sound, our influences also include trash metal, progressive metal…I know it may sound somewhat weird, but that’s natural for us, because we think all this genres are complementary as they take part of a whole thing.”
WHO ARE THE HERETIC AS BAND MEMBERS?
“We are: Cristobal (Drums), Raul (Vocals), Fernando (Guitar), Juan Carlos (Guitar) and me, Javier (Bass & programming). Our formerly keyboard player left the band some time ago and we are working as a gang of five nowadays, using sequences and samplings to play live.”
WHEN DID YOU HAVE FOUNDED THE BAND?
“We’ve been playing together since 1996, and I hope it lasts other 10 years. Having in mind that we’ve got a record deal with Xtreem Music for one more album –until we gather again to valuate if we’re still interested in carry on- , we must keep on together one more year at the very least. Haha!!”
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY FIRST BEGINNING OF BAND...
“We were just a bunch of buddies trying to have a good time playing the music we used to listen to. But things started to change from the day we published our first MCD called “The Book Of Fate”. It seemed to be cool as we got a great feedback of it, so we said “Hey! What if we take the band a little more seriously?” Two years after this, we recorded our first full length album, “Fallen from heaven” that became a real success in the national extreme metal scene, got chosen as “album of the year”, “best novel band” in the main extreme metal ‘zines and so forth.”
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS RECORDING-EFFORTS?
“Well, we usually gather in the rehearsal place, and make kind of a brain-storm with all the stuff we’ve got in hands, mainly Juan Carlos, Fernan and me (we all play the guitar). Then we usually choose what we like most and start to work aiming in that direction. The first step is making the outlines of the new songs, just drums, bass and guitars. Once we have the picture clear about it, we usually make a demo, to take it home and listen to it carefully. We check out if the different passages work well together and this kind of things. After this, I usually compose the arrangements and the lyrics, at home. And we finish the demo. This is how we usually work, although it could be different for the future, who knows…”
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR FOLLOWING?
“It’s still too soon to talk about the next album. We’re still focused in “Gospel…”, although we already have a few outlines for future songs. But it’s too soon up to now, to make a real valuation about how our next release will be.”
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS IN YOUR HISTORY?
“Mmmm…I really don’t know. Talking about the present, having a deal with Xtreem Music is a real help for us, because our formerly label broke down short after releasing “Chemistry for the Soul” and we were left without a record deal for almost two years, which was a really frustrating situation. As regard the past there were great days, for instance, when the band started to appear here and then in lots of ‘zines from the whole world. It’s great when we go out for a gig, we really love playing live…broadly speaking, the most important fact is that we really enjoy the band, we still love being on the road and we still get along great each other. Otherwise, The Heretic wouldn’t exist for sure.”
ANY INTRODUCTIVE WORDS FOR "GOSPEL SONGS IN E MINOR"?
“Well…it’s always too hard to speak about your own music. I’d say it’s an album that needs its time. If you look for something plain, some sort of easy-listening metal to shake the head when driving, so to speak, maybe this album is not your cup of tea. “Gospel…” contains many elements and you have to pay some attention to discover it, which doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible for sure. Lyrics are very important as well, because there’s a global concept that lays behind the album. I think this is an album to dive into. On the whole, we can talk about symphonic and progressive black / death album…or something like this, I guess…”
CAN WE DEFINE YOUR SOUND AS SYMPHONIC BLCK/DEATH METAL?
“Well, as I said you before this is maybe the main source of our sound, and lots of people have come to the same conclusion at first “sight”. But once you start close listening to our albums, you will discover more elements, more influences than black/death metal bands usually have. In fact we don’t consider ourselves as a black metal band or black/death in a pure way, which sometimes isn’t that cool because people usually like things clear. Sometimes we’re not black enough for black metal people, sometimes we’re not death enough for people into death metal, sometimes too much death metal for people into black, you know…haha…I’d like people approaching us with curiosity and will of listen to music not caring for labels. Anyway, things are changing and metal people is broadening their musical horizons.”
WHICH THE MOST SALIENT ASPECTS OF YOUR SOUND?
“I think we try to make interesting music. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I sometimes find extreme metal music too much repetitive. We try to surprise the listener anyhow, but in a natural way. It has to make sense. I’ve never been into brutal death too much –except for some great bands -, because sometimes I feel it very chaotic, you know, a thousand parts all put together in a row song after songs. And I like songs having its logic, its identity. I know some people think that we are very twisted and technical as well, but I’m not really agree. We could be twice as twisted and technical if we wanted to, but that’s not our goal. We are mainly focused in making songs with some load of interest that don’t get wasted at the second listening, not in showing the world our skill as musicians. So, in The Heretic we try to maintain the equilibrium between complexity and feeling. And I think it defines what we make.”
WHAT'S ABOUT THE PRODUCTION OF ALBUM?
“When we entered the studios, thought of what kind of sound would be the most suitable for “Gospel..”. We’d planned the production under some points of view. I mean, we had lamp amps, lots of them, owned, borrowed, hired…and some digital devices– for guitars mainly- . We finally came to the conclusion that both kind of sounds didn’t work fine on their own, at least not as we first expected, therefore we combined then getting two different lines from each guitar recording – analogical plus digital-, and counting on two wide different sound sources to work with. At the beginning we also thought of trying triggers for drums. But we realized that we had a good drums tune, because the drum kit and the recording room mainly- made out of slate and wood-. So, then again, we choose the classical method. Triggers are cool for blast-beats; you can get the same level from each single hit, so you don’t loss any ‘pressure’ when passing into a blast part from a mid-tempo passage. But we seldom use blast-beats, so it was no point in doing it. I can point out I don’t think much of this kind of sampling sound for being too much clean, and mainly because if you want your drums blasting like a drum machine, you’d better use a drum machine instead, it’s far easier and faster. But that’s a matter of preferences. Maybe the album doesn’t sound perfect – comparing with some new ultra-clean, extreme metal releases -, but we don’t need to sound that ‘perfect’ anyway.”
ANY PARTICULAR CONCEPT CONCERNING THE ALBUM?
“The particular concept is a strong feeling of hate and disgusts against the stabilised creed, against the Holy Church as institution, not as a personal level of faith at all- as I always stress-. We’re against that kind of creeds, Catholicism, Islamism, Judaism (these are the bigger and subsequently the more dangerous religions on the earth) because they’re based upon repression and lies. The Holy Church is just a dead weight in our backs, something to ride off to ease the advance, our progress as human beings. Each little step ahead for the knowledge or science, is a great step back for Religion. We just don’t need wizards anymore. “Gospel songs…” is focused mainly in this subject. A never-ending Spirit floating over our heads? That’s enough, Please. Let’s talk about real things.”
THE MOST SALIENT ASPECTS OF YOUR NEW ALBUM?
“I think “Gospel songs…” is a dark album. In all frankness, I also think that’s our best album to date –I bet you’ve never heard this before, uh?!- . I think it’s varied and interesting, lyrics are intense and it sounds natural. I find it mature and honest.”
WHAT'S ABOUT THE FEEDBACK?
“It’s being just great. Almost all the reviews we’re receiving are being so great that we’ve opted for joining them together to upload them in our web-site - in the Spanish version. Everyday we find some new reviews in the net, zines, which is very flattening, so if any of you can understand Spanish, have a look at it. It seems that there’re a lot of people that love the album, and also a few people that don’t think too much about it, that’s obvious -as they prefer another kind of music - but everybody says it’s worth listening to it. For us, that’s the best feedback we can get.”
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SOUND?
“We are fans of music that we once had the chance of doing it ourselves. We want to say people that we don’t need any God to enlighten our way, that we’re strong and free, that music is the highest art in the world, that the metal scene must be united, that we have to support each other, that the world would be a nice place to live in as longs as we wiped some things out of it, if humankind were less focused in getting money and power…I don’t have the matters of a philosopher at all, but I’m really concerned about this subjects and they finally appear, in a way or another, in our songs.”
“We’re touring across Spain nowadays, but we don’t live on music unfortunately, so we have to cope with both our ordinary works and the band commitments. By the moment we’re playing mainly weekends and such, or taking days off at work. Our next gig is in Madrid in Xtreem Music Festival, with Massacre, Vorkreist, etc. We’ve talked about making an European tour for summer, but we must plan it carefully because we’re a family of eight members, featuring five musicians, a sound technician, a stage manager and a merchandising assistant. A great bunch of guys, so you just imagine that’s not an easy thing to coordinate holidays, free time…not to mention the budget to face up such adventure. Maybe we’ll be forced to beg for money at the front doors of the churches.”
YOUR LIFE'S PHILOSOPHY?
“Think by yourself, try to be as free and happy as you can, and respect the others as long as they respect you. This is our only religion.”
THE FUTURE OF THE BAND?
“Future? More albums, more gigs, more fun…At least that’s what I hope. We love it.”
ANY LAST REMARKS?
“Thank you very much for the interview, guy. Have a listen to “Gospel songs…”, open you mind, open a beer and relax…if you can.”