Exekrator anno 2002
Posted on Oct 15, 2005
Blackened heavy metal with a high and mighty scream, piercing skin and bones and making it shiver down the back... Cold and at times catchy guitar riffs, at other times disharmonic and twisted. Good and clever song structures with the element of chaos, lurking around the corner to impose insanity. That could be a way of describing Exekrator's musical output. Earlier this year the Danish band released a promo CD, containing 8 tracks, 4 new recordings and the 7" EP "Superstitionis Maleficiae". The goal of the promo is to find a drummer to the band, which by the way hasn't happened yet, so that position is still vacant. Guitarist Henrik Engkjær and vocalist Tue Brisson took time out of their busy schedule to answer my questions.
Hails, how are things in Denmark… anything rotten somewhere?
Henrik: Everything's rotten I guess. I'm busy as hell at the moment. I disbanded Full Moon Lycanthropy for personal reasons. I'm waiting for the new Exekrator CD. And we're working on stuff with Victimizer. Fuck everything.
You handle one of the guitars in the Danish band Exekrator, what lights your fire and why do you spew forth riffs in the band?
Henrik: I joined Exekrator at a time where I was looking for a good band. And they had a dark, unique style and good songs. That's what I like, so I joined. And I try to make good and dark riffs so that we can continue that tradition.
Will you introduce the rest of the band and tell us why it is them that make Exekrator complete?
Henrik: Yes Mads Grave is the other guitar player and has a taste and style that's very different from mine, so I guess we complement each other well. And Tue Brisson's vocal arrangements of course add the trademark of the band. But in order to be really complete we need a new drummer. So contact us!
You lost your drummer a while ago and are now looking for a new drummer to complete the band, why did your previous drummer leave?
Tue: He wanted to focus more on the live/party side of things, and a less underground style.
What do you demand from a coming drummer?
Henrik: First of all they have to be able to play. He also needs to be dedicated to the band. A cool personality that fits in would really be good of course but the musical abilities and dedication are of course the most important things.
Have anyone contacted you yet regarding the vacant position and do you have the eye on some possible candidates?
Henrik: Yes, we've heard from a couple. He had one on trial basis but it didn't work out. We were contacted by an American drummer, who does some long distance session work on a Von cover that might become something. But of course any fulltime drummers we could play live with etc. should still get in touch.
Can the very last solution being recording new material with a drum-machine?
Tue: I hope not. But it would be as a last resort.
You have just released the "Promo 2005", containing 4 new tracks, recorded with a drum-machine, made to attract new drummers and a possible record deal. How has the promo so far been received?
Henrik: The response has been mixed, like we expected with this style! It's only for the few. But actually we've got some very, very good critics of the new stuff. So that's cool. It hasn’t yet brought much attention from drummers though and that sucks because that was the goal and the promotional part was merely the means.
Have you heard from any labels yet?
Henrik: Not any new stuff because of the promo. But that wasn't the main point and we didn't really send it to labels anyway. We have and do already work with some labels. When the last EP came out a bunch of labels were interested. Some too unserious, some seemed to work out. We’re confident that Bestial Burst will put out the "Ordo Bestiae" CD, because I've worked with them before (With the Full Moon Lycanthropy split 7" EP). Other than that, maybe a tape-version of this on Misanthropic Propaganda and a split on Rhapsodeath Records. I think the new CD will do better at getting label response than this promo as it will come out in a much bigger pressing. But as I said we've already got different releases lined up on different labels.
If you had to mention a few labels that would be right for Exekrator and a possible full length release, which would you mention?
Henrik: Ahh, anything really. I don't care so much which label or which other bands they have. I wouldn't want to sign with the biggest most commercial labels or the smallest underground (CD-r) ones, if I could get something else. A label that can put out CDs and vinyls really. Bestial Burst is good for CDs, but they don't put out full length vinyls I believe – so maybe having more labels doing different versions is also a possibility.
How do you feel about the tracks on the promo? In my ears it is the strongest, most powerful and mature material you so far have recorded…
Henrik: Thank you for the compliment. I think so too. The material itself is the strongest. But of course the computer drumming takes away a lot, so my fave must still be the "Superstitionis Maleficiae" EP. But with some real drumming the new stuff could easily be my favorite stuff.
Though the tracks lack the slightly chaotic edge, there has been present on your earlier releases, is that completely due to the monotone drum-machine or is it intentional?
Henrik: Well, computer drumming makes for a very straight (and boring) style. But the old stuff was too chaotic regarding drumming. The music itself hasn't changed much. I think something in between the two releases would be preferable. We don't think too much about chaos when we do our songs. We're just trying to make them good.
Are you the main songwriter in Exekrator?
Henrik: No, we all work on all the songs for a very long time. Mads Grave and I both contribute riffs. We all structure the songs and Tue puts in the lyrical and vocal arrangements. So it's a team effort I guess. I like the way we do it. But I think we're working way too slow and would like to speed up the whole thing.
Where did you find inspiration for the new material?
Henrik: Nowhere out of the usual I guess. We have very different musical tastes and it makes the whole thing very diverse. I guess we're inspired to some degree by everything we hear, but we never copy anything and I don't think we sound like any other bands. Only one guy, from what I know, has claimed that we were just copying a style, and he thought we were copying Macabre! Haha...
Have your influences when writing music for Exekrator, changed over the years?
Henrik: Well, maybe they have as my musical taste and the things I look for in music are constantly changing a little bit. Not much though. But as I said I don't really know what I'm inspired by, except maybe good metal songs and bands as a whole. I’m just trying to write good music that makes a difference.
What does a riff need to contain to be suitable for Exekrator?
Henrik: Just a certain quality really and it needs to fit in well with the other riffs in a song, regarding feel, atmosphere, tempo etc. That's what makes it so damn slow to make these songs. Every riff gets changed, dropped or moved around a lot of times. We have very different riffs - black, evil, heavy, catchy, strange, slow, fast, aggressive etc.. So I guess it's just a matter of quality and atmosphere. Something that fits in, with all our tastes.
What do you find important in a song?
Henrik: Many things. A good song can have many qualities (and preferably all of them): Catchiness, darkness, originality, good riffs and structure, an own feel, something that rocks etc. A lot of things can make a good song.
If you had to pinpoint a "perfect" song or someone close, which would you pick, you are free to come with more than one suggestion, please explain the chosen ones?
Henrik: Oh, you mean songs from other bands? Man, I really don't think I can do that - I mean I can hardly keep it down to a few albums – or even bands! So I don’t really know what to say. The songs from "Painkiller" by Judas Priest – are the perfect heavy metal songs – rocking cacthy, aggressive, great vocals and solos. "Don't Break The Oath" by Mercyful Fate are perfect dark, evil black metal songs, with a voice and atmosphere from another world. The songs on "Salvation" by Funeral Mist and "Plague Angel" by Marduk are perfect if you are in the mood for total evil and violence. I guess it depends on the mood you're in.
Which of Exekrator's songs is your personal favorite?
Tue: Well, I have to like all of them won't I?! No good hating half the songs... But ok, right now I feel very strongly about the new songs, and if I'd have to pick one of those I guess I'd pick 'Ex Draconis' at the moment.
Henrik: There are 3 hits I really like: 'The Beast Is Come', 'Ygg’s Høge' and 'Darkness Remains'. But it also varies from time to time. Those are just great hits I think.
You released the 7" "Superstitionis Malificiae" last year, how well has that been doing and how have people received it?
Henrik: Generally we've got very good critics for that release, so that's great. A bunch of labels also showed interest, so that was good as well. Of course I appreciate very bit of support we've gotten!
How do you feel about the material on it today?
Tue: Not a huge fan of the sound or the somewhat untight feel, other than that it's good. I do feel these songs deserve to be re-recorded though.
Henrik: I still like it very much. I'm so glad to have this vinyl in my collection. It was also the first time on vinyl for me, so very special and I love the music.
Where do you find the inspiration for the lyrics?
Tue: Many places, strange things I read, dreams, visions...
Do you have a message you would like to tell with them?
Tue: Not a singular message, no. I would hope there is more than one interpretation. My only message would be – think for yourself. Don't be an idiot all your life.
When you write the lyrics, do you have to be in a certain mood, state of mind or something else?
Tue: I usually have to feel strongly about something to write something good. Emotional but also serene at the same time, if that makes any sense.
Which of your lyrics does mean the most to you and why?
Tue: Hmm, perhaps 'Jætteblod', 'Acheron's Call' and also the older 'Til En Gud' are the most special to me. They are based on a couple of rather peculiar experiences...
In the past there have been lyrics on Danish, will that happen again?
Tue: Most likely, it will. No guarantees as to when, though.
Why have you chosen to write lyrics in both Danish and English?
Tue: Well why wouldn't I? I am Danish after all and English is common ground for most people. Strange it would be if I wrote in Latin or Klingon or something… Seriously, if you are even half-serious about writing anything, you have to try writing in your mother-tongue. Many lyric-writers (non-English speaking of course) write only in English because it seems more difficult writing in you own language. I say that is an illusion, if you cannot write something good in your native language, how good is it going be in another language?! Not good, I tell you, but reading/writing another language puts up a sort of shield, allowing you to ignore lyrical simpleness. In your own language you can easily hear how bad it really is! So this is part of the reason, trying to write "good" lyrics in Danish. You be the judge whether I succeeded or not…
You sing with quite a distinct vocal, how did you discover you could sing like that and how have you evolved through the years?
Tue: Well, I try to go where the song takes me, what that means is I try not to have too many preconceived notions about how to do a certain song before writing it. I'll do clean, falsetto or "necro" vocals if that's what the song feels to me it should have. In part, that attitude has made me explore the various techniques. And of course I have evolved, the falsetto and clean voices only came into focus long after I started this band.
Which vocalists are your inspirations, and can you pull out 3 songs, where the vocal-work has inspired you a lot?
Tue: I am not really inspired in the common sense by others. I have never really tried to emulate a certain style or expression per se. However my favourite vocalist/songwriter is probably Danzig. Of course Mercyful Fate/King Diamond also. Many compare me to King Diamond, but I'll say I'm not trying to sound like him. Believe me, if I wanted I could probably sound a lot more like him. It's just that his style is so well known many automatically think King Diamond when they hear falsetto-like screaming. Ah, back to the question, well If I really have to pick 3 songs which has inspired me, at this moment I'll pick 'You Could Be Mine' by Guns N’ Roses, 'Snakes Of Christ' by Danzig and 'Evil' by Mercufyl Fate.
On the track 'Darkness Remains' on the "promo 2005". There is both a clean vocal and your scream on top of each other, are both the vocals yours and how did the idea come up?
Tue: Yes, both are me. Basically, I had the chorus (with clean vocals) done for the longest time, not really sure how to do the rest of the song. So I recorded both versions to see which would be better... But when they were put on top of each other, that version seemed far superior than just one clean or screamy voice alone. Simple as that!
Well back to the more general questions… Has Exekrator ever played live, will it ever happen/when will it happen again?
Tue: We've played a few very small gigs a very long time ago... When there's a full lineup it will probably happen, but considering our track record with the lineup you probably shouldn't hold your breath...
How did you end up with the name Exekrator and what does it symbolize to you?
Tue: I guess it was just one those words that seemed fitting at the time.. Other than the obvious meaning, to me it symbolizes the uncompromising, un-conforming, never-quitting attitude I would like this band to project.
When you find a drummer, how fast are you going to act to record some new material and get it released?
Tue: Well, probably much of that will depend on the drummer also, but hopefully fast(er than usual).
How much new material do you have ready for recording and do you have some song titles, maybe the upcoming full length title etc…?
Tue: Song writing is just about to resume again, so no, nothing definite. Often, song titles come very late in game also! We are however in the finishing stages of a Von cover, for inclusion on a tribute album.
You have already planned the following released, can you supply us with the last details. You have a splitCD with Violator, consisting of the "Superstitionis Malificiae" 7" + bonus, which material if I may ask? And then you have the "Ordo Bestiae" CD containing both your 7" releases + bonus and again which bonus material?
Tue: For the "Beast Is Come" sessions in 1999 we basically recorded enough tracks for a full album, so the bonus tracks are mainly unreleased tracks from there. For the split (seems unlikely it will be released though at this time) there's a track called 'Sacrifice' from '99 plus we recorded a cover of 'Bloodfeast' by Misfits especially for this record. For "Ordo Bestiae" the bonustracks are 'Black' and 'Til En Gud' both from '99.
How do you look upon the future of Exkrator?
Tue: The future is dark… As it should be. This is just the beginning, I have great expectations for the future.
Which albums have you listened a lot to lately?
Tue: The Hollywood Rose album which absolutely rocks.
Henrik: I've listened a lot to Marduk "Plague Angel", The Nunslaughter/Throneum split 7" EP and Funeral Mist "Devilry", but I always listen to a lot of different stuff. Not just a few.
Thanks a lot for answering my questions, if you have anything to add, feel free to do it now!
Tue: Go to our website and listen to our shit if you haven't already!
Henrik: Thanks once again for the support. It is not unnoticed or unappreciated! Drummers should contact us. Keep an eye on future news and releases. Damnation to the vermin-race of humanity.