terça-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2011

Looking back: The Human Factor (Part 2)

Steve DiGiorgio, Chuck Schuldiner, Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal

Magazine: Thrash 'n Burn
Article: The Human Factor
Written by: Borivoj Krgin
Published: August 1991


I recall reading a comment in a fanzine by a fellow musician of yours, George Emmanuel (a.k.a. Trey Azagthoth of MORBID ANGEL), who stated that , in his opininon, you should have changed your name with "Spiritual Healing", that your music was just 'one stage above METALLICA', and that it wasn't brutal anymore. How do you react ot a statement like that?

Chuck - "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That's his opinion, but how limited can you be? Is flute death metal? I didn't know that was accepted as being death metal in my opinion, that's cool to put flute on your album, that's cool to expand your horizons, but don't say something and then go do something that is... dude, there's nothing near a flute on "Spiritual Healing". That's cool for them, I thinkit's really cool that they're expanding their ideas and stuff, and I respect them for doing that. The thing is I did the same thing in a way. Scott (Burns) gave us a clean sound on "Spiritual...", and that's what we wanted. Did that make it wimpy? I don't understand that, the riffs were brutal, my vocals were still brutal. They're pronounced better, which is difficult to do in this type of vocal style, and in my opinion, that was an accomplishment right there. I care about my lyrics, I spend time on my lyrics, just like fucking homework man, it's a pain in the ass, but it means a lot. Some bands don't care , some bands think, if you don't sing about satan... How limited satan is. How many times can I sing about demonic angels killing nuns? That's lame, I've never sang about it and I never will."

Do you think those bands that sing about it give this type of music a bad name?

Chuck - "Totally! For anyone to go around limiting this type of music to just being satanic and whatever... raw and noisy, that is so narrow minded. That is insane to know that there are high-tech studios that will enchance your heaviness, enchance your clarity and give each musician their space... that is so lame! It is lame to put a limit on any type of music. I can't believe that people would be that way. Especially to go around saying that I'm not death metal?! What is that? I've played death metal before 99% of these people were playing death metal. I'm not saying that to be a dick, it's just true."

Changing subjects briefly, I wanna ask you if you're suprised at all to see JAMES MURPHY (ex-DEATH guitarist) part ways with OBITUARY so soon?

Chuck - "I'm not surprised one bit, in fact, I could've bet every single thing I own in life, my sould, every speck of existence in my life, I could have but on that, I feel sorry that OBITUARY had to go through the hell that they did. I don't wanna talk shit, but the thing is , I don't like being made to look like a dick when we kicked him out, 'cause that was just another excuse for people to go, 'There's Chuck's attitude, Chuck couldn't get along with James.' The thing is when everyone on tour wants to just literally kill someone, there's a problem there, I'm so mellow, I'm mellow until someone fucks with me, let me put it that way. If someone fucks with me, they're gonna see a very different side of me, a side that I would prefer not to come out, I don't like getting angry. I wish I could regain the reputation that I once had in the scene, and that was, an easy-going person. And I still am an easy-going person. It's amazing that I am so easy-going after the shit I've been through. I'm happy I stayed with my feet on the ground. I don't go around saying we're gonna be bigger than METALLICA on our next record. I'm not gonna say those things. I do good for what I do, I'm happy with my material. I feel confident, it makes me happy, it's part of my life, and as long as I feel good about what I'm doing, I'm not gonna worry about anyone else."

How would you describe the material on your new album? Do you think it's got elements from your recording past, or do you think it's just another step forward basically?

Chuck - "I think it's such a big step forward, it's killer, it's something, like I said, that I didn't expect. I knew that Sean was a technical drummer, I was happy with the riffs I had written and stuff, but I was really taken by surprise once we started rehearsing, I knew we were onto something really good. I would say that this album is much heavier than "Spiritual...", much more aggressive... it will appeal to people that might have been a little disappointed with "Spiritual..". Like you said earlier, I think a lot of my personal aggression and frustration came out in this music, and I was so happy that things worked out the way that they did."

It seems also that it is a bit more melodic in places, but not in a way that takes away from the sheer brutality of it....

Chuck - "Yeah, it's weird, 'cause I think my leads are definitely more melodic and that kind of spilled over into my riffing as well, there's some more melody in the riffing, and the thing is though, at the same time -which is such a great thing to obtain- brutality came in, aggression came in. To be able to mix melody and aggression and brutal death metal vocalse, that's a killer combination, which, unfortunately, some people think is something you can't do, but I think it's killer, I'm so happy that I've managed to combine all those elements into one. People criticized the music for being melodic on "Spiritual..", but the thing is, even on "Scream Bloody Gore", which is a brutal album, there's melody on "Scream..." too. My leads weren't noise, my leads weren't bar shit. There was melody in "Zombie Ritual", the beginning to that song. There's always been traces of melody in our music and that will always be part of the DEATH sound. That is what has kept us sounding different and unlike anyone else out there. We're not limited to just three chords. So many bands don't even have concept of creating a mood these days, 'cause they're too busy to out-pace and out-satanic each other."

Sean: Death and Cynic's drummer

At this point drummer Sean Reinert walks in while Chuck is asked to go to the control room and listen to a play-back of some of the final mixes. I direct the next few question to Sean.

What was your initial reaction when Chuck first approached you about playing on the new album?

Sean - "I was totally into the idea ," enthuses the drummer. "Because I felt that I could add a bit to their sound and enchance some of Chuck's songwriting. I thought that I could make the songs a bit more interesting sounding and more convincing."

Do you think that the drumming in DEATH had always left a bit to be desired in the past?

Sean - "Yeah, I definitely think the drumming could have been a bit more elaborate."

Would you credit yourself with bringing some of the aggression back into the band's sound?

Sean - "I think that I play things a little bit faster than Bill did, and my timing is not perfect, so that kind of adds a raw edge to it, makes it 'younger' sounding. What I have tried to do with these songs is enhance the heaviness and brutality while making things a bit more technical-sounding, so it doesn't sound as mechanical."

What are your reasons for doing this? Do you view this as an opportunity to promote you main project, CYNIC, or are you finding this whole thing musically challenging as well?

Sean - "It's a little bit of everything. Of course it's great to be part of a DEATH album. Cause they sell a lot of records and it'll be great promotion for our band (CYNIC). Also, being in the studio for a month is a great learning experience, so that when we go in and do our album, I'll have a better concept of what goes on."

Many people are going to be wondering, when they hear the new album, why you wouldn't want to join DEATH full-time, especially since you seem to have added so much to their sound. What will you say to that?

Sean - "Well, I've put so much time into CYNIC already, and we've come such a long way musically that it would be just ridiculous for us to just let it go."

Sean kick ass!

How would you say that DEATH and CYNIC differ musically?

Sean - "CYNIC is a lot more experimental for one thing. The riffing, everything about it is completely different, the whole attitude of the band. Each member completely contributes 100%. It's a whole onslaught of ideas, as opposed to just formulated arrangements."

How do the other members of CYNIC (bassist Tony Choy and guitarist Jason Gobel) feel about you and Paul dedicating so much of your time to an outside project? Surely, this must have put a halt on CYNIC's activities for the moment?

Sean - "That's for sure. Luckily, Tony's keeping busy himself with ATHEIS (he played all bass tracks on ATHEIST's forthcoming second record, "Unquestionable Presence"), so it was perfect timing since CYNIC, had to take some time off for us to do the DEATH thing. Also, Jason is currently jamming with MONSTROSITY (the Fl. Lauderdale death metal quartet that recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records) and he's gonna be playing on their albums, so that worked out perfectly as well. Plus, this will make us get into it more once we start jamming together again, because we haven't rehearsed as CYNIC for so long."

Does it bother you at all to know that your album debut will be with a band other than your own? I mean, it seems like CYNIC is developing a bit of a reputation as a band of 'session' musicians. Does that concern you?

Sean - "No, not at all. It's actually kind of flattering, something I've never expected to happen. Personally, I think that's great. I would eventually like to be a session musician and play for other people."

So, you don't really mind the fact that CYNIC's name is getting known as bassed on other bands' success?

Sean - "The more I play with other people, the more I learn that I can later bring into our music. It's a learning process, and I know that I will benefit from this experience in the future."

So what are CYNIC's plans once you are finished touring with DEATH in support of the new album?

Sean - "Hopefully to get a semi-decent record deal, record an album, practice and tour."

Chuck walks back in. We continue our discussion.

Chuck, do you find it increasingly limiting to write songs within this style of music?

Chuck - "Well, it depends on if you're in a band that thinks you can't expand musically, as far as on your instruments. I don't really feel any limitations musically, except when it comes to my vocals. I like hearing brutal vocals to this music, or this particular vocal style put to this music, but there's only so much you can do with that certain style of vocals. But as far as the music? I don't feel limited at all. I think I can keep progressing as a musician with each album that I do."

Chuck Schuldiner: The voice of Death

Do you think that the future of this musical genre lies with those groups that are expanding?

Chuck - "Yeah, those that aren't afraid to show actual musicianship and that are trying to create a certain mood as opposed to just playing straight-ahead speed... I could sit here for hours and tell you how disappointed I am that people are so limited-minded, that they limit themselves, putting a limit on death metal. Personally, I plan on expanding and adding new elements to my music with each album that I do without drastically altering the sound of the band."

So for that reason, I presume you don't think much of the so-called grindcore genre?

Chuck - "It's good for what it is, but it's definitely the opposite of what I'm about or what my music is about."

What about bands that are obviously influenced by your music? Do you find it flattering or do you sometimes wish they weren't so blatant about it?

Chuck - "Bands seem to be getting more blatant about it as time goes by. Ha!Ha! It's cool... someone is into this music and they draw an influence from it or get inspired by it, and I think that's fantastic. I feel good about it. I don't think, "Oh, I can't believe it, they fucking did that!" I'm not like that, it's kind of funny, I kind of laugh about it in a way."

Lyrically, what kind of topics do you touch upon on 'Human"?

Chuck - "There's a couple of touchy subjects, just like on "Spiritual....". There's a song on it called "Suicide Machine", which does not promote suicide. It is based around this doctor who invented a machine for terminally ill people. I think people who are gonna die an agonizing death should have a right to get out of that, if they're religious, then they believe that they will go somewhere better, why prolong the pain when the feel that they can be better off moving on? It's interesting to me, especially when it comes to elderly people -like maybe those who are stricken by the Alzheimer's Disease or something- how people don't give a shit about them, and then when they want to go on to something else, then all the shit hits the fan, then people want to make an issue out of it.. it just amazes me."

And "Together As One", I understand is about Siamese Twins?

Chuck - "Yeah, I got a book a while back that totally described their lifestyle and how some use it to their benefit, like they entered shows, which is kind of degrading in some people's opinion, but other people have made a living out of it and have become quite rich off it. But there's a lot involved in that, there's a lot of pain behind that, there's a lot of things that we take for granted.... a lot of things on the new album are based around things that people take for granted in life. An i think that we (all humans) take being single-bodied and -minded for granted. Like, for example, my ability to just walk out of the room. But what if someone was attached to me? It would be a completely different thing. I think that's so mindboggling to be connected to another human -totally connected! That is just the most unreal thing. I have a lot of sympathy for those people that have to experience that."

Death: Hard and focused work

So, does it happen pretty often that you actually go out and do research on some of these things that you want to write about?

Chuck - "It just happens mostly by accident. I really don't go out to pursue anything, I just happen to pick something up or happen to see something that may make me think about a certain thing."

There's an instrumental piece on the new album called "Cosmic Sea", which is certainly a brand new idea for DEATH. How did that come about?

Chuck - "Well, I fooled around with something at home. I had a little keyboard set up, it's the most generic thing I did, I just used a couple of cassette decks to make overdubs... and I just had the urge to maybe display a little bit more... I don't know, it's definitely still DEATH, but it's definitely got a little more melody to it... I can't even really say that. I don't know, I just wanted womething that didn't require vocals, let's put it that way. It's definitely not something that we're gonna play live, so it was a song that we could go off on with certain effects. It's a good song that'll always be there but we won't have to reproduce live, and that's kind of neat -to take advantage of something and then not be forced to reproduce it. 'Cause I definitely do not like to do something that really will not be able to be done somehow. This piece, "Cosmic Sea", is just a moody-type song, it's cool, it'll be a good song to just kick back and enjoy on an album."

Is there a particular reason why you chose to call the album "Human"?

Chuck - ""Human" really says it all for me, personally, and it describes that album, 'cause it all revolves around human nature and my views as a fellow human being, it's definitely not about some satanic or made-up demons. I just want to make that very clear."

There's a lot of talk right now about whether you even wanna go back and play in Europe after all that's happened, or whether they'll even have you back?

Chuck - "Well, that's the whole thing, I definitely want to give people the real DEATH, not the... whatever shit they saw. I want to make up for what wasn't. Maybe I won't even get the chance, maybe there won't be a promoter willing to work with me, but that's understandable. The thing is, I'm willing and wanting to present this new material and even a better DEATH than ever before in my opinion. I apologize to everyone who was disappointed and who got the wrong idea about why I didn't go and all that shit that was being pushed into people's minds, all the garbage that was said about me. I feel bad that they had to absorb that. I wasn't around to stick up for myself. But, like I said earlier, you can't let people control your life, and that's something I will live by and learn by. I think everyone should stand on their own and not be manipulated."


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