– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with CHAPEL OF DISEASE? What are you currently up to?
Hi, thank you for doing the interview with us. All is well with Chapel, we are currently rehearsing for our upcoming release party and are eager to release our new record, which should be out in early january.
– You will soon release your sophomore album, «The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art». How are you feeling about it? And how are the first reactions being?
I think I can speak for the whole band that we are pretty exicted about this new record of ours. When one puts a lot of energy and time into something personal as ones own music and think about the different ways of showcasing it, the day when all is finished is just a great sense of relieve and joy. We put much effort into this record and tried to do something different from the first record, which I think we accomplished. At the moment these songs show where the band and its members stand at this time and age. And that is a good point at the moment.
– Starting to dwell into this opus, what meaning does its title hold? And what’s the link between it and the musical content?
The idea for that title acctually comes from the last song “…of repetive art”, which Laurent wrote. It is based upon the Story “Unverhofftes Wiedersehen”(no one of us is sure if there is a correct translation). Unfortuantly I haven’t read the story for myself, but from what my brother told me, the storys start marks also the end, and both characters seem to be in a sort of repetitive setting with certain reoccuring places and items. The mysterious side of it can be interpreted as life itself, since it is an always repeating process that will never stop. We thought that both titles make a great albumtitle together that can represent it in a good form. Some of our songs have certain atmosphere to them and out of nowhere break out to sound completely different and trodding of the known path we know, to explore but in the end come back. And there is always an amount of repeating riffs and structures to give the whole vibe a more mantra like charakter. And all of that came out of us without the intention to do so.
– It seems like this album is related, not just to death, but to the cycle of life. Are you channeling your thoughts with your music? What’s your music for you?
Yes, the circle of life and death are a form of repetive art and that is why we’ve chosen to depict both sides in an abstract way on our cover. I wouldn’t really say that we channel our thoughts knowingly through music, but on a subconstious level. Those are the way it works. You cannot stop your underlying self to not take part in what you create. And I think we breathe life into our songs. For me, the music that we make is an outlet of my creativity and one where I feel the most comfort. There is a certain energy between all the bandmembers that make the process of creating new music very fruitful and satisfying, even though stressful and hard sometime.
– It also has a certain mystic vibe I think, as death isn’t just a physical thing on the album. How did you approach the overall lyrical theme on this album?
There was no overall theme in general, but I did (more uncontiously) focus on darker and more realistic themes for the songs, even though they are all still coming from whíthin the realm of the weird and horror literature. I think the same can be said for Laurents lyrics. It was importent for me to not write about Lovecraft again, because that would pin us down and limit us. Interesstingly enough, after finishing the lyrics I found some loose connecting points, altthough none of the storys have any connections whatsoever. Everyone deals in one way or another with the impending doom, the certain death. Just in different ways. Funny that I only made this discovery after the recording.
– Your lyrics have always felt to me a little bit horror inspired, with a certain literally feeling. Are you inspired by some authors or literature in general for your lyrics?
Yes, literature is my main motivation when it comes down to writing lyrics. I think that we have a niche found for us. I am very much inspired by old horror literture and weird tales. If it is written between the 18th, 19th or early 20th century and deals with something darkly and realitytwisting, it has my attention. On our debut I was heavily influenced by Lovecraft and his associates, since he is my favorite author of all time. But I wouldn’t count him as the primary influence. This time I stuck to Poe, Lord Dunsany, Maturin and Gustav Meyrink, whom I adore a great deal. Every lyrical piece gives an insight in what I read. I think that a good songtext can contribute a lot the feeling of the song and album. And it is a good chalange to accutally take a part or a whole story and form it into your own text without stepping on the honour of the author.
– The artwork on this album is simply superb, not just the cover, but there’s also an illustration for each track on the album. Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on how did the artist work on this and how did the whole idea arise?
We worked with C from Misanthropic art before and love his work for other artists as well. So it was clear from the beginning that we were going to work with him again. We thought about ways to make the album visually atractive and give each song some sort of visual enhancement. We gave him an idea what we envisioned the cover to look like, and he came with the scatch that later became the final artwork. Concerning the illustration for each song, I think we were a bit insipred by Alchemyst’s debut, where C did the same thing. So we gave him a rough idea of what the songs are based upon and he just drew us some scetches. Needless to say, we are more than happy. Each illustration showcases the exact feeling the song evokes and just compliments it. And a LP booklet is always great. It is so important to focus on the album as a whole and really include the art. This opens up so many new levels of creativity that it is a shame that there less and less bands nowerdays that seem to see it that way as well.
– Sound-wise I think this new «The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art» sounds thicker and organic than your debut album. Was this something you were striving for? How did the production process go?
Yes, we didn’t want to have the exact same sound we had on our debut. Not that we are unhappy with it, but the new songs screamed for a thicker production. We invested quite some time in new recording equipment and Laurent has learned quite a bit in that line of art, so just by that we created a new sound for us. Then we became an incredible offer from Mersus of Underworld Studios and simply said yes. He did an outstanding job and gave the whole record a thick and natural production. Combined with the mastering done by Erkan Tatoglu and we archived a sound well worth the songs.
– In fact your debut album was more ancient Death Metal, more simple, but this new record is something else, with several mid tempos, slow/doomy parts, different song structures… Was this just a natural evolution? How has CHAPEL OF DISEASE evolved since your debut album came out?
Yes, the change in the sound came natural to us. When we finished Summoning Black Gods, we said happily “that’s done. Time to open up a new chapter.” We are still very pleased with the record and proud to make such music, but one has to remember that we worked on the debut songs for more 4 years. So, of course, we grew older and our musical tastes widened as well as our aspiration to not repeat ourself, but improve and make something that sounds that way. But we needed to make that first record to release that youthful rebelious spirit before maturing that sound, which we can now call our own.
– Due to this I would like to know how did you work on the songwriting process this time around.
We worked the same way as before, I would say. Laurent and I bought some riffs into the reherasal room and showed it to the rest of the guys and just jam with that. Well, maybe this time we jammed a bit more and took some of those ideas. The intro riff for “the mysterious ways…”, the end of “masquarade in red” and several other small bits came from those sessions. And after we finished a song, we just practiced it and wrote new material by the way. I think playing live in the rehearsal room is a key ingriedient to make music that sounds alive.
– There’s also a strong focus on leads and solos, which isn’t really inusual into Death Metal. Do you play the kind of music you like to listen yourself?
Most of the solos are written by Laurent, who takes a lot of time and focus on them, which make them sound so good. It is important to keep the song interessting, and this one of those factors where you can really give a whole lot of dynamics and atmosphere. And aside from that it keeps us as players always awake and on our toes. Even me, who doesn’t handle the main part of solos. Yes, we wouldn’t play that kind of music, if we didn’t want to listen to it. Not that we take our own Lps out of their shelfs and spin them constantly, but in generall we appriciate the music that we make always have an open ear for it.
– It also caught my attention everything, from music to the lyrics, flows really naturally here. Do you try to keep a certain level of spontaneity in anything you do? It certainly feels like so.
We do, but again, as many things in this band seem to be, not on concious level. We know, when a songs is ready and when it needs more time, just as we spontaneously add new pieces to the music or change the lyrics again. I think this working technique of us has worked best for us, because that way we can live our creativity and musical freedom in our songs and move a bit away from certain barriers, a thing which I detest a great deal. The more pointless boundaries you set up for yourself, the more boring and uninspired you become in my opinion.
– Overall this new opus is more diverse. How important is for you, both as performers and songwriters, to keep things varied and interesting?
It is the essence that keeps us motivated in doing that sort of music. We want to be a bit apart from the movement and explore our musical tastes and styles (without forgetting our roots). There may be bands out there that may sound exactly the same as their heroes, and if it is their goal to sound that exact way, fine. But we stray from that, always keeping in mind what we play, yet keeping certain options open. That keeps us going and motivated to play on and feel the evolution the band takes. For me, the process of evolving, whether it is within one self or as a band, is one of the driving forces in life. And it is fun to mix the old songs with the new ones and thus keep a live link to the past, evoking it (the future as well) with every note we hit.
– So can we expect a certain path for a next album or do you just go with the flow and let things happen their own way?
No, I can say that we will just let things happen in their own way. Why would you always want to stick with the same formula, if you already got your ground covered. That way you can progress naturally and see how the result turns out. And since we are our harshest critics, we won’t be bringing out material that doesn’t satisfy and represents us. But, as for now, The mysterious ways is our focus.
– Talking about such, what are the limits for CHAPEL OF DISEASE?
Certains limits are always found. We won’t be using HM2 pedals for one thing, since we are sickened by the sound nowadays (not on the classic records we all know). And I think it very unlikely for us to use a drum machine or develop a very surgical, plastic kind of sound, that you can find now on many many metal records, esp. In the bigger leagues. But speaking musically, we have many possibilities. The key is it, to use your so called “experiments” that strey from the tradition in the right dosage and at the right time of the song. I, for one, would love to work with synth drones more.
– All this about «The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Mysterious death metal!
– And now as the end of the year is drawing nearer, could you please tell us what have been your 3 favourite albums of 2014 and your less favourite one?
Always a tough one, since there are many really good records right now. My favorite of this year would be Swans – To be kind, closely followed by Triptykon’s Melana Chasmata. The third place will be a big one, since I cannot decide on a particular record right now. Dead Congregation’s Promulgation of the Fall, Solstafir’s Otta, Teitanblood’s Death or Be Forest’s Earthbeat and of course the new Master’s Hammer Vagus Vetus(!!!) are just a few popping up in my mind right now. So far, I wasn’t really disapointed this year. But I don’t dwell on noninteresting music and instead focus on sounds that suite my tastes.
– You are hailing from Germany, which seems to be nowadays a good country for Death Metal, with old bands gathering again, as DROWNED; to reatively newer ones such as NECROS CHRISTOS. Do you keep track on what’s going on in your country? What have been for you one of the best newest surprises?
I really enjoy the new Drowned and am happy that they finally managed to release a full length. I am always looking out for new bands, but not as actively as others do. Sometimes a friend recommends me a band he or she knows or you get to see one at a gig and start to search for some material, but all in a healthy way. It would be a shame if I would just focus on my country. But of course there are some really good ones right now. I am into Abyssos, Heretic, Mosaic and like Vidargängr from East Germany a lot. And a friend of mine started a really good band in the Goatlord vein called The Fog, which is really crushing. The scene right now is in a good state of mind, I think.
– Finally, what are your near-future plans?
For now, we will rehearse for our upcoming shows and plan to play live again. Even though we don’t take on every offer, we do find the importance of playing live very strong and have a few good gigs planned so far. And the, we’ll just see. Maybe write some new material along the way, or maybe just relax a bit. Who knows what the future holds.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you very much for this interesting interview. I hope you enjoy the record and maybe we will see some of you in spain, some time. Up the irons!