Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Peine interview

I have quite few interviews ready for Panzerfaust#7, paper version, but most of them I will keep exclusive for it. But sometimes I want to make exception, to get more promotion and feedback for great, but little known bands. I did so with Departed Souls for example. And now I do with Peine. Fact that both are from Ancient Darkness Productions is just incidental, by the way haha! Anyway, Peine is great. Their cassette contains simply killer, dark and eerie music, which I recommend totally! Get it! And now read this interview!

Hello there, Andreas! Hope you’re good?! I know this is the first interview you do for Peine, so I hope it will go OK for both sides. Anyway, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions.
Hey there Marcin. Thanks, I’m doing OK. Yeah, first interview, so I better make it interesting right... Thanks for taking the time to make it.

No problems. I had to, after the shredding music you released! Well, it is the first interview, but I am not surprised, as Peine is very little known. This band has released only one cassette tape, the awesome “Peine Forte et Dure” in only 100 copies, so not many people have heard it… I did my job, when describing the music of Peine in the review, but how would you present your music in few words to the readers? What can they expect from Peine?
I was quite flattered when I read your review and it’s always nice to see when people make an effort to understand and immerse themselves into ones work. I would like for the demo to be able to reach more people if possible, and maybe do a CD version too. I always have a hard time explaining and describing music to others as it has to do with feelings to me. But I usually describe it as dark, peineful death metal. That’s what I’m striving for: dark, atmospheric, sombre and appropriately gritty with melodies that stick. And they can expect quality over quantity. As with my other projects I will never compromise in order to make a lot of releases and I doubt that Peine will ever make a full length album. I write only when I’m inspired to and if I don’t feel I have good material, well that’s it then.

You’ve decided to make this project as a one-man band. How come? Is it just your preference, to be a captain of your own ship and you simply don’t like to cooperate with other musicians, or the reasons are different? I mean, I can understand that it allows you to do what you want with no compromises, but on the other hand more musicians can mean more ideas, more influences, etc?
That is how I have chosen to work. Creatively I think I work better alone and I like to be in charge of my own ideas. I have a very hard time getting into ‘the zone’ when there are other people around and I often have a pretty good idea of where I want the music to go so I don’t want anyone interfering with that vision. I will not compromise to please someone else and they would have to have a pretty similar mindset to mine or I would be difficult to work with I think. But you’re right about influences, plus it’s a slow process working alone so maybe as a full band it wouldn’t take so long to get things done. But then again maybe not, if you have to discuss everything…

Actually I saw that your two other projects, Oath of Woe and Pugnator, are also a solo thing. It is interesting to see you making music for three bands, but tell me what differences are between all of them? What sort of influences do you look for each of them, so you know that a certain riff or idea will fit Peine better than say Oath of Woe?
Well, lyrically there is a big difference between the bands and the concepts or themes are pretty strictly outlined. Peine deals with medieval and renaissance themes of death (and life), torture and disease. Pugnator deals with war-related themes and Oath of Woe is fed by my personal state of mind, thoughts and feelings. Musically, some days I can just sit down and write riffs specifically for each project depending on my mood but most of the time ideas just pop up when I play or emerge in my mind when I’m doing non-related every day stuff. But I almost never have a problem figuring out which riff goes where, I can hear that immediately as well as detecting if a riff is worth keeping or it goes in the bin. But I have learned that you can’t force a good riff, the initial idea has to come to me but then I can work on it from there. As for influences it comes from everything I enjoy or hate, be it music, books, people, events, myself etc.

Well, “Peine Forte et Dure” does not sound like a solo project. I must say that I like that obscure, sepulchral sound of this demo, as well as the gloomy aura which embraces these sounds… it’s just unique, blood freezing, eerie mixture of death, doom and even black metal. There are comparisons to such Necros Christis, Grave Miasma, Doombringer… but I am not sure if you find their music as influential for you? Anyways, the result is simply killer!
Well, thanks very much. It’s always a big compliment to me when people say it sounds like a band because I always strive to distance myself a little from the “usual / average” one-man-band with shitty, boring drums and two chord arrangements. Of course it’s hard to excel at every instrument therefore I focus on the things I try to do well like mood, atmosphere and melody which I think is the most important thing in a Peine song. You see for me it’s ALL about the good catchy riff / melody and then atmosphere. If you have that you can’t go wrong in my opinion. And maybe just a minimum of musicianship...
Sure, I adore the feeling I get from listening to especially the older stuff from Necros Christos and I think they have been an influence in creating the atmosphere of Peine. Along with Grave Miasma, Embrace of Thorns, Black Witchery, Archgoat and many more. I had long had an urge to make some real heavy death metal and the first riffs date back to 2008, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I put the whole “concept” together.

How was the recording process like? Are you satisfied with the result, with the arrangements and the production you achieved on this demo?
I record everything at home through an analogue mixer to a digital media and then mix it on the computer. I usually lay down a guitar track and / or a click track to help with the drum recording and then put everything else on top of that. I’m more comfortable and relaxed doing it that way and I’ve really only used a recording studio once to make some demo stuff. Sometimes a long time can go by in between recording sessions but this one went fairly smooth. Overall I’m happy with the result. I more or less got the sound and atmosphere I was aiming for but there is always (and should be) room for improvement and I don’t think I will ever be 100 % satisfied with anything I do. It never goes exactly as planned or intended but sometimes that is also a good thing because you may gain new perspectives or ideas.

There’s a song titled “The Pinnacle of Pain (Torture of William Lithgow)” on the demo. Hmm, tell me something about the lyrical content of it. I tried to find William Lithgow in google and it showed some results, but I am not sure to whom is this song referring to or maybe it’s just a fictional character you came up with? Anyways, one of those Lithgows that I found was actually tortured in the Malaga dungeons by inquisition, so that may be a good theme for the death metal band.
Yes, you got it right. William Lithgow was actually a Scottish traveller and writer who was mistaken for a spy and imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition in 1620. He was eventually released and returned mangled and broken in body and spirit to Scotland in 1621. He was presented before the royal family and he gained so much sympathy that they sent him to Bath to recover his strength but he remained maimed for the rest of his life. He was one of the few who actually lived and wrote about his experience and the lyrics for the song are excerpts from his own personal accounts. His descriptions of experiencing the rack and the strappado are very disturbing and it’s quite a wonder he survived. His story suited Peine perfectly as regards to the lyrical themes aforementioned.

I wonder if you like extreme metal songs, which have lyrics based on some historical events, historical characters, etc? Personally, I do. It allows you to find out some interesting facts, so I sometimes do more research… especially the dark medieval ages bring many awesome stories, persons, as these were hard and cruel times. I feel like Peine deals a lot about these old times, even Pestarzt on the cover is referring to it.
I think it’s cool if the lyrics are well written or taken from original texts but it can get a little corny if they are just copied from a history book. Yes, the Pestarzt is definitely a reference to the overall concept of Peine as well as the very subtle noose and scythe haha. My personal favourite is probably Macabre who I enjoy very much. I have read a lot about serial killers because of them haha. I also love Running Wild’s historic lyrics although very coloured by Rolf but that’s fine. In my experience it’s more the folk metal bands who base their lyrics
on historic events and I don’t listen to very much of that besides Cruachan and Skyforger, but of course there are other good exceptions.

“Pope to Pedlar” is based on “Dance of Death” by Hans Holbein. He created some stunning woodcuts, which depict death in many disguises. It’s almost unbelievable that someone so religious was able to create such an dark and eerie art. How inspiring is his work for you?
I wanted to do a song about the dance of death and what it meant to the people of the time but I couldn’t say it any better than Holbein himself so I ended up just rearranging his words a little bit. Death was much more present in everyday life than it is today with a high infant mortality rate, low average life expectancy and multiple incurable diseases to make you an early corpse. I don’t know if his works are particularly inspiring to me, it’s more the perception of death of the time that appeals to me and in that way his art makes good sense. If you were very God fearing the concept of the torments of hell and the consequences of a sinful life are terrible and omnipresent. If you only have this life to prepare for the true life beyond then you better be good or the punishment will be devastating. For all people, no matter high or low. That is what his art represents to me, a reminder that we are all equal in the eyes of Death. In there lies a lot of social criticism and of course it met heavy resistance from the church...That goes for the perception of torture as well which is obviously very different today (for the most part). Scholars argue that in the middle ages often the truth was actually seen as a physical essence of the body that could be obscured by earthly life, sin etc., and that it could be extracted by inflicting pain. By “digging” out the truth so to speak, therefore the modern concept that a person under torture will admit to anything does not apply to the medieval way of thinking. It just means that if a person does not confess you haven’t dug deep enough... Of course that resulted in a lot of confessions and a lot of recanted ones...

Back to the music… I seriously think that “Peine Forte et Dure” should be spread more than just 100 copies, it cannot just stay so damn limited, so tell me, are there plans for CD or vinyl version also? More so, what feedback have you or Ancient Darkness been received on this cassette?
As mentioned earlier I would like to do a CD version or something but there are no exact plans for the time being. Liam tells me that the feedback is good especially from abroad but there are still copies available so go buy one dammit! I have done next to nothing to promote the tape myself so I guess it’s no wonder business is slow.

You mentioned something about the upcoming split EP, so unveil some more secrets about it, please. I actually think your music would be perfectly to Deiquisitor haha!
Yes, I’m doing a split with the Danish band Cerekloth. Pretty cool and the Cerekloth track is killer. It shouldn’t be too long now, the tracks and most of the artwork is done so just the details are left. The Peine track is in the vein of the demo and the lyrics are about the Auto-da-fe which was a public mass punishment and execution held every couple of years by the Inquisition as a form of feast and deterrent for the general public all at once. Very nasty stuff indeed.
Well thanks, I take that as a compliment, Dequisitor is pretty cool.

It is! And what about the bands I mentioned above, Oath of Woe and Pugnator. Any plans for new releases from them? They seem to be silent for a longer while now, so I wonder if you still feel an urge to continue them all? I understand also that Peine has a priority now?
I have been working on an Oath of Woe full length album for quite a while now and it will happen sometime but progress is slow as I only work on it when I’m in the mood for it. Pugnator is on hold indefinitely as I feel I have exhausted my ideas in that direction for now. But I would like to release a CD with the demo and a couple of ‘new’ unreleased tracks I have lying around. My focus is now on getting the Peine split 7” out and then I probably have material for a couple more songs and then I will need a break from that too. I guess my attention span is kinda short haha... Then I have other projects waiting.

For the end I would also ask you about the scene in Denmark, as it seems to be rather little known… and to be honest, I like only few bands from there, like Autumn Leaves. 
Agonize, Exmortem, Iniquity, Caustic, Illdisposed (well, only few early releases from them)… plus newer bands like Deiquisitor, Mûspellzheimr and Peine. How come then that Denmark is so much less appreciated than other Scandinavian underground scenes? Were they all unlucky or what?
I actually don’t follow the Danish scene that much so I’m pretty clueless as to what is happening at the moment. But I know there are / have been a few good bands around, just to name a few besides those you mention, like Exhaust, Denial Of God, Feikn, Nortt, Solhverv, Altar of Oblivion etc and a few newer ones like Dwell, Encyrcle, Savage Machine, Ligfærd, so it’s not all bad. From what I know the “scene” is mostly dominated by the trendy core metal and boring “brutal” death metal. For the kids who are into that, the scene is probably pretty good. To me Denmark has always been pretty underdeveloped with the exception of a few gems. Why I do not know. There are lots of bands but I guess most of them just sound like shit to you and me haha...

OK, thank you Andreas for the answers. If there’s anything else you want to say, do so now. Take care!

Thanks for the patience Marcin and thanks to anyone who supports Peine. 

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