look at it like this; every one of them is my main band. None of them is a
side project. They are all very important to me. They are each important to
me for different reasons, but all are equally important to me. I treat every
band that I play with equally, with the amount of attention I give each of
them. They are all important to me for my career, and my life. I write a lot
of music and it is essential for me to get all this music out.
Do you ever foresee a time when you would have to choose between bands?
Well that is the luxury of having the same manager who manages all three of
He will work with you on scheduling, touring and the like?
Yes. I will be touring all year round, all the time. The good thing is I
write a lot of music and lyrics for Hate Eternal and Alas. With Morbid Angel,
Trey writes a lot of the music, I work with them but Morbid is Trey's band. Trey
loves the fact I do Hate Eternal, to me it is about constantly working. Some
people play in only one band, get off tour, take two months off, and do
nothing. I choose to use that time to work on music, and express myself in
You made a statement earlier in the interview that I want to expand on a bit.
You felt that Death Metal had become stagnant, and you wanted to bring some
excitement back into it. I think you have achieved that with Hate Eternal by
the way, but what do you think were the reasons for the sorry state of Death
Metal in the mid to late 90's? In addition, what do you think is happening
now, because I think it is getting better again.
I think what happened was there were too many bands. Everybody started a
band, and tried to clone other bands. It got out of control. So many Death
Metal, Black Metal, extreme Metal bands just sounded like clones. I think
that was the problem. Back in the early days, there were many bands, but it
was different. They were not all alike as they are now. In the late 80's and
early 90's, there was an assortment of types of bands. Now there are TONS of
bands, and they are not all doing anything original. I think people got sick
and tired of it. And I think that is why bands like Angelcorpse, Krisiun,
Marduk and Dark Funeral were started, bands that wanted to create something
to liven it up a bit. I feel now that things are very positive with extreme
music in general. Some people want to down a band like Slipknot. I am not a
fan of there's, in fact I've never heard their music, but they are big, and
they do have elements of Metal, and to me that is a positive thing. Because
they are not Pearl Jam, it is Metal, and they are establishing fans. I think
that is good for all of Metal.
Do you think their fans will trickle down into extreme Metal?
I think so. For me, I started listening to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. To
quench my thirst for heavier music I started listening to Slayer and Morbid
I went that same way...
I read a Slipknot interview where they said they were fans of Morbid Angel,
to me that is cool. There are many different Metal bands doing a lot of
different things and I think it is all good for the scene.
Hate Eternal is a three piece right now, will you be adding another member or
keep it this way?
We were originally a three piece. It is good for me as I can highlight my
playing. I like it as a three piece; it is a good experience for me, a totally
new experience. I am enjoying it, it is like a rush of Death Metal, it is
kind of cool, and I like it.
When I saw you live it didn't seem to me you were missing anything... When
you put this band together how did you go about getting members? Did you put
out feelers- Erik Rutan is putting a band together-and did a lot of people
Yes, they responded to an extent...
Were you able to pick and choose?
Yes, I hand picked everybody I play with. With Alas and Hate Eternal, I chose
everyone for a reason. For their playing, their attitude. I tried out lots of
guys. It is just about picking the right people, that is the hardest to do. People
who are talented but also dedicated at the same time. In addition, their
loyalty. Are you willing to tour with a band for five weeks, be miserable,
and not make any money? Because that is the facts and if you are willing,
then that is dedication. Some people are, and some people are not. People who
are not fall by the wayside; people who are stick it through. Right now, the
way it is, it is perfect.
What happened to Tim Yeung, the drummer who played on the recording of
"Conquering the Throne"?
He had other ventures he wanted to pursue. School, some other things. He has
other things he wants to do in life. For me, I need a drummer who just wants
to do music, that's it. Derek Roddy from Malevolent Creation / Divine Empire
has stepped in and he is a phenomenal drummer, and the only guy who could
possible replace Tim. I feel he is a great asset to the band. Moreover, he is
The tour you just did with Cannibal Corpse, how did it go?
It was BIG. It went excellent.
Do you think it makes a difference when they put a strong package together
for a tour? Like including European bands, Black Metal bands, instead of just
putting American Death Metal bands out on the road together?
Sure it helps, having different bands. That's why in Europe the packages are
always mixed. Black Metal, Death Metal, shit sometimes you get eight bands on
a show! Then everyone comes out. So I think it is beneficial. I guess it is
easier to do those kinds of things in Europe though. In America, it is a lot
I have noticed that Cannibal Corpse have always been very open to giving
different bands opening spots on their tours, very generous.
Yes, they been very supportive of the scene. They have had Angelcorpse,
Immolation, and Hate Eternal.
They have given many European bands their first chance at touring America...
They want to give the fans their money's worth. I felt great about touring
with Cannibal Corpse.
I want to talk about how you write music for Hate Eternal, and when do you
get the time to do it? Was it a case of writing riffs and just knowing they
would not work for Morbid Angel?
Well I write all the time. And yes, that's exactly it.
Do you record them right away? Do you have one of those portable studio
Yeah, well I am a producer and recording engineer also, so I have a lot of
different recording formats. Sometimes when I write a riff I record it right
away, other times I memorize it. I might forget everything else, but I
definitely remember riffs! I usually try to write a song from beginning to
end, and then work on it. Like I will say, man that sounds like an intro
riff, and then I go from there.
So for this record you wrote all the music, did all the arrangements. What
about going forward? What will be the contributions of the other members?
For the next Hate Eternal record we are all going to write. Derek plays
guitar also, and Jared [Anderson, bass/backing vocals] writes a lot of stuff.
The next record will be more of a whole band. The first record was more
personal, for me. Same with the Alas, I wrote all the music and lyrics for
it, the next one will be a band project.
Will they also contribute lyrics?
Yes. Jared writes lyrics, and sings. He is a frontman in his own band. That's
how I got him. He writes some great lyrics and he will be helping.
I only have the promo, so I do not have lyrics. Based on the song titles, I
can guess a bit of what they represent and I would like to ask you what they
mean to you.
They are based on my personal beliefs and my values. Things of interest. I
read a lot so I have always been into different religions and cultures. "Catacombs"
is really about the Aztecs. I t depends on how I feel as to where I get my
inspiration from. Reading, and visions and emotions I have. Everything I do
is very personal.
Although they are personal, are they written in an allegorical way so that
different people can interpret them in different ways?
Yeah that is how I try to approach all the lyrics I write. Sometimes I like
to write lyrics that are not so direct so to give the listener some
surprises. Same with music, I like to write stuff guitar wise that people
might not notice right off but maybe after twenty thirty listens you will say
yeah, I get it. With me, that is always the approach, never give everything
off right away. You want to make the listener think. That is my goal. It
takes a meticulous listener to listen to Hate Eternal. There is a lot of
stuff going on there...
Yeah, but it's not too busy...
I try to write good structured songs.
Yeah, I like when music is not so mechanical, and there is a bit of feeling
and melody. I do not like overly technical music.
I try to steer clear of that. Lyrically and musically writing a good song is
a big factor. To me it is important, not just a bunch of riffs. I can write
the most technical riff in the world, but I would rather base my songs on
feeling than on technicality. You can be as technical as possible, but in the
long run it doesn't mean anything if it isn't a good song.
You have the European tour coming up, what is after that?
First, I record the next Morbid Angel record. Then I do the Alas record, and
then I will probably do another Hate Eternal tour in the summer.
And when are you going to sleep?