For me, personally, it will be painful to know that my own work is being constantly compared to someone else’s works. I am working my ass off down here and some geeks go stirring shit around! It sucks, pals... The Swiss ALASTIS after a ten year existence can’t tear out from this vicious circle: journalists keep rebuking ALASTIS of copycating their more successful brothers in arms SAMAEL. Hopefully, the latest album will violate «The Just Law» and reveal «The Other Side» of the band. So let death smile and «Revenge» be done!
You visited Poland once in 1997 playing at Metal Mania festival. What do you think of that gig?
Yeah, for sure it was a great show! It was one of the biggest we have done. And the public reaction was very great. It was cool. We’d like to play in Poland again, ha ha!
Did you find any differences between the Polish fans and the fans from other countries?
I think Polish fans are more crazy! In Germany and in Switzerland people are more quiet.
What do you think of Poland as a country?
I am afraid, I don’t know Poland. I have been there for two days, at Metal Mania and on the TV. And nothing else. The rest of the time I just slept, ha ha!
Touring is not the most suitable time for seeing the places...
Yeah, that’s for sure!
OK, not so long ago you released your new fourth album. What is your opinion on that release? Are you satisfied with the work done?
My opinion? I can’t say anything objective, as we have been rehearsing those songs for a year already! We tried to do our best, but now when the record is out, we don’t think of what we could have done better. We will try to make it better in the future, you know. But for sure, I am satisfied with this album. As well as I am satisfied with out first demo, as it was the part of us. Of course, right now I can admit we could have done it better, but we were not able to do it better that time! Our lyrics are more aggressive, there are no «complains» this time, ha ha! So far I don’t know the public reaction on our last album as we haven’t toured yet, but some magazines have already written some critics on us. They say we have changed, and they don’t compare us with SAMAEL any more, ha ha! And this is a good point I think!
You have managed to change your sound, it’s quite obvious. Did you really try to change it or did it happen accidentally?
Yeah, we tried to change it as we evolve as musicians. I don’t know if our band good or not with this sound. Because a lot of shitty bands have a good sound and a lot of good bands have a bad sound. We can’t judge the music by the sound. I think our new sound is more «deeper» that the old stuff. We really tried to change the sound as in Woodhouse Studio everything sounds the same. You can change sound engineers but still you will have that Woodhouse Studio sound! It’s like the bands from the Morisound Studio have that Morisound sounding. We tried to make something different.
If that studio made you sound like many other bands, why didn’t you merely change it, try another one?
Yeah, but there are no good studios, ha ha! This is a big problem I think! Before the recording of this album we tried to find a good studio, the studio that could make us sound different from SAMAEL. But... We have chosen the Woodhouse Studio as it is a cheap one and they know the kind of music we are playing.
So, you liked Woodhouse Studio because it was a cheap one? Well, it wasn’t that cheap. You can find cheaper studios but they will produce a bad sound. And there are more expensive studios with better sound engineers. But they are very expensive, these studios are for the bands like QUEEN and PRINCE. We have a studio not far from our place but it is ten times more expensive that the Woodhouse Studio.
How much did Century Media pay for the studio?
It was something between DM 15,000 and DM 20,000.
Was it your choice to record the album in Woodhouse Studio or did Century Media make you record the material there?
It was our choice. Our second album was recorded in the Woodhouse but we were not signed by Century Media that time. I think we are on Century Media due to this studio and its producer, ha ha!
I wonder how does Century Media estimate the sum for the recording of your albums? Different bands receive quite different amounts of money for the recordings... Why do you «deserve» DM 15,000 or DM 20,000 and not more or less?
Because label is like a bank. They pay for the studio, they pay for CDs, they pay for tours. But you have to give back with the selling. This is not very difficult for them to estimate the sum of money they pay and the sum of money they receive back.
Which album was the most expensive one for Century Media?
I think the latest one.
So, has Century Media got higher hopes for selling the «Revenge» album?
I hope so, ha ha! It’s very important for a band to believe in music but it is more important if the label believes in band!
How many copies of your previous album has Century Media managed to sell?
I think fifteen thousand. It’s normal for the underground. We hope to do better in the future.
Are you satisfied with the promotion of your latest album?
Yes, but we haven’t made any tours yet. And tours, I think, are the best promotion. There are so many CDs coming out each month, that people want to see the band first and only after that buy their CD.
...And now you are getting ready for the tour giving interviews to press?
So, what is the most frequently asked question? What do the journalists want to know this year?
Ha ha! You know, I started the promotion in the end of July and from September you are the first one! So, I have some problems with reminding the most frequently asked question. But it will be: «When will you tour?» I guess, ha ha!
So, when will you tour?
Ha ha ha! We hope very soon! The tour was planned for January with ROTTING CHRIST, but it is canceled. May be we’ll go on tour in April or May.
What is the major subject of the «Revenge» lyrics?
It’s very difficult to answer this question, as there are many subjects. But I wanted to say: «Be careful! You think you have some freedom, but you have not! This is just an illusion.» I wanted to show the truth. This is the main message on this album.
You don’t actually write lyrics about our everyday life, our reality. Don’t you find anything in the modern world that could inspire you to write about?
Well, I am quite satisfied with the modern reality. A few years ago I was more depressive, but now I am quite happy. Still I am more involved in the psychological part of out life.
You originate from Switzerland, a small country in the middle of Europe. Would you like to tell us anything about the underground life of your country?
Switzerland is a very small country, there are only six million people living there. There are also four languages in the country. And as we have a very small population, we don’t have a real underground. There are no metal magazines and no radio stations. There is no metal TV program as well. Everything comes from Germany, France or Italy. It depends on the part of Switzerland you live in. We belong to the «French» part of the country, so we are pretty much influenced by France. We have French TV, French radio and French magazines. The same things happen in other parts of the country. And, as we are that influenced by different countries, we don’t know what is going on in our own country, ha ha! You learn about a Swiss band only when it becomes popular in Germany or France. And this is the same for us. We don’t have any contact with bands from «German» or «Italian» part.
Does it mean that nation is pretty much separated within Switzerland and doesn’t comprise a unity?
Yeah, people are different in their languages, in their mentality, in everything! You know, we are very much influenced by Italy and France, people from the «German» part are influenced by Germany and Austria. The French are more into enjoying the life, while the Germans are more into working, ha ha!
So, you are more into enjoying the life, aren’t you?
Yeah, ha ha!
Being influenced by France, why did you sign a contract with the German label and not with the French one like Osmose, for instance?
The first label we were signed by, was the French one. So, we started in France. Then we found the Wood House Studio, where we found Valdemar Sarichta, and he recommended us Century Media.
Do you see any differences between French and German labels?
Yeah! In France there are only big labels and there are very small ones. You don’t have something in between like Century Media or Nuclear Blast or Massacre. These labels are rather big and they have a good distribution around the world.
People in Switzerland are known to enjoy the highest level of living in Europe. Being a Swiss, can you admit it?
Of, everyone thinks that way! But this is true for the ten percents of the population. These ten percents have more money then the people from the other countries. But the rest of the population like us, have to work really hard to earn for the living.
Is it difficult to be an underground musician in Switzerland?
Yes, we have to work. From the music you can live in an African country, not here, ha ha! The life here is very expensive. I can live just one month from the music! I am a mechanic, this is my job.
Are you married?
Does it mean you don’t have enough money to make a family of your own?
No, I have a girlfriend who I have been dating for twelve years with. So, I feel like getting married but I don’t need to marry.
You have a very strong anti-religious position as far as I know... Could you comment on that?
I think nobody can say that he is nearer to God that the others. This is true for all the religions of the world. In all the religions you have a guy saying: «I am the messiah!» For me it’s not like this. I can’t accept this, I think popes in churches are like politicians, they are there for money. I am very against all the religions! So, are you an atheist? Yes, but atheists think there’s no life after death. But I think there’s something after, we have something to do everywhere. We just don’t have permission to come back. But I can’t say: «Believe me», as this is my truth. You can believe in what you want! But nobody can say: «You have to believe in this».
Some guys from Norway are so angry with the religious things, that they burn churches and even do their terrorism....
I think that we have to respect everybody. People are free to believe in what they want!
OK. And finally I would like to do the very thing the major part of journalists have already done; I am going to touch upon «You-are-like-SAMAEL» theme, the theme that you might have probably hated. Why, do you think, journalists compare you to SAMAEL? How do you feel about that?
Ha ha! Again, ha ha! You know, in the past it made me crazy, but now I don’t care ‘cos we have two very original bands. We just have a bit similar sound. We are great friends with SAMAEL, and we played together a couple of times. So, I think it was very difficult for people to find the right words to characterize us, and they just compared us to SAMAEL. It’s more easy to act like this. For people who don’t know classical music Beethoven and Mozart are the same! We have the same kind of sound but not the same compositions. And we have the same ideology.
I believe your fans do find the difference between ALASTIS and SAMAEL...
Yeah, and I want to say: «Stay crazy, as we age going to play soon in your country!»