First of all Phill, let’s get back to the late ‘80s, I can assume some of our readers might not remember those days back then in 1987.
OK. The band started in 1987, we were still living in Buffalo, NY. We recorded our first three-song demo in 1987 and we moved from NY to Florida in ‘88 and recorded our second demo in ‘89. And our last demo, the third one, we recorded in 1990 and got the record deal with Roadrunner Records. We released our first album “The Ten Commandments” in 1991. The second album was called “Retribution” and came out in 1992, the third album “Stillborn” came out in 1994. And our newest album came out in 1997. It is called “In Cold Blood” and we are currently about to record a new album in July - “Countdown To Murder”.
As far as I know your latest album “In Cold Blood” came out in the States at the end of 1997 but in Europe this spring the album was hardly available...
Yeah, there was a big problem with the distributor. Our record company in the States was dealing with Bell Music from Germany. And they turned out to be a big bunch of fucking assholes! They didn’t promote our album, and did nothing for our tour. Luckily we brought like five hundred copies with us that we were selling at the shows but they sold well away and people couldn’t find the album. So our record company is working now with System Shock, they re-released the album and too many people think this is the brand new album, ha-ha!
Well, “In Cold Blood” still sounds extremely and aggressive and MALEVOLENT CREATION still plays death metal. How did you manage to retain your brutality and anger all these years?
I know what you mean! A lot of bands changed their style completely, but I’ve never had intention to do that. I love that kind of music so much, this is the only style of music that makes my blood pumping. From my 16 years I have been so obsessed with the extreme music, I haven’t seen myself playing some other stuff.
Hey, didn’t money attract you? Less aggressive albums are known to gain more popularity nowadays.
Ha! If I wanted to do something different I would do it with a different name. A lot of bands, I don’t wanna sit here and slander bands, but they know who they are, ha-ha. They started off being death metal bands, really heavy good bands, and they turned to fucking rock’ n roll, some fucking shit!
And what do the fans in the United States think about these turned-to-pop-music-bands?
They hate it! The most people feel the same way as me. I can’t really talk for the whole country you know, but most of my friends and stuff, they liked NAPALM DEATH and something like that, but it doesn’t sound like the same band any longer! A lot of people would never buy another NAPALM DEATH record, or PARADISE LOST record or even ENTOBMED. They would not even think about buying it.
But don’t you think that death metal has lost its popularity nowadays?
Well you know, back then in the ‘80s there were not many bands releasing records, and it was kinda new thing. And then there were so many bands coming out, so many small records companies appeared, just too much man! And there were too much bad stuff thrown with a good stuff. This kinda killed the excitement of the death metal, you know, got many people bored, less interested! Because everything started sound the same, and everybody started fucking singing like CANNIBAL CORPSE. So stuff like that totally ruined the style. This no fun, but I know that a lot of death metal bands are really good I think. OBITUARY is still around, CANNIBAL CORPSE still around, MORBID ANGEL around, we still around and I think four these bands are still kicking ass, ha-ha, and I think we are still at the top because we are stuck to the guns, whatever you know! And there are not many new bands that could knock us off the top!
Ain’t it difficult for you to live in the same country with these monsters? Is there a competition between all of you?
Not at all! I mean we were not in any competition with any band. As far as I know all these bands mentioned are all my friends, and lots of bands played together and stuff. Everybody has its own style, so I think there wasn’t competition between us.
I guess Florida is the place where the elderly people comprise the greatest part of the population...
Not really. I mean there are a lot of elderly people, they live in Florida because of the nice weather. But they are all in their communities, but bigger cities are big party places and there ain’t no room for the old farts, ha-ha!
But I wonder why Florida has become a sort of Mecca for the death metal?
That’s a good question, man. Many people think that’s a good place, so why all these evil coming from it! But I don’t know. I think it’s pretty much coincidental, I never knew about all that stuff. I moved down to Florida just because I wanted to get hell out of New York! And I had some family there. And when I found OBITUARY, DEATH, MORBID ANGEL and some other bands there I said: “Man, this fucking place rule!” I couldn’t believe there were so many cool bands!
Phill, you didn’t mention DEICIDE among the bands you like...
Oh yeah!!! I totally forgot! They are cool guys and good friends of mine. And they’ve been around just as long as we have too... And they still fucking kick ass, he-he-he! And let’s not forget about VADER! They kick ass too! They are my buddies! We did like three tours with VADER. And actually they are on the same label as us now.
You know Phill, lots of people consider Glen Benton to be an extremely evil person. Judging by his photos, he is! But is he so evil and aggressive in the real life?
Definitely, he CAN be evil. Ha-ha, you know what I mean? He can definitely be rough, kind of mean or something. But he is pretty intelligent, smart guy. He is actually pretty cool. I have never had any problems with him. And he is funny also! He is always cracking jokes, always fucking aggravating somebody. He is a really cool guy!
OK, let’s get back to your band. You have mentioned above that if you wanted to play a different music you would have done it with a different name. You were talking about HATE PLOW, weren’t you?
You can say that HATE PLOW is death metal but for me it’s a lot different. Musically MALEVOLENT CREATION sounds more metal. I mean HATE PLOW is more grind, more into hardcore style. It has a lot harsher vocals. I put this band together four years ago and it was a side project. But after getting the right people to the band, the album came out so good that we decided to continue as a band. Now I have two bands.
And not so long ago you released a new album, am I right?
Have you heard it?
Sure. I liked it very much!
Oh, all I can say is that I am happy the album came out really good. And after I have done recording the new MALEVOLENT CREATIN album we will start to work on the new HATE PLOW album which is really less death metal. I mean we are going to make it even further from death metal sound and though it still will be very heavy but it will have nothing to do with MALEVOLENT CREATION.
OK Phill, let’s talk about your forthcoming album “Countdown To Murder”.
With this album we are experimenting a lot, doing things a little bit more different, things we haven’t tried before. Some of the songs will be more melodic, like the guitar riffs, or may be more some traditional heavy metal almost, not so complicated or technical. We just want to write a heavy album, easy to get in to. There will be twelve songs and a handful of songs is definitely a standard MALEVOLENT CREATION songs, very fast, violent, ha-ha! And there are some songs a little bit slower, and there’s actually one song which has an acoustic guitar through out the song, you know! But to me it’s one of the heaviest songs on the album. It’s not a ballad, no fucking gay stuff! We are experimenting and trying some more things this time around as there is no sense in repeating ourselves, but it will still sound as MALEVOLENT CREATION.
What is the concept of the title “Countdown To Murder”?
This album is definitely based around death. It’s murder, it’s war... Hey, by the way, I didn’t mention that the original singer is back in the band!
Brad Hofmann. The first three albums were dedicated to death, or stories about death and ways of death, whatever. And he is back in the band. We got rid of Jason because he is a... it’s a long story man... but definitely personal conflicts, and he is...a fucking total idiot! Anyway, we realized that the only way to keep the band still interesting is to bring back Brad into the band because many people always ask about him. It’s great! We are all looking forward to get into the studio and do out new stuff.
Our congratulations! So if you say that the “Countdown To Murder” album is dedicated to death, then what did you sing about in “In Cold Blood”?
Oh, I don’t really write the lyrics, but I know there are lots of songs about drug addiction, there are songs about war and crime and punishment for crime. Jason actually wrote a lot of them and I think there are some songs that lyrically were not fitting to a death metal album. But since the vocal is so brutal and stuff you probably can’t understand it, ha-ha! But it’s always about reality, all our lyrics have always been about the real stuff. We don’t make believe in gore, zombie shit. We always write stuff about real problems, real things that happen.
But judging by the title “The Ten Commandments” I can assume that you have got something to say about religion as well?
No, we don’t! It was a kind of a joke. We couldn’t think about the title of the album. And we had ten songs. So I looked at them and looked at the lyrics and songs’ titles and said “Fuck it! Let’s call it ‘The Ten Commandments’!!!” Ha-ha. And then we had a cover for the album and it was pretty cool. I know the record company sold a lot of copies as it was a great art work. A good debut album.
Phill, being an American, could you explain to me why death metal is so popular in the States while black and gothic weren’t well accepted?
It’s the best!
Yeah, sure! But I am talking about the trends.
You know a lot of the black metal stuff is hard to get here in the States. You can still get a big amount of black metal in America, but over here in Europe the thing is going on for so long now and it’s easy to be able to buy some black stuff. You must live in a big city in the United States to get it. Mostly death metal stuff is on American labels. So it’s easier for people to buy it. May be black metal and gothic could be more popular here but... Actually more and more people are into black metal now, I even like black metal. At first I didn’t like it, but I am a fan of a real fast music so I liked MARDUK a lot as I think they are very good, DARK FUNERAL, IMMORTAL, SATYRICON. These bands play really good, but some black metal bands sound so horrible, terrible drumming! I’m in the speed so much, like when I first heard MARDUK, I was like “Holy shit! All right! These guys are good!” If the music is good, if it is from the heart, I like it. It’s not like a bunch of guys with a make up playing black metal with a fucking black metal vocal. It won’t work.
Now you are involved in two bands. Do you get enough money playing music or do you have to work part time?
Oh no! If we toured all year round we could have some. But we all have little kids and everyone’s got wives and, whatever, families. I have a studio. I am a burglar, I mug people for money...Ha-ha!
A good joke Phill!
No, we all got our separate lives, I dedicate most time to music because I am always surrounded by music. I have a studio and record other bands. The other guys have different jobs. But when it comes to time for us to get and rehearse - we do it at night. Or when we need to get on tour, we drop everything and we go on tour.
So Phill finally, what would you like to say to all your Russian fans?
Keep drinking vodka and save some for me because that’s to me a holy water!