This week is a bit of Central America week here at BATTLE HELM. So say hello to CONCEIVED BY HATE. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
[M.Q.] It has been more than 15 years since i formed this band and the idea i had at the beginning was just to make metal from the heart and try to find a way to produce, release and distribute the music outside El Salvador since i did not feel much local support. After all these years i guess i have been able to accomplish this in conspiracy with my Label (Morbid Skull Records), nothing is perfect but it is how it is.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
[M.Q.] Yes for sure, there are some things i plan to improve in the recording and production process but i am satisfied with the results, i mean “Death & Beyond” has 3 CD versions, 1 Tape Version and 1 LP Vinyl Edition so i guess is quite good for an album coming from El Salvador. I took the time to gather all the pieces in terms of music, lyrics and illustrations so that could be a compact album and was released because i felt it was ready. It has been good process to gain more experience overall for the coming releases.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
[M.Q.] I guess this is a process i have been in for years and i am getting closer to find a perfect mixture of influences and also the way i compose songs, i mean for this band my idea is not to be copy of any mainstream or big act but to have kind of identity, i think i am still in the process of it. Regarding finding exact sound related to guitar or bass gear is complex and difficult since i mix and master the releases outside El Salvador so i am kind in a remote mode with the producer and there is not much time to spend on trying different setups and gear, i mean i cannot expect to have the same gear in el salvador than the one i will use on production in european studio so is kind of difficult but it has been working good after all in my opinion.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
[M.Q.] Of course, every lyric that i wrote has to be important for me and i have to believe in what i am talking about otherwise would be a fake, that is the reason why i struggled with some lyrics even for months so that all is perfect and how i think it should be. Any kind of topic that is interesting for me is an option to choose for new lyrics like war, hate, esoterism, etc.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
[M.Q.] I think now days it is for sure very difficult to sell albums because of this download shit but despite that i think the cover of an album is the first thing that could caught the attention of a potential listener or buyer so it has to be good so that you could hook people to be interested on listening the stuff. Also i guess the cover of an album has to be linked with its content, lyrically and musically otherwise makes no sense for me, i always try to make good concept for covers so that people stare at them and see the details like in the old days.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
[M.Q.] I guess success is a very complex and simple word at the same time. First of all i think that Latin American bands struggle more to be able to have changes to good recordings and also good productions because we lack of gear, money or places and people dedicated to this kind of music also there is no musical education established by governments that could allow us to have better musical formation since small ages and then to be more prolific, on the other hand we live in fucked up countries where there is a big social stigma for being metal head so i guess there is a lot of bullshit that build boundaries for us to be able to release metal music easily in comparison to bands from the countries you mentioned i think there is why in a way the latin american sound has been tagged for decades as very aggressive and primitive sound not because we wanted this way but because it was the only way we had to do it back in the day, now with Internet i think it helped for new generations to develop better technical skills at very young ages without not much efforts. Now regarding success i think this is relative to each person, for me just the fact to be able to release the albums, make european tours, have more less good distribution of the music, etc. and do what i love to do in music, that is simple success for me, i do not look to earn money out of this or to be mainstream and famous i am just a metalhead trying to make music in a fucked up country as it is El Salvador but in the end i think success comes as a result of hard and honest work, if you make things intentionally because you think with that you will be “successful” then you will end up disappointed for sure. Also in some cases i think there is a problem in the mentality of the fans and promoters where they believe that a local band will not be as good as an international mainstream band, i mean there is a lack of true local supporters for the local bands and this sometimes kills the motivation for people and many bands end, i mean a band is an entity that offers something (music) and there have to be listeners that demand it and take it so that the cycle is complete and keeps working and growing so when you do not have listeners that consume these offerings then cycle is not complete and scenes struggle to grow.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
[M.Q.] Competition is good in a way because that makes you give your best efforts and at certain point your “product” will be better but regarding music i prefer not to see it as a competition because it does not matters what you do there will be always someone that will do it better than you in one or two aspects so what is the point? As i said before i think that to be able to stand out you first need to be honest on what you are doing, i mean you need to make music that you like and you feel and not try to imitate other bands, i know its hard not to sound like others after more than 40 years of metal history but at least try to be sure that you are doing this honestly, you need to do all on your own and not wait that others do the job for you so if you do this after sometime your band may stand out a little from others that are just waiting for the “golden” label contract. On my case i have not left anything to luck, it is all about hard work and to be consistent about it.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
[M.Q.] I have seen this scene since early 90s mostly as a band member so my point of view is bound to that scenario, i think this scene has grow in terms of quantity of bands and listeners but not quality of them, i mean with Internet it is easier that young people get involved and hooked by metal but after sometime if this is just a trend and they disappear from the scene, also now it is easy to download 100 metal albums in 1 day so when this happens you do not have the same value to them as if you had to purchase all of them so i think we lost the romantic feeling of back in the days, this is also a factor on why the local bands lack of good support. Local support is very important for a band, i mean is like a soccer team playing in town with an empty stadium, would be disappointing but in the end i think we get used to it and do not give a fuck, with time that support will come to you if you do the right things outside your country.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
[M.Q.] Metal is not accepted for standard society people and i think this is because stupid christian “values” and also because the “look” of a metalhead is not good for getting a good job or shit like that, there is still a bad stigma in our society unfortunately, for example if you go with long hair to a job appointment then for sure you will be kicked out or will be judged by the look and not by your skills. In the end i think in latin america being a metalhead is really going against what is “right” and “correct” in society is a rebellion against it, it is something you do by conviction so it definately metal here does not come with the mother’s milk hehe.
What does the future hold for you?
[M.Q.] We just returned from our second small european tour to promote “Death & Beyond” so right now i will continue with the distribution of this album and in some months the 12” LP vinyl edition will be out under Morbid Skull Records (El Salvador), Evil Domain Prod. (Ecuador) and Deathgasm Rec. (USA) so i will work out the distribution of this edition also but at the same time i am starting to compose and arrange songs for the next full length that hopefully will be released on 2018 so that we can plan another tour to promote it, that is the plan so far. Thanks a lot for your interest in the band and thanks to all the ones that invest time on reading this interview, regards from HellSalvador!!!