CRIMINAL might have existed for a very long time, yet they still feel like aq hidden secret to me. Perhaps this interview with the mastermind behind that band in the shape of Anton will bring some light to the band. Anders Ekdahl ©2016

You have been going for a while now yet you seem to be the best kept secret in metal- Could you please introduce yourself to those still in the dark?
-Well, the band was formed almost 25 years ago in Chile. We had a pretty good run during our first few years supporting bands like Kreator, Sepultura and Slayer and signed to a major label. In 2001 I decided to restart the band in Europe with members of Extreme Noise Terror and Cradle of Filth. We are currently promoting our eighth album “Fear Itself”.

I often wonder how people discover that they can do what they do. How did you discover that you can sing and play instruments?
-My family is quite musical so I was taught to play the piano when I was a kid, but I didn’t like it much so I switched to guitar. When I started listening to metal I used to play along to the records and at some point I guess I just tried to write my own songs.

When did it become a revelation that you can do this and maybe get paid for having fun?
-I was always quite serious about my music, and I guess I always had the dream to be able to do this for a living, but it wasn’t until Criminal started to take off that I realized it could actually happen.

When you spend an amount of your life on a band does it ever feel like you have wasted time, that you have fought one too many windmills?
-It does get frustrating at times, but never too much to give up. We just enjoy doing what we do and I think we will keep doing it as long as we can. We’ve had varying degrees of success, but that’s not the motivation any more.

No matter how small or big you were as a band you will leave a legacy behind you. How do you want people to treat this legacy?
-I hope people will enjoy our music long after we’re gone. I think of it as my life’s legacy. When you die, your body goes away but your soul is kept alive in what you’ve created.

Is digital taking away the mystery of waiting for a new album now that you can upload as soon as you have written a song?
-Yeah definitely. Things have changed and the whole experience of listening to music is different now, but that doesn’t mean it’s less important, it’s just different.

How important is image in separating you from all the million different styles of metal there is out there?
-Our image is no image. I think a lot of people pay way too much attention to that kind of stuff. We couldn’t care less.

Do you deal in different topics lyrically or do you keep to one, just using different variations?
-I’ve always had the sociopolitical aspect in my lyrics, but there are also a few songs that are much more personal.
Do you consider yourself a live artist or do you like to spend most of the time secluded in a studio?
-I like spending time in the studio working on new material, but I think it is in a live situation when the songs really come to life. Especially the kind of music we write which is just meat and potatoes.

How much of a touring band are you guys? What memories do you take with you?
-We don’t tour as much as we’d like to, but we’ve had some great shows that will stay in our memories as long as we live, such as supporting Metallica in our home town of Santiago in front of 50,000 people.

What does the future hold?
-The immediate future is a South American tour which starts next month. After that we’ll be doing a couple of festivals and hopefully a European tour, and next year we’ll start working on our next album.

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