DAMNATION DEFACED is a pretty darn cool band that everybody should check out. I know that I will. Hence this interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
Philipp: Very nice to hear that you see something special in our (new) songs. We really hope that we created a unique sound that distinguish us from other (death) metal bands. Sometimes you can get a bit frustrated that you have to work even harder and keep on fighting for your songs instead of sounding like a copy from a copy. “Invader from Beyond” is our third album but it feels like the evolution of Damnation Defaced is still in the beginning. So there is an immense motivation in writing new music and albums.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
Lutz N.: On “Invader From Beyond” we tried to create a flow within our sound structures. Besides the classic death metal riffing, we use song arrangements that may rather be found in more common genres (e.g. rock music). This creates a smooth transition from verses to choruses and clearly focuses on hooks. Paired with the deliberate decision to strengthen the use of synths, we were able to give Damnation Defaced the face we needed to take it “one step further”.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
Philipp: In the past the topics were a mix of fantasy and social criticism. The new album is a complete concept and beginning of a SciFi-saga that will continue on the next albums. As a big fan of this genre in movies, games and comics it is cool to create your own stories about planets, aliens and conflicts that are sometimes inspired from the stuff that is happening on this crazy planet. Of course we are not the first ones who picked up this topic but I would say we do it in an interesting and entertaining way. So check out the album to find out what’s the story is all about.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
Philipp: Everyone in the band are influenced by a lot of bands from the whole metal genre so it is not easy to answer this question. Some say that there are hearable connections to Hypocrisy or Scar Symmetry but I would not say that we put this consciously in our sound.
Lutz N.: We have clear roots and influences, so would probably In Flames, Insomnium or Gojira the most noticeable ones. But at the end of the day it’s Damnation Defaced. The background of every musician in this band really brings a lot to the table and only combined it’s what we actually are.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
Philipp: The artwork is a very important aspect in the whole creation of an album for us. It helps to transport your message/topic/identity to the listeners. We were very glad that we found in Juanjo Castellano an artist who understood the complete concept, music but also included his own style. So you should buy the digipak or gatefold vinyl to get the whole epic scenery to see.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
Lutz N.: I can’t imagine a life without opening a new cd, skimming through the well-smelling booklet and discovering the bits and pieces of each and every art within a good designed artwork. It becomes even more fascinating, when opening up a vinyl.
For this album, we clearly wanted to set a sign, show the difference to what we had done before. That’s why we decided to hire a different artist. Together with Juanjo we came up with leaving out colors and show the main plot of our sci-fi concept across the entire artwork (front and back of the digipak/gatefold). It’s a fascinating piece of art, where you can discover new things each and every time you start looking at it.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
Philipp: Titles give you a first idea of what the lyrics are about and sometimes intense the curiosity to listen to the song. It is a bit like a title for a movie or book it has to trigger you. But to be honest my personal memory for titles of other bands is really really bad haha.
Lutz N.: You should here, how the songs are titled before they have their final names. Our working titles are created from counting the product we are working on as letter following the alphabet followed by an incrementing number for each song. So, when we are rehearsing it’s more like “Let’s start with 115” rather than song names, haha…
But to come back to your question, we picked the songs that most fit to the time in the plot of the album concept and tried to fit it to the mood of the current topic.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
Philipp: Of course this medal has two sides. On the one side the efforts from the streaming services are not the highest at the moment but you have the chance to reach so many people by getting picked up for a playlist. As you already said for some metal heads (and this includes everyone from our band) the streaming is a great way to discover new bands and starting following/supporting them in buying their albums in a valuable packaging, merchandise or going to their shows. And compared to other music genres the metal scene still cherishs the process of creating a complete album and putting afford in design and packaging. There a still many people out there who want to collect and see their collection grow.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
Lutz N.: We always work on our life performance and especially this time, we improved a lot of things. To be honest, I’m kind of nervous, but in the same time very excited to play our new show to our fans. We are confident that Damnation Defaced has always been a great live band, with very intense shows, but with these improvements we will definitely set the bars high for us.
What lies in the future?
Philipp: As every band we would love to see Damnation Defaced keep on growing to show our music specially live to a bigger audience. We will see what comes in 2018 but with the support of our label Apostasy Records we feel very thankful to put up the band right now to a higher level.
Lutz N.: “Invader From Beyond” apparently gives Damnation Defaced the face it needed. We will play a lot of live shows with this album and hopefully some bigger events as well. Anyways, we will continue working on our sound, or story. It’s going to be some interesting years to come.