Old doom/death metal band from Switzerland – Excruciation!
Hi! Tell me about Excruciation and ‘80s, when you just started the band. Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore?
Eugenio: Hi! Excruciation started in October 84 and the band was called Fate Blade in the beginning. Actually it was Martin Ain who proposed us to change the name to Excruciation. I still think he did that, so no one, at least here in Switzerland, could remember or even pronounce the name, so Celtic Frost would get rid of us as a competitor, haha…
In the beginning we wanted to be the most evil and heavy band in the universe, of course, what else, haha.
Nowadays it’s all about the dark side of life, the bright side of Death.
“[c]rust” album was released several months ago. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wishes to change something now?
Hannes: Except the fade-out on „Disgrace“ I still think, it’s the best record, I ever did. I like every bit of it.
Eugenio: Me too, still pleased with it, even with the fade-out. But actually I don’t think much about it. It’s the best we could have done at this moment and it reflects this particular time of the band.
Even if I liked to change something, this chapter has been closed, so there’s no way to alter things.
Tell me more about “[c]rust”? Album ideas etc…
Hannes: Before and during the writing phase, we discuss a certain frame for the songs, a rough concept if you like. After the seventies influenced [g]host, we wanted to do a sinister metal album that time, integrating some dark wave, and crust core influences this time. We achieved this in my opinion. The production was supposed to be rougher and worse in the beginning, but Realsound Studios did such a good job, that we decided to have this clean, modern sound, which fits well to the composed songs.
From you point of view – what the main differences between this and the first band’s album?
Eugenio: In respect to “Angels to some, demons to others” I think, although the new album combines a lot more different styles, it has a more compact and more organic feeling. And to be honest, in retrospect I think that the first album would have been a lot better if there there had been less songs on it. You know, at that time we did not know if we would ever do a second one and so we recorded everything we had written. So it may have a filler or two on that one. But on [c]rust every song has its place.
You was completely inactive during the ‘90s… Have you had some brutal troubles, lack of ideas or?
Eugenio: Well, we were just fed up with each other. Our ideas had drifted apart, Some wanted to go more into mainstream thrash and some wanted to explore more the extremes. And was not clear at all where everyone was heading to. And we weren’t the friends we used to be anymore. There was a time when we were hanging around together seven days a week, making music, but mostly having some drinks and partying. We spent most of our teenage time together and then came the point, where there was nothing left to say and going to rehearse was more like going to work.
But I’m sure, If we hadn’t split up then, we would not be here now.
Where do you take all inspiration from?
Eugenio: This may sound like a standard phrase, it’s life. Most of the lyrics are in one way or another connected to me, my family, my friends and everything else that surrounds me. And my disgust of what’s going on in this world.
Hannes: That’s hard to say. I play guitar at home when I find the time and if I catch up something good, I pursue the direction until I got some riffs or song ideas together.
In your opinion, what is the best way to define Excruciation’s sound?
Hannes: Mike Liassides of Doom-Metal.com wrote about [c]rust, that it sounds like all the 90s doom bands of Peaceville are covering “Lovedrive” by the Scorpions. I like that idea.
So, are you on hiatus now, just relaxed and looking for album feedbacks, or did you started to compose new stuff immediately?
Hannes: I was pretty busy with the end of my studies besides a lot of work, so yeah I’m just happy, we did a great record. We have some ideas haunting around which we are now trying to bring in a certain shape.
What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound?
Hannes: Speaking for myself it’s mostly old Mercyful Fate, Cirith Ungol and especially on [c]rust I was heavily influenced by the last Alice In Chains album. The 2000s records of Opeth as well as some Darkthrone stuff left it’s mark on my guitar playing and composing.
Eugenio: My main influences go back to Punk and to early Goth and Industrial and of course Venom.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
Hannes: It would be an honour having Uli Jon Roth doing a guitar solo but he will surely not be interested.
My second wish was Andy LaRoque for guest lead guitars on a track.
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
Hannes: I don’t have a fixed strategy, I bring my ideas to the others and then we jam on it and work on details and arrangements. Eugenio is our “producer” telling us, what’s best for the song in a objective way.
Eugenio: You’ll never be happy, unless you’re Metallica, if you start to
think about the audience while writing music. As long you’re happy with it, you’ll never fail.
Do you have any other hobby beside music?
Hannes: Not really, but I dig modern art, reading and being in nature. I’d love to start with Kung Fu but I don’t have enough free time besides my job. As I’m now done with my studies I may have some time to start something. And I enjoy gardening. Digging in the dirt is the best therapy when you’re stressed or depressed.
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
Hannes: I am totally supported by my beloved girlfriend. She’s critical and objective, too, but always very supportive. So are my parents who bought my first guitar and amp.
How’s the metal scene in Switzerland right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days? Also tell us please about how it’s easy to live there in Switzerland, like jobs, salaries etc?
Hannes: It’s pretty easy to play gigs, yes. There are some nice clubs where we live, although we only have one “real” metal club which is pretty small. But in the other clubs you have metal concerts every week. We have a very nice record store in Olten called “Outsider”. It exists since 30 years, now. On the other hands all the metal record stores in Zurich where I lived closed because of poor sales. You need a lot of money to organize shows as the rent for the clubs is around 2000 euros… As you may know, swiss salaries are pretty high but on the other hand, to live in Switzerland is very expensive. I work now for almost ten years for the same company so I can’t tell a lot about the job offers here. One populist party in our politic system has some pretty extreme views on foreigners and collaboration with other countries which gives me a heavy heart. But compared to the American candidates for presidency, they’re still pretty left winged… I never lifed somewhere else in the world, so I can’t give you deeper views on this.
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road!
Hannes: Thank you for your support! Hail Doom!