China is rising! You can find Chinese food almost all over the world! Chinese economy is one of the biggest and fastest growing of the whole world! Chinese companies are known for copying western products almost better than the original products are. And finally we have a Chinese Death Metal band called CHAOTIC AEON, doing their best to play quality oldschool Death Metal with many reminiscences to MORBID ANGEL. I’m not a fan of copycats (and I’m not saying that CHAOTIC AEON are one) but when talking about CHAOTIC AEON I have to say that I was totally impressed by the high quality of their demo CD and even sounding musically quite close to MORBID ANGEL I have to admit that this band was one of my brightest discoveries in 2009. Enjoy this long and detailed interview about a Chinese Death Metal band, about a country where Metal is still underground and therefore about a Death Metal band worth your support. Hail to CHAOTIC AEON. Enjoy.
Hi there Song Kai, how are you? How's life in China these days? Where exactly are you living?
"Hello Thomas. So far so good. I live in Xi'An city, which was the capital city of 13 dynasties in the Chinese history."
Please tell some introducing words about your band CHAOTIC AEON.
"I met Wang Yang on the internet back in 2006.09., and soon he came to meet me and we realized we had the same taste in Metal music, and same hope for making a sound like MORBID ANGEL, SLAYER, INCANTATION...so we began. At first we just wanted to make fun for ourselves until our first track ‘Pestilence’ was almost finished we knew we were going to make the whole band real. And then we kept meeting each other once for a week, so the band began..."
Death Metal from China is quite new to me. Actually you are the first and only Chinese Death Metal band I know so far. Please tell something about how Death Metal is handled and considered in your country.
"I guess Death Metal as a music taste is just for a certain group of people in any country, but maybe in China people who enjoy Death Metal would be fewer. However, as things going on in other countries we of course have fans and musicians who love and play Death Metal, and can be called maniacs as well as any other fans from any other land! There weren't any bands who played Death Metal until the late 90s in China, and we never get the chance to experience the historical progress of Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal, so Chinese Death Metal was just emergent in that time and never get a good start initially. We can say Metal music as a whole in China is just 10 years old, but now as the age of internet, we can get more informations from the wild world. Chinese Death Metal is growing stronger now." (We will follow have a look on that!! – Thomas)
The reason for this interview is next to your great demo CD for sure your "exotic bonus", too. Do you think to be from China can be course or blessing? How were the reactions about your music so far?
"It would be good if such "exotic bonus" brought us more attention, haha. I have to feel sorry for the Chinese Metal scene, because it's far behind compared to that in Europe or America, but as what I said above, we have lots of Death Metalheads here whose knowledge of this kind of music is quite professional, so Chinese bands actually got great help from these fans. And we can also get attention of Metalheads from other countries by the help of using the internet. The response is quite good by far. From what I know we are the first band who plays this kind of Death Metal in China, friends also give us great encouragement."
So let's lose some words about CHAOTIC AEON and the goals you have with your band and what you already got back as response to your cool "demo 2009"?
"Our goals are quite simple, deliver our attitude of oldschool Death Metal to people. We hope we can bring people feeling of sick, aggressive, chaotic, twisted and dark etc.. More people would know CHAOTIC AEON by this EP release and more Metalheads would like us, and we even make more friends (you are one of them Thomas), they are all good guys and support our music, which give us great encouragement and we are now more confident to play on!"
This demo or EP was released through Pest Productions which is a Chinese Black Metal label. What can you tell about them, what about your labelmates and how have they promoted you so far? Are there any plans for further cooperation with them?
"No Colours Records once released Chinese Black Metaller BE PERSECUTED’s album after the recommendation of Pest Productions. CHAOTIC AEON's EP is the first Death Metal release by Pest Productions, and we are quite satisfied with the promotion did by Pest Productions, they send promo stuff to many paperzines and webzines and some stronger labels or distros such as Hells Headbangers, Nuclears War Now!, Legion of Death and Red Stream... Death Metalheads over the world can hear our music through these lables and distros. For further cooperation, we will release a 7" EP through Pest Productions next year."
Before this demo you released another demotape with almost the same songs (just one less). Is this the same recording or a different one?
"It is the same recording, done at my home. The difference is the master, the tape demo was done by the band and the CD was done in Ran Studio by Wang Ran, the sound engineer of AreaDeath Productions. Areadeath Productions and Wang Ran helped us with total enthusiasm and professional skill and never asked for payment in any form. I'm sure people would think the sound on the CD is much better than on the demo."
What really surprised me about this demo 2009 is the professionalism you offer. The sound quality is simply amazing and the musical skill is almost too perfect. It's unbelievable how tight and precise you play. How came?
"I would rather call it an EP, but it's the version without the skillful master by AreaDeath Productions, so it should be released as a demo due to its sound quality. I was much troubled during its recording; we had to record some parts again and again till we were satisfied. And Wang Yang and I weren't used to play bass guitar, we had to borrow one sometime before we began the recording, and then we started to arrange the bass parts. Since both of us are guitarists, we naturally concentrated more on guitar playing and ignore the others. Our playing skill limited our writing also, especially the solos, we even didn't arrange all of them very well when we finished recording of most playing and vocals. So either the skill of writing or playing, to which we still have a long way to go."
You can't blame to be highly influenced by MORBID ANGEL which seems to be your biggest influence and do you care that some might say that you are a MORBID ANGEL clone? I mean even the layout of the CD looks like a MORBID ANGEL release.
"Not at all, I would be happy If anyone thinks of us as MORBID ANGEL clone, haha. In fact, Wang Yang and I had discussed this point during the writing session, and we both agreed that we should learn tightly from the bands we like, that's what we should do for this moment. Besides MORBID ANGEL, we also learned some parts from INCANTATION, and listening to SLAYER gave us great help with our guitar solos, haha."
What do you think about MORBID ANGEL, their ideology and which is your favourite record from them and why?
"I choose “Abominations Of Desolation”, “Altars Of Madness”, “Covenant” and “Formulas Fatal To The Flesh” as my all time favourite albums of MORBID ANGEL. I love the raw sound in “Abominations Of Desolation”, although every single track in that album later appeared in other albums and all got better arrangement and sound quality but I just fucking love the rawness in the original version; the guitar solos seem being played freely and randomly, all instrumental stuff got a little mistake, but the whole album sounds just perfect with the ugly rawness and dark atmosphere. “Altars Of Madness” always reminds me of “Show No Mercy”, full of evil and darkness, the thrashy and blackish riffs are hard and fast, when I play them I just feel cool! “Covenant” gave me the first listen to MORBID ANGEL, I think it's the darkest, sickest and the most obscure album of MORBID ANGEL, and you can hear that the playing skill are much more advanced than ever, the 7 strings guitar was used since this album I think, it layered the undertone and darkened the whole sound. If for the most mature album I choose “Formulas Fatal To The Flesh”, the style of this album is fit for the new vocalist Steve Tucker. Some slow parts added in and the playing quomodo become more abundance, the whole album sounds more powerful. Actually I love every albums from the ALMIGHTY MORBID ANGEL, haha."
On your myspace page you call - next to MORBID ANGEL - also bands like IMMOLATION, INCANTATION, SLAYER, ANGELCORPSE or VILE as influences... What do those bands mean to you and are you satisfied with how you handle your influences within your songs?
"Some slow and doomy parts in our music are infuenced by INCANTATION, some fast tremolo picking parts are from ANGELCORPSE and VILE. And for SLAYER, I think they should be welcomed by all genres Metalheads, and “Show No Mercy” is the model for ancient Death Metal." (Well, can’t say that you are wrong here, an interesting comparison! - Thomas)
Next to that you are (as usual for MORBID ANGEL fans, haha) a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft.
"In China, people who enjoy Lovecraft are as few as people who enjoy Death Metal. A couple of translated versions got published there, which made me much into the mythos of Lovecraft; I'm deep into the unique atmosphere, unearthliness and the thirst for the unknown. I think I have found the perfect lyrical themes for CHAOTIC AEON by reading Lovecraft, and I would grab the Lovecraftian feeling to help my music creation."
On your demo you were just a two piece band (you on vocals / guitars and Y. Wang on guitars / bass). The drums seem to be programmed, right? Looking on your myspace page now it seems that you found a drummer. Do you have plans for live gigs and how does it feel to be a real band now?
"You are right, we used a drum machine to record the drum parts. Wang Yang who recorded guitar and bass in EP has gone back to Inner Mongolia, his hometown. Now we have two new member after the EP released. Song lei as bassist and Nian Feng as drummer. We have played a gig on November 28, 2009 in Xi An, and a gig on December 20, 2009 in Beijing for the 3rd anniversary of Pest Productions. We attended another gig back to Xi An on December 31, 2009 with lots of bands playing other genres. I still think that playing gigs is very important for an oldschool Metal band, I love playing before the crowd, It's as important as any release."
Let's lose some words about the Chinese Metal scene and what Metal means to you and stands for in your country. Is there a Metal scene in China? Is Metal something which gets accepted by the media, the government, friends and families or are you some kind of stranger, haha.
"To be honest, I'm not quite involved in the Chinese Metal scene, I just know some musicians and friends who love Metal music, and they really put it in a very important position in their lives. The main media never gives a fuck about real Metal music. About the government, things would be ok if your lyrics are not political. In my opinion in China, Metal music is hard to be accepted by most people, they would see you as a hooligan or freak if you wear a Metal t-shirt and have long hair, or at least some kind of stranger as you said. Fortunately, my families are open enough to let me play Metal music, because they think the other popular stuff for youth is even worse than Metal, haha."
Which are the most common and popular Metalstyles?
"I have to say the most popular Metalstyles in China is Metalcore and melodic stuff like CHILDREN OF BODOM, etc..."
Which are, from your point of view, the best Metal bands from China. Give us some names to support please.
"I think HYPONIC from Hong Kong is the best Metal band of China, I like their music very much, you can try them on www.myspace.com/hyponic."
Were there already several bigger bands playing in China? Did you have the opportunity to visit some gigs with such bands yet?
"Some bigger bands have played in China, to which I wish I could have been were NAPALM DEATH, DESTRUCTION and KREATOR, but I couldn't because they didn't come to the city I live. In fact, bigger bands began to play China just since these years, and not too often. It's quite hard to see great bands playing here, haha, but things are going up. If I'm right no foreign Metal bands had been in China until 2004, and people didn't expect there's one day some bigger act would come here too, It was like dream, but now at least the dream has come true."
Besides that, are there concerts in your area from time to time? Is there something like a scene?
"In Xi An, there are several gigs per month, but Metal gigs are pretty rare, and on Metal gigs you will see Metalcore bands and Black Metal bands play together, maybe it's quite strange in your country."
How's life in China in general? I have been to China (Shanghai) once for a week and even if Shanghai is one of the most usual places to stay as a foreigner (and probably the town which is the least China) I was quite surprised of the Chinese way of living and way handling their lives. How do you see China in comparison to other countries, as for example European countries as e. g. Germany.
"China consists of many different cultures and nations, so you may experience many different lives here. I can't explain it in detail, but Shanghai people have many different customs if compared to Xi An people. A friend of mine felt uncomfortable when he just arrived there, I think if Shanghai People come to Xi An, they would feel bad too. Some friends of mine who live in Japan and American now, they also failed to lead an easy life when the beginning. China is a developing country, the per capita income of China is far behind of German, it would cost almost my whole year income to buy a good guitar. However, there should be many common ground for Germany and China, otherwise, Robert of ASSASSIN wouldn't live in China for so long, haha."
And for sure the food is great, haha. Do you have some recommendations?
"You got the right person to answer this question, haha! My day job is Chinese food cook. Chinese food is delicious and very Metal I can say, I can take every part or gut of an animal, including brain and blood, to make a dish. Just imagine you are on a feast, chawing gut while drinking beer, nothing would be more Metal than this, haha!!"
Is there a problem in China to communicate via myspace? What about restrictions on the internet?
"Email on myspace was banned since early 2009, so I have to use Proxy to send and read letters every week now. And since some months ago you couldn't even login, you could visited the page and listen to music, but you just couldn't login, and when you want to login, you are asked to login myspace.cn... maybe it's the service problem caused by pushing the Chinese version of myspace. Besides, sometimes you can't visit youtube in China. People who want to contact us can send email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org."
Coming back to CHAOTIC AEON. How's the response so far to your music? Did you get a lot of feedback from fans and fanzines? How many copies of your demo have you sold?
"The response we got so far is all positive, and we are more confident now. Many Chinese Death Metalheads contacted us and said how glad they were when they heard the style of CHAOTIC AEON (because there's no MORBID ANGEL style band before in China). And the latest issue of Xmusick Magazine interviewed us, and both the magazine and www.areadeath.net published EP reviews. The demo has sold out, and EP has sold around 200 copies by far."
What are the next plans and steps for CHAOTIC AEON?
"We hope in 2010 we can go to more cities to play gigs. And we will release a 7" EP through Pest Productions again in 2010."
What do you think about publications like Voices From The Darkside?
"I like it very much as I'm an oldschool Metalhead, I got great deal of informations from it, but I can't read all of them due to my poor English." (You have to know that Song Kai was answering this interview in the Chinese language and a friend of him translated it into English – Thomas)
Have you been featured in other publications yet and what do you think about fanzines in general? Are you more into reading printed fanzines or online fanzines?
"The reviews were published in both, Xmusick Magazine (the first extreme Metal magazine in China) and www.areadeath.net (the best Metal webzine and forum in China). I often read more webzines than paperzines, because webzines are easier to get, you just get online and search what you want..."
As you know Voices From The Darkside is mostly dealing with oldschool Death, Thrash and Black Metal bands. You label CHAOTIC AEON as an "oldschool Death Metal" band. What does this mean to you?
"I assure you that CHAOTIC AEON will always be a oldschool Death Metal band. I can't explain what oldschool is in a few words, sorry, but oldschool Death Metal is what we only know and the best way to release ourselves."
Are you involved in the worldwide Death Metal scene? If yes, how long are you active in the Death Metal scene and do you have many contacts all over the world?
"I haven't been involved in the worldwide Death Metal scene, I have few contact in overseas, although myspace is the best channel but you may know that myspace.cn haven't been linked worldwide. I hope through Pest Productions we will be known by Metalheads from other countries."
Which are, from your point of view, the most supportive bands right now and why?
"I prefer AZARETH, DEAD CONGREGATION, SARPANITUM,… AZARETH has released 4 full length albums so far and all are top notch stuff. They have been keeping the dark, pagan and blasphemy feeling since their first album to the last. I like DEAD CONGREGATION because I'm a huge fan of INCANTATION, you know what I mean, their efforts can be considered as great as INCANTATION. I like SARPANITUM from England very much, their works are great, both musically and lyrically."
SLAYER - “Show No Mercy”
"VENOM is earlier than SLAYER, and maybe POSSESSED is the first Death Metal band, but for me, “Show No Mercy” and SLAYER is the real evil beginning, it's like a black bible with never ending influence."
GRAVE - “You'll Never See”
"I was a Thrash Metal manic before I picked up “You'll Never See” by GRAVE. Although I heard some Death Metal music before that, I never took them seriously, but everything began when I heard “You'll Never See”."
INCANTATION - “Onward To Golgotha”
"I felt dark, oppression and suffering when I heard “Onward To Golgotha”. I quite like the doomy parts in INCANTATION's music, when they suddenly appear in between those fast parts, you feel like you are falling to hell."
MORBID ANGEL - “Covenant”
"A, C, F of MORBID ANGEL are equally good to me, but “Covenant” was my first experience to MORBID ANGEL, and also my biggest influence when I write music for CHAOTIC AEON."
SHUB NIGGURATH - “Evilness And Darkness Prevails”
"I think any fan of SLAYER or MORBID ANGEL should give a try to “Evilness And Darkness Prevails” by SHUB NIGGURATH, it's a wonderful oldschool Death Metal masterpiece." (I totally agree here. Damn, where are my answers Eduardo??? – Thomas)
OK Song Kai, that's it. Hope you are satisfied with this interview. I want to say a huge thank you for answering my questions and wish you all the best for the future and great coming releases with CHAOTIC AEON. The last words are yours.
"Thank you for the support and thanks to Voices From The Darkside of course. I wish to make friends with Death Metalheads from all over the world. (You already did, Song Kai – Thomas) Please keep an eye on us. (We / I will – Thomas) OLD SCHOOL FOREVER!!!"
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