A band that got invited to play this year’s PartySan festival only because of one demo and two split EP tracks obviously must have something special to offer… And indeed, Germany’s two-piece ERODED pretty much is the wet dream for every worshipper of the old Scandinavian Death Metal cult (at least when it comes to the music they create J)! These guys have easily managed to recapture the dark atmosphere and sheer brutality that a lot of bands used to spread in the early 90s, when the term "recorded at Sunlight Studio" was still a major selling point. So, anyone of you who still gets excited when band names like Gorement, Excruciate, DEMIGOD, Crematory, God Macabre, Megaslaughter or Traumatic get a mention, should definitely make sure to check out ERODED as well! To introduce these hopefuls a bit more in-depth to you, we hooked up with the band’s mastermind "P." for the following interview…
Greetings "P."… hope you’re in a good mood to do some talking about good oldfashioned Death Metal in general and a very cool band by the name of ERODED in particular… You’ve just did your very first gig ever (!) at this year’s PartySan Festival… How did you get this opportunity, weren’t you a bit skeptical whether or not it would be a good idea to kick things off this big right away and how did it turn out for you in the end?
"Hey Frank! I am actually in a really good mood as I have just returned from a four weeks vacation in Thailand. Well, well, the PartySan show… that opportunity came to us as out of nothing. On last year’s PartySan I gave our demo tape to Jarne, one of the organizers of the festival, and when our 7inch came out, I immediately sent him a copy of this as well. A few days later I received a mail from Jarne, offering us to open the Thursday evening of PartySan 2006. Jarne is – just as me and you – a big worshipper of Swedish Death Metal the ancient way, so I guess he simply liked the Eroded songs. This was of course a hard decision to make, as we a) didn’t have a complete line up, b) haven’t ever played live before and c) didn’t have enough songs to fill more than 25 minutes. But we simply couldn’t let this opportunity go. I mean, when do you have the chance to play in front of a couple of thousand people? We simply had to do it. When we entered the stage, the tent was already quite packed. For what I have heard, people have enjoyed the show, although my stage acting was probably kind of lame (I have NEVER ever been on stage before!) and we also had some terrible fuck ups like mistuned guitars, untightness etc. My personal motto for this evening was “Untight and nervous in Bad Berka”, haha. But it was a fantastic experience, I will always remember well."
On both of your releases (the "Beneath The Cross" demo and split 7" EP with PAGANIZER) ERODED used to be a two-piece band only, so who joined you on stage for this festival gig and was it just a one off line-up or will you continue to work with these guys?
"ERODED consists of K. and myself. We started the band and I want to keep it that way. For PartySan it was a huge problem as K. didn’t have time to play the show (he had recently moved and started a new job, so that’s why), I had to ask some friends to help out. Marc from Depression and Torsten and Hartmut from Symbiontic completed the line up for the show, but they are not members of Eroded. Marc has his duties with Depression and Sore, Torsten and Hartmut are quite busy with Symbiontic. I don’t know if any of them would like to join Eroded, but I think K. and I will stay a 2-piece. It has worked very well so far, so I don’t see a reason to change the current situation. Another issue is, that especially Hartmut and Torsten are really good musicians. Too good for ERODED, haha. I really mean it. Just listen to old Bolt Thrower or Asphyx. Far away from being good musicians, but killer riffs and extremely brutal and effective songs. I see ERODED more in that vein. Anyhow, I am very grateful that these guys helped out and I do hope they are into it for some more shows. ERODED will never play a tour or a lot of shows. One or two selected shows a year just do fine. Of course I know that we probably will never again get such an opportunity as PartySan. That was for sure a blast to start the live shows with."
As far as I know you’re already working on your first full length album, so tell us a bit more about the progress in that department… How many songs have you finished for it, will you re-record the demo and or EP songs, when and where will you record it and which label is gonna release it?
"Good question, but at this time a bit hard to answer. Fact is that I so far have written seven new songs (of which we have played three already at PartySan). I want to write one more song and that’s it. Eight songs and a playing time of about 35 to 40 minutes is enough for a Death Metal album in my opinion. We will not re-record any tracks from the demo or the 7inch. These songs are meant for the people who brought the first two releases. Maybe we will some day release the songs of the demo and the single again, but we definitely will not use them for the album. If everything works as planned, we will record the album in November. Some small labels have already contacted us to release the album, but maybe I do it myself on Imperium Productions. This way I have the control on everything, which is very important for me. On the other hand, I would of course like to have a proper distribution (like every band wishes), so if we get a cool offer, we might decide to sign with a label. Time will tell. We will most likely record the album again with Lars of Absence, who has already recorded the other two releases. I like his attitude and I am still satisfied with the sound of these releases. Especially if you have in mind that we only had about eight hours to recorded them."
Ok, let’s go back in history a bit now. According to your bio, ERODED was formed in December of 2004 by yourself (on vocals, guitar, bass) and "K." (on drums)… From what I understood you both seem to live quite far from each other, so how did this whole project actually come together then? How do you rehearse (if ever) and write songs?
"When we started ERODED, K. was still working for Century Media where I am still working. So we actually met at work, talked about the good old days and simply decided to do some music together. The songs of the demo where written in four weeks and then immediately recorded after two or three rehearsals. Now as K. has moved to Southern Germany, the situation has unfortunately changed to the worse. We cannot rehearse well anymore, I cannot play him the new riffs and he cannot start working on the drum arrangements. Pretty fucked up situation, but I really do hope we can continue like this. I am the sole song writer in ERODED. I write all music and take also care of the lyrics. As K. is much better in doing good arrangements, that’s where he kicks in. We are very fast in writing songs as we do not have the demand in writing totally unique music that is packed with crazy riffs, cool breaks, Maiden solos or shit. I mean, we play DEATH METAL! My understanding of this kind of music totally differs from the what the big magazines want everyone to believe to be Death Metal. ERODED will always stand for raw and straight Death Metal. I have just recently discussed the situation of the band with K. If it works as planned, we will do two rehearsals in November and then record the album in December. I am optimistic that it will happen like that."
What is the reason that your prefer not to use your full names in ERODED? Have you been playing in other bands before (or are you currently involved in any projects besides) you both hooked up?
"Actually there is no big reason behind not using our real names. We just thought it looks a bit more obscure and therefore decided to go for the capital letters. I have never played in any band before. I have been playing acoustic guitars about 10 years ago, but only for a short time and with not much success. When we founded ERODED, I exhumed my very old and very poor (but cool looking) Les Paul Japan imitation and started to rehearse a bit. So what you can actually hear on the demo tape are the first ever riffs written by me. I must say that I am still a lousy player, but due to some practice (I play about 30 minutes every day now), I have become a bit better. I do not have any side projects as ERODED fills me up pretty well. Nevertheless it would be great to play some other music besides Death Metal such as Crustcore in the vein of Disrupt or also Wolfpack or even some Doom, but really slow and not in the Trouble / Black Sabbath vein, but more like Swallow The Sun, old Paradise Lost etc. As I don’t see this happening in the near future, I have my musical favourites integrated in the ERODED sound. But don’t be afraid: there are really only very small Doom or Crust influences. We have one new song called ‘Dobermann’, which is a fast fucker and definitely has a small Punk attitude and I have just lately written an intro (or outro… I haven’t decided yet), which is very doomy and slow. The rest of the material will not have such influences. K. has been active with Depression since over 15 years now and I am sure he will still be around with this band for the next 15 years. Depression is his band since his teenager days, so I do know where his roots are and it is totally ok for me. This is actually the reason why I am the only song writer, as K. would use any cool riff he writes rather for Depression than ERODED."
Your debut demo "Beneath The Cross" was released in 2005, limited to 100 copies only… Tell us a bit more about that tape and why you decided to go for such a small number of copies? Were you a bit skeptical whether oldschool Death Metal from an unknown band would still sell?
"As ERODED was a completely new band, we thought it would be wise to first see who and how many people are still interested in such an antiquated sound. We gave away about 30 tapes for free to friends and sold the rest in a very short time. After the tape was sold out, we received further requests and I must confess that the temptation was high to release a second version of the tape, but we decided against it. Now I am sure that we easily could have sold 500 copies, but every owner of the tape now knows that he is holding a really rare recording in his hands and that’s what I like about the whole thing. By the way, the sound of the demo is kind of bad, but only because the tapes we used were of weak quality. The actual recording sounds much better and less dusty."
What was the reason for you to go for the classic tape format as opposed to the more common CD / CD-R or MP3 stuff? Did you get any negative feedback from people who think that tapes are not up to date anymore?
"That is really very simple to answer: a demo tape is the only real format for your first release. I hate CD-Rs and MP3s! A CD-R is a cheap and weak product. It’s ok to use it to spread ideas to other band members or some friends, but I would never release a CD-R and call it “official demo”. And as ERODED are meant to be worshippers of the old days, we simply had to do a tape version. The feedback was with no exception great. All the real maniacs highly appreciated to get a tape instead of a CD-R, although some asked to get the songs on CD-R as well as they don’t have a tape player anymore."
But as far as I noticed, the response on it has generally been pretty much overwhelming… Did that motivate you to continue on? Would you have buried the whole project if not even the 100 copies would have been sold?
"The good to mostly fantastic reviews came really in as a surprise. There has so far only be one really bad review. It actually wasn’t bad, but the guy simply wrote that our music is boring and average. I rather prefer to get a real disastrous review than an average one, like it was with the first Suffocation releases. But hey, as I mentioned above, all other reviews were great. To answer the second part: no, bad reviews would not have been a reason to immediately quit the band, but it’s of course not very motivating to receive bad reviews over and over."
Next up were the two new songs that got released on the split 7"EP with PAGANIZER… Tell us a bit more about them and how you ended up on this release? What kind of response did you get on it in comparision to the demo?
"K. was in contact with Rogga of Paganizer. As far as I know they traded some Depression stuff for some Paganizer releases. He also sent him a copy of “Beneath The Cross” and Rogga immediately came back to him saying that the tracks would be the best he has heard for a long time. K. then asked him if he would be interested in doing a split release with ERODED and although Paganizer was put on ice at that time, he agreed, recorded the two songs that are now on the single in a very short time, send us a photo, the cover artwork and the lyrics and that’s it. We had everything from Paganizer in house before our two songs were even finished in writing. However, we then hurried up a bit and after only eight weeks since our first contact, the 7inch was released. I am very proud of this release as I think it looks killer and the songs are better than on the demo. The production though differs from the one on the demo: it’s a bit more chaotic, but also much darker and more sinister. The Paganizer songs are fantastic and a cool contrast to our material. The ERODED songs are long and dark, the Paganizer songs are short and very straight. And both bands are quite brutal. Good combination, if you ask me."
It’s pretty obvious that your musical roots can be found mainly in good old, early 90s Swedish Death Metal, so which bands did impress you the most from that period? Is GRAVE your favorite band or what inspired the name ERODED?
"Grave is of course among my favourite bands of that time and yes, the band’s name is derived from the old Grave demo track. The album that definitely had the biggest impact on me was “Left Hand Path” of Entombed. I can still listen to this album almost every day without ever getting bored. I love it. It is the essence of Swedish Death Metal for me. But there are definitely a lot of other bands that have had a huge influence on me and the music of ERODED. Of course these bands back then were the well-known acts such as Unleashed, Dismember, Edge Of Sanity, Necrophobic and the likes. But the deeper I digged the underground back then, the more true gems of Death Metal showed up. Bands from that era from Sweden that I really love are Utumno, Gorement, Crematory, God Macabre, Megaslaughter, Wombbath, Absurd (the real ones from Sweden, not these pathetic retards from Eastern Germany who pretend to play Black Metal), Traumatic, Evocation, Sarcasm, Goddefied, Excruciate, Epitaph. Finland had also some great bands to offer. What comes to my mind as an influence for ERODED are definitely Demigod, old Amorphis, Necropsy… only to name a few. There is one other band from Sweden that made me fall on my knees in humble homage and that is Tiamat. This may come as a surprise to some, as Tiamat definitely cannot be considered being a mere Death Metal band, but just darken your room and listen to “Sumerian Cry” or “The Astral Sleep” and you will find out what really somber music can be all about. Musically and lyrically these two albums of Tiamat have had and still have there own very special place in my mind. Other non-Scandinavian bands that I simply adore are Asphyx, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, Sadistic Intent, Immolation, Divine Eve, Carcass, Napalm Death and others. Too many to name them all. Besides these Death Metal bands, there are of course some other non-Death Metal bands that I cannot deny having had a big push on me. I really love Bathory, early Emperor, W.A.S.P., old Destruction, old Kreator, old Sodom, Testament, Queensryche, King Crimson and hundreds of other bands. I definitely do not want to limit the musical variety to just one style. Too much good music around to ignore it. One important thing I would like to point out: although ERODED definitely sounds pretty Swedish, I rather prefer to call our music European Death Metal than to call it Swedish Death Metal. I mean, we’re from Germany and not from Sweden, so it maybe is a bit stupid to call our music Swedish Death Metal from Germany. And as I wrote above, our influences not only come from the Swedish bands."
Did you grew up on that first wave of Swedish Death Metal, with all its classic demo releases, the tapetrading period and xeroxed underground zines? Have you been collecting any stuff from that period or was it more the albums of those bands that pretty much changed your life?
"When I started listening to Metal back in 1987, I started just as any other kid with Accept, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Then I heard Metallica, Slayer, Exodus and Testament which led the way to Kreator, Destruction, Living Death, Sodom etc. My friends back then were also all listening to these bands, but when I on one day was hanging around in our local record shop, a strange looking album with a pink artwork and a great logo caught my eye. This was of course “Leprosy” of Death. My friend and I immediately checked out the album. He hated it and called it noise. Well, I bought it and my fate was sealed. After I had discovered this album, I was eagerly searching for other music in that vein, but as none of my school mates liked Death Metal at all (I was actually the only one on our entire school of 800 pupils who liked this music) it wasn’t possible for me to become a part of the blossoming underground scene. So, it’s sad to say so, but I was only into tape trading in the regular way as the regular bands were the only ones to which I had access to. Luckily we had a really cool record store in our neighbour town of Dortmund (Idiots Records, who are still around and well), that was offering all the great 7inches that were released in the early 90s. So although I missed most of the demo tapes, I at least were able to complete my vinyl collection, which now contains some true pearls of that time. The only 7inch I am still looking for is the “Severe Abominations” single of Treblinka. I am not willing to pay 100 bucks and more for two songs, so I am afraid I will never get it, haha. Anyhow, I am quite happy about the rare LPs, CDs and singles I call my own, so not having the original demo tapes doesn’t feel that bad."
There’s also a band from Italy that uses the name ERODED… Have you been in touch with them already? Has anyone of you considered to change the name maybe?
"I found out about this band through Myspace. I have never heard of them before and was actually pretty shocked when I saw that they use the same name and even had a similar slogan “Death Metal without compromise” or something like that. I must admit that I liked their music very much. I contacted them to tell that I like their sound and what strange coincidence it was to have two bands with the same name and the same musical direction. Since then, we are sporadically in contact and the guys even came the whole way from Italy to see our show at PartySan. These guys are ten years younger than K. and me, but they really manage to catch that old feeling in their songs. Luca, the main guy behind them, gave me a CD-R with five tracks and they are really cool. Although it’s the same kind of Death Metal, there are some small but important differences. In my opinion the Italian Eroded are the better musicians and you can hear that in every single song, whereas we sound a bit more sinister and darker. But this is my personal opinion, so maybe others see it the other way round. Anyhow, neither or us will change the band name. We will not do this, because we were a bit faster in founding the band and they will also keep up the band name what is totally fine for us. We have even bullshitted a bit about doing a split release. Nothing has happened in that direction, but maybe we can do something in that vein sooner or later."
Your website www.eroded.de does not offer much information, nor pictures… Is that about to follow sometime in the near future or do you prefer to keep it as basic as possible?
"There simply isn’t much to put on this side. We do not have many photos or other things of interest and honestly spoken, I don’t want to spend too much time on the website. It’s cool to have it, but it’s just a website. K. is putting some news on it every now and then, but as not much is happening what can we include there? Maybe we can upload a small clip from the PartySan show… have to think of it. I have created a Myspace site some months ago, which at the moment offers some more interesting info than our regular website, so feel free to check it out at www.myspace.com/59235853… if you type in www.myspace.com/eroded you will reach the site of the other Eroded from Italy, which is also worth a visit."
Besides ERODED you also work for Century Media and run the fine, small label Imperium Productions… Isn’t it difficult to find enough time for all of those activities?
"Yes, lack of time is a huge problem for me and gets bigger and bigger every month. I like my job at Century Media, but it is a regular job and therefore takes away 8 to 10 hours a day. Besides that I am studying on three evenings a week, I need time to play guitar and write songs for ERODED as well as you of course always want to spend some private time with my wife, my dog and with friends. So the day is always totally packed which at the moment makes it almost impossible for me to work for Imperium Productions properly. This label is very important for me. I started it in order to release vinyl albums of bands, that no one has released vinyls of before. I am very much into high quality releases and therefore the production costs have so far been always very high. Too high, to run the label in a total underground style. I definitely would need a good distribution in order to not only sell the albums (they are actually selling quite well), but to sell them fast to have a good cash flow. But this means that I at least would have to put two to three hours a day into the label and this is time I definitely do not have at the moment. I don’t want to quit the label as it is so much fun and I am very proud of each release, but I definitely will have to think of a solution rather sooner than later. Imperium Productions has so far ate up a lot of money, so people: buy the albums so I can do more releases! Haha! But seriously, I HATE all the so-called underground labels that have been flooding the scene with the shittiest vinyl releases since about two or three years. This attitude of money-making rip-off tactics is ruining the existence of the dedicated labels. And there are still some out there that do care of high quality like the mighty Nuclear War Now (the fucking best vinyl releases I have every seen!!!), Norma Evangelium Diaboli, Constellations, Nuclear Winter, The End, Iron Pegasus and others."
Any new releases planned for Imperium Productions already?
"I have just recently released the new album of COFFINS called “The Other Side Of Blasphemy”. This has been my first CD-only release and I can so far already see, that this release will most likely pay off. I simply love this album! It is so damn non-commercial and heavy. Definitely not for the faint-hearted. There are two more vinyl releases that I so far cannot officially announce as the legal stuff hasn’t been sorted out yet. I really would like to release another CD, but it’s hard to find really good and outstanding bands in the underground scene that haven’t already been signed to a label."
Ok "P.", that’s all for now. If you would like to add anything from your side to this interview, feel free to do so, otherwise I’ll let you go now. All the best with ERODED and Imperium Productions.
"There is in deed something I would like to mention at the end and it is regarding the today’s Death Metal scene. I have behold the development of the scene and bands as good as possible during the last 15 years. My impression is that – despite the fact that the big boom is over for a long time – the scene is still alive and surprisingly productive. There are so many good new underground bands from everywhere around the globe, that play real Death Metal. It is a shame that the big magazines and label are trying to sell some Metalcore bands as Death Metal instead of looking for the real bands. Do never let them direct you in this way, because it is false! Death Metal has nothing to do with twin guitar wizardry, stylish outfits, lyrics about vegan food or circle pits. It is about death and darkness. Plain and simple. It should be raw and brutal and dark and evil. I don’t want to bitch about some of these bands and I do respect their musical capabilities, but what the fuck do they have to do with Death Metal? Is this the new scene? These bands do by no means transport the spirit of the music. In my ears and eyes they are faceless and boring. It is definitely not enough to be able to play your instrument well (although this is of course an advantage, haha), but the music itself has to transport the spirit of Death Metal. Just take bands such as Necros Christos, Coffins or Funebrarum and you know what I mean. Or check websites like this one or read some fanzines to get an idea what Death Metal is all about. The true pearls are hiding in the underground, so take your time and search for them and you will not be disappointed. Well, I am maybe going a bit too far now, but this is the music I worship and not the one of some non-beer-drinking, baggie pants wearing and eye-make-up-using metro-sexual kiddies who think that the last Metallica album kicks more ass than “Ride The Lightning”. So, Frank, thanks a lot for the interview. This has been our second one so far, so I hope I did not only write boring answers. I am not an expert yet, haha. Keep up the good and dedicated work with VFTDS and all the best!"