In 2001 I stumbled over PYAEMIA at the Ear Terror Festival in Germany and was caught by their show. After having seen the band at the Fuck The Commerce in 2002 I came to the conclusion I’d have to “talk” to them. I think it was in autumn 2002 when I sent these questions over to Joel and forgot about them (too much work I didn’t do anyway). Unfortunately he forgot about them as well and just stumbled over them recently. One week before that particular email account was being shut down I received his answers, so it’s only by chance you get to read this. Sometimes one just needs a little luck, eh? And sorry I’m bothering you with a few standard questions of mine – it’s been a long time since I made up these points, now I am older and much wiser ; -)
First of all: how did you get hooked to Heavy Metal and Death Metal? Was it a record, a concert, a friend…? What was your first Metal / Death Metal album?
“I first got hooked on Death Metal when our drummer and my longtime friend Robbe asked me to copy a tape for him which was handed over to me by someone he knew. When I first popped it in to check out what I was about to copy I was brutalized by the tones of Morbid Angel and Obituary. At that time I was already hooked on Megadeth and Anthrax and I think I was ready for even more brutality and I started checking out more bands by looking through band thanks lists of the albums I already had. The first Metal concert I went to was of a Dutch band called Gutwrench (rip) which was a mindblowing experience :)”
What made you become musicians? Did you play other instruments before the guitar?
“I already played guitar for a while when we formed Pyaemia. The other members kind of rolled into their form of musicians, all selftaught and with covering existing songs learned about different skills.”
Which bands and artists did and still do inspire you? I guess you’re big SUFFOCATION fans? What else?
“Almost every brutal band that I like is an inspiration, they all have something special. As for Suffocation, they will allways be the first band that influenced us the most not in a way of wanting to do exactly the same but more in ways of the perfected grooving technical brutality combined with great songwriting.”
Tell us about the founding days of PYAEMIA: when and how did you find everybody, did you know each other from school, for example, etc.?
“Our drummer, guitarist and ex bassplayer all went to the same school and they had a schoolgig coming up. Everybody could sign up to show all the parents their thing. Anton, Robbe, Frank and Peter Jan decided to cover a couple of Death Metal songs for that night, they only needed a vocalist and since Robbe and me know eachother since kindergarten he asked me to join them. The show was a complete succes with most of the parents leaving the theatre because of the noise and brutality we unleashed upon them, lol 🙂 After that Peter Jan (guitars) left and I picked up his guitar while maintaining my vocals and we started to create our own songs.”
You were a member of DISAVOWED in their demo days – why did you leave the band and did PYAEMIA already exist when you played with DISAVOWED?
“I already knew the guys from DISAVOWED (they were still called NOCTURNAL SILENCE back then) since I was friends with their former drummer. I used to hang out alot at their rehearsal place, kinda being their groupie:) It was when their drummer left that I recommended our drummer Robbe to play for them and not long after that their lead guitarist also quit. I filled the gap and with the new line-up we recorded the full length "Plateau". After this CD we decided to change the band’s name into DISAVOWED, reflecting more what the concept was all about after the changes. With the new name we also recorded a new MCD entitled "Point Of Few". Right after the recordings I decided to leave them because I was getting too busy with PYAEMIA. Because we are friends for so long and our shared drummer, PYAEMIA and DISAVOWED are one big family with great respect and support towards each other.”
Your drummer is still playing with DISAVOWED – do you expect any problems from that? What do you think: in case he would have to concentrate on only one band, would he stay with PYAEMIA or DISAVOWED?
“I think Robbe would go for the band which is dedicated most but really, right now he doesn’t have to make that decision because both bands are being totally understanding towards each other and we have always managed to keep both bands doing their thing. We have been doing it this way for over 5 years now, without any major problems or whatsoever.”
Who came up with the band’s name, what’s the idea behind it?
“We dug the name out of a medical dictionary and there’s no idea behind it… We wanted a Death Metal name and came up with this cheesy one :)”
Did all the demo tracks you ever recorded make it to "Cerebral Cereal"?
“Yes, the tracks on "Cerebral" are all the tracks Pyaemia ever wrote. We’re slow writers, always nitpicking about basicly everything:)”
Please tell us how you got your record deal. What’s the secret behind that?
“I think we all suck great cock for starters hahaha:) Nah we just send out our demo CD and Unique Leader seeked contact with us which resulted in our deal, which we are really greatful for since it has gained us a good fanbase and some kickass shows / tours.”
Who painted your cover? Was it your first choice?
“Our cover was done by JonZig who has done alot of Metal covers (Deeds of Flesh, Dying Fetus, disavowed, Disgorge). For me personally he was my first choise although we always wanted to have a cover done by Dan Seagrave, because he has such kickass detail in his work. But JonZig was a great alternative, especially for the genre we’re in.”
How is the club scene in your hometown? Can you play live in the Netherlands a lot?
“Since our drummer Robbe was out of drumming for nine months (some sort of injury as far as I remember – Ramon) we can now play quite some shows in the Netherlands but it’s not that we play gigs every weekend. There’s so much to do in the weekends here that you won’t draw an insane and Metal hungry crowd over here, only the bigger bands pull that off.”
What’s the Dutch underground scene like? Any unknown bands you can recommend?
“Well there’s a new line-up for BLOODCUM coming featuring Daan (DISAVOWED / BLOODCUM), Marco (BLOODCUM), Robbe K (DISAVOWED), Frank (ex-PYAEMIA), myself and a new drummer which name I totally forgot:) It might take a while before we have something out but it will be definitely somehting special! Also watch out for the new BLOODBOIL album which shreds, the new PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT album (whore Metal deluxe) and the new oldschool blasting PUTREFIED album.”
You did quite some touring with DEEDS OF FLESH (I think I remember correctly?) through America and Europe and you played several festivals like EAR TERROR or FUCK THE COMMERCE. Please tell us something about those tours: what were the clubs like in the US and over here, which festivals did you like most and did anything funny or annoying happen? Please tell us a bit from ‘life on the road’.
“All the touring and festivals have been great! It’s cool to meet Metal fans all over the world, them actually knowning your music or hearing it for the first time and digging it, that’s just amazing! The US and Canada were amazing, we had lots of killer shows and we met loads of cool people, especially the Rimouski Open Air Fest was totally cool with brutal bands, beer, rain and lots of stagediving 🙂 In Europe it’s always fun to play in countries like Germany, Belgium, France and on our last tour countries like Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Spain. The funny stories contain much alcohol and weed abuse, car and bus troubles and so forth, too much to mention:)”
How was the tour financed? I mean, you were on the road for weeks – was this all covered by your record company? I suppose you can’t live from PYAEMIA? So you had to leave behind your jobs. Did you get them back or did you find something else easily?
“Touring hasn’t been a problem for all of us. When we went to the US, Anton and me just lost our job due to bankruptcy of the company we worked for (we found new ones after we came back) and Robbe and Frank were both students at that time with loads of free time:) I have a really cool boss that allows me to take alot of free time for the band, Robbe has temporary jobs, Anton is back in school with some freelance work and our new bassplayer Worm has a steady job as well but with alot of holiday time off. As for support on the road, we get toursupport from our label and we pay bits of it ourself, we see it more as a vacation (which isn’t totally free as well;)”
What are your plans for the near future? When will we be listening to the next album? What’s it going to sound like? Or will there be further touring first?
“First of all we are glad to be back on track with playing gigs. Plus we are writing new material because we want to record a new album somewhere in March / April next year which will be totally PYAEMIA full with brutal grooving and technical Death Metal you’re used from us. We’re also doing a small European tour in June with our friends of ABORTED, headlined by IMPALED and supported by an Israelian band called LEHAVOTH.”
What’s the PYAEMIA song writing process like? And what inspires your music and the lyrics? Do you watch certain movies, read books, etc.? Do you have any favourite movies / books / records you somehow connect with PYAEMIA?
“The writing process goes in the way that I come up with a a couple of riffs which the whole band arranges into a worked out piece of music. The lyrics come on top of that. For "Cerebral Cereal" Frank and me wrote all the lyrics, now Anton creates all the lyrics which are and where inspired by gore and splatter, just the type of thing you can expect from a brutal Death Metal band, nothing special. We all like our gore movies and I especially are a great fan of the Italian gore genre. Gore galore all the way!”
The three central aspects in the life of a musician: what are your thoughts and feelings about writing songs, recording them and playing live? And what do you like best (why?)?
“All three things have their cool aspects, for example, it’s really cool to complete a new song, to record it perfectly onto disc and finally to play it before an insane crowd. But sometimes that process is fucked up when writing songs isn’t working out good, a writersblock or difference in musical taste (leading to angry bandmembers:) always suck within a band. Out of all three I think we all like playing a flawless and brutal gig best."
Do you have an interesting or funny story for our readers?
“I always have funny stories to tell on stage so I suggest to check out PYAEMIA whenever we play in you neighbourhood, hahaha!”
Any last words? Something I forgot to ask, etc.?
"Yeah! Ramon thanks alot for this interview and sorry for my extreme lagging with answering this interview, I am only human hee hay! For your readers, please come and check us out on the road and check out our homepage at: www.pyaemia.com And don’t forget, keep supporting every brutal and kickass Death Metal band out there!"
Interview & Pics: Ramon Claassen