Saturday, November 28, 2009
The band was originally thought of as an all swedish death metal cover band called Stockholm Syndrome. This "band" never actually had a practice, but it planted a seed to start something new. After it was known that some of the members were not going to actually commit to doing it, the band was put on hold for a while. In the spring of 2006, Wes Caley (Uphill Battle, Exhumed) decided that he would like to make a version of the band that did original songs instead of cover songs but in the same style as Entombed, Nihilist, Grave, Dismember, and Unleashed. He contacted Neil Burkdoll (Dirty Dead, Stump) after hearing his POOR project that he did that was similar to what Wes had in mind for his Swedish style band. Just as Wes made contact with Neil, he found out that Neil was actually moving out to California in the near future. They decided it was time to get together create FATALIST. Eventually Fatalist enlisted Tyler Castro and Art Hayes (ex-Butchery) to complete the line-up on drums and bass. In late summer of 2007, the band recorded a 7 song demo cd called "Loss" and started looking for shows to play in California. In Feb 2008, Fatalist signed to Ibex Moon Records!!! In Nov 2009, the full length album "The Depths of Inhumanity" was released on Ibex Moon Records.
Hi Neil, since when is California located in Sweden? With that continental drift the weather gets shittier!
Neil-Since May of 2006 actually. Yeah, I´m sure the weather is much nicer here than in actual Sweden, those poor bastards!!!
How are you man? Tell me about the band! The first idea was to do a pure cover band of old Swedish Death Metal. Who the hell needs a cover band?
Neil-I`m doing good, thanks. Just trying to keep up with doing interviews and press for the new album. The band was formed by Wes Caley and I in May of 2006 because we wanted to do something different than our previous bands. When we started the band, we didn´t really know of any other bands out there doing this sort of thing and now there are a million popping up. We thought that everyone would hate what we were doing, but people seem to dig it. The cover band Stockholm Syndrome never actually happened, it was just an idea that never went anywhere. We formed FATALIST instead.
What was the crucial point to let fail that idea and form a real band?
Neil-The point that we decided to form an original band was when I moved out to California in April of 2006, and it seemed like no one else other than Wes wanted to commit to doing the cover band. Some of the other guys didn´t want to make the 60-70 mile drive out to practice so that idea died. When I moved out here and hooked up with Wes and we started from scratch.
Do you see your band critical; is it actually a real band?
Neil-I´m not sure what you mean by that, but we are an actual band. We have 4 members and we play shows and practice. I do most of the songwriting, recording, and business stuff, but the other members are part of the band for sure. Wes writes most of the lyrics and a few songs musically as well.
Yes, but I mean you have your own songs but style, sound and so on is not really yours!
Neil-Well, there are a lot of bands doing this sort of style and we don´t claim to be inventing anything. We were just sick of the Death Metal music scene and we wanted to write some Old School catchy songs that had real memorable parts that people could understand. We don´t sit around and try to sound “Old School” or “Swedish” or anything, we just write whatever we want and it sounds more ?Swedish? because of the guitar sound.
As you started the writing process, have you known where the journey shall lead you or have you just let it drift you?
Neil-Yeah, Wes and I knew we were going to write songs that could have come out at the same time as all of the old classics. We didn´t want to sound like any one band, we just wanted to sound like we came out on Earache or Century Media in 90 - 92.
Give me some details about the album!
Neil-The album “The Depths of Inhumanity” is out on Ibex Moon Records and it features 11 songs of Old School Death Metal. It is actually the 7 songs off of our “Loss” demo and 4 new songs added to it. Everything was re-mastered and it has new artwork and lyrics added to it. I recorded, mixed, and mastered it at my home studio. It was released on Nov 23rd, 2009 in the States and I think it will be released in January 2010 in Europe.
If I hear the cd I can imagine that you had pure fun in the writing process and each song is spontaneous. Am I right or was it a hard job after all?
Neil-Some songs came out really naturally but some were harder to write. I wrote 7 of the 11 songs musically and it is easy for me to write the first 3-4 parts of a song and then it is harder to finish it for some reason. I don´t know if is “fun” to write our songs, but I am happy as shit when they are done.
In your opinion, is it favorable to give each song its own identity to make them not replaceable?
Neil-Yeah, we try to give each song a different sound so that they don´t seem similar to any of the other songs. I don´t know if anyone will agree with that, but I think they each have their own identity. I hate when bands have 20-30 songs on their albums and I can´t tell the difference between any of them.
Was this complicated to create that typical Sunlight sound? Without that the album would have not worked for sure!
Neil-It wasn´t hard to get that sound, but I also don´t think I got it perfect by any means. I wish I knew how to get the guitars to sound more like the Sunlight sound. I have a few ideas for the next album to try and get it even more similar. I made sure to use the same amps/pedals and we used a Roland V-Drum set so that it sounded close to the drums that they used on the original recordings.
What made the old Scandinavian school so damned attractive? Your own musical background is likely another.
Neil-Like I said earlier, it was just something that Wes and I hadn´t tried before. I did a 3 song demo under the name POOR that was more like Nasum or Rotten Sound and it used the same guitar sound, but doing an “Old School” type of thing was new for me. Wes and I already did the Carcass thing with Exhumed and Stump, so that was out of our system. Entombed/Dismember was just the next thing for us to do. I think we just wanted to do something more simple and also those Swedish bands had a creepy vibe that we wanted to capture. I hope we came close.
No doubt, but does this kind of music work in the US nowadays? I mean there are a lot of technical, brutal, slam, progressive, core or what ever bands out there.
Neil-No not really, there are a handful of bands in The States that we can relate to, but for the most part, we are more popular in the rest of the world. Americans mostly like Brutal bullshit that we can´t relate to.
Can you thrill the young folks with your tunes actually? Or is that not a bit your matter?
Neil-It seems like more kids are getting into the older stuff. Thrash is having it´s revival right now and I think this New Wave of Old School Death Metal is sort of getting bigger as well. I don´t know if it´s a trend or anything, but I think people just want real songs again. It´s probably older geezers who like us, but I do know a lot of kids into us. It gives us hope, that´s for sure.
Is it the right way to get a hearing in a hopeless overcrowded scene while you remember on old values?
Neil-I have no idea, we just wanted to do something new by playing something old. Does that make sense? We thought that people would hate what we are doing, so it´s cool that anyone likes our shit at all. If we can have any impact on the scene at all is a good thing.
You have stolen your logo from NIHILIST: coolness or respect?
Neil-The logo isn´t the exact same. A lot of bands used the Old English logo like Nihilist, Entombed, Bathory, Burzum, Carnage, etc. When I made the logo, I thought that people would know what we sounded like just by seeing the logo. I think it worked pretty well. We had a new original logo that Leon from Phobia/Exhumed/Impaled made for us, but we went back to the original because it fit us better.
Tell me about the upcoming 7 with GRAVEHILL!
Neil-I don´t know if this will ever see the light of day. We both just want to work on new albums and not just waste one song on a 7 inch, but we hope to one day have this out. Who knows?
Tell me your opinions about the following bands;
Neil-I never saw what the big deal was with this band. They are OK, but I think they are mostly popular because of their former members.
Neil-Again, they are OK and I own their demos on a bootleg cd.
Neil-All I ever knew about these guys was that Lars and Matti were in this band. I never could find any cd´s/tapes by them back in the day so when I finally heard them a few years ago on-line, I wasn´t to impressed either.
Neil-I do like these guys however. I sort of like their later songs more than I like their earlier songs. There are not a lot of bands that you can say that about. Most bands suck after their first 1-2 albums. I always thought these guys had a lot of American/Brutal style riffs that worked well with their Swedish riffs.
And which is the most underrated band of the old days in your opinion?
Neil-Probably Edge of Sanity or Evocation. The first 3 EOS albums and the first 2 Evocation demos are classics. I could listen to them everyday.
Have you already checked the NIRVANA 2002 release on Relapse? Do we need all old sounds actually?
Neil-I bought this a few weeks ago when it was released. I think “Mourning” is amazing!!! (Yes, the best song for sure, Jörg) If they had released an album with that sound and song writing, we would be talking about them instead of Entombed/Dismember/Carnage/Unleashed/Grave. I do think we need the old sounds because most of this shit is to hard to get. I have to pay $100 on ebay or download some shitty sounding mp3?s that I hate. Fuck that shit!!!
Nowadays all bands who stopped 10 or 15 years ago become cult status pretty fast. Do you think that is correct or receives crap sometimes flavor to make money with it?
Neil-Yeah, there were a lot fewer bands back then and it was harder to get on a label. Most of those bands are classics for a reason. It was an exciting time back then for sure. I remember being like 13 years old when all of the Earache cd´s were being released by Combat records in The States. It was so new compared to the Combat and Roadrunner records that were out at the time. Century Media was a few months later and it was a whole new batch of bands that became my whole life at the time. We will never have a time that again.
What else do you know about Sweden scene besides their ingenious Death Metal music?
Neil-Just their Black Metal scene and their recording studios. That´s about it. What else is there to know? I hope that we will be able to play some shows there one day. That would be a dream come true for sure.
Thanks a lot for your patience, last spot is yours!
Neil-Thanks for the interview and helping us to spread the word. Go and buy our album “The depths of inhumanity” on Ibex moon Records!!!!