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INSANIA

There isn’t probably more cult band in the world than PENTAGRAM CHILE. We thought back to old times, spoke about the new album The Malefice and looked to the future.

Ave PENTAGRAM CHILE! I know that you as a band started playing already in 1985. I was 11 years old at that time and I only have poor memories, but you surely remember ... What did actually lead you to start a band? Please try to tell some of your memories to our readers. I don't really know whether you have ever done an interview with someone from the Czech Republic, but I didn‘t find anything. So after all the 28 years it would be good to finally introduce you as a band (laughs).

Haha, yeah of course we appreciate it. I don't really remember exactly when and why we decided to start the band. Juan Pablo Uribe and I would get together mainly to listen to metal records and drink beer, and at some point we started playing riffs which ended up turning into songs, so we basically had to find a drummer to start playing.

This year's album "The Malefice" is the first full length album in the history of your band. Otherwise you only have demo records, EP and compilations. Why is it so? You got no money or time for that?

Well, we were going to record an album back in the 80s, but the label we signed to stopped replying to our letters and it was all very frustrating. And there were other factors that made us eventually stop and disband in 1988. We only got back together for one show in 2001, just before I relocated to Europe. But in 2009 we were invited to play Wacken so we made a short European tour out of it, and the reactions from the fans was great, the chemistry inside te band was great, so we basically said „it's now or never“.

Back in 2001, I got your compilation called "Pentagram" from the year 2000. If I'm correct, your band back then was called the same (as the compilation). Why did you decide to change the name of the band?

What happened when we came to play in Europe in 2009 there was a lot of confusion because the US doom band Pentagram were also touring at the same time. And since they've obviously been around for much longer, we thought that we had to change the name slightly in order to avoid confusions, but we didn't want to change it to something completely different, because this is Pentagram after all, so we reached a compromise and caled ourselves Pentagram Chile.

Let’s get back to the past again. What was the situation in Chile in the 1980s considering the metal scene? Here in the Czech Republic was still socialism and it was really difficult to get at least some information about bands, records and so on. For example a lot of bands used to make their own instruments and amplifiers at home by themselves.

It was pretty tough in Chile, too. There was one record shop that had all te imported Lps, but they were really expensive, so two or three friends would put the money together to buy one and then record it onto tape and later exchange it for another and so on. There was not much access to good instruments either, there wasn't much of anything. And on top of it all we had the police harassing us constantly. We had everything and everyone against us.

Can you still remember what was the first band and record that got your attention so much that you decided to start making music? Was it difficult to gather mates who had the same interest and who could also play, so that PENTAGRAM CHILE  could actually be founded?

Well I remember one of the first metal records I heard was Black Sabbath's „Live Evil“ and I really liked it and started learning the riffs on my acoustic guitar. Then I pestered my parents until they bought me an electric. But I think it was probably Accept and Metallica that really gave me the kick to start thinking about forming a band. At first it was only Juan Pablo and myself, and I actually taught him to play the guitar. The hard thing was to get a drummer, and Eduasrdo was pretty much the only drummer in Chile who played double kick, so he was pretty much our only choise. We later got a bassist as well, but that wasn't that difficult.

Still talking about the past, how about gigs in Chile? How was the first live performance of the band, where was it, and how big the crowd was? Was it a gig just of your band or you had some other artists sharing the stage that night?

The first show was on December 28, 1985 in a sports hall, and it was pretty disastrous. The sound was shit, we were nervous and there were only like 50 people there. We played with Massacre (Chile), Rust, and a few other bands. But the scene grew really quick, and two years later we were already playing to 2,000 people. It was crazy because there was no security so it was all chaos and violence.

Still about the gigs... some European bands who have played in South America are really excited about the crazy fans over there. They say that sometimes the organization is not perfect, but the audience is absolutely crazy. How do you see this? Can you compare European and South American fans? Can you tell us about some interesting experience you had at a gig in Chile?

Well it's true the fans down in Chile are very passionate and crazy, whereas the European fans are already a bit spoiled because they have seene everything. One of the funniest things to happen at a gig was when I decided to dive into the crowd, and the bassist followed me, and then the guitarist, so it was just the drummer left up on stage. But it all got really violent and also the people had this stupid thing where they spit on the bands which I obviously absolutely hated and which was also one of the reasons we decided to stop.

If I'm not mistaken, at that time (since the beginning of the band in 1985 till 1990) there was still Pinochet's government in Chile. Were the metal bands somehow oppressed? Did you ever have any problems with the police, were your gigs forbidden or anything like that?

Yeah there were constantly problems with the police. They showed up to stop the shows all the time. One time they arrested the whole crowd, just put them on buses and drove them away. We used to get together outside this record shop and the police would chase us away or arrest us just because of the way we looked. The kids nowadays have no idea what it was like.

Another possible problem for a band in Chile could be a church. I know that in some countries in the past (and in some it is still going on) catholic church has been against metal bands. Did you also have any problems with a church? What is your opinion on a church? Most of the bands from the 1980s have re-thought their total rejection of anything that is christian and nowadays they are somehow less radical.

Well, although we never had problems with the church itself, they helped create the atmosphere were people were really afraid of us and thought we were satanic or whatever. The church even prevented Iron Maiden from playing in Chile for a long time. It was stupid. I myself am still totally against any form of organised religion, but I wouldn't go as far as to burn a church if you know what I mean. I don't think that's the way. The way is reason, just show them they are wrong and believing in some 2,000 year old fairytale.

You started playing in the age of audiotapes, there was no internet, and music was usually spread by postal service. I remember times when I was waiting for one record even a year. When I fnially got it, it was like a holiday for me. How did you spread your demo tapes?

Exactly the same. I made a few contacts through fanzines and started trading tapes. You would normally fill a 90 minute tape with all sorts of stuff you could get your hands on. And yeah, getting a new demo or album was always like Christmas.

According to the Metal-archives website, your first label was Chainsaw Murder from Switzerland. You had two songs released in 1987 on a vinyl record (by that time you had everything only on tapes). How did you get to this label? Was it them who got you known for the wider audience?

I don't remember exactly, but I think the guy who ran the label just contacted us and made us the offer and we immediately said yes. And I think that 7“ record has helped give the band the legendary status it enjoys.

Do you follow the current metal scene in Chile? I really like MELEKTAUS from your country, but they play brutal death metal. Can you recommend us some more bands? Are there any that you personally like?

Wow, there are LOADS of bands in Chile, and of all styles. I do a radio show which is aired on Chile's biggest classic rock radio station, and I always play new bands. A few bands to watch are Unblessed, Kythrone, Orategod, Nuclear, Impact, Armoured Knight, Inanna, well I could go on forever...

This year's album "The Malefice" was released as a CD with a second disc, on which you re-recorded your songs from the demo tapes. Was it hard to keep the original sound? The technical possibilities have changed a lot since then. I really like also the new songs, you can’t really hear a difference between the new and old material. It’s like going back in time. Was this a purpose?

Totally on purpose. We wanted the album to be a continuation of our demo material, as if we've had recorded it in '88 or '89, but obviously with a good sound. It wasn't that hard to recreate the sound, we just went for a really simple, pure approach.

How did it feel while composing new material after all the years? Who is the main author of the music, who wrote the lyrics, and with what feelings you went into the studio? Has your approach changed somehow? You both (Juan and Anton) are now older, have more experience etc.

It felt great and surprisingly easy. Juan Pablo and I wrote most of the music together over the course of one weekend, and I wrote the lyrics later. I can't deny I was a bit concerned when we went into the studio, because I knew a lot of people were going to be ready to rip us apart if the album didn't live up to their expectations.  I'm sure our approach has changed as well, I mean we're older (not necessarily wiser), but we still have this music inside of us.

"The Malefice“ was released at the Cyclone Empire from Germany. How did you actually get to them? Why did you choose them as a label for your new record?

I used to work at the Metal Blade label in Germany for a while and the guy who runs Cyclone Empire also worked there. He's a real old-school freak and a big fan of Pentagram, so I approached him about re-releasing the demos first. They did a great job, so we decided to do the new album with them as well.

You don’t seem to play a lot of live gigs. Why is it so? Will you support your new record with a tour? Will you also come to play in Europe?

Well right now the logistics are really complicated because I am living in Europe and the rest of the band is still in Chile. But we will manage somehow and we'll definitely be playing in Europe in 2014. We have actually been confirmed to play the Brutal Assault festival in your country!

What do you think is a main difference between the metal scene of the 1980s and present? Today there is internet and better technical possibilities, but I think people in the past were more excited about everything. What do you think? How about the attitude of people in the recording studios, production, fans etc.?

That's pretty much it really. Access to everything is so easy nowadays and there's so many bands it's difficult for anyone to stand out. Back then you had to work harder and be more patient about everything. But I don't idealize the old days either, becase a lot of aspects were pretty tough as well.

Do you know any bands from the Czech Republic? Do you have and listen to any of their CDs, vinyls etc.?

Not off the top of my head to be honest. Can you recommend any?

What about PENTAGRAM CHILE’s plans for near future? Will there be a new record? Are you working on a new material? I just hope we won’t have to wait another 28 years for it (laughs).

We were just talking about it yesterday. We are slowly going to start writing some riffs and compiling ideas, and then we'll get together in April next year to write the first few songs, but I wuldn't count with a new album before late 2015 or early 2016.

Thank you for the interview, wishing you loads of sold records and all the best for PENTAGRAM CHILE. I hope we'll meet somewhere at a gig!

Thanks for your support!

Translation by Duzl.

FACEBOOK

http://www.myspace.com/pentagramchileofficial
http://www.cyclone-empire.com/

REVIEW – "The Malefice" (in Czech)


Zveřejněno: 29. 01. 2014
Přečteno:
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Autor: Asphyx | Další články autora ...

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