Ave GRAVEYARD! You appeared on the festival Obscene Extreme in our republic last year. Do you remember what the show was like? I wasn’t there, but my friends told me you were great. How did you enjoy this festival and did you like our country?
Hi, Jakub!!! The Obscene Extreme Fest was awesome and we had a great time there. Our show was a little bit strange because of the rain, but we enjoyed it anyways and tried to give our best. We met lots of nice people, saw some old friends and got drunk every night so, yes, it was a very good time. Also your country is a beautiful and quiet place, a lot quieter than Spain, to be honest!!!
This question is very often maybe, but I ask you as well. You are coming from Barcelona in Spain and you are playing „Swedish“death metal with links to other bands from 90th. Spain isn’t country with many old school death metal bands, it’s a bit unusual. When you have been started in 2007, what groups were models for you and why did you decide to play this kind of music?
Well, when we started, our only goal was to play Death Metal the classic way, the way the bands we all love and worship did back in the time. We did not look surround us looking for a Spanish band that we could take as a model, we just grabbed our instruments and started playing, it’s not like we needed much more than that, actually. It is true that Spain has always been a little bit of a weird place for Metal, even when compared to smaller countries in Europe, but it’s also true that Spain suffered a fascist dictatorship for 40 years and that leaves a very deep scar in the people, I think the Spaniards are only starting to get over it now, almost 40 years after Franco’s death. That’s possibly the main reason to explain the lack of a proper scene in Spain.
Not only the album „ The Sea Grave“ has a very good „old“ sound. You were recording in Moontower Studio. How did you achieve such a „rotten“ sound? Did you have a clear idea, how to sound, when you went to the studio? Were there any albums patterns for you?
Well, we have always recorded our stuff in Javi Bastard’s own Moontower Studios, the place is like our own private studio and that is great, of course. It gives us total control over the recording process, the mixing and mastering and everything else. It’s also great to have a professional sound engineer like Bastard in the band, because that means we can focus on the music and the sound and leave all the technical stuff to him. Also, we all have a solid background in studio recording, so it’s not that difficult for us to know how to do things in order to achieve the right sound for our music. We didn’t have any particular recording in mind, just tried to get the proper Death Metal sound and make “The Sea Grave” sound a little bit darker than “One With The Dead” that ended up sounding too clean and crystalline for us.
A man with nick The Mad Arab is signed under the lyrics on the last album. Who is this person? The lyrics were edited by Julkarn. How did they come into being and are they important for you? I have read you like books from Howard Phillips Lovercraft.
The Mad Arab is none other than the mighty necromancer Abdul Alhazred, herald of chaos and author of the Necronomicon. Some of his texts and poems were edited and adapted by me with the highest respect and humility to be used as lyrics by Graveyard. I have read all of HP Lovecraft’s work and it is still a huge influence as well as a big source of inspiration. I think no other author has managed to create such a powerful feeling of vast and cosmic fear, almost in a religious sense.
The inspiration to your lyrics comes from different occult matters, antichristianity, death and horrors topics among others. I know that some bands are lumped together with satanists. Spain is taken as a country with lots of believers. Did you have any problems with Church? What is, in fact, your relationship to the Church?
Well, Spain as a country has had a very strong presence of the Catholic Church but I don’t think that means our country is a particularly believing one. Churches are almost empty most of the time and people are not strict at all when it comes to religion. In fact, I have never have a problem with the Church nor has Graveyard ever had one. I’m an atheist and find any belief based on faith alone to be quite stupid, that’s why you will never find any openly satanic theme on our lyrics. I can understand the power of satanist imagery as a means of expression, but will never accept satanism as a valid way of thinking because of its foundation being faith alone.
Who is the main songwriter in GRAVEYARD? Do you write songs together or is it job for one man only? How do you form new songs?
Usually it’s Javi or me who bring an idea, maybe a more or less finished song or just a bunch of riffs and afterwards we always work on it together. But sometimes it is Gusi or Marc who writes new stuff. Personally, writing music is a bit of a painful process for me. It takes me a very long time to find the right riffing and develop the different parts that conform a song into something that I find worth to show others, it is a bit frustrating sometimes. But it’s also true that once you listen to the recorded song, after all the work and effort you’ve put into it, it can be very satisfying.
The cover to „The Sea Grave“ was made by Matthew „Putrid“Carr. His works belong in my opinion to the best. I think he focus‘on death metal mostly. What was your teamwork like? Did you send him your songs for inspiration? And why Matthew? The cover for „One with the Deat“ was drawn by Robert F. Giordano, wasn’t it?
Well, we chose Matt for two reasons. First of all he is a very talented artist and we have a true and deep admiration for his work; second he is a good friend of the band and working with him is always easy and smooth. Every time we have worked together, I have sent him an e-mail trying (poorly) to explain to him the cover I was seeing in my mind with the highest degree of detail possible. Then Matt would make suggestions to my original babble and, after we both establish a good working plan, he would get to it and send regular pencil sketches to us. Roberto F. Giordano, on the other hand, is a childhood friend of mine and a very talented tattoo artist, I think a good portion of Metal musicians in Barcelona have his ink on their skin. Working with him was a first priority for us, since he was the owner of the basement where we recorded our first demo and has helped and followed the band since day one.
„The Sea Grave“ was published in a very nice vinyl version too. It is coming to the rebirth of this medium. How does it look with the sale? Some groups are claiming that they sell more vinyls than cds. What is your relationship to records?
Well, to be honest with you, since we are not in music for the money, we are never very well informed about the sales. It is not that important to us. I know that “The Sea Grave” has been selling quite nicely and that the vinyl version is sold out but I don’t know the details of the sales. My point is that we must be doing quite well if the record companies want to work with us, but again, selling records is not our priority. Our goal is to be honest to ourselves and make the music we would like to listen to and to pay tribute to the great bands of the past at the same time.
For the first time I have heard about your band in 2008, when you published your EP „Into the Mausoleum“. It was published by the Spanish label BlackSeed Productions as well as the next cd „One with the Dead“ (2009). Last album was released by the German War Athem Records. Why did it come to this change and why this label?
Blackseed (and our vinyl label at the time, Antichristian Front) have done a lot of things for us and we are eternally grateful for their help, but we got to a point after recording “One With The Dead” that both the band and the company felt we needed to aim a little higher in order to start getting dates around Europe and bring the band no a new level, so to speak. That’s why we started looking for a foreign label. We released the MCD “The Altar of Sculpted Skulls” with Pulverised from Singapore and got a nice offer from War Anthem in the meantime, so we ended up in their roster. And it was a most wise choice, I must say. They are the most professional label we have ever worked with, the communication with them is perfect and I think we are all quite satisfied so far. By the way, we are currently working on a very special record to be released via Blackseed again so, wait for it.
How does it look like with underground stage in Spain? When I was interviewing SCENT OF DEATH, the guitarist Bernard complained about it. Do people visit gigs and support their bands? How is it with death metal in Spain?
Hmmmm, this is a tough question. I don’t know Bernard personally but I can perfectly imagine his opinion on the subject. Metal in Spain (as many other things) has always been very closely related with partying and getting drunk, which is ok, don’t get me wrong. The problem comes when people prefer to spend €10 in cheap booze and get drunk on the street rather than paying to see a band playing live. I have had people complaining for a €9 ticket to see GRAVEYARD, BALMOG and DOMAINS, which are three of the most relevant Black and Death Metal bands in Spain today. There is something wrong there, if you get my point. Even more when some of those guys don’t have a problem paying €25 for a t-shirt or €8 for a glass of whisky. There is some people who come to the shows and act like normal and decent human beings, of course, but mostly you find assholes like the described above.
I don’t know so many bands from Spain playing old school death metal. I can think of ATARAXY, DECAPITATED CHRIST and MASS BURIAL only. Can you any recommend? Our tourists often spend holiday near Barcelona, so we will know, whose gig to visit.
You also have MORBID FLESH, INSULTERS, DECAPITATED CHRIST, BANISHED FROM INFERNO, DOMAINS, ONIRICOUS and NECROVEN. They are all very good bands playing Death Metal the classic and true way, each one in a different way, of course.
What records from the last time are you interested in? What about your opinion to the last GRAVE, ENTRAILS? Do you collect music?
Well, I’ve been listening to Metal for most of my life so, right now, I go back to the most classic bands much more often than before. Must have to do with aging, I guess. I’m listening to good old BARÓN ROJO as I answer this, so… I stopped worrying about every new band in the scene a few years ago and have stuck with my personal “top” bands which are mostly Heavy Metal / Hard Rock bands, by the way. I still listen to Death Metal, of course, but mostly old bands. Of the “newer” bands, some that have surprised me in a very positive way are NECROS CHRISTOS, NEGATIVE PLANE, DEAD CONGREGATION, BOMBS OF HADES, EXCORIATE… As for the new GRAVE, I’m sorry, haven’t listened to it. On the other hand, the latest ENTRAILS seems to me a very solid piece of Death Metal.
I didn’t find lots of information about your gigs on your websides. Do you like smaller clubs or festivals? Are you ever coming to the Czech Republic? What about a gig with your label-brothers the Czech MALIGNANT TUMOUR or German PURGATORY, I can imagine this and gladly.(laugh)
You can find all the information regarding GRAVEYARD in our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/graveyardofdoom So far we have a show with swedes IN SOLITUDE next monday in Barcelona, three shows across Spain with our blood brothers in NOMINON at the end of June and little more. We were trying to arrange some shows across Europe for the summer, but so far nothing is confirmed so I don’t really know what will happen. One of the options was to make a mini tour across Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, but as I said, there’s nothing sure yet. I don’t know the guys in MALIGNANT TUMOUR but we are good friends with PURGATORY so it would be an honor for us to play with them.
Is there any band which you’d like to make opening act on the tour? It is usual that „a less famous“ band pay the tour for themselves and a more famous group take them with. Are you planing such a think? I can imagine an European tour GRAVEYARD with GRAVE or ENTOMBED etc.
To be very honest with you, if GRAVEYARD were ever able to open for MOTÖRHEAD, KING DIAMOND/MERCYFUL FATE or CANDLEMASS, I’d die a happy man. But that will never happen, of course. Being somewhat realistic, opening for any Death Metal legendary band is a blast to us. We played with ASPHYX in Barcelona and we were as excited as 5 year old kids at the town’s fair. A show with BOLT THROWER would also be a killer for sure.
When I was looking for informations about you, I found out, that you are playing in another bands. But GRAVEYARD is the „most famous“ now. Does it mean, that GRAVEYARD takes precedence if your gigs are on the same time? I think, you’ve got normal jobs definitely. How do you manage these all bands? I don’t know the Spain stage so well, can you tell us, who from you and where is playing at present?
Currently GRAVEYARD is Gusi (MORBID FLESH, INSULTERS), drums; Javi (LUX DIVINA; KORGULL THE EXTERMINATOR, OF DARKNESS) and Mark (KORGULL THE EXTERMINATOR, INSULTERS), guitars, Fiar (FOSCOR) vocals and me, Julkarn (BANISHED FROM INFERNO, OF DARKNESS, DEVOTION), on bass. I still do all the vocals in the studio, but we called our good friend Fiar to do the vocals live. The problem is that I live 400 kms away from the other guys, so it was a pain in the ass to rehearse without vocals and also I had a little trouble when playing live because most often I can only rehearse 3 or 4 times a year with the other guys. So far we have never had any problems, every one tries to schedule gigs for their bands in advance so we all know when every one is available to play. Our jobs are more difficult since Javi, Mark Fiar and me are self employed, which means every day you spend not working is money not earned. But there’s not much we can do. One thing’s for sure, every time we meet we get drunk as if there was no tomorrow. We are still best friends and like to hang out with the others as often as possible.
Many bands have a special opinion on downloading from the Internet. What about you and illegal downloading of music? Almost every album is on the Internet on the day of issue. This can be an advertising for someone and the other one is fighting against it. What is your attitude to this?
I don’t have a problem with downloading music in general. I’m sure it hurts small and independent labels and that is a very sad thing. But if downloading music means some rich useless pig in an office won’t be able to buy a new Porsche, I’m 100% for it. When downloading music one must be very aware of who is getting hurt, if it is an underground band releasing stuff via a small independent label, you should considering buying the real thing because you are actually harming normal people who only care about releasing music and keeping the scene alive. If it’s a big band in a multinational company making millions, well, download the fuck out of it.
What do you ,as a band, think about reviews and reports from gigs etc? Are these points of view important for you? Do you read and find out „opinions“ on your music on the Internet?
Yes, I think that kind of information you mention is very useful for the band. It is the only way of knowing the opinion of others and addressing your weak points. I’m not saying that you must make all your decisions based on what reviews say, but they are definitely something to take into account.
Are there any webzines and magazines in Spain and how do they work? Where can I find informations about your underground bands?
GRAVEYARD’s guitar player is the editor of one of the best fanzines writen in Spanish, called Hellspawn. There are many others, though most of them are written in Spanish. The same goes for webzines. Only a few are written in anything other than Spanish, though Google does a good work when translating into English. Don’t try to translate into othe language, though. I once tried to have a finnish review translated into Spanish and it was hilarious as fuck, didn’t make any sense.
Do you know and listen to any groups from the Czech Republic?
Two of my all time favourite bands, MASTER’S HAMMER and ROOT are Czech. MASTER can also be considered a Czech band nowadays I guess. I’m not that informed about the current scene and I apologize for it. But MH and ROOT are very important bands to me, if that counts in my defense.
I think you know, there is not only one band with the same name. The famous is coming from Sweden and is playing doom stoner metal. Don‘t you have any problems with this, do you? When I’m looking for information on the internet, there are many links to these Swedes, it is hard to find something about you. Have you ever thought about change of the name?
Both bands started around the same time and I remember we got in touch with them about the name issue and we both agreed that there was no much in common between a Spanish Death Metal band and a Swedish Hard Rock band. Nowadays they have grown a lot bigger than us, but I don’t think they have changed their mind, if they had, I’m sure some lawyer would have informed us about it. If anything finally happens, we will have to change our name since we can’t afford to go to court, pay a lawyer, etc.
What about GRAVEYARD’s plans for near months? If I’m correct, it will be published the split with ENTRAILS. What kind of medium, vinyl or Cd too?
Yeah, the split with ENTRAILS has been out for some time now. It is a 7’’ vinyl limited to 500 copies, I think. We will also be releasing another 7’’ split with our comrades REDIMONI in the next days. We are also recording some new stuff for future splits yet to be arranged. We are also starting to write songs for the third album which should be in the making by the next year or so. We actually work quite fast when we need to arrange new stuff, but it still needs some time since we record everything at Javi’s own professional studio Moontower and he has a lot of other bands recording there as well. So, patience.
Do you want to tell anything to your fans, promoters, label etc?
Thanks a lot to everyone who has shown interest in the band, has helped us in any way or has shared a beer or two with us. And to the promoters: HERE WE ARE!!! Thanks a lot to you for your interest as well, Jakub. SEE YOU ALL IN THE GRAVEYARD!!!
Thanks for the interview and wish you lots of crazy fans and loads of sold records.
Translate by Susan.