Beheading the Eastern Prophets
CoC interviews Martin of Poland's Decapitated
by: Paul Schwarz
Yes, they are from Poland, yes, they are unusually young, and yes, they do owe a meagre few stylistic debts to Vader -- but forget all that: ultimately, none of it really matters. Decapitated are a -very- promising new band, plain and simple. Their _Winds of Creation_ debut [CoC #47] isn't perfect (in particular, Sauron's vocals need more character and variation), but it's light-years ahead of older "more experienced" bands and other spring chickens alike in pure musicianship, let alone songwriting. _Winds of Creation_ would be a great debut for any band, but it is a debut that shows potential rather than being a statement or mark of its time which will become classic in its own right. Decapitated are a hope for the future: they've got a long way to go, but they've made a really, seriously impressive and promising start. Done by e-mail, this interview with bass player Martin should give you an insight into Decapitated's character, as well as providing the background story to how these Polish hopefuls got together.

CoC: How did you enjoy working with Peter Wiwczarek from Vader on your debut album? Were you happy with the production he achieved?

Martin: From the very beginning our co-operation was practically seamless. In fact, we really felt comfortable going into the studio, for two reasons. First of all, all logistic aspects of the session had been taken care of by our management: we had two weeks worth of studio-time, all food, accommodation and equipment was arranged. All that made this session quite unique and very much different from all others. We just knew we would have time for everything, including the smallest details. It's very reassuring to know that no sound you don't like will find its way outside the studio. In the past we could rely only on ourselves and with rather poor financial resources we just could not spread our wings. The other factor was Peter's presence. He recorded in many studios, worked with many producers, and in Selani itself made three Vader albums. Accordingly, he knew the studio like no one else, both its advantages and disadvantages. All that considered, we could simply concentrate on the recording and sound we wanted to get. It's also very important that Peter is not only a good musician and producer but also a wonderful person. Plus he really knows what death metal should sound like!

CoC: How did the four of you [Sauron, Vogg and Vitek in addition to Martin] meet and form a band?

M: Well, the band formed quite spontaneously, but despite such beginnings we have never had any changes in the line-up or the name. Vogg, Vitek and Sauron started the band in Autumn 1996, I joined them in early 1997. And it was only because I didn't have a bass guitar earlier -- I had just played the guitar, also in the music school. In fact, we all had known each other for a long time before Decapitated was born, as we all attended the same school. Sauron and Vogg are graduating this year and they want to continue at the university. But back to Decapitated -- in June 1997 we recorded the debut demo _Cemeteral Gardens_ and in October 1998 another one, titled _The Eye of Horus_. The latter brought us a contract with Massive Management, which in April 1999 financed the recording session for our debut album. The management was also on the lookout for the recording contract, which finally turned out to come from Wicked World.

CoC: Overall, were you pleased with the results you achieved on _Winds of Creation_?

M: I think that without any false modesty we can clearly say that we are satisfied. Very much so, in fact. When I listen to that album I cannot help thinking that we have really made it and I'm simply proud. _Winds of Creation_ is a milestone in our career in all possible respects. It marks our musical development, it's much better musicianship-wise, it's well conceived. We have matured in the basic sense of the word and we treat what we do very seriously, as much as it may seem to be somewhat funny considering our age. But that's a fact. Someone may say, "What do these kids know about music?" I can only reply: quite a lot, in fact. We have lived with music since our early childhood, we wouldn't be able to live without it. As far as the album itself is concerned, _Winds of Creation_ presents us the way we were a year ago and we have progressed a lot since then. We learn all the time and try to be as attentive as possible when it comes to all sorts of musical tricks.

CoC: What made you feel, still being so young, that you were ready to make your debut album? Were you at all tentative about taking that plunge at such a young age?

M: Because we started so young and achieved so much so early in our lives, we feel ever more inspired and motivated to do what we have been doing for the last several years. We really feel recognised and appreciated and we are happy that we can convey so much in our music. Music is a perfect medium of talking to other people and influencing their lives. We simply have that power, so what else could we want? The fact that we already have an album under our belts makes us even more determined to work harder and devote all our time to music. Not to mention the fact that so far our music has been received really well. Of course, I would lie if I said that we are not interested in the number of albums we sell or whether people like the material or not. I cannot really understand it when some musicians say things like that -- it just stinks hypocrisy a mile away! If somebody does not really care about fans and audiences, why do they bother to record albums? Our age -- well, it has both good and bad sides. Some people, even those who interview us, make jokes about it and ask sort of malicious questions. But then again there are also praises. I do not really care much about those who joke. Music is what counts and not how old the musicians are!

CoC: How much influence or inspiration do you draw from Vader?

M: Never ever have we tried to sound like Vader. We all listen to all sorts of music, including a lot of non-metal. Of course, we do like and respect them but it would not be fair if we tried to imitate them. I am sure that subconsciously they have been an influence just like many other bands, but when it comes to conscious actions we try to be ourselves and follow our own musical path and write our own music. I think it will become more and more obvious with time. Maybe there will even be the day when somebody will say, "Hey, they sound like Decapitated!" Not that it is my dream, but it would definitely mean that people respect and see us as an independent band playing its own music.

CoC: Do you worry about sounding like Vader or other bands from Poland like Devilyn?

M: Well, I am not afraid of anything. The comparisons with Vader have worn out a bit and they do not surprise me. Just as I said, it's good that we are compared to such a good band. It's definitely better than being compared to some shitty bands -- luckily no one has made those. We all have our likes and dislikes, so it's better to be compared to those whom we like. In the past we were also described using such names as Morbid Angel, Deicide or Death. I am not sure why -- but everyone has the right to their own opinions and impressions. Also, it's not like people keep comparing us to others all the time; these are just the names that we hear most often. At the end of day these are just words and our music can defend itself very well.

CoC: Do you think there is a "Polish sound" developing?

M: It's hard for me to say that. I live in Poland and I have heard so many Polish bands. They all sound different to me, so I really can't define "the Polish sound". I guess people from abroad who have some perspective would find it easier to do that. In the same way, I can definitely make similar statements about other countries. For example in Poland we talk about "the Swedish sound", which supposedly covers such bands as Dismember, In Flames, At the Gates or Dark Tranquillity. Swedes may like it or not, but we definitely use the term. And when we talk about "the American sound" we think about Immolation, Cannibal Corpse and others.

CoC: Where do you expect and hope to see Decapitated go in the next few years?

M: I hope we still have the opportunity to create music. We would like to play live as often as possible. Gigs are our element. What do we expect from Decapitated? I would like the band to give me pleasure, I would like it to develop and progress. Maybe one day we will even be able to live off playing music? It would be really wonderful! I would only need to worry about whether we will play this or that concert or if I still have hair on my head. <laughs>

CoC: Are you writing new material to follow up _Winds of Creation_? If so, is it shaping up very differently or similarly?

M: Yes, we do have some new material. What I can say at the moment is that the new tracks will be far more complex, both in terms of arrangements and musicianship. One way or another, they will definitely be better than those from the debut album. And I hope they will constitute a certain whole. _Winds of Creation_ is more of an illustration of our whole career than a coherent album: one track comes from the _Cemeteral Gardens_ demo, the core was originally recorded for _The Eye Of Horus_, and there are also two brand new songs. They may sound similar, but there is no central concept there whatsoever. But then again, it's Decapitated all the way through!

CoC: Do you make it your aim to take death metal to new places in the years to come?

M: We do not want to create any hype or artificially cause sensation. We want to remain true to what we really are. We are not here to start some strange revolution. This is not why we started the band in the first place. We are not interested in improving things because it would mean that we want to improve somebody else's style and this is not why you play music. Have we contributed anything to music? Very much so -- the book titled "Death Metal" has just got a new chapter: "Decapitated"! Is that good? Time and people shall tell.

(article submitted 12/8/2000)


ALBUMS
2/27/2006 J Smit 9 Decapitated - Organic Hallucinosis
1/25/2004 J Smit 9 Decapitated - The Negation
7/3/2002 P Schwarz 7.5 Decapitated - Nihility
5/25/2000 P Schwarz 8.5 Decapitated - Winds of Creation
GIGS
3/23/2004 J Smit Decapitated / Rotting Christ / Thus Defiled / Anata Death Comes Ripping
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