Is the Deathcult Damned?
CoC chats with Daniel Corchado from The Chasm
by: Paul Schwarz
No, we haven't made a mistake; The Chasm are in -Independent- Interrogations for a reason. You see, when I conducted this interview with Daniel Corchado on December 24th of last year, The Chasm were without a label -- and Daniel Corchado was dubious about the possibility that the band would sign with one again. The story of The Chasm's career is a long tale of struggle against the odds; that may sound melodramatic, may immediately prompt the counter-point that all underground bands struggle, but the statement does not represent mere spin. Beginning in Mexico in 1993 when Daniel Corchado vacated his position as singer of Cenotaph -- after just one album, _The Gloomy Reflection of Our Hidden Sorrows_ -- The Chasm were formed with the intent of doing something different: Corchado hadn't left Cenotaph over mere personality issues, he needed to move in a different direction creatively. That _Awaiting the Day of Liberation_, The Chasm's first demo, perhaps didn't suggest as much is easily amenable to their inexperience. Indeed, that the likenable-to-Cenotaph early-Entombed-isms were all but gone on 1994's _Procreation of the Inner Temple_ -- replaced with a towering, technical, progressive and yet sublimely dark and mysterious approach -- spoke volumes of The Chasm's drive to move forward with their sound. Unfortunately, production expertise and facilities were sorely lacking; _PotIT_ suffered at the hands of its sound. Production problems have plagued The Chasm for many years -- though their trappings are well overcome on all their releases respectively. Today, funding problems persist, but the expertise issue has been solved: Daniel Corchado showed that he himself knows how to get the right sound for The Chasm's death-cultic metal hymns by producing the band's last release -- 2001's _Reaching the Veil of Death_ MCD [CoC #56] which came out under the band's own Lux Inframundis imprint. However, when the band recorded their second album, 1996's _From the Lost Years_ [CoC #13], the result was far rougher. The album has an air of mystery, escaping like a rare gas from under an avalanche of sorrowful, lengthy and heavily doom-infused songs. _From the Lost Years_ may have raised a few underground eyebrows and even the odd "smile", but it wasn't until _Deathcult for the Eternity: The Triumph_ [CoC #40] that a substantial number of people began to take notice of The Chasm, especially outside of Mexico. The album's release in 1998 with the line-up of Corchado, founding (and still-present) drummer Antonio Leon, and Erick Diaz was no major thing: people hadn't been anticipating it. But _DfE:tT_ was picked up for more than its profoundly brilliant realisation of new form for The Chasm -- transmitted through a vastly improved and finely-suited production. It was picked up by more people, myself included, because Daniel's own talents as a vocalist, lyricist and very briefly songwriter, were evidenced that same year on one of the best death metal albums of 1998, Incantation's _Diabolical Conquest_. Daniel had already played with the band briefly in 1995 -- when Incantation were having trouble with their singer -- completing a Mexican tour with Kataklysm and a few dates in the USA and Canada while learning guitar parts and lyrics on the road. Later, in 1997, the band contacted Daniel again for help, this time to complete a European tour. Daniel was subsequently signed up as a permanent member. Ultimately, Daniel did not remain long in Incantation, but he left his mark with _Diabolical Conquest_ -- Incantation's best album, among the two of theirs I still own (haven't heard the new one yet...). By mid-1999 The Chasm had relocated to Chicago, added ex-Cenotaph axe-man Julio Viterbo to the deathcult, and recorded new songs: a four-track promo [CoC #43] of tracks from their forthcoming fourth record, _Procession to the Infraworld_. But in the meantime, many had had their attentions drawn to The Chasm's third, and sometimes second, records. By the time the band had signed with Dwell -- who delayed the release of _PTTI_ (completed in late-1999) until a good few months into 2000 -- interest was brewing, and it was the right kind of interest. Music critics and/or metal maniacs alike -listened- to The Chasm -- paying no heed to any connections to other bands -- and heard something incredible. But despite glowing critical appraisal and a considerably increased (though still limited) fanbase arriving in the wake of _PTTI_'s release, The Chasm remained on the fringes: not a band that many people -know-. Musically complex and intricate, The Chasm can deliver unpretentious, brutal metal one minute -- think Autopsy, Dismember, Slayer and Kreator if you've never heard a note -- and launch into beautifully-arranged, stirring and intensely melodic -- often doom-infused -- passages, and whole sections, without skipping a heartbeat. Dwell obviously didn't get it, dropping their best ever band by far after only one album. Well, fuck them. Understandably pissed-off but refusing to give up, The Chasm went it alone. And they have triumphed. _RtVoD_ could have sold better, but the fears Daniel expresses in this interview won't come to pass yet. The Chasm signed to Witches Brew in Germany in June of this year, have now finished recording their fifth album _Conjuration of the Spectral Empire_, and should release it at the end of August of this year. So, enjoy this interview though it is out of date, and rest assured that CoC #60 will bring not only another chat with Daniel Corchado -- in the -right- section this time -- but also what I'm sure will be a lengthy review of _CotSE_. Preparation is recommended.

CoC: I don't really know where to start -- there's a lot to get through -- but let's start on a relatively easy topic. How much has Julio Viterbo [ex-Cenotaph, ex-Shub Niggurath -- Paul] had an influence on how the music has developed over the years? I think there's a distinct jump, in some ways, between _Deathcult..._ [CoC #40] which Erick played on and _Procession..._ [CoC #45] where Viterbo came in.

Daniel Corchado: Yeah.

CoC: So what would you say about that?

DC: Well, before Julio got into the band I was writing all the music -- pretty much all by myself. I mean, the demo and the other CDs...

CoC: _Procreation..._ and _From the Lost Years_ [CoC #13].

DC: Yeah, correct. I was doing all the music by myself and uh... Well, when Julio got into the band he came -- I'm not sure if you're familiar with Shub Niggurath?

CoC: Yeah, I remember them.

DC: Yeah, and I mean, it was a very, very good band, you know, a really kick-ass band. And he was doing a lot of music there -- I mean, pretty much he was doing everything by himself with the music. He was in Cenotaph for like two or three years too and he was a very important piece there too. So when he decided to join the band for good -- you know, to stay with -us- -- I knew we should use his talents, you know?

CoC: Yeah, absolutely.

DC: So he was starting to do music for _Procession..._, but the thing was I already had a lot of music written because when I was with Incantation I was recording nothing for The Chasm, so...

CoC: Of course. And you did quite a few of the things for Incantation, right?

DC: It was like a half part for a song and lyrics for one song.

CoC: I remember it having a profound influence on Incantation; _Diabolical Conquest_ [CoC #33] stands very much head and shoulders above the other albums, to my mind: I really thought it was the best Incantation album. And it's interesting, because _DC_ has a certain amount of what goes into The Chasm; making the transition from _DC_ to _Procession..._ or _Deathcult..._ isn't that hard. But then again, there's a massive, massive difference, on another level. It's kind of hard to describe, but I think your vocals carry over quite well; I think you gave Incantation, on _DC_, a really good vocal style which, if one was into Incantation, one could then transfer some of that to The Chasm, in a way. But in a strange way, obviously.

DC: Well yeah, probably... I mean, yeah, you're right, you know, I mean, I put some of my input into Incantation but, as I said when I was with those guys, The Chasm was on hold.

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: We were doing nothing and I was just writing music in my mind and do some riff here or there or once in a while on tape -- I'd tape-record it -- and that's why, when we got The Chasm together again, and Julio was in the band, I'd say like seventy percent of the music was already done. So he had some input too but not as much as now, you know?

CoC: Right, of course.

DC: Right now it's like fifty-fifty.

CoC: Do you think that's what's had such a profound impact on _Reaching..._ [CoC #56], because on the two full new songs that are there -- I don't know whether this is the whole band or whether this is a lot to do with your and Viterbo's joining in song-writing properly -- there's a very strong, tight, hard, death metal sound -- a sound which is very The Chasm, but very hard and tight, really compressed into itself -- and then it also explodes into these wonderful melodic, um, harmonies and things like that. It has become very defined. Do you think that's a lot to do with the band being a very strong unit now where it may not have been, so much, before?

DC: Yeah, yeah, definitely man, because right now we are a total unity. This line-up has been together since we got here, to Chicago. With the exception of the bass player [Alfonso Polo, whose appearance on _RtVoD_ is his first on a Chasm release -- Paul], the line-up has been the same since we got to Chicago. I mean, Antonio [Leon, drums] is a founding member and Julio, he's not new to the business, he knows what he's doing. As I said, when he got into the band I told him, "Dude, you can write your music, you know, as much as you want but just try to, you know, get into our concept and style."

CoC: Absolutely, and The Chasm is one of those wonderful bands -- and I think almost all of my favourite bands are like this -- there's such a defined identity of what The Chasm is, but yet that identity is malleable. I mean, The Chasm will change, but it will always be The Chasm. Even though, especially _FtLY_, sounds -so- different from _RtVoD_, just in terms of production and sound, and even the style -- there are a lot of songs which are near-eight minutes long and which never sort of develop to a really high speed and a really high, powerful intensity -- it's beautiful how you can kind of draw a parallel between that and some of the songs on _Procession..._ where, you know, they're incredibly long, but they're so tightly woven together and extremely powerful. It's interesting that you can still hear that it's the same band. I think there's definitely something that's musically there, instrumentally there -- and that's wonderful. There's also the case of your voice which, I think, has a defined identity apart from most -- and it fits with the music and I think it identifies The Chasm better than anything but along with everything else, I guess.

DC: Yeah, I mean, that's good to hear: that some people -really-, -really- understand what we are doing, you know, because as you say, with _FtLY_, it was much more depressive-sounding, probably. But as I always say: when I write music it's the way I feel it, you know?

CoC: Yeah.

DC: And I remember when we were creating _FtLY_. In those times I was back -- -we- were back -- in Mexico, and the situation there wasn't the best, you know? I mean, right now I'm fucked. But I think right now -- let's say I'm in a bad situation -- but it's like, the economy and stuff like that. And back in the day, in the _FtLY_-era, it was more like a state of mind, like a very depressive state of mind.

CoC: Right, I understand.

DC: I think it shows in the music and that's what makes a band authentic: when they're playing from the heart, from soul, through a state of mind where they believe in what they are doing. I mean, that's pretty much our ideology and our philosophy, and it has always been the same: just play whatever you feel. You know, as long as it's what we call "metal of death", because we're not like your usual band, you know, as you say.

CoC: Right, absolutely.

DC: I think we're death metal -of course-; I'm always gonna say that we are a total death metal band. But you gotta recognise some of the loss of true heavy metal, you know?

CoC: Absolutely, I think that's one of the reasons I used that phrase in the review that I wrote [see CoC #56] -- for me at least, The Chasm is the best death metal band in the world today because there's a sense in which nothing you guys do goes outside of death metal, but on the same level it kind of exemplifies what Dave Vincent once said about death metal: that it's limitless.

DC: Right.

CoC: You know, you can do whatever you want but whenever you do something there's something about it that's pure metal, and pure death metal. And it's really interesting too -- I remember you saying in an interview, "We are heavy metal warriors" and things like that, and there is that sort of really convicted, powerful aspect of metal running through what you do, and running through the way you think about it, I think.

DC: Exactly. As I said in those interviews, that's where we came from, you know? I mean, we were growing up in shit fucking listening first to just pure heavy metal, you know?

CoC: Right.

DC: And then going to thrash, black and death back in the day, the Eighties. I mean that's <long intake of breath>, that's, you know, like... fuck man, it's hard to explain, but that's how I became what I am now, you know?

CoC: Yeah. I mean, I really know what you mean 'cause I, and I think a lot of other people have -- in very, very different circumstances -- had same sort of experience, -of metal-. You know? Of discovering something that you really like, this sound that you can't get your head out of. And you watch it develop and you enjoy coming along with it. And that's a very crude way of putting it in words, but that's how it feels, I think, a lot of the time.

DC: Yeah, yeah, definitely man, because it's really hard -- you know, the situation with the band right now. I mean, being without a label, you know, no support and everything like that.

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: And as you said, the problem for the band is that for people who really like brutal stuff, we're not that brutal. And, you know, for the black metal people we're not, probably, that <tentatively> -blacky-, you know?

CoC: Yeah, I know what you mean, basically. I can't explain it, but yeah.

DC: Yeah. I mean, of course we're not gonna change our style or anything, at this point, after all these fucking years. I mean, I've seen a lot of shit going on and I know how the scene was a few years ago, and how it is -now-. And -fuck it-, we're not gonna change for just trying to sell more copies or be a bigger band or something. That would be stupid. And that's what people don't understand sometimes; being a "true heavy metal warrior" probably sounds kinda cheesy but I don't give a shit -- that's the real thing, you know?

CoC: Absolutely, I know what you mean.

DC: It doesn't mean that we're fucking stupid airheads like the stereotypical...

CoC: Manowar.

DC: Yeah. Well, I don't know man. Some people think like, "Oh yeah, Manowar: they're so lame!", and they don't know what they're talking about. Some people think that if you're a "metal warrior" then you don't have enough education or culture to know what you're doing.

CoC: Absolutely, and I think that's one of the problems -- when people talk about heavy metal there are two problems. There's the heritage of metal and how it's seen from the popular perspective -- you know, the average person's vision is always of these kind of dumb-ass guys drinking beer and getting groupies. And there's a certain portion of the metal scene who wanna propagate that image -- which is kind of the second problem. But in the end, there are so many metal musicians who do so many brilliant, brilliant things, and a lot of that gets forgotten; when you talk about pure heavy metal people think you're talking about stupidity sometimes, and that's ridiculous. And a lot of people who wanna be kind of "out there", especially in the last seven to nine years, have tried to distance themselves from heavy metal per se. And recently some bands have sort of said, "Oh, now we're heavy metal again", 'cause it's OK to be heavy metal now.

DC: Oh yeah, that's...

CoC: But I totally know what you mean. I think the intelligence and the thought that goes into something like The Chasm -- and the -feeling- that goes into The Chasm -- is self-evident if you really listen to the music. And certainly, reading your lyrics: whatever they come across as, they don't come across as ill-thought-out, or spoken by someone who has no idea what they're talking about, you know?

DC: Hm.

CoC: Whatever you read into them, there is definitely lots of consideration. I was thinking about the lyrics today actually, and it's very interesting as well as strange: a lot of the style you use means your lyrics are written either from a -personal- narrative perspective, or as a kind of proclamation. It's very interesting; it's very unlike a lot of bands -- like, for example, Angelcorpse have a certain amount of Pete Helmkamp's -- quote/unquote -- "philosophical ideas"...

DC: OK, yeah, yeah, yeah.

CoC: I find yours are very -personal-, but I think they maybe express something that's bigger than themselves. What would you say?

DC: Yeah. I mean, the thing with the lyrics is that since the beginning of the band I always just tried to express what I was feeling inside myself, you know? Like, getting back to _FtLY_, I was feeling like shit, totally. I mean, I still do because everybody has their own problems and personalities and shit like that. And sometimes even if you are having, let's say, a good, regular, nice life on the outside -- in the regular world -- inside it's a total different perspective, it's a total different world. I mean, I just write what I am feeling at the time and sometimes it just comes out very bizarre and very -- how can I say? -- sometimes it doesn't really make sense, you know?

CoC: Yeah, it's very -abstract-?

DC: Yeah, exactly, that's the word: abstract. You're right, man. And I'm like, "Man, dude, how could I write these?" But then, after some days I remember why I wrote it, and I'm like, "Well, it makes sense to me and that's the bottom line" -- if I'm writing how I feel and what I'm feeling. That's another important point in the identity of the band: that it's just pure musical and lyrical expression, but it's totally personal, you know?

CoC: Right, right.

DC: I mean, as I say, with the music we have this really, really strong inspiration -- not a big -influence- anymore. How can I explain? I don't wanna say influence because when you say influence you're saying you sound like this or like that, you know? So it's more -inspiration-. I mean, I am totally, totally -so- addicted to heavy metal and to all kinds of true heavy, death, thrash and black metal, whatever. And it's the same with the lyrics, you know: my main inspiration is just myself, as I say, "my inner temple". You know, the fucking chaos that is going on inside. And that's the bottom line: to express my inner feelings.

CoC: Yeah, and it's interesting because I think there's almost a sort of language of metaphor that you use which has certain -- not boundaries -- but a certain space in which you use certain -kinds- of metaphors and certain -kinds- of ways to express yourself. And in sort of a "cultural" sense rather than an academic sense, it's very poetic. You know, you say -- and I think it shows -- that you write from the heart, and it's interesting because you write from the heart in a -metaphorical- way, and you have a lot of related ideas coming into The Chasm. Lines like, "I must find the root of my damnation in every drop of the torrid seas of sin" are very poetically put; it's not like you're writing about what you did today or what you did yesterday, or how your life has changed in the "real" world. You're talking about things in a sort of projected way, I think.

DC: Yeah, you're totally right. That sentence, the one you just mentioned, it's fucking powerful, you know?

CoC: Yeah.

DC: As you said, it's abstract -- it shows the way I felt in those days when I wrote it but still it makes sense to me right now, you know?

CoC: Yeah, and I think someone like myself who isn't privy to your inner thoughts might interpret it wrong, but I do get the idea, I think. If you pick through the metaphors you can get a sense for what's going on, but you can interpret it in a lot of ways and some of them would be very odd. But I think it's a good way of writing because one of the things that it does a lot is produce wonderful lyrics which are wonderfully followable; for me at least, as a death metal listener, that's the kind of lyrics I really enjoy. You know, I sing along to things like "I must find the root of my damnation..." and that sort of thing. Which is kind of strange, but...

DC: <chuckles>

CoC: ...maybe you can understand, I don't know.

DC: Yeah, yes, you're right man -- and it's really good to hear that. As I said, sometimes I really think my lyrics don't make any fucking sense at all; it's good to know that there is somebody out there who gets really into them. And, as you say, it's probably something that I wrote and it was supposed to mean something, and you take it differently, but it's still valid because, as you said, I'm writing in a metaphoric way. I'm not writing like, "Well, I feel like shit these days, my life..." or blah, blah, blah.

CoC: Not like hardcore lyrics...

DC: Yeah, exactly. When you want to do something, when you want to create a total, you know, destructive, immortal entity -- I'm talking about my band, you know -- you have to go for the best. And as with the music, so with the lyrics: I'm not trying to force myself to write something that sounds really different, but it's the way I have been educating myself to do it, you know? Like, trying to be as different as possible but without being stupid or cheesy or totally awkward -- because when a band is trying to do something just to -- how do you say? Fuck... Like they are forcing it...?

CoC: Contriving.

DC: Yeah, exactly. That's why there are so many bands right now who are just playing crap, you know? There is no feeling at all and there is no real fucking understanding.

CoC: Yeah, I mean think of an extreme example like -Primal Fear-. You know them?

DC: <chuckles>

CoC: Fucking terrible band on Nuclear Blast who just wanna sound like _Painkiller_-era 'Priest?

DC: Exactly! <on-the-brink-of-laughter-incredulity> What the fuck is up with that?

CoC: It's ridiculous. It's like, you could have designed this band on a computer. It's so ludicrous. It has got no spirit to it at all.

DC: Exactly. I mean, what is the meaning of doing something that has already been done?

CoC: And trying to do it -exactly the same-.

DC: Exactly. I mean, they're trying to sound like the godfathers of that sound: 'Priest. That's a fucking sin. <laughs>

CoC: Exactly. It's fucking ridiculous. And what I hate about it as well is that so many people who like 'Priest -- or like thrash if they hear retro bands -- they say, "Yeah, but this is the sound I wanna hear." And I'll turn around and say, "Yeah, but you can hear all those sounds in brilliant modern music, like, you can hear all those sounds in The Chasm..." I mean, I can hear Dismember and Autopsy -and- I can hear bizarrely, bizarrely twisted bits of 'Priest. I can hear that this is obviously a band who listened to 'Priest at some point, that this is obviously a band who listened to Manowar at some point...

DC: Oh, totally.

CoC: I totally love Manowar.

DC: Oh yeah!

CoC: And I do find them wonderful but cheesy. They're strange. They're something that should be a contradiction, but it isn't.

DC: Yeah.

CoC: And it's the same with that line ["I must find the root of my Damnation in every drop of the Torrid seas of Sin / and in every night of soulless winds... / Bathe in Restless Flames / Crush and Slaughter the False ones" -- Paul] that's on the back of the _Deathcult for Eternity..._ T-shirt: I love it. I love wearing this thing on the back of my T-shirt for all these different, contradicting reasons, but it all works, you know?

DC: Yeah, yeah. I mean, totally. It's like, you mentioned Judas Priest or Manowar: I know their image was kinda over the top, and, as you say, cheesy, but when you go back to _Battle Hymns_ [CoC #48, Classic Carnage] or _Hail to England_ [CoC #48, CC] there are some fucking amazing riffs there, man.

CoC: Absolutely, man.

DC: I mean, that was fucking heavy metal to the best, you know?

CoC: Yeah, and I mean I will literally get up out of my seat and bang my fist on my chest and love it.

DC: Fuck yeah.

CoC: And feel serious. Even though I know that to anyone else I must look really silly, to me I feel like a metal warrior, or whatever, you know. And it works. And in a way I can laugh at myself, but in a way I don't need to, you know?

DC: Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, you're right, and it's, as you said, with these kind of bands trying to sound like the old bands, I really don't know how they can sell that many records, you know? I mean, I understand because a lot of young kids are listening to them, you know?

CoC: Sure, sure.

DC: And it's new for them, you know, and it's cool, you know.

CoC: But what's funny is that a lot of older people are listening to them as well. I know people who are old listeners of 'Priest and Saxon who love Primal Fear -- and I can't understand how someone in that position can love Primal Fear. Me and Matthias from CoC were at Wacken just laughing our asses off <Daniel laughs> watching [from a distance, and briefly, it should be noted -- Paul] Primal Fear and HammerFall 'cause there was nothing else to do. And it was just terrible, you know, these people in capes and armour... it's just ridiculous. But loads of old metalheads really get into this and they're like, "This is the sound I wanna hear."

DC: Oh man yeah, that's a big problem -- a big, big problem with us. It's like those retro bands -- I don't wanna say names because people are so fucking gay and they get offended, you know.

CoC: <laughs> I know what you mean.

DC: You know, this guy thinks he's a big star or a big dick, or whatever. I mean, the problem is that a lot of black or supposedly thrash bands of today sell much more than us because, like you said, old people want to hear that sound.

CoC: Quite a lot, yeah.

DC: I mean, OK, I understand because sometimes I can listen to one or two songs of those mainstream bands 'cause they remind me of the old days; but of course I'm gonna prefer to hear the original, you know, the authentic band.

CoC: It always makes me wanna put on the original band.

DC: Exactly. You've already heard, you -know- who are the masters: why don't you look for something that is in that style but with something fresh and something new to offer to your fucking head, you know, to your mind? Some people are just like that, you know: closed minded. I mean, I was just talking with one of my friends, and another problem is that those kind of people come from supposedly the old school of metal. I mean, let's talk about black metal, like Bathory and Venom and shit like that. Now bands are playing and it's like: the more simple they are, the better they are, the most underground. And I love simplicity too, you know, if it's well done -- and as I said, the most important thing is that it has feeling, a feeling of hatred, a feeling of sadness, whatever -- but like, I don't know if you have heard or if you like Nifelheim?

CoC: I've heard bits. People have told me they're really good.

DC: I like all of their releases, but the new one, _Servants of Darkness_, it's like -- oh man, it's so, -so- fucking simple, the riffing, <his voice takes on a fond, almost euphoric, tone> but it's so good, man.

CoC: Yeah. It can work, and I've been told that Nifelheim does work so I've been meaning to check them out properly.

DC: Yeah, that's not a fucking retro band dude, that's like... oh man, those guys... It's unbelievable.

CoC: Yeah. I think for me the major difference is always between a band who sound, in terms of copying, like old bands, and bands who retain the spirit of the old bands.

DC: Exactly, exactly.

CoC: Like I fucking -loved- Angelcorpse, even though Angelcorpse took a lot of their sound from Possessed and Morbid Angel.

DC: Yeah-yeah, I know.

CoC: But I fucking loved it: I can always put on Angelcorpse albums and just go, "Yes! This is it!"

DC: Yeah, yeah exactly, 'cause those guys...

CoC: I think they did some of the best death metal in the whole of the Nineties, they just did it -after- everyone else did it.

DC: Totally, 'cause there was quality instead of quantity and they have this true fucking feeling of aggression and you can feel it!

CoC: Yeah, totally.

DC: And -- I don't know the truth, but I think one of the reasons they split-up was because they thought they weren't getting the recognition they deserve.

CoC: The thing about Angelcorpse -- I love their music, but I really don't get on with the members. I mean, I've never hung out with them for long periods of time, but every time I've talked to them on the phone, met them or read interviews with them, I just don't get their whole world-view. They're very much into the old bands, but to me they always seem very proud and arrogant in ways that annoy me, plus I really don't get where Pete Helmkamp is coming from with his whole world outlook 'cause I study philosophy and I find that a lot of his stuff is just very weakly put together Nietzchean dopplegangering, which I don't like [though I very much like Nietzsche's work -- Paul]. But I love the band. I'll sing along to all of his crazy-ass, weird lyrics even though I may not like them, because I just totally, totally love the band. And it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the music, it just means that I'm not that interested in finding out what's there 'cause I think a lot of it's just writing from the heart but not writing from the head as much, if you know what I mean?

DC: Mhm. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I know what you're saying because I knew the guys in Angelcorpse and they were cool with us and everything but they were kinda strange, you know? But that's cool, I respect that -- I respect what they did actually. I think they split because they were disappointed with the scene.

CoC: I can understand that.

DC: I understand, and I respect it a lot, man.

CoC: Also I respect their decision if it was the case that they just didn't have the interest to go on doing it themselves, because if you're not happy making music together as a band -- i.e. your music will probably turn out less good than what you did before -- it is a good thing to finish it. In a simple, crude way it's like TV shows and films: when the idea has run out of steam, kill it.

DC: Oh yeah.

CoC: You can always start on a new concept. I was sad Angelcorpse split up because _The Inexorable_ was such a good record, but in the end, maybe they couldn't top that. Maybe that's what they had to do: they had to finish writing Angelcorpse.

DC: Yeah, yeah exactly. It's like what happened with Possessed, man. You know, they were at the best, and then they just decided to quit. And that's it. That's another thing I'm feeling for the band. I mean right now, in the situation we are it's like, I've been thinking about quitting. But not the band itself: the scene, you know?

CoC: Yeah, I can understand that. I think Angelcorpse would have done that if they hadn't split up.

DC: Yeah. Yeah, because it's so hard, man, and to tell you the truth: why not? I mean, the CD came out like a month-and-a-half ago and the people who have heard it are very impressed, and I'm glad with that. But, to tell you the truth, it's going so slow, man. I mean, the orders are so very few, you know?

CoC: I know. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised: it's a real -arse-, and there's so fucking little to do about it, you know?

DC: Yeah.

CoC: There's all sorts of stuff you can try. I mean, in the end it's a lot to do with just where the scene is. The Chasm as a musical part of the scene don't really exist -- they're kind of outside of it, and because of that I think it's hard to get people into it; it's not what's happening now. So many great bands split up because of that and it would be sad if you guys did. But remember when Cynic did _Focus_ [CoC #48, CC]?

DC: Mhm.

CoC: And when Atheist did _Unquestionable Presence_? No-one really got it.

DC: OK, I remember.

CoC: Everyone was like, "uhneehmmmI'm gonna go listen to Cannibal Corpse, OK?"

DC: Yeah, and that's something we've been talking about just recently. I'm just gonna wait a couple of months more to see how it goes with the mini-CD, but definitely if, say, by summer -- by June/July -- we haven't at least sold a thousand -- because I print 1500 -- I think that's it, man. I mean, we're gonna record a new one, and we're gonna keep recording music, but it's just gonna be like: if you want it, I'll send you a CD-R, you know?

CoC: Sure.

DC: And that's it! Because we can't afford to put down some more money that we're gonna lose, you know?

CoC: Yeah, I know what you mean.

DC: And it's kinda sad, you know: other, newer bands who ain't worth shit sell lots of copies, tour and blah blah blah, you know?

CoC: Yeah, totally. I guess, in the end it's a case of doing the best you can. And as far as doing CD-Rs goes, I think that's fair in the end, if that's what it comes to. I guess what you need is for one band to take you on the road with them or whatever. That's one option.

DC: Totally.

CoC: The weird thing about The Chasm is that I don't see a hell of a lot in magazines, necessarily, about you guys, but whenever I talk to various people around the scene -- in the US and Europe -- there's always someone who's like, "Yeah, fucking amazing band!" It's weird, select people, especially people whose musical opinion I respect, will like it, but when you walk into a venue you don't see a hundred Chasm shirts.

DC: <laughs> Right. I mean in a way it's so good man, to be like part of an elite, you know.

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: That's why I printed 1500. I mean, that's -nothing- worldwide. But still, for us it's a lot, you know. <laughs, slightly incredulous> It makes you think, "What the fuck is going on?", you know?

CoC: Yeah, you must be torn between, on the one hand, it being financially pretty much between impossible and very, very taxing to do it if you don't sell enough...

DC: Yeah.

CoC: And on the other hand feeling that you want to because there are people out there who wanna hear it. But in the end, if it comes down to doing CD-Rs, you can do artwork on computers and send it to people, and they can make their own CDs.

DC: Yeah.

CoC: So, whichever way it goes, as long as you still wanna make the music -- and you still -do- make the music -- I think that's the most important thing.

DC: Yeah, definitely, because the day we decide to stop playing, it'll be because we don't have the motivation to do it anymore. We don't wanna just fucking do it just to keep going. Fuck it! We gotta do it because we feel it, that's the bottom line. And as you say, if we come to just burn CDs for people that really, really believe in the band, let's do it! For me, as I said, I still believe -- it's hard to say, but I still believe in the word "underground", you know?

CoC: Right.

DC: I am so glad that people who like new fucking gay trendy bands don't like The Chasm. I'm so fucking proud of that. I'm so proud that, if you go to a show, just one guy listens to our music and understands what we're doing -- and hopefully in the future we'll just be remembered as an obscure, cult band. A lot of bands in the Eighties were so fucking amazing man, and they just released one or two or probably three albums. Nobody knows them. I mean, in the -mainstream- nobody fucking knows them. And I will be so glad to be something like that: remembered by a few people who'll say, "These guys were the shit. These guys were fucking good." I mean, I don't wanna be the best, I just want to do the music that is best for myself and be remembered for -that-, you know?

CoC: Exactly. And in the end, on the one level, if you're pleased with it that's the wonderful thing, and if people appreciate it that's wonderful, but as you say, it doesn't mean that your ego becomes this unimaginable thing. It just means that you love it and other people love it and you appreciate that, I guess.

DC: Yeah, exactly, and that's the bottom line: just to keep playing music from your fucking dark soul, you know?

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: And keep going until you're done, you know, until you don't wanna do it anymore and don't feel it anymore. That's it. Not keep pushing and pushing like other bands out there that just wanna keep releasing stuff that sounds so hasty, you know?

CoC: Yeah. I think in the end that's one of the things I've always loved about underground music but especially death metal, not in -some- of its eras but in its era now and in its great era of not being commercial. Even if you're in a band like Vader -- quite big in the death metal scene now -- there's no reason to be in a death metal band if you want a career, there's only reason to be there if you wanna play music. Even Nile, who are doing pretty damn well, still have to work nine to five jobs, still have to work their asses off to keep it all going. And they may have motivation to do that because of what they sell, but in the end it's a hell of a lot of work for not much return. So they're always gonna be doing it because they want to and I think that's magnified -- but that, essentially, it's exactly the same, in principle, for The Chasm.

DC: Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, as you said, let's say Nile, at least they are having return, they are having -tours-, you know? And that's fucking great and for us we're having -- I don't wanna sound like a cry-baby, like, <adopts distressed child voice> "Oh, we're having nothing!" <he laughs, as do I> -- but we're having shit! We're just having the fucking support and response of people -- it's really great when you hear that stuff.

[Daniel and I chat about non-interview stuff before talking about The Chasm's current situation as far as promotion goes.]

DC: Right now, all the promotion comes from reviews and from the e-mails I send and in a way, business-wise, the right thing to do is to do more promotion. But still, at the same time, the market is so saturated. It makes you think twice before putting five-hundred bucks in an add, you know? You don't know if it's gonna be worth it. We'll see what happens. I am hoping for the worst, as usual. <he laughs>

CoC: That's usually a way not to get disappointed; if you have low expectations but you work hard you tend to be quite satisfied with what you end up with, because you make the best of what you get. I think that's a good way to go through things. Thanks for continuing with The Chasm: it's always great to get something new by a band you love. So, as long as you can, please keep continuing doing The Chasm.

DC: That's so cool, man. Yeah, yeah I know because I feel the same when I hear something new from a band I really, really like. It's so great to see that there are a few guys out there who are really excited to get the new CD. It was something that had to be done: doing it by yourself. And finally we did it and it's a total fucking victory for us, you know?

CoC: And considering that you did it all on your own, it's come out with a good package. One thing I think you've learnt as a band is to make very much the best of what you have, not only as concerns the music but also as concerns presentation. The records look good. They look simple in some respects, but they're well worked-on. Even _Reaching..._ -- which you did completely on your own -- I fucking loved when I got it.

DC: It's great when you finally have it in your hands. If it was for me, man, I wouldn't care if I didn't sell it, you know? If I had the money, I would do it for free to the real followers. But it's not the case and it's sad.

CoC: But, in theory, you're not averse to promoting yourselves. I think that's definitely one of the things I do like about The Chasm: that it's not -self-containedly- underground. You know, some bands make a big thing of not doing interviews and stuff like that. When you had the chance to do promotion -- like when you were on Dwell -- you went for it. Coming back to the music, let's talk about your influences. I know it's always hard to name specific bands, but who would you regard, musically, as your influences -- if you can think of specifics?

DC: Well, I have to mention two which are very popular but... I mean, I still don't know how they came up with that music! One should be your compadres, fucking Black Sabbath, and the other would be Slayer. Slayer definitely. _Hell Awaits_ [CoC #16, CC] is like the ultimate -- I mean, for me it's the best record ever.

CoC: Wow!

DC: Nobody has done something better. I mean, for me, of course. I'm a fuckinnng [sic] -- I don't know -- freak! But I should mention -- besides those two which are very important, I will say 'Priest of course, you know; classic heavy metal like Accept and Saxon and Manowar and stuff like that. And pretty much more the beginning of the death/thrash/black-era. Like Bathory, Destruction and 'Frost. And also the Brazilian bands. I'm not gonna say they are a big influence in our -sound-, but they were a fucking big inspiration, you know?

CoC: Of course: coming from Mexico and from Latin America, right?

DC: Yeah, yeah. First Sepultura, Sarcophago, Mutilator and Panic; stuff like that was so extreme, dude. I mean, that was some fucking serious shit!

CoC: It was really crazy at the time.

DC: Yeah.

CoC: When you see the _Morbid Visions_ LP where there's Sepultura playing in that little, like, house, with "BHDM" on the wall: "Belo Horizonte Death Metal". [*(1)]

DC: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

CoC: It's so fucking underground. It's hilarious.

DC: Oh man!

CoC: It's great!

DC: Yeah, it's great! At the beginning of the Nineties too, you know, the bands from Sweden, when they were strong, you know? Like, oh fuck!

CoC: Entombed and Dismember and that.

DC: Yeah, even before.

CoC: You notice that on the first Cenotaph [_The Gloomy Reflection of Our Hidden Sorrows_ from 1992, Daniel's first appearance on an officially released recorded work -- Paul] a lot as well.

DC: Yeah, yeah exactly. When we started with Cenotaph it was more like -- as I said: when you're young, you're trying to sound more like what you're hearing.

CoC: Totally.

DC: Because you're starting to create your own style.

CoC: Absolutely, yeah. I think that's why you left Cenotaph, because it went in a direction that didn't really suit you. With (The Chasm's first demo) _Awaiting the Day of Liberation_ you were still finding a sound, and then _Procreation..._ was, for want of a better word, -progressive-. <Daniel laughs> It's so fucking bizarre and technical.

DC: Yeah, man.

CoC: And _FtLY_ is so different. _Procreation..._ is an insane, insane album.

DC: Yeah man, I know. I love it dude. And it's -so- sad that the fucking production is so weak, man.

CoC: Yeah, it's a pity.

DC: Yeah, it sucks. You mentioned progressive: I'm a big, big fan of progressive music. You know, like the Italian bands and obscure bands from England and shit like that. I was trying to put something of that progressive feeling into _Procreation..._. I always try to put in something different and experimental -- but I know those albums are not -so- death metal -sounding-. For me, as I said, The Chasm is a death metal band, but with _Procreation..._ I was trying to go, like, nuts-over-the-top, you know? Like, "Fuck everybody! We're gonna be the most fucking insane death metal band in the world". I mean, we even used two bassists on that recording. <he laughs> I mean, it came weird and fucked up, and it's just sad that the fucking production sucks.

CoC: It would be interesting to redo those songs like you did with "The Gravefields", 'cause the version of "The Gravefields" on _RtVoD_ is really incredible: the power you get out of that song! I mean, the structuring is different as well -- a lot of the solos on the _FtLY_ version very much -cut into- you where the ones on the _RtVoD_ version flow over you and consume you. The way that "The Gravefields" comes out sounding on _RtVoD_ is incredible.

DC: That's great to hear that, man, because, if it was for me, I would record a whole album, you know?

CoC: Right.

DC: I mean, we were having plans to do something now but we couldn't do the whole album because since I recorded _Reaching..._ by myself I wanted first to test myself.

CoC: Totally.

DC: Yeah. So we didn't want to go and do the whole album, probably ending with a fucking really shitty production.

CoC: In the end, it's hard to get 'round to doing re-recordings because they are probably never gonna sell -- and you don't wanna let it get in the way of doing new music.

DC: Exactly.

CoC: But in theory, if at some point you don't feel like writing anything and you have the money to go to a recording studio, it would be interesting to hear it.

DC: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

CoC: 'Cause _Procreation..._ has a wonderfully obscure sound for what it is, but the power is maybe a bit low. That's one of the things that I find interesting -- _Deathcult..._ starts it, _Procession..._ continues it and _Reaching..._ is definitely the pinnacle so far, but you've really been pushing forward on the power angle of the music.

DC: Oh yeah, because as time goes by you are just finding yourself more and more, you know? And you are finding your style more and more too. Some people have told me that the _Reaching..._ EP is very in-your-face. I know it's much more intense and probably not as sophisticated as our older stuff, but that's the way it was supposed to be; that's why we chose those songs, you know?

CoC: Right, right, right.

DC: And actually, when we do the new one, it's gonna be back-to-the-basics; it's gonna be weird, and technical, and experimental; intense, but really dark. Ah, fuck! I can't wait to record it, man.

CoC: I'm really looking forward to it myself.

DC: Yeah, I'm hoping for -- I mean, we were supposed to start recording it this month, but I'm just not in the right frame of mind.

CoC: Sure. I think that's very important, you know?

DC: Yeah, I don't wanna fuck it up, you know?


DC: Because when we did _Reaching..._ I was so focussed, I was so into the recording and it came pretty decent, you know?

CoC: Yeah. I think the actual sound comes through really well.

DC: Uh huh.

CoC: I think it's a really good sound for The Chasm. I think all the different elements come through wonderfully. The drums come through beautifully. One of the things I found, listening to it the first time -- because you'd been talking about how fucking angry you were with the scene and the labels and various other things, one part of me was wondering whether you were gonna go for a really powerful "fuck you!"-death-metal thing.

DC: <laughs>

CoC: The first two minutes I thought, "This is really powerful, but..." -- and then suddenly it explodes into one of those things that just -is very- The Chasm: this incredible solo and the melodies and all these sort of things. Where does that influence come from? Because on _FtLY_ you can hear some of the more doomy aspects, but it's very unusual -- the kind of melodies and harmonies that you use sometimes -- -for- a lot of death metal. It's not what a lot of people would think death metal is about -- if they listen to Monstrosity or something, you know? Where do you think that influence comes from, really?

DC: Fuck, man! I...

CoC: Just years and years?

DC: Yeah, yeah because it just comes: right now, it's just natural. But the aspect of the melody and, you know, when you hear that feeling? It comes totally from like Iron Maiden and stuff like that, man. Actually, that solo in "Reaching the Veil of Death": I wanted to do something like fucking Dave Murray or something like that. I didn't want to be Iron Maiden but I was like: fuck! I mean, we're death metal of course, but "metal" -- just the pure meaning of the word. So right now it's like, we have nothing to lose, right? I mean, we do this or that, who's gonna care? I mean, who's gonna be like, "Oh, you guys suck, you won't sell more copies, you're gonna go down in the scene." I'm like: fuck everything and everybody and just do what I feel.

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: And yeah, totally, when we use twin harmonies or leads that are so melodic -- Julio, for example, he's a fucking demon on the guitar, in my eyes, and he's using a lot of more classical sounding melodies.

CoC: Yeah, I can hear that.

DC: Like Yngwie [I think Daniel said "Yngwie", and the reference to Malmsteen makes sense in the context -- Paul] and stuff like that. I'm not trying to say like, "Oh, yeah, we're gonna go so technical now". It just comes from fucking heavy metal, man. That's -it-. My heart, my main, main source of inspiration is death/thrash, but it doesn't mean that I won't use fucking heavy metal in my creations, you know?

CoC: I think maybe that's what The Chasm -is-. It's its own entity in its own way, but also, very crudely speaking, it's a marrying of the power and the aggression, -and- the melodies of metal. What I find is interesting from what you were just saying there was that I was thinking that when you write solos and when you write things it comes naturally because it's very similar to what I think a lot of people like 'Maiden were writing in the sense that they were writing it from their hearts, you know? And it came out sounding like that because they're Iron Maiden. What I've always liked about The Chasm is that when there's melody it sounds like a -genuine- part of the sound, whereas in other bands it's just Iron Maiden put onto a death metal song. Like In Flames...

DC: Oh, yeah...

CoC: I really like the first In Flames album...

DC: Yeah, the first one was genius, man.

CoC: Yeah, but some of the later ones -- I like bits of _Clayman_ [CoC #48], _Whoracle_ [CoC #27] and _Colony_ [CoC #40], but they're very, very Iron Maiden. You know: they're very much the same melodies put onto death metal songs with a death metal vocalist, and they're just not as experimental and interesting as the early stuff.

DC: Oh yeah.

CoC: Or as experimental and interesting as -Dawn-, who I absolutely adore. You know Dawn from Sweden?

DC: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

CoC: With the vocalist from the first In Flames EP?

DC: Mhm.

CoC: I just think those bands put something of their own into that. You know, something that -they- really do. Dawn's stuff and the first two In Flames releases have that. And that's what I think comes out in The Chasm as well -- that you're just writing something that's your own and that sounds really -new-, in a bizarre sort of way, even though you can hear the old.

DC: As we said with Primal Fear: what is the point of doing something that has already been done? I mean, the thing with In Flames and the whole fucking Swedish scene right now is that it's so, so, so melodic, but in a... gay way. <he laughs>

CoC: Yeah.

DC: You know? Like, I love melodies, man, but you know what I'm talking about.

CoC: Yeah, totally. In the Swedish scene today I think there are a really small number of fucking -great- bands that are doing their own thing, and a really -huge- crowd behind them, some of whom aren't bad. Soilwork, I think, are OK, and I think Darkane are pretty good. But I think, say, The Crown are really fucking cool. I really like what The Crown do, between thrash, and melodies, and some of what Dark Tranquillity were doing -seven- years ago that they're totally not doing now.

DC: Yeah, well... exactly, yeah.

CoC: I mean, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames have just become, kind of, somewhere between a rock band and a heavy metal band. I don't know -- I almost feel like they're creating albums so that they can play festivals in Germany, or something.

DC: Exactly. Yeah, I mean... shit! It's so... I don't know, dude. I mean, I don't wanna talk shit about anything or anybody, but why do they wanna sound like this? It's plastic, you know? There's no magic, dude, there's no fucking magic in the music. As you said, they're probably just releasing albums to go to Japan and tour the world and, you know, at this point, make some money.

CoC: Yeah.

DC: But I don't know -- maybe I'm fucking wrong, but that's the way it sounds, you know?

CoC: Yeah. The same feeling with me. I can understand that some of these bands might really wanna do some of these things but it's just that for me the music doesn't connect. When Dark Tranquillity did _The Gallery_ [CoC #7 & CoC #48, CC] I thought it was wonderful. What they do now, I don't find interesting.

DC: Yeah, yeah.

CoC: In our own way, I guess we come up with ways to explain it -- like their commercial success. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're not, but in the end it's the fact that the music just doesn't connect with you anymore, you know?

DC: Yeah.

CoC: It doesn't -do- all those wonderful things that it did before. I mean, whatever Dark Tranquillity say about what they wanna play, nothing they do now sounds as beautifully progressive and wonderful as _The Gallery_.

DC: Mhm.

CoC: For me, at least.

DC: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand what you're saying.

CoC: You were talking about the Brazilians and their influence. I can see how, coming from Mexico, that is a certain aspect, but also there's something -vaguely- culturally -Mexican- in The Chasm -- though there's also a strong theme of darkness and -death-, and also this sort of -cosmic- aspect to it.

DC: Mhm.

CoC: Starting with the Mexican aspect: there's "Spectral Sons of the Mictlan" [the opening track of _PttI_ -- Paul] and on _FtLY_ there's the -- I think it's Mayan, isn't it? The golden face up in the top right-hand corner?

DC: Uh-huh.

CoC: I was wondering how the heritage of Mexico -- which has various historical eras, but if you think about the civilisations you associate with that idea, they're quite mysterious and quite unusual, and have a lot of -- not exactly -death-cultic-, but they certainly believed in human sacrifice...

DC: Yeah, totally.

CoC: And a lot of symbolism between the sun and various other things.

DC: Uh-huh.

CoC: So how much would you say that that culture which is "behind" the country you come from affects you?

DC: Well, pretty much it's just like -- how can I say? When you're reading and you get into your history. I mean, I was so impressed with the power. These guys, besides being strong, were so noble. They had a lot of pride, you know?

CoC: Yeah.

DC: And they were fuckin' -- how can I say? Oh shit, I don't have the words. I don't even remember the word in Spanish?! <he laughs>

CoC:Are you thinking maybe of the way they're quite unusual, they're quite esoteric, but they're also -- like a lot of the near eastern civilisations -- very knowledgeable. In terms of their calendar systems and engineering, their "science", they weren't what we'd call "barbarians".

DC: Ah-hah.

CoC: The whole vision of the barbarian is pretty ridiculous in itself, but d'you know what I mean? They're not walking around with clubs, dragging their wives by the hair. These are intelligent people with a very developed civilisation -- which, of course, then gets totally crushed by the Spanish.

DC: Oh yeah!

CoC: But that's a different story.

DC: Oh, fuck yeah! And you know what? I mean, they got crushed, like you say, by the fucking Spanish because they were respectful, you know?

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: They saw these guys and they thought they were gods, of course; they were friendly, you know? They had this sense of respect for a different human being or a different race. And these fuckers betrayed them and crushed them because... you know how people are, you know? <he laughs>

CoC: It's really sad. It's really, really sad how much of culture in the world is destroyed by things like that -- and how much a lot of Western academic and cultural heritage propagates the belief that these were useless civilisations.

DC: Oh man...

CoC: That's the thing, from the Assyrians and the Babylonians and the Persians, the Incas and the Mayans and all the various civilisations of Mexico, no-one really takes any account of this -- and people take even less account of it because the only people that -do- take account of it are these crazy-ass people who think that aliens landed, which always gets on my nerves. Do you know what I mean? So few people take the Incas seriously in the first place, and then the only thing that someone writes about them is some really long-assed, stupid theory about alien landings and all that sort of stuff.

DC: Yeah, man. I mean, that's something that, as you say, is really sad. There is not enough recognition for the authentic genius of some of these cultures and for me, that's like a main inspiration for being true to myself and being strong and doing the fucking best that I can, you know? Because these guys were just like total architects, architects of an empire that was so fucking powerful, man, and so rich in -- how you say? -- wisdom, knowledge. And they were totally into sacrifice and shit. I mean, that's something -- it makes sense, you know: fucking pagan rites and shit like that. But at the same time, they were not fucking stupid, you know?

CoC: Totally.

DC: And it's something that really inspires me. I respect that a lot.

CoC: It's not of crucial importance, but I felt it was pertinent to ask: are you of Spanish or "Indian" [Native or Indigenous Mexican if you prefer -- Paul] quote/unquote heritage?

DC: Well, I gotta say, I'm both. My hair is straight and I don't have fucking facial hair -- you know, like the Aztecs -- but I'm not that dark, you know?

CoC: I noticed in the pictures that you didn't look homogeneously Spanish so I figured it was something like that.

[Daniel and I chat on about Mexico, Latin America and the common perceptions of them. I mention that I love Mexico]

DC: I love Mexico too, but oh man! The situation. The economy is so low, so down, so fucked up. I mean, you can hear it in our records; we didn't have enough money to record something better. Also, the country, the guys down there didn't have money to get a really decent studio -- all the equipment was so fucking cheap. I came from a family who were in a good situation. We were not poor. We were not rich. We were middle-class. I never suffered from not having money in our family. I decided to do my own life -- it as about time, you know? And I decided to come to the States. You know: the stupid American Dream It's about money, you know, because it sucks that a lot of shit depends on money, but that's how it is. And we moved here and everything, and we're doing good, we're doing much better, but I hate to live here, man.

CoC: There is definitely more opportunity to do a lot of things in terms of anything financial in the states. The ability to create incredible music, as you can in the States, is quite a good reason to live there. It seems strange, but it's just one of the unfortunate facts when it comes down to it. Unless you were a millionaire in Mexico, you'd just never be able to do it.

DC: Yeah, exactly. I mean, here of course you have to work to make your living -- everywhere that's the same. But at least you make enough to make a nice living, and then you can concentrate on doing your fucking music. I mean, I'm worried now in the situation I am, but you don't have to be worried about what you're gonna eat tomorrow or how you're gonna pay your rent.

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: That's pretty much why we chose to move here.

CoC: Coming back to The Chasm: there's a whole theme of skulls and skeletons. I was wondering, generally, how that fitted in, but also how the whole quote/unquote "Deathcult philosophy" works: what it is to you and how it comes out?

DC: It's like a symbol, you know, like some kind of representation. I mean, when you're fucking dead, that's the last thing: your bones, your skeleton, your skull. And since I was a kid, I was so fascinated by that, you know? And it just to stayed with me. I know it's probably cheesy -- everybody is saying this and that.

CoC: I think it works, for you. That's my view.

DC: I really believe it's like a representation of death. I'm always thinking -- I mean, a lot of people think about it: how it's gonna be after you're gone from this world, as we know it. And I'm just so fascinated by the other systems, you know, that are supposed to be after this one. And I'm using, pretty much the skulls like... You know the Santa Muerte?

CoC: Oh! Day of the Dead?

DC: Yeah.

CoC: Yeah, absolutely. It's an incredible, incredible thing -- I've always wanted to be in Mexico for it. I've seen an exhibition on it in the British Museum. I love it because I always think that the sombre and melancholic but still happy and positive celebration of death is a good thing.

DC: Yeah exactly, I grew up with all that kind of stuff and I always thought about death as a liberation. That's why I titled the demo like that, because it says everything, "Awaiting the Day of Liberation" [The first Chasm demo's title -- Paul]. And, as I said, when I was writing that demo, for example, I was in a different mood. But I still have a... I don't know, man. I'm very -- how can I say? -- very negative. You know, always thinking and expecting the worst. And -- I don't know -- to tell you the truth, I don't wanna even reach forty years old, man. I don't see any point, you know? That's the way I see it right now. I mean, probably I will change my mind...

CoC: But you mean that for you maybe there's no essential good in the continuance of life for its own sake?

DC: Yeah, yeah, exactly, yeah.

CoC: If you can create or if you can -do- something which is significant -in itself-, that's maybe worth something. But simply to live for the sake of living...

DC: Oh, yeah...

CoC: ... It's not...

DC: ... It's not worth it.

CoC: Right, I see what you're saying.

DC: Like right now I'm playing heavy metal because I love it, you know? But also I'm playing music because it's creative. I'm really a very creative person. That's why I was doing tattoos; it was something artistic and at the same time creative, you know?

CoC: Right.

DC: My point, the thing I think I was born for was to create something, you know? I'm not a materialistic person. I don't care about having new cars, or a lot of stuff or money or shit like that. I'm more into the spiritual side of things and I'm also very into the creativity side of things. And that's one thing I'm saying about -- I mean, I'm sure the band is gonna come to an end... one of these days.

CoC: Yeah, absolutely.

DC: And if at that point, let's say, I'm just working a regular factory job, it won't be worth it <he laughs> to be here... just like a fucking zombie, you know?

CoC: Unless there's something else in your life.

DC: Yeah, exactly: if I'm doing something that's a symbol of creativity, and I'm happy with that, I'll keep going. If I'm saying this band is a cult -- a cult of death -- I'm saying that because that's the way I see it. I'm very fascinated and kinda -- how can I say? Errr, fuck! Those words like...

CoC: "Consumed"?

DC: Yeah, probably, you know really into, like fascinated -- well, whatever.

CoC: I think I understand where you're coming from.

DC: Everybody has their own fantasies and illusions and for me it's just to reach the other side, man. You know? I mean, it's not like I'm thinking about that every day, because it will happen, of course -- everybody: that's our destiny. But sometimes I think about provoking, you know? And it was worse back in the day. At the moment it's not like that. We were talking about the reality of life, you know? It makes you think about other things...

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: And it keeps your feet right here in this world, you know?

CoC: Yeah, yeah.

DC: I think that's another point about saying that we're true heavy metal of death: because we're embracing death and I'm talking about death, about extinction of life, you know? But I'm not talking about "total armageddon" and shit like that like some bands. It's extinction, probably, of my life, you know? <chuckles> And what I'm trying to express too is what I'm gonna see at the other side, you know?

CoC: Absolutely.

DC: When we reach the Infraworld. So, pretty much, that's it with our skulls and everything. Probably -- I don't know: I'm thinking about changing it, trying to get something different in the upcoming albums. But I don't know, because it's part of our concept, you know?

CoC: Yeah. It is also something that you can alter and develop and change. I mean, _FtLY_ has volcanoes and a red sky and smoke, but the albums from there go along what I'd call more or less a theme of "death and portals" -- and there's a very sort of astral aspect to it.

DC: Yeah, exactly.

CoC: These landscapes -- and you have songs like "Cosmic Landscape of Sorrow".

DC: I mean, besides the theme of having the universe, The Chasm is influenced just in when you look at the stars and you get really, really into it. It makes you think.

CoC: Yeah, well, you think about yourself in relation to all of that, for a start.

DC: Mhm. And I'm using cosmic images because I think it's going to be something like that, probably. Probably we're just gonna go there, you know? I'm representing something that I think is going to look like that. Like let's say, when I start my journey, I think it's gonna be something like that. I mean, just to make a representation, because I really don't know how it's gonna be, you know?

CoC: Absolutely. That's more than understandable.

DC: Then, you know, the skulls, in some ancient cultures they thought that it was the house for the soul, you know? So, I mean, that's where I'm gonna live, forever... in my own fucking skull. It's hard to explain, man.

CoC: But I see what you mean, coming down to the crude realities of it: for the covers there is metaphor, and there is explanation.

DC: Exactly, like a connection, you know? Because your bones, your skeleton is material, matter.

CoC: But the representation is there.

DC: Yeah, exactly. But it's like the link between this world and the other, you know? When you go to the next level is when you're gone -- of course -- from here and when you start the journey and you start to go through these portals and through these fucking... I don't know man. Dimensions, or whatever. It's hard to explain.

[*(1)] Credit must go to Matthias Noll for showing me this sight on the reverse of his _Morbid Visions_ original LP.

(article submitted 1/9/2002)

10/12/1999 P Schwarz The Chasm: Diabolical Deathcultic Devastation
1/14/2002 P Schwarz 9.5 The Chasm - Reaching the Veil of Death
1/15/2000 P Schwarz 9 The Chasm - Procession to the Infraworld
6/15/1999 P Schwarz 9 The Chasm - Deathcult for Eternity: The Triumph
8/12/1996 A Wasylyk 8 The Chasm - From the Lost Years
10/12/1999 P Schwarz 5 The Chasm - Promo 1999
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