Sunday, July 25, 2010

Interview with Lille Gruber of Defeated Sanity

Infernal Dominion unleashes an interview with the mighty blast monster - Lille Gruber from the sickest band from Germany and perhaps the reigning brutal death metal stalwarts of our century - Defeated Sanity. Scroll down to read what this smiling assassin has to say about his band and death metal in particular! 
Conducted by - Ankit Sinha

ID:  Hello Lille, first of all, I would like to congratulate you for the latest album 'Chapters of Repugance'' which has been hideously successful in breaking a ligament or two off my auditory system with its unfathomably sick onslaughts on my poor ears since a few months now. Your next release would probably disable my hearing abilities totally, I fear. I guess that you have must been getting similar complaints from a lot of people worldwide in the past few months. 

Lille: Haha thank you sounds like a nice compliment. Glad you like it. We are indeed already thinking about the next release, so let's see what we can do to mutilate people out there haha!

ID: 1994 was the golden year when Defeated Sanity was born out of the cradle of Germany's underground abysms, but it took 6 years for you to release your first promo. What were the reasons behind this delay? Also, how hard was it to find like-minded and able musicians from your country to collaborate on one of the most extremest bands ever formed? 

Lille: I think, actually, to name the year 1994 as the beggining was a mistake that we made in our bio. It was more the point when our original guitarist and me started jamming. The real beginning was 1998/99 when Münzner/Köhler/Keller joined us to form an actual band. Still took a long time til the release of our debut. The reasons for that were to find the right style, trying to make our discography flawless from the start!

ID:  Its pretty apparent that you are also inclined a lot towards Jazz as Defeated Sanity's insturmental chaos revels in a lot of handsome Jazz oriented sections. Though Jazz has been fused suavely with DM by a lot of bands previously, your ideas were certainly tad different and that is purely reflected by the intricate riff/drum structures been employed by you. What is the basic formula which keep in mind for developing the song structures? 

Lille: Interesting subject. Just yesterday I saw a band of Academic Jazzers trying to make a Jazz/Metal Mix and it was just horrible!! The songwriting seemed so untalented and the band seemed arrogant towards Metal, not taking it seriously enough. There exactly is the point. You gotta take your shit serious. For us everything we compose has to be Death Metal, even if we use crazy "jazzy" shit it has to fit the atmosphere and it can't sound funny, relaxed or smooth, whatever. The dangerous thing for many musicians interested in jazz, etc.. also is to get sucked into it further and to start thinking that is their music now when it really isn't. Well that didn't happen to us and never will. 

ID: After creating tremors in Germany and beyond with your splits and promos, the ultimate catastrophe arrived when Prelude to the Tragedy was unleashed in 2004. It definitely garnered a great attention in the DM scenario worldwide and tossed your band on the the roster of 'the next big thing' to keep an eye on by hordes of BDM afficianados. Though that was just a trailer of the apocalypse which was about to fall upon the mankind with the future releases, it was highly responsible for diseasing our minds with Defeated Sanity's trademark insanity. How was it like working on that album and what were some of the most memorable incidences which you remember during the song writing/recording process for the same?

Lille: Funny, that you look at it that way ("trailer of the apocalypse") because that is why we chose the album title. This release was really meant to be the Prelude to the tragedy. When we composed, recorded and released it we knew this was the time in our career when we finally got strong enough to let people know we are there. Especially because we already had about 2-3 songs written for the next album and we knew it was gonna get just better and better.

About incidences, I remember we all had a fucking rough time recording it. Kelly, our singer back then had to interrupt the recordings because of a severe throat disease which also resulted in this permanent beeping in your ear that you get, when your stressed too much, can't remember that term though. I played this album with a carpal tunnel problem that kept me from playing for 3 months before the recordings, and Wolfgang also had some problems with his tendons.....not a very good time we had while recording, but good came of it.

ID:  Enter 2007 and the DM crowd gets an even more heavier sledge hammer-ish blow on their face with the release of ''Psalms of the Moribund'' - an album which could be tagged as nothing less than '' earth shattering'' in the literal manner. Even the people who had been keeping an eye on your proceedings would not have been able to imagine such cranium crushing heaviness spewed out by Psalms. Jens' hypnotical guttural inhales added just another dimension to the overall music which had grown way more tighter and complex than Prelude. But the biggest highlight would certainly be your breathtaking drumming prowess, I mean it was an absolute frenzy of hyper blasting torment! I would really love if you could shed light on the overall song writing on Psalms. Also, how hard it was to develop those dense vocal patterns for the highly intricate music? 

Lille: Thanks before all for the huge compliment!
Well the songwriting on Psalms.....its pretty sad to be honest. Most ot the songs I developed alone by recording the guitars onto a 8 track recorder, then drumming along to the guitars to come up with drum patterns. Then when these demos were done, I would write them down on tab and teach them to both guitarists (who were both living more than 5 hours away which made rehearsals hard for DS). To teach these songs to Jacob was really one of the last steps to complete the album as he was only a session member back then.
You see, for this album the songwriting was kinda lonely job and not very co-operative for most of the tracks.
Only I and Jens, who lived near, got together from time to time to work on vocal lines. I had about 90% of patterns and lyrics written and Jens added a few lines and a few ideas to it. By the way, the reason for this vocal style was that we thought that the vocals needed to bring catchieness and calmness into the music. A singer accentuating all of the tech shit would have been overkill I think.

ID: One frequent issue which has bothered Defeated Sanity is the various line-up changes. Both Wolfgang and Jens left the band after Psalms which would have made your job a bit more harsh to find better or equivalent replacements. In fact all the three full lengths have different vocalists which actually makes them sound individual and a tad different than one another. Christian's stint with the band was also pretty shortlived and now we know him better with bands like Obscura, Spawn of Possession and Necrophagist. What were the reasons due to which such highly talented musicians had to leave the band? 

Lille: Individual reasons: 
Jens was a chemistry issue with the whole band,

Wolfgang had problems with his arms (of course partly due to his age) and also with learning tons of new material

Münzner and DS parted ways cus we didn't have the same ideas about songwriting, sound etc...had obviously nothing to do with his playing skills

ID: After the departure of Jens, Konni of Despondency/Resection fame took over the vocal duties for your live acts but only for a brief amount of time. Why didn't you consider taking him as a full time vocalist? Which other vocalists were auditoned for this job?

Lille: We just didn't like the fact of someone singing in another bands already, especially when they are of such importance as Despondency (RIP). That was why we tried to dig out AJ, because no one had heard of him in a long time and we knew that people have been missing his voice as much as we have! About other vocalists, we had great guys try out from all sorts of places via internet but we tried to find a person from Germany. None of those who have tried from here seemed up to par though.

ID:  Now finally pouncing upon your latest magnum opus - '' Chapters of Repugnance'', I experience a child like exuberance while describing the barbaric attributes of its slanderous atonal torments. It deviously proceeded from where Psalms had ended in all its rapturous grandeur and left an even more suave impression on my mind than what the former did. The recruitment of A.J. Magana (Disgorge/Deprecated) worked wonders for you as his guttural demolition fitted the highly abrasive nature of Chapter's music with absolute perfection. But wasn't it tought to work on the rehearsals for such highly complex songs because of the vast difference in A.J.'s location? How did you create the whole blue print for the rehearsal/recording with him? 

Lille: More than 80% of the lyrics and vocal patterns were already written when he came here. We recorded demo's with me singing the vocal patterns/lyrics over the music and sent them to him via e-mail to give him a rough idea of the songs. When AJ came here 5 days before the studio sessions we went over the songs and put them to perfection. He also changed some parts of the lyrics in order to make the patterns flow even better.

ID: I would like to know that how did you finally decide to take A.J. as a full time vocalist for your band. Didn't the country difference act as a huge hindrance for not only the recording but also for the live shows? You even did some shows without his vocal services because of some issues which had popped in for him.

Lille: Right now is a very open phase for DS still. We wanna try to keep AJ in the band, although it obviously is a big task to co-ordinate everything. We will see how that will progress. Musically, there is none that fits us better. It's just a great match. We also worked on new songs together already with everyone could be another great cooperation. But we need to make big sacrifices,  especially AJ with all the travelling.

ID: Apart from Mr. Magana's mayhemic contributions, Christian and Jacob were the major partners in crime who weaved a malicious miasma with their jaw dropping string attacks. Jacob's bass lines were extremely crucial for making the album sound so monstrously epic and he complemented Christian's spontaneous riff assualt with panache. How do you feel about this tremendous element which those two guys brought in for Defeated Sanity?

Lille: I could not be happier with the core of the band right now. Jacob and Chris are fucking sick and we are a good musical entity. We also write music together opposed to back then when I was just composing shit all alone.

ID: Your albums are full with some of the most gratifying and insanely labyrinthine songs which leave the listeners with dumb with awe. But it is definitely not as easy as how it sounds to us. Which were some of the most challening songs which you came across in your entire career with Defeated Sanity?

Lille: I gotta say that Blissfully Exsanguinated is the song that was most challenging to write for me. Mainly talking about the lyrics here. I wanted to transport a complex story within a very short song which is a veeeeeeeery hard job. But I managed to let it flow perfectly, of course with AJ's help. Also playing wise, it's one of the most challenging and innovative songs of ours.

ID: It is also known that you are also an ace guitarist though we haven't been exposed to your string carnage apart from the sessions you did for Sinners Bleed. What actually happened to the proposed ''Dark Jazz Rock'' project where you were supposed to play guitars with Wolfgang on drums? Have you also considered playing guitars fulltime for some another DM project?

Lille: I will not play in another DM project, because all the Death Metal riffs I write are obviously gonna be used for DS. But that Jazzy project is coming along nicely. Just improvising anyways. We hope to enter a studio soon and record some of these improvisations....if the stuff turns out good we can release it.

ID: You had also collaborated with Turkish brutal death metallers Cenotaph for their latest offering ''Putrescent Infectious Rabidity'' and again, the percussive demeanor took most of the attention on that album. How did you get in touch with those fellows and what was the recording process for the album? Was it a totally internet based collaboration or you had a personal tete-a-tete with the members also?

Lille: Got in touch with them, because Batu offered himself to help out DS, which we only didn't do because we already found Konni to help us. Then he asked me if I would do their album and I said yes. Indeed an internet thing, never met them in my life yet haha.

ID: The lyrics for your music have also been a very special highlight. They have mostly focused on the horrors and degradation of mortal life but Chapters of Repugnance have had some more atrocious and realistic lyrics, especially on ''Engulfed in Excruciation''. What is your primal approach for writing lyrics and how do you think that it is important to even jot lyrics for an ultra brutal death metal band, where one can barely decipher as to what's being sung by the vocalist? And, were Christian and Jacob also involved with the lyric writing on Chapters? 

Lille: Lyrics were mainly written by me with some help from AJ and some other people too. Lyrics have to flow perfectly with the music and have to give a song the perfect dramaturgy. I bet if you try you can read along each word sung on Chapters. He did a very good job at being super guttural but still making the lyrics audible.

ID: How did the deal with Willowtip Records came along?

Lille: A lot of labels made us offers after our deal with Grindethic was ended. Willowtip had the best offer, as far as we could judge.

ID: Before being signed to Willowtip, your earlier full lengths had been released by Grindethic Records, who were more of a deathgrind/goregrind label before they signed a complex death metal band like yours. How did they treat your musical abilities and how much were you satisfied with the amount of promotion done by them? 

Lille: I think they did the best they could do and they will always be our brothers. Each time we have been to the UK they have helped us alot. Always supporting! Great people!

ID:  Now, talking about the music again, one can notice a lot of slamming elements intervowen adeptly with the gravity defying, hyper blasting atrocity of the music. How far have you been influenced with the whole ''Slam Death Metal'' genre and why did you actually consider involving its elements into Defeated Sanity's music?

Lille: Hmmm I guess we always wanted to pick the best out of Death Metal to come as close as possible to the "ultimative death metal style". Slam is essential to us, as is technicality, as is speed, as is somber, abysmal atmosphere. Our motto is, never forget the past but also never forget the present and future either. Get with the times and update your sound with what is good......deathcore breakdowns are not included in that by the way.

ID: What all shows or announcement do you guys have in the pipe-line?

Lille: A lot of unconfirmed shit, which could be amazing if it happens. Also finally getting into our own country a bit more, which is a plus.

ID: Now going down the memory lane, tell me that how did your journey as a metalhead began and which were the albums/songs which exposed you to whole death metal movement during your younger days?

Lille: First thing I heard after 2 years of Metallica, Maiden and Megadeth,etc.., was Morgoth "The Eternal Fall", Atrocity "Hallucinations", Obituary "Cause of Death", Death "Human"....then for even more brutal shit CC "Tomb of the Mutilated" and Monstrosity's first album. Great fucking times! 

ID: Name some of the drummers/guitarists (not strictly metal) which have been a major influence on your style? 

Lille: Pick up the booklet for Prelude to the Tragedy, almost all of them are in there.

ID: What is your opinion about the current German death metal scene and which bands do you think are the better ones from there?

Lille: Good bands from Germany: Sinners Bleed, Despondency (rip), Infested (rip), Ingurgitating Oblivion, Necrophagist obviously....umm tons more, just getting lazy here haha.

ID:  Which current/upcoming bands do you like the best from the existing underground DM scenario? Are there any special tips and ideas which you would like to share with many of the young turks who are trying hard to play technical and hard hitting death metal? 

Lille: The shit that is blowing me away recently is Scatorgy (toured with them and they are really promising), Putridity (check the new songs, fucking relentless shit), Devourments "Unleash the carnivores" is sick as fuck....etc etc.
My tips for young bands I guess: rather focus on hard hitting (= brutal) than go for technical (= learning complicated arpeggios before being able to write a solid song or palm mute a powerchord the right way). Technicality comes when you have a solid foundation to build on.

ID: Coming towards the end of this grueling interview, I would like to thank you loads for sparing your crucial time to answer my questions. I feel absolutely honored to have interviewed one of the best death metal musicians to have ever embraced planet earth! Wish you all the luck for the upcoming ventures of Defeated Sanity.

The final space is all yours. Feel free to comment whatever you felt about the questionnaire and your brutal thoughts for our readers.

Lille: Hey thank you for the interview, Ankit! Hails to all our fans worldwide. Watch out for more brutal releases and come to the fucking shows!
Keep it sick


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