Redemptor arose in my consciousness in the summer of 2014, when by some weird coincidence and YouTube I’ve heard the album teaser for "The Jugglernaut". I ingested their version of technical death metal with no chaser. After the purchase of said album it stayed in my player for a long ass time and not without reason, it also appeared on my Top Ten of 2014 at #1. The said ranking I take with a grain of salt, however, it’s with the full knowledge of consequences and without any brown nosing action that I’ll keep repeating that Redemptor is in the first league of the world’s technical death metal bands. This is supported not only by the band line up, but in this case, also by amazing music itself. "The Jugglernaut" is a gem, which for reasons unknown to me did not spill out all over the world yet. During my visit in Krakow, I had quite a long chat with Daniel Kesler, guitarist and co-founder of Redemptor. I want to invite you to read it right now, and later, of course, I encourage you to listen to the album.
Let's start with an ordinary question about the history of the band. I know and understand that this is not too popular of a question, because you can reach the bands bio on the net, but bearing in mind human laziness and in order to facilitate the introduction of the band on the other side of the Atlantic - tell us about Redemptor.
The band was formed in 2001 in Łomża, in Podlasie. I was 17 years old back then. In 2 years we recorded two demos. The first one we recorded with a full line up, drums, bass, two guitars, vocals and keys. On the other one, our drummer was no longer with us, so the drums were programmed. Generally, Łomża is a small town in which there are not many musicians, certainly not metal ones, so we had to help ourselves by using a drum machine, and that is how we also played concerts (laughs)... for example in Warsaw we played as two: from a drum machine we had snare and bass, and the two of us did guitars and vocals. We played the same way on the Creation Of Chaos in Białystok. After the recording of the second demo we really wanted to record an album. We had such a plan to record in 2004 in Hertz Studio. We even started to book the time, but still have not found a drummer. Finally, in March 2005 we recorded an album ("None Pointless Balance") in Hertz Studio with all mixes and mastering. In 2006 I moved the band to Krakow and here in Krakow, I started to assemble the line up. First I met Kuba Chmura, who played in Sceptic, Anal Stench and Headless. I suggested to Xaay (Michał Loranc), that he became a singer, Konrad Rossa, who was from Gorzow, played earlier in Dished, and as he moved here, we played together in Sothoth and Redemptor. Bassist (Andrzej Pichliński) was from another band that I also played in Privateer. And so we recorded a demo ("Nanosynthesis"), which was never put out. Later on, we experienced changes in the line up again. Guitar and bass have changed. We recorded a EP ("4th Density") with the new line up and there was a tour with Sceptic, Banisher and Sammath Naur.
After this tour I had to suspend the band. I had really mixed feelings about the future of Redemptor. After a few years of playing together we parted ways with Kuba Chmura. Each of us got a little tired of playing together. The chemistry, which we had while recording “4th Density”, was all gone. At that time I began mine, as it turned out, brief adventure with the band Disperse. I played in Sceptic since 2010, so generally I had things to do. The break lasted for a year. After what we have been able to achieve with the recording of "The Jugglernaut" I can confidently say that the break was needed. We recorded this album in April and finished in November of 2013. We haven’t published it until June of 2014. And so we got to the end of the story. At this point we’re making material for the next album.
Since you mentioned touring, for the time being, no tours have been played?
With the line up from "The Jugglernaut" there was no tour or any concerts for that matter.
Is there a possibility?
Interesting, very interesting, we'd like to, but Kerim joined SepticFlesh so...???
By the way, how did the knowing of this Austrian buddy come about?
We got to know Kerim when he came to Poland for the auditions for Decapitated. And so it happened that I have worked with Vogg from Decapitated in a music store. We were buddies. I traveled with them to concerts as an instrument tech and so inevitably I got to know Kerim much closer. He lived in Krakow back then, I met with him few times, and he lived close to the headquarters of my guitar school Guitarmanic. When the final version of the album with programmed drums was ready, I and Xaay decided that we need to find someone who will pull through it. The first and only who came to mind was Kerim. He agreed to record and that’s how it came out.
So Kerim had a short episode of living in Krakow?
Yes, and then he moved to Warsaw.
Let’s talk Hertz Studio a little. First album was recorded over there so why this time, the decision was made to record in your - Guitarmanic Studio and the Sound Division in Warsaw with Arek Malczewski turning knobs?
Daniel – Those were different times back then. In 2005, for an hour of work in the studio you would pay like 35zł/h, today its 120zł. “None Pointless Balance” we recorded with them for 5600zł. At this time around, well, times have changed a little. 10 years have passed and after this period, prices have gone up so terribly that recording this material in the Hertz Studio would have cost us 4, maybe 5 times as much. At this time however all material can be done at home, so the experience that we have gathered playing over the years, has allowed us to record the album ourselves. Guitars were recorded at home on a variety of plug-ins, basically on some of the cheapest equipment available- Line 6 Pod GX. The guitars were recorded, registered by the tracks clean, what later was re-amplified by Paweł Grobler of Forgotten Souls, then that was turned around by amplifiers. Final recording of guitars cost us pennies, but it took quite a lot of my time and work, because I did it all myself, it was put together all by me.
So, basically you have done it all thanks to your own knowledge and skills.
Exactly, we used our knowledge, because it is hard to do this when someone doesn’t get it. if someone doesn’t know, but still doesn’t want to spend ton of money on the studio, he should learn it and it can be done. You can record well sounding material with a low budget; it's just that the whole force of it sits in mix and mastering, so you need to give it to someone who knows this well, so you shouldn’t try to save on that. On the recording you can do the same. Vocals and bass were recorded in the same way. Only drums were recorded in the studio and we chose Sound Division Studio in Warsaw. Kerim lived there already, so it was so much easier, there was no need to drive him anywhere anymore. He learned the material in a month. In the studio he worked with Heinrich (Filip Hałucha) from Vesania. The session lasted 4 days and so the album was closed up. Malta did mixes and mastering later.
Why did you choose Arek Malta and not Wiesławski Brothers?
It is just that Malta did the mixing and mastering on our previous material for the EP "4th Density", we knew him for several years, actually Xaay knew him. We liked the direction he is going as far as sound, that he wants to make it the most natural, not corrected. There was no editing of drums or guitars, we didn't use any tricks. This is simply natural recording. Moreover, everything that Kerim played on the album is natural, because it has not been corrected, or aligned to the grid, etc. This is the way we wanted this to happen.
So if I understood correctly, all material was done by you and Xaay, yes?
Here is how it happened, I started to do the numbers, that is, pieces or skeletons of them on the guitar. I was recording it, programming drums, then sending it to Xaay. He made sure that these pieces had the form of "songs". We can say that the music of this material is in 90% mine, lyrics and graphic design are his work.
You mentioned something about the new material. Are there any outlines, plans, how and when?
Well, OK, I could even play some for you. I do have some things outlined, hehe ... we would like to keep the style, you know. I'm sure guitars will be tuned a little lower. Some songs will be faster, but you will find some extra slow ones also. There will be more ambient, spacious fragments but also, it will be more extreme, although given in an accessible way. We would like to make a listener absorb our music as a whole, rather than a separate puzzle pieces that cannot connect with each other.
How will the new stuff sound?
Well, it will be just as it was. I wouldn't want to compare myself to other bands. I listen much less to technical metal type bands such as Necrophagist and Psycroptic recently. It will be more atmospheric, but nonetheless still technical.
I know musically you have been around quite extensively, is Redmemptor, your most important band right now?
Yes, this is my most important band. This is the only band in which I play at the moment. Previously I participated in 3 bands at the same time Sothoth, Redemptor and Privateer, later Sothoth, Redemptor only, and then came Sceptic. Sothoth ended and then was Redemptor and Sceptic, and now it’s just Redemptor. One, I no longer have enough time for a greater number of bands, time to sacrifice myself and play more, and two, I just like to focus on one project only.
A band is one thing and guitar school-Guitarmanic, is your second musical pursuit, yes?
This is my main and most important job, because this is my work. Initially, it was a passion and a little bit of a part-time monetary project for a few hours per week. Now it’s regular work. It’s running your own business, taking care of everything so it moves forward and grows. So every now and then I wonder what clinic to organize ... I organize workshops recursively. I did a guitar workshop: Jacek Królik , Piotr Żaczek, Tosin Abasi, Decapitated also played, Hoffman from Turbo. There was quite a bit of it, organization of such events consumes a lot of time. The work itself, despite the fact that it is a passion, steals my time to practice on the instrument. But I'm not complaining, because I'm the boss to myself.
How does your adventure with a guitar look, was it Ibanez from the beginning?
No, my first electric guitar was a BC Rich Warlock. Later, it was a Jackson Warrior, which is in the shape of Ibanez Xiphos, which I have here, but I encountered Ibanez later when I wanted to play 7-string guitar. I remember I got my first Ibanez from Pawel from The Sixpounder, it was a guitar such as the one here, the Ibanez Universe Steve Vai model UV777. Later, there was the second Ibanez, and eventually I merged officially with this brand.
Thanks for tea and a nice chat in Guitarmanic Modern Guitar School
I hope I presentedRedemptor at least a little bit to the metal maniacs across the pond. See you at Redemptor shows.