Bodyfarm - Interview


With "Ultimate Abomination" the Dutch deathers Bodyfarm on one hand found a new home regarding their record label and on the other they have released a, so I would say, didactic work in the matter of death metal. Also, after the tragedy around their old singer they have shown that they won't give up despite everything that happened (review here). So, of course a good reason to talk to guitarist / songwriter Alex Seegers via Skype about the new album, the past and the future. Have fun reading!

Michael

Hi Alex, how are you?

All good. We are very busy at the moment because we have the preparation for the tour and we also did the 70000 Tons Of Metal, which was of course a very time consuming thing. That was great, last week we had two release shows and next Friday the tour starts. So I'm busy with my job and the band and doing that at the same time is quite difficult.

Yes, I think so. What do you do for a living?

I am a project manager on the construction site and drive all the construction sites. We install our own frames and doors, which we produce ourselves.

First of all, congratulations for "Ultimate Abomination". I was pretty impressed by this killer album. Were you surprised about the feedback you got so far?

Thank you. We were definitely happy and also a bit surprised that they would turn out so well. We didn't know what to expect because when you've been in the business for so long, it's difficult. We knew that we delivered quality with Ultimate Abomination and we really pushed ourselves and all four of us to the maximum. I think we succeeded when you read the reviews and of course that's a great thing. I hope it stays that way.

Before this album, a huge tragedy happened to the band with the death of the founding member and vocalist Thomas Wouters (died in 2019). Was it clear for you to continue the band or was this a crucial moment where you considered letting it disband?

We didn't think about it that way from the beginning. Thomas quit before because he heard that he was going to die and that changed everything for him. He had known for three years that he had cancer, but he had chemotherapy, had seen doctors and everything was stable. From the moment he knew that it was no longer curable, he decided to stop with the band and that's when we decided that we would continue. Half a year later he died.

This is really a fucking disease. How old was Thomas - 31? I'm really sorry - my condolences belatedly....

Thank you. He had this for a long time. We did a lot until 2016 and from summer 2016 he knew he had a brain tumor. From then on we only did a few shows and we waited until he was stable again and that was 2018. Then we started to play a few gigs sporadically again and in 2019 we recorded Dreadlord, but that also only went in phases. Three songs a night and nothing for a few weeks and by August 2019 it was over.

With Ralph DeBoer you have a new vocalist who is also active for Dead Head. Is there any conflict between the engagements or does all this work well?

Time-wise there is no problem because Dead Head plays much less than Bodyfarm. They play a few gigs a year and that's a different level. It was also like when I asked Ralph to come to Bodyfarm, he wasn't with Dead Head yet. That didn't come to Dead Head until six months later because the old singer was only back with them and then he left again. I'm also a Dead Head fan and we thought it was cool that he was asked and also told him he had to do it. There are no conflicts, but if we go on tour and there's a Dead Head gig coming up, they're out of luck, it can happen. Bodyfarm is already a priority for him, that's what we agreed.

With "Ultimate Abomination" you also found a new label with Edged Circle Productions in Norway. How did this happen?

We didn't know the label at all. It came about through our manager, Roman Hödl from District 19. He knows Stian and played his stuff and he made us a very good offer. He's the old bass player from Immortal and that's the only thing I knew. We looked at what kind of bands he has under contract - In Aphelion, Darkened - and it's a very good label. We didn't know him at all, as I said, but now I've been in intense contact with him for over half a year and he's a great guy.

Talking a little bit more about the album - are you content with everything or is there anything where you would say that it might have been a little bit better - production, layout....?

We are 100% satisfied with the artwork. Musically, it's always such a thing. I mean, of course I'm completely satisfied when I try to listen to the album objectively, but you can't do that when you're the musician yourself. Of course we hear things that maybe we should have done differently, but they're not things that everyone can relate to. But overall it's a great thing and I think it's our best production because it's so different. We did The Coming Scourge and Battle Breed with Ronnie Björnström, a great thing and very direct, the Dreadlord with Dan Swanö and that was a bit darker and now the album has even more of its own touch. I can't judge it objectively yet, but I really like the drum sound and the guitars and I can't say anything negative.

You have a lot of different styles combined on the album. From epic Bathory stuff, Death n' Roll influences to old school death metal. Was it planned right from the beginning to write such a diverse album or did it happen because there were more people involved in the writing process?

More the latter. It wasn't planned because we write what we think is good, but it was like when Thomas was alive we just wrote riffs and he arranged the songs because he had to sing and play guitar at the same time. When we would come up with more complex stuff, he would simplify it so he could sing while playing guitar. He was very good at arranging it and now instead of putting our ideas in, we had to write our own songs. We had done that before for other bands, but not yet for Bodyfarm. That's what Bram (Hilhorst; M.) and I did now. Bram wrote about half and I wrote the rest, but we have two different styles. That's really where this variety comes from - you can distinguish very clearly. The death metal stuff is more my thing and the black metal stuff with the frosty riffs is more Bram in the game. 'The Wicked Red' and 'Sacrilege Of The Fallen' are really Bram songs and 'The Swamp' and 'Carving Repentance' for example are mine. This also gives us more depth because we didn't have to pay attention to the vocals. We can do our stuff because Ralph is the singer.

How did you come to the idea of using a cello in 'The Swamp'? This is a very gloomy stylistic element and fits perfectly into this dark atmosphere!

I wrote this opening riff on the sofa. I was going to do an intro, but the song sort of wrote itself and I thought it's a bit of an epic doom-death piece, which we've never done before, and it needs an intro. I thought of a friend of mine who plays the cello very well and we tried it and that's how it turned out.

When I first read the album title, I thought that this might be a tribute to Vader's "The Ultimate Incantation". Was there such an agenda behind it?

No, actually we didn't. We did some brainstorming on what would be a great title and we had different titles in mind: "Torment" for example, but that was a title Six Feet Under already had and so we thought it wouldn't be that smart. So we kept thinking and this cover already evokes certain thoughts. "Abomination" was one of those thoughts and that's where we added something to make it sound more powerful. Actually the title is the reaction to the cover and not necessarily to the lyrics.

Good transition - what are the lyrics about? Can you go into more detail, I unfortunately did not have them with the promo.

We already have a lot of lyrics like on Battle Breed or The Coming Scourge that are about war in all its facets and on Dreadlord it was about Thomas' illness and all his fears and now you can trace the lyrics back to war as well but it's the dark side of humanity, the psychedelic side in direct comparison to war and it goes from post-traumatic stress syndrome in 'The Swamp' to the dark side of prostitution on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg in 'The Wicked Red' to self-injurious behavior in 'Carving Repentance'. You can also trace it all back to wars you wage with yourself in your own life.

Right. 'War Inside Your Head'!

Suicidal! (laughs)

The album has been out since last Friday. Are there some special editions to purchase or just regular vinyl and CD?

We have besides the regular black vinyl edition and the digipack edition of the CD with bonus track, 'Compulsory Existence', which couldn't be on the LP because the album was too long, a red and an orange vinyl edition, which is only sold via Edged Circle. The red one we only sell ourselves. But there will probably be a jewel case edition of the CD.

The upcoming Friday you will start the European tour with Helleruin and Destroyer 666. Why did you go on tour with two black metal bands?

First of all, I don't think Destroyer 666 is a black metal band. Maybe they were before, but the new record sounds absolutely not like black metal, but more like a thrash/black/death mix. It's all mixed up - the main thing is that it's awesome! Helleruin are with the same booker -District 19 - and our drummer David (Schermann; M.) also plays with Helleruin, so that was a clear thing. The bands also like each other and this tour came about because our booker Roman saw the opportunity and the timing is perfect. We could have waited to play with other death metal bands, but now we have the moment and I think it's interesting for the audience to see three different bands. It's very diversified and maybe we can gain some new fans.

I know that you are also playing the Dortmund Deathfest this August. Are there some more festivals you're going to play?

Yes, I'm really looking forward to Dortmund! We are still at the "Braincrusher In Hell" Festival, "Hell Over Aschaffenburg", the "Vienna Metal Meeting" "Eindhoven Metal Meeting" and many single gigs.

Entered: 4/14/2023 12:38:13 PM

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