HATE is another export product of Poland which we do not have to introduce, and their more than 25 year history has been already supported by 9 official releases and one DVD. While enjoying 8th edition of the Brutal East Fest I managed to exchange more than a few words with Adam a.k.a. ATF Sinner, front man of Warsaw’s Hate. I did not expect that I will find out so much from The First Sinner at all so without further ado we go to the interview.
Welcome to Bialystok for, or rather just after, the 8th edition of the Brutal East Fest. How would you judge this visit after not being here for so many years, will you count it as a success?
Yes, Yes, a very successful event, I'll tell you, that after all these years is nice and friendly. I think we're going to come here more often. Reportedly five years have passed since the last visit, no wait, we played in February of 2010, and so it's been 6 years already.
2015 is behind us and so is "Crusade: Zero", how would you rate that year and are you satisfied with the Hate's ninth album?
Artistically I'm happy with this album, but in truth we feel a little unsatisfied. The band underwent various changes and turmoil in this time period you know. Now we have more steady and clarified line up right now and we've been working on new material for a few months. In September we are going to record a new album, because there is a good atmosphere in the band and we want to go with the punch. We want to take advantage of this situation, continue with the momentum and in September we will be in the studio. I think that new album should appear sometime in the spring of 2017. We don't want to miss anything or to have anything missing this time around, so it's simply all hands on deck and we are making the album and it is going to be the best of our aspirations, in our current lineup. Napalm Records will release it, that's already established. We will record in two studios in Poland. We are going to work with Arek "Malta" Malczewski on this album, these are things that I know and I can say this officially.
Change in the position of a sound guy? No more Wiesławski Brothers? All bets go to Arek Malczewski yes?
Yes, we're changing it, it's not going to be Hertz this time. We want to record a different album, we want to do something completely fresh, and we want to jump away from our recent formula, which in a way has expired for us. We got all the way to the dead end with that recent formula and we want to refresh it. Not just musically, but also fresh in the sound department. We want to refresh our message and hence such decisions.
By the way, about new line up, personnel changes are probably natural thing in biographies of metal bands. Tell me how it's been with you?
You know, in some sense, one can say that this is natural, but in this case it wasn't due to the natural progress, because we had such a tragic event happen in 2013 (Mortifer's death caused by cardiac arrhythmia shortly after a concert in Stuttgart on the night of 5 to 6 April 2013) and it was the rock that drew an avalanche. After this everything fell apart, i.e. first Slawek (Mortifer) died, and then our drummer Staszek "Hexen" left the band, whom somehow, this whole situation overpowered. He returned to music now and he's playing drums in a band called Belzebong, but for quite some time he went through a pretty major crisis after what happened back then.
If I remember correctly this whole horrific situation occurred during your tour?
Yes, Yes, it was on the tour with Hypocrisy in 2013, in the spring and a few days before his birthday in April. We can say that whole line up capsized after this event. Now we have a completely new group. I am on vocals and guitar this whole time of course, Pawel "Pavulon" Jaroszewicz, who had previously played in Decapitated and Vader and in several other bands, on drums. He also plays in Antigama nowadays. We still have two other people who are sort of associated with us. It's the bassist-Piotr "Cain" Kolakowski of Neyra and on the guitar "Domin" Dominik Prykiel, who played previously in the band Lost Soul, as well as several other bands.
Is it a permanent squad at this point?
It's a lineup that plays concerts at the moment. It is in fact a live lineup, but it's been there for about a year and a half. With Pawel and Piotr we traveled and played even longer. With this squad we played several tours, and quite a few serious things - HateFest with Six Feet Under, Marduk and Vader; tour with Belphegor not long ago and in a moment we're going to the Balkans with Decapitated for several concerts, and then there will be a few performances in Russia, also playing with this line up this whole time, so we are pushing forward with all our might, but in fact our main focus is the creation of new material and it is already been in progress for nearly a year. There is a lot of it. Even today, we played one new number at the beginning of our set. It was the first song, without any notice. That was a completely new song that's maybe two months old. Well, you know we try and sharpen our fangs and claws for the session with the new material with "Malta" in September. I think that by the end of the year we should finish with the mastering and so on. I think that in the spring of 2017 at the latest it should be released by Napalm Records. In Poland distribution will probably go through via Mystic.
It's very good that in the end there will be a Polish Distributor, because strangely enough it is hard to get your albums here in your country.
Yes, it's hard because, for some time now, we don't have a Polish publisher. All this time we worked together with the French Listenable Records and with Napalm Records lately. This time, too, it will be Napalm, but there will be some distribution in Poland.
By the way, the last two releases were linked to the Austrian Napalm Rec. and before that you encountered a long episode with the French. Are you happy with the cooperation?
Yes I am pleased with the cooperation with Napalm. This is an interesting case in general because it is a label that's never been that interested in this kind of music. As you know there is more heavy metal and folk metal in there. There is also a lot of soft metal with female vocals. We are one of the very few bands with a stronger type of metal. There is us, there's DevilDriver and not long ago Satyricon signed a contract with them also. So generally that label grows stronger and there's more they can do. They expand their hit zone, so to speak. Generally, we had a good correlation with them since the beginning.
How's the touring support?
Touring support, in principle, contracts do not provide. As a rule, you have to collaborate with a tour agency and we, until recently, collaborated with such agency - "Rock The Nation" from Austria. However, we have solved the contract, because they blocked us in some cases. We could not do certain things. Now we have a complete freedom of choice and we operate through our Tour Agent/Manager. Thanks to this we play way more concerts.
So, you're saying that sometimes a single person can have a better grip on things than a huge agency?
Yes, because in a large agency you always compete with someone. You always have to fight for what is yours. That's how it looks like.
To continue on a subject of touring - in April you were set to conquer Balkans with Decapitated and Thy Disease; Russia, Estonia and Lithuania hand in hand with Italians from Fleshgod Apocalypse in May, but when are you planning on going back to back to U.S.?
How do I say it! We had United States sitting in our cross hair for awhile now. We get various offers from there, but these are not the deals that we wished for just yet. At the moment there are two agencies interested in bringing us back over there. We played few tours in United States. We have achieved a lot over there at some point. After the album "Erebos" we played 3 large tours. One of them was 60 concerts. We circled the whole United States twice and we did Canada. Now we are waiting for a good moment to return over there and I do not know whether it will happen in the upcoming months - in the summertime or whether it's going to happen after the release of the new album, but we'll be back there - it is only a matter of time. The United States is a big market, touring costs out there are a lot of money and it must pay back. Not to mention that the work visas to the United States are terribly expensive, so these are simply the costs. We already did such tours, we took a longer break, but as I said, it is only a matter of time when we return. I think that it will be no later than 2017.
Back to "Crusade: Zero" for a little bit, I have to tell you that on this album I've missed a spark that "Solarflesh" had. I can't even answer the question of 'what is "Crusade: Zero" missing' to myself because there's energy, powerful sound, these are blasts and kick ass drumming…however... please tell me what kind of reviews has this album collected?
Album gathered good reviews generally. There are good, sufficient and very good reviews. I have the same feeling about the album as you said a moment ago. I agree with you 100% on that. We have some appetite left after this album. It happened in special circumstances. Drummer has changed and literally 3 months before the studio time came Pawel "Pavulon". All of this happened in a rush. The pressure was too high and maybe we rushed it a little too much. We wanted to finish before the deadline, because the label pressed us quite strongly. I'm not content myself, there are parts of it that I like, but this material somewhat doesn't entirely work. That's why we changed our philosophy in creating the new material. We want to make an album that you'll have to listen to in its entirety, from the first to the last song on one breath. Not too long of an album though. Generally, the songs will be shorter, like 3-4 minutes each. They will not be strongly expanded narrative but still quite functional, simply dynamic. It's going to be a good beating! We also want to completely refresh the sound so it will change a little stylistically too. I do not want to chat about this too much because it is all still in the works. At the moment we have probably about 12 numbers made. A lot of material, but we have yet to separate some of the songs out. We're probably going to record 8 songs.
Eight-tracks 3-4 minutes each, is this supposed to be Hate's version of "Reign In Blood", but on that one there was 10 pieces (laughs).
It's not that all of them will be short. So, probably the first four will be shorter numbers. Then they will lengthen, and perhaps the last two numbers will be combined into one long often changing number. Such is the plan, but it is still too early to talk about it. All this stuff is in the arrangement mode at the time. We've been sitting long hours in our practice spot and we keep deliberating.
How did it happen that you have almost a quarter of a century behind you but we don't see any anniversary releases, DVDs, something extra, some fireworks? Do you have any plans for this matter?
You know what, I'll tell you that there is a plan for anniversary DVD. Even recently, we received an offer from the Polish label Metal Mind Productions. Let's just say that we've been in talks with them for about a year now. It is crystallizing somewhere over there so I think that probably after this album we'll do such a DVD and probably Metal Mind will release it, but these are just guesses, because there is no contract yet. We would like to do something like this, although on the other hand, I'll tell you that we do not specifically like anniversaries. To celebrate all the anniversaries, to look back, to reflect and so on. Don't like it even more so when not all memories are nice which I mentioned already today.
Yes, I agree with you in its entirety. You play a guitar way longer than Hate exists, does the experience gained in playing guitar allow you to fully enjoy the possibilities?
I'll tell you that I am very happy with what I play and how I play it. Of course I am hungry for more but generally I am satisfied with the performance of the songs with the current lineup. It all plays out as it should, or is coming close to this as it should be. It is also nice because there is progress, and there is good direction while it is, of course, the race to catch the bunny. Man learns all his life. At least that's what I have experienced. I want to learn new things; I don't want to get stuck in one place with my music. You'll see it for yourself because new material will be completely different. There will be different music means used. The album "Crusade: Zero" was already close to eating its own tail and we got backed to the wall with our formula and now it's time to backfire and ricochet in a different direction.
Vocals are quite another story however, they're only as strong, as strong your body is, and those 25 years of touring had to have somehow put a stamp on it. Do you do something special, work on it somehow to get it ready for the tour and be prepared every next day?
No, I'm not doing anything special and I got to tell you that technique is something that shapes up over the years. This is a terribly difficult thing. I was very unhappy with my vocals on the first albums by Hate you know. In general, I became a vocalist by accident because no one in the band could do it and the first few releases by Hate come with vocals, which I can't even listen to. They simply annoy me. In fact, my vocals began to please me in the sense of tone and the character sometime around "Anaclasis..." in 2005. From that point on, I think this is a good direction, but of course it is not so, that it seems to me, that I know it all. Of course not. It is just like with playing guitar, you need to look for some new formula all the time. On the new album I will also try to do something distinctive.
We are being seriously rushed over here so let's finish this on subject of faith. I didn't spot an ounce of respect for the Christian faith in the works of Hate and you downright glow with antipathy to it. After the recent financial failures being uncovered and pedophilia investigations, does make sense to still go after them?
It's totally worth it, because I'll tell you what the paradox is despite all this, the church in Poland is very strong and I think that it's strongest that it has ever been. I do not remember church ever being so mighty and powerful institution but now is also assisted by politicians. This year promises to be dominated by Christianity - there are going to be some celebrations, the World Christian Youth Rally, 1050 anniversary of the baptism of Poland, and so on, it scares me. Also, in any case, we do not want to support this and continue to insist that this is something that is quite not needed for any man. Our country is a kind of phenomenon. In general, most of the world seems to leave religion behind and then there's us, quite the opposite - and that's that. Poland is a terribly monotheistic, traditional, religious country and I do not like it very much...
At this point our conversation was brutally interrupted and we had to leave the room with all the of the band’s belongings. Time to wait for new and divergent Hate!