Stillborn is quite unknown name here in Slovakia, but in Poland it is already a cult band with 15 years of existence, and four full-lengths. The band played countless live gigs and the new "Los Asesinos Del Sur" CD from last year, which I reviewed, has impressed me so much I decided to confess these bloodthirsty Poles. What is new and lots of other information was answered by Killer (guit, vox).
Hello, how's it going for Stillborn these days? What are you now working on?
K. Cheers. We've just performed at a festival Covenant XV in Cracow, which was combined with Stillborn's 15th anniversary. The event went pretty well. Presently we are working on new material of Genius Ultor and if things go right way we'll record it by end of August (I mean month's end, not August's death). When it comes to Stillborn, I expect now the time of some changes, but those will be announced later on. Anyway, we are planning to record a Judas Priest tribute EP and late this year start to start shaping next album. Some of the ideas have already come true.
Your last "Los Asesinos Del Sur" album was released some time ago and hopefully it has time to establish in the underground. How can you see this stuff from today's perspective? Would you change anything if it were possible?
K. I would change nothing. This album and record of Genius Ultor are most fulfilling things I've done. Everything went better than I had been imagining initially. As for the promotion and response around the world, all the credit goes to Greg of Godz ov War Productions and his hard work. May he be covered in glory. Speaking of the album itself, I 'm going to repeat over and over that everything has its proper time and space. Certain things, even if don't appear as intended, should remain unchanged. This is how you gather experience, how the life goes and history is made.
Could you describe creation process of your last album? Was it difficult to compose and what is your approach to the song writing process? Do you have a proven recipe you always keep, or it is always different?
K. Recording of albums in our case is nothing but performing the music that has been previously rehearsed. We do not enter the recording studio to create there, but to record what already has been created. Process of creation does not arise from some plan, but from inspiration. It is endlessly spontaneous impulse, or need to release what is inside our heads and hearts in that particular moment of our life. There in no calculation nor patent. Working on a new album is about how to curb the mass of ideas that come instantly. We arrange them into a uniform whole. Basically this is August's and my responsibility.
Your music does not lack a good deal of aggression and it preserves certain melody to be the songs easier to remember. There is also some chaos present in many songs, both in riffs or leads, but rhythm is definitely important to you as well, changing many tempos, from fastest to slower ones. Another thing that cannot be missing is preserving the atmosphere, feeling, and the resulting darkness. All these things together make up a complex of your music. Can you see it alike?
K. For me it is hard to describe things that I always find coherent and clear, because they're mine. When I listen to the records, first thing I confirm is what kind of emotions they evoke, not what factors build up the song or if it is melodic, chaotic, etc. If you have force and energy there, it already is a great deal. It may be related to aggression, or opposite - nostalgia or even melancholy contained in the album. Important thing is that it has to be true and has to hammer your head. But, not to appear as impolite boor, I am going to answer: yes, I perceive our album's musical aspects like you do.
Do you think your melody is more harmonious than dissonant? Do you think it is more negative than positive? Can we ever discuss it all so? This can be quite relative …
K. My music is overflowing with aggression and madness. So far I've been thinking that it's evident.
I feel you love old school death metal; old thrash bands and also black metal classics. Where do you draw inspiration for your music from? Is it only from music spheres?
K. If I were to draw solely from the music that already exists, I would never find courage to form a band. Everything originates from straightforward teenage rebellion when I just wanted to shower venom all around. My rebellion is becoming senile version, but still strong enough to make me record Metal music. Still the days come when I feel like executing everybody around and usually on that days best songs are written. When I loose my inner aggression, I will quit playing Metal.
What position does Stillborn have in Poland? You are active for quite a long time, so you might be there already quite well known. I'll tell you Stillborn is not too famous band over here in Slovakia. How do you care for promotion of your band?
K. Frankly speaking I do not care about promotion at all. I think I've proven it by period I needed to reply to this interview. You don't need to hold it against me. It is not about nasty approach. I had too many other things to manage. There are days when I feel that I am able to write good answers, then I get to writing. I hate forcing myself to anything. This is why the promotion of last album is in Greg's hands and he's doing it perfectly. I cannot imagine how much money one needs to earn to be able to talk the same bullshit again and more and to respond like a dog to every call. One rent boy shows up anywhere, brainwashes the teenagers, makes a clown of himself an all this is only for the sake of gaining celebrity. What for? I play because it pleases me. When it stops, I will not play, so piss off everyone. Unfortunately everything has its price and even in the underground promotion is necessary to be able to sell at least few records and to have the cost of production payed for itself. I am trying to limit the promotion activity not to make it wider than the necessary minimum. I detest this matter and I do not know a lot about it. Some 17 years back Behemoth was not attacking my senses from every possible direction, from inside of my own fridge (as we say in Poland), from the morning daily paper. Only from trade catalogue of Pagan records.
What is your look at the Polish scene in general? I think most people have divided your scene to bands based mainly on the creation of VADER, BEHEMOTH, or the latest AZARATH, but I think you have many other diverse and original bands in the extreme underground. Classics like DAMNATION, HELL -BORN, or PANDEMONIUM, EMBRIONAL and hundreds of other are often forgotten...
K. Polish underground knows quite a lot very good bands and side projects. Damnation does not exist now for quite a long time, but I am glad that you know their output. It is one of the most important bands for me. Mighty Hell - Born in a way is a continuation of that cult. When we speak of it, I do recommend Witchmaster! And moreover Doombringer, Bestial Raids, Infernal War, Kriegsmaschine, Mgła, Furia, Deadly Frost, classics of Christ Agony, younger band Cultes Des Ghoules, go into atmosphere of Anima Damnata or Throneum. And this should reveal to you general condition of Metal in Poland. This view is certainly different from what - with due respect - Vader and Behemoth offer.
How do you perceive the global Metal scene today? Don’t you think Metal is becoming mainstream?
K. Ughhhhh. Metal is dying, but I am not going to grieve over it, because on my shelves it is always alive. Different times have come and consequently different artists and different audience. I do not understand them and do not require from them to understand me. Let them live and play, but they shouldn't call it Metal. Obviously, there are few exceptions, legends of Metal which act in their right place, in the mainstream. Their attitude does not rise doubts. As for the rest, I perceive them only as a momentary demand on market for some shocking content, like horror movie in cinematography. So called managers will milk the queers out of their money and eventually they will end up playing at folk festivities for elders and kids.
Sure you remember the 80s and 90s years, there was released large number of high-quality, memorable albums which become cults over time. Do you sometimes remember this period when advertising was carried out exclusively through flyers, posters, fanzines, there were no mp3 and more fans at live shows? Do you think today is substantially different in many ways?
K. I will not talk in generalities. Due to my age, I keep late 80-ties in my memory as music-related consciousness. And of course whole 90-ties as a very clear memory. Regardless of it, I was brought up on bands from 80-ties. Pure energy not stained with any poser crap. This is my brief description of times recalled by you. Everything was source of joy and I was dying for each another tape to be able to listen to it on tape-player over and over again for a month or so. There was far less of a posey twaddle, because then a man had direct contact with another man, not only with the computer screen. It was possible to verify everything in real world. When you wanted to see some band's live show, you were setting off to see them live. Now kids search at You tube. Off course, it has positive aspects, as anything. In some matters, you need to know temperance. Me myself utilize mp3 from time to time, but only in purpose of confirmation if an album is worth buying. I cannot afford buying everything on spec as some freaks who boast in the net about how many thousands of records they owe. What a pity, never played records, hehehehe.
Could you tell something about your lyrics? Are you trying to keep the classic themes as most of the extreme bands, or you are looking in completely different direction? Alternatively, if you hold the classic themes, are you trying to bring them in a more original way? Are the lyrics as important as the music for you?
K. Most of the lyrics are written by Ataman Tolovy, so unfortunately I don't feel like describing them in details. What's more, the author wouldn't like to have me making it. The lyrics are for having the audience give some thought to them or to ignore them totally if not interested in the lyrics. Two of the lyrics are mine and they speak straightforward of my attitude towards the world. Are they important? - yes. Are they most important? - not for me.
I have seen your new video for Stillborn II (Ordinary Singularities of the Vulgar Boor) song, which is visually quite well, while outside the box. Could you tell how long it was filmed and how it has been difficult? I have to admit I have not seen such good video clip for years …
K. Thanks for your voice of approval. The shots took some two days. It was in an air-ride shelter which previously served as rehearsal place for Ataman Tolovy's projects. The bulk work was the edition of all shots. This video is combination of thousand single shots performed with a photo camera.
I noticed all your four albums are called in Spanish, which is quite unusual for a Polish band. What led you to this? Will be the next album called in Spanish as well? Do you have a close relationship with that language?
K. It is about phonetic perception of this language. For me personally it is infinitely vulgar which perfectly fits to Stillborn.
Historically it is closely linked with Culture of Death what encourages us to utilize this language. Moreover by doing so, I wanted to pay homage to the scene of Latin America, especially that of 80-ties.
What is the life in Poland? It is known Poland has incredibly many metalheads, bands, fanzines, almost all the major tours go across Poland ... from this perspective there must be great life, but what about the politic situation, or question of the church? Does the church still have such a powerful influence on your society?
K. The church is a pest, which since the dawn of time preys on misfortunes of this nation. Exploits, brainwashes and makes the society foolish. Only a suppressed idiot lets others manipulate himself with no limits. Yes, it still has powerful influence and it still pisses me off beyond limits.
Are you based rather materialistic or spiritual? Do you believe in something supernatural we can not perceive with our senses?
K. I am a doubter by nature. If I cannot see, I cannot believe. Anyway, I do not exclude things that make my close ones strong and happy.
How do you like the world developing in general? Do you prove to look a bit optimistic in this direction? The European Union is in ruins, the economic crisis has still not said its last word, there is still a threat of more wars and so on ... Do you think a few decades ago it was better?
K. I'm disgusted with politics as well as with church and religions. So, I take the easy way out and I do not give an answer. One thing is certain thou. The world is drawing to an annihilation. It is time for fall of this and birth of a new civilization. There are simply too many people on Earth.
What do you think about so called Illuminates and about establishing of a new world order? Do you believe there is indeed such an organization which pulls the strings of world history long ago and everything is decided in advance?
K. You can detect a conspiracy theory literally on every step. But does it help you in your life? Well, if the theory is confirmed true, you know it does not help, because everything is planned in advance, hehehe. If not confirmed, it means that you have lost precious time. The rule not to fall into paranoia is quite simple. Do what pleases you and makes you happy in your life.
What about Stillborn live activities? How many gigs you play a year? Have you ever played in Slovakia? Do you know some bands of the Slovak scene?
K. In years 2006 - 2010 we had been playing pretty frequently. We've traveled across Poland and few cities in Ukraine. Except for this country, we have never performed abroad. For now, I am concentrated on new materials and will not play live this year at all. When it comes to old bands, I remember Tublatanka and they immortal hit Prawda Vitazi, but for me it is Rock not Metal. There has also been a band Phantasma. They appeared in 90-ties in polish zines.
Ok, it would be all on my part, hope I have not forgotten anything important. Perhaps you could even mention things you offer in merchandise. Thank you for the interesting interview and wish Stillborn many successes in Metal and personal life, have a good time!
K. Thanks for the interview and a word of praise. Remain faithful to your ideals. Be strong and free.