Greetings! How are you? Please introduce yourselves?
George: Hey Melinda, first of all many thanks for getting in touch with us and supporting us. Well about us – we’re Destination Void, a Vienna based Death Metal band. We rose from the ashes of the Austrian death metal band called “Miasma” – some Old-Schoolers still might remember releasing 2 CDs (“Changes” and “Love Songs”) back in the 90s. Miasma tried to get back into the ring again in 2007. Somehow it didn’t quite work out well and the band split up in May 2008. Three ex-Miasma members then founded the new band “Destination Void” together with me, because two other remaining members claimed the old band-name for themselves, etc. So to avoid legal discussions we started everything all over again and I think it was a wise decision.
Tell us about the upcoming CD you will be releasing; this is DV’s first “real” release correct?
George: Right Melinda. “Xibalba” is the first CD under the new flag “Destination Void” and we feel quite proud of having had the assistance of Martin Schirenc (ex-Pungent Stench and now Hollenthon-mastermind) again, who also did the recording and mixing with Miasma in the 90s. Martin has been involved in the scene for decades now and he therefore knew exactly, and right from the very beginning, what we wanted to do and how we wanted it to sound.
Mike: Yes indeed. Greg came up with the idea of having that kind of massive sound as you can hear on old Pestilence records like “Consuming Impulse.” The whole band agreed and Martin knew without going to the record store what we meant.
Johnny: That’s right. “Xibalba” will be the first “real release.” One year before that, we had the idea, to release a kind of demo just to give the band a face. It’s a must for new bands – especially when you want to get booked for shows. We recorded some tracks like “Destination Void,” “World in Pieces,” etc. The sound-quality of this so-called “Rehearsal Room Demo 2008” was good enough for a first impression but not that “breathtaking.” The instrumental and vocal parts in this demo were quite good, but the sound spectrum didn’t emphasize the specific characteristics of the songs. That’s why we invited a metal “connoisseur” like Martin Schirenc to do the recording and mixing. And, after all, I think all of us are quite proud of this release’s sound.
Have you had any label interest so far?
George: Well some guys of what I would call ”one-man-labels” now and then offer us their help, but we don’t take this too seriously to be honest, as we had some bad experiences in the past, with those kind of “companies” (Lethal Records). If a bigger label is interested we of course won’t be averse to enter negotiations. But we are not naive and know that CD-sales are going down and even big labels don’t feel like spending money inconsiderately. So if no label is willing to sign us, we will contrive ways and means to spread the sickness. *laughs*
Johnny: There are now a lot of possibilities for bands to promote themselves and distribute their stuff over the internet via hundreds of portals. Somehow this seems to me even more personal, you get in touch with your fans worldwide directly, exchange opinions and views on music and whatever. It’s time consuming but also fun!
Do you plan on doing a large scale tour in support of your CD?
George: A large scale tour would be great but this seems almost impossible without the support of a label that believes in you and puts you into big tour-packages like Summer Slaughter, etc. We are ready and willing but surely not dumb enough to pay $6,000 – $10,000 for a 2-weeks-buy-in bullshit. This is still offered from time-to-time here in Europe at least if you believe it or not. Maybe some smaller underground bands like us will team up and hire a bus and everything to make a smaller European tour as we did some time before – let’s see what happens. If not we will play some festivals and club-gigs here in Austria – we’re not jumping the gun. *laughs*
What do some of your songs involve lyrically, who writes the lyrics?
George: Well, we don’t have any rules about who is writing the lyrics and about what. Sometimes someone has some lyrics already finished like Mike’s “Machinery” or Greg’s “The Maze,” and then someone has an almost finished story and gets some assistance like “Millenium Of The Damned” which was a collaboration of Johnny and myself. I prefer to arrange a new song together with the band instrumentally first – me just growling some meaningless phrases first – and then when all structures are fixed I try to put a story into the song. This was the way “Destination Void” and “Cosmogenetics” were elaborated.
Alin: The song topics are as different as the members are. Some songs are fiction like “Black Sun Halo” and “Episodes of a Kill” – well I’m not too sure about “Episodes” – maybe it’s an excerpt of Mike’s diary? *laughs* Some songs are inspired by daily news and the global confusion that surrounds many of us. The songs are mostly not easy to be seen through and give enough room for one’s own personal interpretation. That’s something I really value about our lyrics.
Johnny: Indeed. Take “Black Sun Halo,” “World In Pieces,” “Machinery” and “Millennium Of The Damned” for instance, I mean, these songs have been written, when we still played with Miasma. Compared to the newer songs “Destination Void,” “Saviour,” “Cosmogenetics” or “The Paradigm Shift,” the older ones seem more straight and melodic.
What is Metal to you?
George: *laughs out real loudly* Now that is a question which really could work out our different personalities. Well, I think every metal-fan and musician has his own story how he got to listen to metal and as different as these stories are as different as maybe the answers to this question. It’s also a matter of age I guess. When I was 11 and started to listen to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, it was almost a religion and a way of telling everyone “Hey, I’m different, I’m not listening to the crap they’re playing on radio.” Now, talking for me personally, I dislike any kind of religion which is a synonym for restriction even if it was Satanic *laughs*. Over the years I suppose the only thing that I would call being metal is not bowing one’s head to no one; never kiss anybody’s ass – the old “Non serviam,” if you like.
Alin: For me, metal is an extreme, abstract and sometimes artistic way to depict the world in the way I see it. So for me, personally, the musical aspect has more priority not necessarily the songs issues alone.
Did you take the name Destination Void from the science fiction novel? Is life a Destination into the void?
George: We had a list of 50 names or more to choose from as far as I remember, all checked over for a second band with Google before, so that we don’t have 2 bands with the same name. We had several voting rounds –and in the end “Destination Void” made it. Greg came up with the idea of “Destination Void” though not having read the novel – I think that no one knew of the novel before we looked it up on the internet… Maybe we should read it some time *laughs*. Well about the void thing… I’m a subtle observer sometimes and what I see is an ever growing number of empty human creatures lost in that day-to-day emptiness if you like. The other thing is what lies beyond our physical existence. Religion wants to tell you they know what lies beneath – but in fact they’re using the darkness of ignorance to attain power over the weak and fearful. I try to live every day as it was my last – my liver can tell a story sometimes *laughs* .We’ll see early enough what lies beyond anyway.
What is the place in Austria where all the big Metal bands play, what is it like?
George: Well some venues have indoor and outdoor facilities, so it depends. Slayer, for example, played a few years in Open Air at the “Arena” and last year they filled the “Gasometer” in winter time. The Gasometer can also be made smaller with moveable dividing walls, so the sound is not lame when the hall is not full or a smaller band is playing. AC/DC or Metallica can afford even bigger venues like the “Stadthalle” or the big “Soccer Stadium”. A new phenomenon in Vienna and maybe Europe is that well known bands are playing increasingly at smaller pubs like the “Viper Room Vienna” and “Escape Metal Corner.” Sadus, Destruction, Krisiun, Atheist and Malevolent Creation – we recently supported this year – for example played that venues…..
As a Metal fan what shows have you seen personally that really stick out in your mind and why?
George: There are 3 shows that I would mention. First one was my first metal-show ever. 1987 Overkill was touring Europe with “Taking Over” – they played @ the “Fritz” a club that doesn’t exist anymore here in Vienna. It was an extremely loud and undefined sound but I banged like it was my last day. *laughs* My second metal-gig was even more impressive. It was an Iron Maiden-Open Air also 1987 on their “Somewhere in Time”-Tour. Bruce and Steve’s overwhelming stage acting and of course the whole show-effects really stick out in my mind this day. I remember Bruce wearing this funny dark-green jacket with the flashing strings of light and the big two Eddie-hands left and right end of the stage carrying the musicians while Eddie’s head rose under Nicko McBrain’s drum kit. It was truly a memorable show for me. The last one I would like to mention was Sepultura with “Beneath the Remains” also @ the “Fritz.” It was Sepultura’s first gig on European ground, and I’m a bit proud of having been there. The crowd in the audience was diverse, open minded but nonetheless enthusiastic, wild and raging.
Johnny: I’ve also seen many shows. Of course bands like Slayer, Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Obituary and they were all great. In winter 2007 Six Feet Under were on tour with our Austrian brothers in crime Belphegor and Nile. Damn, Nile that night really melted our faces. I haven’t ever felt such an aggression live before. Since then, I have an enormous respect for these guys.
What do you want to convey most to fans when they come see you live, what bands would you like to play/tour with most of all, and why?
George: What I would like to bring across is be yourself, show your emotions good or bad ones, don’t give in to anyone and most of all have fun in the moshpit! Which band to tour with? Ah there are really many bands…. (thinks) Well I think touring with my favourite bands Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel could be fun….
What have been some of the biggest hurdles for DV so far?
George: Just like for every underground band: Lack of money *laughs out loudly*
Alin: Generally saying, we’re not out for world domination so we don’t see any “real” hurdles. Nonetheless, it was and is also important to see some people supporting us. First reactions about “Xibalba” are also great and it just gives us reason enough to continue our death march. *laughs*
Musically what 3 bands influence DV the most and why?
George: Well, personally for me, as a singer, I would name Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Obituary with their front men Chris Barnes, Dave Vincent and John Tardy. But I also like the growls of Deicide’s Glen Benton, Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé and Napalm Death’s Barney. Did you say 3 bands? *laughing*
Alin: I’m specifically influenced by Nile, Terrorizer and Death. Musicians like Vincent Amigo, Mark Morton, Pat O´Brien played a key role when I decided first to pick up the guitar and try my first shreds.
Johnny: For me, Death, Slayer and the former Incubus were and still are an essential influence. Guitarists like Petrucci, Rozz, Schuldiner, Hannemann and King still give me inspirations for my own solo-parts.
Greg: From the drummer’s perspective I can say that influences might come more from the early Death and Thrash Metal bands like Venom, Celtic Frost and Slayer. You may hear some hints of that time on the track “The Maze.” The simplicity of the track reflects somehow the raw and pure aggressiveness of this era of metal.
What do you think made you want to be in a Metal band?
George: I always wanted to make the music I listened to. When I came home from school I started playing my favourite bands, trying to sing along at the age of 11. Later, I tried to play the guitar and then had my first metal band myself when I was 17. I think I never wanted to be metal, I’ve been metal by birth *laughs*
Johnny: Playing in a metal band for me means to transgress limitations of any kind. I’m really getting impressed by my own profound and philosophical comments now…… *laughs out loud*
Alin: I guess everybody has his own reasons for making brutal music. I also started listening to metal very early and used it ever since as a kind of parallel universe along with the real world. Maybe I just wanted to be only a listener first. Well… until I entered the metal-band-reality with Destination Void – where I can feel the music’s intensity running through my veins even more directly and deeper – it’s like having two concerts every week.
Thank you, any last words in parting!?
George: Sure. Hornz up to all the fans and supporters in Europe, North-, Central- and South-America! Strengthen the independent metal underground worldwide by getting your favourite tunes directly from the ones who created it and coming out to the shows!
Alin: My very special thanks go also to our Austrian and South Asian fans of course. “You all fuckin’ rule!”