1. Please do a little introduction to DIVINE RAPTURE as you aren't much know in Europe!
Rather than summarize. I'll just include an excerpt from the biography to give a little bit of a background:
"The entity recently traveled to Tampa, Florida to record a three song promotional cd with Erik Rutan (Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal) at Dimensional Sound Studios and is currently recording the follow-up full-length record at Ron Vento's Nightsky Studios. They have performed at a series of Milwaukee Metalfests [also the first band to ever play twice in the same year], Metal Meltdowns and other festivals and performed in support with such names as Deicide, In Flames, Dying Fetus, Monstrosity and others. They have been featured on numerous split cds and compilations and will soon be featured on a Morbid Angel tribute alongside Zyklon, Vader and Krisiun, to be released in Fall 2002 by Necropolis Records in the U.S. and Hellspawn Records in Europe. Due to an intense marketing and promotion effort, Divine Rapture has created such an impact on the underground scene that the entity's presence can be felt domestically and in many foreign markets such as Poland, Indonesia, Germany, France, Brazil and Holland among many many others. Major press releases and reviews in such magazines as Metal Maniacs, Ancient Ceremonies, Pit Magazine, and Vampiria spread the seed in the U.S. and abroad enabling DR to gain Sons of the Harvest across the globe."
2. Your music is strongly influenced by MORBID ANGEL, for the leads, the bands'name (that's coming from the "Rapture" track, isn't it?) and for the drum playing... but you've got a quite different way of viewing the Death metal thing compared to other american Brutal death bands. Somewhere, I could find an ATHEIST touch in your music's spirit. How would you define your music and what are your influences?
Our music is very open… much more open and full I think than other bands. There are a lot more melodic elements while maintaining the brutality. I'm not sure if it is influences or more of a reflection of a state within ourselves, but myself and the other main songwriter listen to a variety of types of music from Indian and Persian classical to jazz to new age to anything. Our goal is to keep growing musically, to mature technically and to create actual memorable pieces of living art instead of just a bunch of riffs slapped together. When the music stays with a person and is dissectable and based on more than just rhythm (even though metal in general is primarily rhythm), that's when we know we're doing our jobs right.
LOL. That first statement is strange to me. The band's name didn't come from anybody's songs. It was created freshly with two words we thought conveyed a certain meaning to us. I mean if you can say that the name came from that song, then I guess you can also say that Monstrosity stole their name from Death because Chuck had a song called Living Monstrosity. Does this mean we can never use the words "the" and "and" again because other bands have used them countless times in names of their songs? That statement is way out there. ..
3. Your drummer has got exactly the same style than Pete Sandoval (He has got eh same way of blasting in the grinding parts for example). I'd like to know if Pete is a reference for him, and what he think of Sandoval's drum playing compared to the ones of other drummers in this style.
This statement is a bit strange to me also. All brutal death drummers blast. Does this mean that Derek Roddy, Tony Laureno, Tim Yeung, Kevin Talley, etc all have the exact same style as Pete too? Everyone has learned from everybody else including Pete and other drummers, but everybody has their own style. Since bands like Morbid Angel and Death founded the genre, I think you'd have a hard time finding a band that you couldn't somehow remotely link back.
4. How would
you describe your gigs? What were the best bands you've played with?
(both on an human and musical point of view?).
The gigs are excellent! Our fans really crush in the pit and the energy is intense. It's a big give and take with the crowd. The more they sing the lyrics and get into it, the more we will too because we feel the energy. I also play a Roland guitar synth live and we usually use that as an opener and during spots where Mike talks to the crowd. It creates atmosphere and allows people to get into a zone. Then we come out crushing. It's such a contrast of emotions when we play and we give 100% live and interact with the crowd and completely feel the aggression ourselves and express it. We don't stand there and strum. Probably the best crowd we've ever had was either when we played with Deicide or at the March Metal Meltdown or the last one we did at Castle Heights. The energy was so intense it was ridiculous with yelling lyrics, etc…Musically, probably the most fulfilling one was a gig we did in Pottstown PA. That was very dark and expressive for us…We've shared the stage with a bunch of great bands including In Flames, Catastrophic, Mortician, Monstronsity, etc…
From May 2002-July there were some internal problems that needed to be worked out, so we couldn't manage gigs during that period. There aren't any typhoons in the U.S though. There are hurricanes that mostly end up hitting the Southeast in FL and the Carolinas. There are tornados in the mid-west and there are earthquakes out west. Those are probably the most major disasters that occur here besides flooding in different areas.
5. Even if you're playing Brutal death metal, you aren't into the Brutal/ Gore ideology (like most of american bands). You've got in my opinion a more "spiritual" touch bands like MORBID ANGEL, PESTILENCE ("Testimony of the ancients"), NILE (?) or others may have...
Yeah, we believe in using the music to express ourselves and pursue more meaningful topics. The gore lyrics and position are just drivel and even if someone was using it for shock value, it's been overused so many times, it's just funny now. It takes no thought really. Most of our material has been developed from a lot of thought and effort.
6. One of
the band's members (Mike) does some artworks for websites, bands
and tattooes. Is it some professional stuffs that brings a good
amount of money?
Yeah he does graphic design for every situation. You'd have to talk to him about income, but he's doing a good amount of work for cd layouts, etc. also. He's done logos for Quintessence, Cast of Vengeance (ex-Vital Remains), cd layouts for Sons of Chaos, Evil Divine, our next record, t-shirt designs, etc. He gets so much work I don't even know how many or who his clients are anymore. Visit his site at http://www.productivethought.com/html/metalmike.html
7. You currently
use 2 logos on the website, the old one (that looks more like somekind
of a flying evil thing) and the new one that's more "direct",
and obviously make us see the eye ( reminding me the "God is
watching you" sentence). In this watching eye, what should
I see: a vicious god watching humans or a more evil entity?
Yep Mike did those two logos. They actually are both from the same time period and we use them interchangeably. We decided to use them both when we first created the band because each one serves a different purpose not only in layout but in visual response. You can interpret the eye as best fits your path, but to me, it's the teacher and seer that scrutinizes and sheds light on deeper parts of the self to create awakenings.
8. On the promo you sent me, both the cover and the back cover included somkind of vortex eyes: one drowning in a depressive black hole while the other one being more explosive and full of anger/ energy. Was it done to create somekind of contrast or anything else?
You'll have to ask my brother about that since he did the layouts, but the angry eye on the back cover is actually a part of the full-length layout.
promo 2001 was produced by Eric Rutan, did it work well with the
guy? Did he bring some ideas to the band to improve the production
and stuffs, or did he do a more "passive" job while he
only executed himself being leaded by your thoughts?
I think he's great as both a guitar player and producer! It worked very well with him. He's a great guy and definitely a hard worker. He was able to hone our tones to create an ideal guitar sound and he was able to separate everything properly so that every piece of the mix was decipherable.
featured on a MORBID ANGEL tribute that must be released quite soon.
I've heard your cover as it was added as a bonus track on the promo
you sent, and I must say both the drummer and guitarists succeeded
in doing a more than decent cover of MORBID ANGEL!
Thanks for the compliments!! That track came out really good. It will be released in the fall on Necropolis Records in the U.S. and Hellspawn Records in Europe. Since it's a tribute, I believe other bands can cover a song with other technical skills, but twist it and add to it and make it their own in their own fashion and create a new song that has elements of the band itself. That's more of what a tribute is. Taking the original song and adding elements of yourself into it to create an interpretation and mold it into something new and exciting as an honor to the original band. We try to do that with every one of our tributes and I don't know if you noticed the surprise on the second harmonic-tapping section, but we added that as well as a few other goodies. We recently did Pull The Plug for a tribute to Death to be released on Mondongo Canibale and it is vastly different from the original. We created a new interpretation with more harmonies, more double-bass and some blasting and I think people will find it refreshing. As far as the MA tribute, we should have it in our hands soon so I haven't heard the other tracks yet, but here is the full listing:
11. I may find some BRUTALITY influences in your music for some melodic/ technical touches. Do you agree with it? What do you think about their come back?
WOW!! That's a name I haven't heard in a long time. I'm not sure if I could see as many similarities with them. I believe their music didn't draw on as many elements. But I'm not sure about the comeback…
do you see the Gore/ Splatter kind of Extreme metal?
I definitely think it lacks depth. It doesn't take a lot of talent or thought to write up gore lyrics. It's a bunch of drivel and very shallow and usually the music follows suit. I like meaningful, thoughtful lyrics that reflect something about the person writing them and that you can read and start reflecting automatically on how those lyrics apply to your own life path. That's when you know you are reading excellent lyrics - when you start reflecting without consciously intending to. Check www.divinerapture.net to read some of Mike's lyrics.
your opinion on CANNIBAL CORPSE's evolution?
HAHAHAHAHA! I've never heard them described as a "fast food" band. That's hilarious, but I can see where you are coming from. Their lyrics and reputation for brutality and gore (plus their exposure to the public via Ace Ventura and Bob Dole) have really put them over the top. Every time I go to a CC concert, people from all walks of life are there. I saw Bjork at a CC concert in NY, but when I asked her jokingly if she was coming back for Deicide the next week, she said 'who?' HAHAH!!! Plus they broke the Billboard top 200 with Gallery I believe. If they are losing energy now, it may just be that the members have done what they needed to do and the flame is burning out, but I don't think it would be because of sales.
you fast when it's up to write some music in the band?
Actually I think we may be slower writers than other bands because we take our time. We like to nurture the music and let it grow and take on a life of it's own. Our music is created from a lot of thought. It isn't just thrown together at a bunch of jam sessions. We're pretty serious when we write and like to create a breathing entity in itself by cultivating the harmonies and rhythm and vocal patterns, etc. I'm the main music writer, but everybody contributes. Babak and I collaborate to develop the music into a more open feel and it has created a more full sound. Basically all vocals and vocal rhythm patterns are my brother Mike.
15. I noticed most of the bands doesn't include photos of their drummers in their websites' photos sections, and it's the same in mags as drummers aren't very often picturised. I've been searching some photos in your site to see your drummer in photos, but he wasn't here... fuck this shit! Why don't you add some live drumming photos? It can be as spectacular as a vocalist or a headbanging guitarist in my opinion!
ABSOLUTELY!!! It would be great to have more photos of drummers! Unfortunately they always do the most work at a live show and get the least exposure because they're hidden behind everybody else. Most press personnel just take pictures of the front line and forget the drummer. If you look closely in the photos, you'll probably see him! But don't worry, there will be drum clips in the video….
16. The american Brutal Death scene seems to include less bands than a few years ago. Did somekind of a self cremation process occured? Eliminating some bands who weren't at the right place? How is the American Extreme scene these months?
It does seem that less brutal death bands exist in the states, but more keep popping up. There is a label in California that seems to have a knack for finding extremely brutal death metal bands in the states. I'm not sure about the self-cremation. I think death metal will always be a much smaller genre than anything else anyway. There are many factors that go into musicians wanting or being able to perform the music with technical proficiency so that narrows the scope of great players for sure. The scene lately is good. There are a lot of up and coming bands who seem to be taking the reigns and the major bands still have a good grip on the scene.
17. What do you know of the French extreme scene? What about the European scene?
I know of different bands, zines and labels that I correspond with (check the press section of the web site to see a small subset of magazines/labels we correspond with). I was talking to Will Rahmer of Mortician recently about their last tour in Europe and the extremely positive response and intensity from the fans.
18. And what were the worst review you got? Did you get nervous, or took it in a rather philosophical way? Does it happen that some guys compare your music to some bands that has in your opinion nothing to do with DIVINE RAPTURE (Grindcore bands for exemple...)?
The worst review
we got really had nothing to do with the music! HAHA! He just kept
writing on and on about nothing and said a few things about the
band's image!!! HAHAHAHA! We didn't take it in a philosophical way
or take offense to it or anything cuz we just figured it was some
schmuck spouting off his displaced frustration about something else!
It was totally senseless!
19. You're actually working on the editing process of a video clip that was shot a few times ago. It's announced as being pain driven + including a strong symbolic message. We all know the authorities are quite strict with extreme metal videoclips when it's too extreme, aren't you afraid of censorship? Tell us more on how the clip's shooting occured!
I don't believe we will have a problem in the U.S. with censorship of the video, but I'm not sure about different areas overseas. There really isn't anything more extreme than someone would see in the movies and the symbolic message is a personal one that coincides with the lyrics. I don't want to give too much away just yet, but read the forum on www.divinerapture.net and you can get an idea for what types of themes we are about. Photographer Aaron Cobbett directed the video shoot and mostly my brother (singer Mike) and Aaron supplied props. We went to Aaron's studio in NYC to shoot it. It actually didn't take as long as I expected to shoot and we have plenty of footage and it was a shitload of fun getting covered with blood and having to deal with a lot of ash all over our clothes, in our lungs, etc… We are actually going to be editing the footage ourselves and we will attempt to release it with the first pressing of the album. It will be included on the album as part of a multimedia presentation.
20. And about this videoclip's underlying symbolic message, is it composed of various subliminal messages ("Buy the next DIVINE RAPTURE CD! Buy it!!" lol)? Or is it something you can understand when you think for a minute about the several main ideas of the clip?
HAHAHAHA! Yeah every once in awhile it flashes a message saying "Visit DivineRapture.net!" and "Visit Nihilistic Holocaust!" kidding… I think a lot of people will be able to get the concept after they ponder the clips a bit. It's more of a work of art rather than being too blatant. You have to think about it a little bit. Not to give too much away but it is about a struggle within the self.
21. Here are the last words for you to tell us more about your future plans and to say what you want to our virtually dreaming readers!
We are currently recording the full-length at Ron Vento's (Aurora Borealis) Nightsky Studios. Everything is coming out killer and exceeding all expectations including tones, speed, etc. This is going to far exceed our other records. Ron also produced our cover of World of Shit for the MA tribute. We have gotten vastly different, more tight tones for the full-length record than on the cover. Wait until you hear it!! The orchestrated pieces are finished too and sound very full!! Be sure to check out www.necropolisrecords.com and www.hellspawnrecords.com for more info regarding that tribute. Keep checking out the site for more info about the full-length. Keep supporting brutal death metal in France and Europe abroad!!! Our contact info: