1. Hello! Let’s go: What should a reader who isn’t familiar with the band know before we begin? What would your biography look like if it was summed up to the most essential zests of citron?
To sum it up, Henker is a brutal death band formed in 2003 and coming from France (95). We released a self-titled first 4 tracks Ep in 2005, it helped us to make a few good gigs! Then we focused on the composition and release of our first album, it gained aggressiveness and speed compared to the Ep. Now we try to promote and play this record live.
2. Introduce us to your first album "Slave of my art" that was released at the end 2010... Are you still satisfied with it? How are the feedbacks for now? And the sales, are they gaining weight as a big baby in full growth?
Yes we are
quite satisfied with our album, even if we will never totally be...
We are something like eternally dissatisfied ones, same than most
of musicians who left the recording studio! But for a totally self-produced
album, we are quite happy. Reviews are good, we got quite a lot
of articles and interviews in France, but also in Germany, Usa,
Italy, Indonesia... "Slave of my art" is considered as
technical brutal death, with mostly very fast tempos. But we also
have a little "hardcore" touch, syncopated riffs, as well
as more "mid tempo" tracks. Some American reviewers say
we have a groove touch. In brief everyone can describe us the way
he whishes to.
3. Five years have passed between your first demo and the long playing CD... I say to myself you could be perfectionists, or you had a lot of problems with the line up, rehearsal room, or provisioning in hash and strong alcohol... Why didn't you release a big shitting record every year to fulfill the space? What prevented you from flooding our hears with tons of big dry excrements? AhAh.
There was no
problem with the line up or provisioning in hash and alcohol, that
might explain why it took some time!
4. This first demo was in a quite different, more core, more plastic genre, while the album was submit to a brutal refocusing towards brutal death metal and sends more burning sausages! What has motivated this change? Did your style of once become too restrictive? Do you find more freedom in technical brutal death... ?
To speak the truth we do not stop ourselves at a given genre, but it's true we like a lot the very fast and technical brutality. With more and more work since the release of the demo, we have gained a better technical level, it enabled us to perform more "brutal death" songs. And so our panel of genres, riffs and compositions has enlarged... In this meaning we find more of freedom.
5. Your style has became quite seriously technical by moments... My cartilages are creaking... Is your music always easy to be reproduced live? Isn’t it too anguishing to always be at your best and reproduce every tracks as it should be? What are your tips: A warm-up before the gig, intravenous injections in the fingers, or do you directly plug yourselves in the high voltage?
In fact the songs are hard to play and require us to warm up before playing, at least for now because we unfortunately do not play gigs everyday! We are lucky to own a regular rehearsal place were we often practice. This said, live conditions are often difficult concerning good hearing possibilities. Our songs being fast and composed of many riffs, a very clear sound is needed so that we can hear ourselves playing! The cleanliness of playing is also a necessity, but we shouldn't forget the stage presence. You defend your music much more if you move a lot (Instead of remaining straight and calm)... We have technical plans to easily deal with onstage sound and to find the right compromise between cleanliness and onstage energy.
6. This question became quite a bit cliché, but I like to ask because it enables readers to have a more precise idea of the band’s music. What are your strongest musical influences? I know some musicians refuse to answer, since they don’t want to be taken as copyers, but even without voluntary copying one can find similarities between his music and those of other bands (Unless you don’t listen to other music than yours… But well…)
Meshuggah, Decapitated, Beneath the massacre, Misery Index , Martyr,
Candiria, Cryptopsy, Origin, Necrophagist, but also Deicide, Fear
Factory, Sepultura, Pantera, ... It’s very difficult, there are
so many metal bands! But we also listen to many other kinds of music,
one shouldn’t remain close-minded if he wants to improve.
7. The production of your last album isn’t hyper plastified, contrary to quite many bands of the genre, we could even say it’s quite « old school » in a way (The atmosphere can escape the production, it’s not a never-ending tic tic…). Was it a volunteer choice, or a side-effect of autoproduction? Maybe somewhere you remain fans of the old Death metal albums and this might be some kind of tribute? (I read in another interview you quite voluntary choose an old school cover…)
We spent a
lot of time with Manu (Sound engineer of the White Wastland studio)
to get a sound that pleased us with the means of this little studio.
So the production of the album is both a volunteer choice and an
effect of autoproduction… The sound also depends on who does the
mix. We didn’t try to copy the sound of a band in particular, the
mix is the fruit of a common work. Our old musical influences certainly
show up in the mix, even if we rather tried to get something that
Concerning the cover, we wished to remain in the same spirit than the first Ep, using the same character, all the more our lyrics are related to him. He was created and drawn by the tattoo artist called Blaise (Tintin Tattoos) who took care of our two covers. We didn’t think at all about the old school aspect. We like a lot the art of tattoo, even if Franz is the only guy in the band to be tattooed (I should add he does tattoos himself). This character perfectly illustrates our music, our lyrics deal with him and his history. It’s a symbolic feature inspired from the samurai spirit, including the treaty of the five wheels. A warlike universe, governed by strict codes. The « Japanizing » atmospheres between some tracks are present to remember this thema and this character.
8. Can you explain a bit the principles of the « Double double kick ». Some double bass drum parts are quite surprising, so few technical details would be necessary to prove this is not necessarily computerized cheating…
uses two giant step pedals released by Sonor. The mechanism
consists of a heel-toe system activating two « kicking heads » per
pedal, and so two per bass drum. A hit of toe leads a « kicking
head », a hit of heel leads the other. The heel-toe enables drummers
to play double bass-drums with one feet, or quadruple bass-drums
with two feets. This pedal is hard to master because there’s no
automation system, contrary to those of other brands.
9. Who composes the most in the band? Have you got a quite particular way of composing, or does everything occur during rehearsals and then exchanges through emails? Your songs generally contain a minimum amount of how many riffs ? (And a sub question, just for fun : Did you transcribe everything as scores?)
in Henker begins with an individual work, and finally turns to a
whole band effort. The drummer can create loops he then suggests
to the guitarists. The guitarists also offer riffs, particularly
Laurent who remains the main composer. Vocals come later.
10. Is self-release a choice or a need? According to the content of your album, I say to myself an American brutal death label could have dug it… So tell us everything: You prefer to deal with everything yourselves, without parasiting, at least you know what is done (And what has to be done), or in 2011 does it become quite complicated to find a label that correctly releases an album? (At the level of distribution, promotion and others)
was needed! Of course we would have preferred to find some help!
We didn’t find a label even though some tracks were circulating.
We had few contacts, but nothing concrete.
11. Choose one of these bands : NAPALM DEATH, ORIGIN, PESTILENCE. Tell us what you think and feel while listening to their music, and which of their albums is your favorite.
Napalm death: The « Greed killing » track remains a little killer, in my remembrance. « Inside the torn apart » is a very good album. I love the guitar riffs as well as the very fat voice of the singer!!
12. And if I really had to force you to choose another band from the previous list, which would one would it be? Héhé.
Origin of course! A reference of the brutal!
do you think of:
(Does it exist in Paris?)
-The « Nord
pas de calais » (My area).
provincial cheese (Does it exist in Paris?)
is officially located in the « Ile de France » area, close to Paris…
When I see the amount of bands to play there I find it to be quite
hallucinating, there’s almost every « big » bands… On the other
hand I read local supporters even became jaded because there are
quite overfed : Too many gigs, they saw everything, etc…
It’s true an enormous amount of gigs take place in Paris and its surroundings. Each week you can visit metal gigs. So, the offer is so big that the crowd becomes very selective. In Paris, the crowd of metal gigs is composed of at least 80% of musicians who also have bands! If they don’t know the band, they will generally be focused and look, without moving, observe what you’re doing, and if they don’t like they won’t give a fuck at all. If the crowd knows the band and likes it, then it’s war in the pit! In the surrounding areas things are a bit different, the crowd is younger and will easily move, even if they just discovered the band…
15. Do the musicians of HENKER play in parallel projects? If so, are the styles different or quite close? Would there be projects to find in non musical areas?
We all play in musical projects that has nothing to do with metal! Depending on the guy, it can be classical music, hip hop, electro, jazz, flamenco, reggae…! We all are individually quite opened to every kinds of music.
16. Is there a link between Hulk and Henker? Speaking about it, what does your moniker mean?
No there’s no link with Hulk! « Henker » means « executioner » in German.
17. What are the future projects of the band? Some merchandising, gigs or other things are planned? I leave you a bit of living space to make the final promotion and conclude…
Of course we
wish to play live as much as possible, we’re actively searching
for new dates. T-shirts are in the making. We have a few drafts
of new songs, we would like to release a small transitional Ep before
the second album, just to add a stratum of brutality.
Web page: http://www.myspace.com/henker1