With their latest assault on the senses, “Solarflesh” having just been unleashed on the world to consistently high critical acclaim, Hate frontman and riffmeister ATF Sinner talks to ThisIsNotAScene‘s own Dewie about lyrical inspiration, bible tearing bands, and what he listens to when he’s not serving up the music himself.
Congratulations on the new album – a fantastic piece of work and it was our Album Of The Week here at ThisIsNotAScene. Did you consciously set out to top “Erebos” with this one or do you not put any particular pressure on yourselves when you start writing a new album?
I appreciate that! No, our only goal was to explore our new ideas to the full. We wanted to record a serious and dark album with a wide musical perspective. We wanted to make it as diverse as possible without compromising its extremity. In the studio, we were looking for a really raw and organic sound that would match the wilderness of my lyrics. The album seems to be under-produced, but that’s the way we wanted it to be. There are too many ideal productions nowadays that sound really artificial and empty. After a few listens you don’t find anything special in them anymore. “Solarflesh” is different. You can hear how many elements are there hidden in the music and all those small imperfections too. The songs actually sound the way we play them in a rehearsal room. We wanted to attract the listener deep into the atmosphere of the album…
You have a European tour lined up with Hypocrisy – that should be pretty brutal. Have you toured with those guys before?
Oh yeah, we played an American tour with them back in 2008 and we got along well with those guys! I remember that tour as a great experience. I remember Peter Tagtgren coming on stage wearing a Hate T-shirt for a few shows in a row. It was like a big honor and pleasure for us. I’m sure the upcoming Euro tour will be absolutely great. After spending over 5 months in a rehearsal room and studios we just can’t wait to be on tour again. I believe that live shows are the core of our activity. I cannot even imagine this band without concerts. After “Erebos” album (2010) we have played more than 200 shows on 4 continents. It was like a big crusade that made us stronger as a band for sure. It was a big lesson, big experience..
Any plans to hit the UK or any festivals this summer?
We have been confirmed on a few festivals such as Extremefest, Summer Breeze, Inferno Fest and others, but no UK so far. We have just started putting our schedule together. I do hope we will have some offers from UK soon after the premiere. I’m aware we have lots of fans in your country, and not only of Polish origin (laughs).
My personal favourite track on the album is “Sadness Will Last Forever” – it has blasts of speed but overall is slower and more melancholy than much of the album – really powerful atmosphere and the lyrics deal with the subject of people taking their own lives. How did you go about tackling such a difficult subject?
“Sadness will last forever” were the last words of Vincent van Gogh after he apparently shot himself. This song is dedicated to all those who have ever thought of leaving this world violently, making “the forever decision” driven by the ever existing dark aspect of life. With this track we want to say – we salute you! It’s a kind of manifest. We understand those who feel that life is an unbearable cage.
What other lyrical inspirations have you found for Solarflesh?
“Solarflesh” is inspired by dark aspect of nature – something universal which doesn’t belong to any religion or philosophy exclusively. It is represented in almost every tradition. It’s not a concept album in strict sense but it has some main motives that appear in most songs – enslavement, suffering, suicide, illumination etc. The songs hold a rather negative, apocalyptic message… There is a notion that man is nothing but enslaved scum – enslaved in every meaning of the word. Nobody is really free in their decisions. You are slaves to the system you grow up in, your viewpoint, your religion, false convictions, other people who think for you, make decisions for you, etc. In today’s world, we like to think that we are free and we have full control over our lives. It’s nothing but illusion.
Some tracks on the new album are very complex in places – are there any that you think may be difficult to pull off live?
We play them every day, even those fastest ones like “Festival of Slaves” or “Alchemy of Blood”. Both tracks will be included on our set list. The only song from the album that would be difficult to play live is “Mesemrized” which features Androniki Skoula, a Greek vocalist who has taken part in our record as a guest musician. She did a great job adding some Hellenic atmosphere to the album. We would not like to play this song without actually having Androniki on the stage with us. Half playback is not taken into account. And we know she is busy with her band Chaostar as well as other projects, so it might be hard for her to go with us on a regular tour. However, it’s possible we will perform together on one of the Summer festivals.
With the recent prosecution of Nergal from Behemoth, do you ever worry that you could be in difficulty with the authorities with some of the lyrics and symbolism you use?
I don’t think so. Nergal is a celebrity in Poland and he does a lot to gain even more popularity. His act of tearing up Bible was supposed to be impressive. He has been in the court for it ever since, but at the same time it’s a good fuel for being present in the media. So I guess it pays. When it comes to Hate, we have a different philosophy and different goals. For us metal is something more. It’s not just commercial play with a convention. And we don’t want every single body to listen to our music. We don’t need to make impressive actions to get noticed by the masses. So I don’t think we could have problems with those Catholic lunatics who only wait for anything they could cling to…
Do you listen to many other bands from the death metal genre or are you so surrounded by it that you prefer to listen to other stuff when you’re not playing and writing?
I listen to a big range of different artists and genres and metal is just a part of it. I like electro rock, dark ambient, industrial, temporary classical, some pop and even rap that appeals to me (like Dope DOD for example). However, when it comes to expressing myself, I choose extreme metal and blast beats. The energy that comes from this music is exceptional. Nothing compares to that.
The Polish music scene seems to be getting stronger and stronger. Are there any up and coming bands you could recommend we should check out?
I don’t really observe Polish scene as much as I used to. However, I can recommend you the bands Masachist and Azarath. Both are pretty impressive.
Thank you very much for taking time out to speak with us and we wish you all the best with the new album and tour!
Great, thanks – and big greetings for all your readers!