Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interview: Ravager

First off, you recently signed with Osmose Productions, the infamous French label, and then had to change your name - from Domain to Ravager - big changes for any band...how has getting signed to such a prestigious label affected the way you view your group's chances for 'success' in your genre? For myself, I would mainly think that it would excite you because it allows your music a much wider theater, and coming off of a small label like American Line productions onto the world stage with Osmose would mean not only much wider critical/popular acclaim and appreciation for your music, but also possibly touring opportunities you didn't have before. How did you first get in contact with Osmose, and was your recent split-album release with Demonized a path into this contract?

Hails.
First of all thanx for this interview and support to RAVAGER.
We had problems with our past name, we're starting to make promotion now with this new name, through zines, webzines etc. it's a big change for any band, fortunately we have the support of our label and website... definitely is a big help for us cause that site is visited for a lot of people every day.
We're very excited and proud to be a part of the new wave of bands in OSMOSE also we know that our opportunities to play in other places and for the promotion are better.
We get touch with some labels after be released our split CD HELLBIRTH in November, we was receiving very good commentaries from that labels including OSMOSE, we always had OSMOSE as the best label possible, HERVE since the beginning shown interest in our band we was very excited and after be dealing with him finally in January we signed a 3 CD'S deal.
And of course that our CD split HELLBIRTH was the right path to get this contract with OSMOSE productions.

When I first received the Domain/Demonized split, I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised - not just because of the packaging quality, the cover art (which I love - who did it, by the way?), etc - but because of the sheer anger and vicious destructiveness on display throughout Domain's tracks on this recording. It is still a record that I am playing continuously, often only for the first song, 'Supreme Conquest', which definitely has to be one of the best death metal songs ever from a Mexican band. Now, because I wasn't even aware of Domain before this album, it came (as I was saying) as an utter surprise...let me ask you a few questions about it. First of all, it was recorded at 'Alternative Home Studios', along with most of the other American Line records I received in the same package - is this your own studio or is it the studio of the American Line's owner? Someone else's? All of these records, while recorded at the same Studio, have completely different production/sound qualities - is this an effect of the mastering/mixing process or is it because the recording equipment changed in the studio at some point? Also, Demonized and Domain seem to essentially be the same band, but have completely different styles...how was this brought about, and which band is your highest priority?

Thanx for your words man, the art cover is a work by Antonio Nolasco, he lives in our Hometown Queretaro, also he will draw our next art cover for the album STORM OF SIN.
Yes, the split was recorded at ALTERNATIVE HOME STUDIOS in Mexico D.F., also others bands from AL Prods. Are recording his stuff at this same studio, but AL prods. Is not the owner of this, Mauricio from Band THE ZEPHYR is the owner.
About the differences in the productions and sound qualities is an affect of every band and music styles, also I must to say that the studio have few equipment for do a very good production and few experience too.

The lineup in RAVAGER and DEMONIZED is almost the same, but DEMONIZED is only a band project, now Antimo is a permanent vocal/bass player with us and our priority, My priority is RAVAGER. Actually we're working in the DEMONIZED album, we hope to record it at the end of this year, this album will be released by the label EVIL VENGEANCE RECORDS from Florida. So be prepared for a new attack from the DEMONIZED legion. Which will the last from this project.

Related to the question above: what is it like for you being in a death metal band in Mexico? Are there many opportunities to play live? Where do you rehearse or practice? Is it difficult to find other musicians who are into the same sort of sound as you prefer? Is it difficult to find adequate equipment? How is the Mexican scene doing these days? Do you receive any support at all from your family members, friends, etc - the people around you every day? Because I live in Texas, I've been to Mexico many times - to the interior as well as the border towns - and I've always thought that Mexico, despite its reputation for lawlessness, is a very conservative place, stemming mainly from its Roman Catholic background. Do you face any kind of opposition on a regular basis from the 'religious' people in your area or families because of the music you havce chosen to write?

No man, here in Mexico are not many opportunities to play live, the show promoters and people are losing the interest and love for Metal.
Worst for us because in our hometown the metal scene is totally DEAD!!
Unfortunately we don't play a lot live this must change soon...
We practice at home of our guitarist Samuel, to find musicians here in Mexico is always hard, first cause Mexico don't have music culture, so the people don't have interest for listen music, neither for play an instrument... you can have an idea now how is difficult to found people for a band, for example: DISGORGE and us have the same vocalist...
About the equipment is very expensive here, also its hard to obtain it.
Our families always have supported us fortunately, this country is very conservative also the religion is a big problem because makes the people mind poor.
All the people here looks you like something weird.

Tell us a little about the history of Mexican death metal...as far as I know, it mainly started with bands like Cenotaph, The Chasm, etc. (basically Corchado's influence throughout), and I don't really recall that many other bands rising to the surface and becoming noticeable to the world at large. Has The Chasm been as influential as I think they have been in determining the status and style of Mexican death? The vocals on the Domain/Demonized split (performed by Antimo of Disgorge, correct?) sound very similar to Corchado at times, especially on the Domain tracks. Was there any kind of backlash against The Chasm in Mexico when they left your country for the States? What other bands have been influential or 'important' in the history of Mexican death?

Yes you're right both bands started the history of Mexican Metal, also bands like: Shub-Nigurath, Anarchus, Mortuary, and others more that I don't remember at this moment.
Definitely The Chasm now is a great influence in Mexico I don't know if their style will determinate in the future the Mexican Death but I can tell you that for us is one of many influences.. Surely some bands will appear soon trying to sound like THE CHASM.

Okay, now for some 'secrets' of the Ravager musicians: first of all, who writes most of the music, and what is the process for coming up with new songs? What I mean by this is...are there certain patterns for writing the music that you find yourselves slipping into again and again, writing the lyrics first, for example, and then basing the tone of the music around the concepts in the lyrics, or is the other way around? Does everyone bring ideas into the writing, or are riffs created and then shown to the other musicians? How long, on the average, do you think it takes for you to compose a complete song? Is there a certain direction that you find yourselves going towards now, maybe in a 'darker' or more violent manner, or a more technically-influenced style? The reason I am asking this is because the first song on the Domain/Demonized split, 'Supreme Conquest', shows much more of a black metal influence that the others, in the melancholy nature of the melodies, etc. Has black metal influenced your writing at all?

All in the band have an important opinion at time of be writing songs, we start making the music, both guitarists and the bass player plays riffs and after we decide the structure and drums bits, then the lyrics complete the track. Usually to compose a track take like 2 weeks, sometimes more..
We want to play Death Metal only, you know this can contain that stuff: dark, violent technical as a unity.
And yes we listen to some Black metal bands... and we have that influences in some tracks.

Now, the links between culture and music: as many people who would read this are no doubt aware, there is a grand, ancient tradition of death worship among the indigenous Mexican and South American peoples, going all the way back to the times before the 'conquests' of the Spaniards, to the Aztec culture, and then going 'underground' in the times of Catholics to emerge, later, as South American magic rituals or Church-sanctioned holidays (Los Dias De Los Muertos, for example), in fact merging in many cases quite smoothly with the 'beliefs' of the death obsessed Christians who have overrun your country for the last five hundred years. What do you think it is, specifically, in the Mexican culture that makes Mexicans so eager to embrace death metal? Is it some national or cultural trait, something that stirs deep within the people themselves? Many bands have said, over the years, that the Mexican followers of underground metal are the most violent, enthusiastic, and passionate fans anywhere in the world - why is this so? Why are Mexicans always in such a close proximity to the ideas and culture of death?

Yes, the crowd is sometimes violent, enthusiastic and passionate but not only in Mexico, in all latin America you can see this kind of reactions. I don't know why are you saying about the culture of death, here few people into the metal scene is interested in our culture.

How do you personally view the recent events unfolding here in the States regarding the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington? What do the Mexican people, as a whole (taken in consensus), think of what happened to us here, and what is surely about to transpire in the Middle East? Are the majority of Mexicans politically inclined or do they tend to ignore the actions of their own government? The ignorance in this country regarding the Mexican language and way of life is remarkable - for example, your President, Vicente Fox, recently embraced our leader George Bush in a press conference by referring to him as 'Jorge', which sparked a ridiculous spat of laughter from those present, even though to do so (translating his Anglo name into Spanish) was clearly a gesture of acceptance and goodwill on the part of President Fox. How do Mexicans really view Americans? What are the positives, as you see it, of our country and 'culture', versus the negatives? Coming as it does from outside our nation, your opinion is very important...

That was horrible. All the Mexican people thinks that was a unfortunately incident, some other maybe have fear about a possible war, etc. People are in agreement about the actions of your government, others not, specially that people whom are into some kind of religion, you know they want peace making their prays. That's absolutely absurd!!! I think that the US government is doing the correct [thing].
But well, I prefer to [not] say more about it.

One of the things I think a lot of people don't understand about Mexico is just how large and diverse it really is, embracing a wide variety of separate cells of culture, income, way of life, economic level, etc. and how, for the most part, much of Mexico's population is still very rural in nature - which is the complete opposite of the States, where most of our population tends to group around several large cities, leaving the countryside deserted and barren of souls...where did you grow up, and how do you think your own upbringing influenced your later career as a musician? Was your family musical in any way? How do the majority of Mexican musicians come to learn about their instruments and the music they want to pursue? Is it easy to find resources, etc. to enable you to learn about music, or is it something that you have to chase on your own, against the wishes of everyone else? Are there, in fact, Mexican bands in rural areas, or are all of the most 'noticeable' bands clustered around big cities?

All in the band grow up in the city, my grandpa was musician only.
We were influenced only for the music that we always have listened, here are not bands in rural zones, all are in the cities.
The majority of the musicians in every band learned his instrument by [him]self.

Somewhat of a personal question: are there distinct and definite sources for the obvious anger in your music, and if so, could you talk about this? What makes Ravager or Domain such a violent, hateful entity? Why do you feel so much aggression towards life or other people, and what makes you feel the need to express it in such a way? Is there, in any sense, an idea of 'destiny' or a 'goal' among Mexican musicians, clustered in heavily-populated urban areas, that this sort of music will allow you to achieve a status and reknown that you wouldn't normally have? Do you think people view you differently when they learn you are part of a band like Ravager, or after they hear your music?

There are not... we're not in agreement with the religions, we're not followers..
We play Death Metal only because we love it.
We live for Metal. We don't care about the rest.
All the people here view us as different and weird [people]... they don't need to hear our music or to know that we're a part of a band.

Alright, back to the music itself...first of all, what can we expect from the new album that will be released on Osmose? Was there a goal with this new work to 'top' the work of other artists in the same genre as you, or to show the world just how intense Mexican bands could be? Could you give us some song titles and explain the meanings behind the songs, the subject matter? Who participated on this new record, where was it recorded, and (most importantly) when will it be released? What can we expect from it?

Always was a goal, but we did not record the album to show how intense a Mexican band could be...its stupid, this is not a competition for us, we live for this man and to have an album in OSMOSE prods, for us its a dream come true. You can expect from our album STORM OF SIN, a pure brutal death metal release.
Some titles are: Infernal Redemption, Iron Storm, Chained to Inferno, Those who lie in wait...
The album was recorded in SOUND TECH studios in Queretaro, Mexico.
The recording line up is: Antimo/bass-vocals, Eric/guitars, Samuel-guitars, Oscar-drums.
The release date yet is not official, surely will be released in the beginning of 2002, maybe the promo will be out at the end of this year, also the WORLD DOMINATION IV which will include a track.

Is there anything else you want to add? Any last words for the readers of Erebus? Take the space here to say anything you'd like...

Thanx a lot for the interview and support to RAVAGER.
My biggest hails to every reader of Erebus... stay brutal and fucking true!!
We hope see you on tour soon.. wait for our STORM, be prepared!!
Hail Metal.
Stay in Touch Metal Brothers!!!!!