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Criminal's new album "No Gods No Masters" is something you need to check out if you love any kind of thrash, for you'll find both old school and new influences in this. I was eager to find out more about this band and Anton Reisenegger generously answered my questions.
Congratulations on your new album, it really kicks ass and it's not gonna bore me for a long
long time! Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer a couple of questions
Hey, thanks for the coverage and the great review! Here we go...
You're about to release your new album "No Gods No Masters", how are the
reactions from the press so far?
It's been mixed, to be honest. Some people really love it and accept the fact that our style is evolving. But then there's other media, especially in Germany, who seem to have quite a conservative mentality and can't deal with this change in our direction. I don't quite get it, we used to be accused of sounding like other bands, and now we're being accused of not sounding like anyone...
Sounds more like a compliment to me! ;)) The sound is incredibly powerful, you produced it yourselves I believe? How did the recordings go?
Well, thanks! Yes, we did produce it ourselves, with help from Mark Harwood, the studio owner, who also engineered it. He took care of the technical stuff, and we made the decisions with regards to the music. It
was OK working there and the sound is really good, but next time we would like to move somewhere else.
How would you compare this album with the previous ones?
It's just more varied, more adventurous if you will. We felt free to just write what we wanted, without being limited by the confines of a style. You know that's something that I don't agree with, in the metal scene, it seems like a band has got to always do the same, never change their style, and then they're appreciated. I don't get it. I really like our earlier albums, but I definitely think this one has got more personality of its own.
Yeah, I think NGNM is a very diverse album, except when it comes to the vocals. Not that it's all the same, but some experimenting with more melody or clean vocals would compliment the songs I believe. Would you want to try different things with your vocals in the future?
Yeah, I would definitely try it, but I would need more time in the studio, and hopefully the help of a producer, someone who could guide me, because it's something I haven't tried before. And it's tricky not to start sounding like someone else. We did this demo with the song "Faceless" on it, and
there were companies who rejected it because they thought it sounded too much like Fear Factory. So you gotta be real careful.
Are you, Anton and Rodrigo, the main songwriters? How is the songwriting process going in the Criminal camp?
It usually starts with a few riffs that are written either by Rodrigo or myself, and then in rehearsal all of us arrange the song, give it a structure and do the "fine tuning". We have tried to write all together, but it just doesn't work. But still, on this album there was more of a collaboration in the creative process than before.
Does Claudio Bergamin do a lot of cd covers/artwork? I didn't know his name, but I sure love the NGNM cover!
He has done a lot of work for Chilean bands, and he's really versatile, from the complete pop cover to dark stuff like ours. He's now living in Italy and looking to work with European bands and labels. Interested parties should check out his website: http://bergamind.cjb.net
Do you think there is something of Chile in your music, or do you think
that's limited to a couple of Spanish lyrics?
That's a good question, but I'm not sure about the answer. I think someone's artistic output is influenced by pretty much everything they hear or see in their lives, so growing up there must have had some sort of
influence. But we don't have like the obvious indigenous stuff in our music, that wouldn't be honest, because we listen to metal and a lot of other stuff, but not precisely Chilean folk music.
You and Rodrigo relocated from Chile to the UK in 2002. Do you miss certain things of Chile and why did you chose the U.K. to go to?
Well, London is one of the cultural capitals of the world. Now, talking about the metal scene, there's loads of bands, labels, etc., so we thought it might be a good place to start. But, to be honest, it was a bit of a gamble in many ways, because we really didn't know what we could expect. Things have worked out great though. I would say I miss my friends and family, and little things like certain foods, but it's been OK
altogether. There's so much to do and see that you don't get a lot of time to miss anything.
Any comments on Rob Eaglestone's departure last year, or is that a closed book to you?
I think both sides have got over that by now. There were a lot of problems when he was in the band, so the only solution was him leaving. But we've talked since, and he's cool. He even offered to fill in as a temporary bassist if we needed someone for the tour, which didn't work out due to scheduling conflicts, but that goes to show you that there's no bad blood between us.
Who or what influenced you to become a musician yourself? Were you already musical as a little kid?
My whole family was quite musical, so I started playing instruments quite early in my life, first the piano, then the guitar. But, as far as wanting to do this professionally, I think Metallica were probably the biggest
influence. Back in the eighties I would look at them and think "that's exactly what I wanna do!"
As long as you don't turn out like them when you grow up, haha!;)) What is your ultimate goal with the band?
There's no goals. We have always taken things as they come, and I think that's the healthiest way of dealing with this business. I mean, you don't get disappointed that easily if you have this way of thinking. I think bands shouldn't forget that what they are supposed to do is play music in the first place, stuff like album sales and so on are secondary.
You've already played with just about all my old thrash heroes, like Slayer, Sepultura, Kreator, Exodus, Testament, Overkill..... which bands were your favorites and which band would you still want to play with the most?
The shows with Sepultura were very special. They were at the height of their career at that moment and it was just a blast to be able to support them. But also partying with Paul Baloff has got to be one of the
highlights. Or having a bottle of Jack Daniel's with Lemmy! Right now I would really like to tour with Strapping Young Lad, I really love their music and I feel we have certain things in common with 'em.
You've played several festivals, like Monsters Of Rock, Milwaukee Metal Fest, Summer Breeze, Wacken (gotta love that waking up show haha!). How were those gigs for you and what was your biggest show/audience ever?
Those shows were all great. I mean, playing open air concerts is very cool in itself, and I think our music works very well in that sort of setting, unlike maybe black metal or gothic. The largest audience we have played to was at the Rock Al Parque festival in Colombia. That festival is organized by the city of Bogotá, the venue is a huge park, and it's free for people to get in. The day we played, the police estimated an attendance of 50,000 people. Luckily, we have a video of that show, otherwise no one would believe us!
No kidding! In which countries that you haven't been to yet, would you really love to play with Criminal?
Definitely Japan. I have heard and read so much about it, I just really want to go play there. And maybe do a live album, hahaha... "Live In Japan", cool, isn't it?
Or "Live At Budokan" haha! Are you looking forward to touring with Fleshcrawl and Six Feet Under?
Oh yeah, definitely. We can't wait to go out there and destroy! I've always thought that Criminal is at its best when playing live, and I want to show people in Europe! We haven't had the chance to do a real tour over here, so we're really going to use this chance!
Thanks so much for the interview, I want to wish you a lot of success and fun on the tour!
Thanks to you! Hope to see you at one of our shows!
Thanks Anton, I was already bummed out about NOT being able to make it to this tour, ARRRGH! Next time I hope! So people.. go see them and headbang and shout for me! Oh and don't forget to drink a beer for me too;))
submitted by Marlies 27.02.2004