Friday, March 25, 2005

KEKAL - In-depth interview #2

This is the 2nd part of interview with KEKAL.
Read the 1st part of the interview first

Nekro: You used a lot of guitar solos (played by 4 guitarists) in "Acidity". It will be considered "too much" by modern metal producers and music critics. Do you think that KEKAL will get critisized as "metal band of the past" instead of "metal band of the future" because using so many solo guitars?

Jeff: We have been criticized by few reviewers for doing everything too much.. You know, too much experiments, too much non-metal elements, too complex, too much electronic sounds, etc.. But, yet people see KEKAL as a unique band because of all of these "too much" aspects in our music.. We never follow trend so when we use something in our music, we never consider using it based on current trend in music.. We just do it because we love to do it.. People can love or hate our music I don't care, they have a lot of things in this world to choose.. Until today I haven't read any review who says that we use "too much" solo guitars on "Acidity".. I'm still waiting to hear all their opinions on the future reviews..

Nekro: Almost every band that falls in the category of "avantgarde" seems to be underrated. Do you feel KEKAL is underrated? Why?

Jeff: Well, the reason why a music can be considered as 'underrated', is because not so many people used to it.. It's not underrated I think, 'less appreciated' is the more appropriate word.. In this world, not many people dare to give a try to something new and different that they expected.. Not just music, but also food, clothing, etc.. Real progressive/experimental/avantgarde music never sells as big as normal music.. For example, I wonder how many people dig FANTOMAS, compared with SLAYER..? FANTOMAS has Dave Lombardo on drums, but I don't think even 20% of SLAYER fans would dig their music.. I once read an interview with Dieter Mack on a local newspaper.. He's a music professor and has made a lot of research.. He said that our society has been surrounded by instant things all the time.. And the mainstream music industry set the parameter of what "music is" and controls the society, like MTV and radios that always play short and simple music around 3 or 4 minutes.. We never used to hear any music beyond that limits or standards set by MTV and media.. And when they hear a music that is so different, they just think that kind of music is uncool.. They probably hate it.. As whether KEKAL is underrated or not, I have no idea.. I don't rate our music myself, But 90% of the album reviews I got, they all put them at the very good rating.. You can't say it's underrated, less appreciated perhaps..

Nekro: Who the hell is Dieter Mack? I checked the web and got one. Visit this URL

Nekro: Switch the topic to vocals. You once released a rather controversial album "The Painful Experience" (2001) due to the fact that it has you messin' around with so many different vocal styles, even some of these vocals you went beyond your own vocal range and natural tone, like those 'Rob Halford/King Diamond goes to hell' voice, know what I mean? Why must that album has those kinds of vocals?

Jeff: When the music is recorded, I found so many "hot spots" that cannot fit with any kind of vocals we used on the 2 albums before it.. Then I tried with few other things, and found 3 new vocal styles that's fit with the temprature of the songs.. One of them is the high-pitch raw clean vocals people always talk about.. I must admit I didn't have much time to practice my vocals for that kind of style, so they went a bit out of control.. But there are no other vocal styles that can fit perfectly with the certain part of the songs in order to create the right atmosphere for the songs.. I think that's still the best choice for us..

Nekro: Your debut album "Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams" uses 3 female vocalists. Have you ever think to get a female lead singer for KEKAL? You could be somewhere between the pop-metal of EVANESCENCE and the chaotic insanity of MELT BANANA!

Jeff: Not at this time.. Perhaps later on when I'm old, like 75 or 80, I would consider getting a 20-year old female vocalist, that would be cool.. But anything can be changed in a moment.. Don't take my words very seriously..

Nekro: I always see metal music more as "entertainment" rather than "art". People come to metal shows to get themselves headbanged, moshing, slamming, stage-diving, and having fun with their body movements. It is more similar to dance/house/rave music or hip-hop. The presentation of "art" in most metal bands are very different than the presentation of art in industrial/noise bands. Some metal bands utilize theatrical performances and sometimes happening art, but the response in the audience are different. As a metal musician, where do you think you stand between "art" and "entertainment"? And do you think metal music limits your freedom to express yourself?

Jeff: To me, the art itself always have an aspect of entertainment in it.. It has never been like "art" versus "entertainment", they actually walk hand-in-hand.. "Entertainment" is a very common term.. "To get pleased with", is a synonym of "to get entertained with".. If something pleases you, you can also say that it entertains you.. Whether an art is entertaining or not, it only depends on the impact to people, but how many people..? That's the case.. The definition of "entertainment" for today's society is when something is appealing to the masses, to a large number of people, to society.. A piece of art, like a painting or a song, sometimes only pleases very few people, sometimes only pleases the one who made it and no one else.. It is an entertainment, but yet not enough statistically to be labelled "entertainment" because only very few people who can get pleased with.. I think KEKAL music should please ourselves the band, if not we wouldn't record it anyway.. haha.. But does our music entertaining enough for today's standard of "entertainment"? I cannot say, because if we use today's standard, I don't think KEKAL music can appeal to so many people and can please the masses.. But I wouldn't say that I don't want my music to be entertaining, because it does entertain..
I don't think metal music limits my freedom to express myself, as long as I don't get stuck with its tradition and "rules".. I don't care whether people would consider our music as metal or not.. And I don't care if the audience would get themselves headbanged or moshing to our music, or just stand up, sit down, sleep, whatever.. I don't really into headbanging on stage myself when playing music, sometimes I do a little but it's just for counting the beat, you know.. And we don't interact too much with the audience during our set.. That's our own expression.. Typical metal bands do shouting to the audience like; "How are you people, are you hot yet..? Now we'll make you hotter than hell.." as you might expect from rock n' roll band playing at the prom night.. But we're just play our music and that's all.. We don't follow the rules and tradition in heavy metal.. We're musically anarchists.. I have enough freedom to be myself when I write music as when I'm on the stage, even though we play metal music..

Nekro: Yea I got your point. I watched KEKAL European Tour video few times, duriing your show I could see how the audience bang their heads and slamming when you played your older metal songs like "Embrace The Dead" and "Mean Attraction", but the reaction was quite cold to your very progressive songs like "Default" for example. They were just watching you play, staring at the stage, but almost no body movement. How is your perception to KEKAL music? Do you think it is important to write songs that could please metal audience and let them bang their heads when you play them? Because you can't write very progressive songs to make them bang their heads.

Jeff: The most important thing is to make good music, whatever kind music it is, and play as good as possible as in the album.. If the audience is listening and watching carefully, even though they don't get themselves moshing or headbanging, it is ok.. Extreme doom metal bands don't make their audience moshing because the music is so slow, but these bands still entertain them if they play good, right..? The audience will understand.. If I don't care about how the audience would react to our songs, that doesn't mean I don't care about them at all.. I have to play the best I can in every show, that's our appreciation as a band for the audience.. Making your audience headbanging is not the only proof that you are pleasing them..