As I visited the Bolt Thrower show in Rotterdam with my dear colleague Mat-Core, I requested an interview with Muhammed the frontman for Necrophagist, the band I actually came to see. After some small problems with the guestlist we went to the backstage area to have a little chat.
So, how’s the tour been?
It’s been awesome!
Can you tell me how you got to this Satriani-like death metal?
Satriani? It’s not Satriani-like because I don’t like Satriani. We’ve always made music like this, never really changed the style. I like the technical influenced solo guitar stuff, that’s pretty much it basically. I come from a Turkish background, so I got influenced by oriental classical music a lot, and I don’t know why but I kind of linked it together with metal.
Yeah, a question about that. Since you have a Turkish background, its not that easy to get in contact with death metal, I think. How did you end up with it?
No you don’t get in contact that easily, but I live in Germany. And some friends of mine were into it when I was ten years old, so I checked it out, liked it and stuck with it. That easy.
Oriental meets death metal.
Exactly, that is what Necrophagist is all about.
All right. Do you consider yourself a musical freak?
No. Others do though, hehe. I don’t. I’m not a freak man!
Well, not a freak of nature maybe, but still, what you can do with your hands… How long did you usually practice?
Well, I used to practice a couple of hours a day, for about the first three years. After that I only played during rehearsal, when composing stuff. I don’t spent much time on practice.
Well, how did you find your co-freaks then?
Coincidence, but it was fucking ugly because it took me like over ten years to find the right people. The scene in Germany is very different from say like Florida or something. Because with us its like everybody plays in a band to start a career in metal. There a lot of talented musicians that aren’t into putting much time in a band, making it professional. The focus of German youth is different from that of Florida’s, which is just an example! But I know a lot of bands from over there, like Malevolent Creation, which started playing at a very young age ad just focussed on their band. You can’t get that in other parts of the world, is that easy. It’s hard to find people that are dedicated to the music, and obviously Necrophagist is very hard to play. So you need a lot of practice when you enter this band, and not everybody is ready to do that, which I understand to a certain point. If we were like this easily accessible band you can make a living out of it, you cannot do that with death metal. So that’s the reason people don’t stick with it, and why its hard to find people that are willing to spend their spare time on a band. You need to sacrifice a lot.
Its just sad that we are considered as a new band, while actually we’ve been around for quite some time. I started this out in 1993, but an actual line-up wasn’t established until 1997, and in 1999 we released our debut Onset of Putrefaction. And that was still a long way until our release of Epitaph on Relapse Records.
About Onset of Putrefaction; why was it recorded with drum samples?
For the same reason. I wasn’t able to find a drummer that was good enough.
(here we get interrupted due to Muhammed getting a phone cal, which he claims was sbout getting a new crew member)
Is he filling in for the guy that got electrocuted at the show in Italy? (There were some severe dangers with power lines and stuff like that at a venue in Italy which caused a cancellation of the entire show)
Yeah that place was a real shithole. It was terrible with the wiring and stuff. Not cool that we had to cancel that show, I mean we were there anyway, and now we’re not getting paid. And we still have our expenses, we had to drive over there. It was just fucked.
Okay, back to the drum samples then. You couldn’t find a drummer for the original release, but when you re-issued it, you recorded it with new drum samples for your new drummer. Why was that? Wasn’t it possible to do an entire drum track with it?
The first version of Onset of Putrefaction was recorded with a very crappy drum computer in 1999. So with the new drum samples, I remixed the whole album. I used the tracks that were there, and I used the drum samples that were recorded for Epitaph. He recorded the drums for that album, and thus the samples. We used those samples to feed the drum computer, and we just remixed the entire album with them. Spent a lot of money on that, and a lot of time. I wasn’t satisfied with the first version, but I didn’t have money for a studio, label back-up, I had crappy equipment. Kind of a struggling musician, but I always wanted to remix it with new drum samples, so I did.
So what do you think the near future for Necrophagist will bring?
A lot of tours, a new album, and a lot of tours again. Plays most of the continents, this year. Well, make that three.
Well its time for my magic question again. Who do you prefer in movies; Arnold Schwarzenegger of Sylvester Stallone?
I’m a Rocky fan. I have the complete Rocky collection, I watched them all so many times. But Schwarzenegger is the worst actor I’ve ever seen.
(of course this ends up in an argument that quickly turns out like a Rambo movie where the blood and guts is flying all over the place…)
Mat-core: I have a question too actually. Can we expect a show on the Fuck the Commerce festival this year?
Oh can we talk about Lord of the Rings now!?
Of course we can! Hat do you want to do, compare LOTR with Star Wars or something?
I love Liv Tyler. That’s all I wanna say, I’m in love with her.
Hahahaha, but she’s a lot… older. And married too. Did you ever meet her?
Uh, I still can love her.
But to get back to that Fuck the Commerce story, we’ll wont be able to play there since at that time we’ll be playing in North America. We’ve got a tour there, for six weeks, its being booked right now. All over the US, fuck yeah. You gotta do what you gotta do!
Yeah, now you’re getting somewhere! Have you ever played there before?
Yeah we did a small tour there once, like four dates. We played at the Maryland Deathfest in 2003, and a friend of ours added some shows. But this time we’ll be returning with a vengeance.
All right then! I wish you the best of luck and if you have something to add to the interview, please do so now!
No, I have nothing to add. I said everything I wanted to say, you know me now.
You love Liv Tyler!
Hahaha, yeah. All right, thanks a lot!
Thank you too man! See you later!