HATE – Extreme metal the modern way
I have been trying to get an interview with ATF Sinner from the Polish death metal band Hate for years. Contact has been established, the interview was sent to Poland but every time I ended up sitting there waiting, and waiting for the answers. Now, over 5 years after I discovered the band, I finally got my interview. ATF Sinner, which is what he calls himself these days, couldn't say anything else than that he was sorry. However, his answers is here, finally and during this interview the news about a certain festival appearance in Oslo later this year gives the fans of this fine Polish death metal band a chance to start making plans already.
First of all Adam, let me congratulate you with an excellent album in "Morphosis". You and Hate has created something really great there. How do you feel about the album yourself?
Thanks a lot for this opinion. We're very proud and totally satisfied with "Morphosis". This is the best album we have ever done, a new level, new way. We have pushed the style from "Anaclasis" a step further using quite an amount of synthetic sounds that strengthen certain parts, especially refrains, and give them some kind of "elevated" atmosphere. In the background you can hear lots of eerie structures going on all the time, which gives the music a kind of additional dimension. This album has some dose of "magic", which makes it unique and helps us set apart from the rest of the scene.
There is a big step from "Awakening of the Liar" to "Anaclasis" and an even bigger one from "Anaclasis" to "Morphosis". What has happened to you as the songwriter and Hate as a band since you released "Cains Way" through "Awakening of the Liar" and up to "Morphosis"?
Well, you see, progress is always the most important thing to me. At one point I was just fed up with playing traditional death metal. I first felt it after recording "Awakening of the Liar" which was the essence of traditional death metal, in a Polish version. I wanted the next Hate album to sound different. I just thought and still believe that extreme music needs fresh sounds, ways of expression, and that's what I bore in mind when working on "Anaclasis". That album was our first attempt to play extreme metal in a modern way. Up to that album we were considered pure death metal, but that form was just too stuffy and too explored for us. We wanted something more, something different but at the same time equally aggressive and radical. A few years ago we were the first metal band in our country to use a squencer on live shows. It gives our music some dirty, industrial climat which is not usual among traditional d/m bands, so it definitely helps set us apart from the rest. Next step is "Morphosis", which is a stylistic continuation of "Anaclasis" and you can notice it even in the similarity of the titles, which is deliberate. "Morphosis" has a greater variety of tempos and stylistic forms than "Anaclasis". There are three slower tracks on the album, but the ones containing blasts are ultra fast – in fact, the fastests we have ever recorded. The material contains mostly live sound of drums. I must say Hexen's playing was absolutely great and full of his individual style, so we decided to avoid editing his parts as much as possible and leave all the natural manner in them. When it comes to production, "Morphosis" is a significant step ahead. It generally sounds more "live" than "Anaclasis" and has some unique atmosphere created by the mixture of guitars and ambient chords. I think it's the best and most defined album we've done thus far.
You once said that "Cains Way" was the album that opened a few doors outside Poland for Hate. What do you think "Anaclasis" have done and "Morphosis"will do or what have the albums already done for you?
After releasing "Anaclasis" we did over 120 concerts and strengthened our position on the metal scene quite much. Also the feedback from the metal press was just great, and many people who had never heard of us before, finally noticed our work. The new album is a step further. We will be promoting "Morphosis" for at least one year from now on, so we'll certainly invade Norway with some concerts. One of them will be certainly during Screamfest in Oslo; they invited us for its next edition. We just can't wait to be there! We also play some major festivals in Europe this summer, for example Neurotic Death Fest in Holland, Metalcamp in Slovenia, Metal Mean in Belgium etc. We're also going to Russia in April to headline Metal Spirit Resurrection Tour for the second time. In May we have another Polish tour "Rebel Angels III" and after that I hope we'll come to Western Europe for a regular tour. Soon we start recording a video-clip promoting the new album, for the song "Threnody" that will be first shown in March/April. We also plan to release "Morphosis" in a vinyl version with one additional track. The premiere of the vinyl will be held this summer on Deformeathing Production.
What is the deeper meaning behind the artwork of "Morphosis"?
It's an idea of an Assirian shield with the sign of "Omega" on it. The word literally means "great" It's a symbol of cosmic infnity, so it means an infinite power, the ultimate. What you see in the background is a tangle of serpents coming from under the shield in different directions. In this context, Omega represents the infinite power of "chaos" or "dynamism" that rules the universe.
All the lyrics are of the satanic type, but I heard somewhere that you sometimes use text from the bible when writing them.
Oh, it was the case when working on "Awakening of the Liar", when I got inspired by some pre-New Testament apocryfic texts (discovered in the desert by the Dead Sea in the fifties last century) that cast new light on the early Christianity. Generally my lyrics were straightforward, blasphemous and downward satanic on Hate early albums. Now I explore Satanism from another, more mature perspective. The lyrics on « Morphosis » have mostly philosophical character. They say the story of demons' martyrdom, transcendental world, cosmology, apotheosis of death, pain and erotic deviations. Most of them consider the same themes as on Anaclasis. It's a searching for deeper meanings of such things as pain, death, sorrow, despair, continuation of life, transcendence. Lyrics are important to me regardless how many people do listen to them. They are there to enlighten our followers, make them think and feel certain things with us. And I consider those who do listen a kind of elite.
It's pretty easy to understand that you are influenced by some classical music, and this seems to be rather normal in the Polish metal scene.
Well, you probably mean that many Polish musicians have good musical education which is connected with playing classical music. I don't have any academic musical background, but I'm into classical music, especially contemporary classical, such as Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Gorecki, Szymanowski and also Shostakowich and Bartok. What those guys have created outdo any kind of popular music.
You are known as a perfectionist when it comes to music, and you put a lot of work and effort into the music. Do you feel that it's all worth it?
Yes it definitely is. If you want to create something special or unique, you must devote yourself to it completely. When it comes to "Morphosis" we started writing the material a year ago, but we had some major interruptions due to several tours we have played. So we tried to make the best of the time between tours and focus on composing the new songs. We entered Hertz Studio in August and recorded the album in less than a month. Earlier I worked on ambient/industrial backgrounds for the new tracks in Efektura Studio/Warsaw with a co-producer Kris Wawrzak. We did quite a lot of work and prepared a detailed demo of all the material to make sure everything was in the right place. Usually we go through several versions of each song. We often try them out during our concerts long before we enter the studio. We did this when working on "Morphosis" too; we played most of the new songs on our Russian tour last year, just to try them out on stage.
Hate is currently under the wings of Listenable Records. Do you feel that Listenable is the correct label to be on at the moment?
Our relationship with the label is just correct. Listenable is supporting us in many ways including touring. The only problem is a distribution on the US market, which seems to be hard for Listenable. I hope, however, it will change for the better now that they have a new distro partner. We hear of great popularity of Polish extreme metal in the US and I think it's high time for us to get more attention there too.
Let's go back to the beginning of the Hate history. At first you called the band Infected. Why did you choose that name and why did you change it to Hate after a couple of years?
Oh, you're getting me back to pre-historic times! At the very beginning we didn't know how to name the band and we took the name "Infected" just before the first concert. It was necessary because we just couldn't be a no-name band! We knew well that it was just a tentative name that was to be changed later. I came up with the name HATE just before we started recording our first demo. It was the name that appealed to us strongly and we would never change it into anything elese. HATE means rebellion against all captivating systems that surround us, especially religions and other kinds of narrow-mindedness. It epitmizes the freedom and spiritual enlightment that must be pursued individually through self development until "super-human" state.
I have wondered a little bit about your name, Adam the First Sinner. Why did you pick this name?
Adam, according to some myth, was the first human who opposed the will of god. So, to me it's a symbolical name that epitomizes rebellion against so called "god" or anything that is trying to captivate human powers and free will. Today I prefer to use a shortened version of this name, which is ATF Sinner.