DEICIDE – We’ve always just kind of tried to do our own thing
Med et nytt album i lomma og mange spørsmål i ermet tok undertegnede (med hjelp fra Roy Kristensen) kontakt med Steve Asheim, trommeslager for det legendariske death metal bandet DEICIDE. En av de få konstante faktorene på den Amerikanske death metal scenen, DEICIDE er en kraft man kan regne med. De begynte med sin kompromissløse metal mot slutten av 80-tallet og viser ingen tegn til å gi seg. I dette intervjuet fikk jeg svar på alt mellom himmel og helvete jeg kunne tenke meg å spørre en metalgud om.
More than 20 years now, and still running. And a lot of people know the Deicide story, but for our younger hopes; how did you first get involved in metal and what inspired you to choose the more extreme end of the spectrum when first making music?
I was always into rock and metal from a young age and also got into playing drums at a young age. I also liked extreme stuff growing up and that just carried over into music. As music got more extreme, I got more extreme right along with it. So when it was time for us to start writing and recording, we were ready to assimilate into the metal collective, right where we needed to be, when we needed to be.
Back in the day, the Florida scene were amazing. Did any of your colleagues, such as Morbid Angel, Death and Obituary, inspire you to go even further? I suppose the Morrisound/Scott Burns production were one sure sign of quality, but what did you actually expect yourself back then?
Yeah, it was a great time. We were all aware of each other’s accomplishments and we all set out to achieve the same things. To record and tour, to create fan bases, go to newer places etc. All in good friendly competition. Looked how far we all pushed each other. It’s like having a work out partner at the gym, it keeps you motivated.
Before we dive a bit deeper into the new album, your 10th studio album, we’d like to invite you to give your own overview of the album as a whole and what you feel yourself is the album strongest point(s)?
I kind of feel it’s a culmination of all of our song writing abilities collected in the one album, but still unique to itself. That’s easy for me to say but I hope everyone finds something they like about it. There’s just some damn heavy songs on there I think.
The Hoffman brothers are no more a part of Deicide and haven’t been for some albums now. How did that affect the way Deicide write the albums?
I think it made it better, gave us more freedom to work ideas in different ways we hadn’t had the option to do before. I think it’s made our songs better and a better vibe too, which helps everything.
And on the same subject, how has the writing been developing from the first days of Amon until today’s Deicide? I mean, how much creativity you can show before it’s on the limit of the Deicide atmosphere, if you see what I mean…
Well, you need so many songs per album, or minutes, whichever comes first. So you create material to fill that time and you texture the album according to its needs. At some point you can tell you’re beginning to repeat yourself, that’s when it’s time to wrap up the writing and start refining the songs you have, make them the best they can be. At the end you’re left with what you’re left with and hopefully everyone’s happy with it.
I guess now, that we’re closing in on our 40ies; many of us who were there back when Deicide unleashed "Deicide" are still into extreme metal. Strange thought, but where do we find the inspiration to listen to yet another death metal album, be it Deicide, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Behemoth, Hate Eternal and so on…? And, how do you manage to motivate yourself to come up with more blasphemies from the dark abyss?
It’s just something I still enjoy doing. I’ll always love music and metal. I’ll always enjoy writing and recording and touring. So as long as I’m happy still doing it it’s easy to stay motivated. Every couple years you reach inside yourself and pull out some material. It’s a natural cycle of life for me now.
It’s quite clear for anyone reading your lyrics and listening to your music, that there is a lot of anti-Christian thoughts in there, some would even say Satanic thoughts. How important is it for you that your fans share your belief and/or hate in God? Where did it actually come from, the point of view? I take it that the superfluous double morals of the American society are one, but there had to be more reasons…
It’s no big deal for me; people are or should be free to believe what they wanna believe. Problem is you get too many overzealous believers in one place and stupid bad things start to happen.
I heard an interview with James Hetfield (Metallica) in which he said that after getting children he became much more aware of how obscene some of the lyrics to their songs were. What do you think about this sentiment? Growing up, eh…?
I see his point I guess, but also you’d have to be pretty desensitized to see it’s not offensive in the first place. It’s just that now you have kids, you give shit. When it’s everyone else’s kids its fine though.
Too personal perhaps, but still, how do you view the school and how it teaches children to, well, worship (a) god? And how to do relate to the fact that Christendom is, as in Norway, a part of the whole cultural heritage, like it or like it not?
I heard the Norwegians just kind of went along with Christianity because the rest of the western world was gonna exclude them from commerce if they didn’t. So I think it was a political/socio/economic move at the time. And old habits die hard so… point is I don’t think some Norwegians ever took their religion too seriously.
In the early years of metal with Black Sabbath and such there were very few genres metal bands could fit into. Nowadays there are quite a lot of different types of classifications for metal bands. What kind of music do you listen to in general? Do you have any thoughts about the new type of genres that are classified as metal these days?
There are definitely different types of metal that deserve to be categorized, but it is also all still metal. Classifications are good though. How else are you gonna know what someone else is talking about. I listen to both kinds of music…country and western! Ha! That’s from the blues Brothers, remember?!
Deicidium, yes, but do you believe in gods and deities the way the history book, The Bible, tell us, or is there more to your view, to how good vs. evil is the meaning of the human kind and that, by looking at the news a minute or three, there’s no doubt that evil is stronger than good?
There’s plenty of evil and good in this world. What is it you seek? It’s the desire to do good or evil that lives in the heart of men that will determine a man’s path and course of action and its reaction on the world. What is someone willing to create or bring into this world? Killing? It’s all around us, in nature at every level from microscopic to animal to man. In those terms it seems like the most natural thing, not evil at all. On the other hand, child molestation, rape, and things of that nature that is by their intentions cruel and selfish, that is evil. Is blasphemy evil? They’re just words. Not in words but in deeds does good an evil exist? At least that’s what I think right at this moment. That may change in a week though, ha!
Does it in any way bother you that there is a limit to originality when it comes to death metal the last few years? Or, perhaps, it’s more that you just stick with your own guns and leave the rest of the void to be?
We’ve always just kind of tried to do our own thing and not worry about what was going around us. It seems sheltered but also helps us from sounding like the band of the week. We retain our identity that way, to an extent.
Deicide plays a lot of festivals as well as both major and smaller venues, what kind of setting do you prefer?
Big fests are cool cause they’re huge but it’s a rigorous schedule and difficult sometimes. I like our own club gigs. There’s not really a lot of pressure, we get to just do our own thing and not be bothered by or be a bother to anyone.
Playing live is a ritual to many artists, and perhaps also an outlet. Any nasty stories on forgetting lyrics, playing the first verse of the wrong song or the sound failing to be there at all, etc.? Do you have any special rituals before you enter the stage, like wishing each other bad luck or something?
Hehe, I’ve started the song we just finished once or twice over the years. Not too many time though. Not too many people falling down on stage over the years either. Not once I think, ha! My only special ritual is I like to smoke a bunch a good weed before I play, which makes everything great!
Will we be able to see you on stage this Spring, in order to promote the new album? Perhaps some festivals coming up? On the side, but there is a place in Norway named Hell. Any chance of playing there, recording a DVD and naming it "To Hell with Deicide", or something?
We have some plans for the summer in Europe and maybe later in the winter too. I definitely hope to play in Hell also! Hell Norway that is! m/m/