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:: Spotlight :: Interview with Krisiun

By: Justin Donnelly

Over a career that has spanned more than fifteen years, Krisiun (Latin for ‘Seers Of Abomination’) have slowly risen up from the underground to emerge as one of the leaders of the current death/thrash metal scene and to become one of Brazil’s biggest metal exports since the mighty Sepultura.

Building on the strength of their previous full-length releases, Krisiun (who comprise of vocalist/bassist Alex Camargo, guitarist Moyses Kolesne and drummer Max Kolesne) again worked with German producer Andy Classen to emerge with ‘Southern Storm’ - hailed as their strongest and most brutal effort to date.

With the band confirming their first ever tour of Australia in support of their seventh full-length album, I caught up with Moyses Kolesne at home in Brazil to discuss the band’s upcoming tour plans, working with Andy Classen, the band’s tribute to Sepultura and the overwhelming critical acclaim to their latest release ‘Southern Storm’.

“A lot of people have been saying that ‘Southern Storm’ is our best album so far, or at least the best one since ‘Conquerors Of Armageddon’. We’re happy with that response and very happy with the feedback we’ve been getting from all over the world. We just finished touring in Europe, and we’re about to tour the U.S., and then we’ll be travelling to Australia for the first time, so I guess you could say that the new album is opening new doors for us. And the sales of ‘Southern Storm’ are the strongest that we’ve ever had before too. So everything with this new album is going really well and we’re really happy with it.”

Despite the band’s success in the past, there’s no denying that ‘Southern Storm’ has already surpassed Krisiun’s previous efforts in terms of sales and critical acclaim, and in the process introduced them to a wider audience. But when asked about the reasons why ‘Southern Storm’ has taken off the way it has, Kolesne is at a loss for an explanation.

“We really don’t know why the album has done so well! I guess it’s the end result of all the hard work we’ve put into the band over the years. We’ve toured everywhere and recorded new albums in-between those times, so it’s been a natural development for a band that has worked so hard. We’re not as successful as Slayer or those other big name bands, but things finally seem to be happening for us on a higher level than they have done ever before. We’ve made a concerted effort to make things happen for ourselves. Even if the whole world is against us, we still believed in this band and tried to work at keeping this unit together through development and recording new albums. We pushed aside where we were going to go with this band and focussed more on delivering some music for the world to enjoy. And it was the same approach we took with ‘Southern Storm’. All we tried to do was to make a really straight-forward album this time around, and try not to spend too much time on things that didn’t need that much time spent on them. But this is an album that came straight from our hearts. We just jammed together, and tried not to think too much and making sure that is sounding like this or like that. We just recorded the music that we wanted to hear and that we wanted to play without any pressure from the record label or the media in general. So this album came out just like I said before, very straight-forward. There are no intros, or the small things that we have done in the past. I’m not saying anything against the things we have done in the past, but this time we preferred to produce something that’s a little more straight-forward sounding. Maybe on the next album we might include an intro and some interesting things in-between the songs. But for this album, we wanted a straight-forward death/thrash metal vibe, and it seems to have worked for us.”

Krisiun don’t seem to be the kind of band that compromise on their music, but as Kolesne says, it hasn’t stopped representatives from their label (Century Media Records) making a few suggestions in terms of direction.

“These days, there are so many trends out there. There’s a particular kind of music that is played on radio, another for MTV, and the rest on whatever. Sometimes bands lose their original sound or vibe because they want to fit within that system. We’ve always said that we were never going to do that. But then sometimes the record label will ask us if we can include a couple of mid-tempo slower tracks for the new album! (Laughs) But we’re always going to do whatever we want to do. After so many years of touring, playing and recording, we’ve slowly developed and matured our own style and sound. We don’t really care about those guys’ opinions, or anyone else’s for that matter. We like you, and appreciate your support. But when it comes to our music, we make what we want, for us.”

Part of the success with ‘Southern Storm’ can be attributed to producer Andy Classen, who not only managed to capture Krisiun’s raw and uncompromising sound, but who has also given the band their strongest production yet.

“We had Classen in our minds from the start. Since we recorded the ‘AssassiNation’ album in 2006, we noticed that we were starting to get back into business in terms of sales, and a lot of that came down to people liking the production on the album. We really liked that production too, so we figured that if we did a pretty good album with Classen once before, we might as well try and do another one as well. He understands our music, and he thinks the same way about music as us too. He’s a good friend of ours. We asked him if he was available for us this time around, and even though he had been scheduled to do another album with a different band, he gave up on that one so that he could do this one for us. He was really looking forward to working with us again, so we decided to go with him. We tried to develop beyond what we did on ‘AssassiNation’, and tried to do something even heavier and something with a raw and natural sound without over-relying on computers and pro-tools stuff. Classen’s the kind of guy that thinks the way we think. He’s not a fancy guy, and he likes things like we do, and I think that really shows on the latest album.”

Krisiun are no strangers when it comes to doing cover songs, and as expected, Krisiun have included a classic on ‘Southern Storm’. But what’s surprising about this cover is their choice of a classic - Sepultura’s ‘Refuse/Resist’.

“In the past, we always said that we were going to do a Sepultura song. But then time simply went by, and we ended up doing covers of Motörhead, Sodom, Kreator, Morbid Angel, Slayer and Venom in the meantime. But this time, we finally figured that now was the right time to do something for Sepultura, and we ended up doing this track. But to tell you the truth, we weren’t actually thinking about doing a cover version for ‘Southern Storm’ initially. It wasn’t until we were in the recording studio doing some sound-checks for Classen that we decided to go ahead with a cover. We were just playing around so Classen could get the levels right, and it was ‘Refuse/Resist’ that we ended up jamming on once we had the sound we were after. It was then that Andy asked us, ‘Why don’t you guys record that song? That song sounds really good. Perhaps we could make the song sound heavier?’ So we ended up doing this track without even thinking too much about it. Maybe if we had thought about it, and decided to do a Sepultura track for the album, we might have chosen an older song. But this song was the one that we were ready to do, and ‘Refuse/Resist’ came out just like you hear it. It was simply the only song from Sepultura that we knew how to play at that time! (Laughs)”

Another interesting piece to note about ‘Refuse/Resist’ is that it also features a guest contribution from Classen on rhythm guitar.

“Over the years, Classen has become a friend of ours. He’s stayed with us from time to time, and we’ve always had a good time together. So when we were recording this song, we started smoking some weed, and he picked up the guitar and told us how cool it was to play the riff. So when he was doing that, we suggested that he help us out with a few rhythm parts. He didn’t want to intrude, but we insisted he be a part of that song. In the end, he ended up doing it. We liked that a lot, because we ended up with something a little different, and it was more in the spirit of jamming with someone. It was something special for us to get someone outside of the band to jam with us to give the album a bit of a free spirit in a sense. That’s how the song ended up sounding. He contributed to some rhythm parts, and the lead. Everything was really spontaneous on that song. Nothing was planned at all. I guess it’s a good song for the album, because the song is one of the slower ones, and yet still very heavy. I think it really fits on the album. There are a lot of fast songs, and then you get this one which is a bit slower. I think it stops things from getting really boring you know.”

Unlike a lot of bands, Krisiun have remained consistent throughout their lengthy career. According to Kolesne, Krisiun’s inspiration to remain true to the death metal cause simply comes down to a love of creating brutal music.

“I guess you could say that its everyday life that inspires us. We have it in our hearts to play this kind of heavy music. We have never thought about changing our style or sound to please the media or record label to get sales or whatever. When we get together and start jamming, we always end up playing this kind of music. It’s always spontaneous, and not something that sounds like we really have it planned out. When we started playing in this band, we never set out to play this particular style of death metal music. We just got together and started playing. And today, we still have that same feeling and approach to our music. When we get together and we start jamming, this is just the music that we enjoy making together. It’s brutal, fast and thrashing, but very spontaneous in its creation. And after all these years, we’re still creating the same style of music, purely because this is what we love doing. I guess this is what really makes us happy, because if we started playing some different kind of music, I guess we wouldn’t be as happy. If we really did start changing our style of music, then we shouldn’t be playing in Krisiun any more. I mean, as a guitar player, I’ll sometimes play some classical and some jazz stuff on the acoustic guitar outside of the band. If I ever did something different from Krisiun, I would do some instrumental stuff that’s within that same style. Alex on the other hand is more into blues and rock and roll, like Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC. So I guess if he ever did something outside the band, he might do something along those lines. As for Max, I guess he’s more into jazz and stuff like that. It’s hard to say what would happen if we did something else, because we’ve never talked about it before. But you never know. Maybe when we get really old, we might just start doing some different stuff! (Laughs) But as for right now, we’re in Krisiun, and Krisiun is about playing aggressive, fast and brutal music you know.”

And it’s that aggressive, fast and brutal music that Krisiun have been busy delivering to the masses on the live front, with the band having recently completed an eight day tour around Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

“Since 2007, we’ve been touring in those eastern European countries, and going further and further into those areas that few bands tour into. We’ve played in some really far away countries, and in places where people don’t get to see many touring bands, if any at all. So when you go and play in these places, they really appreciate it. We find that playing in those places is better for us, rather than playing in the same places that you play every year. We asked our promoter to book a tour in Russia, and we ended up playing ten shows over there. We were travelling over one thousand kilometres every f**king day, and playing places where some people have never heard anything like us before. So some of the shows were kind of weird, because some of these people don’t even dress like metal guys you know. I don’t have anything against the way they dress, but it was definitely something different for us. But they like the music and the energy that comes from a band like us. They don’t put us in any particular genre, and we didn’t attract just a death metal audience. They were there simply because they like metal. I don’t really know how to explain that tour, but it was a great feeling. They really appreciated us playing for them, because they’re not spoilt for choice. And they certainly weren’t a bored crowd. They really seemed to get into the music, and gave off some really good energy.”

The band certainly has a busy schedule ahead of themselves, with the month long North America ‘25 Years Of Destruction’ tour alongside Destruction and Mantic Ritual.

“We’re looking forward to that. The US is always a good place for us to play. We’ve been over there before, and this time we’re going out with Destruction, who are a great thrash metal band. We’ll also be returning back to there in September with Obituary, Goatwhore, The Bezerker and Warbringer. So we’re looking forward to that tour as well. Touring the US is really good, because it’s a really big country, and we can play like thirty-five shows in a row, and that’s just in the one country! (Laughs) It’s very different from the rest of the world.”

But if there’s one tour that the band are really looking forward to, it’s their first visit to Australia - locked in for April.

“We’re really happy to be coming to Australia for the first time ever! We have always dreamed of going down there one day, and after so many years, it is finally happening. I know the population is not big, but we know that Australia has a solid metal scene. I know some bands that have toured down there, and they’ve played to some big crowds, and some played to some small crowds. So I guess it depends on what your band represents. This is our first time down there, so we’re not expecting too many people at the shows, but I am expecting some older diehard fans there, you know. And we’ll also try and introduce our music to those who have never heard about us before. It’s not a really long show, because the kind of music we play means that after an hour, it can get a bit boring! (Laughs) We’re going to give our best, and try and make the shows full of energy, and hope that the sound is really good. So I hope that people will really enjoy it. For us, this trip is really special. Australia is very much like Brazil. It’s something special, because it’s a country that few bands get to play all the time. It’s so far away, and it’s expensive to get there. So for us, we’re really f**king happy to get the chance to play down there, because every year we get to play in Europe, North America and South America. But now we’ve been given the chance to go outside this circle. When there’s something new, it inspires us and gives us that much more motivation. I think this tour of Australia will be quite motivating for us, even if the shows are going to be quite small. But we don’t care. We’re just going to give one hundred percent at every show, give our best, and try to have a really good time while we’re in Australia.”

I would like to thank Moyses Kolesne for his generous time, and Jason Martin at Bleed Records for making the interview possible.

Australian and New Zealand tour dates

April 15 - Rosies, BRISBANE - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Defamer, Violent Green
April 16 - Brannigan’s Tavern, GOLD COAST - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Meatgrinder
April 17 - Manning Bar, SYDNEY (Licensed/All Ages) - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Cemetary Urn, Killrazor, Anno Domini
April 18 - Ding Dong Lounge, MELBOURNE - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Cemetary Urn
April 21 - Brisbane Hotel, HOBART - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Separatist, Zero Dregrees Freedom
April 22 - Live on Light Square, ADELAIDE (Licensed/All Ages) - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Tzun Tzu, Closed Casket
April 24 - Al’s Bar, CHRISTCHURCH w/ Dawn of Azazel, Tainted, Zerstiren, Flesh Gates
April 25 - Transmission Room, AUCKLAND (Licensed/All Ages) - w/ Dawn of Azazel, Metal Tower, Carnal, Anabyss

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