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Интервью с Embalming Theatre,

Steve (bass/vocals)

Let me proudly introduce on the pages of Brutal Carnage web-zine — our guest is Steve from cult grind band EMBALMING THEATRE...

Hi there, Steve. Tell us your full name, age, social and marital statuses and your credit card number.


Hi, Papa Vader. This is Steve (the bassist of E.T.) answering your questions instead of Dave. E.T. consists of Dave K. (age 34), Marco G. (age 36), Heinz I. and Rene T. (both 32) und Steve K. (age 35). Both Dave and Marco are teachers, Heinz repairs and paints the coachwork of cars, Rene is an electrician and I’m working at the social insurance office. Only Dave is married, the other three have relationships and I myself am single. Our credit card numbers are… erm… wait! What exactly would you need those for? We don’t want them to be used for dirty porn stuff! Not if we don’t get anything out of it!

What instrument do you play and for how long have you been a part of EMBALMING THEATRE?


Dave and Rene are our guitareros, Marco is doing the vocals, Heinz works the drums and I’m on bass and backing vocals. E.T. formed in late 1999 / early 2000: at first, it was tought to be no more than a side project of the Deathmetal-band AETERNUM, where we all played already with exception of Marco. But he was with E.T. from the start. We had more success with E.T. than with AETERNUM (I guess that’s due mostly to our first release, the split-7” with AGATHOCLES), so we stuck to the Grindcore. The Line-up is still the same as in the beginning.

There are a lot of blank spots in the history of the band that I know — now's a good time to reveal at least some of them! Tell us brief history of Embalming Theatre.


I met Dave in... erm, I believe it was 1993, at a Deathmetal event in Zurich. We changed adresses and kept in contact (mostly tapetrading). The band SARCASTIC EXISTENCE (Death/Thrash), where I was playing at the time, had just split up, so I was looking for something new. I also had contact to a drummer (Thomas H.) who was looking for playing in a band, too, so Dave, Thomas and I decided to found the Grindcore band MAGGOTS. We released a demotape in 1995 and had a live gig in December 1995, after which Thomas left the band. A farewell tape with rehearsals and that one and only live gig followed in 1996.

Dave then asked me to join his already existing band AETERNUM. They released a demotape in 1994, with Marco G. on the vocals, but he had already some other projects going (DAMNATORY, SABAISM), so I was engaged as full-time singer. Those were quite unsteady times, we had a lot of changes in the line-up, until we found Rene for guitars and then Heinz for drums (on the released AETERNUM-CD/LP in 1999 there was still Chris on drums, soon after that he left the band and was replaced by Heinz; we did some more songs which – unfortunately – were never released).


Least, in the early 2000 Dave and I wrote about 16 songs we recorded and mixed around Eastern (between 21st and 29th of April), all on our own. The songs for the split EP with AGATHOCLES originate from this recording. We released this 7” in August 2000 on our own label (Paranoia Syndrome), and it was more of a success than we dared to hope for. We were asked for material to use on other splits, and – of course – gave the stuff willingly. Dave and I wrote some more songs the coming year, recorded them in April 2002 (again about Eastern, I think). More split-7” were acoming, and finally, we were asked by the American label Razorback records, if we’re interested in releasing a full-length CD. Hell, of course we were! And I guess it was that CD that made us well (or at least a bit more) known throughout the world. Thanks again to Razorback! Well, we put out a lot of stuff in the nine years of our existence, I myself completely lost track of all the releases!


Something different are our live performances. At first, we didn’t want to make any gigs (remember, E.T. was thought of no more than a sideproject of AETERNUM), but in summer 2002 we had the opportunity to play at the MOUNTAINS OF DEATH-Festival in Switzerland, so we took it. After that, we were asked from time to time again to play at gigs, and… well, we couldn’t resist, of course. Eventually, this was Bye-Bye to AETERNUM. It was in November 2003 at a gig at the Dynamo in Zurich where Rene and me wore some Hawaiian shirts, just out of fun. Dave told us he would’ve worn one too, if he had known what we had planned. So this was the start of stage outfits becoming weirder and weirder, hehe. See kids, it can all start with plain Hawaiian shirts. If you start wearing them, you’re soon one case for the looney bin.

Why is your band such a rare guest at UG zines' pages? Or have I just missed a lot of them?

 

Well, that I don’t know. We did some interviews at the start of our “career” (ahem). Maybe most zines are quite content with just reviewing our releases and don’t want anything to do with us nutcases, hehe. Or maybe we’re just boring old farts. I really don’t know.

Why do the band members prefer to hide their real names, and instead of your pictures in the booklets you have some stuff like pigs, midgets, kids and photo models? Do you identify yourself as these guys in context of your work?


Hm, this was kind of a gag from our beginning days. Kind of like BRUJERIA (yes, YES, we stole that idea from another band!) we didn’t want to reveal our real identities. Seemed to make the E.T.-project a lot more interesting, giving people no knowledge about us. And still, we wanted to add some fun factor to it, so we watched out for special pictures for our releases. Of course, after doing some interviews and with the live gigs, it lost a bit of its meaning. Still, we stick to it, because… well, that’s EMBALMING THEATRE. Just a weird sense of humour, just for the fun of it. Oh, and I can only repeat this: I especially like that picture with the 5 E.T.-Puppets sitting grouped in the grass we used for the 4-way-split with Jigsore, DYSMORFYC and KADAVERFICKER.

What's the secret of your high activity as a band? Your discography really adds new stuff well. I am sure you've recorded a couple of new EP's while I am asking these questions)))


Hehe, we don’t take no prisoners in writing songs. When we’re planning to bring out new material, Dave, Rene and I just come together and start “composing” – which means, everyone has an idea for a riff or a song comes up with it, and it’s done. Since all of our songs consists of no more than two or three riffs, it’s not much of work. In the meantime, some of our newer songs might sound familiar like some of the older stuff we did. Mostly, we discover that when the writing down of the song is already done and then think: Oh, well… shit, again. But, of course, we always try to bring some variations in our songs too, by bringing in untypical genre elements (like the clapping in “Suffocation in the sandbox”, or the accordion in “Combine with the turbine”, or “The Bulldozer Blues”, etc.). But this year, we’ve been concentrating more or less on gigs and didn’t write a lot of songs. We accomplished the recordings of the drums for some new songs, but haven’t recorded the rest yet. The new stuff should be finished in early 2009.

Why do you record tons of EP's and stuff instead of longplays? Man, don't get me wrong, I am talking as an Embalming Theatre fan here, all this stuff is really hard to get ahold of. Don't you feel sorry for your fans?


Hell, yeah, I understand you well enough. I myself lost track of all the releases. But I guess at starters we threw a very jealous eye on the list of releases of one of our idol bands, AGATHOCLES, and we decided there and then, to put out as much stuff as possible. I have been a vinyl collector for a long time, and I guess, it’s gotta do something with hunting instincts. This almost holy excitement, when you’re finding a 7” or LP you’ve been looking for over and over… That’s kind of cool, only sometimes the seller is asking to high a price, and that can be really frustrating. I quit collecting some time ago, but a friend told me lately that what you have to pay for some stuff is just… well, way beyond good and evil.


For all those who missed out on most of our 7”es (or are not in the luck to possess a turn-table), there’s the “Jane saw me” CD which collects our complete work released on split EPs and compilations. When we were asked to do it by Power It Up Records in the first time, we were a bit hesitating, because we didn’t want to rip off the hardcore fans and collectors, but looking at it right now, I guess it wasn’t a bad choice. It’s got all the essentials on it, a fine booklet with all the covers (mostly both sides!) and the lyrics and dates and stuff, and every band pic we used. And it got 56 songs on it!

Of course it’s not the same as owning all the 7”es, I know that, but still – it’s sort of a compensation. There are more reasons, like the beautiful artwork you can deliver with a 7”, or that they are smooth and nice, etc., plus you can get 2 bands on a single EP… Oh my, this is kind of an irritating question. I myself really do like the 7”-format, but I also can understand fans that feel frustrated by bands that put out tons of stuff you might never hear about.

Steve, have you ever had a though that some of your split partners weren't really worth it? And were trying to just get their band heard using the respect Embalming Theatre has? Speaking of that, one of the later splits, with HACKSAW SURGERY – I had an impression those guys weren't really informed on how to use their instruments.


The split 7”es with AGATHOCLES and UNHOLY GRAVE were the only ones we released on our own. For every other release we were asked by labels or bands who produced it then. And, hell, we used AGATHOCLES ourselves, hehe! Before that first 7” no one had ever heard of E.T. So I guess we can’t blame anyone to use OUR name for their own support. And anyway, why not? This is underground, and we’re all in the same boat, kind of musical outcasts. We’re definitely not claiming to be a fucking famous band, we’re just ordinary guys playing the music they like. We have a lot of fun doing it, why should we tell others not to do the same?

I like your inclination for doing covers on old (many cases — split up) bands' songs. Is that the stuff you have been listening to while young and unspoiled?

 

Oh yes! There have been a lot of good bands, groovy and fast, and I’m lucky to own some of the very essential work of bands like G-ANX, FILTHY CHRISTIANS, S.O.B., INFEST, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, ELECTRO HIPPIES, CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, etc. There are too much to name them all, but they influenced my way of life and my attitude to music. I’m always getting a little bit nostalgic (and melancholic, thinking about these lost days) by listening to their stuff.

You get your inspirations for lyrics writing from criminal news headlines. What is that: just black humor or a dry statement of a fact that we are all going to get raped and killed or something? Reading Embalming Theatre lyrics, one would hardly doubt in that our world is a madhouse, in which our neighbors are sick gut-eating psychos. What are your thoughts about this, bro?

It’s mainly Marco who writes the lyrics, but you’re right: this is dry black humour and sarcasm mixed. A lot of people in the industrial world live in a sane and healthy environment – or at least that’s what most of them believe. But mankind always proves again that there’s a darker side to the human mind: may it be serial killers or the mere fascination about the existence of these “monsters”, or just the little things of every day’s business, the sadist and pervert that lives in all of us (in some cases well hidden or suppressed), or even just plain stupidity.

You open your eyes to this darker nature of man, you might be scared shitless, but it has been like this through all the ages. Murder, cannibalism, perversion, it lies within us all, and it’s not uncommon with animals, too (though we humans do have morals and ethics, don’t we?). This might sound dark and morbid and pessimistic. But you can also learn to appreciate life, because there’s beauty even in small things. Enjoy the moments when the sun shines on your face. After all, we’re just dust particles in the passing of time.

Your website should really be an example to other bands. Who helps you maintain and update it?

 

Uh, Peter Jaeger from Witchhunt Records / Trauma Shop helped us out making it, he’s got quite some experience doing websites. Dave is maintaining it.

OK, now lets move to another topic... What do members of EMBALMING THEATRE normally do? Do you get enough of contact inside of the band or do you arrange collaborative drinking bouts time to time or something else (eg picnics, he-he)?


Professions have already been mentioned far above (see first question). We don’t do much of stuff together – rehearsing and gigs are normally enough, hehe. I sometimes go to cinema or partys with Rene, but that’s about it. All of us like wandering in the mountains, but we haven’t done a trip together yet. Oh, and we were talking about a trip to London (at least Dave, Rene and me together), and doing a visit to a beer brewery, but haven’t done it yet.

Me, in my spare time, I’m wandering a lot, and since something more than a year, started climbing too. Also, since this year, I’m guiding people through the Hoelloch (which means hellhole) cave in Muotathal, Switzerland, and began doing some caving. We all like reading, mostly thrillers and horror. Rene started mountain biking this year, and Heinz is also quite sportive. I don’t know much about the spare time activities of Dave and Marco.

Switzerland is one of the most both economically and politically stable countries in the world that I could think of. So how's life there? How much is social security important for a sick goregrind maniac?

 

Life’s really good here. I’m not much interested in the political stuff, but over the last years, political campaigns have gotten a bit more aggressive, and there are – of course – the common complainers who always find something to nag about. Suckers, that don’t understand we live in a rich, beautiful country. I’m absolutely happy with most of the things we have.

How are brutal gigs carried out in Switzerland? Are you ever getting permissions to play in town on do you have to climb the mountains each time? How many people usually come?


Hehe, mostly in some old buildings or pubs, but there are also a few specialised locations like the Z7 in Pratteln or the Transylvania in Erstfeld. And also a few festivals, like Mountains Of Death or Meh Suff. We play mostly in towns. The average Grind/Death/Metal gig in Switzerland has a visitors’ rate of about 100 – 200 people, sometimes less, sometimes more. It depends on the location and where in Switzerland it’s seated.

I am dead sure you play live a lot. Where have you met the best audience so far? Where do the sickest of you fans live? And whom do you normally share the stage to?


Well, we don’t have too much live gigs, I think it’s somewhere between 5 – 10 each year. The question about the best audience isn’t answered so easy – hm, I think, one of the best gigs was in Strasbourg, at the Soul Grinding Festival. And the one in December, where we played with Gronibard, in Bern. Most of the time, the bands we play together on gigs are Swiss too, French or German.

How real would be EMBALMING THEATRE playing in Russia? Have you ever gotten any invites yet? What would be your terms?


We haven’t got any invitations yet, so Russia wasn’t an option up to now. I guess we would take the chance to come up there if somebody would be willing to pay for the flight and maybe some hotel rooms, and – of course – if it wouldn’t be just for one gig but a few during one or two weeks.

Whom from the grind scene could you surely voice your respect to?

 

A lot of bands, but mostly of course the older ones, like CARCASS, REPULSION, TERRORIZER, NAPALM DEATH, AGATHOCLES also some Hardcore- and Crustcore-Bands like S.O.B., CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, FILTHY CHRISTIANS, DOOM, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, ELECTRO HIPPIES, INFEST, etc. etc.


What type of music do you listen to at home or in car? Could you tell us your top 10?

 

Not the kind of music I’m playing, not anymore (or at least not as often as back in my youth). I just developed a taste for Sheryl Crow, for example. But there’s still often some Metal between the stuff I’m listening to. Some of my favorites are: NEUROSIS, AT THE GATES, THE DUSKFALL, SHERYL CROW, KENT (Sweden), BOLT THROWER, G-ANX, ASSUCK.

What releases of EMBALMING THEATRE are you especially proud of?

 

The split-7” with AGATHOCLES, of course! And the Sweet Chainsaw Melodies CD/LP, which is kind of my favorite of our own stuff.

Steve, serial killers kill people, sluts fuck their brains out, junkies run stuff down their veins — but what kind of fun are you into? What will you be recalling, with a blissful smile, while being an 80 year old senile gentleman?

Having played in a funny and weird Grindcore-band, hehe. And of course all the crazy stuff we’ve done while still young like hitch-hiking in the nude, running naked through the snow, drinking ourselves into almost comatose states, and, of course, all the more recently stuff like wandering, climbing and caving.

Traditional question — what are your plans for the rest of 2008 and start of 2009? What should your fans expect from EMBALMING THEATRE – are you going to be playing live a lot or release another dozen or so of EPs? ;)

 

Because I’m behind with answering the interview and it is already 2009: We plan to record a split-CD with Exculceration (also Swiss Grinders) and maybe some more 7”es. We’re just about to finish the recordings of the drums for those songs and will then go to the studio to record the rest of the music and the vocals. And, of course, there will be some more gigs too. We will be planning a little Eastern tour which might take us either to Holland or Italy, we don’t know for sure yet. And, of course, some gigs that aren’t set yet.


A few special words for your Russian fans, Steve.

 

Well, folks, keep on grinding and thanks for taking the time to read this interview and your interest in EMBALMING THEATRE!

Thank you for that time you spent answering questions for BRUTAL CARNAGE web-zine. Good luck brother !!

 

Thank you for the interview, man, and sorry for the delay – it was definitely fun answering the cool questions! Keep up the good work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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