Interview: Maja Trstenjak
Fanthrash is coming from Poland and play thrash metal. The band is formed and 1986 when after a while it stoped the activity and re-started in 2007. For Venia-Mag we had the joy to talk to guitar player Greg not only about Fanthrash but also the scene in Poland that is, you’d agree, so similiar to our in Croatia. Pay your attention!
VENIA: Please introduce your band to our readers.
GREG: Greetings to all the Metal Maniacs inCroatia. My name is Greg. I’m a guitarist and the author of the texts in a Polish band FANTRASH. The band consists of the following other members: Mary (bass), Less (vocals), Pilate (lead guitar) and Radd (drums). The band was formed in the old days when communism still was hanging over our land, in 1986 to be exact. After a few years of activity and a few demo types, the band suspended its activity for a short while, and this “short while” lasted until 2007. Then the band started playing music again, playing concerts and preparing material for a new disc.
VENIA: Describe your album „Duality Of Things“.
GREG: This is a hard question, ha ha ha. If I were to describe in detail our beloved child, the album „Duality of Things”, it would take the whole interview and bore your readers to death. But let me try. The album “Duality of Things” is our true debut, the first LP in our recording history. There is new material here, new compositions created after the band came back together in 2007. There is only one old piece from the 80s, the age so wonderful for metal music: Aggressor. It was written around 1886 or 87 and was newly arranged for this album. For the sake of order, let’s have a look at the tack list of the disc “Duality of Things”:
FANTHRASH – „DUALITY OF THINGS“ LP / 2011
02. Allocation Of The Soul
05. Duality Of Things
06. Under The Open Sky
07. Trauma Despotic
08. Green Tattoo
09. Lizard Skeleton
10. Toxic Mind
12. Rita From The Hills
I wouldn’t like to describe the music itself and individual pieces. You just need to listen to them many times in order to make your own oppinion about our work. Let the music do the talking. I can only add that we did the graphics for the LP ourselves, me and our all-round talent, the vocalist Less.
VENIA: How did the recording process go?
GREG: We recorded the LP in TZAR STUDIO which belongs to our friend Czarek Socha, who is also a co-producer of the album “Duality of Things”. We worked on the recording of tracks for the LP for most of the 2010. The whole process was stretched in time because during the recording session we were still making changes to the arrangement of the pieces, to their constructions, and two songs, “Allocation of the Soul“ and “Green Tattoo“, were composed during this time. We were not in a hurry. We wanted to express our vision of the trash metal music at the beginning of the 21st century. We knew that this album would be our visiting card, the reference point for all our works. We knew that “DoT” had to be the best: the pieces, the texts, the sound. The minutest details had to be perfected and I hope we made it. We realized that in the end we had to prove nothing to anyone and the only thing to do was to record the best possible disc and then the music would defend itself. We did not want to take shortcuts while working on “DoT” also when it comes to the sound, and therefore we decided to entrust Jocke Skog of FEAR AND LOATHING STUDIOS inSweden with the mixing and the mastering of the LP. After all, he worked for such famous bands as Meshuggah and is himself a keyboard player of the band Clawfinger.
VENIA: Which is your favourite song from this album and why?
GREG: You asked me a really hard question to which there is no good answer (ha ha ha). You normally love all your children. But OK, let me try. My favorites on „DoT” changed not only during the recording session but also afterwards, when the LP had already been published. At the moment, the title track of the LP, i.e. “Duality of Things”, is the closest to my heart. I think that this composition best reflects the current spirit of our band and is kind of a signpost for all our present productions. Two songs, “Under the Open Sky“ and “Rita From the Hills“, are also very close to my heart, but in the end, each piece is very important to me, both from the point of view of music as well as my texts. And there is no way of not mentioning here the fully original composition of our guitarist Wojtek Pilat (Pilate), “Lizard Skeleton”, the only instrumental piece of the LP.
VENIA: How does typical Fanthrash song comes to life?
GREG: There is nothing like a typical song of FANTRASH. We try not to put any restrictions on ourselves at the stage of creating music. Each of the musicians contributes his or her favourite sounds, fascinations and musical inspirations. As for me – since I cannot speak on behalf of the others – I usually start from basic riffs on which the skeleton of the composition is created. Subsequently, I begin to slowly build the whole composition around this construction, taking care along the way to maintain the unity and climate of the piece which constitutes the very essence of the creative process for me. The climate in the song is its soul. At the same time the text is written. But there are cases when the text comes first and only later the music is composed. Everything depends on the inspiration and the creative impulse and not on the obligation to work in a particular order.
VENIA: What inspires you? Which bands would you consider as the most influental on your work?
GREG: You ask what it is that inspires us. And the answer is everything: life and art. Music of almost every genre inspires us, just as the reality that surrounds us, good and bad events alike stamp their mark on our texts…
As for musical inspiration, well, each of the musicians would have to give a list of bands that he listens to and of their favorite LPs, and then we would bore your readers to death. We have very different musical tastes in the band: from jazz and progressive music that fascinates our guitarist Wojtek Pilat (Pilate) and bands such as Dream Theatre to all of thrash metal, from the old school of the 1980s, such as Slayer, Destruction, Exodus, Testament, Overkill and Metallica, through Voivod, Mekong Delta, Death, Atheist, Sadus and Cynic, to such contemporary bands as Lamb Of God, Mastodon or Meshuggah that I already mentioned earlier. We are also interested in death metal scene and such bands as Immolation or Asphyx, and also new deathcore and groove bands such as Protest The Hero or Born of Osiris. All of these bands – and a good number of others too, which can be very far from metal music – influenced our productions, and I believe it should be this way. Music should be created without any limitations as TOOL showed it some years ago with their visionary and timeless LP “Ænima“.
VENIA: You were founded back in 1986. What changed from the time you started until today?
GREG: Well, what has changed? Everything has changed and nothing at all. The system has changed inPoland and now we have the longed-for democracy and free market. We have access to all the goods and have become humble consumers held hostage by huge international corporations. Everything should be great and wonderful but it is not so. The human being has been lost somewhere in the process.
Thanks to the access to information, thanks to the Internet, the world has been flooded with media rubbish. Of course, all modern technologies are just cool but not everyone knows how to use them wisely. Unfortunately, more and more often we stop being simply human and become passive consumers.
As far as music and video are concerned, technology has reached a level that had not been dreamed about before. But with all these, the artist will always remain the most important factor, the sweat on stage and the rage of the public that wants more. It should be this way and I hope that all these emotions will never be replaced by the virtual world.
VENIA: What do you think about the metal scene in Poland?
GREG: I think that Polish metal scene is fine and is well represented on the international stage by such bands as Behemoth, Vader, Decapitated or Hate. There are plenty of really great bands that perform at a very high level. And the public inPoland is fantastic, dedicated to music, in a big part crazy about metal maniacs. What is missing here are the money, big booking companies and concert agents who would be interested in new, promising bands. In a word, there are plenty of great musicians and wonderful public. What is missing is the so called “music market” where big money is invested and where there is interest in new bands and the organization of concerts. It is the result of the fact that we are a relatively poor society. The whole thing would work much better if a metal fan did not have to choose whether to buy a ticket for a concert or pay his or her bills. The Polish metal scene as a whole does not fare too badly only because there are so many passionate people who work selflessly promoting and supporting it as best as they can.
VENIA: What does it take for a metal band to breakthrough in Poland?
GREG: Apart from good music – which is obvious – there is the need for sponsors, musical promoters and booking agencies, something that I already spoke about earlier. Unfortunately, there are very few of these companies here inPoland, and more often than not, they are interested in promoting the already established artists. It frequently happens that bands are locally active and popular but find it difficult to enter the national stage, let alone get international exposure. Lack of money stands behind it all, the money that should be invested in the metal scene. But there is also a lack of professionals who would take their duties seriously and treat the musicians as artists and creators and not like a band of longhaired degenerates. In short, metal scene consists of musicians, concerts and fans, a great potential indeed that with proper organization could bring a lot of money and satisfaction to everyone involved in this business. Unfortunately, ever more often I am forced to conclude that nobody really cares about it inPoland. And so, apart from a few exceptions, Polish bands do not make it to the international scene.
VENIA: What is the future of Fanthrash?
GREG: There is only a bright future ahead of us (ha ha ha). We must succeed. I don’t allow other thoughts. For the time being we are calmly fulfilling our plan. We published the album inWestern Europe with the British company Rising Records. There will be a new edition of “Duality of Things” for the Polish market later this year. We begin our first tour across the country in spring, thirteen concerts in all. We have started working on a new LP that we plan to record next year, something that should happen in the spring of 2013. In a word, we move forward, and the future belongs to us.
VENIA: In the end, write your message to Venia-Mag readers.
GREG: I would like to greet all the readers of Venia-Mag and all the fans of metal in the beautifulCroatia. Buy and listen to our LP “Duality of Things”, check our website and MySpace where you can find all the news related to our band. We dream of playing one day for all the maniacs inCroatia. Perhaps a promoter willing to invite FANTRASH to tourCroatia will be found.
Regardless where we live, let us support one another, the whole metal scene, underground and the artists, because without them the world would be a sadder place.