Exorcizphobia is yet another tasty fruit of the ever plentiful Czech metal tree. Their latest full length album came out in the final days of 2020 and if there was ever a perfect way to get into the, hopefully, much better 2021 it is with “Digitotality”. The interview below should serve as a perfect introduction into what is likely the blueprint of what thrash metal crossover should sound like in the new decade.
Hello Tomáš and welcome to Abaddon Magazine! To avoid the question about the band history, line-up changes and such boring stuff, here’s one to break the ice. Your favorite brand of Czech beer?
Hi Miloš! What an opening question! Easy choice for me. Krakonoš! Our local brew produced here in Trutnov since 1582. Distinctively bitter, strong and cheap. What a combo, right? It’s a non-pasteurized beer, so people who are not used to drink Krakonoš regularly say that they had some struggles on the toilet day after consumption. Losers…
But it’s all good when you are born and raised here as we are. You don’t have to drink anything else then. Damn, as I’m talking about it, I feel like having a cold one from the draft right now…
Being the only original member of the band that remains, can you elaborate on the band name? Not the two words you usually see combined. Is there a deeper story behind it? What is it meant to represent?
We used to be called Deathmarch right on the start, but we wanted to think up something more original. Jan, former bass player came out with Exorcizphobia and we liked it. I remember there was some hidden meaning, but it was pretty complicated and especially really annoying, still trying to explain it to everybody. So it’s just a name. Just a weird name nobody other has. It’s a pretty solid tongue twister as well, haha.
Now, not having heard the previous records by Exorcizphobia, can you comment on the early releases and how do they differ from the latest album? Has the band grown musically over time into the beast it is today? Or is what we can hear on “Digitotality” an expression you used from the very beginning of the band?
Well, let’s say that attitude of expression is there pretty much from the beginning, but current level of quality definitely not. When the band was founded, we were all about 16 years old. So we had to work on our musicianship and gain a lot of experience to get it where it is now. Musically there was an era when we used to sound more like “party crossover thrash act”. I think we are turning more dark and serious way currently.
Speaking of the new album, I find it to be a modern take on the old school thrashing crossover. What I mean is that it possesses an explosion of fresh energy on the tried and tested, old ground. Was that the initial idea when you started composing the record? To show how the genre can grow into the new century without repeating the same ideas over and over again.
I’m pleased that you feel it this way! When I’m starting to work on a new material, my initial approach is every time the same. Come out with a good and interesting songs, nothing more or less than that. But we are trying to do it all a bit different. I mean that we don’t want to sound like everything else. But you can definitely hear a touch of the bands which influenced us. I don’t think it’s possible to avoid that and personally I don’t see anything bad on that.
When I’m working on the songs for an album, I’m trying to bring on some concept idea, something that holds entire thing together. “Digitotality” is also like that. It’s possible to say it’s a concept album.
My best guess as to how you sound would be to imagine Destruction playing Exodus tribute with Joe Belladonna on vocals. Would you care to comment on such a statement?
Haha, that’s really original and funny description. I always wonder how some people describing my voice. Sometimes they mention the singers who I’m not influenced by. Interesting…
Frankly, I don’t think about it so much. My vocal is just how I feel it. I’m simply trying gut it out straight from the heart…
Somehow, I find your sound similar to your countrymen Radiolokátor, besides the obvious old thrash influences. I guess you know of the band. Are they still alive? Are there any other bands in Czech Republic running along the similar lines?
Maybe they had recorded at Davos studio as well, that could be the reason. I’m not sure about that, but it’s definitely possible. Of course we know each other. Radiolokátor is not active currently i guess. It’s a side project of the members of Lahar and Gride with Honza Kapák (Avenger, Master’s Hammer and many more). All of them are not just amazing and active musicians, but also really cool and swell guys. Top notch of the Czech underground scene…
As for a Czech thrash scene… I think it’s great actually! We have a couple of bigger acts like Debustrol or Malignant Tumour (they are more like crust ’n’ roll, but definitely with thrashy touches, I’m sure you know them, what a band!), thrashcore titans such as Lahar, Stolen Lives or Braindead. I would like to suggest you the Beast Within The Sound from the Prague. It’s more modern, groove/ thrash but it’s brilliant.
In “our category” I have to mention Laid To Waste, Kaar, Murder Inc., Bajonet or 1000Bombs. There is also couple of young, ravenous and very promising bands like Faüst, Refore, Deadkillers and Comander. Hope I didn’t forget on someone…
If you haven’t heard them yet, check them all out, it’s definitely worth it!
I cannot but imagine a massive onslaught in the audience while you are on stage. Now, the new album will take some time until it is properly presented live. Do you expect the same from the concerts to follow? How did the audience react to your previous records when they were presented live? As you are no newcomers to the scene, do you already have a loyal following, at least on the home ground?
Crazy and wild crowd is the best one, that’s how we like it, no surprise there. We had the chance to play a couple of the new songs live last year already and people seemed to enjoy them. Now, when the album is out and people going to be more familiar with the new stuff, i expect them to enjoy it even more. I dare to say that at least here in Czechia we have a quite comfortable position. People know about us and we have a really cool, solid and supportive audience usually.
Following up the previous question, since your lyrics are raising some serious questions, do you expect your audience to think them through instead of simply banging their heads? Do you think offering solutions to problems expressed in your lyrics is just as important (if not even more) as pointing out the problems themselves?
Honestly, I don’t wish anything else than do some people happy with our music, share the passion, energy and feel the unity on the live shows with them. If they feel the connection with a lyrical content of the songs, it’s just a big pleasant bonus. The process of music composing is something that i enjoy the most, something that gives my life a deeper sense and it’s also some sort of self-cleaning process, some sort of therapy for me. So lyrically I’m just trying to be honest to myself and put in the messages about things that fucks me up, about the way I observe and feel environment and my life on this planet as a human being in general.
Do you get a feeling you are “preaching to the choir” when you are yelling your lyrics to the mostly likeminded crowds? Is there a way for a band, not just Exorcizphobia, to spread the message further, to those who might not find it obvious without external pointers?
As I’m saying above… That’s not what I’m looking for. I really don’t want to preach anything or saying people what they should think, what is right or what is wrong. There is a more than too much blokes like that nowadays. All those self-appointed specialists and moralists… They know the best how it all should be. What is true and what is lie. What is right to do and what is not. Those who think they are much better and clever than others and have a right or some commission to educate others, indoctrinate them with their own mental constructs and opinions. Fuck all of that bullshit. Just let the people live their lives…
When I’m playing the song and singing the lyrics, I feel the message resonates inside of me, that’s how it works for me. When people feel this genuine vibe out of performance, it’s just perfect.
I’ll be happy when my lyrics help the people to be more open-minded and more respectful against each other. Help to realize that this whole life experience is a really interesting and mysterious journey. That’s pretty much it…
You also address the issues of today’s digital era in your lyrics. In your opinion, is the “Digitotality” the real issue, or does it stem from people actually abusing the technology they have been given? Does technology have the ability to actually make our lives easier if we were to use it correctly?
I think so… Digital totality is an actual thing. Look at China. It seems that the regime they developed is slowly becoming worldwide… Look, I’m not some “conspiracy theorist with a tin foil hat on the head”, basically what scares me most is a voluntary give up of rights and freedom in general.
I also have nothing against modern technologies, I think it’s all part of understandable and natural process of evolution. But I’m seeing the problem in fact, that technical progress should rise up equally with the spiritual one. And our civilization is based on ignorance and denial of spiritual part of our existence. Spirituality is basically vulgar word for us. And please don’t get me wrong… When I’m talking about spirituality, it has nothing in common with a churches or religions etc., quite the reverse. I consider that this institutionalization of faith in something that transcend the human being is one of the biggest historical deceptions and perfect way how to manipulate the masses and instigate the people against each other.
Well, fuck it… It would be for a long talk so I’m gonna leave it like that, haha…
Back to music and “Digitotality”. There is one track that I need to address specifically. Of course, the instrumental “Oumuamua”. Where did it come from? How did it come into being? As the title does not explain much, can you elaborate on the thoughts behind it?
Good question and opportunity to explain that finally! I noticed that few people were pretty confused by this title and they have been thinking about what it means. My favorite guess is that “Oumuamua” is the sound which comes out of me after consumption of the Jack Daniel’s bottle… Nope… Well, maybe it happened and I just don’t remember that. That’s quite possible, haha…
“Oumuamua” is the first known interstellar object detected passing through our solar system. It was the thing back then in 2017. It was observed by some hawaii Observatory for the first time, so they named it Oumuamua. It allegedly means something like “ first herald from the stars“ in hawaiian. Even some mainstream scientists claimed, there is a big possibility that it’s been an extraterrestrial spacecraft. The object has really unusual shape. Well, it bassically looks like
gigantic piece of shit, so it’s more a spaceshit than a spaceship, haha.
No, seriously… Something like “Rendezvous with Rama” by A.C. Clarke, do you know that book?
Scientist commune put out some results of the research and it eliminated this ET craft option. But still… Pretty obscure, right?
The album is handled by a couple of record labels. Would you please present them and the different formats on which “Digitotality” will appear? How important is it for a band nowadays to have a physical release?
“Digitotality” was already released by superb Czech label Support Underground (www.supug.cz) as a CD Digipack. Vinyls were supposed to be done already as well, but some troubles in production happened, so we are still waiting for them… We are sorry for that guys, hope you understand.
And the third form of release is a really special one for us… Mighty Japanese label Spiritual Beast (www.http://spiritual-beast.com/) expressed the interest about our album and I gotta say we are truly excited about that! It means a lot for us to be released in Japan and be officially distributed over East Asia! It’s like a dreams come true, indeed…
Japanese version of “Digitotality” includes three bonus tracks, has a slightly different cover and will be out on February 17th as a Jewel Box CD.
While on the subject, do you follow printed metal media? Has the metal media, be it in physical or digital form, lost its importance these days? I mean, why read a review on some website or spend money on a fanzine when one can easily find music online and make up one’s own mind?
Of course I do! It feels so much better to possess and read printed magazine than digital one. It’s like a difference between streaming the album online and listening the vinyl. I’m definitely old-fashioned in that. I mean, digital formats are just fine and they have a lot of advantages. You can spread the shit out faster, it’s all reachable easily and so on. But something is missing… Physical release is a complete piece of art and it’s the same with magazines. Especially fanzines, where you can feel that somebody put a part of him into it.
Awesome thing about underground scene is unbelievably genuine fandom. All those collectors
and supportive people… It’s something that couldn’t be destroyed so easily, because there is a lot of dedication, true passion and love about it. That’s why I believe that physical forms of media will be always there, at least at the underground level.
First plans when we can breathe the free air again? After the pandemic. Schedule a tour or simply have some uninhibited beers in your favorite pub with a bunch of friends?
It’s really hard to tell anything particular right now. You can plan whatever you want, but there is no certainty. We want to play and tour as soon as it’s going to be possible, that’s clear. Only plan that is sure this year is the realization of split album with our brothers of Heresy from Costa Rica! Things are moving pretty fast and I’m looking forward to this cooperation and I have no doubts that result is going to be rad!
Now’s the time for you to blow your own horn. Invite people to buy your records and merchandize, call for safety regulations due to pandemic, say hello to your friends and family, hand out recipes for your favorite vegan meal, put a personal add looking for a wife, or whatever else comes to your mind. Last words are yours! Thank you for the interview!
Yeah, well guys, thanks to all of you for support! We are delighted by the way how you accepted our new album! In these weird times, when we don’t have a chance to be in a real touch, every message and feedback means a lot for us, so don’t hesitate to contact us!
If you haven’t heard “Digitotality” yet, do it so here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjUK8y8HPf0
If you want to support us and buy some of our stuff, contact us on our Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/EXORCIZPHOBIA/ or on the email firstname.lastname@example.org .
We will have some cool merchandise out soon so stay tuned!
You can also contact our labels if you are interested about the CD or Vinyl www.supug.cz , http://spiritual-beast.com/ .
From the rest of your suggestions man, I kinda like that “dating service” one…
So, girls… Do you missing something in your life? Are you bored?
Do you wanna experience another life disappointment? Do you desire for disillusion?
Do you feel obsessive need to reclaim or change somebody who’s irreclaimable and unchangeable? Just hit me up, I’m waiting here for you, haha!
In the end I would like thanks to Abaddon Magazine and especially you Miloš! Thanks for the interesting questions, it was a fun chat!
Cheers guys! Stay heavy, healthy and happy, hope to see you on some live show again soon!