interview by: Roberto
Necrophagist is a one-man death metal band from Germany.
Well, that label doesn't exactly tell the whole story. In fact, this
project's only available CD release, Onset of Putrefaction, is
the sole product of Muhammed Suiçmez, the son of one of the many
Turks who went to Germany in the 1960s, looking for work and a better
life for their families. Suiçmez grew up in a traditional Turkish
household, in a culture that was not his to begin with. Despite the
restrictions placed on him from this environment, Suiçmez not
only took a rabid interest in death metal, but also miraculously became
a guitar virtuoso. What's especially remarkable is that he did so not
only without benefit of a single lesson, but entirely in secrecy from
the attention of his strict parents.
So, Suiçmez is certainly used to doing things on
his own. In the early 90s, the enthusiastic youth had a dream to make
a band and started Necrophagist. Along the way, Necrophagist experienced
the same kind of internal problems that affects just about every band,
but Suiçmez, a mechanical engineering student at the University
of Karlsruhe, was determined to put out an album anyway. Armed solely
with his determination and talent, along with some guitars, a PC and
a drum machine, the outspoken Suiçmez worked manically until
every detail, rhythm and harmony was perfect. The result is the insanely
precise and technical, 8-song Onset of Putrefaction, which sounds
more like what would happen if someone like Trey Azagthoth decided to
make a solo record and just played guitar for 40 minutes.
Necrophagist is mind-blowing. Necrophagist is cult. Necrophagist
is crazed lunatic alone in his apartment metal. I don't know how you
can beat that.
Maelstrom: What got you into playing guitar, Muhammed?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Good question. Hahahaha! I started
when I was 15 years old. That was 1990. I think I had the wish to play
the guitar since I was 10 because I liked metal music. I wanted to play
the guitar and make a band on my own.
Maelstrom: What metal music were you really into when you
Muhammed Suiçmez: Oh, purely death metal. The first
era of death metal. It started with Leprosy of Death, and going
forward to Entombed Left Hand Path. My favorite bands have been
from around that time. I don't like that much...uh, first I would
like to excuse myself for my bad English.
Maelstrom: What are you talking about? Whatever. Whatever!
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah, ok. The beginning: Altars
of Madness, you know, the old stuff. Death, Entombed, Carcass and
Maelstrom: Were you going to say that you like the old
stuff but not the new stuff?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Not exactly, I'd say most of
the new stuff isn't that interesting like the old stuff. What I experience
by listening to the new stuff is there aren't enough bands with completely
new styles. See what I mean? The difference between the new bands and
the old bands is, in the beginning death metal wasn't, let's say, established,
and each of these band's members' came from different directions, see
what I mean? (This is Muhammed's conversational filler of choice. The
way he says it makes it sound like a statement or a command, rather
than a question. It's unusual and endearing.) Take any musician from
these bands: they were influenced by other music. Most of the new death
metal bands are typically influenced by older death metal stuff. See
what I mean. I don't think that's a bad thing, or something, but it's
a fact that if death metal wasn't that established back then, and you
have other influences: like music from other metal styles or even rock
or punk, like Carcass had, it's sure that every band will sound different.
It was always a pleasure to buy a CD of Entombed and have something
completely different than Morbid Angel. See what I mean. I'm speaking
of these bands because there was only these bands when I was listening
to death metal when I was 15 years old. I'm not just focused on these
Maelstrom: I think I may have been projecting what you
said into what I think, that most of the current death metal I don't
really like. To me, it's just really, really fast. It's not interesting
for me, 'cause it's all fast. Like Krisiun. I wanted to know if you
felt the same way or not.
Muhammed Suiçmez: It's like me not listening to
death metal anymore on a regular basis. I think I have the same problem
Maelstrom: Have you heard Hate Eternal, for example?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah, I've heard that.
Maelstrom: It's not very musical. It's very fast and brutal,
but there's not much music for me to listen to. I'm mostly coming from
a drum perspective on this one.
Muhammed Suiçmez: The problem with Hate Eternal
is that you have to have a very good audio system to catch all the riffs
and all the notes. I was listening to Hate Eternal in my car when I
had a cassette from my friend who told me: "hey, listen to that!
It's a guy from Morbid Angel and a guy from Suffocation," and I
didn't know much more. I am not anymore into this death metal scene.
I know a lot of bands in the underground because we are in contact,
and stuff, but it's not like I'm following the death metal scene to
buy all CDs, or something. It's not as interesting as it used to be,
and it's not that musical, as you told. To get back to Hate Eternal:
if you listen carefully enough - and you play the guitar - and you have
a good audio system and catch every note, then you realize that some
songs contain melodies and riffs that are really brutal, and really
cool, and very musical. But it's hard to catch. See, 'cause it's too
Maelstrom: How old are the songs on Onset of Putrefaction?
Muhammed Suiçmez: The songs are very old. The last
song is from 1993. [The album] is all the stuff from Necrophagist from
the past put on one CD to give the people insight into Necrophagist's
Maelstrom: Well, obviously the songs are all re-recorded.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Right. It's no compilation. It
was all recorded at the same time. The songs on Onset of Putrefaction
never lost any actuality for me.
Maelstrom: Certainly not. How long did it take you to program
the drum machine? I mean, that's one of the most remarkable things about
this record; how much time you must have taken to do this.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Each song took me a whole day.
Twelve to 15 hours of work, so it was a hard job. It was not my stuff
I was programming it on. I had to hurry up a little bit. The drum lines
were clear before I started to program: I had a drummer in Necrophagist
before programming the drums. These are the drum lines I arranged with
the former drummer. Maybe that's the reason why many people say the
drums on Onset of Putrefaction seem like real drums. Except for
the toms. It's very difficult to program toms without them sounding
like a machine.
Maelstrom: I think the fact that it sounds a little like
a drum machine gives it its charm. It's sort of like - I don't mean
to say this in a wrong way - lunatic in his apartment metal. It's great:
it's this one guy, and he does everything himself, and it's so cool.
It's what gives it appeal in terms of being cult on top of being a really
good piece of music.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Thank you very much! I appreciate
this kind of thinking. It would be very cool if everyone would see it
from that point [of view]. Many people think: "Oh, ugh, it's a
drum machine! Fuck, this CD sucks." That's a position that I can't
understand. You should focus on the music, not on the stuff around,
like "Is the drummer cool? Is the bass man cool? Is the guitarist
cool?" See what I mean. Well, I have to say there were a lot of
people who didn't realize that it is a drum machine.
Maelstrom: You have all those intricate fills on the ride
cymbal; people may not realize you can do that on a drum machine. It
must take forever.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah, it was hard work. But you
have to realize that because I arranged the drumlines together with
the former drummer, it was easy for me. I have insight into this drum
playing. I can play drums too. I have to say that I'm an auto-didact.
I don't know if you say that in English. I taught myself. I can play
all the drum parts in my head, but I can't play all the parts in real.
Maelstrom: So, you taught yourself guitar.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah, I did.
Maelstrom: That's incredible!
Muhammed Suiçmez: Thank you very much. But, it's
a very interesting question, because my parents are very conservative,
old school Turkish people. They never wanted me to play the guitar.
It was my biggest problem. They forbid me to play the guitar.
Maelstrom: You had to hide to play?
Muhammed Suiçmez: In fact, for the first month,
my older brother helped me. I had to give him the money, and he bought
me a guitar. He was going to a bigger city to study, and he brought
it back to home without my parents knowing it, and my parents found
the guitar, and, BIG TROUBLE! (laugh) It was a very sad story. I never
told it to anybody officially; you are the first person. My father destroyed
my first guitar. I would have loved to get lessons.
Maelstrom: What do your parents think of your music now?
Or, do they even know?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Of course they know. They know
from my brothers and sisters. My brothers and sisters respect that a
lot. They are telling my parents all the time: "hey, he's playing
guitar like crazy!" I never had a response from [my parents] regarding
that. It's a bit sad, but it's not important for Necrophagist. It was
my dream to make this band, and I never stopped to think about that,
despite all these problems and troubles. Considering my descent and
parents, it wasn't easy, but maybe it was in fact more motivation for
me to do it.
Maelstrom: Did you get tapes, or listen to Carcass and
try to get that sound? How did you do that?
Muhammed Suiçmez: ...You remind me of things
I did 10 years ago! I never thought about it. If I think about that,
I never told anybody I started with "Zombie Ritual" of Death,
because it was very easy. It was hard work. Sometimes maybe I registered
the notes wrong, but it didn't matter, because I was practicing the
technique and getting faster. It was like anything: if you are interested
enough in a matter, you can manage it.
Maelstrom: How did you pick the name Necrophagist?
Muhammed Suiçmez: It was [a result of] me having
eight years of Latin in school. I stumbled over that around the words
"phagus" (to eat) and "necro" (the dead). I'm asked
that question a lot: why I chose a band with the prefix "necro."
I'm getting this question all the time. But, you have to realize, when
I chose this moniker, it was 12 years ago. There weren't that much bands
with the prefix "necro." The problem of Necrophagist is that
the people knew about it too late! I chose the name because [at the
time] a name like that wasn't that common. Of course I knew of Necrophagia,
and this band was previously called Necrophilist. I thought it was not
powerful enough, so I thought Necrophagist sounds maybe better.
Maelstrom: Onset of Putrefaction deals lyrically
with a lot of dismembering of rotting corpses and liking it...
Muhammed Suiçmez: (starts to laugh hard.)
Maelstrom: ...it's a curious contrast to the level of
musicianship that you play.
Muhammed Suiçmez: (Continues to laugh heartily,
making him miss the entire long-winded question)
Maelstrom: ...it's sort of like a low brow concept with
extreme musical talent and execution. This often seems to be the case
in death metal. What do you think of this?
Muhammed Suiçmez: I didn't understand the question.
Could you repeat it please?
Maelstrom: Well, basically, what I've found to be interesting
is often you have these musicians who are so great, but all the music
deals with chaos and death, etc... Yet the musicians themselves are
very organized and dedicated. It's like a contradiction.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah. You're right.
Maelstrom: And your case is a perfect example. I can't
imagine how much you've practiced to get to where you are. But at the
same time, you have these lyrics that are about eating dead people.
What do you think about this sort of duality?
Muhammed Suiçmez: I can speak for Necrophagist.
But lot of [other] bands have the same problem. I don't have the time
to practice anymore. I practiced for the first three years like a maniac,
and I got a certain level. I practiced every day, and it was enough.
To talk about the contradiction: in the case of Necrophagist, that I
pretty much liked the old Carcass stuff. The (Onset) lyrics are
about 10 years old. When I was 14 years old, I was inspired by the lyrics
of Carcass; it was fun for me. It was something cool. When you're that
young, you don't think of things like that. I had the chance to change
the lyrics when I recorded the CD in 1998. I could have said: "Well,
we're old enough. We don't like the lyrics anymore. We don't think they're
ok. They don't fit anymore," but the problem was not to lose the
authenticity of the songs. The lyrics were originally for these songs,
and if I would changed the lyrics, I would have destroyed something
about the song. I wanted to make a document for myself to put all Necrophagist
songs on one CD and not change anything about them. See what I mean.
Maelstrom: Does that mean we can expect something different
in the next Necrophgist? Should we expect anything from a band whose
name means "eater of the dead"? If it's about love and flowers
it's going to be really odd if it's coming from Necrophagist.
Muhammed Suiçmez: No, no, no. I won't speak about
flowers. But I will speak about different things that are important
to me. I think everybody is saying that. It's not about gore and dismembering
people and liking it. No, it's not like that anymore. It's more about
philosophical themes. I hope to give the people more. I think Onset
of Putrefaction was only music for the fans.
Maelstrom: It was for me. When I got it, I didn't open
it up to pay attention to the lyrics. But, personally, that's how I
am. I generally don't read the lyrics to the metal albums I get. That's
not why I get them.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Then you're like me.
Maelstrom: I read 'em to have some inspiration to ask you
Muhammed Suiçmez: Ha-ha! But you have to admit
that some CDs catch your interest. Maybe I can do that. Necrophagist
was always just music. That's what interested me. The music was important;
the lyrics weren't that important for me in the past. But if lyrics
aren't important to you, why do you take them?
Maelstrom: I think I like the voice as an instrument, rather
than it conveying words.
Muhammed Suiçmez: I think that's what I like about
it too... (laugh)
Maelstrom: Well, frankly, you shouldn't listen to death
metal if you want good lyrics.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah, but maybe some bands can
change your opinion.
Maelstrom: What do you think about this, Muhammed? I've
always wondered, if you're going to write lyrics that are supposed to
be important, why sing them in a style that no one can understand?
Muhammed Suiçmez: You have to admit that you understand
more in Necrophagist than other bands.
Maelstrom: Umm... Maybe a little bit. (frankly, no).
Muhammed Suiçmez: That was my goal. It's difficult
to make people understand what you are singing when you are doing that
style, because it's too deep.
Maelstrom: My favorite death metal vocals (that manages
to be coherent) is guy from Bolt Thrower. Ever listen to them?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Uh, 10 years ago. I don't know
the new stuff.
Maelstrom: The old stuff, of course. That guy was able
to be coherent. He's so great. He's my favorite, maybe.
Muhammed Suiçmez: You like his style? Well, I don't
like his style. I don't think the vocals of Bolt Thrower have enough
expression. It's too monotonous. Sure, many people are saying that about
Necrophagist's vocals. I don't know in which direction the new vocals
of Necrophagist will go. Necrophagist was death metal, and Necrophagist
will always be death metal. We won't change the lyrics into wimpy style.
I say wimpy...I listen to other stuff besides death metal. If I want
to do different music, I'll start a new band.
Maelstrom: How much have you toured?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Well, uh, we toured never. We
made some concerts on weekends. Maybe around 50 concerts in 10 years.
It's not that much. But we're a complete band now. I think this will
be the final line-up for Necrophagist.
Maelstrom: Do you think pulling off the material live will
Muhammed Suiçmez: We have proven that. We've been
playing live since May of last year (2000). I think that most of the
people are concerned that we won't be able to play this live. That was
never a problem for us. It is no computerized music that you listen
to Onset of Putrefaction. There is no stuff that we cannot play.
We will prove that maybe in the US some day. We've been asked many times
to go over, but we don't have the financial capabilities. But someday,
Maelstrom: I understand now that you are in a band with
actual other members.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah. Necrophagist has always
been a band. It was founded as a band, and was intended to always to
be a band. As you can listen to it on CD the stuff is pretty complex,
and the guys who were playing in Necrophagist before Onset of Putrefaction
were not able 100% to play the stuff. I didn't want to make CD that
was 80% of what I wanted.
Maelstrom: That's why you did it by yourself.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah. I had some trouble with
the musicians back then, and we decided not to continue together. I
thought, ok, I signed the contract with Velvet Music about this album,
and I will do it alone if necessary. But my intention always was to
find the right musicians to play this stuff. Now we're a complete band.
We're four. I play guitar and the vox.
Maelstrom: When should we expect more Necrophagist material?
Muhammed Suiçmez: I'm working on it, but I don't
have enough time to complete all the stuff for a new CD. The release
date is planned for summer 2003. I hope we will release it by then.
I'm pretty sure we will. We will enter studio on Xmas of this year;
record maybe for one week and then make a break. Because of all our
engagements at university, it's very difficult for us to find the spare
time to do it.
Maelstrom: What equipment did you record the album with?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Onset... was recorded
in the rehearsal rooms, but on pro-equipment. Mixed on that equipment.
You could say "on the computer" but it is not controlled by
the PC itself. The DSPs of the 19" rack mount hard disk recorder
from Soundscape (www.soundscape-digital.com) did the job. It's known
well in the video world, but not so much in the audio world. I did it
myself. It was difficult and took a lot of time, as I was not experienced
in recording. But I had help from a guy who managed the Eqs, and in
the end it was ok. I hope the next CD will be better than Onset of
Putrefaction, because there's a lot to do better.
Maelstrom: What is one thing you could do better?
Muhammed Suiçmez: The guitar sound. You know, my
goal with Onset of Putrefaction was to make a crystal clear sound.
Because Necrophagist has one problem: if you don't play it exactly enough,
and if you have a guitar sound that is too fat, you don't hear all the
notes. Necrophagist has always been a band that makes music for musicians
as well as for guys who are not musicians. So I took out all the gain
from the guitar. When you play precise enough in a recording, it gets
its own power. See what I mean. It was very difficult. The next CD will
have more gain on the guitars. More death metal.
Maelstrom: Who is Bjorn Vollmer? (Vollmer does a couple
of solos on Onset)
Muhammed Suiçmez: He's American, but of German
descent. His parents went to the US for three years, and he was born
in that period. He played one solo on Onset of Putrefaction,
and he's a full member now. I'm pretty lucky.
Maelstrom: Has he been in any bands that we might know?
Muhammed Suiçmez: I don't think you know them,
but, he's been in Ferocity. It was pretty much jazz influenced death
metal. It was complex and weird chords. Like jazz, but in a brutal death
metal way. You are lucky, because when I update the website the next
time, I will make a site for Ferocity. So people can download the songs.
The band doesn't exist anymore, but it was too good to let the songs
pass away. The reason the band split is because the drummer left to
Maelstrom: And then he left you guys.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah, so I had the obligation
to ask Bjorn to enter Necrophagist. He was very happy. He's studying
classical guitar in college. He's perfect for the job. I'm pretty much
amazed by him. The bass player and the drummer too. The bass player
is French, from Nancy. He travels 200 miles one way to get to rehearsal.
It's pretty cool, I think. He doesn't own a car. He's taking the train.
The funny thing is that all the members of Necrophagist were fanatics
of Necrophagist before they entered the band.
Maelstrom: What a great story.
Muhammed Suiçmez: It's pretty cool. Good to know
Maelstrom: So you're the revered leader.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Ahhmmm...
Maelstrom: Yes, you are.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Well, I am the only original
member. I'm not like a leader...
Maelstrom: You're the figurehead.
Muhammed Suiçmez: I'm the figurehead. I am the
chancellor, maybe! Haha. Well, not really. I want the bassist and drummer
to write their own parts so I can have more time to compose new stuff
and concentrate on my studies. Hey, you have to expect a lot from Necrophagist
in the future.
Maelstrom: Ok. Well, now the bar is very high. You have
to jump over it.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Fuck! You have realized my biggest
Maelstrom: What album have you listened to the most?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Oh. Good question. I'd say Entombed's
Left Hand Path. Over the last year it was Spastic Ink's Ink
Complete. It's a band of the former Watchtower guitar player. I'm
listening to classical music, like Symphony #5 of Beethoven, along with
Prokofiev and Mozart.
Maelstrom: It seems that Prokofiev is quite liked by metallers.
What do you think of Yngwie Malmsteen's playing?
Muhammed Suiçmez: He was an influence for me. It
was around 1994 that I was introduced to Malmsteen's music by a friend
of mine. Since I had never had any lessons, I had to pick up some style
I could practice. I looked at his technique to have a glimpse on how
to do lead guitar. I think the result of this influence sounds different
from Yngwie Malmsteen. I think that's good.
Maelstrom: Do you have a girlfriend, Muhammed? If I may
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yes, I have.
Maelstrom: Is she this woman Karolin whom you mention in
the CD booklet?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yes, it still is.
Maelstrom: What does she think of your music?
Muhammed Suiçmez: She thinks it's pretty cool.
Maelstrom: I think it's wonderful that you have a girlfriend
who supports you like that.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Well, the funny thing is: she
watched Necrophagist before we got together, but she didn't remember
I was the guy who played on the stage! (laugh)
Muhammed Suiçmez: It was pretty funny.
Maelstrom: So she was a fan before you met her? Did she
listen to death metal?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Not particularly, but she's a
pretty much open minded person, like me, regarding music. She listened
to some death metal stuff, and she liked it very much. She likes albums
like Symbolic from Death. She was going to local concerts, one
of which was Necrophagist. I saw her, she didn't see me.
Maelstrom: You saw her from the stage but she didn't see
you from the audience?
Muhammed Suiçmez: Yeah. That's cool, isn't it?
Half a year later she didn't remember who I was. I hoped she did not.
See what I mean. It's not like, "hey! I'm the guy from Necrophagist!"
if you like a girl. "You want to go out with me? I'm the guy of
Necrophagist! Isn't that cool?" You know what I mean? So I was
happy she did not know who I was. But her girlfriend told me that she
liked Necrophagist a lot, without knowing me.
Maelstrom: That's so great. It's not like a girlfriend
who says "I really like metal," only basically because she
likes you, and she just wants to try to like metal for any reason, you
Muhammed Suiçmez: No, no. If it was like that I
would have not dedicated the album to her. We're still together. It's
been four years now.
Maelstrom: Wow. Great story. What was it like being the
son of a Turk, growing up in Germany?
Muhammed Suiçmez: I think that is the most interesting
question for me.
Maelstrom: I'm comparing to the race relations we have
in the United States. It seems that in Germany, even now, there's so
much racial hatred from skinhead groups. It seems so weird how much
it lingers so strongly in Germany.
Muhammed Suiçmez: When you're so far from Germany,
it's hard to get insight on that. What you're getting from the media
is not exactly what is happening. It depends on the region where you
live. I live in the south of Germany, 50 kilometers from Stuttgart.
The region I lived in was not so problematic with the skinheads and
racial stuff. In eastern Germany, the new states, it's a big problem
with unemployment. Where there is big problems with unemployment, there
is racial hatred and conflict. (...) If you're a Turk and live in
Germany, you have a problem.
Maelstrom: What's that?
Muhammed Suiçmez: You have to look at the people
who came here from Turkey. It was all the poor people from the countryside.
If you send 3 million Americans from the countryside to a foreign country,
the people in the foreign country cannot have any insight on Americans
as a whole. See what I mean. The main problem is that Turkish people
have a different religion than Germans. If they are foreigners from
Italy, or Greece, or Yugoslavia, that's different, because most of them
are Catholic or Protestants. But the culture of Germans and Turks is
that different, so there is conflict all the time. So the Turkish people
tried to uphold their own culture and not to lose it, so they hid a
little bit in their own small world inside Germany. The people in Germany
have a wrong view of Turks because of that reputation of keeping distant.
You are always a foreigner. It doesn't matter if you are integrated
into the culture, or go to school with Germans, or are doing the same
stuff as Germans. I'm pretty much integrated in this culture. I never
lost my own culture. One difference between me and most of the Turks
is I am not dark skinned. For my looks, people cannot tell that I am
Turk. They think I am German. It was not easy, because you are living
in two worlds. As I have conservative parents who wanted me to uphold
my culture; it was no problem for me. But, to deal with German culture,
it's a little bit difficult if it's your intention to live between these
two chairs, as a saying in German goes. Many young Turkish people don't
want to have any part of the German culture. But since I was born and
am living in Germany, I have to know enough of the culture, how the
people are thinking. But I will always have a problem when people know
I am a foreigner; a Turk, especially since Turks don't have such a good
reputation in Germany.
It's always the case: if you don't know about a different
culture, you can't make a correct view of that culture, and you will
have prejudices. That's what I'm experiencing. I was born here and know
about German culture, because I was interested in that as I live here.
But German people I'm living with don't know anything about Turkey,
the people or my religion. I get questions and I'm thinking: "Hey,
what do they think about Turkish people? Like we are from a different
planet?" That's the problem here in Germany. They say: "Yeah,
we are all tolerant and accept all people," but they don't care
about the people living here. They have to care about the Turkish people,
because there are a lot living here. Most of the foreigners here are
Turks. Not may people know that the German government focused on these
people. I saw a film from the '60s done by the government. They said:
"Hey, the guys from the countryside of Turkey, they are eating
a lot of goats cheese, and they have strong bones. They are good for
working." They focused on them because of that. That's pretty cool,
I think, and funny. They asked them to come here; they cannot expect
them to leave.
Maelstrom: You were talking about your religion. You know
how anti-Christianity is very popular in metal. A lot of the bands who
talk about anti-Christianity are probably themselves baptized. I wonder
if metal ever became big in the Muslim world, that there'd be anti-Muslim
Muhammed Suiçmez: I don't think so.
Maelstrom: Could you ever imagine yourself saying: "Right,
I'm gonna write an album against the Muslim religion!" Just like
people from Norway, who were baptized, say: "I'm going to write
an album against the Christian religion!"
Muhammed Suiçmez: Well, this is just a fashion.
Black metal. I'm sorry, for all the black metal fans, I don't want to
make enemies. I can't take these lyrics for serious. I think you should
not propagate something like that. Everybody has a right to believe
what he wants. If your anti-Christian or anti-Muslim. I don't see the
point of bringing that into music. Music should not be political. These
anti-Christian lyrics are politics. See what I mean. I never could imagine
doing lyrics like that, even if I was anti-Muslim, or anti-Christian.
Why should I?
Metal with anti-Muslim lyrics? Maybe in Turkey, but I
cannot imagine that. In the Arabic and African Islamic states, there
is no possibility to make metal with anti-Muslim lyrics. You will have
serious problems with the government.
Maelstrom: Muhammed, where would metal be without hating
Christianity? It doesn't have to be black metal. It doesn't have to
be satanic. Like, Immolation, for example. It goes back before death
metal that they had anti-Christian lyrics. Whether it was for shock
value, or it was real, it's such a big part of metal music. It's interesting
what you can feel the way you do but also like metal, because hating
religion is so much a part of it.
Muhammed Suiçmez: Well, it's a part of metal, but
which bands do I like that propagate that kind of stuff? What should
I say about that? I have to ignore it, because I don't take it seriously.
I don't listen to black metal because I don't like the music. There
are one or two albums I like. It doesn't have anything to do with the
lyrics, because I don't pay attention to the lyrics and listen to the
music. There are a lot of bands before death metal (with anti-Christian
lyrics), you are right. Like Slayer, for example. But it's more for
shock value, like you were talking about. I think not may of these bands
were really behind their lyrics. It's like Necrophagist lyrics. They
were more for shock value.
Maelstrom: You had talked to me before about people who
try to help Necrophagist and spread the word for no real reason only
because they love the music. Something I really noticed. Talking about
underground metal, and taking for example the black metal scene. I just
finished interviewing this guy from a German black metal band called
Nargaroth. He talks so much of a misanthrope he is, and how much he
wants to be left alone. But his answers are really, really long. It
was just one example of this duality of this image of misanthropy, but
at the same time want to be accepted and praised. You have so much in
metal this hatred, anger and violence, but at the same time there's
so much love in the scene: everyone wants to support each other and
help each other out. People are really nice. It's an interesting duality.
Even with Necrophagist: it's really aggressive music, and it's about
mutilation. But, you're a really nice guy; people want to help you and
you want to help other people.
Muhammed Suiçmez: The duality: why does it exist?
I cannot speak for the guy in Nargaroth. I'm cautious when judging guys
like him. It depends on your age and how seriously you take these things.
What I experienced is, when a guy plays in a black metal band, he cannot
speak about love in the interview. Hey, these black metal guys are no
different from others. I don't believe any of these black metal guys
believe in what they are saying. I'm almost sure in, let's say, five
years, when they stop playing black metal, they won't speak of shit
like that anymore. I think this is no belief; it's just a period for
them. Hey, if you play in a death metal band and talk about flowers,
you can't do that.
To speak about the underground; When I speak about the
underground, it's not at all these "underground" labels or
these "underground" guys who are doing concerts. This is not
underground. "Underground" is people like Andee (Connors,
of Tumult Records) who are doing a lot more without having anything
to do with the business. They listen to death metal, that's the only
thing they have to do with the scene. They love the music. These people
love Necrophagist so much that they offer me any help. See what I mean.
That's different from other bands who call me to ask if we want to play
with them here or there. They want to play there and have another band
[with them]. That's a different underground. All these "underground"
labels are not really "underground." Believe me on that. I
have enough experience. In the end, all of them want to earn money.
The guys who have "underground" labels, maybe they have to
work aside from their label activity. For me, that just seems like a
struggle to get out of the underground.