Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Throes Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
We celebrated the release of 'Koro' with a concert in Vienna which – of course – was followed by a wild release party.
Since then we've been busy with promotional work. A lot of people all around the world are curious and of course we are eager to spread the word and use every occasion to promote 'Koro'.

2.In December you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Compared to our first output 'Use Your Confusion I – VII' not only the sound but also the music is much more elaborated yet also rawer. We've evolved in various respects which really helped us to forge our own style. Since we improved the process of writing songs together, every single band member could fully contribute to 'Koro'. Also, we've grown as a unity and therefore were able to nail our vision better than on the previous record. Thus, the recording process became an amazing experience for everyone of us. This was not just because we arrived at being a welded unit but also because the people we collaborated with were great: Michael Zachhuber, with whom we recorded the instrumental tracks at Primitive Studios in Vienna, and Lukas Haidinger, with whom the vocal tracks were recorded and who mastered and mixed the album at DeepDeepPressure Studio in Braunau, had an immense impact on making 'Koro' sound as fat as it does.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Well, let's start with the records title, 'Koro', which means two things: It's the word for 'heart' in Esperanto, but derived from various south-eastern Asian languages it signifies a rather unpleasant mental disorder, also known as 'genital retraction syndrome'. This pun served me right when looking for a title because the lyrics basically orbit around the theme of the broken heart; a heart broken by the classical – or some may say - clichéd love type of thing as well as one broken by the doubts and anxieties life has to offer for us. 'Zepsuta' and 'Planet Lobotomy' for instance deal with the difficulties many of our generation face with the multitudinous possibilities of getting lost in the partying and mating rituals of the average western city. Never has it been easier to go out and without any inhibitions find someone to, you know, enjoy yourself. But most of the time these things just turn out to be a numbing of oneself, a distraction from the everyday lives we live and the hopes we still have but don't trust anymore. We are traders as well as traded goods on a meat market of superficial fun until we become cynical and finally hollow, empty, disgusted. This emptiness is reflected in these two songs while 'Everything is Hostile' deals with another kind of emptiness that can result not just from love gone wrong but from anything that leaves a deep scar in your life and leaves you with the feeling that you are not in control of your lives' circumstances. It's also maybe the most personal thing I've ever written, because the lyrics came to me when I found myself in a situation exactly like that.
So, finally, also 'Crepusculo Decrepitude' is about anxiety and emptiness. It was pretty much inspired by Samuel Becketts 'Molloy' and the strange atmosphere of stumbling around searching without knowing exactly what or why and having those blurred memories plunging around you like dead birds falling from the sky.

So, you see: pretty depressing and absurd stuff.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Throes'?

We wanted the bands name to be one short, strong word, not like those band names that go like 'We Came As A Plague But Stayed To Haunt You' or all those band names that consist of three to 639 words and are so common these days... But of course most of the words suitable for a band grappling with the topics just mentioned were already assigned to the bands we admire, or – at least – know. And then along came 'Throes' which was perfect, because it was not only short, but stood for both the pains of dying and the pains of giving birth to something. As you already have seen with the title of 'Koro' we like ambiguities and this particular one seemed to be just perfect for our musical vision. And, on the side, it's a great word, because it only exists in the plural form and you can't put a 'the' in front of it.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

The best ones for sure were two rather small ones. Sharing stages with bands that inspire you, like in our case with Crowbar or Eyehategod, is always great, sure. But these two stand out because we had the time of our lives both on stage and after the show. The first one has to be our gig at 'Butterwach', which is also known as 'Viennas loudest breakfast' (and translated from Viennese would mean 'drunk as fuck') in November 2014 at Arena in Vienna. Arena is a former slaughterhouse which now is a huge location with various floors and stages for concerts, clubbings, et cetera.
There is this monthly party with the whole location filled with people the whole night and after most of the floors are being closed, the 'Beisl', a small pub on the premises of the Arena, is still open and the people who still aren't tired or haven't finished their pickup can go there and drink some more or – and that's the special thing about this afterhour – have breakfast while a band plays live from 6 a.m. to... well, that depends. We were invited to play there and already when we were setting up our equipment on the stage there were people stumbling and mumbling their way through the rest of the night. Some of them were very talkative and curious, so we had hilarious conversations already when preparing everything. After the short soundcheck we decided to smoke another cigarette at the bar and get some beers for the stage there which lead some to believe that we were already finished with playing – that's how shitfaced some people in the audience already were. The gig itself was great fun with a full location and people who really just let go of any inhibitions and just enjoyed the power of our low-frequency sonic assault. Through the windows you could see the rising sun already but nobody seemed to care and we went on playing our own songs and a version of Danzigs 'Twist of Cain' and finally repeated some of the set because we ran out of tunes but the audience still wanted more – and they wouldn't notice. Finally, when it all was over, we also had breakfast and kept on boozing until the evening (remember: we only just had started at 4 a.m.) with some of our friends – but that's another story.

The second of the most remarkable gigs so far was also in Vienna, at EKH. This is a huge occupied house in which there is also a small stage in the cellar where mostly punk bands play. For some reason we and our friends from TarLung had a gig there with OtiumAdei, a rather experimental band from France. There were only a handful of people genuinely interested in seeing Throes or TarLung there and most of the audience were punks who just happened to be on-site that evening. We played first and besides obviously not looking as if we were part of the punk scene, we started our, you know, more or less metal-kind of stage-thing with looking grim and mysterious and stomping on-stage and the like... well, at first the reaction of the audience was rather cautious but with time the music took over and our punk audience adapted to our heavy groove. Only one guy, who was about 17 or so, came to me in one of the breaks between two songs and asked me if we could play something more 'crumbly' – whatever that means... Altogether the scenery must have been as from some Lynch-film in which a bunch of punks that really look the part do their thing while a band that looks and acts more like something Beavis and Butthead would watch on MTV pounds out their tunes made of lead. Maybe like that legendary Beavis and Butthead scene when they watch a Crowbar-clip but not with those two as spectators but with an audience that you'd expect on an Exploited gig in 1980.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We are open to play anywhere but the next step will be to conquer Germany together with our buddies from TarLung. As the plan to take over our neighbouring country is still top secret more information will be provided as soon as possible or necessary ;)

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Just as with recording and touring we have a strong D.I.Y.-attitude towards releasing as well – or, to put it better maybe: D.I.T. (Do it together)! Of course as a band you need to work together with people but we prefer to work with the people who we know well and whom we trust rather than getting ripped off by someone promising you pie in the sky. So, yes, of course we are interested in taking opportunities to bring our music to broader audiences with the help of someone who has the means to do so. And yes, of course it's only fair that they'd participate if it turned out to be a success, even if just a small one. But so far not one of the requests/offers we received looked to be like that. So we keep on standing on our own feet even if that means we stay very underground forever!

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and doom metal?

Besides the rather dubious offers of small labels the feedback by the press and fans was really good, better than we expected. There were reviews from literally all over the world, our songs were featured in radio shows in the United States, Italy and Austria and one Brazilian webzine even included 'Koro' in the highlights of 2015 next to the releases of such greats as Napalm Death, Paradise Lost or Ahab. The red chord of the reviews was that our music can't be pigeonholed and for us that's just as great a compliment as the interest so many people show.

Of course comments like 'In a way, this album makes me finally understand why sludge appeared in the metal scene in the first place' or 'heavier will be hard to find' and especially 'Throes are anything but a 'by numbers' sludge band' are really motivating and inspiring and therefore we appreciate the feedback so far.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

That's hard to say because we've only just begun writing new material. Some tendencies that can be seen already, though: our sound is getting rawer and rawer over the years and that the next album will feature more up-tempo stuff while the slow stuff will be even heavier and face-in-the-dirt-like. And there will be some surprises, too.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

When we started, High On Fire, Crowbar, Yob, Melvins and Carnivore inspired us a lot and through the years they still stand tall as the columns on which we build our own sound, while we all still listen to the heroes of our youth, all those 80s and 90s metal and hardcore bands we grew up with. But besides that everyone of us has his own special musical interests which vary and from time to time and also find their way into our music somehow. So, maybe the best idea concerning those musical preferences is to let each of us tell you in his own words:

Mani: I was, am and will always be a die-hard 80s and 90s thrash / death / grind fan, but since I listen to Roxy Music I feel the urge to found a reggae band.

Leebi: ...if I had to play in a reggae band, I'd be lucky to be the bass player! However, I only listen to the music of my buddies Rachmaninoff, Neurosis and Miles Davis.

Helmut: Bands that have impressed and fascinated me recently are for sure Hate Eternal, Behemoth, Mgła and especially Nails. Nails are like the perfect band, everything about them – the sheer brutality of the music, their raw sound, the nasty lyrics, their reserved yet hateful stage performance – is just perfect. Their two releases have become like a prayerbook to me and I can't hardly wait for their upcoming release. Until then I summon my demons by meditating to "Hosianna Mantra" by PopolVuh.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Again and even more so, as we differ quite a lot in this respect, each one of us will speak for himself:

Leebi: I was born into a dynasty of blacksmiths and therefore not only work for my living but live for my work. I craft garden doors, grave crosses and decorative horseshoes. Nowadays the real horseshoes are produced industrially by those damn Hungarians! The times when horses were allowed to be individuals are over! Sorry to disappoint you, my friend!

Mani: My dearest hobby is travelling and I combine it with the crafting of crucifixes made of root wood. I plan to start an online retail site offering them so you can order them. You can also hang them upside down!

Helmut: Iron discipline is the master of my days, so I get up at 4 a.m., do my workout, on my way to work I read on the train for an hour – the great philosophical classics of all cultures known to man or some drug-impregnated work of fiction that might open a different angle on what is called "truth" but is in truth just a name for the unnameable – and do the same thing on my way back home. Thus prepared for the weekends you will find me at a lake in the woods and mountains marvelling at and meditating on the songs of the birds, the creeks, the leaves in the wind and the rocks when they crash after their fall. Hail C'thulhu! Hail Shub-Niggurath!

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Do yourself a favour and listen to "Koro", support your local scene and keep on drinking them brews! Culture!

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