Interview with Quazarre of Devilish Impressions
Considered as one of Poland’s leading and most innovative modern black / death metal acts Devilish Impressions officially started in 2000 as a three-piece, with founding singer / guitarist Quazarre remaining the only member of the original line-up. Marking their presence with the 45-minutes-long “Eritis sicut Deus; Verbum Diaboli Manet in Aeternum; Vox Vespertilio Act I – Moon Var Dies Irae”, self-releasedin 2002, the band began the process of shaping up its own spirit and self-consciousness, the long-time-hard work on what would later evolve into the epic, extreme music phenomenon as the band is being defined nowadays.
2005 saw them recording “Plurima Mortis Imago”, released in September 2006 on the London-based Conquer Records. The video for the song “SataniChaoSymphony” was shot in London and two months later Devilish Impressions hits the road along with AETERNUS as part of the European “Ageless Void Tour”. In April 2007 they land a direct support slot on MARDUK’s “Swords In The East” Eastern European run. After the successful tours, in May 2007 the group enters Studio X for the 3-months-long recording session of their second full-length album “Diabolicanos – Act III: Armageddon”. While the record was being mastered by Andy Classen at Stage One Studio, Devilish Impressions appears at Red Alert Festival in the Crimea, accompanying such acts as SUFFOCATION and VADER. Autumn 2007 sees Devilish Impressions shooting the video for the song “Har-Magedon”, set to promote the „Diabolicanos…” album. At the end of the year, the band sets off for the “Verbum Diaboli Tour”, their first ever headlining run across the Eastern European countries.
The “Diabolicanos…” album, released in January 2008 again on Conquer Records, was widely praised in the international metal press and gave Devilish Impressions the opportunity to open for BEHEMOTH and SUICIDE SILENCE on “The Apostasy European Tour”, and then embark with DISMEMBER for the “UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland Tour”. Meanwhile the group was invited for selected shows of WACKEN ROAD SHOW 2008 yet, due to above-mentioned tours having been booked earlier, they eventually managed to join the WRS bill, OVERKILL, TRISTANIA, SAMAEL and ENSLAVED, for a show in Kiev only. In May 2008 the album comes out in Poland licensed to Empire Records. The same month sees Devilish Impressions joining forces with their home country-mates HATE for their first time ever Polish invasion named “Rebel Angels Tour” being forced to drop off from the tour’s last date, as they had earlier been booked for the special show with SATYRICON in Ukraine.
The summer of 2008 included the band’s appearance at Pro Rock Festival while co-headlining with RAGE and at Metal Heads Mission Festival with bands like MOONSPELL, GORGOROTH and SAMAEL to name but a few. After finishing over a half-year-long touring cycle in support to the “Diabolicanos…” album, Devilish Impressions decide to continue their crusade, despite facing many problems on both, professional and personal levels, leading to further shifts in their line-up and temporary stage absence. In the middle of 2009, Quazarre began to compose on what would later become the “Diabolicanos…” successor, introducing even more of a thrash and heavy metal influences in the song-writing process, and thus injecting a new dimension of brutality and catchiness in Devilish Impressions’ music. Increasing the use of clean vocals and further development of a melodic side of the new songs, made their sound even more of an epic character, sound that eventually turn into something the band themselves would describe as ‘MUSIC for the EXTREME experiMENTAL generation ONLY’.
In the second half of 2010 Devilish Impressions enters few recording studios, incl. Studio X and Hertz Studio in order to produce their very best opus up-to-date named “Simulacra”. The long-lasting recording session backed up by session synth appearances of Flumen (ASGAARD) and Lestath (METransmissionAL), as well as special guests incl. Orion (BEHEMOTH, VESANIA), Jacek Grecki (LOST SOUL) and Roman (LECTER), resulted in extremely sharp and massive sound of the album, that along with the new songs’ outstanding craftsmanship, breath-taking artworks and lyrical concept based on works of the world’s famous poets makes the “Simulacra” record one of the 2012 must-have metal offers.
HMAW: What kind of feel and experience does your music conveys?
Devilish Impressions: Hey there! I’d say the band’s name says it all… I’ve tried to come up with something truly unique, something that would at the same time describe what we more or less ideologically stand for… That’s why you’ve got ‘devilish’ as part of the band’s name. Simultaneously I consider Devilish Impressions a constantly evolving form of sonic emotions as we do not want to repeat ourselves by writing the same sort of stuff. We’d rather dig, as deep as possible, in order to explore new ways of expressions that would eventually impress the listeners hooked up with each of our offerings. This explains why ‘impressions’ had been chosen the second part of the band’s name as it somehow defines the character of our creation.
HMAW: Can you tell us how your production is organized and would you give creative direction graphic artist artists?
Devilish Impressions: I must admit making “Simulacra” was quite long process. Once I’ve composed all the music other band’s members started to work on their parts (drums and bass) so that we could arrange the songs together. We recorded guitars and bass’ tracks at Strobo Studio (Opole), drums at Hertz Studio (Białystok). Then there was the time for all orchestrations, samples and electronic effects, which were laid down at Flumen Studio (Warsaw) and at Red Sun Studio (Bydgoszcz). Meanwhile I’ve been working on vocal lines recorded later on at Studio X (Olsztyn). Then the material returned to Hertz Studio where Wieslawski Brothers took over mixing and mastering of the album. The whole adventure took us around eight months in total, yet we are extremely happy with the final results.
HMAW: Who are your influence outside the music world in terms of art/style and why?
Devilish Impressions: Honestly speaking, every time I work on the new Devilish Impressions stuff I never listen to any other metal bands. This allows me to avoid certain inspirations, imposes possibly the most personal approach towards the new compositions and the sound we want to achieve. Moreover, I’d say I’m being inspired by everything that surrounds me, everything I experience and every phenomena I observe. It doesn’t really have to be other artist’s music, poetry or painting…
HMAW: Coming from a very Christian country, how is your music received, do you have any controversial stories to share?
Devilish Impressions: The thing is that we played mostly outside our country where this problem practically does not exist. The only tour in Poland we played so far went pretty smooth. With the new album we plan to play in our country so we will see how it goes. I remember though our first Eastern European run we did with Marduk back in 2007. The tour rolled over Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, where the sold-out gig got cancelled by authorities just one day before our arrival due to the anti-religious ideas behind Devilish Impressions and Marduk. The same shit happened when we’ve been invited to join the Wacken Road Show 2008, and have had a single off show booked in Minsk with Samael. Those are the only cancelled dates for the ideological reasons in our career… Isn’t it stupid, huh? We are really looking forward to play for each and every maniac missing our shows, anytime, anywhere…
HMAW: Your lyrical theme is mainly focused on Satanism and Anti-Christianity, why is so important in your creative process and where are inspiration coming from?
Devilish Impressions: My lyrics mostly stand for the free will, no matter what themes I’m talking of here and there. There’s lots of symbolism and philosophy in here, have always been this way to be precise. We do not give any directions though, it’s always about showing the possibilities instead… And I guess for this reason we can’t be considered a typical black metal band cause as much as I deny the existence of God, I deny the existence of the Devil too… Satan is just a symbol to me. The symbol of rebellion against all the religions, against superstitious and false people living all over the world or specifically against those, who claim to rule them all. I have nothing against those who feel the need of believing in something, but in my opinion those who think they’re privileged to be other people’s spiritual leaders, deep down fuck them all up while pretending to be their saviors… They just try to persuade guiltiness on others. As Karl Marx once wrote, ‘religion is the opium of the people’ and I fully agree with this saying, as I’d really love to live in the world with no religion. In the world free of all superstitions, expectations, and stupid, ridiculous commandments… We are not Satanists though, unless you’d consider it as a symbol of being an anti-god. To sum it all up, since the band’s very beginning we tend to force the idea that there’s no God, no Satan, that man is actually the only one who can define the means of life, procedures to follow or not to follow, laws to abide or to break them…
HMAW: “Plurima Mortis Imago” I believe is Latin, can you tell us what it signifies and how has the cover been developed?
Devilish Impressions: “Plurima Mortis Imago” means ‘many faces of death’. As with any other Devilish Impressions’ works it was meant to refer to the ideas contained in the album’s lyrics. The cover art had been created by Ia Serpentor who had later worked also on the “Diabolicanos…” album’s artworks under the name of Sodom & Gomorrah. Frankly speaking, I cannot recall the name of the artist whose work had been used for the “Plurima…” cover art. All other photos used to illustrate the sleeves of both albums were taken by me, Starash, Turquoissa (ex-Devilish Impressions members), with additional pictures taken by Ophidian for the “Diabolicanos…” album.
HMAW: Your latest offering “Simulacra” is an extraordinary album, with a magnificent cover art, can you tell us who developed your sleeves and about the creative direction?
Devilish Impressions: “Simulacra” means likeness, similarity… It’s like taking the picture of another picture and by this giving birth to yet another existence. What’s said to be good doesn’t have to be good as well as what’s said to be evil doesn’t have to be evil. This expresses a duality of things and meanings. Because all of us have to realize, that ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’… We’ve had this general idea on how to reflect the music and lyrical content of the album onto its cover art and the rest of the artworks. Long before the works had started we’d discussed a lot about what we wanted to express, what message we want to pass on those who’d get hooked by the record. Michal ‘Xaay’ Lorenc, who had previously worked with Kamelot, Nile or Behemoth to name but a few, has perfectly got our point so the rest of the job went on pretty smooth. Deliberately we used bright colors not only designing the cover and sleeves but also during the photo session for “Simulacra”. The cover itself refers to the symbolism of the title and lyrics contained on the album. The picture of two Lucifer Kings is pretty symbolic too, as it is impossible that only kings are left on the chessboard. Xaay very easily turned our ideas and suggestions onto this beautiful piece of art.
HMAW: I really can’t leave “Diabolicanos – Act III: Armageddon” out, original art is it by Mathis Grünewald, tell us about the choice of this piece and how it was selected?
Devilish Impressions: First of all we’d have to explain the etymology of the word ‘diabolicanos’… I guess everyone knows who ‘Dominicans’ were? Catholic order that was later acting as inquisitors, ‘dogs of the god’. While working on this album’s lyrical sideI’ve decided to play with words, and that’s how ‘diabolicanos’ came to my mind, being sort of a symbol of anti-christianity, such us the pentagram or the inverted cross. We’ve had few ideas on the album’s graphics, but it was the “Temptation of Saint Anthony from the Isenheim Altarpiece” (Mathis Grünewald, ca. 1515, oil on panel) that eventually landed on its cover art.
HMAW: …any final words?
Devilish Impressions: Thanks a lot for interviewing the band. Devilish hails and see you in the frontline!!!
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