Interview with Pat of Candlelight Records artists
1. Who formed the band and what type of music did you intend to make at that point?
P: Well actually it was me together with our former guitar player Jos, who formed the band back in 1992 under our former moniker Genocide. Back then we just wanted to start a Death Metal band to play cover tunes of the bands we were listening to. Then you must think of bands like Death, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower and (old) Paradise Lost. So in the early years we only played covers and in 1994 (when we gathered our first serious line-up) we started writing our own music, which resulted in our one and only demo titled ‘Lovelorn’ in 1995. The sound of our first own material was a mix between semi technical Death Metal and atmospheric Doom.
2. How has the band remained faithful to this goal, and in what way(s) has the band changed?
P: Well we always played the music we liked ourselves most, we always did and we will always do that. We never followed any trends or hypes…that’s at least something that never changed during the years. But that has also put us in a difficult position because around the release of our debut album ’Drift of Empathy’ (in 1996) everybody seemed to be playing Black Metal, which was the big thing around that time. So that made things slight difficult for us sales-wise and we even lost our first record deal because of that. On the other hand the band changed during the years mostly due to the fact we became better musicians individually, better songwriters and our sound developed more and more into the music we are playing nowadays. In fact our sound became more aggressive and more intense during the years, unlike lots of other bands that start really heavy and then tend to go softer and more commercial on later releases. That’s definitely not the case for Callenish Circle.
3. What element of your band/music allowed your rise to success, whereas other bands do not enjoy the same level of success?
P: Personally I think it’s because we always kept believing in what we were doing. When you look back into our history you will notice we had quite some difficult times. But even tough we faced quite some misfortune in our early days, we always fought back and came back stronger. I guess that’s also something Metal Blade Records noticed when they signed us up. There are some people in this band that had the iron spirit to keep us going and going. Where others already would have thrown the towel many times we just kept believing in ourselves, which eventually resulted in a worldwide deal with Metal Blade Records and since then things have gone in the right direction.
4. Naturally, reviewers have labels for describing your music. If you were asked to describe your music, what terms would you use to describe it?
P: A furious, ass-kicking and deadly cocktail of Death/Thrash on LSD !!!
5. In what way is Callenish Circle different from Dark Tranquillity or In Flames?
P: Callenish Circle definitely doesn’t sound like Dark Tranquillity or In Flames. Ok both bands have a melodic sound as well but it’s completely different compared to ours. If you want to mention an absolute giant of the Swedish scene to compare Callenish Circle with, I would rather say At The Gates. I think Callenish Circle has more in common with ATG than with DT or IF. But even though I won’t deny we have been influenced by a band like ATG, I think we managed to create and perfected our own sound during the years.
6. Speaking of other bands, who are your heroes and influences musically?
P: Well in the early days we were definitely influenced and heavily inspired by bands like Death, Pestilence and (old) Paradise Lost. I guess you can also hear that back on our very early recordings… :o)
7. What inspires your lyrics? What do you write about?
P: Since Ronny (guitarplayer) writes most of the lyrics in Callenish Circle I can’t answer this question properly. Sorry!!!
8. Is there anything decidedly Dutch about your music?
P: Poeh… difficult question… I really wouldn’t know… do you think we sound typical Dutch then ? Well in fact most bands over here are playing a brutal style of Death Metal or Gothic Metal. There are hardly bands playing our kind of music, maybe a band like Detonation, but they are more strictly Gothenburg influenced Death Metal (like Dark Tranquillity – The Gallery era) while Callenish Circle sounds way more Thrashier. So I seriously doubt Callenish Circle sounds typically Dutch.
9. You have a new album due out later this year on Metal Blade, what can you reveal about that?
P: Right now we are working our asses off to get all material ready for our new album. So far things are going according to schedule. We have written the complete basics of 5 new tracks and we have plenty of cool material & ideas left for the rest of the album. It’s just a matter of putting the right ideas into a cool song structure and work out the details. Anyway the recordings are scheduled from halfway May ‘till the end of June. Then in the first week of July we will head to Denmark where we will mix the album with Tue Madsen (a.o. The Haunted, Illdisposed & Mnemic) at Antfarm Studios. We aim for a November 2005 release worldwide and after that we will be touring Europe again and hopefully playing some cool summerfestivals in 2006.
10. Please tell us about the Forbidden Empathy double CD release on Candlelight USA:
P: Basically it’s a collection of all our pre Metal Blade Records material, consisting of our Graceful… yet Forbidding album (1999), the Escape EP (1998), our debut album ‘Drift of Empathy (1996) and the Lovelorn-demo (1995). All recordings are digitally remastered at Franky’s Recording Kitchen with producer Berthus Westerhuis, and the cover artwork was created by Niklas Sundin (a.o. In Flames, Arch Enemy & Dark Tranquillity). Last but not least, it’s a 2 CD set, featuring 29 tracks that is sold for the fan friendly price of a regular CD. Is that a bargain or what !?!? :o)
11. What is something you have always wanted to be asked in an interview, but have never been asked? What is the answer?:)
P: Nothing really particular.
12. Will you be touring the United States this year?
P: Depends on the sales of the new album I guess… so all you Thrashing maniacs out there in the US make sure you buy our new album, so we can ravage the US for sure… in the meantime keep an eye on our website for latest news : www.callenish-circle.com
Cheerz, Pat on behalf of Callenish Circle.