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Interview

Deutsche VersionInterview mit After All (25.10.2006)

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HH: Hi Dries, This Violent Decline is your second record for Dockyard1. It seems that you've found a pleasant home with this company. Are you pleased with its work?

Dries: Absolutely. The team of Dockyard1 is working really hard to give our new album the best possible promotion and distribution. It's really cool to work together with such enthousiastic people.

HH: You recorded your last two albums, The Vermin Breed and Mercury Rising, together with Harris Johns. This time you recorded in Hype Studio with Dee J. Why didn't you choose Harris Johns this time as well for recording?

Dries: Well, I guess it was time for a change. We sure had a great time working with Harris in Berlin for those two previous records. He's a really great guy to work with and we are still very happy with the way those two albums turned out. Only it was time to try something else. Dee J. is our live engineer. He has seen the band hundreds of times live since 1995. He also recorded our first three albums. In that sense, it was sort of natural to work with him in the studio again. Since we know each other very well, we could work in a very dedicated and personal atmosphere. It was also nice to record close to home this time, and not far away from home in Berlin.

HH: This Violent Decline was mixed in Sweden in Studio Fredmann by Fredrik Nordström. Afterwards you went to Denmark to the Antfarm Studios where Tue Madsen did the final mastering. Why did you choose so many different studios for recording, mixing and mastering?

Dries: As I said, we tried a different approach. The previous albums were completely done by Harris Johns: recording, mixing and mastering. This time we had a different guy for every stage in the production. We chose to work with the best only... Fredrik Nordström has this massive experience with bands like In Flames, At The Gates, Arch Enemy, and so on. So we knew that he knows how metal has to sound, as he knows both the old and the new school. The mixing turned out really heavy, but still very clear, with a lot of separation between the instruments, exactly like we wanted it. Then Tue Madsen came in for the mastering. He gave the album an extra punch, made it sound more direct, in your face.

HH: I think the sound on This Violent Decline is better than on your previous record and the songs sound more mature. What is the biggest difference between The Vermin Breed and This Violent Decline in your opinion?

Dries: We chose to have a bit more of a modern sound on this album, especially on the drums. I think it works perfectly with our music. On The Vermin Breed we focussed a bit too hard on making a heavy hitting, fast thrash album I guess. For the new record, we wrote more from the heart, giving more room to the melodic part of our music. In that perspective, I think This Violent Decline is a natural development for the band, as the record combines the more traditional, melodic approach of Mercury Rising with the thrash attack and the heaviness of The Vermin Breed.

HH: Which song on This Violent Decline do you love most?

Dries: I love them all to be honest, because they all have their own character. I think "Frozen Skin" is one of the best tunes on the album, because it has all the elements of our sound combined in one song: heavy thrash riffs, a catchy chorus, some clear guitars in the middle part, a part with guitar harmony, a nice guitar solo... Other favourites are "Sacraments Of The Damned", because it is so fast and because I love the 12/8 middle part, and "The Harlot", with its great Judas Priest feel and double lead guitar break.

HH: Is there any chance to see you here in Munich live again? I liked your show back in 2003 where you played here together with Anthrax and Prong.

Dries: We have played in the south of Germany a number of times. Last year we played there with Candlemass and Destruction. We've been there with Agent Steel as well. We hope to return to München of course, as it is a great city. I clearly remember the show with Anthrax and Prong over there. It was a good one! Had a great party after the show in the beer garden of the New Backstage. Great times!

HH: How has it been to be on tour with these two bands?

Dries: Amazing! We had already toured in Europe with Anthrax a couple of months before, in March 2003. That was our first real big tour. It gave us so much publicity. Really, it was a key moment in the life of the band. A couple of months later, Anthrax returned to Europe for another tour - in Germany with Prong as special guest - and we were really lucky that we were offered to join the tour again. It's been really cool. We still have some contact with the guys from Prong, from time to time. Same for Anthrax. To give you an example: when Armored Saint played in Holland in June, they invited us to be the opening band that night. It was really cool to see John Bush again...

HH: Over the last year After All played a lot of live shows. Did all these shows have an effect on the new album, on how the new album sounds or on the songwriting? What influenced you most?

Dries: It certainly has had an influence, because we developed into a real live band. We have played a couple of hundreds of shows over the last years, which has allowed us to better understand our own music. When we write new music now, we always do that with the live situation in mind. As far as the album is concerned, we really tried to capture the live energy of the band on the record. And I think we came really close this time, haha...

HH: In 2005 you have been on tour with Destruction, Candlemass and Deathchain and later on together with Agent Steel. What can you report from these tours? How has it been? Which one went better? How did these big bands treat you?

Dries: That was a really busy year for us! First we did the Agent Steel tour. We had played with them before, on the warm-up show for the Dynamo Open Air festival in Holland. Shadows Fall was on that show as well. When Agent Steel returned for a complete tour the next year, they invited us again. I guess this shows how well it all worked between us. They're just a bunch of great guys. I'm still in contact with them - with Juan, Bruce and Karlos mostly - and I really can't wait until their new album comes out. It was a cool tour, with some great shows. We did some festivals in Holland and Germany as well. Played a really cool show in Slovenija also. Some great parties in Switzerland too!
On the Candlemass and Destruction tour, we went to Scandinavia for the first time, which was awesome. Played great shows in places like Helsinki, Göteborg, Malmö, Trondheim... Some great parties too. Went to some music clubs in Göteborg with Leif from Candlemass and Schmier from Destruction. Had a really good time on the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. We're still in touch with them. Really great guys! The only bad thing about that tour was that we travelled in the shittiest tour bus in modern history. It broke down all the time, the heating didn't work properly - it was either freezing cold or way too hot, and it just plain stank for three weeks on end... Ah, memories, haha...
Earlier this year, we played a little tour with King Diamond. That was awesome too! We played London for the first time, which was great. I have been a fan of King's since I started listening to metal back in 1984. So it was really a dream come true to actually meet him and be on tour with him. As a fan, that even was a bit surreal. Also he brought one of the friendliest and most helpful crews we have ever worked with. It absolutely was a pleasure being on tour with King. Hope we can do that again some time...

HH: Imagine This Violent Decline is a sweetie! What would it be and why?

Dries: Haha, that's a tough one... Something that has to be sweet and sour at the same time. Don't know if they have this kind of sweets in Germany, haha... That's what the music is: it has aggressive thrash pieces, but also nice and melodic stuff...

HH: Like many other bands you created a website on MySpace.com. Did this website push you forward? What effect did it have on After All?

Dries: Well, MySpace is just another channel to get in touch with people. It is a very easy way to let people check out the music. All they need to do is go the site, and they hear the music right away. You don't need to download stuff first to be able to hear some songs. That's really easy and convenient. It certainly has helped us. I'm sure a lot of people have heard our music for the first time on MySpace.
Our site is: www.myspace.com/afterallmetal

HH: What's up next in the After All camp?

Dries: We have been really busy over the last couple of months. Played a lot of shows: the tour with King Diamond, some club shows with bands like Armored Saint, Exodus, Anvil... Some festivals as well: Thrash Till Death Festival in Germany, Dokk'em Open Air in Holland (with Primal Fear and Blitzkrieg), Metal Dayz Festival in Switzerland (with Jon Oliva, Epica, etc), some festivals in Belgium...
Right now I'm doing a lot of interviews and promotion for the new album. We are also planning a series of shows for the fall. We hope we can go on another tour as well. We're working on that right now...

HH: Thanks a lot for you time and good speed for the future! Any last words?

Dries: Thanks to you for the interest in the band! Is appreciated. We hope to be back in München there. Be sure to come check us out then, and we'll have a drink together...
Check our site to see what we are up to in the future: www.afterall.be
Take care!

Lord Obirah

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