Illdisposed have been playing death metal for almost twenty-five years now, and their latest album With The Lost Souls On Our Side shows that they have no desire to stop now. With its hard hitting grooves and breakneck vocals, the band sounds just as strong as ever. I spoke with Jakob “Batten” Hansen (Guitars) as he talked about the new album, his passion in writing music and some of his influences, as well as the exclusive bonus re-recordings of the band’s classic material!
Tell me a little about yourselves. How did you first meet up and how would you describe your sound?
The band was formed twenty-three years ago. In the beginning we were playing a more brutal kind of death metal. After a couple of albums we developed our own style which is a more groovy kind of death metal.
Let’s talk about the new record, With The Lost Souls On Our Side. How long did it take to write and record it? Where did you record the album and what was the atmosphere in the studio like? Did you feel rushed, or was everything pretty smooth?
I’m constantly thinking of music, so when a new album is finished, I’m already thinking of new songs. So the writing process took around a year – that may sound like a long time, but we’ve all got our day jobs to take care of besides the band. The recordings took about two months, on and off. We partly recorded it at the famous Antfarm Studio here in Denmark, and partly at my own studio. But since we’re using my own studio, we don’t need to rush or anything. So it’s actually pretty relaxing.
Compared to your earlier releases, what would you say is different about the sound of With The Lost Souls On Our Side? I’m actually reminded a little of mid-era Kataklysm, which certainly brings the thunder.
I don’t know. It’s always difficult for me to talk about that, because I’m just writing music from the heart and I don’t think about the differences and details. But I guess it’s one of the harder releases we’ve made. I only know one Kataklysm album (Prevail) and I can see what you mean. They also play a similar kind of mid-tempo, groovy kind of death metal, like we do.
Tell me a little bit about the lyrical content for the album. What are some of the stronger topics that you wanted to focus on with the disc? Who are the “lost souls?”
Bo’s lyrics are quite negative. He is always writing about the negative sides of life on this album. I think it’s his way of dealing with the problems. It’s all very personal. The lost souls are the metal fans and musicians out there. I think many of us feel like lost souls that don’t fit into the square society. We’re outsiders. But together we have something most people don’t have, which is a bond and a connection into some kind of parallel universe that just belongs to us and no one else.
As far as influences or inspirations go, who could you say had the biggest impact on your music from past to present? Even before that, what made you first want to pick up an instrument and play music?
I know it may sound weird, but we have always been inspired by Depeche Mode. There was always a sense of darkness and melancholy that they always brought up in their sound. But it was Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate that made me want to play guitar. I was eight years old when one of the older boys at school gave me an Iron Maiden tape. I was hooked immediately.
There certainly has been quite a bit of war and warlike actions going on in the world as of recent, with the crisis in Israel and the Malaysian plane being shot down (apparently it carried hundreds of AIDS researchers, some of the best in the world), what do you think is going on? Are the last days of mankind?
It’s a sick world and every time a conflict is close to an end, two new conflicts begin. Mankind is a self-destructive bunch of retards and I seriously believe that we will one destroy ourselves. Some maniac will pop a nuclear weapon and then it begins.
What do you guys do when you’re not playing in Illdisposed? Are there other bands we can catch you in? And besides that, what do you guys enjoy as a side hobby? Any interesting day jobs?
We’ve got an IT specialist, a social worker and one is working at a music store. I’m working with IT infrastructure. Bo has been growling for Panzerchrist and our bass player Kussen is playing in another death metal act called Crocell.
There are two bonus tracks on the special edition digipack of the record, “Life Equals Zero” and “Reversed.” Tell me a little about these tracks and why you decided to save them for the special edition of the record.
They’re actually re-recordings of old songs. They originally appeared on our debut album, Four Depressive Seasons. We thought it could be cool to see how they would sound if they were recorded today. It was a different kind of song writing back then, just piling riffs on top of each other. But it was funny to record those songs again.
Let’s talk about touring. What could you say are some of the most memorable tours that you’ve been on and what were some of the interesting and crazy fan experiences that you’ve had?
We had an amazing trip to New Zealand. We were actually the second Danish band ever to play in New Zealand. The first band was Aqua, you know, “I’m a Barbie girl…” and so on. As for crazy fan experiences, we’re not exactly the Backstreet Boys, and our fans are normally kind, just asking for autographs and to have a beer together.
What are some of the bands that you’re currently listening to right now?
Lots of different stuff like Opeth, Mastodon, Immortal and King Diamond.
11. What do you think are five of the best records of all time in your opinion? Are there any records that you don’t think got enough attention back in the day?
Judas Priest – Turbo
Morbid Angel – Covenant
A-HA – Scoundrel Days
Death – Symbolic
King Diamond – Them
Something like that. There are too many to only mention five. Forbidden Evil by Forbidden didn’t get enough attention back in the day. That album is better than most of the popular thrash metal albums from the eighties.
Thanks for making a pummeling death metal disc and best of luck to you guys in the future! – Eric
Thank you for the interview! Cheers!