Intervju (Engelska)

KRISIUN - Interview with Alex Camargo

Fresh off the "Masters of Chaos"-tour of North America with MORBID ANGEL, BEHEMOTH and DESPISED ICON and supporting their massive new album "AssassiNation", vocalist and bassplayer Alex Camargo kindly took some time to answer a couple of questions for CriticalMass.se.

Hello, thanks for taking time to answer this. First of all, which one of you am I talking to?
Hello...you are talking to Alex.

I'm sure you get asked this a lot but I still think it's an interesting question. What is it about Brazil and South America in general that makes it spawn so many unique, interesting and astonishingly brutal metal acts? I mean, these days there's you, REBAELLIUN, NEPHASTH and ABHORRENCE to name a new and before you there were SARCOFAGO, HOLOCAUSTO and several others. What compels you all to play such extreme metal? Is there perhaps something unholy in the drinking water?

Läs mer: KRISIUN - Interview with Alex Camargo

NAPALM DEATH - On the line with Shane Embury

NAPALM DEATH have been around for over two decades but ever since leaving the much ill-mentioned record label Earache some years ago have really reignited themselves. Although they've never been truly gone, it's almost like a comeback judging by the albums that have followed the split.

Soon their latest offering "Smear campaign" will be available in a store near you and with it being a crusher of an album we decided to have a talk to bassplayer and oldest remaining member Shane Embury about the new record, Earache and plenty of other stuff.

Note: This interview was done a couple of days before the very sad and untimely passing of former NAPALM DEATH-axeman Jesse Pintado.

It's a very relaxed and jovial Shane Embury that calls me up this wednesday evening. With a slightly muffled voice he greats me, excuses himself for having his mouth full of bread (hence the muffled voice) and before I know it the interview is well on its way.

Läs mer: NAPALM DEATH - On the line with Shane Embury

MANOWAR - Interview with singer Eric Adams

Eric Adams
How many years does a band have to be around to be rightfully called "veterans"? I have no clue, but calling MANOWAR veterans feels appropriate enough to me. Formed backstage at a BLACK SABBATH gig in May 1980 (bass player Joey DeMaio worked as a stagehand for BLACK SABBATH at the time), the young and hungry fourpiece quickly adopted a kind of viking/fantasy-inspired image to stand out and to reflect the heavy, loud and primal "take no prisoners"-attitude and sound they had.

Since the debut album "Battle Hymns" (1982), the band has kept true to their original ideals, both visually and sonically (still holding the Guinness World Record for "Worlds Loudest Band", but more on that later on). Now, twenty-six years since getting together, the band seem to enjoy themselves immensely, and it's an obviously excited and happy Eric Adams that I'm speaking to on the phone in early October, to find out what MANOWAR is up to. Let's find out!

Läs mer: MANOWAR - Interview with singer Eric Adams

SKINNY PUPPY - interview with mythmaker Nivek Ogre

"We're a working band, you know?" (Photo: SPV)
Getting the go-ahead to interview the legendary Nivek Ogre, a k a Kevin Ogilvie, of SKINNY PUPPY and ohGr fame, did make me giddy with nervous excitement. The reformed SKINNY PUPPY, industrial / EBM / electronica / what-have-you pioneers that called it quits in 1995, are not only one of my absolute favourite bands ever – they're also as relevant as they ever were, with a brand new album – "Mythmaker" - to be released by the end of January 2007. The follow-up to 2004:s reunion album ("The greater wrong of the right") is the third big SKINNY PUPPY release this decade – the second being the DVD "The greater wrong of the right - live". All three of excellent quality, I might add.

In short, SKINNY PUPPY are back, in a big way, and as relevant as ever!

I gave Ogre a call in Los Angeles, over a somewhat weak phone line, to discuss the new album, the past few years of reunited PUPPY-dom, and... second-hand stores.

Läs mer: SKINNY PUPPY - interview with mythmaker Nivek Ogre

To protect or to serve: The labels panic – we suffer

Is the promotional copy an antiquated notion?
Dear Record Labels, Music Distributors, Retail Outlets and esteemed Music Business Colleagues:

On behalf of our web magazine, www.criticalmass.se, which is one of the "major players" on the hard rock/metal/extreme music scene in Sweden, as well as all the signatures you will find on our online petition (link below) – this statement is to be circulated – we wish to raise a few points of interest regarding the increased use of DRM ("Digital Rights Management", or "Digital Restrictions Management") techniques for "marking" promotional CD:s and MP3:s of Your artist's songs intended for review in magazines and on websites. Thus, pirated MP3:s will be either hard to produce from the promo CDs or traceable to the piracy culprits.

Your intent is obvious: to protect Your artists and your investments against Internet piracy. You will undoubtedly find our discontent murkier, but hear us out - it is not quite what you might think.

WILL THIS AFFECT PIRACY AT ALL?
First off; on a neutral note: these techniques will most likely have very little effect on the piracy problem. As we understand the situation today, Internet piracy "groups" get ahold of promotional copies – that are sent out preceding a record's release date – and then compete for the dubious "honour" of releasing it online before anyone else. We believe most Internet pirates, however – the "Common Joes" – care little about grabbing the product as early as possible. Rather, it's obviously a case of these pirates not being willing to pay for the music. Water-marking each MP3 for every individual journalist may hinder the release of "leaked" advance copies online, but we do not believe it will have much effect on the situation once the retail copies are out in the stores. Mr. and Mrs. Common Joe, we fear, will be only too content to postpone their downloading until the official retail copies are out. These can, for obvious reasons, not be traced to any one journalist willing to stake his reputation in the business in order to satisfy Internet piracy "groups". The net effect will, in the end, most likely be negligable at best.

THIS IS HOW WE FEEL ABOUT IT
On a subjective note: you seem to forget that one of the few perks of working as "major" web magazine journalists is that we get free albums in order to promote them. We at CRITICAL MASS do not currently make any money off our work. It is out of a pure love of music that we do what we do. We get to pay for everything ourselves; from the Editor sending out promo packages to the individual journalists, to the web domain, via travel expenses and telephone costs. At present time, even though our web magazine is one of a respectable size – and one receiving promotional copies and interview requests from most of the major distributors and record labels in our field – this is not making us a nickle. It is in fact costing us money and time for which we are not being reimbursed for in any other way than getting free promo albums, and the chance to talk to musicians we admire, thus promoting them and their work. Their product.

In the case of MP3:s, they are compressed versions of that product, with lower sound quality. As a magazine committed to keeping our name in good standing – and certainly not one promoting Internet piracy, or distributing promotional copies to Internet piracy "groups" – we find it insulting that the market tendency is that we will in fewer and fewer cases actually get a copy of THE ACTUAL ALBUM, but rather water-marked MP3:s, for review – i.e. PROMOTIONAL – purposes.

This is an actual warning posted online in a major metal record label's 'press section'. If you decided to work for someone, would this employer be your first choice?
In some cases we don't even receive actual downloadable files but instead have to listen to the album online through a Flash-interface, which is even more ridiculous since this effectively hinders us from listening to the music in the way it is meant to be – on our stereos. Naturally this makes it impossible to write a fair review.

Another method used by many record labels to hinder the illegal spreading of their intellectual property is by hacking up the songs on the promo CD into 99 tracks so that each song can be 10 tracks on the CD. This also makes it harder for the reviewer since the same choices and ways of listening to the songs that apply to a normal CD don't exist. This method is completely pointless since the tracks and still be turned into MP3:s and with a few simple clicks and the right software easily merged into a complete song. The only ones bothered by this is us, the reviewers.

Yet another pointless way of maiming the promo CDs and making it impossible for a reviewer to make a fair assessment of the music is by having a speaker talk over the music once a minute in every other song. This disturbs the listening process tremendously and making a fair review is simply not possible. These promo CDs rarely make it out on the internet for the very same reason, nobody wants to listen to songs that get interrupted all the time. Again, the only ones who suffer are the reviewers.

You get A LOT of FREE PROMOTION from us and we do NOT get paid for promoting YOUR products.

We dare say there will be FEWER reviews, if all we will be getting in the future is either watermarked MP3:s, or promo copies where a speaker voice interrupts the music every fifteen seconds to announce that this promo copy we've been sent is the "PROPERTY OF [insert Record Label name]".

The entire concept of DRM is inherently broken. It simply doesn't work. The only people that suffer ill-effects from these techniques are those who actually obey the law and aren't committing any wrongful acts. The internet pirates laugh at it and aren't noticably put off by it. DRM is only punishing the people buying and reviewing the records and thus is completely pointless and needs to stop!

ATTENTION CUSTOMERS! THERE IS MORE TO THIS THAN PROMO MP3:S!
As you well know, it is not only us who feel this way. As of today, major Music Business market players, like Apple or EMI for instance, reject the DRM technique. We also wish to strongly object to what we feel is Orwellian overtones hidden behind this supposedly benevolent technique: to quote DRM information website www.drm.info: "Imposing third-party restrictions on the users of a computer or other device, with or without the users consent."

We urge everyone, whether a CONSUMER or "market player", to find out more about this technique. Check out some of the links below!

WE'RE IDEAL IDEALISTS - BUT FOR HOW LONG?
The Brooklyn, NY band BIOHAZARD once stated, regarding the music business "players": "Don't forget – YOU work for US!" In this case, we wish to remind you NOT to FORGET that WE work for YOU. And for FREE!

If you DO forget, you just might find that we will no longer do just that. The net effect of THAT could be substantial!

WWW.CRITICALMASS.SE

Authored by Chief Editor Dennis Jernberg and Journalists Claes Wiberg and Daniel Löfquist (April 15, 2007).


If you have read this article and agree with it's content – please take action and sign our online petition now! Maybe some day we can all enjoy the fantastic music the way WE want it, and also in a way that is fair to the artists!

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