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Deathstars - Interview + Live Report

Live report: Deathstars, The Dead And Living, Nonexistence - Claws Through Europe Tour 2014 - 23rd October 2014, Explosiv, Graz, Austria

Thursday 23rd October 2014. I can tell you I was really feeling the adrenaline rushing through my veins as I was approaching a small venue in Graz, Austria – Explosiv. It has been two years since I saw them live and with my enthusiasm over the new album, The Perfect Cult (you can read the review HERE), seeing Deathstars live was something I wouldn’t dare to miss.
I entered the venue shortly after 19:00 to check what awaits me. Explosiv is not particularly big, but it’s a cosy place with a strong alternative vibe – just by my standards. There were some fans already waiting in the front row, but nothing much was happening. Soon the first band of the evening, Austrian Nonexistence, stepped on the stage. It wasn't till after the show I found out it was actually their debut performance, which came to my surprise - since the trio did not look nervous at all. As the venue was still more than half empty and as the front row was taken by hardcore Deathstars fans, which seemed dead at the time, it was more than understandable that the band did not try to interact with the crowd, other than by announcing which song is about to follow. But still, as someone who did not know their music at all, they got me intrigued to what more they have to offer. Describing their music as cosmic doom black metal, the word "cosmic" really does fit to their description, because what really got my attention were some really amazing atmospheric moments by layered keyboards, which created a very oozing and frosting sound in their blend of doom and black metal. (Nonexistence: Official website)
Shorty after Nonexistence ended their show, The Dead And Living took the stage and the cosmic darkness was history. The band delivered a very energetic and memorable performance. With their cabaret goes punk rock imagery and confident stage performance, they managed to get the audience – which was still half asleep – to dance. The singer, who goes by the name Coroner, strangely reminded me of Gerard Way from The Cheers For Sweet Revenge era by My Chemical Romance, with his jet-black shoulder length hair and white painted face. Their punk rock meets alternative rock and go-on-a-date-to-a-goth-club fusion was more than enjoyable, especially the up-beat, groovy songs. Coroner haven’t had mind what was going on under the stage, as he was effortlessly interacting with the audience, well aware the people are waiting to see Deathstars. I personally let myself go to be engulfed by their catchy sound and enjoyed their show from the first to the last song. (The Dead And Living: Official website)
It was around 21:20 when the lights went dim and the crowd swiftly gathered in the first rows under the stage. We knew the greatest fight on Earth was about to happen as a slight keyboard sound started piercing the air and green light dimmed the stage. Skinny, Nightmare and Vice took their positions, but the party officially started when Whiplasher hit the stage and opened the show with "Temple Of Insects" from the new album. The audience greeted the stars of the evening and showed even more enthusiasm when they took us way back to the time of Synthetic Generation with "New Dead Nation". The whole show was hitting us like a fire ball and even though Explosiv was not full, the band really gave all they got. With Skinny and Nightmare doing some crazy guitar motions, Vice getting his five minutes of Explosiv fame and Whiplasher being all over the stage, it really seemed the band was having a blast and that they are really glad they're back on the road. The setlist was set to everyone’s indulgence, as they covered all their albums, with the majority from their latest creation and their groundbreaking album, Termination Bliss. To my biggest surprise they performed "Greatest Fight On Earth", which is my absolutely favourite Deathstars song and I have never seen them play it live, so you can imagine why I couldn’t just stand still in the crowd. Termination Bliss was also represented by the famous "Tongues" and "Play God", "All The Devil's Toys" and "Explode" from The Perfect Cult couldn’t go missing as well. The big hits from Night Electric Night, "Night Electric Night" and "Death Dies Hard" got the crowd to sing along and since this was a metal concert, what would it be if they hadn’t play "Metal"? Lovers of Synthetic Generation loudly greeted "Syndrome" and "Semi-Automatic" and overall Deathstars really made it work. All the songs on the setlist were put on their place with precision and the energy flow between them was intact and they left nothing to coincidence. Whiplasher was – as usually - flirting with the audience in between songs and taking over the place with his larger-than-life stage persona. They delivered the ambiance of their music through their performance 110%. After an hour, the band left the stage but the audience wanted more, so they marched back again and performed "Fire Galore", which really got the people to move again. And for the grand finale, what else than the legendary ''Cyanide'', that made people go insane and the flamboyant "Blitzkrieg". With everyone singing along the famous last words: "This is the end; Still your need is driven on, driven on.... As we trigger one last bomb" we knew that the show was really over (even though our need was still driven on). I can't say anything negative about this performance, as I was left bedazzled and overly enthusiastic about this nothing less than astonishing show. But all things come to an end and well, Deathstars, hope to see you – naked or dressed – sometime soon again.


Interview with: Whiplasher Bernadotte
Conducted by: Ines

Now pause and rewind. Before the show started, I had the pleasure and honour of meeting Andreas Bergh a.k.a. Whiplasher Bernadotte, who more than kindly took some time to answer my questions. As my hand was shaking with the anxiety as I was recording our conversation at the beginning, I soon calmed down when we started talking, noticing Andreas is a really kind and calm person. We talked about the new album, plans for the future and how the tour is going – so if you want to know where you’ll be seeing Deathstars next, keep reading. And in the light of recent events, as the band experienced a great misfortune with their tour bus, we would also like to wish both bands on tour and the entire crew that the rest of the tour goes on without any more inconveniences. Also - a major thank you goes to the band, the crew and everyone at Explosiv, who kindly and warmly welcomed me and helped make this interview happen.

Ines: Hello Andreas and thank you for taking the time to talk to us before tonight's show. You've been halfway through your Claws Through Europe Tour at the moment, so how are your impressions of the shows you did so far on this tour?
Whiplasher: It's been great and I think we have all been eager to go out, because it's been quite a long time since we've been touring. The album was released in June, so we've been pretty much just sitting around, waiting for the tour to start. We're very pleased so far. I mean, it's a tough schedule, but we're back to putting the pedal to the metal, so to speak.
Ines: How do you feel your fans accept the new songs?
Whiplasher: Perfect, like always! Otherwise we would have a problem.
Ines: If I recall correctly, you chose The Dead And Living by yourselves as your support band for this tour. What made you chose them out of all bands?
Whiplasher: They're a really great band and their music kind of suits in the context of Deathstars also. There are a lot of bands out there that want to come and join us on the tour, but to us this time felt more important to choose a band, that we really like and we think people should get to know them. And they are good friends also.
Ines: This tour is mainly to promote your latest album, The Perfect Cult, which as you already said came out this June. I won't ask you if you're satisfied with it - because if you weren't, you wouldn't have released it. But in your words – what makes this album differ from your previous releases?
Whiplasher: It's much more introvert. I think it's the best album we’ve done so far. Maybe not as outgoing as Night Electric Night or Termination Bliss. It's darker and it's more melodic, it's a slower album; it may be harder to grasp. The Perfect Cult speaks more about private things, so we just felt we had to do this album. Maybe next time we'll sound like Motorhead or something, more straightforward.
Ines: In between Night Electric Night and The Perfect Cult you released two songs, "Death Is Wasted On The Dead" and "METAL" and featured them on Greatest Hits On Earth compilation. What do these two songs represent in the Deathstars discography, as they're not featured on any other album?
Whiplasher: We just wanted to put something new out and tried to show the span of what could appear on what would be The Perfect Cult album later on. We wanted two different songs that would fit to the sound of the new album. "Death Is Wasted On The Dead" and "METAL" were kind of very different songs, that's why we put them on Greatest Hits On Earth. We didn't just want to release a compilation album; we wanted to put something new out. People think it's "the best of album" – but by our standards it’s not; it would be arrogant even for Deathstars to say that. It was just getting the first ten years of Deathstars together, with the addition of a couple of new songs.
Ines: You never consider those two songs to be a part of The Perfect Cult?
Whiplasher: No, not really. It would be too boring actually. We could add them to the album if we wanted, but it's more fun just to have the new material.
Ines: One thing that's also noticeable with Deathstars is also your image and you tend to change it a little bit with every release; why so?
Whiplasher: I think some people tend to think we care more about our image, than we actually do. Basically it's just like when the album is done, we try to visualize it. There's no bigger idea behind it – it's not like we have a plan to do it, like "oh let's do this next time". It's just giving clothes and image to the music.
Ines: Another thing that is also quite steady with Deathstars are the remixes; you add remixes of your songs on every release and you even released Decade Of Debauchery in 2010, which only features various remixes. Why the remixes?
Whiplasher: Why not? Hehe.
Ines: Do you want to have your music remixed or do people just send the remixed versions to you?
Whiplasher: We had a contest for Decade Of Debauchery, so people could send their suggestions or remixes. For that particular album we got a lot of material sent from the artists we respect in the music industry and obviously they did good remixes. I personally never understood remixes at all, because it has nothing to do with the band – it's just someone else's disco aspect of your music. It's more suitable for clubs, but it's not really something that is important for the band.
Ines: You also have quite a few videos out so far and only one song – "All The Devil's Toys" – from the latest album has a video. Can your fans expect any more videos for the songs from The Perfect Cult?
Whiplasher: Yea, we've been discussing it, but we don't know yet for which song. Right now we're really busy with touring, but it would be nice to do another video for this album.

Ines: A change that also happened in the last years was Cat Casino leaving the band. You decided not to replace him; is that a permanent decision or were you perhaps contemplating of expanding the band again?
Whiplasher: At this moment it's a permanent choice. But you never know. It's very important not to replace him just because we would feel the need to replace him. Right now we're a four piece, but as I said - you never know. If we would feel like someone could really add something to the band, then we would of course consider it, but it's not in the starts right now – at least not in Deathstars.
Ines: Understandable. Skinny was busy too this year, as he did vocalist on the new SaDdoLLs album, Grave Party and last month he performed with them on their special Deathstars tribute show. How does it make you feel knowing that you've come so far, that there are other bands out there, paying tribute to you and also that we can hear other band's music being heavily influenced by your style?
Whiplasher: It's flattering of course! I think we have quite a few cover bands, so that is of course very cool. We also see a lot of people every night in the audience with Deathstars tattoos or such, so "the death clan" kind of turned out to be growing for itself. And this it's both – inspiring and frightening!
Ines: 2014 has really been a busy year for Deathstars and you still have this tour ongoing, which is set to finish in late November, but you know I have to ask: what are your plans for the future?
Whiplasher: We're looking into doing a South American tour, then we would also be touring Asia - Japan and China - and also we're doing a big Soundwave festival next year with Soundgarden and Marilyn Manson and such. And yeah, what else? America, a lot of festivals next summer, so we're doing a world tour now!
Ines: World tour, that’s amazing. At this point this would be everything from my side for now. Thank you again for taking the time to talk to me, wishing you a great show and I'm really excited to see you on the stage again. Anything else you'd want to tell to our readers?
Whiplasher: What could that be? I really hope that we get to Slovenia soon, because it's been a while!
Ines: Yeah, it's been two years.
Whiplasher: I know. That's a really miss on this tour, because we all want to go to Ljubljana and play there.... So yea, hope to see you naked in Ljubljana soon, hehe!

(Live photos by Ines)

Deathstars links: Official website, Facebook