Musicscan: How do you feel about your place within the metal scene as well as in between tradition and gaining new ground to bring forth what the metal heroes you grew up with did before ANTAGONIST were around?
Antagonist: Metal is such a beloved tradition to fans around the world that I understand why sometimes people turn on a band when they change their style or add different influences into the mix. At the same time, from a musician's standpoint, I think it's important to keep the music fresh in whichever way you see fit. As long as it's done with integrity and the best of intentions, progression in the music should be more accepted and respected, if not liked. In our case, we grew up listening to so much music that it just naturally comes out when we're writing. So i guess that makes it non traditional, in a sense, even though we're living in a time where we have so much to pick and choose from.
Musicscan: Looking on extreme metal in general you can find lots of sub-scenes and styles, the metal underground is changing all the time. Are there bands you feel connected with that might have a similar agenda to what you have with ANTAGONIST?
Antagonist: It seems that all bands start off with the same dream, we all want to tour the world and make a bunch of fans and play for sold out crowds and have CDs out. We get older, our goals change. Some of the bands we grew up with see a hint of success, and they ride with it but at the same time completely disregard any integrity they once had. Or we see friends jump ship from one band just to join a more "successful" band, in terms of popularity. There are literally only a handful of bands who have stayed true throughout, and I definitely think we're one of them. We've had plenty of chances to jump on the band wagon, change our style, the way we look, just to be like all those other bands. But we've stayed true to playing the music we love playing, and if kids like it, then that's a bonus for us. It sounds selfish, but we're doing this for ourselves. We have to, otherwise it becomes dishonest.
Musicscan: World In Decline finds separation through passion and honesty, something you are not hearing too often these days. It’s well balanced, brutal and having a good dramaturgy to keep things interesting. What is your attitude towards
metal in general and towards being ANTAGONIST?
Antagonist: Thanks so much for the kind words! I think the right attitude has a lot to do with it. Since day one, we haven't lost sight of why we do what we do. Sure, the goals may have changed, but we've always known that we're just 4 giant music fans who are lucky enough to have some talent and be able to do what makes us happy. And the only way we stay happy doing it is by being honest with ourselves and our fans. I see bands and people in general do shit for the wrong reasons, all the time. It just doesn't make sense. We may have missed some opportunities because we refuse to adopt trends or say shit that's just going to appease everyone else, but at least we can sleep at night.
Musicscan: How do you guys make sure to develop as musicians and songwriters? Is there something you do on a constant base beside going to the rehearsal room and practicing at home?
Antagonist: All of us in the band are giant music fans, so we're constantly studying what's out there, new music. old music new genres, etc. We constantly try to expand our horizons when it comes to what we listen to and what influences our writing. But i think the thing that pushes us more than anything is just life in general, our life experiences really shape our perspectives, even the way we approach writing music.
Musicscan: World In Decline is a pretty aggressive and self confident record. It’s intense and stands somehow outside competition due to the fact you are not following trends…
Antagonist: I think all our albums have been intense in their own way and I think they've all really been a microscope into our lives at that particular moment. World in Decline is more intense because it's a lot more straight forward, no nonsense. We've never worried too much about what listeners think, we've always played the music we want to play, and we're lucky enough that people have enjoyed it and understood it. I think our fans know what kind of records to expect from us, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. They know we're always going to stay true to ourselves and the music, regardless of what it sounds like. And think they really appreciate and respect that.
Musicscan: Do you still have to deal with limitations when it comes to the songwriting or are you in a position to realize all the ideas you have?
Antagonist: It's definitely changed over the years, and that's in large part to the lineup changes we've had. Our newer members Roland and Nick have definitely contributed a lot, I think we're more of a complete band than we've ever been. And of course, getting older and maturing and playing for so many years has made the process different as well. Everyone contributes now, when in the past it used to be only me, or me and Lond. I really don't think we have any limitations to how we write and what we write, but we've always been a metal band and always will be, so don't expect an electronica album out of us!
Musicscan: There are differences between you previous work and World In Decline as it is a very coherent and massive album. What are the reasons for this development?
Antagonist: We just wanted a more straight forward, pissed off sound this time around. I think a lot of it had to do with some of the lyrics I was writing and how we were feeling as people in general. You get older, you become jaded, things aren't so happy and cheerful anymore. You really see the darker side of life, and you see that the world around you isn't as beautiful as it could be because certain people are destroying it for everyone else. We really wanted to get that point across so we didn't exactly throw in a lot of twists and turns to confuse people. Our other albums were a lot more "moody," i think there was a much bigger range of emotions, which sometimes leads to lack of cohesion. But there was only one basic mood to "World", and that was just utter disgust. We stuck to that, and i think it made a bigger impact that way.
Musicscan: To me it seems that you are not willing to take compromises into consideration at all when it come to the sound of ANTAGONIST, right?
Antagonist: We don't want people to get confused and think we're the type of band that has one idea about the world around us and that we refuse to listen to other opinions. But at the same time, if you really believe strongly in something, you fight for it, you live for it, and if need be, you die for it. We're very open minded, and I think we're trying to put a target on those who continue to be ignorant and apathetic and buy into a system that is making them dumber and fatter and even more ignorant. Those people are the most uncompromising of all, because they don't give a shit about changing for the better, they just sit there and rot for generations without changing one bit. We're uncompromising in the sense that we don't take shit from anyone and we say what we feel, and we don't ever shy away from it, but we STILL allow for ourselves to grow and become better human beings, for ourselves and the world around us.
Musicscan: Is there something like a guiding line listeners have to know about to get a better understanding of what you are trying to tell them with World In Decline?
Antagonist: Our previous album "Exist" had a much more hopeful message, there was a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. "World in Decline" is far more bleak, because the truth is, sometimes things really don't get better, no matter how hard you try. And sometimes speaking out in a peaceful manner doesn't get the job done. I'm all for unity and peace but sometimes people need a kick in the ass, and sometimes destruction is the only solution left. Sometimes we need a revolution, and I think that time is approaching swiftly.
Musicscan: Why do you think World In Decline is an album being worth to be listened?
Antagonist: I just hope it creates a dialogue, regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. Discussion is the first step towards a bigger goal, so I hope we help that process in some way. And musically, I just think "World" is definitely our best album to date. I know all bands say that, and they have to say that, but I just think we're getting better at we do, fine tuning all our strengths, and like I said before, I think our current lineup is the strongest Antagonist has ever been.