Musicscan: First of all: a friend of mine once said after listening to some death’n’grind bands: this is for nerdy people played by nerds. Do you see any truth in this looking on what you are doing with BENIGHTED?
Benighted: Ah ah! I understand why some people think like that! The path to such a violent music is not for everyone of course. It’s a bit the same thing that if they would say that rugby (that I also practice) is played by masochist brainless barbarians! So can you imagine what kind of stupid people I can be practicing both of them? Ah ah! I would rather say that we are eternal kids and party animals capable of having fun with something we can unleash all the energy and rage with. The musical brutality is a common code gathering a family who understands that.
Musicscan: Personally I like to think that BENIGHTED is about musical education of listeners in some ways. What do you think about this impression? Is this something you are heading for at least subliminally?
Benighted: I don’t know if we have an educative role about this kind of music but this is our way to express what we have got inside. I would say the particular thing with Benighted is that we try to write actual songs and not only “tracks”. There’s nothing more boring for a death metal album than having the feeling to listen to the same 40 minutes long song and at the end not being able to remind a single thing from it. Each of our songs is supposed to be able to be the opening track of the album.
Musicscan: What exactly does BENIGHTED sound like from your point of view? Is it any kind of departure to what people might expect from you if you think of listener reactions. Do you feel “understood” to say so?
Benighted: Benighted is like the audio way to translate the psychotic crisis, it’s unpredictable, alternating creepy parts with very fast and brutal ones and writing songs with chorus that you instantly keep in mind. We try to bring the listener into the depths of the mental illness like if he was in a concrete horror movie and make him feel all the insanity of being surrounded by hallucinations and the ignorance of what will come next. Efficiency is the only thing we are looking for in our music. And from the reactions we have got from the crowd who gets crazy during our shows and scream the chorus of the songs with me, our goal is reached!
Musicscan: In general: how do you feel about your place within the heavy scene at all as well as in between tradition and gaining new ground to bring forth what the metal heroes you grew up with did before BENIGHTED were around?
Benighted: We have grown up with amazing bands like Napalm Death or Dying Fetus, we are a bit like their legacy and the best way we can honor them is to be authentic and bring our own-personal thing to the metal scene. Through the years we gained a very good audience and we have the luck to tour everywhere around the world! Our idols are now our brothers and we are very proud of the long path we made since the beginning of the band when we were rehearsing in my father’s garage! Ah ah!
Musicscan: Has it been harder coming up with new ideas this time for Necrobreed as the band has already written seven albums prior to this new one? What did you guys do differently for Necrobreed that you hadn't done previously to keep things progressing and get to a different view on your metal sound?
Benighted: We want every album to be unique and Necrobreed follows this rule! We always write stuff in a very instinctive way at first and with the new line-up it was so easy to come up with new ideas! The difficulty was more to choose between all the crazy ideas everyone had during the writing process! Manu, our new guitarist is an amazing riff-machine; he brought us such a new refreshing violence in our music, like a mix between our death metal roots and something definitely more insane than everything we did before. We never wrote such a fast and varied album, I would simply say that it contains the best tracks we ever wrote and I can’t wait to play them live and listen to the crowd scream the choruses with me! About the sound of this album the big difference is the guitar sound which is way more like the old-school death metal Swedish sound! It fits perfectly with the atmosphere we wanted for Necrobreed and it’s at the same time very massive and aggressive.
Musicscan: Btw: how did the chemistry within the band develop since forming the band ages ago, and what is to say about the band philosophy as of now?
Benighted: It’s a bit hard to explain but it becomes obvious when we are gathered to create new songs! All our different influences and our death-metal spine articulate themselves together to bring this hybrid stained with grindcore, black metal or hardcore. We have no limit in experimentation and I think this is very liberating for our imagination. We had a lot of line-up changes through the years and each time it was for something better and new which brought Benighted to a higher level, so I am definitely not afraid about the chemistry in the band for the years to follow! The only philosophy is to let our guts speak!
Musicscan: What is your attitude towards your songwriting in general? The style you are playing is technical, but so far i always had the feeling that you were heading for real songwriting with a good flow within the songs while having also the dramaturgy in mind...
Benighted: As I said before, we want write actual songs! Each one has to be easily recognizable from the first notes and I am often surprised to notice that fans even remind the lyrics also! We never considered ourselves as a “technical” band; this is more about feelings than musical skills demonstration. We just want it effective, fast, brutal and groovy.
Musicscan: There are so many surprises to find within your songs. But: is this something you are heading for by choice or accident? What sort of evolution has the band gone through into Necrobreed? What I feel about the album is an even more coherent and in “one-style” sounding on the one and a damn good dramaturgy and diverse aggression on the other hand …
Benighted: I totally agree with you as the global atmosphere of the album is very coherent and respects the concept of the story. It was our choice for this album to be a like a whole book or an audio horror movie with the brutal passages, creepy samples and surprising stuff that you didn’t see coming. Surprising parts are a very important part of our musical identity.
Musicscan: BENIGHTED consists of well-skilled musicians with lots of crazy ideas: do you sometimes have to prevent yourselves from getting too technical to stay memorable? It’s obvious, that it is an important thing for you to write songs with a good dramaturgy and contrasts…
Benighted: Technical is not a purpose if it doesn’t serve the efficiency of the tracks. And we have now the luck to have as our official drummer the incredible Romain Goulon (ex-Necrophagist) and the album wouldn’t have been so intense without him. His skills have helped us to reach a new level of speed and it’s so awesome to be on stage with such a crazy guy behind the drums!
Musicscan: And as you are playing pretty technical music: do you think it is necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – how do you handle such questions within the songwriting process?
Benighted: In fact, the only thing we listen to when we rehearse new stuff is how we feel when we play thenew parts and if it actually gives us the need to break our neck on it. It doesn’t matter if it’s technical or just basic riff if it’s coherent into the track and make it powerful!
Musicscan: As far as lyrical themes go, could you give us a little insight into it, please. Is there an underlying idea behind Necrobreed that can stand for the record as a whole?
Benighted: Like all the previous albums, Necrobreed has its own concept and this time it’s about a schizophrenic man living alone, thinking that he can be pregnant and build his own-family with dead animals found on the side of the road. The idea came up from one of my patients (I am a nurse in a psychiatric hospital) who doesn’t know if he is a man or a woman and when his belly hurts, he thinks it’s because there’s a baby inside. For Necrobreed I tell the story of a delusional man stitching dead animals on his belly and when he feels the warmth of the infection reaching his belly, he thinks that the pet is alive again, so he cuts the stitches off and gives it a place in his house. Every song is about a moment of his life, explaining the childhood traumas which led to the delirious theme, and the important steps of his life. On a second level of reading, Necrobreed is talking about the modern way we have to create “friends” and “family” through the social networks, people you can easily erase from your life, who show their love with “likes”, like a synthetic and reassuring way we have to talk to other human beings hidden behind our computer. And when we are confronted to talk to someone for real, some of us don’t know how to do that anymore.
Musicscan: Lastly: what do you want people to take away from Necrobreed?
Benighted: I hope you will enjoy each part of this vicious and creepy album, let yourself invade with the schizophrenia sweating from the music and prepare yourself to declare war in the pit when we’ll see each other at the concerts! See you in the pit and spread the sickness!