interview by mike bushman
It’s got to be fast. And fucking loud. Metal demands it. And thrash metal commands it. A sub-genre falling on the lighter side of death metal and willing to have much more fun than black metal and basically shares a bed with speed metal. Nu-metal doesn’t even enter into the equation here. The world outside of metal couldn’t care about these distinctions, but those who crave the fast loud rules, it’s the differences that keep the genre alive. Thrash metal was given its most definitive voice in the late eighties and often associated with the East Bay Thrash Movement (San Francisco) and was exemplified by a slew of bands like Exodus, Testament, Megadeth and the most recognizable Metallica (although stressing only the first three Metallica full lengths truly qualify). Soon after, bands like Pantera took the genre further. And then there is Slayer. Who still dominates the genre, if for no other reason, they have never compromised their style and still release and tour to sold out crowds. It’s with this influence we can most directly draw a line to Northern Germany’s Dew Scented. The members were barely teenagers when the first movement of thrash swept through the world. Pushed underground by the 90’s embracing of the grunge, punk and whatever marketable flavor sold the most records, true metal ideals held firmly overseas. Around 1992, when metal was probably at its most unmarketable, Dew Scented first made its voice heard. Feeling the current trends in music would not lend much help in their success, Dew Scented knew from the start that it would be up to them to focus, tour and release as much as possible to overcome any industry nay-sayers or scenesters who didn’t believe that their path of metal was a valid musical direction. But a great thing happened in the late 90’s. A lot of heavy music started to break back into the mainstream charts. Bands like Slipknot and System of a Down took their metal roots and expanded on the ideal. This has opened the door to many forms of extreme music. Enter Dew Scented. Although the band has yet to tour the US, their name has been spreading over Europe for years due to the bands work ethic and ‘anyplace, anytime’ touring mentality. With ‘Inwards’, their fourth full length and first to be released in the US, the band is feeling the world open up to their brand of speedy thrash metal.
I notice that the word ‘Northern’ is added to the ‘German’ to describe your origins. Is there a need for distinction from say, ‘Southern’ German, or ‘East’ German?
Leif: Not really. Germany is pretty vast. But it’s more like a tourism place for foreign metal bands. The German metal bands themselves have a very very tough time in their own scene. Because everyone loves Germany, everybody thinks Germany is the metal paradise so of course everybody tours here. The more exotic or the Americanized that you are as a band, the more chances you have as a band and the more media attention you get. So it’s been sorta rough for a couple of the local bands, especially in the 90’s, because Germany had a very strong metal scene in the 80’s. With the thrash metal like Destruction, Kreator and more traditional metal bands. Everybody that was in the second generation had to overcome this big shadow of the early bands. I don’t think it makes a lot of difference if you come from Northern or Southern part of Germany, but in Germany itself, it does make a difference. It’s like the east/west coast of America. We don’t really play a lot of the Southern part because they already have a lot of band there, and the other way around. So I guess we just wanted to give people the information that we were from the Northern part, but stylistically it doesn’t really make any difference. The scene in Germany has always been really strong for metal, whereas it was mostly traditional metal in the last couple of years. Melodic power metal, old-fashioned heavy metal. Bands like Gravedigger and Hammerfall, they could probably tour for 20 years in Germany and nobody would complain. For the rest of the scene it has been ups and downs in every other country. Thrash metal especially has been out of the focus for say, half a decade. Just because Black Metal, Gothic Metal and all those other styles were more hyped, more popular. Germany is so big, everything has a little piece of the cake. But at the end of the day, we have the same problems that every other country has. Too bands, too many trends, too many different styles and it just goes like the movement of the waves of the sea. Every five years you see the metal scene coming back a little bit stronger, then dying back down again. I would say all those nu-metal type bands from America are very very popular over here, but it’s just in a different scene. It doesn’t mix up to much with the underground metal, especially the more extreme metal, which has always been alive over here. For a couple of years, there was not so many exciting new bands, so the newer fans were not able to get into the late 80’s atmosphere of extreme metal. They just didn’t grow up with that. If you don’t grow up in the right atmosphere and right attitude for this type of music, you are not going to be able to live it for a couple of years yourself.
Yeah, the early 90’s really pushed metal underground for a long time. A lot of people say that was a good thing to looking at the commercialization of metal in the late 80’s. By going underground, it came up with some new styles.
Leif: Exactly. I think it just refreshed the whole scene. Whenever it gets so over flooded, it just disappears for a while and comes back with more strength. I think that’s one of the points for our band as well. We had to fight against the wind for a couple of years with the style of music that we are playing. So that only made us more aware of what we are doing and made us that much more stronger. Which is probably one of the things we are profiting off of at the moment.
How has the music scene changed in the last 5 years in Germany?
Leif: In the lower underground, it didn’t change a lot. A lot of people that were listening to it before, stuck to it and kept on listening to it. For the bands that appeared during that time frame, (Dew Scented solidified around 97), we just figured out that if we wanted people getting to our music and understanding our music, we would have to go play as much as possible because we were not going to get signed to a big label or offered the chances that a lot of bands that went from zero to 100 got. So we just played as many shows as possible. I think we have done around 250 shows in the meantime. Just on our own, trying to play wherever we got the chance to. Even for like 10 people in a café.
Have you seen a greater acceptance of metal in general there, now that the States have brought a lot of heavier bands back into the mainstream market?
Leif: I think so. But then again, it is for the mainstream. If you see a band like Slipknot or Drowning Pool or POD on the charts. That’s cool, I get into that music. I have no problems with that. Of course I think it’s cooler that young kids listen to that instead of Backstreet Boys. But I think of them as a totally different size and scene as bands like Dew Scented. 90% of their crowd are 13 and 14 year old people that never heard of Maiden or Slayer. They get to hear Slipknot, but don’t know where the music comes from. They probably don’t know all the bands Slipknot themselves are into. So it’s opening doors, but different doors. But bands like Slipknot are doing a great job for other heavier bands, because for one, they are getting their audiences into heavier guitars. And second, they don’t forget where they come from and they mention bands like Immolation and Shadows Fall so young kids at a certain point are going to pick up those names and give it a listen and eventually might like it. But I’m being realistic and I’m into this for the long term. So if those bigger bands disappear again in a couple of years, I wouldn’t be very surprised. Then I just hope that the underground music people will still be there and giving extreme bands a chance.
Are you familiar with all the sub-genres the journalists make up for metal? Like nu-metal? Euro-Metal? Post-apocalyptic-black-jesus-exploding-hamster metal? (Ok, I made that last one up.)
Leif: Yeah, I used to write for fan zines as well seven or eight years ago. I think you have label the styles a certain way because otherwise people are not going to know what you are listening to. There are so many small differences between the bands. I would be fine with ‘rock’ and ‘metal’ as two big genres. But then again, people are very conservative and very picky. So they of course want to know if they are listening to thrash or death metal. Or new Swedish thrash metal, or new American thrash metal. At the end of the day, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.
I would call Dew Scented Older-School Euro-Slayer type thrash metal.
Leif: That’s cool. I’m perfectly fine with that. We obviously take a lot of influence from the older generation of thrash bands. Slayer I guess is one of the main influences for us especially when it comes to guitar riffing, because I think they just have the most violent and most aggressive guitars in metal history. At the beginning, a lot of people were just calling us death metal because of extreme vocals and pretty fast songs. And I thought that really wasn’t right because we grew up with late 80’s thrash metal, and just wanted to take it a little heavier than that. So a lot of the thrash metal fans that don’t really get into those ‘cookie monster’ type of vocals, they never really had the chance to understand that we might be about thrash metal.
It would be an easy mistake if you didn’t listen to a lot of metal. As Dew Scented to deftly walk the line of a thrash band that’s upped the notch of aggression which borders them closer to more death and extreme metal. (No middle ground on death metal, where as Dew Scented has more thrash guitar attack and catchy riffs).
Leif: Like you were saying before about 5 years ago, people were complaining that thrash metal wasn’t that cool anymore, and that death metal was on the way down because Black Metal had taken over. They were always giving us shit for the fact that we are playing ‘old-fashioned’ music. The only thing that really answered them was that we were just doing what we felt was right for us. Because that’s what we like to listen to ourselves. And there were not to many bands doing it anymore. That, for me, was more of a reason to do it. For us, it just feels very natural. That’s why we look forward to people coming back to us.
You hit it on the head when you said you do what you want to do and what sounds good to you. Anytime you pre-conceive too much, or do something that isn’t natural, you are kidding your audience. Even if you get away with it, it’s not real. And time usually sorts out those poseurs.
Leif: We just record music to be able to go out and play shows. So for us, our goal was to play shows. And we could not do this if we weren’t totally serious about it. It has to be full of energy and full of passion on stage for it to work.
Formed in 92, are you, Leif, the only original member?
Leif: Actually our bass player Patrick started out the band in 92 with some other guys and they didn’t have a singer for like 3 or 4 weeks. So if someone needs to be crowned the founding member, it would be our bass player.
So approaching 10 years, what’s the focus to keep the original ideal going so long?
Leif: It’s funny, if you have changing songwriters, especially the guitar players, which we’ve had a lot of changes throughout the years. When we got together, we never really had a ‘goal’, we were just taking it day by day and having fun with that. So when we noticed that things were taking off, were signing our first record deal, playing our first shows and playing the first tour, a couple of the other guys found out they don’t have the time or energy to give 100% to that. And that’s when the first member changes occurred. At that time, I don’t think we were really thinking about what would happen in a couple of years. I was just talking to Patrick our bass player the other day about the fact that it’s almost been 10 years now. We really didn’t notice because we’ve been just taking this step by step. The moment we are doing recording an album, we look forward to the release, we play a couple of shows and then it goes on and on like that until the next recording. The lineup is 24-25 years old on average so we are still quite a young band. When I started, I was 16. The band sort of kept refreshing itself with every line-up change. We never really lost focus because we started really small with a lot of doors being closed to us. So we started with a small label and no interest in the media and no distribution. With every album, more things happened. And now, almost tens years into this, it’s the first time we are getting a chance with America and Japan. It’s really thrilling at the moment. On the one hand it’s funny, because I think we could have needed these a couple of years ago, but then again maybe we have the luck that a lot of bands in our style did not have. If you look around for a lot of classic thrash and death metal bands, they had their peak with their first or second album. So growing ourselves from year to year and album to album, I would say we are one of the few bands who can get away with the fact of saying their fourth album is definitely their best album so far.
Any directions the music industry is going that you find challenging/exciting?
Leif: I think there is a diversity. That’s the most important and most significant thing about the music industry. You are getting a lot of different things offered. I come from that background that you had to look really hard to find the bands that you were into. Go out to tape trading. Have pen pals in South America to get a certain demo and all that. So a lot of things have been changed for the easier with the Internet. With so many different labels. With so many different tours happening.
You were born in 1976, so you were just a wee teenager when the American thrash movement took place. How did you find bands like Slayer, Metallica and Pantera in Germany in the mid-80s?
Leif: I actually grew up in South America. I was raised in Columbia.
Which I would think would be even harder to find that kind of music.
Leif: Exactly. From being like 5 or 6 guys among friends, sitting down somewhere in the middle of Columbia, and having no official releases at all. I think the only bands that got official releases were like Iron Maiden and Megadeth, and hard rock bands. So we would all go out and have tape trading with some European guys or some guys in bands. And that’s how we basically got our music back then. That’s how I started. All the way tapes. I didn’t have one LP or CD until I moved to Europe. So once I was in Europe and seeing that was all so easy and all over the place, I would not complain at any point.
When did you move to Germany?
Leif: In the beginning of 1990.
Was there a time when it was hard to obtain recorded music in Germany? Or get access to good tours? Is it easier to get music there now?
Leif: The area I live in at the moment is Dortmund, which is like a central area in Germany, close by to Holland. And you even have metal specialized stores downtown. Sometimes you have a choice between two or three concerts a night in the next half hour drive away from here. So it’s really like a central melting pot for metal. This is where all the magazines and all the record labels come from. So all the tours come here.
Do you find any misconception about you or your band being from Germany?
Leif: I guess a lot of people when hearing about Germany, have a very different vision from what it is actually. If you come over here, you are going to see it looks just like around the corner from your place.
See, I’ve heard I heard Germany has a pretty strict policies and censorships on anti-violence. Especially in video games.
Leif: It might have, but most of the people that are into computer games, play the violent games, so they are all around also. I never got into video games. Our bass player is playing them constantly. And I think he has access to everything he wants. Censorship in Germany has a very strange way to come to happen. First you have to have somebody that claims that something that would be against the laws of censorship, until it’s rated. So for a lot of small or underground releases, be it music or video games, nobody picks them up really, and so nobody notices. So they don’t get censored.
Censorship ever affect music there? How does that pertain to music and bands who specialize in darker, blacker and more violent imagery?
Leif: When it comes to music, the censorship is only a come and go thing. Once every ten years it affects a couple of bands. Like, it affected Cannibal Corpse. It affected Pungent Stench. But at the moment, nobody really seems to care. Politicians and everybody that’s not into music has their focus on other things at the moment. I wouldn’t have really heard any band in extreme music that had huge problems with censorship in the last couple of years. We have a political problem over here from time to time when sadly, still existing wave of right wing people are in the scene. So for that there is censorship, which I think is very very good.
Is there a lot of skinhead/hardcore stuff going on in Germany?
Leif: Yeah, there is. It’s definitely happening. And it was happening as well in the metal circuits as well with a lot of black metal bands adopting those extreme attitudes just because it was shocking. So that problem always was there. And I think in a small circle it still is there. But it doesn’t really combine so much with the normal part of the scene.
There seems to be many different strata’s, or levels to the music scene there. Where you kind of choose what you are into and follow accordingly.
Leif: There are many choices, and many big choices that you have that everybody can just follow what you want to, and still have enough of a scene to be happy with.
And from a fans point, sometimes you don’t want your scene to get too big. It’s great for the band, they get the money…
Leif: I guess I’m one of those guys. The more obscure the band was, the more underdog they were, the more I seemed to support them. Some of my personal favorites were bands that never really made a major breakthrough. It just made it very humble and very nice to me personally that there were not too many people reading about them. So I went even more extreme trying to support them. Some of those bands, like Confessor, from the States, is one of the most underrated bands ever. The more people would hate them, the more I would like them.
What about television in Germany? MTV? Pop culture stuff like American sitcoms?
Leif: Yeah, we have European MTV network. Actually, we get everything dubbed. So once it ends up in Germany, Married With Children and South Park, you will have to cope with them speaking German.
So they use little German kids to dub in the voices in South Park?
Leif: Yeah. It gets very silly because it kills a lot of the intended humor.
Do you see a lot of the differences in the humor? Does the US have it’s own brand of humor?
Leif: Oh yeah. You will notice easily when you watch stuff like the Simpsons, which has a lot of very American things in there, which don’t really work straight over here. So a lot of jokes… I really like to see the American versions… a lot of the jokes come across really flat. Same with movies. Once it comes to a cinema here, you get a dubbed version because most of the people in Germany, it’s really hard to speak and understand all of the English. So Germany, together with France and I think Italy, is one of the few countries that still have everything dubbed into the native language.
So what are your favorite US TV shows?
Leif: Simpson’s are super funny. I actually like… what’s that guy called again? It’s like a sitcom, the one with one of the actors is called, ‘Kramer’.
Leif: Yeah, I really like Seinfeld.
That’s funny, because I heard that a show like Friends does really well over seas, but a show like Seinfeld doesn’t. Because it’s not only US humor, it’s New York humor, which is a subset of American humor I guess. Which doesn’t translate well.
Leif: But I really like Friends a lot as well. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I like Friends a lot.
What has metal done for your life?
Leif: I think it started as something to do in my spare time. It captured a couple of my feelings and made me feel good about something instead of wasting my time. I guess it just really found a place in our spirits. If I wouldn’t have got into metal, I would have been playing golf or something like that. For me it was a very nice hobby that eventually grew into something more important that has taken a lot of my time.
What is your first memory of something metal?
Leif: Sitting down in a room with like 6 guys within one square meter, sitting in front of the stereo listening to some Possessed/Slayer tape and just all going nuts. Playing air guitar, head banging and just diving into each other. I think that was pretty much how it started and stayed that way for a couple of years. And it still happens. I guess it just keeps the child alive.
What was the first metal show you went to?
Leif: I have to think back a long to that. I went to a lot of underground shows in the beginning. I think one of the first bands I saw live in the early 90’s were bands like Napalm Death. I just kept going to a lot of shows. I still do. I still visit like 2 or 3 shows a week. So a lot of very special shows I tend to forget, just because I go to too many. But then again, it’s always a cool memory like if you go and see a band like Fates Warning and I’m like, ‘oh, I saw them like 10 years ago and it was so good.”
I like the personality parts on your website. You listed the Trouble / The Obsessed / Napalm Death / Crowbar show as your favorite.
Leif: I think one of the things that was special about that show, was it was some sort of Christmas festival tour with all very classic bands in different styles. Which really doesn’t happen very often in Europe. If you go into a show, you would see three death metal bands in the same night. Or three black metal, or three power metal bands in the same night. So I like that show because there 3 or 4 of my favorite bands around that time playing together, even though they didn’t have the same style of music. And I was stoned beyond belief on that night.
Favorite band T-shirt?
Leif: That’s a tough one. Right now, I really like this Zeke T-shirt. That punk band. They have this great shirt with a pentagram on it. And I think that’s very funny because a lot of people that don’t know the band just wondering what they are all about. I think it’s a very funny crossover between what they are doing and what a lot of black metal and death metal expect the band to be playing, just because of the shirt.
They are the crystal methamphetamine equivalent of punk rock.
Leif: Exactly. I like that band. I think they are very cool. I respect musicians that can make a lot of noise with very small equipment. I think they are playing here around the beginning of May so I’m going to go see them.
It sounds like sooner or later you get an opportunity to see who you want to see.
Leif: Sometimes it gets difficult. Like going to see that Clash of the Titans show in the US, a lot of American thrash bands that I used to be into, or still am, I never really had a chance to see them here. Like Death Angel for example, I always missed them. Or like Violence, it was great to see them on that reunion show. And artists that I really love, like Tori Amos, the girl on the piano, I really get into her. And she doesn’t tour so often, so I saw her three times, but she only tours like every three years or something like that.
I bet you aren’t the typical Tori Amos fan standing in the crowd are you?
Leif: Actually, you have to sit. (laughs) But there was some longhaired metal guys into her. She is very progressive, very deep when it comes to music.
How is that different than touring in Germany? The rest of Europe?
Leif: I think every country has its very own flavor. The more southern you go in Europe, the people are more wild. Like maybe it’s because they don’t get to see as many bands as people in Germany or Holland or the Netherlands. So when we were touring Italy a couple of years ago, people would really freak. Super violent, super aggressive audiences which was great for the style of music we play. I think the biggest cultural shock when it came to playing shows was when we went to Japan. We did a week over there with Defleshed from Sweden. And that was very different. We didn’t know what to expect, we never had an album released there or promoted there. So we just went to play a couple of shows. The people were very very enthusiastic. It was a mixture of being positively shocked about a band playing there, and then going totally nuts for a band. It was very challenging to see a totally different culture getting into the same things here.
Are you a vegetarian?
Leif: Yeah I am.
In the land of Bratwurst?
It’s very meat and potato kind of diet in Germany no?
Leif: It’s getting better. You are getting more choices now these days with more people becoming vegetarian and a better set up for vegetarian people. I guess it was worse when I was living in South America because all you eat there is meat. But I just became vegetarian moving over here in the early 90’s.
What motivated you to make that choice?
Leif: Just morals. Just finding out that I don’t really need it. I guess I found pleasure in not having any mental problem with eating stuff that you don’t necessarily need to eat.
What about drugs in your lifestyle choices? I notice you give props to Weizen-Beer.
Leif: That’s my favorite beer. But I would take any other beer as well. I don’t really get into hard alcohol, but I do think that beer is very tasty for what it is. Everybody is free to have his personal drug as long as he doesn’t ruin somebody else’s life. I think it’s very personal.
What is the attitude towards recreational drugs in Germany?
Leif: Alcohol is not a big issue at all.
I figured Germany was pretty down with the beers.
Leif: Yeah, it’s just part of the culture. I don’t think anybody really calls it a drug. Which is why a lot of people into marijuana bring up the issue that alcohol is more dangerous. So it’s been a struggle for the last couple of years, especially having neighbors where marijuana is legalized. Germany is kind of becoming more sensitive to that. More open minded. But then again, I think there is that generation conflict still. That a lot of the people that are responsible for the rules don’t really have any access to any of this. So to them, it’s very taboo.
So it’s definitely very illegal there.
Leif: It’s still illegal.
Can you get it? It’s illegal in the US to but you can get it no problem.
Leif: I’d say we are in the same situation as the US as far as I know what it’s like there, and that it’s illegal, but it is in a certain way, also tolerated.
What do you pay for marijuana in Germany?
Leif: About 5 bucks a gram.
(That’s about $35 a quarter for you heads who can’t add).
How did you end up on the Nuclear Blast record label?
Leif: We used to be on a label called Grind Syndicate Media with the two last albums. Which is like a one-man label that uses Nuclear Blast for marketing and distribution and mail order and all that. So we always went through their channels without being a part of Nuclear Blast on the last two records. And we just recorded our new album and they got to hear it and actually really got into and though they would like to release it ourselves so they just took it over. It was really easy. We just had the album done, and a week later we got a call saying, ‘hey, we would like to have this released under Nuclear Blast directly.’ And things really went super quick from there.
What has that done for your band?
Leif: I think it opened a lot of new doors. Doors that we would not probably have released with the one-man label we had before. But a lot of people, this is the first time they’ve got to be in contact with our music. Some people have said they’ve been hearing the name, but never really got a chance to get a promo CD and take care of listening to it. So it gave us a better exposure, if not a better profile for just being with a bigger label. Some people, especially in the bigger media, would sit down and say, ‘well, this band is on Nuclear Blast and playing thrash and death metal, maybe it’s something I should give a second listen to.’ And it went to a lot of places that where the last record did not go. This is the first one to be domestically released in the United States.
Looking at the US market from your perspective, how much does it influence the rest of the world? Do you see that as a major source of musical trends in the world?
Leif: Yeah. Even in metal, whenever a band would swamping over to Europe with a lot of big hype and a lot of big push and a lot of good work already before the release, it would sell a lot more than a band that had been working here on common ground for a couple of years. Once a band makes it over, it really is huge. If you notice a band is selling platinum in the states, you see a major label releasing them over here, it does make a lot of influence.
Do you see that as a good thing or a band thing?
Leif: A good thing as long as there is some quality in there for your personal tastes. I learned to discover a couple of the bands just because they had a big set up. Like that System of a Down record, ‘Toxicity’ would become my favorite record of the last year. One of the few bands that really deserves the hype. They are very individual. Very inspired. Their first record was also sort of big. They were playing it in the discos and a lot of media promotion, but I never really gave it too much attention. In a way, it’s like with every movement. If you go there, just take some time off to analyze the movement, you are going to find something cool in it for yourself. For all the one million nu-metal bands, if I happen to like one of them, I’m happy enough.
Do you follow politics?
Leif: You are not forced to. The youth movement doesn’t really pay a lot of attention to it just because it is too conservative. Too boring. But you are given the chance to so I think that it is really cool that some people care about it.
Does it ever trickle into your music, or is Dew Scented more personal?
Leif: We keep it personal, but we do have statements. We do have a position that we gladly voice if we get asked about it. We are never going to go out and say we are 100% all about music and we don’t care about politics because we are musicians. I think that is pretty simple-minded. If you do music, you are given a position to voice your opinion and say something about a certain topic. You should use the attention you get. I do think our lyrics make some sense. I would of course say that music is more important, and that lyrics are there to compliment the music. But then again, we have a lot of stuff going on in the lyrics, especially if you like to read between the lines. They are very critical on this record. They are about the decay of personality we are going through with our present society. That we are being controlled more and more by technology. By this gray mass that is surrounding us. We are very close to losing any sense of identity. Even though I’m very fond of emails, computers, radio, TV and all that, I think that is mass control, used and abused by people clever enough to do so. The fact that we go back home, switch on the TV and stay there for four hours in a row without thinking for ourselves. That might be cool to just hang out, but then again, it’s killing all your capacities that you have in your brain and in your soul to think for yourself. That’s why the record went on to be called ‘Inwards’. Some of the titles are going to give you a hint of what they are. It’s a very personal album when it comes to the lyrics, but also full of criticism and negativity. It’s pretty much about the power of inner strength, which we don’t have any more.
Mike Bohatch did your cover design. Most excellent artist. (www.eyesofchaos.com) He really captures what your said about being controlled and surrounded by technology. How did you come to work with him?
Leif: I think he’s based in California actually. It was commissioned by ourselves. I had seen some other stuff of his before, and I was just exchanging emails with him because I liked a lot of his gallery stuff. So I dropped him a couple of titles for the songs and the general theme for the record. And he came up with that very good idea. We felt he had hit the nail exactly in the right spot.
You’ve been using a second guitarist lately, Hendrik Bache. Reasoning?
Leif: We always needed a second guitar player for the live shows. And on the record, some of the songs are written for two guitar players basically. So it really adds to the power to have a second guy for live shows. As far as the record, we did not know him when we recorded this, that’s why he didn’t appear on the album. The core of the lineup has been a four piece for the last four years with always changing members on the second guitar for either personal or musical reasons. The lineup itself should always feature two guitar players in a live situation.
A permanent addition?
Leif: For the moment yes. (laughs) I think we went through five different guys since the last album. So we are just careful to mention somebody as permanent before we don’t know if it’s going to work in the long term. He’s a great guy. He’s musical great, he’s personally great. So if things continue being the way they are, and he still comes up with the necessary energy, I don’t see anything stopping him from being part of the next album.
Dew Scented seems to prefer the full throttle ahead approach, knowing only two speeds. Fast and faster. What drives this manic pace?
Leif: It is just that we like it as fast as possible. We’ve always been impressed with the higher speeds of other bands that from song to song, tend to go faster and faster. That’s why the record had the final track list starting off sort of smooth and then always getting faster until the end of the record. That was a pattern that we wanted to use to make the listener comfortable with the speeds with most of the record, and then by the end of the record really go with the fastest songs. On the previous albums, we always had one or two slower or mid-paced songs, almost doomy type of songs. But they just don’t work as well in the live situation. The heavier and more aggressive you go for live shows, the better. So we just skipped the slower parts, and just went for a record that was more of one complete piece. Exclusively fast material. Personally, I really liked the older thrash/death metal bands like early Malevolent Creation, early Sadist. The bands that have the feeling like you are playing an LP on 45 speed.
What can the listener find in Dew Scented they can’t in a million other heavy metal bands?
Leif: I don’t think anything. I don’t think we have anything special to offer.
Oh I disagree. Don’t make me fight for your bands validity!
Leif: Really strictly, I guess we have a couple of elements from the early thrash metal bands. We have a couple of elements from Death Metal bands. We still like melodies even though we are playing very brutal stuff. But I don’t think overall there anything totally out of the blue that nobody has ever done before. Which is fair enough to say, because we don’t want to be the most original band ever. We just want to combine elements from different styles that we like. And present them in a way that not so many bands are doing these days. It would be the biggest lie in the world if I told you there was something very unique about this band. Mainly, it is the not so suitable name. Other than that, I just hope we can appeal to the people who are into thrash metal, but want something more aggressive or for Death Metal fans that like the rhythmic parts.
What’s the best thing to have happen to you because of Dew Scented?
Leif: I’ve made a lot of friends. Which is actually a gift. People like old pen pals, or tape trading at the beginning or people who put up early shows of ours. It’s been 10 years and I’ll still in touch with some of those guys. I’m happy to see them on the road again. Speaking for all the band, we were able to see a lot of places that we would not have seen without the band. I would never have got the chance to go to Japan without the band.
Near future plans?
Leif: Heading out for a week of touring. Then we have a week with Sodom, Kreator and Destruction. Which will be very cool for us. The classic trinity of German thrash metal bands. The fact that those guys invited us to those shows and are really into us, that really made us feel great. We are looking forward to those shows. We have some festivals coming up this summer. Two of them we are going to play with Slayer.
Feelings on sharing the stage with Slayer?
Leif: Awesome. We are pissing our pants. I just hope we have a chance to see them, to meet them for a minute. Hopefully they won’t be having any bad feeling about us. Because at one point our label was advertising the records with some words about Slayer that I would not stress. Some ads were featuring a quote from one of the reviews for our new album which said, ‘Who the fuck is Slayer?’
I’m pretty sure Slayer would think that is funny.
Leif: I hope so. I don’t want to look forward to seeing their fist coming toward my face. Because we didn’t say that. I think our label meant to just shock people with that. Like when we get asked about it, I like to mention that they are our favorite band when it comes to the whole band together. It was just we got a couple of Slayer fans getting pissed from those ads and writing us emails.
Yeah, the Slayer fan is a whole different category. Probably don’t want to piss them off.
Leif: We have a Slayer cover song on this album featured on the Japanese version, which is ‘War Ensemble’. Actually, everybody is doing songs off of ‘Reign and Blood’ and ‘Hell Awaits’. So we wanted to go for a song that would be most difficult because everybody knows that song.
Who is a Sinner?
Leif: That’s a tough one. I think at the end of day, man is the sinner. Each of us is a sinner, day-by-day, minute-by-minute. I wouldn’t say there is one person responsible for the shit going on the world. I think it’s a part of everyone of us.
Who is a Saint?
Leif: Brittany Spears. She’s a virgin man.
What is the coolest?
Leif: Thrash metal.
What is the lamest?
Leif: People that analyze music too much. Instead of having just a nice partying night, would go out with you and fight about the fact of which band is cooler than which other band. I think that is totally lame and boring. I think those people are actually killing the good part about metal.
Messages to the masses?
Leif: I love California, I can’t wait to be back on the beach. I think it would be very cool and very challenging if some of your readers would check out the album. They might like it. Even though I’ve heard the name of the band has been misleading for some of the citizens in the US. Which we sincerely apologize for, but then again, it is something that we are not going to be able to change anymore with the fourth album release. Nobody complained about that before. So it was sort of a surprise to see all the American reviews mentioning the very strange name for the band.
And to just to answer the question before we leave…the name Dew Scented?
Leif: Edgar Allen Poe. Very obscure poetry. I thought the name was twisting and obscure and different. It doesn’t really make any sense. I don’t think dew has any proper scent. We didn’t feel very comfortable with going with a very gory, brutal name, because that’s not us. We are just like very normal people. We fucking hate violence. It’s just the music that is brutal about the band, not the attitude.