Human Enraged — A Case Against Drugs, Abortion, Society and Science in Wrong Hands (Interview with Homo Iratus)

17.04.2002  :: АрхивАрхив интервью Автор: Andrey Kugaevskiy

Anger is one of the strongest feelings human beings can have. While generally being considered a not very productive thing, it often opens a lot of eyes and shows that something is wrong and that things should better change for good. Anger is not an attempt to solve the problem, it’s a display, a flashing warning for the clueless. xEven if you’re blind, Homo Iratus, a young Greek band whose debut album «Human Consumes Human» got praises from all minor and major extreme music publications, will make you know what’s wrong with our world today — these guys are young, smart, reflective, caring and angry. VERY angry… Need proof? Check out this interview with the band’s bass-player, Aggelos!

— (AK) How would you like to introduce the band to our readers and what can you tell them about the history of Homo Iratus?

— (HI) Brutal… Deathcore… groovy… moshy!
Well… we were formed in the Summer of 1998 and released our first demo «Abscence of Progress» around the same time.The demo got great reviews from zines and mags around the world. Then a 2-track promo followed, from which one track was used for a compilation. After some line-up changes and ending up in the form of a quartet as a result, we — Alex (g), Mitch (v), Aggelos (b) and Argyris (d) — started to work on our first full length release as self-financed, (later) that led to the deal with Arctic Music Group and its official release.

— (AK) How did you came in contact with Arctic Music Group? Greece is pretty much far away from USA, and my first thought was that contacting labels from Europe would’ve been more logical for the band. However, your brand of music is more «American» than «European» — had this fact somehow influenced your choice of label or it wasn’t the factor at all?

— (HI) We sent the full material and first got a contact from Phil Fasciana saying he was interested in signing us to Arctic Music Group.Two months later we had the chance of playing alongside Malevolent Creation in our home city and after Phil saw us live, he made a final decision to sign us to Arctic. We didn’t label our music as more European or U.S., so no thought was actually taken on which side of the globe the labels were. The thought was on whether they signed brutal bands or not.

— (AK) Can you tell us about the extreme music scene in Greece? We all know such bands as Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh, Necromantia and Varathron, but besides them (and Homo Iratus) few Greek names are known. What Greek bands do you like the most and what bands you can recommend?

— (HI) The scene boils with commotion (during) these last years. Lots of people (have) concentrated on more brutal forms outside of Greece’s tradition of Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal. Brutal Death-Grind is at its peak right now and some bands to check out are Obscence, Into The Gore, Avoid, Erectus and Disembowel.

— (AK) A lot of bands complain that they’re popular everywhere but their home town and/or country. Are you guys popular in Greece? :) Is it safe to say that Homo Iratus are successful in their home country in terms of underground? How about mainstream success? Are there any Greek metal bands that are known to the mainstream audience?

— (HI) Hmm… the term «popular» isn’t something we like that much… «accepted» is much better and more important. See, in a country with (a rich) tradition of the aforementioned forms of metal it’s important when a band outside those gets accepted and embraced by the people. The underground is where you start… you can’t go anywhere if you don’t get through the underground, which is the living womb of all kinds of metal. «Mainstream» is a controversial term since the criteria of «mainstream success» are somewhat vague. It’s too early to even consider the mainstream (popularity of the band) as a reality and fact.

— (AK) Your web-site says that Mitch, the vocalist of the band, has recently left the band. What was the reason of him leaving? Have you already found the replacement for him?

— (HI) Mitch left because he thought other things were more important than our band. Then it’s the fact that things got serious when we signed to Arctic and the rest of us gave more of ourselves to the band (willingly of course) while Mitch just couldn’t take it. We have indeed found a replacement whose name is Thomas. He’s a very good friend, a great musician and a great growler. We have already recorded new material with him. Thomas will work with us as a session member until we find a permanent replacement no matter how long it takes to do so.

— (AK) What’s new is going on in the Homo Iratus camp?

— (HI) We have just recorded some new material for a mini-CD which will be relased in May. It will host 2 tracks from our debut, a new track from our next full length release, a cover song [Sepultura’s «Roots Bloody Roots». —AK] and 2 video clips for viewing on a computer. A European tour is also in the works right now.

— (AK) Do you see the name «Homo Iratus» simply as a perfect label for the band’s music, or there is a deeper, symbolic meaning to it?

— (HI) Labels are not something we do. Homo Iratus is the Latin term for angry/enraged man. Our definition of Homo Iratus is that it’s the man whose rage is channeled into clear thought and understanding instead of raw violence and mindless reactions.

— (AK) How can you define the style of music you’re playing? How would you describe your music to someone who never heard Homo Iratus before? What do you think about the stylistic classifications in general?

— (HI) Defining a music style is a daunting task. In terms of clear understanding what you’ll listen to, we call it «Deathcore», which means Groovy death metal with growly vocals and hardcore (moshy) parts. Classifications are actually the means of categorizing bands in order to make clear to the public what they’ll listen to when they pop a CD into the player.

— (AK) What music has inspired you to create the band? Have your tastes changed in any way since then? What are your current musical influences and what music do you like to listen to in general? Do they influence Homo Iratus music in any significant, noticeable way? What about artists outside the field of extreme music?

— (HI) The extreme scene of course, and the need to express ourselves with it’s energy and power. Basic influences have been Napalm Death (of course), Carcass and Konkhra, which we consider to be the definition of Deathcore. Yet, we try to maintain our own personal style and touch to our music and keep an open mind. We listen to lots of stuff generally and don’t narrow our musical field of view to only the extreme music.We like ethnic music too, which elements can be clearly found in our music and lots of other stuff.

— (AK) What are your current and all-time favorite albums and musicians? What else inspires you to create music? What creative goals are you trying to achieve with Homo Iratus?

— (HI) All time favorites are: Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Carcass, Sepultura, Meshuggah, Death, Terrorizer, Testament, Konkhra, Cannibal Corpse, you get the picture, I guess… Our creative goals are simple. Make good music and have an equal quality and content in our lyrics too. Furthermore we like to make Groovy music and incorporate Ethnic elements (instruments or rhythms) in it. Maintaining our own style is another one (goal), as well as evolving from album to album. We want each album to be different from the other.

— (AK) I’d like to compliment you for the lyrics you wrote for your debut album — great job! Can we hope that Homo Iratus will be going on the same way lyrics-wise in the future? Are the lyrics as important for you as the music? Do you think that the music of Homo Iratus is a musical message, not just music?

— (HI) Our lyrical content is something we took great care of. It will definitely not change in our future work cause it’s what expresses us best together with the music. Lyrics are as important as the music. If we can say we took 100% care to the music, there was another 100% given to the lyrics. We are definitely not only (about) music. We don’t like to put lyrics just for (the sake of) putting lyrics to our music, we want something more than that, so the next logical step is lyrics with, let’s say,.. substance, a meaning that says something.

— (AK) The song «Dead Upon Conception» deals with abortion. The lyrics say: «bastard’s room and abortion make the difference». Sure, it does make a difference for the child, but does it make a difference for the parents? How do you think abortion is connected with egoism in our modern society? What can you say about Homo Iratus position towards abortion?

— (HI) Our position on this issue is quite clear. As for parental difference, it’s a matter of caution, that’s why you can read «Mistaken conception, maternal rejection». If you’re not ready to bear a child, be more fucking careful during sex! It’s a shame to abort a fetus and dump it like garbage because you were not careful enough. That’s the exact point the song deals with, ’cause when it happens there are two options: 1) Abortion; 2) Raising a child you where not ready to raise. Both of which cases are a bitch! Plus abortion is far worse. Or have you ever considered it being murder?

— (AK) — The lyrics to «Human Parts Inc.» deal with selling human body parts like food in supermarkets. On this topic, I’d like to ask you: what your thoughts on cloning?

— (HI) Quite frankly, it sucks! Scientists have started to tread in the unknown territory, and (they) think they have mastered it already! The social impact cloning human beings will have is far worse than anyone can possibly fathom.

— (AK) «S.H.I.T. (Science’s Homicidal Ideas Thrived)» is written about the science and how it has been advancing «weapons, diseases, drugs, pollution, crime». Do you think that science is a tool, an instrument in the wrong hands, or you think that science is bad because of its nature? In other words, what do you think: does it matter who controls the science or science will be destructive, harmful no matter who uses it? Can science be useful in good hands?

— (HI) Can you blame a gun for shooting an innocent person? Nope. It’s the person who holds the gun that is to be blamed as well as the person who armed that hand with the gun. Same goes with science. Nothing has a bad nature. It becomes what we make of it.

— (AK) One of the musicians on the band picture is in the gas mask. What was he trying to say by doing this? Is he trying to protect himself from the poison of humankind? How it is connected with the «human consumes human» concept?

— (HI) The person in the gas mask is our drummer Argyris. Wearing a gas mask is directly connected to the whole of the «Human Consumes Human» concept since it deals with the claustrophobic, asphyxiating situation humanity is at right now. So many things that surround us cause us harm that we may eventually make gas masks a daily accessory in order to give some minimal protection to ourselves against all those things.

— (AK) Keyboards and percussion isn’t something typical and obvious in music like yours. Why have you decided to use them? Were you trying to add depth to your music? Do you plan to increase the amount of keyboards and/or percussion in your music?

— (HI) We like to experiment a lot in our music. That’s why we used percussion, Byzantine Chanting, some samples, and stuff like that in our music.They were directly connected to the composition of each track. The album had actual keyboards only in one track. There will be some percussion on the next material but we have added some ethnic Greek instruments and more «assymetrical» rhythms to the music based on ethinc patterns that blend into the Deathcore feel we have.

— (AK) What do you like more — to tour, to do local shows or to work in the studio? Do you consider Homo Iratus to be a studio band or a live band? What songs from «Human Consumes Human» CD do you usually play live? Do you think that intense, energetic music (like the music of Homo Iratus) is better to be heard live?

— (HI) We like the whole deal! Each one has its own thing in it. You can’t separate them. They are all directly connected. Studio work, for instance, is great ’cause you listen to the songs (being) build from scratch and become what you had in your mind for the final outcome. Local shows are great ’cause people know you better and react to the music (right at) the moment you start playing. As for tours… though we haven’t done any, it’s definitely -the- experience of playing in other countries and meeting with foreign fans of the Extreme sound. You can definitely call us a live band! When we compose, «live» is the key factor in our minds and we love to shred on stage! Tracks you’ll hear in our shows are: Life-Like Violence, Dead Upon Conception, Project: New World, Homo Sapiens?, Sonus In Terrorem, Tomahawk Cruise Messiah, Abscence of Progress.

— (AK) What bands you’d like to tour with? What would’ve been a «dream tour» for Homo Iratus (both active and defunct bands)?

— (HI) Those would be Napalm Death and Carcass.

— (AK) What do you think about the bands that use gory lyrics and gory imaginery? Do you think that they reflect the state of our society in some way?

— (HI) Our society has a sophisticated «goryness» (which is) much less obvious and yet far worse. We have no problem with gore bands, we respect every way of expression in music.

— (AK) What are your thoughts about drugs? Drinks? What do you think about using drugs as a «creativity steroids»? Do you play drunk or stoned sometimes? If yes, how does it affect your performance?

— (HI) We like to rehearse 100% sober as well as (when we) perform live. Sober is the key word here, which actually means (we) have a clear and unaffected mind. You can’t give 100% of yourself to what you do that way. Creativity steroids are for those who lack imagination and need something artificial to boost it. The problem with drugs are the Hardcore drugs (chemicals) which fuck up brain cells. Man… I once saw brainscans of people on dope, crack, cocaine and stuff like that, and was awed ’cause compared to the 6 active cerebral regions of a person who didn’t use drugs those had only 2 or in some cases 3!!! It was half the brain working!!! Or better yet half the brain BURNED! We don’t want that shit to happen to our brains, man… Alcohol is another case, we drink some alcohol from time to time, but never step over the line, it’s good to know when you’ve reached the end of your tether. In everything.

— (AK) What do you think about the current state of extreme music scene? What are your thoughts on the strong tendency in modern music to mix different styles? Is this the future of music or maybe musicians should return to their roots? What do you think about the balance of «avant-garde», «progressive» bands and «traditional», «true-to-the-roots» bands?

— (HI) The Extreme scene has gained a lot of power over the last years. The mix of styles was something logical in the pursuit of something new and out of the ordinary. Returning to the Roots requires you to be old enough to have been there. [Ha-ha, great point, man! —AK] You can’t expect a new band to return to the roots since its infulences are of the newest era of the Extreme scene. This balance you speak of is what keeps the scene alive. Variety. It’s what has separated the scene from everything else and what will keep it going as time passes. Take the so called «New Metal» outbreak for instance. It came (in a way that) all bands played more or less the same things, and it died as fast as it appeared ’cause it lacked variety.

— (AK) Do you think that political and social topics should be talked about in extreme music? What do you think about the bands that write «fantasy» lyrics and use «fantasy» imaginery?

— (HI) Music is a form of expression, you can express whatever you want. We like social topics a lot (it’s obvious in our lyrics) as well as political, but in a more indirect and deep manner (we like to extend beyond the «fuck the government» or «fuck politics»). Fantasy content is another case. It’s not what we like to do but (we) have no problem with it. If we listen to something good but what has fantasy content, we won’t reject it. It’s another form of the variety of the music scene.

— (AK) What do you think about the Internet? Does it help or hurt bands? What about mp3s trading and file sharing systems like Napster and Audiogalaxy?

— (HI) The internet is a great resource. Most contacts go through the internet nowadays, and it definitely helps bands ’cause it is so immediate, you gain a lot of time. Think of how much time it took to make a contact with a zine through snail mail, get a reply and then send a letter back again… Ages! As for the situation with mp3’s, I think it’s got cleared just before it got out of hand. Many bands were hurt by the outbreak in the early days but things have settled down now.

— (AK) Is it possible for Homo Iratus to earn their living by only playing the music? Do the band members work or study besides playing music?

— (HI) It is the most difficult thing. It takes a lot of time, patience and efforts and still it might not happen. We have given up our lives for the band.

— (AK) Do you think that the creator can do everything that is okay with his inner sense? In other words, do you think that art has (or should have) no limits or taboo subjects?

— (HI) Art is a form of expression. If you limit it by any way it ceases to be «expressive», thus losing its quality and meaning. Is art the one of the last free things in this world?

— (AK) What can you say about the band’s attitude towards religion?

— (HI) Ah! A controversy. So many atrocities have taken place in the name of «religion» or some «religions» that supposedly preach peace and love between humans and it really makes your mind going… What DO they preach anyway and where is the proof, the actions, the results of what they preach?!?! You can’t only be «all words» and hide behind your finger, when your own cause genocides, kills innocents with inquisitions and becomes political puppets!!!

— (AK) If you were told that there are 24 hours left before the end of the world, how would you’ve spent these 24 hours?

— (HI) Hmm this is a nice one… I’d probably end my life the way I wanted not expect to come to an artificial end, caused by mass human stupidity, having in mind that the end came by misused nuclears (the most possible thing to happen nowadays!)

— (AK) If you were told that you have unlimited power and that you can change the world in the way you want, what would you have changed?

— (HI) The beforementioned possibility of ending all life upon Earth, the destruction of our natural enviroment… shit! Are you sure you want me to answer this question in full!?!?! The list could go on for days! [No, I got your point, man. —AK]

— (AK) What are your plans on future (as musicians)? Your dearest dream (as musicians)?

— (HI) Our plans are to make the best music we can for as long as we can. Our dream is to eventually be able to live through our music.

— (AK) What do you know about Russia? What Russian bands do you know (if any)?

— (HI) Quite frankly, nothing about Russian bands. As for Russia itself, we know it’s been through the most troubled times lately and it has generally been through a lot (of trials). I am positive though that it has a strong underground full of potent bands. I’ll be glad to hear from some (of them) at some point.

— (AK) If you would have ever had a chance to go back and change something that happened or not happened, what would you have changed in the history of Homo Iratus?

— (HI) Probably, nothing. See, our band’s history is what has shaped it to be what it is right now. Changing something would definitely affect Homo Iratus as we are now and that’s something none of us would like.

— (AK) How would you like the fans of Homo Iratus to remember the band?

— (HI) As a brutal, moshy, groovy Deathcore band, definitely; (a band) that likes to shred onstage!

— (AK) Any questions I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

— (HI) I can’t make up my mind… it could be hundreds of questions, and I can’t pick one of them right now!

— (AK) Any final words for the readers?

— (HI) I’d like to thank all of those who have supported us up until now and still stand by us in our course. Anyone (who’s) interested can visit our website at www.homoiratus.com and download a full video clip (3.8 Mb), 2 CD quality mp3’s and check the usual bios, pics, etc., in order to get better acquainted with the band. We’ll keep delivering 100% Deathcore and mosh ourselves to fatigue anytime we get to meet any of you out there!!! Hails to all of the Extreme Scene! Stay Fucking Brutal all day!!!

— (AK) Thanks for the insightful, interesting and just plain GREAT interview, Aggelos! Good luck and best possible wishes to mighty Homo Iratus, keep on shredding everybody into bloody pulp with your live shows and albums!

Visit official Homo Iratus site @ www.homoiratus.com.

Visit Arctic Music Group site @ www.arcticmusicgroup.com.

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