Interview with Czech death/grind metal band POPPY SEED GRINDER.
Ave POPPY SEED GRINDER! I just listen to your new album “Bleeding Civilization” and I think it is really good. What do you think shifted when you compare it to your previous albums? How did you wanted the album to sound and are you satisfied with the result?
In the end we actually had a lot of time to make the album. So we had the chance to play all the songs live and we found out which passages are good and which are not. Previous albums were made in a rush. The biggest inspiration for us used to be a final term so it might be heard that this time we had a little bit more time. We took a lot of time to do the final mix and had countless versions of the album. We just worked so long until we were completely satisfied.
POPPY SEED GRINDER is a band which rotates musicians all the time. I have to admit that sometimes it is a little bit chaotic for me. So who is current member of POPPY SEED GRINDER? How do you explain those changes? If I remember correctly, the only original member is Jarda?
For nearly two years we have been playing in the same composition. Behind the microphone there is Eddie who used to be guitar player of death metal Designed by Death. Klabi is playing bass and he played HC in Sennen Goroshi. Our drummer is Štěpán. Fans can remember him from Despise.
But yes it is true that I am the last original member of PSG. There are millions of reasons why people leave bands. Playing in a band is very time consuming hobby and most of the time you are just in a van or waiting in front of a club before your performance. I get why people decide to spent their time differently at some age. On the other hand a lot of people start to miss it and they come back to active playing.
The new album “Bleeding Civilization” has a beautiful nihilistic cover. Who is the author? There is information in the booklet that design was made by PSG. Where did the author take inspiration and what is the cover about? Personally, I think it looks like a city after apocalypse, dark and unwelcoming.
The cover was made by our bass player Klabi. It is a post-apocalyptic picture of civilization, a destruction in which our world is slowly coming. So your guess was pretty close, that is how it supposed to look like.
There has been a big shift in sound with POPPY SEED GRINDER. This is the exact sound which I like. Punchy, readable, dynamic yet unkempt and dirty. It really suits you. Where did you recorded (I saw there were more places) and who is the author of the final mix, etc.?
We recorded this CD for almost a year with some breaks. We are really lucky because my wife´s cousin and our friend Míra has a perfectly equipped studio in Hagen, Germany with his friends. Well it is more studios under one big studio Schallsucht. It is an unbelievable place, basically it is a paradise for musicians. In the ground-floor you got big Schallsucht Tonstudio where we recorded drums for four days. Next to it there is a smaller studio for hip-hop making so sometimes there was a pretty interesting mix of music heard in the hallway. In the first floor of the building there is a big apartment where Míra lives and instead of flat where he lives he had his own smaller studio Triple Heart @ Schallsucht where we recorded vocals almost year later. The great thing is that in the evening you have a lot of people meeting there and they jam and drink until the night (or till the morning). And no one cares because the whole building is completely soundproofed. Guitars and bass were recorded at home and the final mix was made in home studio of Otus Hobst.
“Bleeding Civilization” is released by Japanese label Amputated Records. I think that for this kind of music it is a great label and they take a good care about their bands. How did you started to work together? The bands who work with this label in our country are FEEBLE MINDED, DISSOLUTION, Slovakia CRANIOTOMY…basically the Czech and Slovak most brutal elite. What do you expect from this label and why did you “left” Nice Eat You Records?
We wanted to go outside the country and try something different and check out what are the differences. The interesting thing was also the bigger expense. Amputated Vein Records asked us in 2009 but at that time we didn´t have enough material for whole album. After that we also had a few personal earthquakes, we changed our assembly completely two times and it took a lot of time until we put the band together again and prepared the new album. I am really glad that after this long time Amputated Vein Records still wanted to cooperate with us after they listen to the material we had. I hope we can reach more abroad fans thanks to their big distribution network. We want our music to hit as many people as possible.
I read an old interview with you and you said that one of your band´s aims is to go abroad and promote your music. I think it is a very good idea. The Czech music market is very small and I think that when there is a Czech extreme band who is OK with playing just in the Czech Republic, they eventually atrophies. Men should compare himself with the top people and not with the average ones. Did you fulfil your vision? Are you planning to go abroad again? How do fans abroad react on POPPY SEED GRINDER?
I would not say that in the Czech Republic there is only average. I think your scene is on a very good level. We just don´t know (with a few exceptions) how to put ourselves abroad. We managed to travel more after we released our Humanophobia album. We went mostly to Germany, Austria and also Balkan. With personal changes we had to limit the travelling. Today we are in the best shape, we have new album and everything starts to move. Last year we had 10 day tour in Southern Europe and the responses were mostly positive so I think we can do it again in the end of this year. Month ago we played in Germany again on Augsburg Death Fest and fans were better than we expected. We had a lot to build on and our calendar is getting fuller. We will play in Berlin on January and I hope there will be more and more abroad concerts.
I read that you compose music this way: Yarda brings riffs. You discuss them, put other instruments and the final product is made by all of you. Is it still the same? Considering the changes in your band it might be different now. Do you have more democratic approach in composing or is there someone who has the final word?
We will see after we finish another album. Bleeding Civilization was made like this but it was because the guitars were put together and guys were learning finished material. But everyone had a free hand to put something to their own parts. I had a vision about drums but Štěpán made it differently at some part and the final product is even better. It is how it is – drummer knows more about drums than guitar player. That is the same about bass. In case of lyrics we had only three so the rest was written by Eddie right on the songs.
It might be not great for the older fans but there is not that much grind, high-pitched voice in your music but there is more death and hard core. Is it a way you want to go now? Personally, I am glad but you know how it is – sometimes, fans have different ideas. Where do POPPY SEED GRINDER go in the future?
It is true that we have never thought about ourselves as a grind band but most of our fans put us into this style and they will do that in the future. We have always tried to mi death metal with HC. For me, there is no change but I just don´t have the distance:). Since we put more effort in our lyrics we have less high-pitched voices and other sounds so the change is evident here. I think that the change is not very visible for fans on concerts. It is still whacking:).
Next year you will have been on the scene for 20 years. It is the time for balancing, celebrations. Nowadays it is a really impressive number. Do you want to do some re-editions, special T-Shirts, annual concerts? Did the music world change for you during those years? There is the internet, fans are older so are you. How is the attitude of organizers, labels and fans different from your point of view?
We definitely want to do something for the fans. There will be an annual concert but I don´t want to reveal any more yet. About those changes….I don´t know. The metal world is not that much different from my point of view. But the world around is definitely different. The webpages of bands used to be very important but now there are just Facebook profiles or Bandzone. Back in the days we were tinged Myspace profiles and the fans today don´t remember what was it aboutJ. What has not been changed is the fact that there are no people on concerts without any promotion. Labels release in lower costs than they did in the beginning of century but that is basically it. The last time we were dealing with album releasing was eight years ago with local label. Now after a few years we deal with Japanese company so the comparison is not very accurate. In case of organizers I can´t really tell. Most of our concerts and festivals are organized with other bands who organize it. We also organize concerts and also festival Krhanice Open Air. Everything works on friend’s basis but we are just a little bit older now:).
When you say POPPY SEED GRINDER everyone thinks about energetic and very dynamic performance. Do you still enjoy these? You know, there is not enough people on concerts, they rather sit at home to check Facebook and other bullshit. Where do you find the energy and the real “madness”? Do you prefer clubs or festivals?
We enjoy it. We just really like it. We enjoy playing live and having the instant respond from audience. There is nothing better that the big hell under the stage. I don´t think people don´t go on concerts anymore. But the events are in one day most of the times and people just spread. The important energy is given to us by our fans. During the CD release of Bleeding Civilization they recharged our batteries so much and I would like to thank them in here for the great atmosphere they did in Rock Café. Well we are more club band. The clubs are great for the closer contact with people…but that doesn´t mean that we don´t play on festivals:).
Thank you so much for the interview. I wish your band a lot of success and the new album Bleeding Civilization to be sold all around the world. I wish you a lot sold out concerts.