Interview with PESTIFER

Interview with PESTIFER

- in Reviews

Hi! “Defeat of the Nemesis” showcases a perfect balance between complexity and brutality. Could you tell us more about the songwriting process behind this track and how it represents the overall sound of the EP?
Hi! Defeat was written the way we always do. We like to have various moods in our songs. The trick is to combine two or three opposite ideas into a song with a story to follow. For this track, we had these two little blocks with on one side the intro and the « main riff » and a completely different group of two or three more « death metal » riffs. We spent weeks or even months to get the right combination, by mixing them together to get this chaotic but still coherent track. We had this very melodic and light riff we called “La croisère s’amuse”, (The love boat TV show from the 80’s), that comes at the end of the song, with a beautiful guitar solo, as if you were escaping from a dangerous trap, before ending up in a dramatic rise of tension and finally catching up with the sad version of the intro riff! The song represents not only the EP, but Pestifer in general.

The lyrics of the title track delve into the concept of a self-destructing society formed by power-hungry leaders. What inspired you to explore this sci-fi concept, and how does it tie into the themes explored in the EP?
Our singer Jeroen is very inspired by Science-Fiction in general, and he loves to read. We were all okay with this way of creating lyrics, because we’re not really into esoteric, satanic, gore, pirates, heroic fantasy or whatever themes that are usually present in metal music, but on the other hand, we didn’t want something looking too moralizing. So it turned rather into defeatism. That maybe explains the title of the EP.

In science fiction, we often explore complex ethical dilemmas and existential questions through futuristic and imaginative scenarios. How does the genre of science fiction provide a unique platform for examining philosophical concepts and challenging societal norms?
Imagining the future is imagining the evolution of certain humanity flaws. Problems that the majority ignores nowadays can become huge with time. Science-fiction is, for us, a big playground where all cynicism can limitlessly thrive. We may discuss why this evolution can’t be positive and does not lead to a perfect symbiosis. But you don’t even need to take a step behind to realize humankind isn’t the incarnated wisdom. Science-Fiction allows us to simply make humans face their ethnocentric way of life and its evident consequences. In the genre, there is often a game of friction between individual and global consciousness. That’s a topic we managed to explore a lot within different sceneries.

Science fiction frequently delves into the nature of humanity, exploring the boundaries of our existence and the possibilities of future advancements. How does the genre encourage us to contemplate the relationship between technology, consciousness, and our understanding of what it means to be human?
Being human, as a race, is having power toward the whole environment we live in. But the way we use this power underlines the question of existence. Is this power necessary? Isn’t it threatening existence itself? This question of power is very present in the lyrics through different layers.

With five tracks of super-tight contemporary Death Metal, how would you describe the overall atmosphere and organic feel of the songs on “Defeat of the Nemesis”?
It’s hard to describe the atmosphere with words and I’m not sure our Death metal is contemporary. It sure has some more recent influences and it’s not really old school, but I don’t think it fits with what is called Death Metal nowadays.

I see modern death more like a genre with a lot of technique, that is really fast and brutal. In this perspective we sound more like old bands in the way we’re not super fast, nor super brutal. Organic describes us well I guess. We always try to create a quite dark atmosphere, but not too dark because we like to have melodies. We simply avoid everything that can remind us of Göteborg or Neoclassical style, just because we don’t like those kinds of colors. And we also like to have dissonant chords, not just for the sake of it, but because melted with the other colors, it creates a cool balance. For us anyway.

The EP was recorded and mixed at Noise Factory Studio. Can you share your experience working with Gérald Jans and how his contribution influenced the final sound of the record?
I have to say that this recording was quite an easy one, since Gérald Jans is really Professional and obviously has a really good ear. During the whole process, he was never lost in our songs and knew every time what we were talking about when we discussed this riff or that part. He certainly influenced the sound, because -and it’s a shame to admit- we really suck with sound. Even our guitar player Valery is not sure about the buttons he turns on his amp. That’s usually a guitarist thing to be a little geek about his gear, but not in Pestifer, it seems… We just focus on writing and playing our songs, and we really need help when it comes to the sound aspect. I can say that Gérald had an easy job because he basically did what he wanted. We were just there to say: «oh cool, yeah, just like that»!

The cover artwork for “Defeat of the Nemesis” is visually striking. Could you elaborate on the design and its connection to the EP’s themes and atmosphere?
We love the cover as well. Since our first album, we have collaborated with David Caryn, who’s a good friend. We always let him do his job the same way: Jeroen sends him a powerpoint with the whole concept of the lyrics. It’s usually way longer than the actual lyrics. Then we discuss just a little bit with him about the atmosphere and give him the recordings. Then we let him do his job, and we are amazed every time. About the connection to the theme, it’s a question we should ask him, but it seemed quite connected to what a dark future should look like.

PESTIFER has been active since 2004, and your music is often described as a mix of aggression, melodies, and personality. How has the band’s sound and approach evolved over the years, and what sets PESTIFER apart from other metal bands?
I think, and I hope what makes Pestifer unique is the colors we use and the way we build our songs. For sure, we’re not a band that creates a brand new style of music, you can hear our influences… But from my perspective, it seems that if you choose the « technical » path, you’re supposed to be over-the-top, with really high bpm, and show how well you know your scales. We’re definitely not like that. We like our songs to be complex, but we never aim to demonstrate anything. It’s all about the songs and the way they should sound or the story they should tell. The fact that everyone is involved in the writing process, with some of us who have not listened to metal for years, can add a personal way to create songs. The approach has pretty much been the same since the beginning, but maybe over the years we became less concerned with sounding death metal.

“Reaching the Void” introduced more “sci-fi” themes. How does “Defeat of the Nemesis” build upon this trend, and what new elements can fans expect from the EP in terms of musical progression and lyrical exploration?
Every song, on “Reaching the Void”, is linked to a Science-Fiction book, mainly classical ones such as Asimov, Bradbury, Verne, Wells… But, since “Expanding Oblivion” we want every release to be fully coherent with a complete and original concept behind. So, now, we see every song like a chapter and the music is rather following the lyrical mood and vice-versa. And, I think, the music now has more atmospheric parts than before which helps listeners to travel in space and into the future.

PESTIFER has toured extensively, including European tours with notable bands like KATAKLYSM, KRISIUN, and NILE. How have these experiences influenced your growth as a band and shaped your live performances?
Well, all these tours happened between our first album Age of Disgrace and its successor Reaching the Void. We haven’t toured since then. For sure those are really good memories, and helped us to consider our band more professional. We were confronted to super tight and well established bands so it made Pestifer grow a little, but not that much to be honest. Most of the bands we used to play with from our area stopped one by one their activities. We’ve had kids, jobs, we lost our previous two guitarists, … Maybe these tours helped us to keep the faith and realize that our music is an important part of our lives and that we didn’t want to give up, no matter the lack of commercial success.

How has the addition of new members impacted the creative dynamic of PESTIFER, and how does it contribute to the band’s musical evolution?
As I told earlier, we’re all involved in the making of the songs, so new members means new influences. One of our former guitarists was more into the technical side and we had a lot of tension in the band because we wanted to push in another direction. I’m sure that his departure helped us not to follow that path that I personally don’t like. The other one had super cool and really dark riffs, but wasn’t into metal at all anymore. We lost that particular taste with him. But we gained a new death metal dimension with the arrival of Valery, who’s really eclectic in his tastes, but definitely metal. I guess he keeps the metal vibe in our music, when the ideas and riffs of my brother and I are more non-metal music played in a metal way.

“Defeat of the Nemesis” marks your collaboration with Debemur Morti Productions. What led you to sign with this label, and how do you envision this partnership supporting your artistic vision and reaching a wider audience?
We’re really proud to end up on Debemur. It was quite unexpected. Our previous label Xenocorp had to stop its activities but introduced us to Nicolas Ramaget from Les Editions Hurlantes. He helped us to sign with Debemur. We’re quite confident with the artistic aspect. We’re aware that it’s quite surprising to have a «tech» death band compared with the rest of the catalog. Anyway, we hope of course to upgrade our current status a little bit with this partnership, but on the other hand we know that our music doesn’t follow any trend, so it’s hard to say.

PESTIFER released a video documentary in 2021, capturing the band’s life during the COVID-19 pandemic. How did this challenging period impact your creative process, and what insights did you gain from documenting your experiences?
The pandemic did to us what it did to everyone. It stopped us and it took a lot of abnegation to survive this crisis. Our previous album Expanding Oblivion was out the very day the lockdown happened. Every show was of course canceled, so we had the feeling that all the effort we put in the band was completely pointless. We didn’t get the idea of the documentary by ourselves. It’s a friend of ours who wanted to do this, and we were quite surprised. I guess at that point, it made the band feel alive a little bit in the way that something happened somehow. We didn’t expect any benefit from this video. We just let him follow his ideas and get the final result.

As a band known for its emphasis on song structure and elaborate riffing, what drives your passion for crafting intricate and engaging compositions? Are there any particular influences or inspirations that have shaped your approach to music?
We first want to write and play the music we like. There is no plan behind it, it’s as simple as that. We also like to have fun when we play together, so maybe it explains why we need our artistic boundaries not to be too restrictive. If you do something more simple and old school, it’s hard not to write riffs that haven’t been heard before. Some bands manage to do a simpler music and some of them succeed in creating something new or fresh, but we’re simply not good at that. We started playing music, being fans of bands like Nocturnus, Atheist or Pestilence more than Slayer, because we liked the unpredictable aspect of their songs, and I guess we never lost this vibe. But nowadays, the music we listen to is far from being restricted to Metal.

“Defeat of the Nemesis” offers a dense and immersive listening experience. How do you approach creating a cohesive flow and maintaining the listener’s engagement throughout the EP?
Even if, as we usually do, we were really slow creating this EP, the writing of the songs took place in a shorter period of time than the previous records. We worked on the songs simultaneously, and talked a lot more about the general ambiance. You can even hear -if you pay good attention and know the songs well- that Elysium and Draconian Daemon were initially melted into the same song. At the beginning of the creating process, we built Draconian experimenting with different paths, and at some point, the « Elysium » part didn’t fit in, so we started in parallel a song on its own. In the end, one of the main riffs in Elysium is actually based on the same chords as some Draconian riffs, for these parts used to be in the same song previously. Maybe that kind of stuff creates bindings or bridges between songs.

Can you share any memorable moments or challenges encountered during the recording or production of “Defeat of the Nemesis”? How did you overcome these obstacles and shape the final outcome of the EP?
I have to say that nothing troubled us this time. Everything from early composition, rehearsals, recording, went very smoothly. Slowly but smoothly to be precise. We felt that it was not our first, and even if we’re slow, we’re kind of used to it now. We knew how to be prepared before entering the studio, and as I told earlier, we worked with a very nice and competent sound engineer. And as usual too, we knew we were going to work with the same artist for the cover, with full confidence for his ability to create artworks we love. Jeroen, who takes care of the visuals for the band, put a lot of effort in it as usual.
We’re really happy about the result, the songs, the sound, the artwork and the final product.

PESTIFER has garnered a dedicated following throughout the years. How do you engage with your fans, and what role do they play in shaping your artistic direction and future endeavors?
They don’t play any role, and I’m not even sure we have « fans ». Some people like our music, and we feel very happy with that. It’s nice to read good reviews of our records, especially when you can tell that the guy listened a lot to our music and is accurate in his description. It’s like an achievement, and beyond the commercial success that we don’t have, it’s comforting to think that the songs you take months to build are finally enjoyed by some people here and there. But in the end, we never change our ways. And to be honest, when we read a bad review, we don’t question our music, we just think that the writer has not the patience to really get into it, or simply has different tastes than ours. The same goes for live shows, we’re aware that a part of the audience is not going to like what we do. And we’re ok with that.

Looking ahead, what are your future plans and aspirations for PESTIFER? Are there any specific goals you aim to achieve, both creatively and in terms of reaching new audiences with your music? Thank you for your time!
We’re at the beginning of the process of writing new material and we already have a lot of ideas to work on. We’ll try to evolve a little bit while keeping our trademark. We think that Pestifer is the kind of band that won’t gain sudden success, but one record after another, we might gain new listeners who eventually will be curious to listen to our back catalog. The main goal right now is to focus on the successor of Defeat, a full-length, and catch the opportunities we have to play live in new places.
Thanks for your accurate questions!

If you really would like to support Antichrist, you can just Share our article.
You can also support Antichrist by sending a couple bucks to cover some webhosting expenses.
=>> PayPal