Rocksins.com has been extremely lucky to be able to bring you another exclusive interview, this time a catch up with Dutch Metal Masters Hail of Bullets resident axeman Stephan Gebédi. Read on to see what he had to say!
Rocksins: You’ve been with Metal Blade since your debut album ‘…Of Frost And War’, what’s it been like these past two years being signed with a major label like Metal Blade?
Stephan Gebédi: So far we can’t complain; they’re doing a good job promotionwise, esp. in Europe and the UK, and we’re in close contact with the people at Metal Blade. It doesn’t feel like being on a major label in terms of a big hierarchy, uninterested label managers in 3 piece suits or anything like that. Communicationwise it’s all very direct and friendly but promotionwise they’re acting as a ‘major’ label should…so no regrets so far!
Rocksins: Your latest album, On Divine Winds, came out back in October, how has the reception been since its release?
S: The reception has been great once again. The album was voted ‘album of the month’ in many publications like Terrorizer, Rock Hard, Legacy etc… The press seem to dig this album even more than the first one. As far as the fans goes; most of them seem to love it, but there are also people who prefer the debut album, and I have no problem with that at all. It just proves we didn’t make the same album twice. I like both albums equally, they’re both heavy and brutal but the first one sounded a bit rawer and more in your face, while the 2nd one sounds a bit more epic and has a bit more melody, without straying away too much from the 1st one. It’s still old school death metal inspired by our favorite bands from the early 90’s like Autopsy, Death, Massacre, Celtic Frost and Bolt Thrower
Rocksins: You’ve covered the rise and fall of the Japanese empire and you’ve covered the battles of the eastern front during World War II. What’s next in terms of lyrics for the band? Are you going to go down a more modern route and maybe cover what’s happening in Afghanistan , or keep with the older wars?
S: I really have no idea what war we’re gonna cover on the next album. It might be another chapter in WWII, it might touch on a more modern war and we might also skip the idea of a concept album this time. There’s really no plan yet, the next 8-10 months are packed with upcoming shows and a lot of festival dates, and personally I hope to start writing some new stuff after the Summer.
Rocksins: As we enter 2011 what are the bands plans for the year, can we expect to see Hail of Bullets in the UK anytime soon?
S: As a matter of fact we have just been confirmed to play the Underground in London on March 26th, so be there! We were also in contact with the people at Bloodstock, but I’m not sure if that’s gonna work out for this year’s edition. If not then we’ll hopefully play there next year.
Rocksins: Quite clearly you guys have been busy for the past two years, with two full length albums and a mini album under your belts, but have you found time to listen to the young talents coming through, or does your listening mainly consist of older bands like Bolt Thrower, Autopsy and the likes?
S: Since I’m a writer for Holland’s biggest metal magazine I get to hear a lot of new stuff as well, but I must admit that last year’s favorite albums were mainly made by old farts like Heathen, Overkill and Forbidden. My absolute highlight of the year was the Triptykon album but I also loved Watain’s and Misery Index’ latest albums.
And with a teenage daughter around the house I also have endure shit like Bring me the Horizon, Asking Alexandria and the likes, so the new stuff I’ll be writing will probably sound even more old school as some sort of reaction to this pile of crap that fills my ears in this house every now and then, haha…
Rocksins: The band’s lyrical content is concentrated highly around war, what is about this subject that interests the band so much?
S: Personally I’m more into watching horror/gore movies than war movies, but Martin really devours books about WWII. When he heard the first songs we’d written for HOB, he immediately said that this music would be the perfect soundtrack for his long time idea to do a concept album about the battles at the eastern front during WWII. After having decided on a band name it was pretty obvious that war would be the main theme in our lyrics, it simply fits the type of music we play and I must admit that being drawn into a brutal story that actually happened, certainly adds a lot to the atmosphere that’s created with the music… And as much as I like horror movies, there’s no denying that the shit that happened during WWII is far more gruesome and chilling than any made up horror movie out there…
Rocksins: These days even bands who are considered quite big, struggle to make a living from playing music, how hard is it for you guys to keep the band going?
S: martin is the only one of us who tries to make a living from both Asphyx and Hail of Bullets. the rest of us all have (part time) regular jobs, so for us the band is mainly there for fun purposes. Which doesn’t mean we don’t take this band seriously. Hell no, we have definitely set our goals, but we’re not interested in long tours. We’d rather follow some sort of guerilla/blitzkrieg tactics; make quick attacks on as many countries as possible, then retreat and plan the next attack 😉
Rocksins: How much do you think illegal downloading effects the music industry? Do you think it opens fans up to new bands or ruin bands chances of making a living?
S: Obviously it has its influence on record sales. Bands are only selling 30- 40% of what they could have sold, had there not been any illegal downloads. On the other hand it’s cool for young, unknown bands to get their music heard by a lot of people and it’s also great for people in countries that have been more isolated from metal in the past and where it was impossible or too expensive to buy music in the first place. I don’t mind the availability of our music on networks such as MySpace or Facebook, but it would be better if only half of the songs of an album would be available for free, so people would get a good impression of a band but would still have to get the ful album if you really like that band and have to support them a bit for the effort they obviously made. I agree that the prices of CD’s have been way too high the past years, but I can’t understand that people are not willing to pay for a product that cost a lot of money and blood, sweat and tears to make and yet pay tons of money for other stupid things…oh whatever.. that’s called the generation gap I guess 😉
Rocksins: And finally would you like to say anything to the fans, or maybe the people reading this who are unaware who the band are?
S: We hope to see all of you at The Underworld on March 26th and we definitely want to play more places in the UK this year. If you’re still unaware who Hail of Bullets are, check out our MySpace page (www.myspace.com/hailoffuckenbullets) to get an impression and come to see our shows, Cheers!