Metal Army caught up with Alex Carmago of Brazilian death metal power trio KRISIUN on the eve of the release of their new album The Great Execution. Alex chatted with us about the new record, songwriting, new approaches to recording and after twenty years in metal the importance of friendships in the music business.
MAA: Please tell us about the making of you new album The Great Execution.
AC: Well we had a lot more time this time around. We had extra time to work on the songs. It’s been three years since the release of the previous record (Southern Storm). We’ve done quite a few tours in between. We put a lot more work into the songs and they are more varied this time around. The songs are kind of long as we’ve tried to do a few new things. More variation over time. We are very happy with the sound. We tried to go with a more natural and an organic sound. Its more like a clean album. More listenable, but still as brutal. But also it’s more understandable and more aggressive as well.
MAA: You have worked with Andy Classen three albums in a row. Why is Andy so important to the KRISIUN sound?
AC: Andy became a friend over the years. We’d talk a lot on the phone. He knew the plan. He called us a lot on the phone. He was talking about wanting to do another record with us. He showed that he was interested in doing the record. He is always trying to improve his techniques and his gear. We had the same idea about reaching for a more natural sound. He’s a good friend. Always there, always up and always interested about doing this new record. That made a big difference for sure.
MAA: Why change the approach to the recording style and sound on this record?
AC: We have the old-school the approach, but it still sounds modern and pretty heavy in a way. If you go check most of the records produced these days, they are sounding too artificial. The guys working on albums are trying to add too much volume. It brings excesses when mastering. A lot of times they sound loud like a freight train, but then there are no dynamics. We tried to make it like a live situation, especially for the drums. The drums were all one take for Max (Kolesne). No additions for him. So we went for this old-school approach on this album, but still sounding modern, heavy and in your face.
MAA: I’m hearing about a lot more diversity in the music this time out. What can fans expect from the sound of the songs?
AC: Since we had extra time to work on the songs we tried a lot of things. Not different instruments, but different arrangements ans tempos and longer songs. We did a lot of mid-tempos. Especially with the longer songs, we talked about adding more variation. Not just being fast all the time. It’s still KRISIUN, still just as aggressive, but now it’s more air now between song structures and the riffs. There is plenty of parts for headbanging and more groove parts. I don’t think we have lost any aggressiveness. Just made better songs. It’s still KRISIUN, but now there is more variation.
MAA: How does the writing process begin?
AC: When we first have started it’s kind of a tough point. We try to get ready and get focused. You have to feel confident and ready to go. Following Southern Storm we toured a lot all over the world. We gathered a lot of information and inspiration to make a record. It has to be us three out there. We just start jamming. It’s more like a jam. Moyses (Kolesne) comes up with most of the riffs, but we all write. We all have ideas and we are a very democratic band. We make sure we play constantly to try to get there. And we work on ideas right away. We don’t waste anytime in the studio. We did lots of rehearsals before going into the studio. It’s not like anybody sending files to somebody and telling them what to do. Just us three together, jamming out.
MAA: You guys sound so powerful for just a trio. What is the secret to the KRISIUN trademark sound in your opinion?
AC: Experience. Experience counts a lot. We’ve been there. We’ve made mistakes. Sometimes you don’t know what you are doing out there. You gotta learn from your own mistakes. It’s been a long time. Fortunately we have done a lot of good tours out there. We learned how to become good musicians. How to sound tight and heavy at the same time. We spent a lot of time touring and you have to make mistakes to learn from. But of course you’ve got to work on it. We’ve got to sound tight. The motivation for us on tour is we need to feel good about the tours. And sometimes its tough. The motivation is there as well. We wanna feel good about the tour. We want to feel good about the shows. Sometimes you have a tough show, a bad (sound) board or you are homesick. But we still love what we do. We love to play live and still want to deliver good shows. There are certain things we to help sound as loud as anybody else and still be a three-piece.
MAA: Is there a band in metal or death metal you haven’t toured with that you’d like to?
AC: Yeah! MOTORHEAD would be a great band to tour with since we respect the band and love the band after all these yeas they are still out there. It’s a tough business out there sometimes. Sometimes it is hard to hook up with touring. Next year we will be playing a few festivals. We’d love to play with SLAYER again. We’ve had some really great tours opening for OBITUARY, NILE, IMMOLATION and MORBID ANGEL. Such great bands. If those kind of tours come up again, it would be great!
MAA: The band celebrated their 20th year anniversary last year. What do you credit the longevity of your relationship with Century Media to?
AC: You know we have been there a long time. We have a few friends working for the company for a long period of time. The owner of the company named is a German guy named Robert (Kampf). Somehow we actually became friends over the years. I’ve seen bands leave Century Media and regret it. Labels are labels and you can never tell, but I think between the ups and downs they have been really cool to us. It’s hard out there. There are so many bands out there. Lots of managers bands push them into bad moves. It could be rough a move if we leave and try something else. We might benefit from the initial hype. But labels are labels and you still need to deliver a good record. They’ve been good to us. They do a great job with distribution. They have been great getting our records all over the place, pretty much all over. All over North America, South America, Asia, Europe and other places.
MAA: Thanks Alex I’ll see you guys on the road!
AC: Definitely man! Thanks a lot for the interview Keith. Let’s meet up at a show for a beer!
(Special thanks to Alex Carmago, KRISIUN and Century Media Records.)
by Keith (Keefy Chachkes