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ENFORSAKEN-2


FOREVER AND EVER:

ENFORSAKEN INTERVIEW WITH STEVE STELL

By Thrash-head

 Ever since I met Steve Stell at Metalfest a few years back, I have considered him to be a friend. He is one of those guys that you see at the metal show, minding his own business, generally being cool without trying to be cool. And if you've ever seen his band play, you notice one hell of a transformation. You see this mild-mannered metal fan change into his alter-ego...GUITAR-DUDE!!! He moves with the music, hunches over his guitar as if in pain, and his face cringes as if in total and utter frustration over the notes. The music that comes out though, is a beautiful melodic type of death metal not commonly heard on U.S. soil in it's purest form. Sure, the hardcore/metalcore movement is INCORPORATING the Swedish death metal influence through (Killswitch Engage, Bleeding Through, Atreyu, etc.), but really, too many bands are jumping on that bandwagon and leaving the traditional sound of Swedish hyperthrash behind.

Thankfully there is Enforsaken then, who even though in little places I hear hints of bay area thrash, remain faithful and honest to the music that they love. Therefore, the sound that emanates from the speakers is something that while one may say has been done before, one cannot argue that this band makes it fresh and interesting. They have the youthful energy that their ages would suggest, and the modern ingenuity that so often bear the "thoroughly American" tag-line. This all comes together to help usher in a new age of American extreme music.

I'm proud to call myself a fan of this band. Now let's begin the interview...

Wormwood Chronicles: Well, first off, I wanna thank you for including us in the thank you list…believe it or not, no one’s ever done that for us to the best of my knowledge…

Steve Stell: No problem. You guys deserve it. You guys helped us out a lot in the beginning. It's the very least we could do.

WC: So anyways…new album…it rules! Did you try anything different with the songwriting process?

SS: Thanks. I'm glad you like it. No, not really. We didn't have a special formula that we followed to write this album. All we really set out to do was make this cd a little better than our first cd, Embraced By Misery. I think we accomplished that. We're already looking forward to getting back into the studio to record the next album. We've already started writing. We have about 4 songs done. We're about have way there. We only want about 8 songs on the next cd. The Forever Endeavor is a monster at almost 60 minutes and 10 songs. We want to trim it down a bit next time.

WC: I noticed the cleaner singing style that Steven Sagala was using on a few choice tunes. What compelled you guys to utilize this and why didn’t he use it more, seeing as it rocked?

SS: We never know what he's doing at practice. Our guitars are usually so loud they even overpower the drums, haha. It's sometimes hard to
hear him, even though he's going through a good, loud PA. He also changes things constantly. He came up with lots of the clean stuff in the studio. He just goes in there, tracks parts, and then see's if we like it. If it's got a good feel and sits right. That's one thing we do experiment with. Clean stuff like that either sounds really good, or just plain sucks. We all try to make it that all of the sucky shit gets erased before we finalize everything in the studio. We'll be trying more clean stuff in the future for sure. His clean voice is very unique.

WC: You worked with James Murphy at Studio One, which is owned by Chris Djuricic of Jungle Rot. How did this all come about?

SS: We've know Chris for years. We've recorded there before, and we're very comfortable with him. His studio just has a good atmosphere. As for Murphy, I was talking to James online for maybe a year before we went in to record this cd. He was always into the idea of playing a lead on the cd. He also has a studio in Florida, so when it came time for the disc to be mastered, we used James again for that. It all came together fairly easily. It was definitely a great experience. James taught us a lot about the business. The recording as well as the record label side of things.

WC: Why did you decide to re-record some of your older material? Furthermore, why did you decide to change your tuning?

SS: We knew that the distribution on our first cd was not that great. In Europe it was, but in the USA it sucked. We knew that not as many people heard those songs as should have. So, we rerecorded "The Acting Parts" and "Dead light, Dead night" for The Forever Endeavor. We also wanted to record them better this time. That's pretty much why. As far as tuning up a wee bit to C# now, we did that just to clean up the sound a little bit. That, and to also keep our strings from flapping against our fretboards too much. Joe and I weren't willing to use super heavy gauge strings, so we just tightened them up a bit. It wasn't a drastic change. C to C#. No big deal. We both use D'Adarrio 11-49 strings. In C#, those strings are perfect. Not too tight, not too loose.

WC: You are on Olympic now. What are the noticeable differences as opposed to when you were on a million labels for the first disc?

SS: Well, as you know, Olympic is basically Century Media Records. CM bought out Olympic last year, and now it's run in the same building as CM in California, by the same people that work at Century Media. In Europe we're on Century Media "proper," here we are on the sub label Olympic. It's all working out great. Everyone there is professional as all Hell. We have no complaints. They push us to do the best we can and in turn give us great promotion and advertising. This is all a far cry from what we're used to. Being on WW3 Music briefly before they went bankrupt was an absolute nightmare. We're in good hands now for sure.

WC: You played Metalfest last year shortly after being signed. Do you feel this put any added pressure on you, like ‘hey, we’re the band from Chicago that Olympic just signed. Hope you like us as much as they did?’

SS: Not really. It was just another gig. We would have never played that fest unless the label paid to get us on. That is the biggest scam fest on Earth. $1,000 to play if you are unsigned. Bullshit. I understand it costs money to put on a show like that, but please. The promoter, Jack Koshick, lives in a very nice penthouse suite in downtown Milwaukee. He's not strapped for cash. Those unsigned bands hard eared paychecks are going straight into his pocket. So he can make payments on his Cadillac SUV. We'll play it again I'm certain, but we will never pay out of our own pockets. It's not worth it. These unsigned bands think they are getting great exposure by playing that fest. How is it great if your're playing at 1 AM up against Strapping Young Lad or Suffocation? Or if you're the opening band on Saturday at 11 AM? I'm not even out of bed until then. Not too many other people are either.

WC: Olympic is a considerably more respected label in the metal underground than your previous labels. How are your friends in the scene reacting to you guys being on that label?

SS: They worship the ground we walk on now. Haha! Nah, so far they have been very happy to hear it. It helps put Chicago on the metal map even more, I hope.

WC: You’ve got an endorsement from Gibson guitars. As a fellow guitarist I can just imagine the look on your face when that happened. How did that come about?

SS: I just sent them a package with our first cd and some good press clippings. Reviews etc. I said we'd put the Gibson logo in the cd insert
and on the website when our next cd comes out. That's all it took. They wrote back and we sorted it all out. It was quite easy. We did get a little lucky for sure, I know. That's basically the deal with any company. If you have a cd that you can get in Best Buy, just put their logo in the insert, then get a deal from the company. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

WC: I imagine that you’ve been fielding tour offers since the CD came out. Any plans?

SS: We've had some tour mishaps lately. We were supposed to go out on two tours already for this cd, but shit happend. We're still looking to go out soon. We'll at least be playing lots of out of state gigs for now. The summer tours are all booked, so we're kind of screwed now. We'll be out there soon enough.

WC: I’m sorry, but I’m gonna see if I can open a can of worms here. In many of your CD reviews that I read (and that I write), you are constantly compared to the Swedish scene. How tired of reading/hearing this stuff are you?

SS: I don't care anymore to be honest. Everybody has got to put their label on something. Some people like it, some don't. If you're into that whole Swedish thing, hopefully you'll like us. We definitely have been influenced by European bands, but we're not just another clone. People who listen to us, that have any brains at all, will realize this pretty quick. We're all about melodic, heavy, guitar solo screaming heavy metal. We add our own style to this foundation. This is how we sound and we like it. If we had riffs that sounded even a little like Morbid Angel, we'd be lumped into the Morbid Angel style category. It's all the same. I really don't give a shit about reviews anymore anyway. Positive or negative. Fucking critics. I hate them to be honest. Who gave these people a right to judge other peoples art? People that do that for a living make me sick. Like that fat fuck on TV that reviews movies. Roger Ebert. Fuckin 20 years worth of his ass on TV telling me what sucks and what doesn't. People that can't think for themselves and base their cd purchases on reviews should be put to sleep. Euthanized like a sick, old cat. (So just buy any shit that looks like it "might" be good? Who's got the money for that? I heard tons of great bands through the years by reading mag reviews...including Enforsaken!-Dr. Mality)

WC: Any last words for your fans?

SS: Arnold, thank you for the interview! Everyone please check out our new cd "The Forever Endeavor." You can order it at www.CenturyMedia.com You might even find it in Best Buy and Sam Goody. Check out our website at www.Enforsaken.com too! Sign our message board. Later!