HI! HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? Hey man, I’m doing ok, thanx. I’m in our hometown Montreal right now but will leave on tour tomorrow! „THE HEALING PROCESS“ IS OUT AND VERY IMPRESSIVE. ARE YOU CONTENT WITH EVERYTHING? HOW ARE YOUR FEELINGS NOW AFTER WORK IS DONE? I actually received the finished copy of the album last week! It feels great man. We have been working non-stop for the past year; mainly writing songs and recording them. We did record 3 times (the EP, new split CD and upcoming album) in 2004 so it’s rewarding in a sense to finally release “The Healing Process”. We firmly believe that it contains our best material to date and it definitely sounds better then anything we have released in the past. Although we were on a tight schedule and learned some of the songs as we were recording them, we feel that this album is definitely our finest because it has a lot more to offer. The arrangements, song structures and musicianship have improved drastically since our first album. I’m tempted to say that it’s a lot more varied as well. AS YOU ARE A QUITE NEW BAND IN THE METAL SCENE COULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO OUR READERS?! DESPISED ICON is a death metalcore 6 piece from Montreal, Canada. We started the band in 2002 and released our first album „Consumed by your Poison“ by the end of that same year. After going through some line-up changes, we released our „Syndicated Murderers EP“ in april 2004. Here we are in 2005, with a new album on Century Media and Split CD on Relapse with Bodies in the Gears. We got lucky. WHAT DOES YOUR BANDNAME ACTUALLY REFER TO? An Icon is usually blindly worshipped by the masses. To despise someone of that status somehow simply reminds me that he’s just as human and non-perfect as the rest of us. YOU ACQUIRED A NEW VOCALIST IN 2004. HOW STABLE IS YOUR LINE UP NOW? HOW DOES SONGWRITING TAKE PLACE WITHIN YOUR BAND? I was actually the drummer on the first album and switched to vocals when Marie left the band. We quickly found someone to replace me on drums and have been stable since. This is our best line-up ever and everyone in the band is totally dedicated. We don’t write music like most bands do. On about 75% of this album, I’d basically write an entire song on drums and program the beats one after the other on computer. Eric, our guitarist, and I would then study those drum patterns, write the music over them and re-work certain arrangements with the rest of the band. We put a lot of emphasis on coming up with a tight rhythm section and build everything around that afterwards. I wrote most of the lyrics on the album and Steve wrote the rest. I really like the way he expresses his thoughts lyrically and I think he and I have similar approaches that complement each other well. We will probably try to have a different approach when we’ll start writing the music for our third album. It will be much more of a group effort that time around so hopefully our sound will keep evolving. AND HOW DID YOUR COLLABORATION WITH CENTURY MEDIA START? ARE YOU CONTENT WITH THEIR PROMOTIONAL WORK? ARE YOU IN ANY WAY PROUD OF BEING IN THEIR ROSTER? Almost a year ago to this date, we decided to record that 2 song promo ep just to let people know we were still alive despite the line-up changes and sent it out to a few labels. I remember at some point we were on the verge of signing with Listenable Records and were talking to Willowtip and Goodfellow about licensing it in North America. All of sudden, people from Century Media, Relapse and Earache got in touch with us (yeah I know, sorry about the name dropping hahah) so anyway, we ended up getting a deal for a split cd that just got released on Relapse and signed with Century Media. Stacy from Abacus (CM’s hardcore division) was apparently into our new stuff and talked about us to the rest of the CM staff and that’s how we got signed. So far, all the staff as been super cool with us so I couldn’t be happier about all of this. I’m doing this interview with you right now so yeah, they are promoting us well! THE COVER IS VERY INTERESTING AND A LITTLE BIT MORBID WHICH IS THE MESSAGE? IS IT RELATED WITH THE TEXT CONCEPT AND DID YOU HAVE ANY INFLUENCE ON THE DESIGN? Our friend Gab from ION DISSONANCE did the album cover and layout. He knows us and our music well so I think he came up with a concept that represents us accurately. We actually let him do whatever he wanted because we trusted his judegement and I think the result is pretty cool. I think the cover somehow illustrates the healing process by it’s choice of imagery. Good job Gab! WHICH LYRICAL CONCEPT STANDS BEHIND “THE HEALING PROCESS”? DO YOU THINK THAT HUMANITY CAN BE HELPED AT ALL? ISN’T IT ROTTEN TO THE CORE WITH STUPID MEDIA INSANITY? Well, you could say that our lyrics are pretty personal in a sense even if they are expressed in rather obscure manner. DESPISED ICON is not about gore, porn, society or politics. The songs we write mostly deal with how we cope with negative thoughts and aspects of our lives. Some of us and even the band itself have gone through a lot emotionally this year and so the title “The Healing Process” somehow felt appropriate. We didn’t put much thought into, it just seemed to make sense on different scales for everyone in the band and shows that something positive can grow out of a negative experience. COULD YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE PRODUCTION PROCESS? HOW WAS WORK WITH J-F DAGENAIS? DOES THE SOUND FIT YOUR EXPECTATIONS? The album was produced by our own guitarist Yannick St-Amand (NEURAXIS, ION DISSONANCE) in Montreal, mixed by J-F Dagenais (MISERY INDEX, KATAKLYSM) and mastered by Alan Douches (SHADOWS FALL, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) in New Jersey. We were fortunate to work with such talented individuals. They have been so patient with us. We have a tendency to work on the smallest details and that’s why it took so long to get the final master. In the end, we are all satisfied with how the album came out. Like for almost any band, I’d say there are certain things that we think could have been a bit better but that’s normal I guess. When you put so much time and effort into something, you sort of become over critical in a sense. I think the production on the album complements the different genres covered in our music and is a good balance between a dirty/ aggressive sound and a precise/ clear sound. I AM NOT AWARE OF YOUR FULL LENGTH DEBUT „COMSUMED BY YOUR POSION“ – WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO RELEASES? After listening to our first album „Consumed by your Poison“ when it first came out, we felt as though something was not quite as we intended it to be. It showcased a lot of our metal influences and there was that comparison with DYING FETUS and a few other bands that was flattering at first and became a little annoying after a while. That’s why we really wanted to focus on coming up with a more personal sound. I think that we kept the essence displayed on our first album and I’m pretty sure that most of the people who have been following us since the very beginning can acknowledge that. But there have been some changes too and that has a lot to do with the line-up change and our will to come up with some of the best mosh beats and breakdowns imaginable. That’s where the whole hardcore influence kicks in. The vocals are a lot more varied now and cover everything from low guttural vocals, to mid though guy vocals, to even screeching high pitched grind vocals. Instead of constantly switching from fast blast beat action to slow mosh type riffs over and over again like on our first album, we came up with sections for each. That’s why it ended up different. YOU MIX METALCORE WITH GRIND AND PROOF TO BE VERY TECHNICALLY ALTHOUGH YOU ARE (COMPARED TO ME) RATHER YOUNG. DID YOU HAVE SOME KIND OF SPECIAL EDUCATION? Some of us studied music but we mostly learned how to play by ourselves. We started at a young age and have been playing for a little over 10 years; except our drummer and other singer… they are a bit younger. AND WHICH SHORT TERM WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC TO AN UNKNOWING PERSON? YOU SEEM TO AVOID THE METALCORE TRAP BY SHEER BRUTALITY! We mix mostly death metal and metalcore together. Key words would be: devastating mosh beats and insanely fast grinding action. I guess that’s what you can expect from our upcoming release. We really did all that we could to give a different personality to each song on the album so it doesn’t sound too linear. We also added lots of technical twists. ARE YOU IN ANY WAY RELATED TO KATAKLYSM? IN MY OPINION YOU WOULD BE THE PERFECT SUPPORT. J-F from Kataklysm mixed our album and split cd so yeah, we know them hahah They are a great band I really hope to tour with them when they’ll release their next album. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT METALCORE SCENE? BY FAR TOO MANY BANDS? TOO MANY COPYCATS? ANY INTERESTING NEW INFLUENCES OR UNDERGROUND BANDS WHICH HAVE TO BE DISCOVERED IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY? I like the music itself a lot and often hang out in hardcore shows. The only thing that bothers me about metalcore in general is the importance that’s placed on image. Looking cool shouldn’t be a priority. Fuck that and bring the mosh instead. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION? IS CANADA STILL A SAFE PLACE (REGARDING THE SOUTH PARK MOVIE:-) Canada is great man and a lot safer than the US. I’d say fuck Bush and read the newspaper if you don’t understand why. Sorry, i’m not very political. WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER INTERESTS BESIDES MUSIC? I don’t know… music is all I’ve been doing lately. WHEN WILL WE SEE YOU LIVE IN GERMANY AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? HAVE YOU EVER TOURED EUROPE ANYWAY? I’ve toured in Europe in the past with my previous band NEURAXIS. We were signed on Morbid Records at the time and even played the Morbid Festspiele! I really loved touring in Europe and Germany was awesome. Hopefully, DESPISED ICON will be given the chance to do so before the end of the year. COULD YOU SHARE ANY FUNNY TOUR STORIES, ANY CATATROPHES? Our first tour starts tomorrow so I’ll have lots of stories in a month when I come back! AND YOUR LAST – DESPISED – WORDS ARE? Thanx for he support, take care THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR STRONG EFFORT.