HI IAN! Hello! FIRST OF ALL I HAVE TO THANK YOU FOR THE TIME YOU’RE SPENDING ON THIS INTERVIEW! Thank you. The pleasure is all mine. NOW… HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY? EVERYTHING’S FINE IN AMERICA? THERE MUST BE A TREMENDOUS NATIONAL ATMOSPHERE IN YOUR COUNTRY BECAUSE OF YOUR NEW PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. IN SOME WAY HE WAS ADMIRED LIKE A ROCKSTAR… DO YOU THINK HE IS? I am doing well, thanks. I wish I could say that everything was fine in America… this simply isn’t the case. Our economy is in the worst shape it’s been in since the 1920’s. Our soil is in more danger than ever before, despite extreme security measures. Many people cannot find legitimate work. The American Public is very divided… we are apprehensive of one another at best…. which brings me to your question regarding national atmosphere. There doesn’t really appear to be one, and this disturbs me. Americans as a whole seem detached, star-eyed and hypnotized. The new president doesn’t seem to have affected everyone on a day-to-day basis… there is something negative to be said about a guy who won a nationwide popularity contest by simply stating, „I’m not like that other guy“. It also says something horribly negative that so many people bought into it… but then again, the choice was an illusion all along. WELL, SUCCESS WILL WRITE APOCALYPSE ACROSS THE HAS FINALLY SIGNED A RECORD DEAL WITH NUCLEAR BLAST. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE RESULT? DO YOU THINK THAT IT’S AN ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR OWN INDIVIDUALISTIC CREATIVITY, A CONSEQUENCE OF YOUR TALENT OF POWERFUL SONGWRITING AND MASTERLY PLAYING? OR DO YOU THINK IT’S SOMEHOW A „NICE COINCIDENCE“? HOW WAS THE FEELING? It’s very surreal for me, honestly. I am very very honored, that’s for sure. I’d have to say that it’s an even balance between us being lucky and our abilities, not really more one than the other. There are tons of bands that are amazing that do not have the type of support we are receiving, so for this I feel very lucky… I also think that Nuclear Blast has no motivation to support bands that are bad at what they do, so the music we are playing and the way that we play it has to factor into this most fortunate situation somehow. CAN YOU GIVE OUR READERS A SHORT SUMMARY OF SWWAATS’S BAND HISTORY, WITH ALL UP AND DOWNS AND ALL LINE-UP CHANGES? ARE THERE ANY REAL MAGIC MOMENTS YOU CAN REMEMBER? Aaron and I were playing in BITGOTA in 2006, it dissolved shortly after some writing for an album. Probably about a week after BITGOTA split up, Aaron and I decided that we wanted to keep making music together, as we enjoyed the material that we had written for BITGOTA. We didn’t really know anyone local to Tampa at the time who was interested in playing the type of stuff that we wanted to do, so we had to look for members nationally rather than locally. John was an obvious match for the sound we were looking for, he flew down from New York, enjoyed what we were doing and he’s been around since. Turns out he’s a killer dude, haha. Chris, our original bass player, played with me in a band in Kentucky. We are long time friends. He is now a very happy father and husband, back in Kentucky and living the good life. Jesse Jolly took over bass duties when Chris took off for his family. Jen had been making all of our auxillary audio since day one but joined our touring lineup in April of ’08. Jesse and Mike Petrak, our original drummer, left SWWAATS do play with AMON full time. Mike Heller recorded some amazing drum tracks for our album but is currently full-time with MALIGNANCY, and also very busy recording other bands. Matt Simpson joined our fold late summer of last year. He wrote and recorded some wonderful bass lines. Our drum throne is currently occupied by JR Daniels, whom we’ve all known for several years. He’s a maniac. FLORIDA IS AN AREA WHICH IS INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN FOR HIGH QUALITY DEATH METAL. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS? WHAT IS DIFFERENT COMPARED TO THE „GOOD OLD DAYS“ OF FLORIDA DEATH METAL? Florida Metal is in pretty good shape! There are tons of great bands. I really enjoy IMPLOSIVE DISGORGENCE, KHANN, MARUTA, NAILSHITTER, ABDOMEN CANVAS, LEGIONS… man there are tons of bands here. All of the classics are still out here and kicking ass as well. We pratice down the hall from CANNIBAL CORPSE right now, and they sound amazing every time I hear them. I’d say if anything is different from old school FL Metal, it would be that there seems to be more of an open minded conception of what is heavy nowadays. There is more pressure to be creative and brutal, and less pressure to „stay true“ or some other such limitation. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE THE FUNDAMENT/ BASIS OF YOUR MUSIC IS A COMBINATION OF TECHNICAL AND BRUTAL DEATH METAL, GRINDCORE AND A FEW MORE MAGIC „INGREDIENTS“. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON PUTTING LABELS ON ART, ABOUT INTELLECTUAL ANALYSIS? DO YOU THINK IT’S NECESSARY TO MAKE JOURNALISTIC CLASSFICATIONS/ CATEGORIZATIONS ETC.? Yes, I do think that classifications are necessary for the sake of conversation. In general terms, like „Pop/ Rock“, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD is lumped in alphabetically somewhere near STEVIE WONDER… these artists are hardly comparable. So terms like „Death Metal“ help us to better describe what DEICIDE sounds like in comparison to DOKKEN. However, classifications can become limiting. I personally do not enjoy when a classification defines a band. I like when a Band defines a classification. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR LYRICAL AND MUSICAL CONCEPT, ESPECIALLY CONCERNING YOUR CURRENT RELEASE „THE GRAND PARTITITON AND THE ABROGATION OF IDOLATRY“. DO YOU PREFER A STRUCTURED, ALMOST CONSTRUCTIVISTIC WAY TO WRITE AND ARRANGE NEW SONGS OR DO YOU LIKE IT MORE THE INSTINCTIVE WAY? Things just sort of come together for us… it’s really rare for one member to write more than one part at a time. A lot of the SWWAATS stuff is taken from strong moments in improvisation. Our process for writing lyrics will variate; generally we will listen to a song and try to hear what the music is saying and do the best we can to translate, but there are some songs that have lyrics that were written at a seperate time from the songs and without any song in mind at all. HOW EXACTLY WAS THE ALBUM PRODUCED? JUST AS ALL THE OTHER RECORDS OUT THERE WITH CLICK TRACK AND PRO TOOLS (DON’T GET ME WRONG, I REALLY LOVE YOUR MUSIC! IT’S MINDBLOWING!!!)? Yes, the record was mapped out on pro tools to a click track… that took some time as the songs were most certainly not created with a click track! WHERE EXACTLY DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? I have been listening to GOJIRA so much, it’s crazy. I am seriously obsessed with that music. There is a band in Georgia (US) named IRREVERSIBLE whom I have taken a great liking to lately… really great doom stuff. Speaking of really great doom stuff, my friends in Rwake’s most recent album is just fantastic. I listen to a ton of Secret Chiefs 3. I love Tom Waits. If I had to pick a role model, it would be Frank Zappa for sure. He was a fantastic musician and a master of vicious humor. REGARDING YOUR INFLUENCES: WHICH BANDS DO YOU LISTEN TO? DO YOU HAVE ANY ROLE MODELS? Speaking solely for myself… SWWAATS is like a dustbin for unwanted and uncomfortable thoughts. It’s my way of dealing with my rampant negativity. I’d say that most people who are self aware and can watch the news are pretty pissed off right now. We all deal with it in our own way. I have always been a really forthcoming individual, so I attempt to air my grievances with life in general via this band. So I’d guess I’d have to say that I draw my inspiration from negativity in all of it’s forms. Fuck… that’s no good. Maybe I should take up drinking heavily. DO YOU THINK, THAT DEATH METAL IS A MUSIC WITH A LOT OF HEART, PASSION AND AN UNCOMPROMISING ATTITUDE? Most certainly, without a doubt! There isn’t currently another form of music that sounds as dire and severe as Death Metal. It is the definitive sound of human anger as far as I am concerned, and it is rivaled by none. AND – FOR GOOD MEASURE – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SWEDISH DEATH METAL/ GOTHENBURG THING? It all seems to be very Thrash influenced, which is cool. Just like most forms of music, there is some of it that I enjoy, and some of it that I do not. I think it goes without dispute that „Slaughter Of The Soul“ was an amazing record and I enjoy THE HAUNTED. I do not consider myself as heavily influenced by this type of music, but I do enjoy it when it’s done proper. WELL… NOW HERE ARE THREE QUOTES TAKEN FROM THE MOVIE „METAL – A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY“. IT WOULD BE NICE, IF YOU COULD COMMENT ON THEM: 1. „METAL IS PROBABLY THE LAST BASTION OF REAL REBELLION, REAL MASCULINITY, REAL MAN, BASICALLY GETTING TOGETHER AND BEATING THEIR CHEST…“ I could agree with this given that there was something deeper implied by it, because it can be a silly statement if taken at face value… but I would have to agree that there is something very primal about what it is that we are doing. It’s something that we need to stay in touch with ourselves when the proverbial gloves are off. 2. „IT’S NOT A WAY TO UNDERSTAND YOUR LONELINESS, IT’S SORT OF A WAY TO FEEL THAT YOU ARE PART OF SOMETHING THAT’S LARGER THAN YOURSELF, BECAUSE EVERYTHING ABOUT METAL IS LARGER THAN IT IS IN LIFE.“ I think it’s as much about the establishment and empowerment of one’s own identity as it is about a sense of brotherhood. Metal grabs you by the spine in your early years and tells you “ you don’t have to fucking be like everyone else“ and „your authorities are lying to you“. 3. „IS HEAVY METAL A SACRAMENT? FOR SOME PEOPLE IT IS. IF IT KEEPS KIDS ALIVE, IF IT GIVES THEM HOPE, IF IT GIVES THEM A PLACE TO BELONG, IF IT GIVES THEM A SENSE OF TRANSCENDENCE, THEN I BELIEVE IT’S A SPIRITUAL FORCE. I BELIEVE IT’S A PIPELINE TO GOD.“ I had fun thinking about this quote. If Metal is a pipeline to god… then that makes me an extremely pious individual as I attend his church and pray loud several times a week… and that must mean that Big Scary Metal God will reward me when I turn into a zombie. THE OMNIPRESENT RATIONALISTIC VIEW ON THINGS IN WESTERN CULTURE IS – AS A MATTER OF FACT – FOR MANY ALTERNATIVELY THINKING PEOPLE A PRODUCT OF INTELLECTUAL IMPERIALISM… DO YOU THINK, THAT THE „OLD WAY“ OF EXISTING, A LIFE NOT SEPARATED FROM THE RHYTHM OF NATURE WOULD BE THE BETTER WAY FOR MANKIND RATHER THAN LIVING IN AN OVERPOPULATED, URBANIZED ENVIRONMENT WITH MASS TECHNIQUE AND MASS MEDIA? I think that humanity has made it clear that we cannot handle either. Perhaps it’s time for another idea altogether. Given every opportunity, humanity has made a point to behave in a barbaric fashion… mainly concerned with population and killing each other off. Addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. I think that everyone’s beliefs on who we are and what we’re doing here are going to have to change if we want to see any real change in our societies. DO YOU THINK THAT THE HISTORY OF MISANTHROPY IS EQUAL TO THE HISTORY OF THE TECHNICAL CIVILIZATION? FROM MY POINT OF VIEW YOUR DEBUT CONCERNS A LOT WITH THAT KIND OF SUBJECT. MY INTERPRETATION IS THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO COMBINE THE RELIGIOUS AND THE SCIENTIFIC VIEW OF THE WORLD’S DOWNFALL. THERE IS SOMEHOW A LINK BETWEEN ANARCHISM AND SATANISM. SO IT’S REALLY BAD STUFF IN THERE, I GUESS, HAHAHA! ISN’T IT? More than anything our lyrical content is intended to challenge people’s beliefs and to make everyone who listens aware of impending danger attached to our current human belief system. Our lyrics are often interpreted as misanthropic, that has to be rooted in a frustration with humanity. Misanthropy isn’t negative when you compare it to apathy. To harbor a frustration for something is indicative of a concern with it, but to simply ignore that it exists is the coldest gesture indeed. LET ME PROPHECY YOU SOMETHING: THE GERMAN METAL SCENE WILL DEFINITELY NOT BE ABLE TO IGNORE YOU. THE GUYS WILL – IN GENERAL – BE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SWWAATS AND SOME OF THEM WILL COMPLETELY FREAK OUT, IF THEY FINALLY GET THE CHANCE TO LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC, TO EXPERIENCE IT, BECAUSE THE GERMANS ARE VERY INTO BRUTAL STUFF! ANY COMMENTS? That is fantastic to know. The German Metal Scene is legendary worldwide. American’s that don’t even listen to metal return from their visits to Germany remarking on how much Germany loves Metal. It will be a great honor to perform Metal in a nation with such a great reputation for heavy music. WHAT IS WITH IDEOLOGY? DO YOU PERSONALLY KEEP ONE IN MIND? The less you think that you know, the more you can learn. ALLRIGHT, THE LAST WORDS BELONG TO YOU! AGAIN: THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME AND KEEP THE SPIRIT WHAT METAL IS ALL ABOUT. KEEP YOUR WORK AS IT IS. IT’S WONDERFUL! STAY BRUTAL AND ROCK ON! Thanks for your kind words. Thanks to all that took the time to read this. We’ll be on tour in Germany this April, come catch a beer with us.