Beheaded interview

Please give us a short introduction of yourself?
Hello Twan and readers of this interview! I’m Omar Grech, and I’ve been part of Beheaded for a good decade now, since I joined this murder squad in 1995. My role in the band is far from just playing guitar. I write lyrics, come up with a good chunk of the music, and manage most of the stuff in the band in conjunction with Chris (drums).

So why are you doing the inties for the band? Others too lazy?
Hehehe – Answering interviews is usually a job I do gladly. So here I am answering your questions.

Can you tell why Beheaded was founded? What was the goal and has it been achieved?
Beheaded was stitched together back in 1991, with the intention of being a blistering death grind act. Being from Malta has never facilitated matters, due to the island’s geographic location. But having said that, I feel that we have overcome that situation through the music we have created over the span of years. We have strived to push the band forward with each release and through the various decisions we took in passing from one record label to the other. We’re satisfied to have joined one of the sickest roster of bands on the planet since we got signed by Unique Leader Records, and this has made all the effort throughout the past years worth the sweat. So, in view of all this I believe that the primary goal has been achieved. We’re now looking at the future with ambition and look forward to tour and release memorable material on this kick ass label.

Malta is not exactly a country know for metal. So how did you came in contact with metal music?
My first contact with Metal was when I heard Iron Maiden and Dio when I was like 11. I was hooked by the sounds of the guitars mainly, and after that I just wanted to explore other faster and heavier genres of Metal. I used to dig the Thrash bands so much. Bands like Exhorder, Slayer, Kreator, Sadus, Forbidden, Atrophy, Devastation, Death Angel, Dark Angel, Testament etc. However I found my style when I heard Death Metal for the first time. I remember listening to Obituary in 1989/1990. That music to me was like as if I opened a new door. I had friends at school who shared my same tastes in music and nearly all of them played in bands at that time. I had my own band at that time as well - it was called Dusk. However when I was offered the guitar slot in Beheaded I accepted it happily, because it was a band with great qualities and ambitions from day one.

Can you remember the first record you bought yourself? Do you still buy music?
Yes the first record I bought was Powerslave by Iron Maiden. I still buy music from time to time, but lately my money has gone in guitar equipment rather than CD’s.

What are the advantages of hailing from Malta?
Since Malta is so small, we don’t have to travel for hours to reach our rehearsal place. I look at this fact as an advantage over other bands in other countries who can only rehearse as a whole band on very rare occasions due to the long distances they have to travel. We also have a cool studio facility here, called Temple Studios. The owner is a cool friend of ours and always accepts to work with us. This studio is like a large villa situated in Mistra Bay and the scenery there is breath taking. Just to give you an idea, this studio has been used by Philip Boa, Farmer Boys, Rammstein, Such a Surge, Zornik etc. Usually it’s hired by big record labels and they send the producers with the bands over here. I find it ultra cool for us to be able to work in total ease in that environment.
Those are the main advantages I can think of really.

And what about the wobbly fucking roads on Malta. What a crime....
Yeah as regards Maltese roads I share your same opinion. They suck big time. Luckily for us and for the numerous tourists that visit our country new ones are being constructed from scratch to a good standard. Fingers crossed these new roads will endure the test of time, and our summer heat.

Can you tell the difference between US and Europe style of death metal? Which do you prefer?
In general the European style of death metal has always contained a good dose of melody as opposed to the US death metal which was more inclined towards a more brutal approach. In the former years of Death Metal (late 80’s / early 90’s) the differences were more evident. The Swedish death metal scene had its niche of bands which more or less forged the sound of the European death metal of those years. Bands like Entombed, Dismember, Carnage, Edge of Sanity are just 4 examples. Other bands like Morgoth from Germany, Pestilence from Holland, Benediction and Bolt Thrower from the UK also had melody incorporated in their music.
However, in those same years, the American Death Metal had a different approach in that, the bands of those years were characterized by the brutality and technique contained in their music. New York bands have surely left their indelible mark in the US death metal sound. Suffocation is the first name that comes to mind, but like it there were others like Morpheus Descends, Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia, and Baphomet.
Nowadays the situation has changed a bit, because a number of European bands have adopted an American sound, and the same happened with some American bands who adopted a European sound. I like bands from both areas of death metal, and in fact Beheaded’s early material was a mixture of both. But nowadays we find it more challenging to play technical and brutal music which has inevitably steered away from the European sound. But there are still European elements in our music, especially in the mid paced parts.

With your preference where do you like to tour the most? Is it easy to score gigs?
We have had the opportunity to tour both in the US and Europe. We find European crowds to be less cold towards the bands. Usually in Europe the clubs even offer meals etc to the bands, that’s something which was lacking when we did the US tour in 2002. There is more of a brotherhood between bands in Europe. It could be that we were unfortunate to encounter the wrong people at the wrong times when we toured the US but that’s the idea we got. In general we found that the European crowds are friendlier with the musicians. Of course there are exceptions to this.
Having said that however, I would like to embark on a proper US tour in future, set up by a competent organizer. And I would also like to play in Canada, because we had missed that occasion in 2002, when the organizer of the shows we had booked failed to get us the permits we needed and our ex-manager ended up arrested for trying to get us across the boarder ‘illegally’. I feel we have a sort of debt with the Canadian scene because of that incident.
It’s not very difficult to secure gigs for Beheaded, especially in Europe. I have tried it myself last year when we did a mini tour with our Belgian friends Prejudice, because lots of the dates were booked by myself.

How does a show look/sound like? Why should people come to visit Beheaded?
Our live performances are very straight forward. We usually hang our Logo Banner behind our drum kit and sometimes we use an intro to add to the anticipation. But once the music starts rolling, we deliver it with sheer crushing brutality. Our vocalist is not the type of front man that talks a lot in between songs and we carry on with the set and let the music speak for itself. Sometimes we alter parts of older songs and make them more live oriented, this is something which worked well during our live sets and we’ll keep on doing it. If someone wants to experience a pounding death metal gig played with full force - then he should give us a try.

What is the biggest and embarresed mistake you made on stage?
I can’t really recall any since we get on stage quite focused and we’re well rehearsed. But a somewhat funny incident happened some months ago when during a gig, Melchior planned to walk around the crowd and start singing before getting up on stage but the wireless receiver went berserk... so there went our surprise start... heheh

What should people do to obtain free tickets?
Play in a band, no? hehehe

Being a internatinal rockstar do you take advantage of the groupies who introduce themselves?
Hehhehhehhe –Does beer count as a goupie? If yes I’m a fucking Casanova – hehehe.

If you are at home not busy with the band, what do you? What kind of work and is this something you studies for?
I work as an Environmental Health officer with the Dept of Public Health here. Yes, I obtained a Diploma in Environmental Health Studies in 1998 and have since worked with the Government in this field. As for the other members, Chris Mintoff – guitars is still studying and working part time jobs, Melchior – vocals has finished his studies in IT studies and is temporarily working with Marks and Spencer, David – Bass is employee in a toy factory (no, not sex toys), and Chris Brincat – drums is a qualified nurse and is head of shift at the Intensive Therapy Unit.

And what do you like to do in your free time? Do you collect something? Sports?
I used to drag race for a number of years and me and my older bro had built a car each to go drag racing with them. I used to have a good time modifying these old cars and then go at the track and try out the different stuff we used to experiment. It’s a sport that required lots of money and time. But around 2 years ago I decided to have a break and concentrate on Beheaded. I have also bought a new home very recently and that means that my racing days have been paused for some more years now. I still go to watch drag racing meetings at the local drag strip, but I’m much more into the band than into the racing thing.

Is Beheaded ever asked for writing music for a movie? What kind of movie would you like to do?
We were never approached by anyone to do something like that. The only occasion I can think of, where we could be hired to appear in movies is something similar to what Cannibal Corpse did on Ace Ventura. Lots of movies are shot in Malta and it could be that some director would require a death metal band for some particular scene. In that case he could count on us. But to be honest I see very little chance of this happening!

Ever thought of joining forces with other companies to expant the fanbase?
I would like to see Beheaded included on a solid tour package in 2006. I feel that we still have to be heard and seen by a lot of people who are as yet to experience our music. That would be a good way to reach new people and it’s something we’ve been thinking about to do. Fingers crossed we’ll manage to do it next year. Next September we will be hitting the road with Mortal Decay and Brutus while doing the Gutting Europe Tour. We’ll be visiting countries like the UK and France, where we have never played live, so this will help us reach new people also.

How does an average Beheaded fan look like? Like to get in touch with them?
Average Beheaded fan?! Hehehe – We make part of the death metal underground, and the ‘fans’ I know of in this scene are followers of this whole extreme music scene, not just one particular band. Most often they are musicians themselves and they support the scene in general by visiting shows and come around and talk with other band members.
That’s a very cool aspect of this scene as opposed to other music scenes. I see a lot of mutual support from lots of bands and this is a fact that should make each and one of us proud of this scene we make part of.

What are the reactions on the latest album? And are you happy with the UL record deal?
I’m very pleased with the general reaction from the scene vis a vis ‘Ominous Bloodline’.
Most of the reviews gave very good comments, and these have outlined an improvement on all fronts with respect to our previous release ‘Recounts of Disembodiment’. For us, having ended in the plans of Unique Leader is like we have found our true home. As stated elsewhere in this interview we’re proud to make part of the sickest roster of bands on the planet, and we’ll do our best to deliver memorable material on this great label.

Do your grandparents get a free album?
Hehehe - Oh man, yeah really! My grandma has preferred ‘Ominous Bloodline’ to ‘Recounts of Disembodiment’, but her favorite remains our debut ‘Perpetual Mockery’. ?

Will there be a time when Beheaded is on top of there capabilities? What will happen then?
I don’t really foresee that happening. Beheaded IS a summation of our capabilities as band members and as such it will always reflect our own work and creativity. No one is dictating us what to do in our music. And so we have always produced the music we loved doing most, and this is the way we want to work 100%.

Ever dealt with a creative stop? Where do you get inspiration from?
This music style for us is the medium through which we feel most at ease to express our creativity. We have always created our music with much ease since it comes very natural for us to build up songs in this style of music. Inspiration could come from anywhere and from nowhere! I mean I could be listening to an album and it would inspire me to create a riff there and then in that instant. Other times, a particular riff would be ringing in my head and I just convey it onto my guitar. The lyrics on the other hand just occur in my head and I try to find the best word to interpret my thoughts in the most interesting way possible. Sometimes our lyrics project quite surreal scenarios, which are quite deranged and unthinkable. But they reflect the music and the type of artworks we use a lot. We try to link everything together in fact.

Anything to add that is important?
Yes, we’ll be hitting the road in September on the Gutting Europe Tour with Mortal Decay and Brutus. We’ll be playing in numerous European countries, including UK, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Czech Republic and more are being confirmed. We’ll be headlining the NRW Deathfest in Germany too. The dates will be available very soon at this web site: Anyone who has yet to experience our blend of Death Grind is urged to get his copy of ‘Ominous Bloodline’ from Unique Leader Records

Last rites?
Thanks again Twan for the cool interview, much appreciated. Let’s keep a healthy scene – we have a web site at any news and updates can be found there.– Brutal Greetings from Beheaded!
Interviewer: twansibon
Jan 8, 2008
Next interview: Beef Conspiracy

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