Erebus’ fuel for metal

With the recent underground success of ‘On The Edge Of Perdition,’ death metallers Erebus has once again made their mark on the metal map since their debut album, ‘With Furious Intent.’ For those thought these guys were good enough, they just got better. I got a chance to talk thing over with vocalist Kevin Quilligan about the band’s thoughts on their latest effort and the future of not only Erebus, but metal as well.

Hello, how are things going in Kampen?
Hi dude, everything’s fine here. I actually don’t live in Kampen at the moment, but I’m sure things are okay there as well.

So aside from BRUTALISM’s take, how have other webzines/ fans been reacting to your latest release ‘On The Edge Of Perdition?’
The reactions have been good so far. Not even close to the amount of response we want to have for this album. But we are working on it. Fans really like the new songs, so that’s always nice to know. But we are still on the hunt for more reviews and reactions. Some people feel that we have not yet reached our full potential; I consider it a compliment, as we are still evolving. We started out when we where very young, and still the oldest one of the bunch is 25. So there’s plenty of time for even more musical development.

For those who haven’t heard it yet, what do you think are the best qualities of the album compared to previous works? What did you want to strengthen as far as musicianship goes in the last few years?
A lot has happened since the release of our first album. It was a good debut, but there was still a lot of space for improvement. This album shows a more matured side of the band, the song structures are better, the overall recordings worked out better. Aside from drums we record and edit everything ourselves. Since the first album our editing skills improved as well, and that’s something that really stands out on this album.

As far as musicianship goes, we have grown a considerably. We started taking the build-up of a song to mind, and paying attention to the details more. All of this has resulted in an album that we are very proud of.

Any certain tracks that came about that have a memorable story to tell, whether it is about the songwriting process or a certain meaning you want to stress with the fans?
Every song has a certain story, some more personal than others. To name a few: “Myself and Nothing” is kind of ‘fuck the system’ song. It’s short and groovy; the lyrics are about being rebellious and not being able to fit into a society where everyone is pushed towards a certain image of living, instead of providing the space and freedom to discover your own way of life.

Do you see any major evolution in the work you do now compared to the past or have you found your niche and feel pretty consistent in your death/ thrash hybrid design (if it can be considered that)?
We do see evolution in our work, but we are being influenced by other bands and music more than we where in the past as well. I like hardcore and stoner bands as well, everyone has their own bands that they like, and we try to incorporate everything. We are always trying to get new stuff in our songs. But there will never be a radical change music-wise. A steady growth, on the other hand, is always present.

What are some influences for ‘On The Edge Of Perdition,’ either for its concepts or sound?
We tried to make the artwork for the album have something to do with feeling like someone is on the edge. That worked out really good thanks to Michael Vincent Manalo, who made the concepts for the artwork. The first time I saw it, I knew this was the most fitting image for the album. As far as the sound of the album, we chose a different approach.  Instead of creating a wall of sound, we created a pretty accessible production, as far as extreme metal is accessible.

So now that the album’s done, what’s next on the list? Any tours or working on album no. 3?
There’s a lot going on. We are talking with some people that we can work with for bigger shows and hopefully some international shows as well. We are busy writing some new songs and of course, taking all the time we have to promote the new album.

What do you like or dislike about touring, if you’ve done any at all, that is…?
No big tours… yet! We have been doing a lot of gigs these past years, so we are slowly and steadily getting to a point where we can hopefully do some of the bigger festivals in our own country as well as outside of it.

Do fan expectations manifest a lot greater when you meet them on the road versus emails and comments on Myspace or Facebook? Do you find them challenging sometimes or are the demands pretty satisfactory to the band’s choices?
Our live shows have been something that we have built quite a reputation on. There’s always someone there who is pleasantly surprised. Myspace and Facebook are convenient to keep in touch with fans and put up songs. But the real fun starts at the live shows. Meeting up with people that take the time to come to our shows is way more satisfactory. Aside from that we have never been a band to live up to demands other than our own, and I think it’s going to stay that way.

Has a fan ever said or done anything that has been very memorable, either in a good or bad way?
Our sound guy sometimes overhears people talking to each other about how this band (that being us) is way too hard, or that we suck or something like that. It’s always funny hearing what people have to say when they think no one is listening. We get a good response from most people at live shows though. A lot of them come to have a good time, as do we. We played at a small venue once, with a very low ceiling. The place was packed, and people starting crowd surfing, which in this joint meant they where being pressed up against the ceiling. Good times.

Speaking of the digital age and making connections, with MP3 music being more accessible (for better or worse) and CDs slowly losing value, do you think that symbols of music/ metal and having something tangible like a disc will disappear forever? How do you feel about that impending possible fate?
I really, really, REALLY hope there will always be a tangible product for music. That being a CD or god knows what else. Music and metal needs to be something that you can build up and collect, just like visual art, books and movies. I dislike MP3’s for their quality and the fact that it makes all the work that is being put into artwork and making an album irrelevant. Sure we have MP3’s online at our social media sites. That’s because it’s and easy way to present yourself to a bigger group of people. But if I personally like a band, I will always try to get a copy of their album as well. Let’s hope more people feel the same way as I do.

Do you think that fans take the digital world of Erebus (main website, free downloads, etc) for granted compared to actually going out and buying a hardcopy piece of your music? Is there some sort of impact that is good or bad? With music being downloaded for free all the time, the business seems to have become more of a hobby where musicians need to work twice as hard at another job to earn money while doing what they love for free, vrsues a time when they at least got a small percentage for every CD sold…
If I wanted to make money playing music, I would’ve chosen a different genre than metal I think. It has never been a profitable market. We all have regular jobs, so the money is not a problem. A hobby makes it sound like something you do whenever you feel like it. In a sense you are right, but I feel high amount of commitment and passion when I’m busy with Erebus. It’s my way to relieve tension, and I enjoy putting a lot of work in it. I can understand that big bands need the cash for travelling and I certainly think that there should be more money available for bands, big and smaller, but I think that the motives behind being in a metal band for us are not the money, but the satisfaction. Of course we need to cover some travelling expenses, but aside from that, I just want to have a good time with my friends and have a party with everyone that came out to see the show.

Do you think death metal itself has gotten more diverse with the inventions of things like YouTube where anyone can get themselves out and heard, or has there been a sudden sort of solid formula that everyone is trying to follow and it is just getting more ‘same ol’ same ol’ after a while? Lots of people tend to comment that metal stopped being ‘good’ after the 90s…
By that logic, we would automatically suck since we started of in 2004 hahaha. But seriously, it might not be as revolutionary as back in the 90’s. But some of the best metal has been created in the past 10 years if you ask me. People that think that the quality of metal is subject to a specific time should really check out some new stuff, start with Erebus and make your way from there!

Last question; sorry for all the headaches of thinking hard haha. When not dealing with the hard work of creating music or dealing with fan/ business demands, what is the best way to unwind?
Weed and drinks with the boys! We are lucky to live in a country where personal freedom is still valued, for now.

Thanks for all your time. Do you have any final words of wisdom for our readers and listeners here at BRUTALISM?
Thanks for the extensive interview! Hope to see everyone at a show, and check out the new album!
Interviewer: devilmetal747
Jun 20, 2011

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