Interview with vocalist and guitarist Laurent Teubl and guitarist Ced Teubl
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: April 1, 2013
Germany's Chapel of Disease swears by crushing old school Death Metal, insane gigging, cold beer and sauerkraut and everything else related to Death Metal from back-in-the-day. The band's debut album, Summoning Black Gods, was released in the fall of 2012 by indie label F.D.A Rekotz, and was welcomed with open arms by a dedicated extreme Metal community.
Chapel of Disease, like quite a few newer bands of the massive second wave of (old school) Death Metal, seem to put a lot of effort in making their Death Metal sound right; with integrity and straight from their hearts. Chapel of Disease is pure old school, vile and heavy Death Metal to the bone. Want to know a bit more about them?
Call in the Teubl brothers, Laurent and Ced, who were kind enough to tell The Metal Crypt more about Chapel of Disease, from the beginning to now.
Luxi: How are you doing, guys? Sick and tired of this dark and snow-filled wintertime and waiting for warmer times and those summer Metal festivals which Germany is well known for?
Laurent: Yes, winter sure can be a fuck-up. But then again, it is quite useful sometimes, since you can start listening to a bunch of cool music that you would most likely not be listening to when the sun is out and everybody is behaving like they've taking uppers; TON's World Coming Down, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon or Solftafir's Svartir Sandar. But yes, looking forward to some sun as well! I want to try making it to Hells Pleasure and Party San this year. That would be killer.
Ced: Hey Luxi. Thanks for doing the interview. Hope you're doing fine. Yeah, I'm slowly becoming sick of this grey mess that is called winter, but like all things it will pass and hopefully we'll have a bit more sun. And yeah, I'm waiting to get to some nice festivals as soon as possible.
Luxi: Chapel of Disease did a mini-tour in the UK at the end of January with countrymen Occvlta (5 dates all in all). What was the outcome of those shows in England? Were you able to pick up some new fans and were you asked to go back?
Laurent: It was great over in the UK! We had a blast with the dudes from Occvlta (we didn't really know each other before) and the concerts themselves were quite good, as well. In Bristol, we only played on front of 10 or so people, but the rest of the shows were just fine. And yes, like you said, it is always a chance to get some people across the borders to start checking out your music, and that really seemed to have worked out, if Facebook is not betraying our senses...
Ced: The tour was a killer experience for all of us in Chapel since we never did anything like it before. It was very exciting and we learned a lot. Other than that it was great to play in front of a whole new crowd every night together with Occvlta, who just tore the stage apart. The people that showed up to our shows seemed really hungry for some old Metal, whether Death or Black, and we had great conversations with loads of people. So, all in all, we definitely expanded our fan base and spread the word about Chapel. There were some promoters who told us that they were interested in booking us again for some shows in the UK. Let's see what the future holds.
Luxi: Was it easy to get gigs arranged for this UK tour? You all have your day jobs, families, etc., so finding a suitable spot in everyone's calendar must have been a task in itself, correct?
Laurent: Yes, since we are aware of the fact that we won't get rich through Death Metal, we all have regular jobs, etc. It is always a bit stressful for us to arrange something like a tour. We knew we had to take the chance that Stu from Bro UK was offering, so we had to make everything fit! And thanks to Stu, everything went smoothly!
Ced: Well, I have to give all the credit to Stu from Bro (UK) Booking. He got in contact with all the local promoters, arranged everything concerning payment, made sure that we had a place to sleep and organized the kvlt show with Deathhammer, Hellkommander and Sodomizer. So cheers to this lunatic for making it possible! Other than that, it took some planning like taking days off from work and saving up money for the tour. But yeah, we were all relieved when it was clear that everybody was up and ready for the UK and that we didn't have to cancel any shows.
Luxi: You guys aren't rookies anymore when it down to playing live. In fact, you have done a respectable amount of gigs already, sharing stages with many known and less known bands such as Sodomizer, Revel in Flesh, Sadistic Intent, Vile, Bolt Thrower, Deicide and the list goes on. How important are gigs for Chapel of Disease? The promotional value of playing live can never be underestimated, do you agree?
Laurent: We have been thinking about our live-playing a lot in the last couple of weeks. Of course, it is always important to be out there and we actually like being on stage a lot. But then again, we really don't want to be one of those bands that just plays everywhere with every band they can find. I think that making yourself rare can lead to more interest to actually attend your gig. We've found out that we like playing as a support act for bands we like ourselves more than we like to headline. For example, we are all really looking forward to our gig in Belgium in May together with Nifelheim and Vulcano. It is a "dream come true," for us as fans!
Ced: The gigs with Sadistic Intent and Sodomizer were really great and will always stick in my mind. I think gigs are very important, because it's live where you will grab most people's attention. If you pull off an aggressive and energy-filled live show, you are bound to be noticed by people that have otherwise never heard of you. But it is also very important to us that we play only selected shows where we think the whole line up fits and the audience gets an exciting and lasting evening for their money. Plus, we don't want to overplay ourselves. In my opinion it is fucking ridiculous to play every weekend in some youth center where you have a hand full of people with bands that do not fit your style in any way and afterwards think that you're a big shot. Less is more, I think. It's better to play some selected shows but then with a line-up that is just great (like the Nifelheim/Volcano Show in Belgium).
Luxi: Let's talk about Chapel of Disease's debut studio outing, Summoning Black Gods, which came out on F.D.A. Rekotz at the end of 2012. Now that you have some distance from that record are you 100% happy with it or did it turn out exactly the way you planned? What's your personal verdict on Summoning Black Gods?
Laurent: If you don't feel like your last piece of work could use some improvements, in one way or another, your musical career with that project is most likely fulfilled and therefore, over. Of course, we are really happy with the outcome of our debut, otherwise we would have never released it! A release always marks the point where a band stands at that moment and I think we made a really good start with SBG. To me it is a very impulsive, raw and straightforward record. We made clear that Summoning Black Gods pays homage to the ancient gods of Metal we are into but has its own touch and therefore isn't just another copy of an 80s or early 90s sound. We've managed to create a certain Chapel of Disease sound, and that is always the most important thing to me; to give your music its own kind of touch. As a band, we feel like we always will have to improve from record to record. That doesn't mean that we will start to do some sort of technical or ambient Death Metal on our upcoming record, yet it also doesn't mean that we are the kind of guys that will simply want to do a Summoning Black Gods part II.
Ced: Personally, I am very proud and happy with the record. The sound is exactly as I wanted it; a raw and aggressive wall of sound with great reverb and delay in the vocals and music that has this evil feeling to it. Still, every instrument and note is clear and can be heard. Laurent really did a great job on the recording and mixing and I, for one, would never change this working method, since it gives us the maximum control over our sound and vibe. But I also think that Laurent is the harshest critic, since he dealt with the aspect of the sound and recording. I think he can let you know a bit more about the things that could have been done better or what he would change.
Luxi: People tend to compare Chapel of Disease with acts like Morgoth, Asphyx, Pentacle and especially Pestilence simply because you Laurent, tend to remind people Martin van Drunen (ex-Pestilence, Asphyx, Hail of Bullets) vocally. Does it bother you or does it feel great to be compared to these bands?
Laurent: It is cool to hear, that people actually draw a connection to bands we look up to as fans, since without all these acts, we would probably never exist. Still, all these comparisons don't mean that much to us, since we don't want to be a band that sounds like, say Pestilence, or Morgoth, or whoever. It is not to deny that Chapel of Disease plays old school Death Metal and we are all aware of that fact, it is the music we want to do. But there is always a difference between being a band that just sticks to a very certain sound or being a band that moves inside a genre but still manages it to develop a recognizable sound of its own. We are all dudes that listen to a lot of stuff, doesn't matter what genre, and I just hope that some might notice that when listening to our stuff.
Ced: Fuck, the comparison to Pentacle is a great honor for me, since it's one of my all-time faves when it comes to an ancient sounding Death Metal! Yes, our sound is heavily influenced by all these bands. They, among others, created the sound that is Death Metal. But these bands were never really a conscious influence, at least in my opinion. We just played the music that we liked, not really giving a fuck how it should sound. We just were determined to write old school Death Metal with an evil atmosphere. It is always hard for me to really pin down our influences. But of course it feels great to know that people compare you to those classic bands and it is one of the best compliments a band could get.
Luxi: It's no secret either that H.P. Lovecraft's tales have been a great source of inspiration for the band, like so many other Metal bands around the whole world. What makes Lovecraft so special for you and Chapel of Disease?
Ced: Lovecraft had the gift to write tales that gnaw at your innermost fears and make you uncomfortable in the dark. He was a true master of horror and the beyond. The way he starts the story without any details of the main character or surroundings just draws me to him. We know almost nothing except that there is something terribly wrong. And this knowledge comes slowly but surely and unfolds itself the more you read the tale. Then there is the aspect that almost all his stories have this certain feeling of doom. The main character, if there is one, knows that he is doomed and that fate will not help him. Unlike his pen pal Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft never had a hero looking for action or a positive outcome in his horror stories (his dream tales are of another nature, of course). No, the whole tale is doomed from the very first second our eye catches the first letter. And in all cases the force behind it is something otherworldly, a grotesque thing or god-like being that is too horrible to describe. This sentence alone is so typical of Lovecraft and has a magical effect, because it gives the reader space create a fearful picture for him or herself. Every picture or statue of the old ones comes from the minds of the artist, but who knows if Lovecraft would approve. I can only suggest to everyone who has not yet read one of his tale and is into well-written literature with great prose to pick up a volume of his stories. And for those who only know his horror stories, please go out and dive into his dream tales. The dream quest to the unknown Kadath is such an epic and glorious journey that everyone with a thirst for fantastic literature should at least give it a try.
Luxi: What about some musical sources of inspirations for Chapel of Disease? I bet it has a lot to do with classic, old school sounds, both Thrash and Death Metal, correct? We cannot, for example, deny the greatness of albums like Altars of Madness, Leprosy, The Rack, Consuming Impulse, Left Hand Path, Like an Ever Flowing Stream, Severed Survival, Realm of Chaos (Slaves to Darkness), Seven Churches and some other Death Metal classics, can we?
Laurent: We listened to all of those records way before starting Chapel of Disease and they have been huge inspirations for us. Those albums are timeless, the stuff that got me into extreme Metal in the first place. Like you said, we also tend to mix a lot of Thrash stuff into our songs but, then again, there seemed to be times where Death and Thrash were not that different from each other. If you think of Scream Bloody Gore or Seven Churches and then of early Sepultura or Sadus, it's mainly the vocals that separate them, but even that can get tricky. Besides that, we just have a whole lot of stuff that gives us inspiration. It doesn't matter if it comes from Black Metal, Heavy Metal, Punk, 70s tunes, Post Rock or whatever. We are not the kind of band that says "we have to write a riff like Possessed" or something like that (and there certainly are bands like that), but of course we get inspired by certain albums or bands. An album can inspire you to simply overthink your sort of songwriting or it can inspire you just by its whole atmosphere. I think some inspiration comes to you quite plainly while some comes creeping from the unknown and you might not even notice it.
Ced: Like I said earlier, its hard for me to pin down the sources of our inspiration. There are so many great bands and records that have marked me and my playing without really affecting the sound of Chapel of Disease. But one of the true inspirations for at least Laurent and me (I think for everyone in the band) is Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness. In my ears this is easily the most evil and twisted sounding record of all time. It is just furious and aggressive, with a powerful production and great riffs. The solos are insanity turned to sound waves and no one has ever sounded as possessed as David Vincent did on this record. Aside from that, Death's Scream Bloody Gore is another example of inspiration, since it is one of those classics that just define Death Metal. Aggressive riffs meet pounding drums and Chuck's sick vocal performance makes it a true classic. And of course the cover just completes this work of art. Aside from the already named classics (most of them have left are mark on me, you're right) my inspiration lies in old thrash like Sepultura, Destruction, Kreator, Slaughter, Morbid Saint as well as acts such as Desaster, Nifelheim, Master's Hammer, Incantation and many more. Just let the music take you to new levels.
Luxi: What's your relationship with today's new Death Metal bands? Do you believe Death Metal still has something to give to people, even if good things tend to get recycled by this new generation of Death Metal bands quite a bit? What are some of the new Death Metal acts that have, in your opinion, something great to offer?
Laurent: There is quite a lot of stuff going around that is just nothing more than boring and exhausting, since you've just heard it all before. It feels like some bands really don't care about being something original and not just a clone of and older Death Metal act. But that is something you can find in every genre, may it be Black, Thrash, Heavy or Death. Yet, inside that maze one can always find bands that you should spend your money on. If we are only talking about Death Metal at the moment, for me some names would be Alchemyst, Necros Christos, Tribulation, Grave Miasma, Cruciamentum and a few others.
Ced: Music will always live on and will appeal to certain people. So, seen through this perspective, the new wave of Death Metal will give a lot to some people, while others will shun it and are more than happy with the classics. Personally, I don't care as long as it suits my taste. Of course, there is a lot of recycling in the new movement, but that was always the plan. I will not understand why people are always complaining that most new bands are playing in the vein of their heroes. That was always the plan, right? We, as a band, are no exception. There are loads of bands that are lumped into the same scene as we are and do not suit my taste, but I do not bother much with them and focus on music that interests me and makes me hungry for more. For example, the new Tribulation record is beyond belief. It is quite different from the first one, but so refreshing and thought through. The guitars, the melodies, the drums; everything fits. Aside from them, Alchemyst'S first record is another great album that displays what one can do in the realm of Death Metal. There are so many things going on there that go beyond the concept of traditional played Metal. Listen to it, it's amazing. Those are just two examples of some new Death Metal records that really have raised my thoughts on playing to another state of mind. Aside from that, I can recommend the release from Cult of Fire, a fine and obscure Czech Black Metal band and the new Vomitor release is filthy as hell. Fuck, there are so many good bands; it would take hours to recommend them all.
Luxi: Back to Chapel of Disease. Since Summoning Black Gods, I suppose that you haven't had much time to rest on your laurels but have started working with some new material for your next release? Will there be any radical changes or total surprises, as far as your plans for new Chapel of Disease stuff?
Laurent: We haven't had too much time to focus on new stuff, although Ced and I have a bunch of new riffs lying around, and one or two, more or less, finished songs to be rehearsed. I cannot tell you too much about the evolution that will take place, although I think our next record will be quite different from Summoning Black Gods. I can already say that, since it is important to us to always keep evolving in one war or another, we don't want to just throw out a second debut. We'll just have to wait and see ourselves.
Ced: I hate to break the bad news, but so far we haven't been too active with our songwriting. Most of the time recently has been spent rehearsing for our live shows. But Laurent and I both have riffs and ideas, so no need to worry. I think the new material will sound like Chapel without redoing the things we did on the first record. So far no one can tell where the journey is going. I have ideas for the lyrics and will try to leave Lovecraft out this time. Hopefully we'll start with the new material in the near future. Keep your eyes and ears open.
Luxi: How vital is it to stick to a certain formula for Chapel of Disease, without adopting too many crazy or absurd ideas into new songs? How do you balance pleasing yourself with new stuff but also look after the fans?
Laurent: We try to forget boundaries when writing music, since boundaries are a fuck up and we just want to have total freedom when it comes to the stuff we do. Yet, I would never start making ambient post-black metal and still release it under the name Chapel Of Disease, since that is just something I find unnecessary. A band stands for something and that something can change, even radically, but in my opinion, if you feel the need to just leave everything you've done behind to create something completely new you may as well lay that name that carries your old work to rest.
Ced: I think it's important to evolve, but never to forget, or worse, deny one's roots. So I am confident that we will stick to the sound that we evoked on the first release, but still look out that we don't repeat ourselves. I think it's clear for everyone in the band that we stand for a certain type of music and that it would be strange if we started to do progressive or theatrical Rock. Everyone has the freedom to explore his musical taste, but it wouldn't be fitting if Chapel of Disease is the vessel for all of these experimentations. Still, in certain ways, we WILL try new ideas to keep it fresh for us and give the listeners something new and not just rehash old riffs for the sake of sounding like the first record. Take Necros Christos for example; they stayed true to their musical vision on their last record but still created a new and great sounding second record that gave them enough space to let new ideas blossom and thus avoided boredom.
Luxi: Which is easier to write, fast or slow stuff? Or does it really depend on your mood at that moment?
Laurent: It always depends, or better said, it always just happens. But personally, I like to always change the tempo during a song.
Ced: I think it depends on the mood and the mind set during the songwriting. At least in my case, I haven't had a chance to lurk into my brother's mind during the writing process... yet. Some of the slower parts just came by chance during the rehearsal and sounded so fitting, that it wasn't an option to not include them. I remember how Laurent just played the opening riff from "The Loved Dead" by chance and we just took it from there. For me, it's the easiest way to just let myself go and see what sounds I create. If I'd to force myself to write in a certain direction it would just sound horrible and unnatural.
Luxi: How critical would you say you are toward what you create for the band? Do you think being too harsh or critical of your own work may sometimes work against you?
Laurent: I am known as the perfectionist in the band and it can really be a drag from time to time. On the one hand, I can just fuck up my band mates with my constant critical thoughts on gigs or recordings and on the other hand I can make life hard for myself, like you said. But still, it never affected my writing and to be honest, I do not think my input would've turned out as good if I didn't think this way. Still, I am trying to better myself, especially after gigs. It can get to a degree that can make the whole thing a bit unhealthy; not only for me, but for the others and for the relationship we share as well.
Ced: I think that we are all very critical when it comes to our own songs. Some more, some less I'd have to say. But this is a very good thing since every critical aspect of our songs keeps us motivated. If we have a song that seems to be completed, but is still missing a vital part, we'll go over it again and try very hard to give that song a "whole" vibe. And this can be annoying and frustrating at times, since it gives the feeling away that we're getting nowhere. But after some time, this process can be very productive and the reward is great. If we weren't that self-critical, we would sound only half as good in my opinion.
Luxi: Who are the main filters for Chapel of Disease as far as the stuff that gets accepted or rejected?
Laurent: We manage that quite well. When it comes to the music we all participate and every opinion counts. Nothing would ever be released if everyone wasn't 100 percent behind it. The same counts for thoughts on which gig we want to play. After all, we are more friends than bandmates, since we've known each other since before we started playing together.
Ced: In that case, we work as a unit. There is criticism from every member and every comment is taken seriously. Otherwise this band would not really function. There is no real hierarchy and thus we can all freely express our thoughts about the songs. Sometimes one of us has an idea that seems just right for the band in his mind but doesn't really go over to the other members. So we need to talk about that as well. Maybe there is a good riff we can use or we can re-arrange the song. Or we have to kill it for the sake of the band. All is possible.
Luxi: 3 out of 4 Chapel of Disease members also played in Infernäl Death, which wasn't a Death tribute band but played more Black and Thrash Metal orientated stuff. What killed this band eventually?
Laurent: Definitely not Chapel of Disease. The reasons for the demise of Infernäl Death had nothing to do with Chapel...
Ced: There were a couple of reasons for this actually. We worked really hard on our last demo, Triumph of Darkness, and tried our best to appear a professional band. The reviews were mostly good and the people who listed to it seemed to like it as well. But there were no offers from any labels, a necessary step for us to bring the band a bit further. There were some labels interested, but none pulled anything off. And it seemed somehow that Infernäl Death got less and less promotion and live gigs, so I had the feeling that we'd faded out of people's minds. So, rather than to go on and become a pathetic little act that had its moment in the past and just won't die, we decided to let the band go and make a clean break. Aside from that, it was harder and harder for me to write material for the band. We had new songs, but they just didn't fit. That is the story behind that. It was a good time.
Luxi: Chapel of Disease is surely aiming to play some festivals this year. Last year you did f.ex. NRW Death Fest and Party San in Germany. How does this year look for Chapel of Disease, festival-wise?
Laurent: There is not too much to reveal, to be honest. We would have liked to play certain festivals, but it just didn't work out this year. Hopefully some Festivals we like as fans will give us a shout after our next piece of work or maybe there is still one out there that just hasn't asked yet, but I doubt that.
Ced: Well, we'll play at the Grind The Nazi Scum festival here in Germany along with acts like Wound and Dead, among others. Then, there is another festival. But so far, there is no news really about that, so I'll just keep quiet until we get an official "ok". Otherwise, there are not so many festivals unfortunately. I think we'll have more luck next time and just wait our turn. But I will surely visit some of the festivals as a fan and have a blast.
Luxi: Many bands are also keen on releasing live-DVDs from their shows. Have you had any talk inside the band about a Chapel of Disease live-DVD some day?
Laurent: I haven't thought about that one yet. I think that still has time, if we ever want to do it in the first place. I really don't feel the need to release a DVD at the moment. You can never know what will be in a year or two, but at the moment we are fine without a DVD release.
Ced: No, there is no such idea at the moment. Maybe, in 20 years when we'll have a long history behind us...just kidding. I have nothing against live DVDs, but I think that you should have more than one record behind you and offer the fans a good package. I'll just wait and see.
Luxi: while we are at it, talking about playing live and sharing stages with other bands, is there a "dream-come-true" tour for you guys that you'd like to do if there was an opportunity for that type of thing? Or does it not really matter to you as long as there's chemistry between Chapel of Disease and the other bands you share the stage with?
Laurent: One dream has come true so far, even though it is not a tour. That would be supporting Nifelheim in Belgium in May. Besides of them, there are too many to mention. I'd love to share the stage multiple times with the mighty Sadistic Intent.
Ced: One of our dreams already came true. We'll be sharing the stage with the almighty Nifelheim. That truly is one of the highlights in my life. Otherwise there are loads of bands that I would play with. Necros Christos, Grave Miasma, Tribulation, Incantation or Ketzer would be a great old school show that should satisfy any maniac for real Metal. And a tour with Iron Maiden would be nice. Maybe they'll book us for their Maiden England Tour. I think it matters greatly with whom you play. I cannot stand to share the stage with other bands that have nothing in common with us. It just does not look and sound right if we'll be playing a night with a modern Death Metal act that only worships new Kreator and has nothing left for some old school vibe. There should definitely be chemistry between the bands.
Luxi: What can people expect from Chapel of Disease in the following 2-3 years or so? New album, lots of gigging, even more determination to crush the ground below our feet and stuff like that?
Laurent: I'd say another record in 2- 3 years is possible. I am looking forward to the upcoming months when we will mainly focus on new stuff again! That is always the most interesting part to me. I hope that we will have the chance to play outside of Germany more this or next year. We don't want to overplay ourselves, especially in Germany. But I'd love to do Spain or Italy and check the Metal scene out over there, or maybe France or the Scandinavian countries. We'll see, we'll take it easy for now. That strategy has worked out best so far.
Ced: I think you can expect some more gigs from us. Other than that, we'll be busy with new material, so we can deliver the goods to you. I don't think that there will be a new CD/LP this year or any type of record, but let's see. One should never say never, right? I am just looking forward to playing live and leaving a mark in people's minds in terms of what real Death Metal is. And I am very anxious to write new songs and just see where the journey takes us. Exciting times!
Luxi: Well guys, I think we have reached the end of this interview, so I want to thank you both for your time to do this interview. May Chapel of Disease's path be full of pleasing rewards in the coming months. Any closing comments to conclude this interview session properly, perhaps?
Laurent: Thanks for having us mate! Let the rotten times roll...
Ced: I really enjoyed doing the interview. Your questions were quite interesting and had a fresh feeling to it. Thanks to everybody who has supported us so far, you guys crush! And keep your ears open for Blackwhole! Beware!!
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|Review: Summoning Black Gods|
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