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Baest's Simon Olsen: "“Venenum” takes the listener through the 9 circles of hell that represents each human sin and describes the different afflictions humanity is suffering for their sins."

Interview with Simon Olsen from Baest
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 September 2019, 11:43 PM

With an ample potential to devour the extreme Metal scene, armed by the influence of the deadliest legacies that Metal can offer from its classic days of Doom, steps in the Danish BAEST. After unleashing their debut last year, the boys didn't find the time to rest and they now they are out with "Venenum", their sophomore, and it is no less of an affliction than its predecessor. Steinmetal had a chat with Simon Olsen of the band regarding the fast work already out the window, the band's development, Metal and more

Hello Simon, it is great having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing mate?

I’ve been doing excellent!

Fast and furious you guys at Baest have been. Yeah, I know that it sounds like Yoda. Anyways, after signing in with Century Media just last year, releasing a promising debut album, and in a blink of an eye, you are back from the studio with a brand new burnt offering in the image of “Venenum”. What was the rush to get this one out and about?

We like keeping ourselves busy. After the release of "Danse Macabre" we experienced a momentum of creativity and had already started working on new songs. At that time, we also did a couple of tours with Abbath and Decapitated, so when we did not tour we pretty much spend most our time in the rehearsal space. It was a busy time but if you want to hit hard, you got to strike while the iron is hot!

What is the meaning of “Venenum” anyway? What stands behind this enigmatic title?

“Venenum” is Latin and means both ‘venom’ and ‘medicine’. The title refers to the duality of how religion and belief can affect humankind when it comes to the perspective of death. It can be rather misleading and venomous when it uses fear to manipulate. But religion can also be used as a guideline and as medicine for those who are fearful which is quite beautiful.

 “Danse Macabre” surely capture an attention, and it is quite evident with your signing to a big label. However, what about “Venenum”? Is it a continuation of where the previous left off? What is your general appreciation of the album?

“Venenum” is a prequel that picks up where “Danse Macabre” ended but it’s also the sound of a band in motion and in a natural development. We’ve tried more things sound wise that is carrying a more progressive way that still holds an old school spirit. Let’s call it BAEST 2.0!

Baest’s music, in my bill, is a revamp of the early 90s of Scandinavian Death Metal, bands like Entombed and Dismember for instance, whether in sound and attitude. It is clearly brutal and destructive, yet leaves out moments of lead guitar shrewdness to entice the soul. Basically, the band, and “Venenum”, in particular, is a part of wave of albums of various underground bands breathing air into the old. Therefore, I have to ask, what do you think that makes this album, and the band, stand out?

BAEST has an old school vibe with a modern approach. It’s our riffs, with our personal energy put into the songs but with an old school feel to it. It’s perfect!

How would you describe the songwriting process of “Veneum”? Has it been a joint effort or there is a main songwriter sharing his ideas with the guys and just going forward with constant rehearsing until completion in the recording?

BAEST has always worked as a synergy. Usually guitarists Lasse and Svend comes up with a riff which represent the foundation of a song. After that we all contribute with bending, breaking and putting on new layers until we’re satisfied.

What is the chief lyrical concept behind the themes of “Venenum”?

The lyrical theme is based on the medieval Italian poetic work of Dante Alighieri “The Divine Comedy”. “Venenum” takes the listener through the 9 circles of hell that represents each human sin and describes the different afflictions humanity is suffering for their sins. In the end we’ve put in our own twist of the story.

Which of the album’s songs made an impact on you in comparison to the rest of the tracklist?

In my opinion the track “Nihil” is a masterpiece. I have a love for grandiose and dramatic feeling and that song just has that vibe that makes me feel invincible. The riff has a kind of Slayer's “South of Heaven”ish and middle-eastern melody that just makes my spine shiver.

I think that the album’s sound justifies the direction of the music, I couldn’t think of other sound pattern for you guys. How do you appreciate the sound production on the new album?

It’s a rawer sound than “Danse Macabre” and the songs has a more progressive but yet still a rather catchy feel to it. It’s the sound of a band taking a step further.

Have you played songs out of “Venenum” earlier this year? What was the reaction to the new tunes?

Yes, we’ve been testing the new songs a couple of times now and so far the hordes have been lit!

Soon enough you have several shows closer to home to which I assume to celebrate the release of “Venenum”? Any surprises on the set for these release shows?

We’re doing a small record shop release tour in Denmark with the inventive title ‘TORTOUR’. We’ll play a couple of songs from the album, do signings and hang out with the fans. Maybe we’ll play some songs from the album that we haven’t played yet!

As closer for “Venenum”, you made a cover for Bolt Thrower’s “No Guts, No Glory”, which is by the way, one of my favorite songs of the British giants. Other than being a fan of the band, which I guess you are, why pick this particular song? Any special meaning for you guys other than being a strong number?

This song is what BAEST is all about: War, heavy ass music and no bullshit! What’s not to like?!

Next month you are off to tour with Aborted and Entombed A.D., I can only imagine the massive excitement to support such two great names in Death Metal. What are your expectations from this tour? Have you shared a stage with one of these bands in the past?

We’re very excited and looking forward to tear apart the European stages with Aborted and Entombed A.D. We’ve played alongside Entombed A.D. once before on a boat!

What can you tell of the Baest live show? What makes it untamed and relentless? 

Usually we know it’s been a hell of a show if Svend shits his pants… which happens a lot! We always attend the stage with relentless amounts of raw energy and big smiles. We’re here to slay and entertain!

Going off topic, it was found by studies that Metal music is rather like a drug to make people calm, or even better. Do you believe in such a finding? Does Metal music really make us soothing people?

I believe that the human mind consists of an emotional spectrum. Music is energy that feeds our emotional spectrum and also touches and affects the subtler emotions. Not only do I believe that metal music causes joy to people but music in general causes joy to people.

Any plans to support “Venenum” in 2020? Festivals in the summer perhaps?

We have a lot of things boiling in the big cauldron. Stay tuned!

Simon, I wish to thank you for the interview. You guys clearly made old school Death Metal fresh with your rawness and gruesome tunes. Keep up the good work! Cheers mate

Thanks for having me! Cheers!



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