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Beni the Animal (Exit)

Interview with Beni the Animal from Exit
by Quinten Serna at 11 July 2020, 8:14 AM

Uncompromised in sound, attitude, initiative, or any other semblance of approach, EXIT, is a band composed of a myriad of intensities and brutal honesties; with the release of their 5th studio album, "Traces Of Human Existence,: the band wears those virtuous attributes on their sleeve with pride. Quinten Serna was given the opportunity to interview Beni “The Animal” Sax about the album’s release.



First I would just wish to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your music, I was taken aback by the sheer ferocity and intricacy of your songs, and so being involved in this interview with you guys is a circumstance of astounding merit. But of any accord the best place to start is of course with an introduction; could you just say your name, what you do in the band, and how long you’ve been in the group?

I’m Beni, the vocalist and guitarist of EXIT. I write a lot of music but also all the lyrics. I’m one of the founders of the band, thus I’m in the club since 25 years.

How would you guys say you’re holding up both in y’all’s lives and in the music scene with the pandemic set in full motion?

There are different aspects. The most severe at the moment is that almost all of the planned shows have been canceled and no one knows when we can playing live concerts again. On the other hand we have plenty of time now to make music which is quite cool. But after all I wish we could on with our lives as metalheads as we used to: Playing shows, seeing fans, going to festival. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this pandemic will be over as soon as possible.

I would say that with every incarnation y’all’s music only gets heavier and more intense, given that you guys started out already heavy how far do you want to take that sound and where do you think you’ll wind up with it?

Honestly, I don’t know. But we for sure enjoy writing and playing heavy music. I love the intensity and the power that comes from it. We are not made for easy listening sound. But there has to be a certain amount of recognizable melodic and rhythmic parts as well. It still needs to be party music. Take some rock’n’roll and mix it with brutal stuff and you’ll get the perfect Saturday night mix.

Traces Of Human Existence featured not only traditional influences but as well what seemed to be an amalgamation of more obscure genres and styles not usually associated with metal. The clean piece at the beginning of Empire, for example, featured classic almost ska-like progressions on the strings and a sort of Jazz-Fusion type of groove. Despite the stark differences the music was set perfect and even alluded to the introduction piece during the chorus. What inspired you to meld those different elements together, and in such a brilliant manner at that?

When I wrote Empire, I had this idea of combining the not-metal-like-rhythm of the clean part with the fast parts and the blasts of the mid-section. And I wanted to use the clean part as a variety to the heavy distorted guitars of the rest of the song. It’s interesting to check out chords and harmonies outside of the classic metal riffs and to use them in your songs.

What would you say is your greatest achievement as a band?

During the last 25 years we gained a lot of friends and even though we got older we are still connected to a lot of them. This means a lot to us

Who are some of the most important influences to you guys? As well, who are some of the more obscure and esoteric ones, those fellows that fans just might never assume?

There are lots of influences: Several ones from the 90’s like Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Pantera, and so on. We also listen to a lot of heavy or fast stuff like Misery Index, Aborted, The Crown Revocation, Rivers of Nihil, Lamb of God. Personally I do also like bands like Hatebreed, Converge or Terror. And then there are the ones that no one would assume. In my case this would be stuff like Chuck Berry, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath or Pearl Jam

Given the socio-political conditions right now, when are you hoping will be your next tour?

Hard to say. Hopefully next year.

What would you guys say has been the worst thing that has happened to you at a show? A ceiling collapsing, the bar going out of the business the day of the show, etc…

Our bass player’s passport has been stolen while we were partying after a show in Riga, Latvia. For him, the tour was over and we had to play all the shows in Russia without him. Thank god to the allow you to play as loud as you want ;-) So we could make it up a little bit.

As you are now do you have a piece of advice that you would have given to yourselves much earlier in y’all’s career?

Enjoy every day of it. Time is moving fast. And party as hard as you can!

What’re your favorite dinosaurs?

T-Rex

What’s your mission statement as a band? And, has it changed over the years?

It was always the same: We want to play heavy music, we want to celebrate with people. Even though we play some heavy stuff, it still has to be a party. A full throttle party, so to say.

What does your writing process consist of? Is it a group consensus, an assembly line of different ideas, or something else altogether?

I did a lot of composing work in advance. Afterwards, we discussed the stuff together and changed it here and there. Sometimes songs sound good in the composing software but they somehow just don’t work when they are played by a band. Then you need to make some changes or start from scratch. Step by step we developed the songs until we were happy and started the pre-production.

The dry panned guitars were a bold choice which I think definitely worked in y’all’s favor; what motivated that and how difficult was recording it?

We wanted to go different ways to produce this album compared to the other ones. We weren’t up to going in a studio, do the job and let others make the rest. We wanted it as raw and natural as possible. It should sound as if we were playing right in your living room. Loud! And the second goal was to let it sound as much like EXIT as possible. Therefore we did a lot of recordings by ourselves, but we had great people in the background who guided us and gave advice if necessary.

Suppose that some kind of global extinction event were to take place whether it be a great flood, a volcanic eruption, a collision with another planet, or some other manner of inescapable destruction, and that a global consensus left you in charge with choosing music to preserve for whatever sentient species would inherit the planet in a sort of time-capsule type of construction. What music would you choose, and why?

I think they made a great choice when they put "Johnny B Goode” by Chuck Berry on the Voyager golden record because it represents so much of rock and metal music in it. I would amend it with “The Evil That Men Do” by Iron Maiden, “Urfaust” by Misery Index and “Hell Awaits” by Slayer. Then, almost everything is said.

How do you guys pass time on the road or between performances to keep from being too bored? Those occasions where you’re just sort of left with the passage of time from one place to another.

Being on the road can be boring. We pass the time with listening to music or reading. Sometimes you get the time to see something or to check out some local food.

Immaanuel Kant had once said, “Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.” Although, you know auf Deutsch, but Kant’s words—or criticisms, rather—speak volumes about our endeavors as humans in what we aspire towards. How do you feel about this in regards to music? And do you think your music fits into the same descriptor?

Well, as Kant says, it is the attempt that is pleasure, thrill, hope and fear at once. You always want to compose the ultimate song. But even though you write a great song (which is not always the case), you still have this feeling that there is more. And I guess this is the sublime part of writing music. And it’s also what drives you further as a musician.

The tour life can be hard and stressful, both mentally and economically, what is your band’s go-to for food if you’re low on funds?

Always try local food. Usually it’s the cheapest and best choice

What’s been some of the best food you guys have had while out touring or performing?

I guess this was the buffet backstage at a show at Szene in Vienna. That was very delicious.

With vinyl and tape trading making a comeback along with a greater focus on underground acts, where do you guys see music heading? That is, what do you believe will be the next evolution for Metal as a whole?

Evolutions in music are hard to predict, because the evolution, driven by new influences is getting faster and faster. Tools and Software made songwriting and producing much easier than it was 20 years ago. And the internet offers underground bands more opportunities to broadcast themselves and to gain a crowd, which is absolutely great. On the other hand, an album is still something I want to hold in my hand. Because at least to me, a physical copy is part of the piece of art itself. For example: Having the “Master of Puppets” album only as bits and bites on my notebook is an awful thought.

I would like to thank all of you for your doing this interview, I think however that this will be the last question; are there any parting words that you want to leave with your fans, people who look up to you, people who happen upon this interview, or any advice?

Support the underground. Don’t let anybody tell you what to do. Never trust a politician and party as hard as you can!



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