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Interview with Chris Hector from Ahab

Interview with Chris Hector from Ahab
by Erika Kuenstler at 22 June 2015, 1:10 AM

AHAB have long been known for their idiosyncratic style of Nautik Doom, and with them being on the brink of releasing their fourth full-length album, we at Metal Temple couldn’t pass up the chance of chatting to Chris Hector of AHAB after their mesmerizing performance at the Napalm Records warm-up party for the Out & Loud Festival in Germany earlier this month. I got the chance to ask all about the upcoming album “The Boats of the Glen Carrig”, an interpretation of a book of the same name by William Hope Hodgson, and looked at everything from the album artwork down to the bonus track with a guest appearance by SAHG’s vocalist.

AHAB seems to regularly release an album every 3 years. Is that coincidental?

No, we’re used to doing it like that. The problem is that we don’t have much time to play live, and if we do play live, we don’t have time to write brand new stuff as everyone has day jobs. So three years turned out to be a good time for us.

Your upcoming album is based on a book by William Hope Hodgson. How did that come about?

William Hope Hodgson was a colleague of HP Lovecraft, and he did similar stuff but more based on the sea. One guy on Facebook advised us to try one of his books, and Stephan our bassist read it. He told us “Let’s try that! It’s cool, read it.” So I read it and thought “Yeah, I can do good lyrics out of that.” It was perfect for us: it was dark, it was psychedelic, and horror stuff. So it turned out to be perfect.

Talking about dark and psychedelic, the album artwork looks amazing; so sinister yet psychedelic at the same time. Can you tell me more about that?

I got two art prints by an American artist called Robert Steven Connett. He does this sinister stuff with lots of colour in it, and I just loved it. So I dropped him an email and he didn’t answer. Sebastian Jerke, who did the artwork, adopted the colours and stuff and did his art out of it. The hand which is on it is a bit stolen from the Dynamo Festival logo, and he just turned it into a squid with tentacles and suckers. He did an amazing artwork for us, having done work before for bands like MY SLEEPING KARMA. I think he spent at least 5 weeks painting it on canvas before scanning it. It’s a really great artwork done by Sebastian Jerke. We wanted to do something different, but some people on Facebook were like “You can’t do that, it’s like Ariel and The Little Mermaid! You’re supposed to be Funeral Doom!” But I just loved the style.

AHAB released a teaser yesterday, getting amazing comments and feedback from your fans. Is that the reception you’re expecting for the upcoming album?

I hope so! The songs are 10 to 15 minutes long, but it was just a 1 or 2 minute teaser, so you still have no clue what’s coming. What we posted was really brutal stuff, but we also have very mellow stuff and much with clean vocals. If people liked “The Giant” then I think they will like this album too.

How does the new album compare to your previous work?

It’s a bit more sludgy to some extent, at least two songs are more sludgy. The rest is a bit more psychedelic, especially the clean parts. With the vocals, you can hear its Daniel, but it’s a bit different, particularly the clean vocals. I don’t know what to say. I could say “It’s the best thing we ever did” but everyone says that. Normally I’m a bit sceptic when I hear one of our albums for the first time and I’m like “Ah, that could be a bit better”. This time, I heard it I was like “Hmmm…” but the second time I heard it I was like “This is good!” So I hope people will say the same.

The new album will have six tracks. What made you choose “To Mourn Job” as the teaser?

Actually, Stephan our bass player is in charge of all the visual stuff like posting the videos and stuff like that. So we didn’t discuss it; he just sent us the teaser. We could have talked about it for 10 days, but it’s only a one minute clip, so we just released it.

Will there be more teasers?

Yeah, I think next week we will release part of a song which has clean vocal stuff. I don’t know how many teasers we will do because Napalm Records are in charge of saying how much we can do. But we will do a video next weekend. Actually the first two videos will be released for this album. We’ve got some quite strange stuff which I guess nobody will expect of us because it’s not the typical Metal stuff. It will probably be a bit of provocation for the Metal guys. We will have a Persian dancer, and we have some strange concepts about it.

Sounds very interesting!

I like controversial stuff. People expect something at the sea, like the band playing without amps of course, just the guitar! I’d hate it! We won’t be in the video. I don’t like that. I love TOOL videos because you never see any of the guys from TOOL in them.

Do you have a favourite song off the album?

I like “To Mourn Job” a lot actually. And we have one song which has completely clean vocals and lots of acoustic stuff, which is something I really like. There is a bonus song which is good. The problem is we had to do one bonus song for something and we didn’t want to record anything that didn’t fit to the concept so we just chose the last one from the album. I really love that one. Daniel did some great vocals. We didn’t hear the vocals before they were recorded because he did everything at the end.

Speaking of bonus songs, I hear Olav Iversen from SAHG did a guest appearance. How did that come about?

Napalm Records asked us to do a seven inch single, so we discussed doing a cover song. Daniel and I are pretty into THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, and we like the song “The Turn of a Friendly Card”, so we thought we would do that. We were at Summer Breeze Festival, totally drunk after being in the moshpit at BIOHAZARD, and afterwards, SAHG played and were so totally fucking amazing. So Daniel and me, both totally drunk, went backstage and Olav just came from the stage, totally sweaty. And we were like “Do you want to sing on the new AHAB album?” and he was like “Er… um, probably yes?” So we messaged him later, and he liked the song; he’s also into his old 70’s 80’s stuff as well. It just fitted perfectly and he did a really good job.

What are the touring plans for the new album looking like?

We’re playing London soon, and then there’ll be Hellfest in France. There’s also a small festival in Germany later on, called Ragnarök. At the end of October, we’ll be on tour for 10 days. After that we’re playing at Eindhoven Metal Meeting. There’s also some stuff that isn’t confirmed yet. I think someone from Russia asked, but I don’t know whether this will happen. We are also thinking about Finland with MY SHAMEFUL, but I’m also not sure whether that will be happening.

Well, those were all my questions, thank you for answering them.

Cool, no problem!


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Edited 02 February 2023

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