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Rasmus and Johnny (The Burning)

Interview with Rasmus and Johnny from The Burning
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 10 February 2008, 1:35 AM

The debut release of the Danish band THE BURNING made quite an impression to the METAL TEMPLE glorious crew who had the idea of throwing towards them a bunch of questions for your eyes only. So, Rasmus (guitar) and Johnny (vocals) found some time to write the answers found below; enjoy!

 Hail from the METAL TEMPLE webzine where the underground scene lives. Please take some time to introduce the band to our readers.

Rasmus: We are a metal band from Denmark. Me (Rasmus) on guitar, Johnny (vocals), Thue (bass) and Tobias (drums). Johnny and I formed the band in 2005 and wanted to make really heavy and uncompromising hard hitting metal. We are all about playing live and have been playing a lot of shows since we started. And our goal is that you should be able to get a feeling of how much energy we have live when you listen to the new cd.

The album has been out for some time; what is the feedback so far? Do you actually read all the reviews? How do you feel when you get a negative one?

Rasmus: I think the feedback has been very positive. We have gotten almost top reviews all over the place. So we are very happy about that. We try to read them all but I doubt that I have seen them all. The few negative ones really doesn’t bother me at all. You know it’s one guys opinion and you should not make up your mind because of one review – but of course it’s more fun when the reviews are good. As long as I like what I play that’s the most important thing – and the fact that a lot of people write us back and say they love it is just great.

In your biography it is said that you earned the record with Massacre Records through your fierce live performance. Can you give us further details on how you inked this record deal?

Johnny:I went on tour with our good friends from NIGHTRAGE, helping them fill in as lead singer on their European tour, and Marios from NIGHTRAGE had a contact at Massacre Records, and he played them our album, and the loved it, so they signed us after I got home from the tour. And we haven’t looked back since! :-)

Expanding the above question, nowadays there are a lot of new bands that struggle to get signed with a record deal. How difficult is for one band to remain unsigned? Are you satisfied with Massacre Records?

Rasmus: It is great to work with them so far. Everything has just been running smoothly. And well – we have a good feeling about being on their label. But sure it’s not easy to get a deal. You have to show them that you mean business and want to do what it takes to get your name out there. You don’t just get a deal from sitting at home – you have to get out in the clubs and work your ass of on the stage – and that’s only fair. It feels more like you deserve it that way.

How long did it take to write the music in Storm The Walls? Are there any songs that did not make it in the album? What will you do with them?

Rasmus: Some of the songs Weakling and End Of All are songs from 2005 when we started. And then the rest just came a long. We had some songs that didn’t make it on the album and we will never play them again. We already have 6-7 new killer songs ready, so the songs that didn’t make it on Storm the Walls will never be recorded.

What is your composing process? Did you have any difficult moments in the studio?

Rasmus: It is me and Johhny who writes the music. He has a little studio at home and I records some riff ideas and he comes up with songstructures and then we mix it all up a bit. And sometimes a cool song comes out of it. We always change something in the rehearsal room though because what works on a computer doesn’t always work in real life. We didn’t have any problems in the studio. We tried to be as well prepared as we could. And all in all it went pretty smoothly with the recording of the album.

 What are the lyrics about and how important are in your music?

Johnny:, I for the most part try and look inwards, and try to put into words how I feel, and what I need to improve in myself.  But I also comment some on stuff that I see in the world that I feel is wrong or good, and a topic that seems to pop up again and again in that regard is religion. But I try not to just point too many fingers, there are enough people out there pointing fingers at almost everything, so I feel that my job is to first take care off the problems I carry in myself, before I start to comment on other people.

 Nowadays in every album the person responsible for the sound production is strongly mentioned especially when he is a known one. How important do you think is the producer to the sound of a band?

Rasmus: We knew what we wanted to sound like – as close to our live sound. So Jacob Hansen really didn’t have much to do with how we wanted to sound – but he made the sound we wanted and hit it spot on! He could understand our music and I guess it can’t sound any different. I think some bands don’t know how they want to sound on record but we do. But for bands like that it’s great with producers who can guide them and try and incorporate their style into a certain sound. We are just so aware of how we want things to be, so we don’t need that.

Don’t you think that by going to a well known producer, all bands tend to have the same sound and eventually loose their identity?

Rasmus: I guess some do. It’s really up to the band. Again if you know what you want it is easier for the producer to make your sound stand out from others.
Johnny:Yeah, I agree. We know that Jacob has a very distinctive sound, but it just fits our music. And right now we can’t see ourselves using a different guy for the sound.

 In your biography you say that No Swedish twin guitars, no clean sung choruses, no trendy haircuts… All fire! can you be more specific? What is your opinion on music trends? Can a band survive without following them?

Rasmus: Ha ha I believe everyone agrees that AC/DC has survived just fine and they have never ever followed any trend. If you follow a trend your band is dead when that trend is over. Just look at all those Nu-Metal bands… We don’t think about what we do genre wise. We just make what we want and this is how it sounds. We play Metal – not this or that Metal – just Metal.

Can you describe the band’s music profile and mark its major influences?

Rasmus: I can tell you what bands I have listened to and are inspired by: CARCASS, DEATH, SLAYER, METALLICA (early years), PANTERA, ANTHRAX and so on.
Johnny:I like the older singers like Rob Halford and Glenn Danzig, and although that might not shine through in the way my voice sounds, I use them as inspiration for vocal patterns and to make my voice stand out.  My inspiration for the death metal voice is from Jan Chris de Koeijer from GOREFESTM… I love his voice!!

Things have become really difficult in the music business; the reduced CD sales have made the concerts the only way for a band to earn some money. Do you think that this could bring an end to the Metal scene?

Rasmus: Well you certainly aren’t playing metal because of the money – that’s for sure, ha ha!!! If you want to make money from playing music – play pop music instead. But seriously I think it is a shame that the sales are going down – because bands spend so much time on this and if no one supports the bands they like it will mean the end of some smaller bands I think. And that’s a sad thing. Being in a band is a full time job – just without a paycheck.

 Your tour program is scheduled until the end of April; do you any plans on playing in summer festivals?

Rasmus: We have been confirmed for the ’Danish Dynamite Tour’ in may with ILLDISPOSED and URKRAFT also on the bill. And that will take us to Germany and Austria. So that’s great. We are trying to get on the festivals – would be great.

 The video clip for Snakes Of Life seems like it has been shot in one take with the band playing live; how far am I from the truth?

Rasmus: He he glad you think that – that was the idea. But it took 9 hours of filming from all kinds of angels. I think we played the song 25-30 times. It was hard but also great fun. And it is shot in our rehearsal space. We think it has a raw feeling to it with lots of energy – just like our music.

 I usually make the following question to all the new bands; what are your goals with THE BURNING? When will you feel that all your dreams have come true?

Rasmus: My dream was to release an album – now it is to release the next and play some cool tours and festivals. I think when one dream comes true another dream comes a long. But when I was like 15 or 16 my dream was to live by playing metal like SLAYER and METALLICA    – but that is a very naive dream – now I’m just so happy that I can record and release albums through a cool label. And play shows around Europe. It makes me happy.

Ok guys these were my questions; you can add anything that I forgot to ask. I wish you all the best for the future and keep in mind that here in Greece we love extreme music especially in a live show!

Rasmus: Well then I guess we have to come and play some shows in Greece!!! Thanx for talking to us.
Johnny: YEAH, see you guys in Greece for blood, sweat and beers… hopefully soon!


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