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Stephen Gebedi (Thanatos)

Interview with Stephen Gebedi from Thanatos
by Angela "The Hunter" at 22 May 2013, 12:03 PM

As a part of their newfound emergence back to the Metal scene, the Dutch THANATOS has been reissuing its earlier albums. Signing with Century Media provided the grounds for another re-release of their album “Angelic Encounters”. To celebrate the event, Angela “The Hunter”, had a chance to talk with the band’s founder, Stephen Gebedi, regarding the re-release, the band and more… 

Hi there Stephen, how are you? You have the reissue of Angelic Encounters coming out in June on Century Media. Why the reissue of this particular Album?

Well we signed a deal with Century Media to reissue the back catalog, so they issued the first two albums last year, I think around November or something, October maybe. And this year, the other three are up for re-release, so we are starting off with Angelic Encounters, and the other two will be released after the summer or so, but all five of our studio albums are going to be re-released.

Are you going to be doing any kind of touring to support any of these?

Well the news just got out that we signed a deal with the people from Century Media for a new record, that was just issued like one hour ago, so we’ll be writing songs for a new record that will come out sometime next year to coincide with the band’s 30th anniversary.  So, that is the big news for today actually

The band has been around for 30 years? That’s amazing!

Yeah I started the band back in 1984 when I was around 12 years or so. There was a big gap in the 90’s before the band got back together around 2000, I think. We did a few more albums and went through a lot of bad luck with small shitty labels until we landed a deal with a big one, so that is pretty cool actually.

What kind of themes or subjects do you normally write about?

We write a lot of stuff about horror movies and gore and things like that. Religious leaders, political leaders, things of that nature. What the world is going through, all the shit that we are being put through that is led by the church or different religions like Islam or Christianity, which is always a big issue.  I think also pretty much everything that goes on, things that we read about, things you see on the news, things are are pretty much all around us. We try to not focus on just one topic, but on lots of them.

With these kinds of subjects, are you trying to just be entertaining people, or are you trying to motivate or wake them up?

Not always. Sometimes, I think, there is just a lot of frustration that comes out, and we like to make a statement about certain things without turning into a political band or whatever. It’s not something that we ever did, be a political band, but there are a lot of things going on and it’s important to speak your opinions, I think. Sometimes (writing lyrics) it’s like a tale that creeps into your mind that you want to write about that is inspired by a horror movie and other things, but not everything is dead serious. Some lyrics are, some are not.

Over the past 30 years, how has band’s sound evolved or changed?

Well a lot of people have been in the band over the years of course, and the current lineup has been together for I think about 10 years now. Our drummer Yuri left the band a few years back to tour with the band Melechesh, since we were with a small record label that stored the albums for years, and when they came out, no one was interested. The label didn’t promote it, and nobody knew about it, and he was really frustrated about that, so he started touring with Melechesh. I think in the same period, Paul and I started with Hail Of Bullets which became pretty big, so we were focused on other things. After a few years he decided to play with Thanatos as well, so I think after all these years the band has developed our own style or niche, a cross between thrash and death metal. With the rerelease of the albums, we are starting to see a steady rise in musicianship, so we are hoping

Out of your discography, do you have a particularly favorite one?

Yes I think the second one, Realm Of Ecstasy from back in 1992? I have always loved that one very much, and the last one that we did a couple years ago Justified Genocide. Those are my favorites. The fans they loved the first album, which is OK, but sounds too much like a demo to me.

What kind of music are you listening to now?

I love to listen to metal, but also Hard Rock and Classic Heavy Metal. It ranges from stuff like Sabbath and Rainbow to Immolation and shit like that, you know? A little Death Metal, a Little Trash Metal plus some classical metal like Maiden and Priest. Most recently  I have been listening to an old band that has made a reunion album and it came out to be a pretty good album so that’s the one that I have been listening to the most.

Who would you say has been the greatest influence on you musically?

I think when we started out ,thrash metal was still in the developing phase,  bands that were really loud and aggressive we were into most were Venom, then Slayer, and Death and Possessed. I think those were the bands that influenced us the most when we first started. We tried to make our own little mixture of that (sound) and those are bands that I still love very much. I think with the new album, the direction that we are going to take is dark and aggressive like when we first started but with a more up to date sound.

Out of all of the bands that you toured with, were there any that were more enjoyable to tour with?

Well we have played a lot of shows with Hail of Bullets, which is good. The funny thing is, the bigger the band, the cooler they often are, you know? With the underground bands there seems to be some sort of rivalry, but with the bigger bands you don’t need that shit anymore.  Playing with bands like Immortal, Bolt Thrower, stuff like that, those are really great people and we have had some really great times with them. Even with Morbid Angel, they sometimes have their antics but they are still pretty cool guys. So yeah, I cannot complain about those guys. Hypocrisy, Napalm Death, yeah very cool people.

Where do you see the band in five years?

Well that’s a very good question (laughs) a few years ago we said that Justified Genocide was going to be the last album. It didn’t take off the way we wanted it to, so it was like there was some unfinished business. We wanted to get a deal with a major label like Century Media, Nuclear Blast, ot Metal Blade records. Now we have signed the deal with Century Media for, 3 albums, so if people like the albums, then there could be another album after these, ya know? I think that Thanatos will exist in a couple of years but it’s hard to see 5 or 10 years down the road.

One alst question for you, where can fans go t find out everything they want to know about Thanatos?

I think the Facebook page is the thing we put the most big news out on and it is Facebook.com/Thanatos333. There is also the website www.thanatos.info, that is also pretty much kept up to date.

Alright cool! Well those are all the questions I have for you today Stephen. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me a call. Everyone at Metal Temple wishes you the best of luck on the road ahead.

Thanks so much!



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