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Saille's Reinier Schenk: "We are not political and we most definitely don't have a certain message. We are serious about what we do and how we do it, but not about the content"

Interview with Reinier Schenk from Saille
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 April 2021, 11:43 PM

Dark times meet darker expectations and measures to have those expectations fulfilled. However, it was a just means to get you to read it. A completely different story here and it opened up a small debate, when is it the right time to change things in one's music? How can it be expected that a fan will stop appreciate a band's music? It is a tough issue, but there are those that will not submit to the audience's wishes and simply continue going. Nonetheless, they less there are those who will darken things around, take a different turn but in their own identity. The running Black meets Death Metal Saille started a new chapter of darkness and it dwells within their new "V" album. Steinmetal had a good talk with guitarist Reinier Schenk about the changes, his vision of the music, new prospects and more…

Hello Reinier, it is great to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, I hope that everything is well on your end, considering what has been going on worldwide.

Thanks, hope you're doing well yourself.

Well, we have been rather fortunate here in Israel, already vaccinated but there as far as domestic issues go, we have our share

As if coexisting with the changes that our society has been going through, due to the pandemic, Saille has also been under the winds of change, starting with the band’s lineup. Was it a natural process of people leaving or were there intentions to do something different that caused folks on the lineup to understand that perhaps their place is not there anymore?

Well, life brings changes: people move, get married or even worse, have children. Those guys don't like being away from home much and they quit after a while. Then you have some guys who are just totally useless, they want to be the rockstar, but are basically acting like dickheads ruining the hard work of the others. We had both unfortunately.

What was the main cause for these changes of image, with an emphasis of becoming darker than ever before?

After 10 years and 4 albums you can continue doing the same over and over and over again, but it gets boring at some point. I felt it was enough and musically not challenging anymore. Also, Saille was not interesting for the extreme black metal-head before and at the same time too aggressive for the symphonic subgenres. And those symphonic and classical layers in our music were limited, while we wanted to expand. In my opinion, for me, the essence of metal music is all about drums and guitars, next to the vocals. All the rest is design, extra, ballast, frills and curlicue. Cool, but basically unnecessary.

How would you say that the pandemic influenced the decision making within the band in regards to how to process forward and what the future holds?

Not much, besides being annoyed and suffering from the cancel culture for live performances, of course. Other than that I refuse to sit in a corner and cry, waiting until "it is over". It gives us time to look at the past, make things better, record new stuff, think things through and prepare.

After being with Code666 ever since your debut album, you parted ways with the label, and turned to the Swedish Black Lion Records, which obtained a highly experienced band with an extreme touch. What led to your departure from Code666 after so long? How do you find your new home at Black Lion Records?

We were actually happy all these years at Code666. They were always good for us and we're still in contact. It's like I said, Code666/Aural Music preferred to wait longer and I wanted to release the album asap. I mean, what's the point? We were late already, since we normally release an album every 2 years. Album 6 is almost ready, since we have this overload of time on our hands being at home and I'm pretty sure all other bands are in the exact same position. And since I am in contact with quite some metal labels professionally I asked Black Lion Records first. That's how things go in the small Metal world.

Simply titled “V”, your new album, fifth in number, is a milestone. Looking back, how do you summarize the stream of past releases and their contribution to the new image of “V”?

I guess you're referring to releases of other bands? I don't know really. I am not going to say I am absolutely not influenced, because we all get our portions here and there subconsciously, but I can't really point it out. I am definitely influenced by old stuff from Emperor or Dissection, I always hoped my band could sound like Dark Funeral or something like that, but at the same time I am crazy about Morbid Angel, Bloodbath etc. The best recent album for me was Vltimas in 2019, because it was the perfect mix between old and new, black and death influences. Did it influence me? Maybe, at least it pushes me to do better, because that kind of high level albums make you feel bad as a musician, hahaha.

It has always been fantastic and interesting upon dealing with aspects of life or rather strange and incomprehensible things that it is hard for us to decipher, and “V” tells selected stories of such. What do you find to be a pinnacle of all that is bizarre and enigmatic that you cared to write about?

I don't write lyrics, that's not my thing unfortunately, but I am quite fond of the lyrics of Fetid Flesh and Terror Tapestry, which are both gory fairy tales for adults about women devouring men and making clothes or tapestries of their skin and bodyparts. Not the most original tales, but the way how it is written is amazingly cool, creepy and hilarious at the same time.

What I found to be rather peculiar is that along with the horrific tales there is always that humorous punch, I guess that you tried to end every story with a smile, how come? Why not leave it bleeding on the floor so to speak?

Well, we are in the amusement business, right? Isn't it all about having a good time, while reality is already shitty enough? Also, who are we kidding, aren't all gory movies funny? We are not political and we most definitely don't have a certain message. We are serious about what we do and how we do it, but not about the content.

Along with the darkness that caress the lyrics, so that same black cloud, not cat, that drove over the music. I felt much intensity on the course of several of the songs, yet as the album progressed, it became both heavier and yet also melodic, portraying a variety of harmonies. How do you view the band’s musical development in light of “V”?

It's difficult to explain, because it's like drawing, those things just happen in the process. There is no overthinking and planning. You make something, it sounds cool, you add something and hey, it sounds better. Or not…What I at least wanted to try is making it more interesting along the way, for the listener. Keep the attention, something has to happen music-wise or the listener quits and goes somewhere else. Every song and album has to have an apotheosis, a climax, surprises every now and then, catchy shit so you can bang your head etcetera. Not too much melody here, faster there, deeper there. It's like cooking a great meal for your guests, hoping they want more. And during the years you should get better in this, I think.

Since there are twists and turns throughout the songs, which is rather an advantage musically, how did you make it happen when it comes to the integration between the lyrics and music?

The lyrics are written based on the music, so the words fit perfectly on the riffs and the singing style changes according to the necessary feel of that part. That's why you can hear so many singing styles.

Ever since your decision to make changes in the band’s channeled imagery, you decided that it was time to bring a new voice into the fold. Jesse Peetoom, also the Dutch frontman of DunkelNacht, was selected to take the helm of the vocals. What does Peetoom bring to Saille that was so needed in order to make the changes you envisioned smooth and fulfilling?

Jesse Peetoom is an amazing frontman, which is almost more important than having a good vocalist. Luckily, he is an extraordinary talented singer, he can do it all. On top of that, he plays drums and guitars, so he knows what he is doing as a musician and not just someone who has a cool voice and long hair. I've known him for some years and I regret I didn't ask him earlier. It would have saved us a lot of misery and we would have had better performances in the past. Since he also knows how to make fantastic songs we are working together now for the next album. It is better than what I did so far!

Virtually, two additional members have been added to the band’s camp since Peetoom’s arrival, including another guitarist and a skinman for the drums. How does this renewal contribute to the end result of “V”?

The only new person on this album V is the aforementioned vocalist Jesse. All the others (drums and bass) were in the band for many years. It's true, I'm the only guitar player on this album. For live purposes (oh, the irony in this time) and for the future we have new guys in the band, that's correct. But they didn't appear on this album yet, so I can answer this question after we released our next album, hehe.

Your mixture of Black and Death Metal is surely not the first ever, in particular since the market has been full of them. What do you think that Saille brings to the table with the rising of “V” when it comes to freshness?

Nothing probably. That's also not a goal. In 50 years of metal, fantastic albums have been made already. We can merely try to bring something fresh and we do, we try, but nowadays every kid can record every shit he wants in his bedroom. The competition is killing, it's a tsunami of ideas, riffs and attempts on the internet every day and it gets difficult to stand out. But we made a great album, I'm sure of that and skills + experience will make us stand out

Gathering up melodic intensity, I found the haunting nature of “Charnel Chamber”. In your view, how did the melody aspect perfected your efforts on this song, and of course on “V” in general?

This is one of my favorites. It's fun to play, it has a typically Saille-melody, but I think it's also the least heavy song of the album. It felt like a necessary breathing moment after the speed of the 2nd song and it's quite groovy. It has a Dark Funeral (of the last album) feel in it, which I like.

If I noticed it correctly, “V” features you as the album’s engineer, a role that you haven’t taken since your debut "Irreversible Decay", how did it feel to get back on the mixing and mastering chair? What was your vision for the album’s sound?

That is not entirely correct: I have recorded all albums, but mixed only the first two and this last one, yes. We paid shitloads of money for mixing albums 3 and 4, but since no one buys cd's nowadays and everything is streamed and listened to on smartphones, we simply don't have money for that anymore. So, it's back to DIY. I certainly didn't want to sound like all the other albums, I honestly hate artificial guitar- and drum sounds, no reamping guitars and drum replacements like most recordings…. it is difficult, but I tried to make it sound as Saille. I have always been jealous about bands that sound like themselves. You can recognize the sound of AC/DC, Slayer, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Amon Amarth, Carcass and that's great. You don't have to like them, but you recognize their sound immediately. I am aiming for that too, one day.

The pandemic has been having its number on musicians ever since the break out, what forms of challenges made it difficult for you throughout the album’s process?

Well, since we live in three different countries, we can't get together. Not even for a simple band photo or a videoclip. That means improvising. We manage, but it's not ideal. The internet has been a life saver for many occasions, but doing a few release shows would have been better. For the rest we didn't suffer from it during the recordings and mixing process, but it's not ideal either.

Looking at 2021, it seems that perhaps the end of the year would enable artists to get back on the road, or at least to do local shows. How does your schedule look like for the finishing period of 2021? How does 2022 look for Saille?

It looks bad now, it's a mess. We have some rescheduled gigs, some even postponed twice, but I don't think we will be able to play this year or even the beginning of 2022. I stopped worrying, because as soon as the booking agencies can breathe and festivals are up and running again we will push our asses back in.

Have you thought of other promotional steps for “V”, perhaps even a live stream show for a possible release party etc?

Nope. Not going to happen. I have enough of videos with bands playing in their living room and streams of concerts without an audience. I don't even watch them anymore. It's horrible, it sucks and I don't like it. A show is with real people, otherwise it is like having sex with an inflatable doll. The result is the same, but doesn't feel good and looks silly.

Reinier, it was a pleasure, thank you for your time for this interview. “V” turned out to be a real milestone in the band’s career, a token of darkness right when it was needed. Cheers sir

Thanks for your time and effort and I'm honestly glad to see you appreciate our hard work! Cheers!


 



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