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Monthly Archives: July 1999

Melanie interviews Bart, July 29, 1999 in Lorain, OH

MR: Hello Bart. Could you give me a brief history of Sinister, and what lineup changes you’ve endured?

B: <nods> The band formed before I was there. In 1987, then the first demos started to take place in 1988-1989. With the second demo, Nuclear Blast got interested, and they came to watch one of the shows. They offered them a record deal for five albums, so that’s when they recorded the first album. I joined just a couple weeks before they recorded the first album, so I’m not on it. I joined for the touring after that. There have been a lot of lineup changes, which are too long to list anyway. We could make an entire football (soccer – ed.) team from ex-members. (laughs) They had me for a bass player on the first tour, then the guitar player left, so they were again a 4 peice.. Recorded the second album ‘Diabolical Summoning’ then we did two European tours and an American tour.. Then, we had to kick out our guitar player because he was an asshole. He thought we were all assholes too, so it’s really nobody’s fault. We’re probably both right. (laughs) Then, I had to change to guitar, which I didn’t much like because I couldn’t be drunk onstage anymore. (laughs) Eventually, I gave into it. Then, we recorded the third album, ‘Hate’, as a 3 peice with Michel playing bass for the concerts. Then, we recorded ‘The Bastard Saints’ with too much concerts for it. Then.. there was a couple of years, where there was a silent period for death metal. Then, after the silent period which was kind of boring, and lasted a couple of years, we had to fire our singer Mike.. we started recording the fifth album. We got our new singer Eric then. We wrote and recorded the album in like four months. Pretty quick. The lineup you’ll see tonight is basically that. We’ve played so many concerts, and festivals – it’s been like a year and now next month is like our first month we have off in over a year. If you want to have time off though, you don’t want to play in a band! (laughs) We have to start writing for the new album when we get home.

MR: So, what’s Amsterdam like?

B: Totally cool. There’s a lot of coffeeshops, and red light districts. It’s totally legal to smoke marijuana outside in the street. You can walk up to a cop and ask them for a light, to light up and smoke a joint or whatever. They’ll give you a light and get on with their matters; they don’t care. It’s a really cool place to go, and it’s always crowded, day and night.

MR: What do you think it’s like, touring in America versus Europe or whatnot?

B: It’s not too good right now because we’re touring (America) right around (Moneyfest) Milwaukee, and I think a lot of people are saving up their money (for that). Maybe the promotion (of this tour) wasn’t good at all, so the crowds have been kind of thin. Not too many people there, maybe 125-150 a show.

MR: Hey, what about 11 people, tonight? (in Lorain.)

B: We’ll have to see about that. Generally, for us, the crowds are better in Europe because we sell more albums over there. Rotting Christ, they also sell more albums there. If we had done this tour there (in Europe), much more people would have shown up. It’s ok here though, if there’s 75 people there and they all like it, we totally go crazy. We play in this band for the music, not to get famous or to be a big rock star or get a lot of people – it would be nice if there was, but if not – what the hell, we’ll just play.

MR: What are your musical influences? What are your lyrical influences?

B: Lyrical, I can’t say too much because Idon’t write the lyrics, but my musical influences include all the death and grind bands who are around. We listen very much to new bands like Nile, Cryptopsy, all the new bands, and we very much like the underground death andgrind metal. In Europe, there’s like so many underground death and grind metal bands, it’s nuts. We check out every tape we get. We keep most of them, but we throw some away.

MR: Is it like in America, where there’s 5-6 times as many underground bands, as “big names”?

B: Yeah, definetly. There’s so many of them. A lot of them are especially in the direction of Poland or the Czech Republic. A lot of them are really cool. They just don’t have the money maybe for a good recording or whatever, so it’s a shame. We keep the good ones. It’s a shame they don’t get more exposure. My musical influences, also include things you experience in life.. like, when you’re depressed, when you’re down, you can write really evil riffs when you’re in that mood.

MR: Where did you get your band name?

B: Our drummer (Aad) invented it. He just thought it sounded really cool. After that, a lot of people tried to get the name of Sinister. If it wasn’t for us, Grip Inc., would have been called Sinister. We trademarked it in 1988.

MR: How’s the tour gone so far?

B: This is going to be the sixth show of the tour. It’s not a full tour really, just a mini tour to get some more interviews, and reviews in magazines and let people spread the word that we played around here. Especially overseas, it’s a lot of fun to play, and it’s a whole different country where you don’t know where you are, everything’s different. For us, it’s kind of a holiday.

MR: Do you go to shows at home?

B: Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Immolation (at home), but.. I’m a big fan of the scene. I live like 15 minutes walking from the biggest (metal) club in Holland. Fifteen minutes when I’m drunk, is a -walk-. (much laughter) It’s like three stops by the train to get there, but then fifteen minutes back walking because the train stops at 12:30. Almost every week there’s a death or grind metal show. A lot of bands are from the States, Europe… they all cross that club. It’s great. It’s called Baroeg, in Rotterdam. It maybe holds 300-400 people, not that big of a club, but it gets elbow to elbow. Bands like Cannibal Corpse, Impaled Nazarene, all play there. Of course, we’ve played there a couple of times. Usually it gets really crowded, and everybody knows each other, and it’s really cool. I actually moved to Rotterdam to get more into the death metal scene. It’s the best place to go in Holland for death metal.

MR: What do you think of the Internet?

B: I think it’s pretty cool. I’ve had a computer for 8 months now. I just can’t find the time to do everything I want to do with it. I have e-mail, and that’s the only thing I use it for. I do like 4-5 emails a day for the band, and I have some friends doing an internet page for the band… I have so many things to do though – I write the songs for the band, and I do the record label and tour (stuff)..

MR: Well at least nobody can call you a slacker!

B: (laughs) Yeah! Well, actually, I am lazy, because I only do what I have to do. I like to relax. I like to sit on the balcony at night, drinking vodka, and listening to music. it’s very important (to me), too. I think computers are boring. I’ll be logging on just to check my e-mail, and I’ll be offline within 10 minutes. I don’t want to check out the Net. I think it’s pretty cool if you have enough time.

MR: What are your future goals for Sinister?

B: Make a new CD, play as many shows as possible, have fun – a lot of fun – and get drunk. Just have a good time. We just want to play death and grind metal. We want to play whatever comes into our minds, but people want to categorize it, so it’s “death and grind metal”. We don’t have any goals like ‘be a big rockstar’, because that’s never going to happen! (laughs) I love the deathmetal scene because it’s underground. Even if there’s just 50 people they’ll think you’re really cool.

MR: How’s Nuclear Blast been treating you?

B: Really well. We’re now at the end of the contract with them, this winter. Somebody else was doing the promotion, and actually she didn’t do any. I called her like five times for interviews, and she said “oh sure, I’ll get you some interviews!” but after months there still were none.. it got all mixed up. She left. They’ve been really cool though.

MR: Speaking of your original material, talk about two of your favorite songs off your new one, and what elements you like, and what fans should listen for.

B: Uh… ‘Enslave the Weak’ is really cool because it has great variety, and it’s got really catchy riffs, and it’s a real brutal song. It’s building up – it starts off midtempo, and it just gets more and more speedy until it ends in one big blast beat. It’s very interesting to listen to, from the non-composer’s view, because every listen you will hear something new, or something different. The lyrics are totally okay too – it’s about people who enslave other people to suit their own purposes. It’s also about the people who become enslaved. Even people who are neither extreme, can relate to the song. I’m glad to say, I am neither extreme. I think ‘Changing Reality’ is a cool song. It gives a lot of variety, with a really open beginning. It’s deathmetally in the song, and you would also like the beginning part. It’s totally blasting and fast – lots of interesting stuff in there. The lyrics are really cool too – it’s about ‘you have to face life, and accept it, because if you don’t, you’ll become depressed and want to commit suicide, but you realize that you’re too scared to do so, so you just keep at it.’ That’s not too cool at all. Those are my 2 favorite songs probably.

MR: You did 56 shows with Cannibal Corpse?! What was that like? Was it some kind of marathon?!

B: Yeah.. (laughs) We were opening for them, and we had to do 56 shows in 59 days. We were driving in exactly the same van we have right now, and we had to sleep sitting up for nine weeks. We didn’t have any money, and we ate just once or twice a day at McDonald’s or something, and that was it. The shows were so cool though. Opening up for a big band is always a lot cooler, you get many more people and it always seems like everyone likes you more. We always had bigger thrash pits than Cannibal, because we were the first band, and everyone started thrashing.. by the time Cannibal went on, everyone was tired, and hurting (laughs). We had a lot of fun. We started out in New York, and we went to Canada Detroit, Chicago, Vegas, Los Angeles, Texas, Florida.. all over. Detroit was cool, it was one of the biggest clubs we played on that tour. About 2000 people were there. (Harpo’s – ed.) We all got drunk and whacked and had a good time, which was fun. That’s the point of playing in the band. Fun. A good time.

MR: (saying hi) What’s your name? I understand your’e the vocalist, and you write the lyrics?

E: Eric. Actually, I wrote about four of the songs on the new album. Personal problems mostly inspire (my lyrics) me. I’ve been depressed a very long time, and I cut myself wide open and all that shit. I have scars all over my arms.. <inspection break!> I was pretty messed up inside, so I wrote it all down and made a good song out of it. My way of coping with things. The bassist wrote the other songs on the album.

MR: Well, it’s been nice talking to you!

E: Thanks! All hell’s about to break loose!

MR: Any last words?

B: I hope this lineup holds up. We’re all getting along well. We’ll do a lot of shows, and have a good time..

Current lineup:
Aad – drums
Bart – guitar
Alex – bass
Eric – vocals