April 2005 - LAHAR
LAHAR are an extreme powerful Dutch Doom band, and they belong to the more original bands in the current scene. There aren't much newcomers around, that I really like, but LAHAR's last demo was one of the best, I had received in the last months. They've combined classic Doom with some sort of Sludge, what reminds me to outstanding bands like Warhorse f.e. LAHAR use unorthodox song-structures, which are packed with massive and aggressive riffs and fronted by the crusty vocals from Bert-RenÃ©. They had also played on the DSR III festival, and I guess they had found some new fans and friends there. Well, anyway, Bert-RenÃ© was so kind to answer my questions and the result is informative and entertaining. So, grab a beer and read on...
Welcome, Laharians! Thanks for giving me such a blast with your latest release, entitled "Demo Mmiu". You've got the right weighty riffs, a heavy significant tone, an outstanding singer and interesting song structures.How do you feel about the three tracker and how much exposure did the demo get?
Thanks for your kind words. We were pretty satisfied with the demo. Not completely satisfied, but considering the costs of the recording, it turned out good. We also got very good responses from various internetsites and magazines so that's cool too.
I like your lyrics, because they are very metaphoric and bloody nihilistic. Especially "From Weakness" contains some heavy religious metaphors. Bert, where do you draw influences from when writing the lyrics?
My influences come from all kinds of things. 'Words for flesh' is entirely influenced by a chapter from Dante's 'The Divine Comedy'. In 'The apocalypse machine', Dante is making sweet love to a robot. And in 'From Weakness' Dante meets Jesus. So you could say Dante is a major influence. But generally the themes of my lyrics are related to whatever book I'm reading at the time and is inspiring enough to provide me with lyrics. Yes, I steal a lot. I stole an entire song from Melville's 'Moby Dick', sue me.
It's very hard to accomplish anything new in the doom genre, and, of course, LAHAR doesn't re-invent this musical style new, but in my opinion you don't rip-off any bands and you're sounding authentic instead of just writing 25 min. long songs, just because it seems to be "extreme" or shit like that. What do you think about my statement and what's your opinion in general about the current state of doom metal?
Well, thanks. We know we're not inventing anything new. We have all kinds of influences. We can hear them, but we give them our own twist and try to create something new. So sounding authentic is a big compliment to us. We're not making music to be "extreme", "extreme" is very overrated in my opinion. When we started with the band, we didn't know about any doom scene. We were just a bit tired of the overload of stoner bands and wanted to create some authentic doom again.
A friend of mine showed me some internet sites after he heard what we were doing. That's how I found out about new bands like Reverend Bizarre and Thee Plague of Gentlemen (to name but a few). Maybe you can say there's a bit of a doom-metal revival going. As with all revivals, a lot of shit comes drifting up. But the amount of good bands is increasing as well so that's a good thing. Good (new) bands being Rev. Bizarre, TPOG, The Gates of Slumber, Rising Dust, Mirror of Deception and from the Netherlands Heavy Lord and Mary Bell (which isn't really doom, but cool anyway). I probably forgot a few bands, but these bands are in my CD-player a lot.
Another positive aspect about "Demo Mmiu" is the cover artwork. Instead of crosses and churches, you've choosen a robot, which reminds me to classic movies like Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and stuff like this. Are you into movies and what does this robot embody for you?
Marco and Ralph are the real movie freaks in the band, Marco even works at a small movie theater. Speaking for myself, SF movies and artwork have always had a big impact on me. The robot comes from an old magazine from 1934. The picture embodies an uncontrolable force we created and which will destroy us. This is real doom to me, our doom comes from ourselves. On a sidenote the same robot was used on the cover of the Probot CD. The original design got a bit vandalized I think, but it's still there.
"Demo Mmiu" has been released by your own label Circle Six Records. Have you ever thought about signing with another label for a full-length?
Yes we have but there's nothing going on now I guess.
How long has LAHAR been in existence?
Since september 2002, we had our first gig in march 2003. Doesn't seem like two years have gone already though?
What are your plans for 2005?
We got a second guitarplayer, Ralph. We've got to teach him a lot, after that we want to record some new stuff we've been writing. And of course we want to play a lot of gigs. Our plans for 2006 are even more interresting. We want to get rich, but we have to share everything we earn with an extra guitarplayer so it will take a bit longer.
You're hailing from the Netherlands, a country that attracted sensation during the last month due to the assassination attempt on Van Gogh. After this act, some people are very hysterical, especially the media here in Germany and they talking about the end of the multicultural society and shit like that. To speak for myself, I have Muslim acquaintances and most of this people are very peaceful and aren't interested to live in isolation here. Well, I've to admit that this topic is much too complex for this small interview, but I like to ask you about your point of view. What's your point of view?
This question shows how long it took me to send you the answers, haha. I think we mustn't eat the soup as hot as it's served. Tempers are very high right now because a lot of things are happening. There's fundamentalists on both 'sides' and we don't want to let either win.
In your everyday life, what do you think about? What motivates you? What are your goals as a band, as people?
This is a tough question. I guess we think about a lot of the same stuff everybody thinks about. I think we all get motivated by the process of creation. It's cool to work on a song (not if it takes over 4 months but that's another story). Our goals are to create music we like to play and then play it. Hopefully record a full lenght sometime soon, we'll see.
What are the first records you ever bought and your first live show?
My first record was a 12" EP by Europe, 'Black night' or something like that. It's been a long time ago so I don't remember exactly, but it was definitely Europe. I'm a bit embarrassed but not ashamed of anything, haha. My first live show was the Gods of Grind tour, with Carcass, Entombed, Confessor and Cathedral, that's where it all started.
And what has been the last album that you've bought?
My last record is Coven - Witchcraft, destroys minds and reaps souls.
Well, that's all! Thanx for everything! Keep up your impressive band!
Thanks for the interview and your patience! Hopefully you'll hear from us soon!