Saturday, June 9, 2012

Interview WIth Sebastian Rokicki (Antigama)

It's with great pleasure and an honer to bring you this exclusive interview with Sebastian Rokicki, the guitarist for one of my favorite grindcore bands, Antigama. We talk about the new line-up, what has been happening with Antigama the past couple years, and their excellent, new EP, "Stop The Chaos"(available now from Selfmadegod Records). This interview was conducted over email.

Operation Grindcore: It's been a few years since there's been any new Antigama material, and it appears that a lot has happened in the band since 2009. Can you give a brief run down of what happened after the release of "Warning"?

Sebastian Rokicki: Well... we went on European tour with Fuck The Facts and Dr.Doom after 'Warning' was released; then in May 2009 we came to the US for shows with Complete Failure. Later that year and a through the half of 2010 we took part in a few dramas as a live soundtrack band and played in theatres in Poland. It was completely different experience but very important for us as a band. In the beginning of 2011 we recorded the material for a split CD with Psychofagist from Italy. Everything was going great when the bad news came. Lucas' daughter was diagnosed with leukemia... We'd spent that hard time supporting our friend until his daughter got better. The year has passed and we have a new minialbum recorded. We're back.

OG: The band has gone through some very heavy line-up changes, including the departure of your long time drummer, Krzysztof Bentkowski. Why did he leave the band?

Sebastian: He did not leave the band. I asked him to leave. Krzysiek is a very good and original drummer but a very tough partner in the band. After 11 years of playing together his conditions were unacceptable. 

OG: How did your new drummer, Pawel Jaroszewicz, join the band? I'm sure his impressive resume of bands he's been in was a big deciding factor. 

Sebastian: Pawel and Antigama happened to rehearse in the same building. To be honest, it came pretty naturally. I asked him if he would be interested and he was. And his experience in a band like Vader is a very positive factor for us.

OG: This year also sees the recorded return of founding vocalist, Lukas! Something that I'm very excited about. How did he get back into the band?

Sebastian: Thanks! Lucas is a monster on vocals. I love the way he does all the stuff and I'm very happy he's in the band again. All that time he had been very close to us but just busy with lots of things. He's been back in the band since 2010 to be precise...

OG: I never found out exactly why he left the band for the "Warning" album, care to shed some light on that?
Sebastian: He was running his new company back then his son was born etc etc. But even though he didn't sing on 'Warning', he created all the electro stuff on the album. 

OG: How is this new version of Antigama getting along? Do you feel that the band is stronger now?

Sebastian: The new version of Antigama is doing great! The negative feel in the band has gone. Now we are stronger than ever. Everyone in the band is really into making music together. 

OG: Getting away from the line-up changes now, I am astounded by the productivity of the band this year. Four releases pending for this year alone! Have you been sitting on a lot of material over the band few years?

Sebastian: I've got lots of riffs recorded and also in my mind. Some of them will be used on our new recordings. We've made tons of new songs in the past 3 years.

OG: Has the split with Psychofagist and the 3-way split with Noisear and The Kill been in the works for a while? 

Sebastian: The split with Psychofagist and our minialbum 'Stop the Chaos' is just out now. A 3-way split with Noisear and The Kill will be released very soon. Then later this year we plan to record our full-length album.

OG: I haven't heard the Psychofagist split yet, but I have been listening to the new "Stop The Chaos" EP for a few days now. It's really good! Definitely reminds me of a mix of "Discomfort" and "Resonance" era Antigama. Were you guys going for that kind of sound on this EP?

Sebastian: Thanx for the good words! To be honest, everything comes very naturally with 'Stop The Chaos'. We haven't planned anything. We've just made another Antigama set of songs and recorded them pretty quickly as usual. The only change was a new line up but the methods of work stays the same.

OG: I'm curious to know what the title "Stop The Chaos" means. The cover art shows a power button to some sort of machine, is it some sort of commentary about our relationship with technology?

Sebastian: I like your interpretation a lot, but the main reason for this title was different. The cover and the lyrics are very symbolic and important for us in many ways. We had many bad vibes inside the band last year. Not only in the band but also on the private side of life... 'Stop The Chaos', as title says proves that all the troubles in the band are gone. Everything is on this EP....

OG: Something that I thought was interesting on "Stop The Chaos" is that the sound of the drums and the playing style is pretty similar to Krzysztof's, to me anyway. Was this a conscious effort on the band or Pawel's part? 

Sebastian: Yeah. Some elements of Pawel's drumming like a double snare can be similar but he's definitely trying to incorporate his own playing style into the band. It fits very well with our sound. Pawel is a very talented and experienced drummer and we're happy to have him in the band.

OG: Can you give us any details about the new full-length album?

Sebastian: Well, some songs are ready, some will be finished in the near future. We should go into the studio after the summer holidays. The new Antigama tunes are more extreme and complex althought we'll also have some slower parts. Anyway, it's gonna be a blast!

OG: I'd like to know what made you guys want to play the style of grind you make. There weren't a whole lot of bands that sounded like you guys when you formed, especially in Poland. What was the actual original idea for Antigama?

Sebastian: Thanx again Seven! I really appreciate it. Well, Antigama came into being because I've always wanted to create something new and different from 'average' grind bands. After 12 years of its existence I can say that it was probably me who've made it that way hahaha. And I think the chemistry between the members of the band has also been and still is the main factor in playing this kind of music. 

OG: What is the scene in Poland like nowadays? 

Sebastian: Some of the bands like Dead Infection, Squash Bowels are still on. Others are still deep in the underground movement. But to be honest I don't follow the Polish grind scene these days. I'm mostly concerned about my own projects. The Polish grindcore scene is definitely different than 10 years ago...

OG: Do you guys have any plans to tour this year? Can American fans expect to see you guys live at all?

Sebastian: We have plans for touring and promoting our newest release here in Europe in 2012. We hope we'll come to the States next year after our new record cames out. We'd love to play in the US, to see and jam with all our friends there. The future should bring only the good news!

OG: Something we ask all our interviewees; if you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 albums would you bring with you?

Sebastian: This is a very, very tough question my friend... 

1. Goblin - "Suspiria"
2. Napalm Death - "Mentally Murdered"
3. Lalo Schifrin - "Enter The Dragon"

OG: Any final words?

Thank you very much for the cool interview Seven! All the best with the Operation Grindcore Zine. 
Our new MCD 'Stop The Chaos' is out now - check it out if you like fast and heavy noise!


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