Switzerland, hidden between mountains, renounced for its chocolate, cheese and of course their world famous privacy concerning financial banking. And also home to Herod, the sludge noise mongers who’re blazing trails for a few years now. We at RMP Magazine had a nice chat with Pierre, guitar player and founder of Herod, regarding their project and the recent European tour during a turbulent period for live music in Europe. Cheers !
- For the readers that don't know the phenomena ‘Herod’ yet. Please introduce yourself and the band.
Hi! Pierre here, guitar player and founder of the band. I started riffing the first chords when I was living in Sweden in 2006. Eight years later, we released the debut album “They were none” on the Danish Label Mighty Music influenced by the great north like Breach, Meshuggah and Cult of Luna!
- Herod hails from Switzerland, a country that many don't know too well except for Swiss athletes and the magnificent chocolate and cheese. But asides the obvious clichés, how would you describe Switzerland and your position within the Swiss music scene?
Maybe people will know the biggest Metal Swiss bands which are Coroner, Celtic Frost or Samael? Actually Switzerland is a great place to live and the music scene is quite rich. In our music genre (sludge/postcore/chaotic prog-shit) there are many great Swiss bands we use to share the stage with such as Cortez, Kruger, Coilguns, Abraham, Zatokrev, and many others, we all actually were fan of before Herod.
- Herod's music is highly influenced by another, not Swiss, music scene, namely Swedish death metal. One of the members even lived in Malmo. How does Sweden connect to Switzerland and Herod?
I lived in Malmö for six months in 2006 and that was the first time I started writing music. I bought a baritone strat and I tuned it as low as possible and I started riffing in my room, that was a really creative trip. It’s weird because I try to find again that creative mood to write the second album, but today I live in a chalet in the middle of the vineyards in Switzerland!
- The band recently embarked on a European tour with bands as Carcass and Obituary. The Deathcrusher tour led you to many European countries. How has it been?
Amazing and exhausting as we were also part of the Carcass crew. We played amazing venues in front of massive audiences and every band was really nice to us. We made friends for life and gained a lot of fans.
- There was also a sort of tour journal online 'Le Journal du Hard'. Although in French I understood that it's sort of a blog describing how tour life can be. How has the response been on the journal?
Really funny you heard about that [laughing]. Yeah, the local newspaper asked me to make like a diary of the tour, so I did an article every week.
- Next to the exciting parts of being ignored by headliners and the constant dreadful waiting game that touring is, you also wrote about the Paris 'Le Bataclan’ terrorist incident. Herod was touring Europe at the same time the attack occurred and still had to play Paris later during the tour. What were your thoughts on this terrible news?
Sure, that was weird. We were in Leipzig when that happened. We had to play in Paris 10 days later and mostly everyone wanted to play the gig, the show must go on. Regarding the tragedy, I think we all have a different opinion, mine is quite rude because I think France cannot be naive and think they can have that kind of international policy and no ‘feedback’. We enter a new era and those people have the advantage to die for their ideas, in Europe no one is ready to die for a cause or values.
- “They Were None”, your latest album has been released some time now. Any plans on recording new material soon or has the touring bug got to you and will touring be a priority first?
Sure, so for 2016 we’ll get back to rehearsal, I already have a few riffs in the pocket.
- If we need to define Herod, then the most-called genre would be ‘Progressive Sludge’ according to the internet. Citing influences such as Meshuggah, Cult Of Luna, Converge, and Breach, it makes it hard to categorize your sound. How would you describe your band and style if needed?
As we play 8-strings it was important to us to take an opposite direction ampwise, so we only use vintage amps on the record. Our producer Julien Fehlmann worked previously with awesome Swiss bands such as Unfold, Forceed or Coilguns and I was really pleased when he decided to produce our album.
- The album also features some noise/drone sounds and uses intros frequently. Like the Russian female voice at the beginning of “No Forgiveness For Vultures”. For us non-Russian speaking folks, could you explain what the intro deals about?
That is words from Master and Margarita from Mikhail Bulgakov (1967), the story talks about a visit by the devil in the atheistic Soviet Union.
- Any last words, advice or other news you'd like to share with us?
I wish everyone will eat as much as they can during Chrismas time because this is what we are gonna do. But check our sound first www.herodnoise.com
– David Marote