Defeated Sanity - Lille Gruber
12/10/12 || lou.imm0rtal
Like in life, in music there are sheeps and the wolves. You have those that carry an artistic and musical integrity of the highest caliber and then you have those that simply do it for the “cool points”. Defeated Sanity is one of the wolves and those “cool points” can fuck themselves right up the ass! Here is a brief introduction in Lille Gruber’s, the drummer, own words:
“The band started as a studio project with Wolfgang Teske and I somewhere between 1993 and 1994. Until 1998, all we did was record songs of the widest variety of styles that you could imagine. In 1998, we felt the need to make this a real band and we worked together with my brother Jonas Gruber on session bass and Robert Colnik on session vocals. In that line up, we already played some shows supporting legends like Krisiun and Voivod but the band was not what we imagined it to be. In 1999, was when we founded our first real line up which was adding Christian Münzner on guitar, Markus Keller on vocals, and Tino Köhler on bass. That was the point when we really started this project in a serious way. From there on the band continued its evolution and four records later, we are very proud of the development. As of now, the new line-up is very solid and the new record will crush some heads!”
Global Domination: Sup Lille! This interview has been a long time coming and the time has come to clarify some things concerning the world of brutal death metal and your band’s role in this hideous community of music. Go ahead and tell us what sparked the idea for the band in the first place and what did metal seem like to you at the time?
Lille Gruber: Hey Lou, whats up! At the time we started this project, I knew I would give everything to become a serious musician. I was never interested too much in the image and the “pop” aspects of Death Metal and Metal in general, but the artistic approach. I think this shows a lot in our music/imagery/lyrics.
Recently, you guys compiled the very early recordings of Defeated Sanity into one CD. You can obviously hear a varied set of influences and not just death metal in specific. This leads me to believe that you and whomever you have been involved with has wide a taste in all genres of metal music, perhaps? What was the feeling shared at the time these recordings were made and what exactly was it that you guys intended to create?
Those recordings that you are hearing there is what I call my “childhood music lessons”. My dad and I recorded these tracks all on a Tascam 8-track recorder and we just wrote tons of music together. I was fresh into Metal and dragged my father, Wolfgang Teske, with me who had more of a Rock/Jazz background and was already an accomplished musician who could give me all the right hints. We recorded songs in every style that appealed to us. There is elements from Black, Death, Doom, Avant garde, HC, Jazz, Rock, and Classical—a wide set of influences on all these tracks before we decided that brutal is best. On a side note, the compilation CD of the early demos is only ¼ of what we actually recorded at the time.
This next question is completely optional and you can proceed without asking it. Your father Wolfgang Teske, may he rest in peace, played a big role in your life especially in the development of your skills and affinity to music. Some are aware that he was very active in his early days in various rock/jazz/fusion type projects? I must say, he developed quite a following, especially with his time in Defeated Sanity. Tell us about your father and what he contributed to Defeated Sanity. Importantly, what do you feel he contributed to the world of death metal? I remember speaking to him once in NYC and he told me the story about when you were 8 years old or so and he took you to see Cannibal Corpse. Proper gentleman that he was!
Well, I don’t know if our band will be of big importance in this music genre someday but if it would be rewarded for what we bring to the table in the brutal music scenery, I guess it was HIM who introduced the more serious and anti-pop attitude into our music, directly (by writing songs like Artifacts of desolation or Lurid Assimilation) or indirectly by influencing me and the others on everything that I am or we are doing—continuing to innovate on the intricate Defeated Sanity style riffing that carries his knowledge about my father’s musical past in Progressive Rock & Jazz music.
Let us discuss your band’s evolution. The debut record, “Prelude to the Tragedy”, is when you guys truly solidified yourselves as a brutal death metal force not to be reckoned with. I must point out that the material just before that, a split CD, those songs were quite good but did not make the impact that the follow-up would eventually make. It is from here that mammoth records like “Psalms of the Moribund” and “Chapters of Repugnance” would spawn from. In your own words, tell us about the hardships and struggles faced to accomplish these records. What are you guys thinking when these records are being developed? I do not think anybody truly knows what the essence of Defeated Sanity is, since you guys seem to be carving out your own unique approach to this music. What is Defeated Sanity?
“Prelude to the Tragedy” was a typical debut album and had the first songs that were what I refer to as “100% songs,” for example, the songs: “Liquefying Cerebral Hemispheres” and “Remnants of the Dead”. Opposed to the demo songs where we as a band had not solidified our style yet (demo songs like: Tortured Existence or The Parasite). Struggle is the right word for that record. Carpal Tunnel x 2, Throat infection for the singer, and parting of members, was what happened to us at that time.
“Psalms of the Moribund” was the first record with the new, more modern style, and introduced the new line up. Christian Kühn was the new guitarist alongside my father, and everything became more “grindy.” We started writing more power-chord riffs to make the music sound more massive.
“Chapters of Repugnance” was weird to put together since we developed everything without a vocalist, and in the end AJ Magana came on top of it. It became a crushing record none the less, and made clearer to the scene that we are not a short-lived band. It also strengthened the core of this band as we didn’t give up about the vocal situation and continued our agenda to crush.
A.J. Magana, famed for his masterful vocal performances in Disgorge and Deprecated, was recently unearthed and ask to lend his abilities to “Chapters of Repugnance.” This was truly a next step up in amplifying the brutality inherent in the music that you guys create. How did the union with A.J. come to be? What was the process like to jam all the new songs with him and get all the lyrical structures tight? His vocal performance on the record will remained unmatched for years to come and it is records like these that stick around. People will always go back to it and try to figure out why it keeps breaking necks.
The collaboration with AJ Magana happened thanks to Derek Boyer (Suffocation and Deprecated). I was whining in his ears about us not finding a vocalist on MySpace chat. I told him that AJ Magana was one of my favorite vocalists of all time (which hasn’t changed). Derek gave me his e-mail and we started orchestrating everything via phone and e-mail. Vocal patterns and lyrics were then put to perfection in band rehearsals one week before the studio recordings.
You guys have now completed recording the new record with Konni of Despondency on vocals. It was a natural transition; it seems, from A.J. to Konni. We all had a strong feeling that he would fill in the shoes. Tell us about this new record and what is it that we are to expect. How will this record put the previous 2 to rest and take the crown? Was the recording process much easier this time around than previous?
Konni was always helping us out when we had single shows here in Europe that AJ Magana could not t fly in for. At the time, the only reason why we considered him a session vocalist only was because of his main band Despondency (RIP) was too busy. Konni has been a great friend for years and we all knew about his excellent live performance, skills, and attitude about Death Metal. In time it just FELT like a band and we knew this was the natural road we had to choose.
Recording process was similar to “Psalms of the Moribund” as we picked the same studio and the same recording method. We all tracked together as a band except the vocals, they were recorded on a separate session. I guess, about 40% of this album is us actually playing together live in the studio and the rest is overdubs.
I really don’t know if this is going put anything to rest (haha!). Our previous two albums are heavy albums to compete with. But we managed to KEEP the quality and did not repeat ourselves. Konni’s vocal performance is extremely varied this time. I guess that is a main difference, he is varying a lot with his vocal tones. The previous singers didn’t do that to this extent. I can truly say that this definitely brought on some new “colors” to the Defeated Sanity sound.
Yo, let us talk about death metal shit. You know what, fuck it. Take this opportunity to write up your observation on the current trends of death metal and how it is becoming a serious issue for hard-working bands to truly carve a name out for themselves. It is my opinion that Defeated Sanity should had already been picked up by Nuclear Blast or Earache and engaging in some serious tour packages on a yearly basis. There is something really wrong here. What has occurred?
As I told you, Defeated Sanity is not a pop Death Metal band. We create art with complexity and substance. I guess it is not that easy for mainstream people to grasp. I think the times when real art can make it big in the Metal scene are over. Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” was perfection. It was uncompromising, brutal as fuck, and there is nothing appealing for the mainstream in it. It is the sort of record that Metal fans in the whole world celebrate to this day. These days record labels, producers, and etc tell you to narrow the music down so you can win the fans over. I guess, I have nothing new to say really! Haha!
Why aren’t there more guitarists like Doug Cerrito of Suffocation out there? You know what would happen to the world if he was to re-join Suffocation? Of course, you do. What is your take on influences? I have a theory that the innovators before us have become a sort of death metal “DNA” and the random combinations of this “DNA” is what makes up the newer bands.
Haha! If Doug Cerrito were to re-join Suffocation, either Guy or Terrance would be unemployed or they would become the Iron Maiden of Death Metal? Yeah, that sounds very cool. The NY DNA definitely flows through us. You can hear that in various moments on the new album! I am sure that will put a big smile on your face.
To supplement the previous question. What are your top 10 most influential and innovative death metal records of all time? Truly, how do these records impact and continue to mold death metal to this day even if they were written in 1991?
Suffocation – Breeding the spawn
Gorguts – Considered Dead
Immolation – Here in After
Disgorge – Consume the forsaken
Devourment – Molesting the decapitated
Gorgasm – Masticate to dominate
Death – Human
Disincarnate – Dreams of the carrion kind
Morbid Angel – Covenant
Monstrosity – Imperial Doom
I have a feeling that I have typed this list out like 10 years ago and it makes me realize how old I am! The early 1990’s death metal remains unmatched and furthermore, simply listen to Sebastian Bach’s music which he wrote in 1700s and it still unmatched. It clearly shows you that it is all about the music. Not about the image, or how many chicks you bang on tour. Truly remains all about the musical work. THAT is what makes the impact.
Motherfuckers. Yo Lille, you are aware of this record label call Rise Records? What the fuck is that man? How does shit like that even create itself? You would think that it is a joke at first but when you look deeper into it, you realize that they are VERY serious about that shit. What occurred in the chain-reaction of things for such abominations and disrespect to music to come about?
Although I don’t know this record label, I can imagine what you are talking about! Haha! I miss the times when Hardcore and Metal were both different co-existing genres that influenced each other and both BELIEVED in what they were doing while truly respecting the other side. I don’t like this whole “boyband deathcore” shit. I guess I am just too old for that? Who knows?
Lastly, go ahead and rant about all the motherfuckers out there that have help Defeated Sanity become the monster that it is. In Death metal music, we are all truly alone and have no money. We got to devote ourselves to it and work really hard with the very little we got. It is the people involved in the music that make it all happen—the real essence, anyway. Oh yeah, plug in all the contact information for the band so that people can holler and maybe grab some merch! Thank you Lille. Never forget that you are my favorite ze German Sausage.
Thanks Lou for the intie. Thanks to ALL the true fans that have kept this band going by getting merchandise and our records! It is the only way to keep QUALITY underground music alive, trust me. See you on fucking tour!