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In Words: Dew-Scented

- Leif Jensen - October 2002 - Xavi San Antonio -

Leif Jensen live 1996 in Hamburg
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Leif Jensen - October, 3rd 2002 in Barcelona (Spain)

I went to the venue's door looking for the tour manager as I had an interview with Dew-Scented singer Leif Jensen, but it happened that he was gone to dinner and I had to wait for him to return. Meanwhile, I started to look at the people who frantically were trying to get everything in place for the show which was about to start in one hour and a half.
I asked one of the guy I found there, which resulted to be Dew-Scented's guitarist, where could I find Leif and he told me to wait a little and he'll come to look for me. So it was and after another five minutes of waiting Leif came and ask me "You're looking for me?" and we went to a near bar where we could talk while sharing a drink.

This is your 4th album, maybe your best album so far. Everybody who listens to the album finds a more mature band, a very worked out evolution which means a hard work.

I would like to agree, normally every band will say that the new album is best they've done, but I think in the case of the band Dew-Scented you can very easily find out that it happens to be this way. In our band it's sort of funny, because I think we started a little bit too early with our 1st album. We were very excited, we were very glad that we had a chance to record an album, but looking back in time when I play that record I'm really satisfied with it. And I think we went progressing step by step and Inwards seems to be the first album that anybody really manages to get into. We had the best production in Inwards which I think makes a big difference. I think in our last album production was not very good, so I think we had a lot of things to make better this time. So we're very happy that this album came out so satisfying, we're very happy with the album and this is the first time the mainstream media is liking it as well, before we were always very under­ground, very low profile because the record promotion were mainly in central Europe. We have an international job as this is the 1st album released in America and Japan.

Talking about Japan, you were playing there, how is the people in Japan?

Pretty much like here, because we didn't a rock star tour. We did an underground tour with an audience between 150 and 400 people. They were all devoted to extreme music, we were there with Defelshed and Nightingales, an extreme metal package, and they were very much into us. We hadn't an album out there, we had no promotion, no label! So, not many people knew us, but we had a warm welcome and we had like four really killer shows so that actually got us a deal with Japan, because we did showcase for a couple of labels who visited the shows and we're very much looking forward to come back hopefully in the next year to do some more shows. I think that market there is in a change at the moment, because normally they would only accept you, if you are extremely melodic heavy metal, power metal or even melodic death metal, but now they're more open for thrash metal again, for extreme noise music, so for us it was very cool to go there, because we never thought our music would be able to go to Japan and it was as a good tour as a trip so we're very happy about that.

Back to the band, how would you define the style of Dew-Scented?

I thinks it's basically very extreme thrash metal, the riffs definitely have something to do with the 80's thrash metal, because that's the sound we grew up with it, that's the music we listen to the most, testament, Exodus, slayer, Forbidden... Those bands to me are the bands that did some really good songs and those records are still my favorite records, written 10 or 15 year ago. So I think these are the main elements, we like to add a little bit of brutality from death metal and we like to add some typical elements as well. We have quite good musicians in the band, so we try to make it more interesting than just to straight forward thrash metal, so I would say in between thrash and death metal.

So your influences come from the 80's, or late 80's and 90's. You were talking about bands like slayer or Death, so your influences are from thrash metal, the old thrash metal.

In a way yes, when it comes to the playing, when it comes to the heavi­ness we all agree with bands like Morbid Angel or At The Gates. We all like Death and The Haunted, Defleshed, The Crown. We like those bands, I think it's a combination of those bands. But it sounds stupid to say, because everybody wants to say, but I think that after four albums you listen to your own albums and try to do what you do, want to take one step next a little bit better than before, so we influence ourselves by our own music, but those are our favorite bands.

You come from Ger­many, how is death metal scene in Germany? Most known bands come from the north of Europe...

Yeah, Scandinavian bands always have it a little bit easier in some way, in Germany you are not... You are like the local hero, so people always like foreign bands more, like it was in the 80's, if you came from America you were always cooler than if you are from Central Europe. The scene has been progressing very well, we have a very strong new commerce in Germany. We had good bands in the 90's, Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Assassin, Holy Moses, really good bands that got some international success in extreme metal, after that came a very long silence so bands of the new generation like Dew-Scented, Nightingales, Disbelief, Agathodaimon and a couple of others they had to work double as hard to get the recognition. Ten years ago we had to make our way, eventually we have managed to succeed and established a bit of name. We cannot complain, we have a lot of shows, we have a lot of friends in the other bands. The good thing in the German scene is that every band is different from each other, there's nothing like 'German death metal sound', it doesn't exist. All the bands are very different, so I think in the long run it's more interesting that having all the bands sounding the same, because then after three year the whole scene dies.

You come here with Cannibal Corpse. How is the relationship between you and them?

It's very good, we're very easy people. We get along with everybody, we toured a lot in last year doing about fifty shows. This year we were on tour with No Return in France, with Vader in England, we did a lot of festivals and now we're doing this Cannibal Corpse tour. And we know one for one, so we won't give anybody shit and the guys in Cannibal Corpse are treating us very well. The package is pretty cool to me, Severe Torture and Viu Drakh are also cool bands. A lot of people are coming to the shows and we get to see a lot of new places. We have never been to Spain. We were supposed to have our first tour in Spain in 1996, but it never happened so we're happy that finally we're here.

How do you feel the audience here in Spain?

I hope they're gonna be violent and aggressive and I hope they'll like what we do, because we're gonna play between two extreme metal bands. Severe Torture and Cannibal Corpse are known, total brutality, very heavy, very growly... We are not. We're a little more delicate, a little more riffy... It's a big difference between us and the other bands, but I hope they will like it, if they don't like it there's no problem. We are enjoying playing to the show, for us is like a dream being touring Europe to present our music and I hope this show will help to make a first impression for the band in Spain and then we would be able to come back some other day doing our own shows. Maybe it's a good night for thrash, we'll see.

Thrash metal has a good scene here...

Yes, it's something I know. I know a band called Anesthesia from the Basque Country and we were supposed to do shows with them in '96, but they never were done. Ever since it has been like "oh, we need to go to Spain some day soon." Let's see how it goes.

Did you like what you've seen?

So far we are here for one afternoon, but Barcelona is a beautiful city. We had a nice day. We have four show in Spain and then we go to Portugal, so I hope this will be a nice week.

Is it hard to be on tour?

No, not really. You have to be very polite and very self-confident. You have to be full of respect for other people, because you're living with 16 other people in a very small space in the bus, but it's like sweating, you get used to it. You have to change, but you get used to it in a couple of days.

Your plans now are promoting your new album, but what next?

We're actually promoting the album for six months with a lot of shows and a lot of interviews, but we're already working on the next one. We want to record it around April on next year. This tour goes until the end of October, after that we have another handful of shows in Germany on our own and then we wanna enter for six month in studio to record the new album which hopefully will be released next summer and then we'll do some more festivals. We just went to the U.S.A. for the fist time in July and we would like to come back to America to tour next year. We have a lot of things we want to achieve with the new album, but at the moment we have to make sure the new songs are really good so that we can make the next step from Inwards.

You're talking about you will have a 5th album next summer, when will you release a live album?

Never. Maybe bootlegs from people that are floating around some day, but I don't think we like to have an offi­cial live album. You know, Destruction, Exodus, slayer are good examples of good thrash metal live albums, but I don't see a need for a Dew-Scented live album, because we don't have the strong following at the moment or yet that really needs this to come out. Maybe some day, but I think that at the moment we better concentrate in recording good studio albums with good new songs and not repeating the old ones. Well, if it happens... Normally it's very expensive, because you have to use a lot of technical stuff. If it happens we'll do it, but I don't think so, our music works live, because is very intensive, it's very aggressive. It's more something like to watch for a hour in a show and not to listen to at home. I prefer to listen to studio albums at home and then go to see the bands live.

You were living in Colombia, so you know how the South American audience can be. When you have seen the Spanish audience, compared with the South American audience, which differences can you see?

The Spanish audience I've not see yet, because it's our first show, but they're different from country to country. The French is very, very aggressive also. I think a good show is a good show, it can be in a different country. I really depends on the night, on the bands and on the people coming to the show. Sometimes it's just boring for the band and for the people, sometimes it's very cool, because it's full moon, because the people is very drunk... I don't know. I hate to say something general, but I think that in places like Spain, France, places like South America or Italy, people just have more energy in their blood. It's the same with the girls! They just have more energy! In Germany and The Netherlands the people is just spoiled, because they get a lot of tours. They have like every night three different shows, "jeez, again another show, how boring!" We come to Spain and hopefully somebody likes our record and then comes to the show and then goes crazy.

Another topic, on your website you have a MP3 file from one of your new songs. What do you think about all the MP3 stuff?

It's a difficult topic. It has a lot of pros and a lot of contras. I think for promotion it is the best thing that could have happened, the whole internet, the whole free download... It's great to get exposure and promotion for a band, to have people be able to check out bands for free, see if they like it or not, but I that should be it. To support the music, to support to the musicians you should still go out and buy the album or get a copy from a friend or whatever, but the internet is not gonna be anything that would make us happy as music listeners, because it is very dead in a way. For myself I could not imagine to sit in front of my computer and listen to my favorite album, I want to put it on my player and turn up the volume on the big speakers. I really need that, because music was really meant to be on a stereo and not on a disc in the computer. So I think for promotion is good, but more than that... Every good a idea has a lot of sucking followers.

Can you tell me something about tonight's set list?

It's gonna be 90% of our new album Inwards. I think we're gonna play 45 minutes today which means seven songs from Inwards, two songs from Ill-Nature and hopefully, if the audience wants, we would like to do a cover version. If the audience is good!

Thank you very much Leif, it's been a pleasure being here with you.

Thank you very much for the interest in the band and your support. Dew-Scented is looking forward to make a way in Spain, to make some new friends here and hopefully come back soon with more shows. I hope you will have the chance to check out the new album Inwards and also the next one which will be out sometime next summer.

After this we started some chit-chat and went walking together to the venue as he had to change clothes to jump on stage and I had to make a review for the four playing bands.

Xavi San Antonio (guest writer)


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