Over the last few months Ice Vajal has reviewed a number of albums and demos that have come from a thriving thrash scene in Slovenia. Keller impressed with their demo, Awake the Forgotten, and as they have a new album in the works we decided to ask them some questions. Drummer Matjas Winkler was kind enough to answer them.
So, for the benefit of those that don't know Keller, could you tell us briefly how you came to form the band? Did you realize what 'Keller' meant when you chose it?
Me and Etien formed the band cause we wanted to play something more aggressive than our previous heavy / thrash band, which broke up. We did a couple of songs, which we thought were pretty cool, found the right people and started doing shows in early 2008. We chose the name Keller, because no one could come up with something catchy ... We found this name in the house where we practice, we used to go pissing in front of the basement door and above it was this sign 'Keller', meaning basement in German.
How is work going on the new album, Spreading Evil? It seems you've had a lot of difficulties in the recording process.
The album was supposed to be released in October 2009, but we had some serious problems with studios and of course ... with money. Everything's recorded now though, we still need to do the mixing and the mastering, cover art, booklets and stuff, so we’re hoping that the debut will see the light of the day sometime till summer.
There were some great songs on the Awake The Forgotten demo, Death Command being one of my favorites. Will you be re-recording these songs at any point?
Yes, every song from Awake The Forgotten was re-recorded and will be on Spreading Evil, the only exception is the intro to Holy Slaughter, which we thought sucked pretty bad so we deleted it.
The demo is about two years old now. What has changed for Keller in this time?
Two most important things that changed things quite a lot were definitively signing with NHR Records and finding a manager (Vlad Nowajczyk). We also changed two guitarists and the bass player since the demo ... but the original bassist (Vasja) did play on the debut, but he's not in the band anymore, due to his personal reasons.
Is it a band effort to write the songs or are their one or two main song writers? Do you think you have improved as musicians and songwriters since the demo was released?
I write most of the songs, a couple of songs were also written by Martin, the singer. The lyrics are nothing special, most of them are about war and death, drug problems and stuff... We focus on music more, I think we improved as musicians quite a bit, but as songwriters ... I think not, we always write lyrics after the song is made, just so Martin can sing something, haha.
Who and what are your biggest influences, lyrically and musically?
Musically a lot of European thrash bands like Kreator, Sodom, especially Coroner and so on ... lyrically it has to be no other than Chuck Shuldiner, but I think we're never going to be on the same level lyrically. Well, maybe in a couple of years, but he really was a true mastermind.
How did the recent show at Wintercamp go?
It was a cool gig, there was not a lot of people there, maybe 300, cause this festival happened for the first time and was the first winter festival that we ever took part in ... Looks like skiing and drunken metalheads just don't work well together, haha.
What are your favorite memories from playing live? Which band(s) would you most like to play live with?
Definitively Metalcamp 2009, that was our first show on a big stage, so that was pretty memorable. The two shows worthy of exposure were also with Artillery in Ljubljana and with Gama Bomb in Lucinico, Italy. We definitively want to play (or better, have a tour) with one of these new upcoming thrash bands like Warbringer, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire or Gama Bomb ... hopefully our dreams will come true.
How do you guys like to unwind after a show? Beer and groupies? ;)
We consume a lot of weed, before the show and after the show haha, beer is a must, and the groupies... Well, our minds are too dirty, so the groupies like glamers better, haha.
Slovenia isn't really the first place most people would think of when they think of thrash metal, but it appears that it is thriving there at the moment. What is the metal scene like in Slovenia? Any other Slovenian bands you'd recommend?
Yeah, metal scene is really alive here in Slovenia, especially thrash, black and gothic. A lot of new bands are coming out, some of them are actually really good. In my personal opinion, the bands that are worth mentioning are Thraw, Eruption, Negligence, Shutdown, Betrayal, Somrak, Panikk, and so on...
Thanks very much for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck with the new album!