Although not a lot will be familiar with The Eliminati, the story behind the Death/Thrash band already started back in 1996. That year was the birth of grindcore band Magnetron (Microwave in Dutch) and was all about the fun and idiocy. Tracks had duration of 1 second and if you’re lucky…54 seconds. After some line-up changes and a couple demos all ended in 1998. The thing which made them famous was the fact that Magnetron was the very first band Vampire Magazine interviewed for Issue # 1, ha! 2007: Magnetron reformed by original members Isaak, Dennis and Johan, but this with a faster-than-fast Thrash ambition in the vein of Dead Head, Hypnosia and Nuclear Assault. After a self-released full-length called “A Measured Timeframe”, drummer Johan left and new drummer Wouter arrived. It was also the start of evolving from a “fun-Bermuda shorts”-Thrash band to a more serious and…and they might kick my ass for this… matured Death/Thrash combo. Unfortuntately they have split-up recently. (Ricardo)
Can I use “matured” in this case? Although you’re still the same guys, with same sense of humour on and off-stage, the presentation of the band (as well as visual as music) has evolved and you seem to have a more serious attitude.
Stijn: I wouldn’t call it ‘matured’, but more of a shift in synergy within the band. With Jox leaving and Wouter entering, we kinda lost the frantic, grindy edge and took on a more structured, melodic approach. At the same time, the music started to include different influences, more melody and more brutality at the same time. But I don’t think this is because we matured, but more a matter of not wanting to repeat the same thing over and over again.
Isaak: Maturity is in the eye of the beholder. But we have aged for sure. For me personally, I just have to. All these new songs we have, there’s nothing ‘funny’ about the music nor the lyrics. I want the total Eliminati concept to be more cohesive
Dennis: Matured, matured… hey, we’re not THAT old! 😉 Okay, the age has a little part in it, but mainly the feeling of the band and the music has changed that much that it just didn’t feel like Magnetron anymore.
Back to The Eliminati, it seems to be a mix of “to eliminate” and “The Illuminati”. The logo has a cross-hair, the use of the Japanse “Rising Sun”, the combat outfits on stage…Can you tell us more about the meaning of the moniker for the band itself, and why it reflects the music you play at the moment? Having explained this all, let’s look at the bigger picture. Why changing the moniker and the presentation / attitude of the band? If I’m not mistaken, you have chosen to remove the Magnetron tracks off the setlist. You see The Eliminati as a new, fresh start and it cannot relate with the old Magnetron tracks?
Dennis: The name is exactly that. It was an idea that came to my mind in the train, back from work. It’s a combination of the military we all like, with a mysterious touch if you like. Considering the Magnetron songs, more and more Eliminati songs are added to our setlist. As long as the old tracks fit in and we still like to play them, these Magnetron tracks will be part of it.
Stijn: We do still play some Magnetron tracks, Born Witless, Right to Dislike, Compulsory Communication, for example. For me personally, The Eliminati is not a replacement for Magnetron, but more of natural evolution. The name is an interpretation of our common fascination for dictatorships, conspiracy theories, the atrocities of warfare and the craving for ultimate power (without trying to reach any of these things ourselves, mind you). For us, this combines very well with the more structured, more militant character of the music and the combat outfits.
The Eliminati; you still hear the thrash roots in the new songs. So the fast Dead Head riffs and Hypnosia controlled chaos is still present, yet it is blended with Death Metal, the kind before 1993. In your own words, which Death Metal acts or albums influenced The Eliminiati?
Stijn: I don’t really think of it that way. Ofcourse music is written from a certain point of view, influenced by what one has heard through the years, but never with a specific band or album in mind.
Isaak: Not just specific albums. More an era. When I write for TheEliminati, I’m in a certain state of mind. I try to feel about metal as I did in ’89, ’90 and ‘91. Now what were the aspects about it that really did it for me. Death metal was still pioneering. Only a handful of studios knew how to even produce such music, which led to all those marvellous and differently sounding albums. I mean, you could often hear where a band came from based on the production and riffs. Back then, death metal rules weren’t cast in stone, it still was free. They just did whatever they felt like. So I shan’t name all my fave death metal albums from those days but I can tell you which ones have had an (in)direct effect on the songwriting (sofar); Necroticism Descanting The Insalubrious, Mindloss, Been Caught Buttering, Expositionsprophylaxe, Consuming Impulse, the Eternal Fall, Mental Funeral, Master, Spiritual Healing, War Master. And many more old demos from bands that hadn’t even released an album yet like Necrophobic, Acrostichon, Vader and the swedish Desultory. But as you said yourself, there’s so much more to our music that just those rancid death metal influences shoved into a thrash metal smoothy.
Summarized in my review I described The Eliminati as “furious Thrash, melodic hooks, good leads and solos, gang-shouts and raspy vocals Martin van Drunen-alike vokills, variation in speed, Old School Death Metal influences, Maidenesque “Flash of the Blade” tremolo picking”. Summarizing the summary: The Eliminati is diverse. Tell us how does a The Eliminati song exist? And why and how you make certain decisions within a song. Like why there aren’t any Van Drunen-like vocals in the opening track, why you choose something unexpected like the Maidenesque “Flash of the Blade” tremolo picking? Let me pick your musical brain…
Isaak: Making metal songs i.m.o. isn’t Tetris, just putting together blocks of riffs and ideas. If you actually can pull that off and become rich, I applaud you as a businessman but not as an artist. When I sit down there are two ways I can start. Either I come up with lyrics and rhythmical vocal lines and start writing music to it or the other way around. The second procedure, to me, is much more time consuming and difficult. I need to have a broad concept in my mind what story I want to tell with that specific song. As far as using different vocals, it’s all a matter of what I think with suit the song and lyrics. And I do not want to use the same trick for every song. Sometimes a song doesn’t need my raspy thrash vocals or it doesn’t need grunts. The opening tune was so varied in it’s riffs, in order to survive as a cohesive song it needed simplicity toward the vocal approach. Most important is how I feel about a song. That’s why I rarely bring loose riffs to a rehearsal but pretty much finished songs. After we start rehearsing, a song will get its own identity because of the specific group of people performing it. There will always be slight modifications here and there to improve the song and/or performance value. When performing, it comes to life, it becomes a lively beast, breathing, growling, thrashing around. If I listen back now to ‘Blender Bitch’ and spot all the inspiration that has gone into it yet it still works as a song on its own and is a pleasure to perform, I can say it’s my favorite Eliminati song to this day.
You guys are well read, having books in all kind of genres be it history or fictional. What are the lyrics about? And how important are they for The Eliminati?
Isaak: I have this thing for violence in any form, be it physical, psychological or emotional. The darkest aspects of human behaviour. I even see being born into a democracy as a form of subliminal social violence, being forced into a serviceable existence by the majority. (Almost )anyone can act civilised and nice under comforting circumstances but in the end the majority of mankind consists of dangerously egoistic and territorial omnivores. If I think what the deepest feeling is that I have behind all my lyrics, it’s the endangerment of my own wellbeing by others.
Tell us more about the EP cover, it has something to do with the UFO crash at Roswell, if my information is right?
Stijn: Nope. It’s our own interpretation of a picture from 1942 of the Great Los Angeles Air Raid. During this air raid, an unknown object was caught in searchlights and anti-aircraft artillery was fired. Up until now, no one is sure what it was. The US airforce attributes it to a weather balloon, but ofcourse there are many conspiracy theories about it, and some UFOlogists see it as evidence for extraterrestrial visitation. Suits the Eliminati concept perfectly.
Dennis: One of the reasons… well, maybe the main reason… was the feeling this image gives you as a spectator. It gives you an eerie, uncomfortable feeling. There is something up there, coming from the dark, and you don’t know it’s intentions. Heck, you don’t even know WHAT it is! But it’s coming…At first we wanted to use the original 1942 photo, but the resolution was way too low. If we ever want to print CD’s or release it on vinyl the quality would be so poor, it would be useless. So I re-created it. The mountain ridge you see really are the Los Angeles Mountains, the spot where this all happened 73 years ago.
In my humble opinion, your material is of such high quality, it should have much more exposure. You are offering the new EP for free, yet I don’t see a lot of reviews of it. Even not in the (web)zines in our own country. What is going wrong? Am I having shit in my ears or are chief-editors/reviewers not interested to go after music themselves, downloading it themselves? You’re getting a fuckin’ great EP for free, shitforbrains!
Stijn: Guess we’re a bit lazy with this. We’re not really actively promoting it. I mean, we’ve announced it on the usual social media, but we’re not grabbing editors or promoters by the balls and shove our EP down their throats. Maybe it’s the romantical idea that ‘good music sells itself’.
Dennis: The EP is available on Youtube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Spotify. As are millions of other albums. And we promoted it on Facebook and Twitter. Just as millions of other bands do. So even if we made it to the webzines, it’s a struggle against millions of other bands. Social Media is a blessing and curse at the same time. It’s very easy accessible, for both bands and fans. There are so many bands nowadays, you can make it a fulltime job to stay in the picture.
How great is it, just when the EP is released, there is already a guitar cover of “Sandstorm” on Youtube, played by a fan. I can imagine it was a moment of proudness when you saw it at first.
Stijn: I thought it was funny, we know the guy and we know he likes our music. But seeing some one else covering your stuff… yeah, worse things could happen.
Dennis: That was very funny indeed. I invited him to play it live with us, if he dares, mwuhahaha.
What is the goal for The Eliminati? World Domination, or getting noticed and playing a gig is good enough? A nice tour through Europe maybe? What kind of package would suit you well?
Stijn: Me personally, I want to play live as much as possible. Ofcourse, with having families, other bands and regular jobs, it’s hard to squeeze in gigs. On top of that, I do think we lost some momentum with the change of monicker. I have never regretted the change, but a new nom de guerre basically meant starting from scratch all over again. And you also see that the great retro thrash wave has blown over. I don’t see us as a retro thrash band, but people love to simplify things and we’re often thrown on that huge pile. It’s up to us to prove them wrong and show the world we are still alive and kicking.
Dennis: For me, certainly playing gigs on a regular basis. But we sure have to get noticed so we don’t play just for the bartender and an occasional enthusiast pooltable.
If my information is correct, you were planning to release a 7” when you were still Magnetron. Are there plans to release a 7” (be it a split or not) with The Eliminati? Or something else on vinyl, as you are all big vinyl lovers….ah fuck it, what will bring the musical future? Have you written any new songs as well?
Stijn: New songs are coming up constantly. We have no definite plans to release anything on vinyl at the moment. Maybe we will in the future, but if we do it, it will be a very limited release.
Isaak: The split EP was planned under our old name and we actually made recordings of 4 songs with the former line-up. Those plans were shelved and the recordings remain unreleased. Two of those songs were re-recorded with our current line-up btw. If ever another bands want to release a split EP with us, they’re free to contact us if they feel us and them are a good match. We got new material already so we’re up for it
Thanks to you all for introducing The Eliminati to our readers. I hope the downloads will rise sky high after they have read this. Good luck guys and last words are for you…
Stijn: Slut. Whore. Cunt. Cheers my friend, thanks for the exposure AND WHEN THE FUCK ARE WE GOING TO GET SHIT FACED DRUNK AGAIN??
Isaak: Fegelein, Fegelein, Fegelein
Dennis: Thank you readers for your interest. NOW GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASSES AND DOWNLOAD OUR EP, DO YOU HEAR ME! xoxo