Who are you and what do you do in your band?
My name is Sascha Beselt, I am the co-founder of MANDATORY (GER), lead guitarist and songwriter as well as lyricist. I run my recording studio by the name of SHOW NO MERCY STUDIO and a record label. I have founded other bands like CRIMSON DOME, DARKDAY, INFACTDEAD, FLUCH, DISPUTOR and INVICTION. Debut albums coming up this year. I also write and record music in other genres like classical Avantgarde, New Age, instrumental Rock or Blues.
When/where was your band formed?
2001 in a putrid rehearsal room somewhere near Euskirchen, Germany.
Why did you choose to play Death Metal?
Because we were chosen by the hands of death. Seriously: I wanted the fattest riffs - so it had to be Death Metal.
How do you compose your music? Does only one guy do everything or does everyone contribute?
In MANDATORY we collect our best riffs and fit them together. Sometimes we will throw in some nice melodies or twin-leads. As for my other bands I am the only songwriter there. They are my babies. The only way to be 100% satisfied with the stuff I release.
Tell us about your lyrics, writing, inspiration etc.
As for MANDATORY: No goats, reversed crosses or 666's - just pure Death Metal. No Black Metal-lyrics but also not white. We always get our inspiration from death, decay, murder, war, occult rituals, surreal empires and religion. Songs like "Where They Bleed", "Into Eternal Sleep", "A Hallowed Sacrifice" or "Nevermore" coming to mind. A few lyrics also deal with belief and the question if it helps us or not such as "Obscure Mortification". Most important to us is the connecting and sound of words. If it spreads the atmosphere of death, it's right!
Concerning my other bands it's more or less the same with the exception of macabre horror lyrics in INFACTDEAD and sociopolitical lyrics in DISPUTOR.
Is there an ideology behind your band?
No ideology! Just DEATH METAL till death!! Music about the morbid depths of the human mind and kind.
Even if a few lyrics of mine deal with christianity, they are always just inspired by the bible and it's violent stories, never preaching. Maybe asking questions or just describing agony and pain. They have no conncetion to what people might understand as "White Metal".
How do you see the state of Death Metal music these days in your country and in general?
Oh man! A very difficult question that I get asked everytime I do an interview. Well, first off I think people in the worldwide scene are getting something completely wrong at the moment: They still think that Death Metal is underground music. It is not. We had MySpace, we have Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud. Labels, even the so-called "true" and "credible" ones, promote their new releases with "...in the vein of" or "for fans of classic...". Now fill in every name you can think of.. "Asphyx"... "Grave"... "Unleashed"... "Massacre"... "Master" - WHATSOEVER! And what does the consumer out there do? He immediately thinks he absolutely NEEDS (!) this new release. And while I personally have the highest respect for EVERY band that manages to get a record deal for self-composed and -recorded music, I think the scene needs to realize that it is subject to the rules of consume just like Hip Hop or Metalcore, too. It has become some kind of mainstream to listen to evil music. And another thing is: Maniacs need to stay objective and don't take themselves too serios or "superior" to let's say Hip Hop- or Metalcore-fans. Everytime I read a post against other music genres - sorry man -, I would like to vomit. In moments like these Metalheads downgrade themselves in my eyes. I find this absolutely embarrassing. So bottom line: Listen to whatever you like, guys, but be tolerant and don't think you are superior to others. You don't need to like other music but just let other people listen to what THEY like. The Third Reich is history.
Another thing that gets on my nerves is that most people seem to miss ears. Because IF they had some, they would hear that most of their beloved new "old school bands"-bands lack great hooklines or riffs that make a song stand out just like the old classics by Unleashed, Grave, Asphyx, Benediction or Massacre. "Defeat Remains", "Violation Domain", "The Krusher", Unfit Earth"... Do I need to name more?!
The thing is: Productions currently all sound the same "thanks" to most bands and even extremely well-known producers (not naming anyone) mixing "in the box" (meaning without analog hardware) and even getting their guitar sounds in the box (GUITAR RIG and Co.), so without mic'ing physical amps. Productions of this kind all sound more or less similar: FAT and LOUD.. but too often also dull. I remember a lot of "comeback"-albums from the last 3, 4 years that left me with a big question mark in my head. Just loudness for the sake of fucking loudness. But when you think back to the 80s or 90s, you remember different scenes from different countries having different sonic strurtures, sounds. This was due to local studios being booked by local bands and labels using locally-available equipment. You can be sure that German studios in 1992 had not the same stuff to work with like Russian or Polish studios. Take the Greek scene for example with bands like early Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh.They had a way more organic, I would like to say "open" sound than Death Metal acts produced at Morrisound for example. At Morrisound everything sounded the same. The same snare, the same guitars. Everything compressed to death. Now take those aforementioned bands from Greece or maybe bands from France, Israel, Poland or the Czech Republic around the same time. I would like to throw in names like Misanthrope, Krabathor, early Vader, early Orphaned Land and Salem - all during the early-to-mid 90s. Great bands with unique productions making it a REAL discovery to go through the shelves of record stores just to discover a new jewel from the true underground. All these bands plus British Doom-Death Metal (Anathema, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride) or progressive Death Metal-acts like Tiamat and Edge of Sanity made for a highly interesting scene. You know, I hear people complaining about production aesthetics of album X or Y. "And Justice For All" is such a well-discussed release. Man, I am SO thankful for the way it sounds!! This has to be my favorite Metallica-album among the first five. It sounds different, it sounds unique. It always made me want to dive into it. So much for my view on the Death Metal-scene of the 90s. And now 20 years later, here we are in a scene with a standardized production-level- and -ways resulting in missing sonic individuality. Maybe most people don't even realize it and are happy with what they hear and think "What is this guy talking about!?" reading these lines. But the thing is: It is MY opinion I get asked for.
Personally this whole development lead to myself ignoring most new bands. Or let's put it different, vice versa: At some point like 10, 11 years ago I found myself not buying new albums. I KNOW that there are great bands out there but I just don't feel the will to listen through five dozens of new 2015-releases that more or less all sound very similar to each other and out of which 80% are recorded using a HM-2-"Heavy Metal"-BOSS-pedal. In fact the only band I discovered myself on Youtube in the last year and that made me get highly interested in it, was a Black/Thrash-band from Bosnia with a do-it-yourself-production. It felt cheap but "pure". But don't think I would never get myself some new stuff for my collection. It's just that I still have to collect so much releases from the old days. I got myself the Utumno-release last year for example. KILLER stuff man! Also there is so much other music besides Metal that I also try to explore from time to time. So, yeah.. I wish all new, young bands out there the best, really. But I am not the guy faking interest in "scene". IF I will hear some great new stuff one day, you can be sure that this guy here will put his hardearned money into it - and I mean PHYSICAL media, no downloads! Music is my life: From my profession as a musicologist (M.A.) and teacher to being a producer, songwriter and Metal maniac.
What are your long term plans as a band? What do you want to achieve?
Well, to stay realistic: Writing music that satisfies MYSELF.
If it also satisfies other people - GREAT!! If not: It's ok, but then I have at least not made any compromise. Being yourself -> the only thing that counts.
Name an other Death Metal band from your country that everyone should hear.
Trust your ears - not "attitude" or "scene"!!
Thanks to all reading so far and fight for the Metal of death!!