Ex Asphyx guitarist Eric Daniels is back with a new band and he has
teamed up with his old Asphyx bandmates Martin Van Drunen and Bob
Bagchus along with the newest Asphyx member Alwin Zuur and also Hail
Of Bullets bassist Theo Van Eekelen - to create some "brutal real
doom death metal". Watch out for the debut album later this year on
Century Media. Eric answered my questions and made this one of the most enjoyable interview I have worked on to date, he is clearly a very passionate, down to earth and humble guy and a pleasure to interview.
You have been involved in the extreme music scene for many years now, but at what age did you first become interested in heavy music and when did you first start learning to play an instrument, was guitar always your first choice of instrument that you wanted to play? What musicians inspired you to pick up a guitar and start learning how to play it, are you self taught or did you go for lessons?
At what age did you decide to yourself that you wanted to be part of a band yourself? Were you involved with any bands at school or before you got involved with Asphyx?
Well, I did not planned to be ready for playing in a band. Of course it was the idea to be part of a band, but in the beginning I just wanted to handle the guitar and play the chords right. After a while I was 16 years old I played with friends in a couple of bands in the area I lived. It was not always serious, but it was nice to experience how it felt to be part of a band. Try to play tight and with 2 guitar-players . I also did some auditions at other bands in those days, but they didn’t find me good enough or the style of my playing didn’t like them, well that were dissapointments to deal with, but I always trusted and new I would find the band in which I fit in fine. I did in 1989 when I joined Bob and Tonny in ASPHYX. I lived in the south of The Netherlands and drove every weekend about 450 km to rehearse with ASPHYX in the east side. I didn’t care about the distance, it all matters to me to play in a band which felt good. Just before we recorded the “Crush The Cenotaph” demo in 1989 I was moving and start a life in the east of The Netherlands. Bob and I spended all our time together, we were close friends and still are. We shaped and give a face to ASPHYX, and I am still proud on this day to have been part of it.
Please tell us about the initial formation of Asphyx, who formed the band, was it just a case of a few friends with the same music tastes getting together and starting to play covers or did you set about writing your own material straight away? Did you have a clear vision of how you wanted Asphyx to sound even before you recorded the debut demo? What bands/influences shaped and fuelled the sound of Asphyx in the beginning?
Please tell us about the local surroundings were you grew up and where the band was formed, was there much of a metal scene back then, any other bands who were thinking along the same lines as yourselves/ Was it hard to find places to rehearse and record back then in the early days before you got the record deal?.
As I mentioned before I was born and raised in the south of The Netherlands. At age of 23 I moved to the east cause of ASPHYX. It was getting serious, and I didn’t want to spent time to travel so much. It was more easy and comfortable to live in the same area as the other guys. There was not a big death metal scene at that time. It was the period of 89-90 when Death Metal became known. ASPHYX was part of that very beginning. Only some thrash-metal bands were active cause that was the hype and trend but it was slowly fading away and Death Metal became more popular. I remember the first shows we did. People couldn’t give the vocal-style a place, looking awkward but liked the music more and more. It was just a matter of time when it became more popular. So sure we didn’t have any other bands who played the same as we did in the area. For us it was not diffucult to find a rehearsal-room. We always rehearsed at Harrow-productions which had 2 rehearsal-rooms. Harry also started to record overthere and begin his studio. Funny thing to mention was, if he was recording a band, we couldn’t rehearse cause we played so fuckin loud it was hearable at his recordings! Harry was a big important help at the beginning of ASPHYX, and he still is helping. It was natural to record at his place cause we know each other very well, and he knew how we like to record. He was becoming a sort of friend besides us. I still have good memories at those early days, and I have to get him personal credit cause he was the first engineer who handled my brutal saw-sound and managed to get it on tape.
A few demos were recorded before the band got a deal with Century Media, what was the feeling like when CM first got in touch and wanted to sign you? Were they the first serious label that took an interest in signing the band? As everyone knows, you were involved in playing on the first 4 Asphyx albums, out of all of those albums which albums are your fave and for what reasons? What particular songs that you wrote back then stand out to you? You wrote so many classic death metal hymns in my opinion but I guess you have your personal faves!?
You did some touring back in those early days with the likes of Entombed, what are some fond memories of being out on the road? Any particular shows that stick in your memory from early days/tours?
What was the secret behind THAT guitar sound of yours which became so easily identifiable with the classic Asphyx sound?!
You left the band in the mid 1990's, but it wasn't long before you came back onto the scene with Soulburn who played a very raw style of evil doom/death and unleashed the album "Feeding On Angels" upon an unsuspecting metal scene, please the tell the readers about this band and album, how did that band initially come to life and what are your thoughts on that looking back now? Why did the band only release one album then disappear?.
That album came out in a time when old school raw death metal was not considered "cool" or "trendy" to listen to and most of the bigger labels were signing other types of music and following the musical trends of that time, but Asphyx and your bandmates in Soulburn were following your own musical paths and directions without any care of what was being hyped, was it frustrating to see these trends coming and going within the music scene and true old school style death metal getting ignored in comparison?
The old school style of death metal seems to have became more popular again in recent years compared to how popular it was back in the late 1990's/early 00's, what are your thoughts on the current death metal scene, have you heard any newer bands that have came out that you feel are following in the old school tradition the right way and which stand out to your ears which you would like to recommend/mention?. Asphyx are often cited by newer death metal bands as an influence, I guess that must make you very proud! How do you feel when you read someone mentioning your musical work as a big inspiration/influence?
What has kept a veteran such as youself so passionate about death metal music after so many years and still having that urge and fire to create and write your own music? What advice would you give you younger musicians who are jut starting out in bands/recording their first demos/material?
from the early 2000's onwards you kind of went off the "death metal radar" what were you doing in the quiet years, were you still playing guitar a lot at home? Or were you focusing on other things in your life instead of music?
When Asphyx reformed, why did you not join in with the rest your old bandmates? Have you ever thought to yourself since "hmmm..I actually wish I had of joined the reformation now!"? Or have you been happy to just stay on the "sidelines". I must say I think Paul has done a GREAT job in replacing you and emulating your way of playing and the classic Asphyx guitar sound. I know you have travelled with the band to various festivals, and even got onstage with them on played some old songs with them, how does that feel getting back onstage with the band again after so many years? Have you contributed any musical ideas or riffs to the new Asphyx material or do you just maybes give some "advice" and words of (ancient) wisdom?!.
When some bands reform they can do a severe injustice to their past musical legacy but I think the Asphyx reformation is a good example of how to reform a band and do it the right way and record new material with integrity! The newer material I think does justice to the classic early- mid 90's material and they stand shoulder to shoulder perfectly with each other. What do you think is the key behind the success of the Ashpyx reformation? What is your personal opinion on the newer material when comparing it to say "The Rack" or "Last One On Earth" for example?
You have decided to become more active again in recent times with a new band called GRAND SUPREME BLOODCOURT which also features some Asphyx members, when did the initial idea for this band come about? How did you go about deciding who you wanted to be involved? I know you have been busy working on your debut album for Century Media, please tell the readers what they can expect from this new band and the first album? I guess with having so many members of Asphyx involved people will automatically draw comparisons between both bands, will that bother you? What do you think sets GSB apart from Asphyx?
How many songs have you written for this album? Do you have an album title yet? Release date? What made you decide to sign with CM for this band? Were they the first label who took an interest?
Please tell us about the origins of the band name? what was your inspiration for naming the band that?
Do you plan to play /tour in support of the debut album, any shows already confirmed or in the pipeline?
When will people be able to hear some tasters of the music? You describe the music as being "Real Doom/Death Metal". what are some of the influences that fuel and shape this new band of yours? What made you decide to get active again and form a new band? Had it been in boiling in your brain for a little while? What do you hope to achieve with this new band? Can we expect it to be a longer lasting project than Soulburn was?
Lyrically what will the inspiration be for Grand Supreme Bloodcourt?
What is the writing process musically like? Have you been writing all the material at home? Please tell us about the recording process for the album, where has it been recorded? Is the album nearly finished, when can you expect it all to be finished and mixed and ultimately released?
Will that Soulburn album ever be getting a re-release? I think there would be a lot of demand for it thesedays!
What are the most proudest and special moments and achievements you have accomplished as a death metal musician? Are there any goals you still want to achieve? Any places in the world that you haven't played yet that you would like to play live with Grand Supreme Bloodcourt?
If I gave you the choice of only using 5 words in which to describe GSB how would you use those five words?!
When you compare the modern scene to the old scene what things do you miss about the old days? Are there any aspects of the modern metal scene that you particularly dislike?
What is your opinion on the current dutch death metal scene when comparing it to the early-mid 90s, do you take much notice of the newer old school style death metal bands from your country such as Entrapment etc..?
If you could tour with ANY bands with GSB then who would you love to hit the road with? What would be your perfect gig line up?! What have been some memorable bills you have played on in the past?
To you what should real doom death sound like? I guess aswell as being a fan of the old death metal classics you also listen to Doom bands such as Candlemass etc? What kind of sound and feelings should real doom/death evoke?
Ok Eric it has been a pleasure to interview you, please tell us the plans for 2012, and how people can get more info on the band, check out music/websites etc?? the last words are yours! thankyou for your time!.
There is no links to any Grand Supreme Blood Court music yet so here is a couple of videos from Eric's old bands:-