*When did you really get involved into music in general and into metal specific? Who was responsible for your interest in (metal) music?
-Debora (vocals): I started to listen to alternative music around the age of 10. The first band I started listening to (although not exactly metal) was Green Day. From then my taste in music grew more extreme as I grew older and started by listening to the classics such as Metallica, Pantera, Nirvana etc. One of the best memories of my teenage years was rocking Pantera’s Fucking Hostile on my phone in the middle of my town’s square with my friends.
-Marc (drums): I started in the early 90s with bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica, and then discovered more and more bands like Paradise Lost, Carcass, Napalm Death, At The Gates etc. There were some cool album releases around that time that were a big influence and inspiration too, such as Chaos AD (Sepultura), Burn My Eyes (Machine Head), Demanufacture (Fear Factory) and Vulgar Display of Power (Pantera).
*Which artists or bands did influence you the most?
-Debora: For the last few years one of my absolute favourite bands has become Behemoth which I believe highly influenced my vocal style. I am also a huge fan of At The Gates, Bloodbath, Whitechapel, Fear Factory, Sepultura, Machine Head and more. I believe they all exert a music influence on me.
-Marc: I take influence and inspiration from different types of metal and types of music generally, but the biggest influence in terms of metal bands and drumming in particular I’d say Paradise Lost, early Slayer, 90s Sepultura, 90s Machine Head, early Metallica, Carcass, and more recently bands like Vallenfyre and Strigoi.
*Which instrument do you play and how and when did you learn to play? Did you have lessons in school or private lessons? If so, was that because your parents expected that from you? Or did you learn to play the instruments by yourself? Do you still follow some lessons?
-Debora: I only started taking vocal lessons at the age of 21 (5 years ago). Initially I started by learning operatic signing learning arias from various classical composers such as Puccini, Schubert, Bellini and others. I used to take private lessons and I was followed by a vocal coach on a weekly basis. I then decided to take a turn in my singing practice (due to my interest in metal music) and started learning extreme vocals. While learning growl/scream, I wasn’t followed by a teacher as in this particular area I’m self-taught.
-Marc: I’m the drummer in the band and started drumming in the early 90s. I had lessons from a pop / rock session drummer in London who my dad knew from his jazz gigs. Actually it was at my dad’s gigs that I first thought about starting to play drums. I don’t generally do lessons now, although it can certainly be a good idea at any stage of your playing career. I do try to watch online tips and practice routines from drummers such as George Kolias and Derek Roddy – you can’t go too wrong if you follow those guys!
*Do you follow other or are you interested in other styles of music beside metal? If so, what is the music you prefer to listen to?
-Debora: Although my main area of interest is within the metal genre I am very interested in gothic music as well as classical music. I am particularly interested in classical artists such as Puccini, Prokofiev, Beethoven and Mozart, and I am enamored with the vocal style of various operatic signers such as Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Maria Callas and Andrea Bocelli. In terms of more gothic bands I particularly like to listen to I’d include: Type O Negative, My Dying Bride, Sisters of Mercy and Paradise Lost.
-Marc: My music taste is EXTREMELY varied. I mean I have everything from Aha to At The Gates, Depeche Mode to Decapitated, Mana to Morbid Angel, and Clannad to Carcass in my cd collection. I love to listen to different music styles but my playing has always been based around metal music.
*Is music a full time job for you now or do you have a job beside music? If so, what kind of job are you doing? If you would be really successful with music, would you quit your other job?
-Debora: At the moment I am a full time student and I am in the process of concluding a Masters Degree in Film Studies. I am a movie enthusiast and my passion for cinema equals my passion for music. Although as it is very difficult to make music your full time job and earn a decent living out of it, my plan is to undertake a Phd course in my field of studies in order to become a full time university lecturer while at the same time pursuing my passion for music: on one side a job that pays the bill and on the other complete creative chaos, a perfect balance for me.
-Marc: Sadly heavy metal doesn’t pay the bills, especially these days when bands make pretty much no money even from legal streams and downloads. I’ve always done it because I enjoy it, so as long as I can afford to release albums and play gigs and I’m still enjoying it then I’ll continue to do so. I’ve worked in construction for many years, and I actually quite like to have the balance in my life between work and music. It means I don’t get too stressed about one of those things as my mind needs to switch to the other. Not relying on music to make money also gives the band more creative freedom and less pressure from industry factors.
*If you could start a band with other musicians on other instruments, which artist would you pick for which instrument and why? (Something Like an “All Stars Band”.) Would you still go for a extreme metal band? Or would you do something completely different?
-Debora: Yes I think I would still stick with the metal genre as due to its chaotic and raw energy it allows to vent my emotions. In terms of other artists to work with, as I am a huge Behemoth fan, I’d be simply honored to support them on some of their tour dates.
-Marc: I’m a huge Paradise Lost fan, so I’d be happy just to play a set on stage with them.
*If you had been banned to an uninhabited island and you may pick 5 albums to listen to, which albums would you choose and why?
-Debora: That’s a tricky questions as there are so many I love, but I’d probably select: ‘Demigod’ (Behemoth), ‘Nightmares Made Flesh’ (Bloodbath), ‘The Plague Within’ (Paradise Lost), ‘This Is Exile’ (Whitechapel) and ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ (At The Gates).
-Marc: I’d probably give you a different answer tomorrow, but two albums that will always be in my top 5 are ‘Master Of Puppets’ (Metallica) and ‘Draconian Times’ (Paradise Lost) – two albums that are timeless classics. The other three would be a bit trickier… something by Maiden, let’s go with ‘Somewhere In Time’. Something a bit lighter, Depeche Mode ‘Greatest Hits 86-98’, and let’s say ‘Heartwork’ (Carcass).
*Who is writing the songs for Phobetor? And, for Debora, is this style of “singing” not asking to much from your voice? And how do you practice your voice?
-Marc: Mitch (guitar) wrote the music and Debora the lyrics. I actually was just meant to record drums for the album, but ended up joining the band on a permanent basis and assisting in producing the album as I really thought the songs were great. I’d previously played some live shows with the band when they had issues finding a full-time drummer.
-Debora: In terms of my vocals I seem to always give a shock effect in the sense that most people when they see me walking on stage do not expect the visceral tone coming from me as much as the most common comment I get is: ‘how does that sound comes from a tiny lady?’ ahah. I do love the shock effect the vocals have on the audience as it is what I always try to achieve by making them as brutal as possible. It may seem like the extreme vocals may weigh on me but actually I need to thank my classical training for having given me the right breathing and support techniques to make sure I can make use of extreme vocals without damaging my voice. After all it is thanks to this that I give my vocals a powerful sound. It is not a gift or a given, it is simply the result of lots of work/practice and the use of right techniques.
*Every new album (or ep) of a band or an artist is the best one, that’s what they always say. So here is a chance to promote the album. Why should a music lover buy your album? What are the standout tracks for you on this new album and why?
-Debora: We are very pleased with the end results for ‘When Life Falls Silent’. In terms of the lyrical themes there are a lot of references to mental illness and inner struggle. There is a need to exorcise demons through music which I believe is something that, although in different and subjective ways, brings us together, something we can all share and that we have in common. The nightmarish feeling the artwork evokes stands as a representation of the themes utilized in the lyrical construct.
-Marc: We’re really happy with ‘When Life Falls Silent’ – the songs, the artwork, the production etc. I think the album has a little bit for everyone. There are elements of groove metal, death, black, doom, prog but it all works together really well.
– See “CD-Review” for a review (written in Dutch) for the new Phobetor album ‘When Life Falls Silent’ (Black Jasper Records) –
*I suppose you will promote this album through live concerts (when of course everything is getting back to “normal” after the Covid 19 disaster). If so, would you prefer small clubs or big festivals? And is there a chance we can see Phobetor in Belgium?
-Marc: After all this we’ll just be happy playing live again, be it in a small club or Wembley Stadium J and yes, we’d love to come over to mainland Europe and play some issues, including Belgium.
-Debora: Absolutely! I cannot wait to be able to play some live shows again and as Marc mentioned, no matter what size venue, I’d just be happy to get back to playing live again and blast this album around the countries.