I’ll never forget when ‘Zeroland’ showed up in my mailbox. I was a doe-eyed young music fanatic who unintentionally fell into a writing gig at Exclaim! Magazine whilst hopelessly devoted to my spirit quest: find every single technical death, thrash, and/or black metal band that ever existed. While I listened to the easily digestible Relapse stuff, grind was a largely unexplored frontier as a result of my mostly metal mind. It was all just… too punk.
Then came Antigama. Their ability to compose catchy, individualised songs stuck out first and foremost, but the way they spun tension into their music was so demanding and intriguing I couldn’t put ‘Zeroland’ down. There was the more ‘traditional’ riffing anchored in the early 80s hardcore that the godfathers of grind wove into the distorted, blistering mayhem that would define the genre, but Antigama brought a seriously technical approach, and added industrial and noise components to give it a futuristic feel. It was alpha and omega – and I was hooked.
Starting out in 2000, they’ve been spitting out records faster than their drummer dishes out blast beats, with numerous full-lengths, EPs, and splits to their credit, careful never to sacrifice quality for quantity. Funnily enough, they also ended up on Relapse for years. They’ve just finished their long-awaited full-length follow up to 2009’s ‘Warning’ and will be unleashing ‘Meteor’ May 28 on the always solid SelfMadeGod Records. Recorded at Progresja Studio in Warsaw with producer Pawek ”Janos” Grabowski (Masachist, Lost Soul) and mastered by grind icon, Scott Hull, they’ve promised it’s their most experimental yet. Mastermind Sebastian Rokicki comes back from the future to discuss the recent past and near future for these Polish almagamists.
ZT: You were quiet for many years after ‘Warning’. Why was that and what made you come back to Selfmadegod for ‘Stop The Chaos’?
SR: We had to straighten up some issues within the band and it took us some time. We’ve kept on making music though and wrote many tunes. The deal with Relapse had ended and coming back to Selfmadegod Records was a natural step for us.
ZT: What had you learned/gained from your time with Relapse, a relatively large label in comparison?
SR: The co-operation went well. They surely made our name appear more on the scene. We’d released some material – regular albums, singles, splits, special compilations, Japanese versions – quite a lot of them. Thanks to Relapse we’d also managed to play a tour in the US. We’re really proud of that and of being a part of their roster.
ZT: ‘Stop the Chaos’ was the first with both Michal and Pawel – what did they bring to the band that has influenced your sound?
SR: The changes in the band were necessary to make an impulse for creating something new. Pawel and Michal brought the new energy into band and that together with our experience resulted in total expression that can be heard on “Stop the Chaos”.
ZT: What brought about the idea to do the ‘Stop The Chaos’ remixes? Had this been something you had wanted to do with your music for a while? How did you choose who you wanted to work with?
SR: We’ve always been an experimental kind of band. We’ve had the idea of remixing “STC” for a long time and at some point that idea came into the realisation phase. Most of the artists that made their own versions of our songs are our friends who enjoyed taking part in this challenge.
ZT: In the press release for ‘Meteor’ you say that recording this album was a challenge. Why was that and how did the process differ from other records?
SR: The challenge was to make the total extreme. “Meteor” is the most wild and fucked-up piece of music that we’ve ever recorded. In these 30 minutes of the album there is a supercondensed mass of information that we’ve thrown out of us in a very short time.
ZT: Antigama’s never been one to tow the line, and has always has a sort of industrial/avant garde kind of edge that separated you from the rest of the pack. How is ‘Meteor’ different and what made you want to go in a more experimental direction?
SR: ‘Meteor’ is a bullet of energy, extreme and experimental at the same time. On this album we decided to use means we’ve never used before. ‘Meteor’ is also a tribute to our long-time friend Szymon Czech who died of brain cancer last year. The emotions contained in this album are very much in connection with our experience of his struggle.
ZT: You played OEF a couple times before – and have worked there as well! What are some of your craziest memories and what keeps you coming back?
SR: Obscene Extreme Festival is the best European fest. It’s hard to describe the climate of the event, you just have to feel it for yourself. My memories are all covered with a green fog.
ZT: Who are you looking forward to seeing?
SR: Napalm Death!!!
ZT: What’s up for Antigama after the release of ‘Meteor’ and for the rest of this year?
SR: Playing gigs because is the most important thing now. Besides, our 3-way split LP/CD with Noisear and The Kill is soon out, and then another 7” with Total Fucking Destruction!