The road to Bloodstock… with Decapitated

Founder and guitarist Vogg Kieltyka talks to Paul Castles about Decapitated’s first Bloodstock appearance in six years, and also sheds some light on the band’s latest mind-blowing album, Cancer Culture, along with some of the reasons behind Poland’s proud and distinguished metal heritage.

ZT: So Vogg, you’re set to perform on the main stage at Bloodstock, which you are no stranger to – How are you feeling about it?
We are thrilled to come back to Bloodstock! After so many years, it will be such a pleasure. The last time we played it was in 2017, so it will have been six years. You know that the UK is a second home for Decapitated, and we are very excited to bring our set back on stage for that unique festival and see your ugly faces again.

ZT: Decapitated have played metal festivals all over the world – how do you think Bloodstock compares?
Every European festival is different; hospitality, stages, locations, line-up etc. etc. But all the festivals we’ve played over the last few years were very successful for us. Promoters have treated us so well. It doesn’t matter if it was at Hellfest or Graspop or smaller festivals like Zwierzyniec in Poland or Kaltenbach in Austria. Playing at every festival is a pleasure for us. Bloodstock is the same: great hospitality, incredible stages, and a fantastic line-up! An essential thing is the audience, of course. The best thing about Bloodstock is this unique atmosphere and magic only in this special place.

ZT: You’ve a still fairly new album, Cancer Culture, so we’ll get to hear some of that at Bloodstock?
Oh yeah, that’s for sure. We love to play new songs live, especially ‘Iconoclast’ and ‘Last Supper’. Our set will be shorter this time, about 45 minutes, but we will try to do a nice setlist mix of old and new songs.

ZT: The album has been out about a year, which of the new tracks do you think have really connected with a live audience?
The whole album is a very live album. All these songs sound fantastic live. My favourite songs to play are ‘Cancer Culture’, ‘Just A Cigarette’, ‘Last Supper’ and ‘Iconoclast’. There is one song we’d love to play live – ‘Hello Death’. It’s an awesome song, but without Tatiana Shmayluk (Jinjer), it’s just not possible to perform it live. We could use a sampler, but it would not be the same. I hope that one day we can make it happen somehow.

ZT: This album was your ‘pandemic album’ which gave you longer time to work on it than usual – was that a plus or a minus?
Definitely a plus. Covid times gave us so much time to write. On the one hand, it was hard to survive without shows, but for writing, it was like a dream come true. That’s why this album is so complete. I had time to focus on every detail, once during the writing process and then again during the studio days. I love to have time to work on riffs and arrangements, and Covid gave me this opportunity.

ZT: As with the previous album you have a lyricist working outside the band and feeding in which is quite unusual – but this approach clearly works with you?
Yes, for a second time, we have been working with Jarek Subrycht. He wrote the lyrics for our Carnival Is Forever album. For us making an album is an essential thing. It’s not just another album, it’s an exceptional thing. Every next album means everything to us, and that’s why we care about every aspect of the record. Songwriting, studios, producers, the artwork, cover artist, and lyrics must be the best we can deliver. Jarek is a person with the proper background. We know we can trust him, and he did a great job this time. I think Cancer Culture is one of the best titles of 2022. Seeing what’s going on on social media and looking around at what kind of world we exist in, it fits 100 percent.

ZT: You also had a special guest on one of the album tracks in Rob Flynn, how did you enjoy working with him?
Robb did an amazing job. He was very pro and he recorded amazing vocal parts for ‘Iconoclast’. There was not too much work to be honest, he just recorded it and sent it to us. The first version stayed and that was it. We were stoked to hear his parts for the first time. It’s a great moment and without his vocals it just wouldn’t be the same song.

ZT: Do you still find touring as much fun today as when you all started out over 25 years ago, or are things a bit more controlled these days?
During all those years, we have been in all situations. Let’s call it ‘touring experiences’. Touring is very important to us, and we are taking care of every possible aspect to simultaneously make the tour safe and thriving. Of course, we still have so much fun during touring because we love to do it. We love to travel and play music for people. Our priorities today concentrate on delivering the best performance and to come back safe home. Rock and roll are in second place now, if you know what I mean.

ZT: Poland has delivered so many great metal bands …. is there a certain characteristic that makes metal and Poles such a good mix!?
We could say that because the Polish political situation for many years was totally fucked up; let’s say very generally speaking, the Second World War, the communist system, Catholic church control, low earnings, etc. makes people so pissed off that having something like metal music is important. Polish metal bands know how to use this experience to prepare the most devastating and deadly weapons like Behemoth, Vader or Decapitated.

ZT: You’re on stage fairly early at Bloodstock, will you be able to stick around for the likes of Sepultura and Helloween?
Of course, I can’t wait to see other bands! That’s also great about festivals; we can see our friends from other bands. I’m going to watch as much as possible this year. I’ll be looking out for the Sepultura show this year for sure!

Decapitated’s latest record Cancer Culture is out now via Nuclear Blast, available to order HERE.
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