Saturday, November 3, 2007

Another Fallen Brother - R.I.P. Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka

By now, most of you have probably heard the sad, sad news of Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka's passing, following the accident that he and his bandmates in Decapitated were involved in a few days ago in Belarus. He was only twenty-three years old.

We'll miss you, brother. All hails, and may you rest in peace.

In honor of Vitek, Covan, and their grieving family, friends, and fans, I'm posting the most recent interview I did with the band - with Covan himself, actually. It appeared in Hails & Horns Magazine an issue or two ago, but I thought it'd be nice to revisit happier, more hopeful times for Decapitated. Enjoy.

Interview for Hails & Horns Magazine
Kim Kelly

Poland’s proud sons, Decapitated, really need no introduction. We all know the story – a bunch of long-haired youngsters get together, pick up some instruments, and hammer out some of the best technical death metal the world had ever seen…and then, once they’ve got time to take a breather and stop rockin’ for a month or two, they graduate high school and are finally fully unleashed upon an unsuspecting Earth. A few years later, they’re touring the world and selling thousands of albums, all without compromising their sound or sacrificing their brutality for commercial gain. Fresh off the Summer Slaughter tour and taking a much-needed rest before heading out on another European jaunt and recording their next album, Decapitated are already busily tinkering about in the studio, carefully constructing the skeleton of their next masterpiece. In the midst of all the excitement, frontman Covan was kind enough to take time out and answer a few questions for us. Read on to see what that ferocious voice has to say about touring, Poland, death metal, and what’s next for the band.

You guys have just returned from directly supporting Necrophagist on one of this past summer’s most
hotly-anticipated tours, Summer Slaughter. How did things go?

Well, it was great to tour with all those bands and experience their
music. We made a lot of friends and met cool new people. I think
this tour was unique in Decapitated’s history because all of the bands
represented different kinds of music.

How did you end up on the tour? Do you feel that it was a good fit for
your style of metal?

Yeah! I think that was cool idea to put us on the bill because a lot of fans
that listen to a little different kinds of metal were able to experience
Decapitated’s music. I think there is a new wave of Death Metal
fans in the U.S. - a new generation or maybe just a new fashion style for the fans, haha!

How did the crowd react to you guys? What kind of balance between old,
new, and brand-new songs did you create for the setlist?

Well it was funny, because more people reacted to the groovy songs that we
Played, like Spheres of Madness. In most places all the people were
going crazy, which was a big shock to us. I think new songs like
Postorganic and Day 69 were also taken very enthusiastically. In some
places old school death metal fans demanded very old songs. I think in
the future we will have to play more older songs but keep a balance, because
the band members like to play new songs! But that’s its typical for all the
musicians in the world.

When can we expect to see you guys release the follow-up to Organic Hallucinosis?

Currently we are taking a few weeks off after the tour. Some things
have changed in our personal lives during the tour, so we had to take care
of them here . But, I know Vogg and Vitek are jamming
together doing structures for the new songs; I heard two of them and
jammed with them before the tour. I must say that this stuff really
blew my head off. It was really good.

In what direction have you decided to take the new material? Have you added
any new elements or experimented with different sounds and sonic textures,
or can we expect more technical death metal in the vein of your previous work?
Hard to say at this time. What I can say is that what I heard in the
rehearsal room was like a continuation of Organic with some more
aggressive and weird guitar and drum parts.

Over the past few years, Decapitated has clawed their way to the very top of the
death metal heap, occupying a much-deserved spot in the upper echelon of
brutal, technical bands. To what do you attribute your great success?

I think it’s musical scholarship and experience. If you are young, you become
experienced faster and more easily, especially when you are put on
tour. Practicing, talent and a lot of luck are all things you need in this fucking
business. One day you can be up and then another you be get down - you can’t
forget that! We all try hard to stay on the ground. The best thing is to
work hard and focus on what you want to achieve. That’s my opinion.

What drives you to keep going, with the band and as an artist?

Music, fans and the excitement of knowing that you are creating something.

What was the main goal of Decapitated upon the band’s inception? What did
you set out to do with this band? Do you feel that you have accomplished it, or that you still have a ways to go?

There is a lot things that we want to do and have set as our goals. But
Mainly, it is that we want to play and enjoy the music that is being created.

Why do you play such heavy, aggressive music? Why death metal?

That’s Slayer and Sepultura’s fault! And I could probably
mention more and more bands that infected us with that virus!
In my case, I’m trying to let the bad things out from myself on stage and
on the records. There is a lot of shit that’s going on around this globe
that pisses me off. That’s why I love this kind of music and why I’m
doing this. Death metal is the best way to let out certain kinds of dark
emotions from yourself.

What are your thoughts on the current state of extreme metal?

I think it is changing. I think that the best times will come in few years.

Where does Decapitated fit into the death metal scene?
I think you as the journalist have more right to judge that. I don’t
know. I hate to name things and separate them. You know what I mean? I
treat bands and music simply as good and not good. That’s a subjective
opinion because I could like things that some people won’t like.

How did you first become interested and involved in the world of metal?

I think it was during primary school in Kuwait. Some dude from the Czech Republic
in my class gave me Iron Maiden and Slayer albums. Than I found Venom
and it all started.

Was it difficult to get your hands on music and find new bands
while living in Poland? What is the metal scene like over there? Are people
more accepting of this style of music there than they are here?

It was harder than in the US or western Europe. I remember times when all
the tapes ( there was no CDs at that time) in the early ‘90s were very cheap to
buy on the street or in music shops. They were all – especially metal tapes - they were just bootlegs. We could get the bands that were popular abroad at that time but not from the Polish metal scene. At that period of time I was tape trading or just buying demos straight from the

Why do you think that so many notable death and black metal bands have emerged from Poland? Why does this sort of music flourish in that particular place?

Because it is a hard, Catholic country! And there are a lot of metal fans and maniacs.

Are there any Polish bands that you feel aren’t getting enough exposure that you would care to mention? Any bands in general?

Well there are a lot of bands that need to be heard or seen. I think
Sceptic, Serpentia ,Crionics , Trauma are the bands that existed for
a long time releasing albums but did not have much chance to be heard
in a proper way abroad. But as I said, I’m not even mentioning all the bands
and believe me there are more and more really good bands in Polish metal
scene that are worth mentioning!

How does Decapitated go about writing your music?
That’s all Vogg and Vitek! I think this question should go to them, haha.
From what bands and sounds do you draw your main inspiration?

I can speak for myself, and say that for me its all kinds of music that are good
and innovative. I listen to plenty of different music. Sometimes silence
or ambient sounds can be inspiriting for me.

The Summer Slaughter Tour is something of an all-star lineup, as far as
technical/modern death metal and metalcore acts go. Who would you most want to play with, if you could share the stage with any band, past or present?

With all of them! Hahaha! Well, all the bands as I mentioned
were good friends to us. Currently we are trying to work on a tour in
Europe with Beneath The Massacre, Cephalic Carnage and Cattle
Decapitation. I hope that that works out! What I heard from some ‘heads
Was that maybe the Summer Slaughter tour will be transferred to European ground soon, but that could just be rumors which are not confirmed. But if that
would happen that would blast all the metal fans in Europe for sure!

What is next for Decapitated once this next tour wraps up?

Home. Chill out. And than preparing stuff for Decapitated, and for me I
must take care of my other projects Atrophia and Neurotoxic.

Any parting words or final thoughts?

I want to thank all the maniacs , fans and metal heads that made it to
Summer Slaughter Fest. It was great to play for you. Hope to see you on
tour with Amon Amarth & DECAPITATED in November/December in US/Canada!

Thanks so much for your time!

Thanx! Hail! And Horns Up Motherfuckers!!

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