An Interview With : Sven De Caluwe and Ken Bedene (Aborted)
15th February 2016, 13:00
Posted by Tristan
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Following the announcement on Friday that the band will be releasing their brand new album Retrogore this April 29th I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Sven and Ken with a little bit of new guitarist Ian to discuss all things Aborted. Catching them at their appearance with Bloodbath in London last year celebrating their twentieth year together speaking about not only how the band have remained current in the Death Metal movement but how twenty years has seen the band exceed expectations right up until their brand new album where we are introduced to a new age of Aborted.

Listen to the Soundcloud clip below or read through the transcript for the (Retro)gore(y) details!

So hello guys!

Ken and Sven : Hello, hi!

How are we?

Sven : We are very moist this fine evening!

Does that translate to being excited haha?

What’s Aborted’s year (2015) been like so far?

Sven : What did we do this year, let’s see we went to Japan, we went to South Africa twice, we did a US tour a headline run and we did a couple of Euro festivals and then just a couple of one off shows while we were writing the album in October, November I believe? We just got out of the studio literally about two days ago…

Oh wow!

Sven : Yeah, we just recorded the new album. Fresh out of the studio!

Could you tell us what the writing process was like?

Sven : Geez, what was it like this time? Well we got the new guy there Ian so basically we just put him in a fuckin’ dog cage and threw Chipotle.

Ian : I wish!

Sven : No no, we started writing at the beginning of the year more or less, Mendel was doing a lot of demos by himself at home and so was J.B. in the last month all of us sat together in the days off between the weekends where we had shows to finish up the writing with demos and structures. I think at least half of the creative process was done whilst we were finishing stuff up in the last month. It was pretty intense because we were busy with the songs day in day out. It was hard work but I think it paid off!

Sven : It’s challenging too, you’ve gotta write your ninth album of whatever of this crap haha!

Ian : It’s the ninth album?! Hahaha

Sven : Yeah! I could see you were a great fan before haha, no no that’s cool! Album number nine is it’s a bit challenging, you want to keep things fresh so you get a lot more critical I would say?

Ken : And creative!

Sven : You’ve gotta be careful who you’re stealing riffs from this time hahaha! I don’t know how many more lyrics I can write about poop so…

So could you tell us a couple of the themes that might be on the record?

Ken : How much poop is too much poop…

Sven : How much poop is too much poop is actually the topic of one of the songs other topics are related to a lot of the recent events the whole political religious climate and what not that’s going on. Everybody all of a sudden becoming an internet politician, everbody’s got a big mouth, everbody all of a sudden thinks that they’re educated on world crisis so there’s a bunch of that stuff in there. Which is a first for this band, you know poop politics not that big of a difference… Other than that I’d say, the general feel of the album and being is a whole universe of eighties horror and slasher films. We’re doing some pretty cool stuff, instead of band pictures we actually had a guy that paints eighties style posters copy eighties posters of Horror movies but with us as the characters. There’s Reanimator with all of us in there, we’re the Ghostbusters, we’re the Goonies yeah it’s super retarded but it’s cool.

Retrogore

Was that kind of an idea because on the cover for Termination Redux it’s kind of fifties kind of thing?

Sven : It’s all kind of the eighties kind of stuff, basically Termination Redux. The song is also on the album, so basically it’s just a continuation of the EP or the EP was a prelude to what we wanted to do with the album both musically even though the album itself has quite some different elements to it as well that we have never done. It’s a lot darker, it’s a lot more open.

What do you mean by open?

Ken : More atmosphere, atmospheric parts and less just like straight blasting all the time. Just like power chords or just like grindcore but the newer stuff has a lot more space.

Sven : It’s like there’s an atmosphere and space that we tried to create and then on the other hand it’s just very extreme still and a lot more technical than anything we have ever done. Both those things kind of compliment each other to create something the same yet different than what we have done before.

You guys are celebrating your twentieth anniversary as a band, was Termination Redux an EP to commemorate that?

Sven : Completely. We re-recorded an old song but we just decided that maybe it’s just as good and more interesting for fans to have. At least there’s two songs on the EP that are not on the album or three songs that are on the EP but not on the album. The only song on the EP that’s on the album is “Termination Redux”. It makes the EP something of a bit more value for the fans I think than just one new song and a bunch of old songs redone.

You also filmed the video for “Termination Redux”, what was that experience like?

Sven : It was cool! We were not there for the story bit, fortunately we did not see the buttcheeks! The Director is a good friend of ours Barry, he’s actually having a festival tomorrow which we are playing! He did a video for us at Graspop and he does all the stuff for Epica as well so we had been friends for quite a whilst he wanted to prove that he could do our best video so we thought ok, alright go ahead! The only thing we told him was that we liked the aesthetics of the Hannibal show, kind of eating humans in a fashionable way, so he did his thing with that! We took the incredible bacon man and did something.

What’s the incredible bacon man?

Sven : It’s the man that looks like bacon lying on the floor!

Did you guys have a big part in how it was produced?

Sven : I gave him the ideas but it was him and another guy that he works with that also does videos that builds like sets and all that. We shot the band stuff in eight hours in Antwerp and then they took two days somewhere else to build the entire set and do everything there. They really put in a lot of work and they did and amazing job I think, I’m super happy with how it turned out.

Lots of blood!

Sven : Never enough blood!

Going back to what you mentioned before, you guys gave always had these small introductions in the songs. Was that something that you actively wanted to do the whole time?

Sven : Well we’ve always been into the whole Horror thing, to us Death Metal is sort of the musical version of a Horror movie, that’s how we see it, We’re trying to incorporate the whole vibe through those snippets instead of just only the music.

It’s just because you guys love Horror basically? So what are some of your favourite Horror movies?

Sven : Hellraiser, Reanimator, if you want to talk more recent movies The Collector and The Collection hey’re pretty cool!

Ken : I liked Susperia, more like the cult movies?

Sven : Yeah, the Italian Fulci stuff,

Like Zombi and those kind of things?

Sven : Yeah, yeah or just you know the cheesy eighties crap!

Was “The Saw and The Carnage Done” That wasn’t a reference to Texas Chainsaw?

Sven : It was all sort of, it was based on Ed Gein. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on Ed Gein so sort of!

Essentially what have you got planned for 2016?

Sven : We’ll be back to tour with Kataklysm and then we’re taking a break from Europe after that until probably October? We’re not going to be back in Europe until October, we’re going to be touring the US, Australia Japan and South America… Maybe a handful of European festivals? Since we’re doing this already, we’re doing seven weeks in Europe we don’t want to overdo it. The album comes out in April, the first tour is going to be October.

Are you going to try and go to any new places that you haven’t been to before?

Sven : We went to Africa we went to Asia, I think the only place we haven’t been to was like Korea? Besides Brazil we haven’t done much of South America. So hopefully we do Brazil in Chile and Argentina in all those places. Theres talks but definitely Japan, Australia and all that stuff.

So how did you come up with the name Aborted?

Sven : That’s a very stupid story. I don’t really have anything clever to say other than I wanted to be in the first line of the CD racks in the CD stores back in the day. They’re less important now! Back in the day something with “A” so people don’t have to look very far. It sounds cool, it’s got a lot of different meanings, it’s not necessarily stuck to dead babies which we don’t really care about. Sadly some people think that we are about dead babies which is not the case. Funny enough last year we were denied to play in China because our band name violates human rights which is incredibly hypocritical coming from China who have more abortions than they have people living there but you know!

Something for the new album, moving to the end of 2015 what has been a particular highlight for just yourself the band in general…

Ken : We have been on tour so much these last couple of years so I haven’t been home for more than half a year more or less for both these last two years so when I am home it’s nice to relax and escape a little bit. We’re just so go go go the whole time, band wise jeez I dont know!

Sven : Graspop was great! Graspop was fantastic this year, South Africa was really cool! We went in March I believe? To play a festival, we had never been there and in August we went back for a headlining tour. It was really really cool, they took really good care of us we had a vacation in Cape Town the guy took us around took care of everything. It was like a paid vacation, it was fantastic! Japan was really cool this time round too, the first time it was very underground rather small. The second time we went back we had 600 people in Tokyo which is pretty cool!

Sven : It’s part of the charm of the trip all the crappy stuff that happens, later you laugh at it at that moment you’re hating life. In the end you’re still in Japan we played a really cool show and I am happy to be able to say that, still playing music because we enjoy doing it. Not just like fuck this shit, get me paid and fuck off.

Because you have been going for twenty years now, would there be anything that you would change in the way that you have done things?

Sven : I would like to erase everything from 2006 to 2010… Those years don’t exist but other than that no!

Ken : Probably a few members…

Sven : Yeah! That’s exactly that time period you know? There were some after that but at least the albums are good!

With you guys having had so many members do you think it’s kind of in an indirect way influenced the sound to where you are today from where you started out?

Ken : When you get a new member you’re always going to have a different sound. As long as the writing, they’re always going to bring their own influences in and they’re always going to try and write similar sounds to Aborted or that band that they are joining at the same time still it’s going to sound different than the people who originally wrote that style in the first place. Theres definitely a change in the sound because of the change of the members but we still continue to write collectively and make it sound cool. Again you’re going to hear a lot of changes that you normally wouldn’t. We’ve had a pretty solid line up for the last four years.

Sven : We’ve just had Danny left this year which was a little stressful, we could feel it coming and it was a mutual decision lets put it that way but it would have been easier for us if he had quit earlier in the year. He quit literally just two months or three months before the studio. And he’s not really a write so he never really contributed much to the music so that wasn’t really the issue but it was stressful. Since we had alot of shows booked in October and we had to write the album we were like what are we doing are we taking someone as a session and doing the album as four of us or are we trying to get someone new in? It was very stressful I mean we had literally three weeks to find someone. Fortunately this guy (Ken) knew Ian and they have been in bands together for very long time.

Ian : Like twelve years?

Sven : It was  very important to us because the line up was stable for a long time even if he is from the US and it’s quite a financial investment for the band we didn’t want to risk taking an unknown factor three weeks before we had stuff to do, we had an album to do and then realise two months later that the person is an asshole or that we can’t deal with their personality. Even if there is a lot of distance financial altercations that come with it, we chose to work with somebody in the band that knew him for a long time, that vouched for him in terms of this should work. And so far it’s been cool!

What are your musical influences? Any particular bands?

Sven : Dude after twenty years that’s pretty tough to say! I still listen to the stuff I listened to twenty years ago but throughout a career of twenty years there is so much shit you come in contact with that all indirectly influences you in a way? Even not Death Metal?

Well politics like you just said!

Sven : Yeah, that’s lyrical but musically I mean of course the old bands Suffocation, Deicide, Slayer even Hatebreed, Carcass all that stuff. Entombed, Morbid Angel all the classic bands that are why we started playing this for stuff like Pantera indirectly in some way. As you tour with bands you discover new bands theres always, even Bloodbath is definitely an influence so we’re very happy to be playing today and to actually see them live because they don’t really play much… There are so many things that come in, even Gojira even in a way.

Ken : Every style there’s always going to be a band that you’ll find one sound that will make you think oh wow that would be cool if you put that in Metal song or put that in your own writing…

Sven : Yeah Katy Perry and shit!

Ken : You can even take atmospheric things from like Bjork or something, something weird like that theres just so many different genres out there and there is no reason to be so close minded with that one style. “Oh I gotta listen to Death Metal” , I mean it’s great but there are so many other things out there.

Finally what has been an album that you have really been digging over the last six months to a year?

Sven : Holy shit, the last week I have been checking out Rise of The Northstar which are a Hardcore band from Paris. Some pop! We downloaded the whole Now That’s What I Call Music discography

Sven : Hahahahah!

Ken : The other night so we have got all what is it eighty five albums of pop hits,

Sven : Limp Bizkit in there I think even Britney spears too!

Ken : As far as Metal goes I mean the last thing that I really enjoyed listening to even though I still haven’t listened to it THAT much is Fallujah’s newest album. Yeah they do some really cool stuff!

Sven : The new Cattle Decapitation is cool, I dig that too! What else we got, jesus Revocation was last year Soreption was also last year… Katalepsy, I don’t know if that was this year but that albums pretty sick too!

Excellent well thank you ever so much for speaking with The Metalist and have a brutal Christmas!

Aborted’s forthcoming album Retrogore is set for an April 29th release via Century Media.