We recently caught up with The Amenta frontman Jarrod Krafczyk to talk about their new album ‘nOn’, playing with Twisted Sister in Europe and their upcoming tour with Psycroptic…
Hi Jarrod. Thanks for your time. What are you up to right now?
Hey Jared, right now I’m taking a break from painting the inside of my house. Been getting rather domestic between tours.
You joined The Amenta in 2006 on lead vocals correct? How did you come to be in the band?
I joined in August 2007 actually. A mutual friend of ours gave my number to the band without my knowing. I was out one night and got a phone call from Erik (guitarist) asking me if I was interested in trying out for the band. Turns out they lived about 5 minutes from me. I went over, sang 2 songs over a backing track, and that was that. I hadn’t even heard The Amenta before that, I just knew they were some extreme black metal band.
Did The Amenta’s fans embrace you with open arms?
A lot of the response was really good. There’s always going to be people that don’t like things to change, or have a problem with the fact I don’t have a stereotypical black metal appearance, and they got all tough and shot their mouths off from behind a computer on their blog/forum etc… But over-all the response has been great.
The bands 2004 release Occasus earned them Kerrang! Magazine’s Best Metal Newcomers award that year. Even though you weren’t in the band at the time, do you think this kind of recognition helped the band much in terms of getting the name out there? Did it lead to any record deals or were these already in place?
I think the Kerrang! awards did heaps in the way of exposure and having international press show some interest towards the band, and towards Australian metal as well. As far as I know the deal with Listenable Records was already in place and Occasus had been released.
You guys are currently signed to Listenable Records for your European releases. How does it feel to be signed to a label that has put out seminal metal releases from the likes of Soilwork and Rhapsody among others?
It’s awesome dude! For me to pretty much walk into a band that’s signed to the label that did the old Soilwork albums, a few Aborted albums and also home to Gojira has been pretty fucking amazing. Listenable have put out some really great albums and I’m stoked to be a part of it.
Aussie power metalers Vanishing Point and Black Majesty are also on the same label. Do you reckon you will ever share the stage with the guys? They are pretty good as far as Australian power metal goes. Vanishing Point are huge overseas but are worth about 20 fat dudes in leather at their shows over here.
Really? I was unaware of those bands being on the same label as us. I think you’re aware of my love of power metal, so I wouldn’t have a problem with sharing a stage with those guys. Other members of the band (all of them) are not fans of power metal however haha. We really will play a show with any band, we don’t mind. The musical tastes throughout our members is quite varied and somewhat eclectic.
You guys were in Europe recently with Deicide. What was that like? Who else did you play with?
The lineup for Winterfest 09 was Deicide, Samael, Vader, Devian, Order of Ennead & The Amenta. We did 14 shows that went through Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Slovakia, & Poland. Honestly it was one of the best times of my life so far. All of the guys in all the bands were great. Made some lifelong friends, lived in a bus for a few weeks, ate not much more than cheese and bread, experienced cold that I didn’t know existed (minus fucking 15!), played some great shows, met so many nice people and I cannot wait to go back. The crowds in Europe were really responsive towards us, and even though we were opening the shows every night, we still managed to get some people up the front and moving around. Getting to see Samael play every night was awesome too. That band put 100% into their live show, and are hands down some of the nicest people I’ve met.
Is Glen Benton a hardass?
Haha! Yes and No. Depends what side of him you’re on. He’s a guy that gets what he wants, and makes a bit of noise until he gets it. But at the end of the day he’s a pretty cool guy (at least he was to us). No bullshit, straight shooter.
Have you already played at the Rockout Festival with Twisted Sister, Girlschool, and Rose Tattoo? If so, what was it like playing with some of the biggest washed up rockers of our generation? You’re not going to take it? Ummm, I think you will….
I was sooo psyched for that tour dude! It got pushed back until October. So we’ll see if it takes form them. 3 weeks with Dee Snider!!! Where does your musical career go after playing something that huge??
You released your latest album ‘nOn’ via Stomp here in Australia late 2008. Tell us about the album.
To quote the press release, “’n0n’ is an album built on new ideas, new concepts, new sounds and new techniques.” We really went all out with this album. Having the luxury of a home studio, we weren’t bound by time constraints, thus we were really able to try out any ideas that we had, and if they didn’t work, we’d try something new. We recorded and edited the whole album ourselves too. Making & recording our own sounds (not relying on keyboard presets), recording in different environments for different sounds, taking inspiration from many different sources.
A fair few guest vocalists were included on ‘n0n’ as well. Nergal (Behemoth), Jason Mendonca (Akercocke), Alex Pope (Ruins), Nathan Wyner (A Secret Death) and Alice Daquet (Sir Alice) provided the lovely female voice you hear on “skin”.
Lyrically ‘n0n’ is a newscast. We’re broadcasting the ugly side of the world. Addiction, prostitution, disease, war, and how people are themselves addicted to watching all of this terror and the destruction of humanity from the safety of their own home.
The lyrics are printed in the CD booklet, and are rather straightforward. Whereas with the previous album (Occasus) the lyrics were somewhat cryptic and went over a lot of people heads, this time it’s almost spelled out for you.
Has the new material been going down well live? It sounds like it would sound f’n huge live.
Yea it’s worked out really well live. People seem to have read the lyrics and are screaming along which is nice to see, and every show we’ve done we’ve had people moving.
Initially we had 2 guitarists for all live shows, but that’s now been stripped back to one, and while the “wall of noise” effect we previously had is now gone, there’s a lot more clarity in the sound, and given the technicality of the newer songs this has worked in our favor since now you can really hear what’s happening.
You guys are touring around the country starting June 11th with Psycroptic is that right? What are you looking forward to the most about this tour?
That’s right, we start in Qld on June 11th. This tour is going to be so much fun. Even though it’s only 8 shows all up, it’s 8 shows with some of the best bands Australia has. Getting to see Psycroptic play every night, getting to hang out with great friends and be a part of what is no doubt the most extreme tour this country has ever had. I hope crowds are ready for this!
What’s on the horizon for The Amenta?
After the Unleashing the Extreme tour we hope to knuckle down and start writing the next album. We don’t really have any tours booked after this one. We’re playing the Against the Grain Festival in Adelaide in September, and the Australian Metal Awards here in Sydney in November. But that’s it at the moment so it leaves a lot of time to focus on some new songs. We have a pretty big task ahead of us.
I’d like to get back over to Europe and hopefully the USA next year.
What are your favourite albums right now?
There hasn’t been a whole lot of new stuff lately that’s been blowing me away. Not many bands really step outside of what’s comfortable and take risks anymore, which leaves me listening to a lot of my older CD’s since that’s what inspired me in the first place.
A short list of what’s playing lately would be;
Burst – Lazarus Bird
Cattle Decapitation – The Harvest Floor
Rise Against – The Sufferer & The Witness (old I know, but awesome)
Torche – Meanderthal
Cursed – III
I’m really looking forward the new Coalesce album too.
Best band in Australia at the moment?
A Secret Death. Without question these guys are my favourite Australian band of the past 5 or so years (since The Stockholm Syndrome broke up). Also Malignant Monster from Perth are one band that were a real head turner from our last tour.
Best way to kill time in the tour van?
Van? The Amenta fly everywhere dude! Haha.
That’s it mate. Thanks for your time!