Interview by Demitri Levantis
Interview with Ondra Svoboda (vocals)
With the release of their new EP “Void Terror” around the corner, I caught up with Czech death metal band, Anime Torment to discuss what they have in store for the coming months.
Hi and thanks for joining us. Let’s start with your band name, where does it come from? Are you guys anime fans, and if so what series, movies or franchises do you like most?
Hello to you Demitri and to all the readers of The Independent Voice Ezine. I hope the fans of anime won’t be disappointed but our band’s name has nothing to do with Japanese anime. The band started 13 years ago and at that time we were just looking for a cool name without any deeper meaning. Who would have thought it will last for such a long time. As for me, I’m a big fan of anime and manga. My favourite movies are from Mijazaki and from series I would pick Berserk, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Death Note and Dorohedoro.
For people who have never heard of Anime Torment before, which bands would you liken yourselves to?
In our music, you can hear some similarities to The Black Dahlia Murder, War From A Harlots Mouth, Burning Skyes and maybe Katalepsy. Very often we hear we are similar to some Scandinavian metal bands as well.
Would you say Anime Torment fits into any particular sub-genre of death metal: brutal, slam, death n roll, etc?
On our new EP, you can hear – next to death metal – some slam, beatdown and brutal death parts. We play what we like and mix it together. But mostly we stick to death metal.
Does your new EP “Void Terror” cover any themes or topics you’ve never explored before?
All the lyrics are about life and death. The same as on our previous record. One song is an exception – Easy Prey. It is about the danger of social networking.
Is the current line-up wholly original, or are there new members? And what would you say the new members have brought to the band if so?
I’m the only one from the original lineup who made it to this day. Every new member pushes the band a step forward. Michal Beran is a new guitar player on VOID TERROR EP. He is the fresh wind that we needed to do new music. Plus he loves beer, so he blends in very well.
Your EP is being released on Slovak Metal Army, how do you find working with that label?
One word – GREAT! For the first time, we truly feel we can benefit from such cooperation. SMA is mostly in charge of distribution and we can already tell they’re doing a great job!
What can you tell us about Void Terror’s artwork or recording, any interesting anecdotes?
During the making of the Lure music video which was recorded in a big cinema hall under strict COVID restrictions out of nowhere some random homeless guy ran in and wanted to be a part of the shooting. We had no idea how he got in and it was not easy to explain to him to get out!
Can you tell us about the content of the songs on Void Terror, are they linked in any way?
Well, this is not a conceptual EP and I’m not such a good writer. The songs are about some dark or evil stories that happened in the past or were just in my imagination. They are shatterings of some tense situations and I try to support the musical side with them.
How is Anime Torment different to other bands coming from Czechia today?
Hard to say but maybe most of the Czech metal bands stick to a particular genre. We are not afraid to mix all the spectrum of extreme metal music together. That is why it is not possible to put us in just death metal or deathcore boxes. It is fun to listen to our fans to which bands they compare us to. They are never the same.
What do you make of your country’s metal scene in general, and how has it changed in all the years you’ve been gigging?
The Czech metal scene is huge and very colourful. You can choose from small local venues to huge music festivals. You can go and see some concerts every day in every part of the Czech Republic. We are in the middle of Europe so there are a lot of touring bands going through our country and making a show here mostly during workdays. It’s great people got used to going to the shows not only on weekends. The sad thing that we’ve noticed is that there are fewer younger people in the crowds than for example 10 years ago. But we hope it will get better after the COVID thing ends. People will be hungry for live shows!
Do you have a favourite country or festival to play?
Generally, we love to play anywhere in Europe. Metalheads are a great community of people that sticks together no matter from which country you come from. We like playing in Germany. Had great shows there and also the care from promoters is on a very high level. Our most favourite festival is definitely Brutal Assault! Great experience for bands and also for fans.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the band in your eyes, did you have to cancel a lot of things?
COVID fucked with us pretty bad! In March 2020 we went touring Mexico. Unfortunately, we arrived at the same time as COVID, so one by one our shows were cancelled. We haven’t played a single show there. After our complicated return home because of the restrictions, our spring shows got cancelled as well. On the other hand, the summer was awesome! We played a lot cause it seemed the COVID will be soon over and the government gave green lights to outdoor festivals. Thanks to that we could manage our own festival Death Coffee Party vol. 8! The reality about COVID was, unfortunately (in the eyes of our government) different. We played our last show at the end of September. From that time we are practising and making new material.
When you get back to touring, are there any bands you would really like to share the stage with?
By the time we are doing this interview, we should have been on tour with Putrid Pile, Kraanium and Epicardiectomy and promote our new EP “Void Terror”! Those are the bands – our friends – we are looking forward to sharing the stage with! You can imagine how pissed we are. But we rescheduled this tour to autumn, so let’s hope it will happen! We played almost every weekend for the last x years so we miss it a lot.
Which bands do you, personally, dig at the moment?
Easy question… Benighted, Cattle Decapitation, Whitechapel, Despised Icon, Knocked Loose, Within Destruction, Gojira…I can name them forever.
What made you start the band in the first place, was there something you really wanted to bring to the DM world?
We haven’t thought that way at that time. The band started in a rock club while drinking beer with friends. We thought it would be great to do our own music. Some of us already had some band experiences, but not me.
When you are not making music, what do you guys like to do for fun, any pastimes/hobbies?
In the first place, there is always family. Half of us already have kids so we try to compensate for the time we are gone playing concerts or tours. Then it is sports…running, cycling, wakeboarding, skateboarding, gym, snowboarding and skiing in winter. Also having a beer or ten with friends…
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
We love metal music. We love the long rides in a van, the adrenaline on the stage, crowds of people below us, drinking and doing crazy stuff backstage, composing music…simply everything metal or music-related.
Are any of the lineup active in any other projects that you think your fans will enjoy?
Our drummer Michal has a deathcore band WE ALL GONNA DIE. These guys share a practice room with us. I definitely recommend to check them out!
Finally, do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?
We wish you guys to easily survive this huge wave of shit! Stay in good shape mentally and physically and don’t be lazy! When the live show starts get up and go destroy the pits! Thank you very much, Demitri for this interview. Thanks to all who took some time and read this till the end. I wish you all the best in the future. Take care guys!
Thank you so much and I wish you all the best for the future.