It’s been quite some time since we’ve talked about a new band. This time it’s SINSAENUM, a black/death project of Attila Csihar (Mayhem), Joey Jordison (ex-Slipknot) and Fred Leclercq (Dragonforce). In the beginning of June they released a self-titled EP, and they plan on releasing a full length called “Echoes Of The Tortured”. Fred gave Metalpaths the chance to learn more about this brand new project, as you can see on the interview below.
Good afternoon Fred! The “Echoes Of The Tortured” record will be out in 4 days. Who came up with the idea for that project and what do you think now that the debut album is done?
Well that’s my ideas. My baby, my concept, my thing and I’ve recruited the rest of the band. Obviously, they’all involved in it, but originally it is mine, technically speaking. Now that everything is done, I’m just very happy, and, I don’t know, anxious is the word? I kept reading very good reviews, and now it’s done anyway. It’s gonna come out in a few days. I’m sure I’m going to react the same way as I did when the first video was out: I was a bit happy and sad at the same time, because it didn’t belong to me anymore, it was just out to the world. I’m quite confident, like I said, I’ve read good reviews, which is great.
We had a taste of what the band is about on the self-titled EP and through your videos for “Army Of One”, “Splendour And Agony”. Do you think the videos best represent what the band is all about? And could you explain the concept behind each one?
I don’t know if they represent the band, they do represent a side of the band. That’s a discussion we had with the rest of the band and we didn’t want to “always wear make up, always have blood”. I like that we’re multi-dimensional in that sense. When we’re gonna do gigs, people cannot expect us to be dressed the same every night. Each show is a different aspect of what we can do to create a show. We started with “Army Of Chaos”, that song is more like an anthem. It’s definitely the most easy-listening song of the album. But I think it was intenting to make people curious. We didn’t show much in it, we had the band dressed pretty much the same, t-shirt, leather, very classic metal image. We had great quality, we worked with a great Hungarian team, it’s just black and white. And we also have the artwork with our symbol. That shows the unity of the band as well as that ancient kind of vibe. “Splendour And Agony” is more like all hell breaks loose, like gore, which is one aspect of the music that I try to have, and the rest of the guys as well. We all like horror movies, and that’s something I wanted to incorporate in the music. I just wanted something really graphic and over the top for that video we’ve done. We’re very happy with the result actually.
From listening to your first EP, one gets to notice your main influences. Bands like Morbid Angel, Marduk, Behemoth etc with a thrashy twist. But that’s just my point of view, which were your first influences when you started this band?
Well, I suppose the influences are the bands I discovered when I discovered the genre. So, Behemoth is not an influence, I have respect for the guys, I was talking to them 2 days ago when I was in Mexico, so I have huge respect for what they do. But definitely not an influence. I started listening to this music back in ’91, ’92. So the bands that influenced me are the bands that had the most impact on me when I discovered them, it leaves a trace forever. To me, it was obviously Morbid Angel, it’s undeniable. That’s probably my favorite band along with Maiden and Alice Cooper. But Morbid Angel, to me is the best band. Also Pestilence, Death, Bolt Thrower. Marduk not that much, but I like Marduk, Mayhem, Dark Funeral. I mean, I listen to a lot of that extreme music and I grew up listening to it, when the time was right for me. And some of the riffs were written back in 1998, and that stuff was still fresh for me, Morbid Angel, Deicide etc. So, I suppose these bands, plus the stuff I’ve been listening to in between, also Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Entombed, that kind of stuff. And if we take the genre as an example, to me it kinda died right after “Domination”. It was perfect I loved the sound, the music was awesome, and after that, the genre for me died, just my personal taste anyway. It sort of died, and turned into something else. And one of the things I wanted to do, some day these bands are going to drop the flag, and our goal was to carry that flag. We take it from there, with a modern approach to it.
Your label seems to be very supportive, taking into account that you’ve already filmed 2 videos to promote the debut album. What are your expectations from this project?
My expectations? That’s what we said with Joey when we did the interviews, we have none. What we wanted to do was to release the album. It was something that we had in time, and everyone was really enthusiastic throughout the recording process. And we just wanted to record it and listen to it and say “fuck yeah! We made it!”. We’re all successful with our other bands, so we don’t need to do Sinsaenum for the money, we were just doing it because it was something that we feel very strong about. I’m glad, because I worked on the music and the lyrics, but everyone considered himself part of it. We all feel really strong about something that we need to do, it’s not an expectation, it’s just that we want the album out. Then, I’d obviously love the band to become very big. I’d love everybody to enjoy the music, because that’s also why you make music, you expect people to enjoy it. But that’s not the most important, the most important is to honestly be able to capture the energy, to put it on an album with a great sound and have the album out. In 4 days, the album’s going to be out, and that’s great.
Ever thought of bringing Sinsaenum live, taking into account that you’re a full-time member of DragonForce and that Attila Csihar is a full-time member of Mayhem?
This is going to be problematic. Ιt is difficult, because Sinsaenum is the new baby, in a sense. Joey has been working a lot on Vimic for the past few years, I’ve been in DragonForce for ten years, Attila has Mayhem and SunnO))), Stephane has Loudblast and Heimoth’s got Seth. So it’s difficult to have us all in the same room. So we want to tour and we will, but we’ll do it when the time is right. I’m sure that people can understand that, statistically it is very very difficult to have a show and not tour with one person missing. Then it will turn into a project, which we’re not we are a band. And a band doesn’t necessarily mean “tour tour tour all the time”. It’s just about the sum of the six persons, persons we feel very strong about. We will not tour like “a Attila’s not there it doesn’t matter”. We won’t do that cause it will not be fair to the band as a family. So it will happen, we’re working on it, I’m in touch with a booking agency, we’re gonna sign with them, but they know that it’s very difficult. Maybe it will happen after we release a second album, cause we’re already working on a second album. I don’t know when we’re gonna tour, hopefully sooner or later.
Any news from the Dragonforce camp?
Yeah, we’re doing summer festivals right now, in support of the release of our first compilation, our best-of. And also we’re working on the new album that’s going to be produced by Jens Bogren, just like the previous one. I wrote a good half of the songs, playing guitar, bass, spent a lot of time in Sweden, I need to go back there. I’m very involved with the DragonForce album, just like the previous one. So in between Sinsaenum and DragonForce, I’m extremely tired, and happy!
Supergroups in general are a thing in the metal scene for quite some time. Some of them last, some of them don’t. What do you think of the supergroup idea? Would you consider Sinsaenum one of them?
Supergroup has a negative vibe to it. It sounds like a project, like a studio project, most of it is a one-off and then disappears because of any reasons I don’t know. From the fan point of view, I’d love the idea of Dave Mustaine, Nicko McBrain, Steve Harris, someone from Nevermore, you know, whatever. It’s interesting to have people playing together, and Sinsaenum it is a supergroup by default. We all play in famous or semi-famous bands, so it is like already known people together and doing something. Because we had the chance to come together when we did those videos, we just felt that the energy was very strong. That sounds cliche, but we could be very blasé after all these years of touring and playing with other people, doing guest appearances here and there. You could’ve gone like “ok cool, let’s do that and whatever” but no, we’re actually doing promotion, going to Europe for promo, cause when we got together in the same room and we started to play, we were blown away by the vibe. And also once we were done, we felt very smooth about it. But we don’t want to call that a supergroup, this isn’t a project, this is a band. It’s like seeing a movie with famous actors, you don’t call it a supermovie, it’s just a movie with famous actors. So we try to avoid the term supergroup.
Who came up with the name SINSAENUM? Does it mean something?
That’s Joey, so he would be the perfect one to answer the question. When I asked Joey “what does that mean?” “oh it speaks sin and sane” and I was like “ok that’s cool”. I like the way it sounds. He could give me an explanation afterwards reflecting on it, but the reality is, he told me (like in several interviews) he was just listening to the music late at night with a pen and a piece of paper and just going “Mmmmm sins….s…sinsaenum”. And that’s how it happened, just like that. And something we agreed on beforehand, cause I had ideas for band names. I wanted to call the band “Dead Souls”. Now, if you go on Encyclopedia Metallum, Dead Soul (Italy) active. If you type “Dark Soul” you’ve got about 7 bands with the same name. So, my point is, all the names had been taken already 5 or 6 times, sometimes it’s one band from Chile inactive, but still. We thought it’d be better to actually come up with a made up name. That way it is very unique, and it makes perfect sense, so I was like very busy with something else, and he was really enthusiastic to come up with a name and I said “you go for it”. He came up with some stuff that didn’t do, but Sinsaenum was like instantly “ok, let’s do this!”.
You’ve shot two videos for the “Echoes Of The Tortured” promotion. Any other future plans for Sinsaenum?
There might be a lyric video, that we might be working on, maybe together with Costine, who did the cover of the album. I love the work and what he’s done on the artwork it’s amazing. I didn’t want to give him too much direction, it was more like, “listen to the album, and see what you can come up with”. I’m glad that through the music he understood what we wanted to express. It’s been the same with everyone, the filming team called independence.film.hu. Glad they understood the vision, Jens Bogren choose the sound we wanted to have, Phillip who did the Sinsaenum logo the same thing. He sat down, I told him what I wanted, I said “listen to the music, and then we will discuss it”. Everyone was really enthusiastic during the process and the making of the album. I hope people can feel the actual passion and honesty behind each element of what we’ve been doing, that’s the case. Anyway, back to your question, lyric video, maybe another video, I’d like that but we’ll see, I’m gonna be busy with DragonForce as well, promo tour like I said, but it depends on everyone’s schedule, and we’re already working on a second album. I have riffs and I’m waiting for Joey and Heimoth to send me stuff as well. This band is very important to me, I dedicate it all my time all my energy. It’s my expression of my dark side, something I hadn’t been able to do with DragonForce. I want to express myself truly as a musician. Guitar is my real instrument, people say “DragonForce bassist turns guitarist”, it’s actually the other way around. I’m turned to bassist for the last ten years, but I’m a guitar player.
Didn’t the guys from Dragonforce do a black metal project back in the day, called Demoniac?
Yeah, right Demoniac. I didn’t like Demoniac. I always told Sam that I thought it was crap, cause it didn’t have distortion, it was too rock n roll. It’s funny a friend of mine saw them back in the day. he was drunk, he had a jack that was only one meter long, and spinned on the floor, it was horrible. I’m able to express a side of my personality that most people don’t really see. When I’m with DragonForce, I play bass and I’m smiling, cause the music is positive and it has a great energy to it. But that’s a part of me as well. We are now having a conversation, I’m not yelling at you, I’m a happy person, I go out with my girlfriend to have some food. But I’ve got negative feelings inside, and finally I’m able to express them with my main instrument. So therefore, Sinsaenum is here to last.
That was about it Fred, thank you so much for your time. You get to say the final words.
Well, thank you for the wonderful interview. I hope that people are going to enjoy “Echoes Of The Tortured” as much as we enjoyed doing it. I would love to play in Greece, because I’ve never played in Greece. Some of the guys in DragonForce have been. If I don’t come with Sinsaenum, I will come with my girlfriend just to walk around. The point is I’d love to perform in front of you guys. In the meantime, listen to the new album. It’s 21 songs, don’t be scared, it’s a journey. Try and listen to it from A to Z, like we did in the old days, and support metal in general.