Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. To start things off, how did Pathogen begin and what did you want to create with the band?
In late 2000 I was pondering to form a death metal band to just maybe jam around, record a demo and then break up. At that point I was playing with my old band, Effluvium which is more of a thrash band some heavy metal influence and we have our first demo recorded and released earlier that year. But anyway, I talked with some friends who was playing in other local bands at that time, namely Alex Alfonso(Bass) and drummer Allan Hernandez. I talked them into playing some covers of some old death metal bands that I like. We started jamming on January of 2001 and almost immediately we came up and jammed on original riffs and planned to put them all together as songs which would comprise our first demo tape, ‘Invoking Disease’ and became a realization in July of 2001. We added another guitar player, Erwin Javier in March 2001 because from a musical standpoint, I thought two guitars sounded much heavier and we can do more interesting stuff such as harmonies and interlocking rhythms and such. And twelve years later, 3 albums, numerous demos, EP’s and split releases and line-up changes here we are in 2013. None of us expected we’d still be here making music. But perhaps all the effort our hard work in D.I.Y. self-promotion paid off! But were not about to rest on our laurels just yet because there’s still lot of hard work to be done in the coming days, months and years. Anyway, the main objective since the very beginning was to form a death metal band in the same lines as those classic death metal bands from the late 80’s and early 90’s and combine it with a little black, grind, thrash, and crust influences to create our own signature death metal sound.
Miscreants of Bloodlusting Abberations is not an actual new album per se, but a re-release (?) from 2010, is that correct and why the re-release?
“Micreants…” is actually Pathogen’s second album. We recorded it in 2009 and then released afterwards as a promo CD-r on our own and soon after we got offered a deal by a French label, Satanized Productions to release our album on a limited run cassette tape of about 300 copies, which surprisingly enough sold out in just a few months! We wanted ‘Miscreants…’ to be released on CD because at that time it was the best-sounding and most well-written material we have recorded. It would be a shame to just release it on tape with no real promotion at all because we worked really hard for the better part of 2008 and early 2009 in writing and scraping the cash together to record and put together the album that would be “Miscreants Of Blood lusting Aberrations”. Well, we’re not really 100% satisfied with the outcome of ‘Miscreants…” it could have been hell of a lot better had we have enough time for mixing the damned thing, but you know, comparing it with our first album, “Blasphemous Communion”, “Miscreants..” is way better and more coherent-sounding record. Reflecting back on it, “Blasphemous Communion” almost has a crust/D-beat vibe! You can even hear the mistakes and flaws. The difference between the two albums is like night and day! We went for that rough, very raw approach again for our third album, “Forged In The Crucible Of Death”(Old Temple Records, 2012), we just felt that we needed to go back to the very primal sound that we’re rooted in the past because it was our 10-year anniversary album.
How did you get connected with Dunkelheit? Do you plan on staying with Dunkelheit Produktionen for any further releases?
You know, sometimes things just happen in a very strange, unexpected way! After the tape release of ‘Miscreants…’ on Satanized Production, several record labels did offer us to get it released on a proper CD format, but nothing happened, so we just figured we would just have to make do with the CD-r version we released on our own and practically just traded them away to all the underground maniacs both locally and world-wide for the better part of 2010 up to 2012, We got hooked up with Bernd accidentally when we crossed paths though trading with his awesome band, Nacht in 2012. We sent him some Pathogen material and he really liked ‘Miscreants..’ so he offered us a deal for the CD release of the said album. Initially we had no idea that he was running Dunkelheit Produktionen until a little later when we struck the deal! They turned out to be a very professional company. All the hard work, obstacles and struggles we faced in creating and recording “Miscreants…’ paid off in a big way that none of us expected. It sure was well worth the 3 year wait of trying to find the right label to release it on CD! Anyhow, yes Dunkelheit would be releasing the next Pathogen album, which already is in the works. All the songs are already written and demoed in December last year. We are just working on the minute details of the songs such as the arrangements and such. We scheduled to record the fourth Pathogen album in the middle of this year. Dunkelheit really knows how promote their releases compared with other labels we’ve worked with!
I hate to ask about rumors and controversial stuff in interviews but what did really happen with the Blasphemous Communion re-release from your perspective?
It was basically a matter of us trying to spread our music world wide by getting our first album released on different record labels the reason mainly is because we’re not very satisfied about the promotions and distribution of the labels we’ve worked with before. Being a D.I.Y. underground band we never thought we needed any contracts with any of the independent record labels because they practically operate the same way as we do. “Blasphemous Communion” has actually 2 versions on CD-r one was released by Sewer Records, in Greece, and another version by Evil Dead Productions, Malaysia. 2 versions on tape by Carnal Sadist Productions, USA and also Evil Dead Productions, an LP version by Iron Bonehead Productions, Germany and much disputed CD versions released by the two labels who caused such a stir. But we never had any problems with those labels. They’re all cool to it except for the latter CD versions, because they really like our music and they have a true underground attitude of cooperation. But in hindsight, I believe the turmoil is all about return of investments and dominance of market shares-profits to put it bluntly. We understand that they put in a considerable amount of investment on our music and they want to at least break even but if they knew how to really promote their products then there would easily get a shitload of money from it. I remember that old advertising adage of ‘selling the sizzle and not the steak’. Nowadays, we ask for a contract or at least point clearly out our terms and conditions before we seal a deal just to prevent similar complications from arising in the future.
You recently did a split with Toxemia (not the Swedish Legends), is there anything you’d like to say about that split?
Yeah, we’ve planning that split release as early as 2005 and it finally came into fruition this year. We’ve known them for nearly a decade now. We have also freely collaborated with them, throughout the years. Vic and Erwin (Javier-former Pathogen guitarist) played and recorded demos with them during their crust/D-beat days, and I also contributed some guitar parts on their upcoming full-length album. The split entitled “Welcome To The Alcoholocaustic South-The Unholy Alliance” is very much a D.I.Y. underground release on CD-r in cooperation with the Italian labels, No Tomorrow and Human Discount Records on a very limited 50 copies! We have hoped they could release them on at least 100 copies, but they didn’t want to release that many I don’t know the exact reason, but perhaps they didn’t think we’re ‘marketable’ enough for them! Haha! But anyway, there will be a version of the split coming soon on tape through Mandarangan Records, USA. They will press about 100 copies I believe. And it should be out by May this year.
What are some of your metal influences, and what made you go in the death metal direction?
Metal has been a huge part of my life since I was 12. And perhaps it appealed to me because I was rebellious and I didn’t have a sense of direction. I practically grew up in a very poor working class neighborhood I have nothing to look up or to look forward to I hated school, I hated the jocks, I hated the ‘straight A’ students and I disdained authority and they hated my music and my style and everything about me. Hahaha! My parents generally disapprove of me playing music. They want me to become more, uhh…’respectable’-whatever the fuck that means! I had no real social group in my high school years so I ended up with a similar bunch of friends, the laggers basically. Anyway, I totally identified with the aggression, darkness and anger of metal bands because it reflected the kind of existence that I was subjected in-boredom, uncertainty, hopelessness and frustration. After cutting my teeth with the more readily available music of big metal bands, such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Anthrax and some punk rock, I started getting into more extreme musical forms, grind, thrash, doom black and death metal and it became my addiction ever since. I spent much of what little cash I had into buying cassettes of bands such as Winter, Napalm Death, Entombed, Benediction, Monstrosity, Samael, Celtic Frost, Voivod, Goatlord-everything that I can get my hands into! They ruled my world! By the time I was 17 I started building overseas contacts and doing my own fanzine Synapse in 1997 which later became Dead Reckoning in 2002. I also formed a band in 1996 called Effluvium which a couple of school friends-which later became Negatron and we broke up in 2005 but it was more thrash/heavy metal oriented band. I have always wanted to form a death metal band early on but I find it very hard to find suitable band members who really are into that kind of music and musically skilled enough to execute that particular metal style. It took several years for me to find the right people, but I personally never expected that we’d be able the things we do now, you know, write music, release albums, etc… Back then I was happy enough to just some make noise with my guitar and probably record a shit –sounding demo.
What can you say about the present and near future for Pathogen?
To be perfectly honest, we’re at a time when everything we’ve ever worked so hard and sacrificed for in the past are all starting to pay off. Things are looking bright for us, for the first time in our careers! It actually felt quite strange when many great things are starting to happen! It’s hard to believe sometimes because we used to only dream about such things as kids. I can only hope for better things in the near future. We’ve always had a very blue collar work ethic when it comes to our music maybe because this is the only thing we have. Death Metal is our calling! We found a sense of purpose and direction from this music. It’s always been our love and passion for all things metal that kept us going even during our darkest times when everything looked bleak and hopeless. I’d just put on a great metal record and it everything in the world seemed alright and it gives us the strength to face all the challenges every day!
I thank you for your time, is there anything that you’d like to say in closing?
Thanks for the interview and your support as well. And also a big horns up all our comrades world-wide who stood by our side from the very beginning! You are the metal kings!