ILLDISPOSED has been a band longer than some metalheads have been alive. And the release of latest album With the Lost Souls on Our Side shows that there is no chance of stopping these guys anytime soon. Guitarist Jakob Batten was good enough to answer some of our questions here at A&GS via e-mail. So take a look and see what’s what:
Amps: What was your approach and mindset when you set about making this, your 13th album?
Jakob: We wanted to look back at the beginning of our career. To have a more organic and brutal approach to our songwriting.
Amps: How much time was spent on the writing and recording? Did everyone come in with demos, or did you guys jam and work things out that way?
Jakob: We spent almost a year, maybe ten months. I wrote seven songs and Ken wrote three. We’re living quite far away from each other so we’re writing the songs at home. It’s a comfortable way of working, actually.
Amps: Overall, how do you feel With the Lost Souls on our Side is different from past works?
Jakob: I think the songwriting has improved a lot. Unimportant parts have been cut away. And the production is one of the best we ever had.
Amps: Do you have a favorite song or songs? “The Way We Choose” and “Light in the Dark” are definitely mine, though I love the whole record.
Jakob: Funny, these two songs are my favorite songs too. In the beginning I was worried if “Light in the Dark” was too cheesy, but it turned out to be a really catchy and powerful track.
Amps: The album’s been out close to two months now. What kind of feedback are you getting?
Jakob: A lot of great feedback, and a bit of bad feedback. It’s always like that. People have got different musical taste, fortunately.
Amps: What have you learned after 15 years in this band? Both good and not-so-good?
Jakob: I have learned that it’s a tough business where many people want to take advantage of your work. You’ll need to be as much a businessman as musician. Be careful what you accept. Be skeptical whenever someone is making you an offer. On the bright side I’ve learned that making music, being creative, is adding so much substance to a world that often seems completely meaningless.
Amps: What are the tour plans? Do you guys have a U.S. run in you?
Jakob: We will be touring Europe in November. We’ve been trying to get something established in the U.S. a couple of times, but it always ends up in some pay-to-play deal. And that is not something we wanna do. We might just need the right contact over there, I don’t know. We haven’t been really lucky concerning the U.S. so far.
Amps: What would you say to a young kid picking up the guitar for the first time?
Jakob: Don’t drop it. No, I would probably tell him the importance of working hard. Most kids these days seem to think that when they pick up a guitar and form a band, everything’s just coming their way. But the music industry is more than just X-Factor and shit like that. It’s all about working hard. And I think that’s why many of the newer bands are giving up when they’re not famous within five years. At least that’s how it is here in Denmark. We’re just a handful of bands left who have been around for 15+ years and still maintaining our success.
Amps: Tell me your favorite guitar riff and solo. The one that makes you stop everything when you hear it.
Jakob: Uh, that’s hard. I prefer riffs and solos where you can feel exactly how the person felt when playing it. I think Mikael Aakerfeldt of OPETH is making some really interesting stuff, both when it comes to riffs and solos. And Steven Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE. But I can’t point out exactly what’s best.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the ILLDISPOSED fans out there in the world?
Like I said, ILLDISPOSED has been going for a while. And with this, album number 13, sky’s the limit for them. If you don’t know them, make it a point to. Pick up a copy of With the Lost Souls on Our Side. It’s straightforward, hard-driving death metal with some really cool twists. Trust me, you won’t be sorry!
LIVE PHOTO: PIRATES INC.