Interview with Leif of Dew Scented
On Noverber 7th I had the opportunity of interviewing Aborted's guitarist Tace, Cryptopsy's vocalist Lord Worm, and Dew Scented's guitarist Leif at BB Kings in New York City. Leif was a very nice guy, very relaxed and willing to answer any questions I had for him. Also, he was very kind and made sure I got something to eat after the interview, I had not eaten since lunch. Overall, Leif was a very personable individual. Dew Scented is an amazing band and I would reccomend them to anyone and Leif is a very nice person and seems very approachable, any fan that would like to meet him, but is nervous, I reccomend you approach Leif. During a part of the interview, I noticed playing the tape back to myself, his accent rubbed off on me for a question or two. Anyway, the interview is as follows:
Savagebutcher: What are your expectations of this tour?
Leif: Well, actually, it's the first time we're properly touring America. We've been here before for festivals, but we've never toured coast to coast so we're expecting to finally meet a lot of people which is overdue. We're touring with really good bands, Decapitated and Vader, which are good friends of ours. We've toured with them before so it's going to be a challenge and in an adventure in a very positive way. The first show was really good; I'm looking forward to the next ones.
Savagebutcher: What was your favorite festival to play?
Leif: Well, we played the NJ Metal and Hardcore festival a couple years back, which was a really good date and Milwaukee Metal Fest was good for us.
Savagebutcher: Coming from Germany, what do you think of other German bands such as Rammstein?
Leif: Well, I like Rammstein, I'm not a big fan, but I like them. I think they're very special, they are making something very unique and are getting accepted worldwide which is obviously good for Germany. With other bands it depends on what side you're looking at because there is a very wide variety.
Savagebutcher: What is your take on the metal scene from when you were growing up?
Leif: It's changing every couple of years. Trends come and go, there's hype for certain of bands that disappears. Altogether, a lot of my favorite records were done in the mid- 80s. If somebody wants me to play a good record, I play some of those. There are a lot of great bands around, but there are different surroundings and ways of approaching it. For me, it's just been an evolution because we've been part of this for a long time. We started in 1992, so I don't really think about it.
Savagebutcher: Your band is quoted in Nuclear Blast's biography as trying to be "mysterious", care to elaborate?
Leif: I think that's a choice of labeling of the band name because Dew Scented is a very weird name for an English speaking person. They go "what the fuck, it's a thrash metal band, why the name?" It's a weird Edgar Allen Poe poetry term, it has a couple of twisted meanings, that's why we liked it and wanted to take it. We didn't want a cliché heavy metal name; we wanted something else that maybe makes you think about it. That's the mysterious part, we don't try to be mysterious, and we don't care. The choice of name is weird; we just didn't want something that would classify us in a certain genre so we could play death metal, power metal, and the name would work equally well and would fit the band.
Savagebutcher: Your upcoming album, "Issue VI" is your 6th album, how do you feel the band has evolved over the past 6 albums?
Leif: Hard to say, so many people and years involved, so many years involved. We just write and stick to our patterns, maybe become a little better, write more fluent songs.
Savagebutcher: Did you find it difficult to be "original" and not do something you've already done?
Leif: We've never tried to be original, that's probably the key to this band. We've always wanted to please ourselves by playing songs, writing thrash metal records, but we've never tried to be original. We've always tried to be just ourselves; some people try to be original and it sounds forced, it sounds wrong, that's not us. We just want to be happy with a song and it to other people, hopefully to be happy as well. We are just part of this (referring to the metal scene), we are trying to be anything special.
Savagebutcher: Having started 13 years ago, in 1992, how do you feel the band has evolved, personally and musically?
Leif: A lot. The funny thing about it, music in general, not just in metal, it keeps you young. When I started I was 15 and I'm 29 now, I still feel young, I still feel this was a matter of 2 years, but it was a matter of 13 years, which is amazing. I still get calls from my sister saying "You're still playing in a silly band!" I go "Yea", and I still get to see new places, meet new people, it's a challenge. I think it's been keeping everyone motivated and it's very good.
Savagebutcher: Dew Scented is labeled as being death/thrash metal, do you feel this suites the band?
Leif: Yes, death/thrash metal, that's what I would call it. I mean, I think we're playing a very "Sweden" type of thrash metal, but our influences are mainly from thrash metal with the brutality of death metal. Not too many bands are doing that which is good.
Savagebutcher: Having done your first 3 albums on Steamhammer/SPV records, how would you describe the change to Nuclear Blast?
Leif: It was a big time change! The first album was on Steamhammer/SPV, the second and third was on a one man label from Germany called Grind Syndicate Media. The first one on SPV was the only one that sucked dick for us, they gave us a break, they signed us, they released the debut, but they didn't believe in the band which we noticed after 3 months so we parted ways. Nuclear Blast has us being all over the place, worldwide with a whole team assigned to the band, we just re-signed to them as a matter of fact. We left the contracts in the post this morning, so they been the label. We have not been their biggest band, but they like us the way we are, they like the way we act, and I think they are the best support we could ask for.
Savagebutcher: You have used the same producer, Andy Classen, for your three Nuclear Blast releases (Grind Syndicate's parent label is Nuclear Blast), any particular reason?
Leif: Well, he was a good guy; he always produces some bands that we like. He used to play guitar in Holy Moses, which is an old school band from Germany. He knows his shit and he's introverted and very anal about what he's doing which is good, and we get along which is very important when you're doing an album. You have to get along with your producer and we wanted the same goal, we wanted to achieve the best possible record and that's why we stuck with him, we could always get better.
Savagebutcher: The band's name is said to come from Edgar Allen Poe, is this true and would you care to elaborate?
Leif: It was actually just taken from a miscellaneous piece of poetry and all of a sudden people started asking, "Why that name?" and were trying to justify it, which is wrong, because we simply wanted to have something neutral and far off from clichés. We didn't want to be called Abortedcryptopsy, just making fun of it now, those are two amazing bands and friends of mine, but we just initially wanted something that doesn't put the band in a certain corner, we wanted something that is open minded. We didn't know what we were going to do when we started as a couple of friends that were playing instruments and making music that we didn't what is was called. We didn't know whether the music was called metal, thrash, death, hardcore, so why limit ourselves by the band name. That's why we chose something that was enigmatic and different.
Savagebutcher: What are the plans after the tour?
Leif: Well, we just came off a European tour with Nevermore which is amazing. We are doing the U.S tour now with Vader. We are taking a couple of months off, just pretty much December, where we are doing some shows with just ourselves. January is going to be a couple shows, then we are going to write a couple new songs, February we have a 31 day European tour with Cryptopsy, Aborted, Grave, and some other bands, it should be a really good tour. We are going to record a new record by the late summer, do couple festivals. We just released the album in July so we're all over the place.
Savagebutcher: Any advice you give to an aspiring musician or someone looking to get into the business?
Leif: Try hard. It's a tough business, but it's very rewarding if this is what you like and this is what you love. Just try as hard as you can, do not give up, do not take the wrong advice, just follow your heart.
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