|Alright metalheads, with "Formation of Damnation" behind us, a re-recorded "Bonded by Blood" coming soon and "Death Magnetic" taking the world by storm, we can certainly find enough space in our hearts for Argentina's Jesus Martyr, right? Who? Okay, their name might not be very intimidating or well-known but with a Thrash Metal revival sweeping the globe today, Jesus Martyr rightfully stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Evile, Gama Bomb, Hatchet, Merciless Death, and Toxic Holocaust, even if they've been at the Thrash game earlier than most. Besides, if you're anticipating hot new shit from Destruction, Trivium, and Legion of the Damned, then their new album, "The Black Waters," deserves quality time on your playlist. Containing Jesus Martyr's brand of "God Hates Us All" meets "Through the Ashes of Empire" kick-you-in-the-crotch Thrash Metal, "The Black Waters" is the band's most potent release to date. Answering Maximum Metal's questions minutes after getting out of bed, guitarist and founding member Martin Furian talks about the new album, life on the road, and a real life Jurassic Park.|
Hello Jesus Martyr, What were you busy with before you started this interview?
|'if you are really true to yourself and your band and do things honestly, nice things happen, even those you never planned or dreamt of'|
Martin: Hi there! I was just sleeping. I work as a live sound tech for a band and we played in the north of Holland yesterday and came back pretty late. So I made it a point to get some badly needed rest!
How are the guys in the band doing?
M: The band is doing great, we are very excited with "The Black Waters" being released in Europe right now via Rusty Cage Records. Our label is doing a great job; we feel very supported and respected. I'm currently not playing in the band because I live in Belgium and the rest of Jesus Martyr are in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I join them whenever I can but I'm also capable of taking care of many other aspects connected with the band, such as managing it in Europe and of course composing songs and stuff. It's a weird experience after playing together for so long, but its also rewarding and I'm expecting things to work out fine soon.
What sets "The Black Waters" apart from your previous records? And how has its reception been so far? Will you be touring more for this album?
M: It was great to compose "The Black Waters." I think it has something from all our previous releases. I love all the songs on the album and people react to them really well in the live setting. We are getting lots of new fans from all over the world with everybody having their own favorites. Jesus Martyr is a band that always combines a lot of influences and still does. It's the same with every album we release.
Did the recording and writing ever become intense or did you all just relax and work at a reasonable pace?
M: It went pretty smoothly, we had lots of songs demoed and there was a time that we just decided to gather the ones we considered the best and start recording them. We could go to a studio of a friend to record drums and then we went to our rehearsal place for recording all the rest. We took our time so there was no stress, and focused on giving our best performance. When we had it finished, we thought it was a great album and we decided that it needed a very good mix. So we contacted producer Ziggy Siegfredsen in Denmark and he mixed and mastered it. It was great to work like that and I think we will follow this direction in the future.
Does Jesus Martyr have specific themes for its songs? Care to explain them?
M: Jesus Martyr gets inspiration from many sources. I like to write lyrics, some of which I consider mental trips I like to take, and for "The Black Waters" I had lots of ideas. They come from everyday life, my own experiences, trips I take, basically anything. Like this place I went to in Argentina, Valle de la Luna. It's this enormous natural reserve where you can find dinosaur skeletons and fossils that have been there for millions of years. It's so impressive to see these things there and realize that the world has been through so many stages and we humans are just another event in the history of our universe, when we actually think we'll be here forever. Visiting that place was a lesson that compels you to not take anything for granted, proving how you can exist in the present but vanish completely the following day. This is what "The Black Waters" are, they are the end of it all and from there, new life will turn up, because that's what it's all about. One of the songs on the album, "Moonvalley," was written there. Its main riff came to my mind while looking at fossils and imagining the life that was living in that very same place 60 million years ago. I actually composed the whole song almost completely in my head at Valle de la Luna. It was really exciting. I had no guitar, nothing to play it or record it on, so I just burnt it in my brain and 15 days later I was able to play exactly what I had in mind. Just Google "Valle de la Luna" and check it out, and if you can ever visit it, do so.
I also enjoy writing about an apocalyptic worldwide revolt. The idea has been in my head for a long time now and I wrote about it on the songs "Breathless," "Seed of Evil" and "High at the Holy City"." I've visualized such an event in so many different ways that I just keep on writing about it.
How extensive is the band's popularity across Latin America? Can you name some of the countries Jesus Martyr has played in?
M: Argentina is an enormous country and we've played everywhere we could in our homeland. The audiences in our shows are usually composed of people who are into extreme music whether they're young, old, boys, and girls, whatever. You get different reactions. Some of them just stay put and watch, but there's also a violent pit since there's no rule prohibiting one! We have toured Brazil four times and are well respected in that country. We also did our first concerts in Chile this year. Jesus Martyr is an underground cult band here in South America and we have fans everywhere. Our albums have been released in Brazil, Bolivia, and Mexico in local editions and our music gets closer to all the metalheads there. We've also toured in Portugal, Spain, Islas Canarias, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania, and Denmark. We've played heavily everywhere we could since 1995. Our "best-kept secret" can be having a nice record label backing us but that's not entirely true. We are an active band and get new fans everyday. We just play to them anywhere as much as possible and make the band bigger everyday. These fans don't keep our music for themselves and spread the word around. They share it and make the band grow everyday and we receive a lot of support from them.
Has the name of your band ever confused people? Making them think you're something else and when they hear your music they shit their pants?
M: Hahahaha! It's a weird name and we get all kinds of reactions about it. Sometimes people think we're a Christian band, while others believe we're Satanists. We are just Jesus Martyr and when you start to release albums you put your music and lyrics in the hands of people, and they basically do whatever they want with it. I'm okay with people's misconceptions about us. I actually like it.
What other albums are you digging right now? And is "Death Magnetic" something you're looking forward to?
M: I'm listening to a lot of Meshuggah in general. My palylist now also includes High on Fire, Behemoth, and the latest Motorhead, which is just great! I also listen to a lot of different music as I like discovering new styles. These days I'm very open minded towards all kinds of music because there's a looooot of nice stuff to listen to! About "Death Magnethic" (which I'm listening to at the moment!): Yes, I was looking forward to it because I'm a big Metallica fan, especially of their older stuff. I saw them live in Worchester last year and it was great. I think "Death Magnetic" is the best they've done since the Black Album and I'm happy that they are back to their sound from the old times. Long live Metallica!
Let's discuss one of your favorite bands, Machine Head. How do you think are the guys in that band ever going to top "The Blackening"? Will they lie low for five years before ever recording again?
M: I'm really not the one to talk about this. But I think Machine Head is just an incredible band and they will do basically what they feel like and surely deliver more great albums. I don't care about the way they do it. For me, they are a big influence in every way.
A lot of great metal bands definitely play shows in your country. Which have been the most memorable for you over the years?
M: There's Machine Head in 1994; Pantera in 1993; Sepultura and Slayer anytime they come over; Metallica's first time in Buenos Aires; Iron Maiden first time there as well; Fear Factory in 2006; Obituary in 1992; Black Sabbath in 1994; Kiss... Wow man, there are just too many. Those I mentioned so far were all fantastic shows! There's also Ronnie James Dio in 2006 and Anathema that same year. In those two I had the privilege to be working for the bands and it was an experience I will never forget. Argentina has an excellent audience and concerts are usually very special. I see lots of gigs in Europe now but the atmosphere in South America is just wilder.
When you're watching a show instead of playing one, do you like to mosh?
M: It depends. I'm always around the pit. I like to enjoy concerts the way I feel at that moment. But I went to some concerts lately like Mastodon, Carcass, and Meshuggah. I just wanted to see the bands and enjoy them since it was the first time to watch them live. I didn't want to miss any second of it. But I went to a great concert with Obituary and Napalm Death last year and I just moshed all the way!
After so many years playing the music you want and sticking to your standards, has Jesus Martyr ever taken shit from anybody?
M: It doesn't matter what you do, you get shit all the time and anywhere. If you play in a band, become a doctor, a lawyer, or a student; there are always shitty people that deliver shit! We basically don't care about what others think of us. We play because we enjoy it and we do it honestly. If people like it, it's great. If they don't like it, it's great too. We are relaxed guys.
Have you fulfilled all your musical aspirations with Jesus Martyr?
M: Personally, all the dreams I had with the band were accomplished. We wanted to tour, release albums and just play music. We still do all three and we get a lot of satisfaction out of that. As long as we enjoy it, we'll do it. Because the truth is, there aren't many things that really depend on you. Okay, you can have some goals and go for them, try to them happen... But with time I learned that if you are really true to yourself and your band and do things honestly, nice things happen, even those you never planned or dreamt of. I like it better that way and I believe in it.
What were the band's origins like? Were you all friends for a long time? Who met whom? And when did you first jam your own songs?
M: It just happened, I started the band with drummer Guillermo Gomez, then Bruno Nasute (vocalist) joined us, I got to know him via a friend of mine. Then many people came and went and it's not worth mentioning them. We did good things, released demos, our first album, composed lots of great music and toured, blahblahblah. Then, there was a big line up change and our roadie at that time, Sebastian Barrionuevo, joined us on guitars. We became close friends because of the band and it has been a long time really. I consider the guys my brothers and I have lived most of my life with them. Though we are now separated, I expect that we'll be together soon. We just started Jesus Martyr with our determination to become a tight, well playing, extreme metal band. We did it and are still doing it, and the cool thing about it is that we're just getting better and better.
(The current Jesus Martyr lineup is Bruno Nasute on vocals; Sebastian Barrionuevo and Martin Furian on guitars; Eduardo Turco on the drums)
Thank you for this opportunity Jesus Martyr. Is there anything else you're looking forward to for today?
M: Thank you for spreading our name, I liked the interview. My day now? I'm going to play some guitar and enjoy the rest of it. You see I don't make plans, hehehehehe. All the best to everybody that read this interview and keep it fucking brutal!
Band Link: www.jessmartyr.com
--Hail and Kill