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28/03/2008 – Interview with MADE OF HATE

When you think of Polish Metal there are at least these three bands that come to mind: BEHEMOTH, VADER and DECAPITATED. Yet there's also more Melodic material to be found, such as the Progressive RIVERSIDE. One that really caught my attention is MADE OF HATE (official website), who mix aggressivity with melody in vein of CHILDREN OF BODOM, but they're not a clone at all. Last February they released their debut album, "Bullet In Your Head", via AFM Records. The review of the album can be found at this location.

I liked this new release a lot and was keen to know more about MADE OF HATE and their music, plus of course some other things, as usual. I was meant to send the questions not too late after the release date, but due to circumstances it was last week, on the 27th of March that I finally managed to do so. Great was my surprise to find the answers back in my inbox 24 hours later. Mastermind/vocalist/guitarist Michal Kostrzynski was very kind to reply to my 'shortlist' of questions, not only in a short time, but also speaking/typing freely and not as if it was a drag to do. Well, I don't know if it really was a drag, hahaha, but as punctual and fast he works on the music, it seems he DOES do it for other things, too. Anyhow, have a nice read and be sure to check out the band and "Bullet In Your Head".

Made Of Hate logo

First of all, congratulations with "Bullet In Your Head". Despite some similarities with, for example, CHILDREN OF BODOM, I found the album quite refreshing and very interesting on a musical level. The album has now been out since many weeks and the signs of boredom are far to seek, since there's a good dose of catchiness in several songs. How satisfied are you with the end result and is there something you wanted to be different, but due to budget or time reasons it couldn't be done anymore?

First of all, thanks for kind introduction. As for the record, we can't be more satisfied. Considering our budget and our possibilities at that particular moment we really have no regret, maybe except having only few hours of touring the neighborhood of the studio location. *laughs* But seriously, we are proud of the final result and we wouldn't change anything. When we entered the Zed Studio we actually had no ultimate vision. That gave us freedom of choices and it resulted with what you can buy in the music store - our debut album "Bullet In Your Head".

Made Of Hate - MikeHow did the recording process go? It seems all work was done before entering the studio, plus you finished the job in one week or 7 days. Other bands take several weeks/months for this. What's your secret?

Yeah, our session took only seven days. In the meantime we had like half a day off and we went to visit nearby ruins of an old castle. We had a little knight fight with some sticks and dirt. We had a lot of fun between recordings. But those seven days were enough to accomplish our goals. It's important to point it out that there was no rush and hurry in the recording process. It's jut how we roll. We were well prepared and we knew what to expect from ourselves. I think the secret is always in the details. Preparation and proper motivation is the key. But as for other bands that used to stay in studio for few weeks or even months, they first of all can afford it, secondly they spend a lot of time on composing the songs... if I'm not wrong that would explain their long sessions. I rather don't think they have problems with playing.

You also are very punctual and precise. I read in the press text that you checked every single note, every track. This must be quite and undertaking, especially if all goes well and all of a sudden you find a small error. How much time goes into this and is this punctuality also present in other things you do, outside music even?

Music is the most important think to me so I pay a lot of attention to it. It's true, I checked every single note during the recording. I just listened to every track while someone or me was playing. It's not that hard if you can listen to the music, but it had to be done to get all harmonies clear and fine. All errors were immediately corrected. It just needed to be as perfect as possible, because everyone expects from music to be perfectly done. Do I pay so much attention to other things than music? Well, rather not, but I pay a lot of different attention to girls, but it's obvious. My music, or music in general is something that I really want to be shining and striking. So I'm some sort of perfectionist when it comes to writing music, listening to the music and recording music. All that music... *laughs*

Lots of attention for instrumental moments. Is that something you think is missing nowadays? That the instruments should be given more focus instead of adding vocals everywhere?

That's exactly what I think. These days you have full spectrum of vocals, but the most important part of music, or I'd say the music, has less attention. It's wrong, in my opinion. Music has to be heard and it has to be really good. I'm more instrumentalist than vocalist, so maybe I think differently, but I really need my music to be the first what attracts you. This way or another, instrumental parts are really important for me, but I don't want to say that I don't care about vocals. They are also important, but the thing is not to lose the idea. Vocals in proper proportion and in the right place may be really amazing. That's why we have vocals. *laughs*

The guitarsound reflects that of classical composers' music. Did you grow up with this music? Were your parents a sort of inspirational source?

No, my parents haven't been into music that way. I actually grew up listening to 80s and 90s Heavy Metal acts. In fact, some of them used to take from classical music and I think I've started to dig in the classical music since I got MALMSTEEN's "Trial By Fire" album in my hands. Then it all started to roll really fast and I realized that classical music is my best inspiration ever. I actually didn't end only at listening to classical music, but I also started to study it on Warsaw University. Now I'm a licensed musicologist and if everything goes well I'll graduate from the second level of my study this year, but I won't go further, I know exactly enough. *laughs* All in all the conclusion is that I really like classical music, but I still have a Rock'n'Roll soul.

Bullet In Your Head coverWhat are the lyrics about? Where do you draw inspiration from? And how does it all connect to the cover art?

Well, lyrics are basically about some superior and basic emotions. Actually about negative emotions like hatred, desire for revenge and paying back, regret of trusting wrong person. Some other songs are about life as it is, about stepping into grown world, an adult stuff that young man has to face, about addiction. Two other songs are stories. One is a romantic vision of passing away and the second is drown from video game. It's about the world after being nuked, where the only important thing is to try to survive in unpleasant and hostile place. I think that most of songs are about that desire to revenge I mentioned before and the cover art is the best illustration of the idea. A human skull with a bullet hole in the middle explains everything and it's also a good looking poster. *laughs*

The album was recorded at Zed Studios. What kind of place is this? Is this a well-known studio in Poland?

Zed Studio is actually a small piece of space located it the attic over the garage. I think that more important than a place is a person who runs it. It's Tomek Zed Zalewski and in my opinion he is the most talented sound engineer in Poland. Of course when it comes to metal. He is getting some attention among rock and metal bands in Poland, but the disadvantage of the really small place is really bad. Anyway, the whole so-called studio is located next to the forest complex and it's on the country side at southern region of our country. A really relaxing and calm place. The best place to make dreadful Heavy Metal. *laughs* However, I wish you Zed to spread a little you little cottage. *laughs*

Writing lyrics or composing music: which is your first or preferred priority?

I think the answer is already clear: composing music, of course. I play a lot on my guitar and I have tons of ideas, so it's always my first step. I think, if I started with lyrics, I would write some kind of progressive suite or something. I'm used to writing the music at first. Basically because it's the process I do all the time. I don't write lyrics so often, but I compose music all the time. So music first, lyrics later.

About the deal with AFM: were they one of the many labels you sent a demo/promo to or was it at one of your gigs that the first contacts were established?

Both answers aren't hundred percent correct. In fact, we were rather small manufacturerers when we sent the cd to labels. I would say we sent like 5 packages in general. We were lucky, because AFM came in really quick and we suddenly realized we were talking the same language. So I believe we were very lucky with the label. Of course it took some time, time without sleep and being under stress but now we can breath more easily. From the beginning, AFM were more like friends than label guys to us. We are really happy we are together.

Going a bit back in time: How was the band formed and what's the idea behind the name Made Of Hate?

Well, before MADE OF HATE was brought to life, some of us had previous musical experiences and history connected all of us back in time. After some time we realized that were actually subconsciously creating something new and with clear goals and proper attitude. All in all in 2006 we decided to put the pieces together and focus on that new thing. It's funny, but actually after the cd was ready we named ourselves MADE OF HATE. Picking the name these days is really hard, because a lot of names are in use and we had to find something unique. We decided to go with MADE OF HATE, because it's a cool name plus it shows that we have a lot of distance to what we do. This name also underlines the emotions that you can find in our lyrics. So the journey started in 2006, but MADE OF HATE as a band has been alive since 2007.

Made Of Hate band picture 2008Are you all self-taught musicians or did you take lessons?

We are all definitely self-learners. Only Tom spent some time in a drumschool, but it was after he actually learned how to play. Anyway, we came where we are only by ourselves. As for me, I've been too poor to have lessons. But now it's me who is teaching. *laughs*

Regarding your influences, does it come from bands like CHILDREN OF BODOM, classical music, ...?

Bands like MOZART and BACH suit here perfectly. *laughs*. Yeah, the main influence is classical music, but as I mentioned I have grown up with rock and metal acts from 80s and 90s and they still are my great inspirations. To name some more important ones: METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, MALMSTEEN, KAT, JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT , AC/DC, IRON MAIDEN, and then some modern ones like DREAMTHEATER, IN FLAMES, NEVERMORE, LAMB OF GOD and a wide variety of guitarists who are indeed my big influences. I also listen to jazz, funk and pop music. No boundaries at all, but the selection is really picky. I listen only to stuff I really look for and rocks me inside out.

Polish Metal = mainly Death and Black, like BEHEMOTH, VADER, DECAPITATED, ... MADE OF HATE seems to be a fresh welcome. What else is worth checking out and do you have bands that play 'lighter' Metal like Heavy, Power, Progressive?

Yeah, the Polish metal scene is almost a hundred percent into the brutal metal acts you just mentioned. I don't want to call it like this, but for some in our homeland we are a big surprise. As for lighter bands, well, you probably know RIVERSIDE, a smooth and Progressive band who supported DREAM THEATER in 2006 on their tour around Europe. What else? Well, I don't know anything particular. Lately I've been more into promotion and I just had no time to check out on underground.

How are songs born in MADE OF HATE? Does it always start with you or can everyone suggest ideas, after which you put it all together and see what can be done?

I'm the mastermind of MADE OF HATE. I always write all sections, all tracks and guys just have to learn it and play well or I'll start to not being nice. *laughs* I'm lucky, because guys accepted this way of working. I have full freedom of writing and arranging. Together we only check out the final overview. The rest is for me. But the other guys are welcome with their ideas. If it matches my vision I'll take it, but it's really rare and 99,99 percent of composing is my area. That's how we do it, that's how I do it.

Labels get often criticized for charging too much for a CD, not supporting bands enough, but on the other hand bands need an intermediate person/organization to supply the finances for a proper recording studio, to do the promotion, the distribution, etc... What's your view on this? How much do you value labels?

Labels are really important these days. Back in the 80s you could actually do everything on your own, but now everything it's just too complicated and labels are the ones who know how to play in this business world. Plus, let's get it straight: bands can't do all promotion stuff like labels, because in most cases they don't know the people. Labels do know them. This way it's easier. Besides, I know some bands from Poland that decided to do everything without anybody's help. They actually achieved nothing and ended up being broke.

I guess each of you has a different taste in Metal. Who likes what and does this have an impact on the writing/composing process?

Well, Tom is more into modern metal acts, he actually listens a lot of bands. The recent ones are IN FLAMES, LAMB OF GOD and DREAM THEATER. Jarek is a huge fan of CRADLE OF FILTH and ARCH ENEMY. Radek sticks to IN FLAMES, DREAM THEATER and MEGADETH. Lately I'm more into DREAM THEATER, IN FLAMES, MEGADETH and also classical music. As I explained before, I'm dealing with composing, so the question is how all those music styles I listen to influence my own music. I believe the answer is that I pick up all I like form all genres of music I listen to. But basically...well it's up to you what you get. It's based on your creativity and ideas. Anyway, I think I actually don't get too close to draw inspiration in the way I described. I think it's much more personal and sometimes the 'train of thought' when I compose breaks all conventions and I like it that way. So, it may be really random and unexpected sometimes.

"Bullet In Your Head" is just out, but have you already thought about the follow-up, maybe even have draft stuff ready?

It's really too early to talk about new stuff, but I admit that I have something written on paper. I have three new songs done, but still have some questions about the final look. Anyway, I would love to talk about our next album, but after it's done and recorded. I bet we will start from here in the next interview. *laughs* (Note from Tim: I'll have to keep that in mind. :-))

Made Of Hate band picture 2008Tour plans: just Poland or will you go abroad?

I'd say we are more into playing abroad than in Poland. We want to be an internationally known band, so we will do everything that is possible to appear abroad asap. We got some offers, but it's all depending on our sales and in general on the reception of our "Bullet In Your Head" album. If it's good, we will tour everywhere we can. Some answers will come soon, I hope, and we will announce some dates to our fans through MySpace site. Just stay put.

If you could pick one or more bands to tour with, would you seek similar bands or try for a diverse package? Which bands would then be on your list?

I'd love to play with such bands like DREAM THEATER, IN FLAMES, IRON MAIDEN or LAMB OF GOD. Actually, after a while of thinking I could name lots of bands I'd like to support. If I had to choose one, well, it would require at least a bottle of Jack Daniels to make up my mind. *laughs* There are just too many teams that in fact are our dream headliners. But someone says dreams come true, so I'll better keep my fingers crossed.

Speaking of gigs: how easy is it to play in Poland, to get gigs, promotion, ...?

Playing in Poland is rather easy, if you have a money to lose. The biggest problem with the Polish metal scene is that underground bands have to be on their own from the top to the end. There is no support for bands and promotion just sucks big time. Not if it's a band like BEHEMOTH or VADER, otherwise it's really bad. I hope it's getting better soon, because my friends from other countries tell me that it's not that bad abroad. I say, if you have money to cover all expenses, you can go, but you can be really surprised how bad clubs can be. Of course there are some good ones too. I'm not that familiar with managing gigs, but as a musician I can say that sometimes it's really hardcore to play in Poland. A few years ago I remember playing on a 2 square meter stage or playing open-air on the basketball field. But then I remember the big stages and a superb organization. Poland is a diverse country after all.

Is MADE OF HATE your only band or do any of you also play in other bands?

No, we don't play in other bands. We are serious about MADE OF HATE and we want to do everything we can for this band. Other musical efforts would distract attention to our band. We all think that it's better to do one thing at a time, otherwise don't do anything at all. We are focused on MADE OF HATE and we are happy about that.

What else keeps you occupied when not making music? (jobs, hobbies, ...)

Tom and Radek have their jobs to earn for living. Me and Jarek study. I study musicology and Jarek Polish studies. As for hobbies I say that our hobby is sport, mainly football. Jarek would kill me if I didn't mention that he has a thing with aquaria. *laughs* He's insane. What else? I'd say video games from time to time, but there's actually a little less time to have a decent hobby. Music exploits our time a lot.

How do you keep your voice in shape?

Well, I have a rehearsal three times a week and that gives me enough charge on my throat. Plus some alcohol from time to time really keeps strings inside in good mood. It's actually well-known phenomenon that on a day after some good partying your vocals are the best ever. Anyway, I try to sing every time I have a rehearsal. I also try not to get a cold or something, because it brings you back to shaping your voice. All in all, I just train.

That's it for me. Many thanks for replying and good luck with MADE OF HATE. Final words are for you. :-)

Thank you very much for this great interview! I appreciate the interest in my band and I hope I brought your readers a little closer to MADE OF HATE. If this last words may finally convince you to get your hands on our "Bullet in Your Head" album, I promise you won't regret it. Taste it, buy it, love it. I hope to see you guys soon on tour! Thanks once again and rock on!

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