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02/12/2010 – Interview with MADE OF HATE

Anno 2008 the Polish Metal band MADE OF HATE (official website) released its debut album, "Bullet In Your Head". The music was similar, in a way, to that of CHILDREN OF BODOM, but MADE OF HATE made sure their material worth checking out with or without comparing to other bands. And so they got a support slot for IRON MAIDEN and a bunch of other gigs. Two years later, the sophomore album is out under the title "Pathogen". The review of the album can be found at this location.

I liked the first album quite a lot, but was a bit suprised to see/hear that guitarist Mike Kostrzynski stepped down as lead vocalist (though he continues as backing vocalist) and concentrate on guitar. In turn, rhythm guitarist Radek Polrolniczak took up the microphone and left his guitar for what it is. His voice is lower than Mike's screams and thus it takes time to adjust, to get used to this new sound. The music remained recognisable and yet Mike did not make a second "Bullet In Your Head". Several things happened and there's a new album, hence an interview was to be done. Mainman Mike Kostrzynski was again the person to contact.

Made Of Hate logo

Last time you said you already had material ready for the follow-up of "Bullet In Your Head", i.e. "Pathogen". Does that explain why the new album sounds so similar to the first? And how much work was there still needed from that point on?

Well, as we spoke last time we had already started writing new stuff. We hadn't had too much of it though, so later on we focused on writing a little more. I had a lot of ideas and most of my work was based on choosing the right directions in developing the melodies and songs in general. I don't actually think that "Pathogen" is similar to "Bullet In Your Head". As I assume there is our style factor involved. In my opinion there are some huge differences between those two albums, yet there is a common bottom line, which is actually our style and trademark. All I mean by that is a particular way of guitar lines, solos and leads. But that's pretty much my point of view, I'm guitarist after all.

Made Of Hate - MikeYou stepped down as vocalist (you did sing/scream some backings) to focus on the guitar. Why is that?

As I mentioned, originally I'm a guitarist and playing guitar is what actually makes me happy and fulfilled. On the other hand, I found my limits in singing and those were unacceptable for me. I managed to do my best with "Bullet In Your Head" and I knew that new album must be better than the previous one. I also knew that vocals were the weakest link in the chain and we decided to make a change. Even though it was a big step I was very happy about that, because I finally could focus on the guitar in the way I always wanted. Now I can go mad on the fretboard and use more advanced techniques and equipment. I found out that this change made me a little more focused on the sound of the band. I didn't realize many things before I actually stepped down from singing. Anyway, just as you mentioned, I do sing on "Pathogen". There are my screams and clean singing. Some choruses are duos, which is pretty amazing to do now. We can make complex vocal lines if we want to. Basically this change gave us more perspective and possibilities. Radek can do sick stuff with his vocal live. Plus he works on developing the singing as we speak so he's gonna be better and better.

In turn, Radek put his guitar aside and took up the microphone. In itself, a respectable decision, but why not have him do both? I mean, this will some problems live, no? Also, will he then sing the old songs as well?

There are few sides of that decision. First and the most important is based on the shape of the band. Someone said that band needs two guitarists if one can't play well enough to keep it up. It's pretty funny, yet accurate in many cases. As I stepped down from singing I focused more on guitar. It was natural to go with one guitar. A matter of evolution I guess. There is a pretty amazing number of great bands using one guitar and they sound and do great! For example you have OZZY and DREAM THEATER. I don't mean to follow their lead, we just like the band shape now. On the other hand, Radek doesn't play guitar anymore due to his quite complex vocal lines. They are off the actual rhythm and notes in many cases so there will be problems with mixing it live and we don't want to make something we can't do great live. As easy as that. As for the old songs he will also sing them. I have my lines, he has his and everything is really fine now.

From what I read on your Myspace blog where each track is commented on, the general theme is that of serial killers. How did you get to work, lyrically? Read several websites, articles, etc..?

Oh, this is a way bigger than you expect. I like the idea of serial killer. I've read a lot about it, watched many documentary movies as well as some drama movies, series, etc. I've also read some since essays about the psychology, psychopathology and behavior of killers. It's an endless source of ideas and questions. I thought that this theme suits great for the new album. One night I had this push to write all those lyrics and they came out quite quick. I have no specific way of writing lyrics, yet some of the lines are really fine to me. I think that for the first time I'm at least a bit proud and happy with the lyrics. They are way deeper and more...personal to me as they all have the second bottom. That feature makes them really close to me. Of course, I didn't kill anybody if that's what you thought. :-)

In addition, if you write the music first and then the lyrics, you must already have had certain (lyrical) elements in mind to write the right music for this, no?

Some of the ideas are in my head when I write music. They are basically vocal lines or at least while I'm writing music I know where I want vocals. That's how I do the job. That way I can compose solid riffs for vocals and more complex stuff in between. That's at least my modus operandi.

Pathogen coverHow does the cover then link with the songs?

Pretty much amazing! Together with Claudio Bergamin we spoke many times about the cover. It was so great since we both had almost the same idea from the very first scratch. He is also into the theme of serial killer and it was a pleasure to work together. Cover basically represents a moment of a ritual of a kill. It's sick, mysterious and scary. The best word to describe it is disturbing. The cover stands for the serial killer theme from our lyrics. It's exactly how I imagined "Pathogen" should look like. I just can't wait to get the merchandise done with those graphics and ideas. That's gonna be awesome!

The title track sounds different than the others, in that it's more Heavy Metal than Melodic Thrash/Death Metal. Is this a first indication that future songs may also sounds more like this? Or that you're not set on writing the same style of songs?

This particular song is indeed more Hard Rock song than all the others. I liked the idea of such a song, with lots of solo spaces, some sort of Ozzy and Randy Rhoads way of writing. At least that's what came to my mind once I finished the recording of this song. You know, I'm not into those labels and borders of a style. It's a feature for critics. As an artist I have no boundaries, no limits. I go where I want to, I play what I feel to play. That's how it goes and how it should be done. Anyways, I like this song. Playing it is always fun and gives me thrills. As for the future I really can't say that we go there or elsewhere. Let the music flow.

How would you describe the writing process for "Pathogen"? As easy as for "Bullet In Your Head"? Did you work as meticulously on the notes as before? ;-)

Oh yes! That's our attitude. We like to make everything as good as we can so we focus on every single detail, every single note. I couldn't make anything unsatisfying or unfinished. I like to get the final product (song, album, etc.) closed and shining :-) Writing in general was cool. I like being creative and come up with idea after idea. So yes, it was easy. You know, music is something I love. Even though that sometimes I need to search for the best note and it's hard and may be frustrating I still find it easy. The hardest part of writing "Pathogen" was actually going home after the recordings. It was like an end of a fabulous holiday. :-)

If the recording process for "Bullet In Your Head" took 7 days, how fast was it done for "Pathogen"?

This time we wanted to have some real comfort of recording. Due to that we split the entire session into three separate sessions. First two took two weeks. Third took sex days. Anyways, we started off from drums and the session took place in the old Zed Studio. Next, we went to the new Zed studio and recorded rhythm guitars and bass lines. I stayed for a couple of days and recorded all the leads and solos alone. After that I went home and in like a month we came back to the studio to lay down the vocal lines. We of course could make all that a lot faster, but we chose to not. First time in our history we had this freshness and different point of view on what we were recording and what we were doing. In the meantime we had a lot of time to hang out, to play football and do other stuff together. That's why it was so sad to finish it and go home. :-)

"Bullet In Your Head" got lots of criticism for sounding like CHILDREN OF BODOM. Somehow the new material still has your signature (logically :-)), but less CHILDREN OF BODOM similarities. Is it just my impression or did you keep this in mind when working on "Pathogen"?

To be completely honest I don't give a shit about those comparisons. We do what we feel to do and I believe we are authentic in that. We are developing our own style and there haven't been any attempt to sound like BODOM or not. You know, it's flattering when someone compares you to such a top band, no question about that. It's just funny because whatever you do you will sound to people like something they know. In our short history we were called METALLICA, IN FLAMES, DEATH, BODOM, KREATOR, etc. You see the point? This way or another I'm happy to not hear this time about BODOM regarding my MADE OF HATE. :-) And it fact, there are more and more reviews focusing on us instead of other bands.

Made Of Hate band picture 2010You played several gigs already for "Bullet In Your Head". How was the crowd's response? And does the music come out strong enough live?

The response was amazing! Simply it overwhelmed my own expectations. I don't know if you are aware of the first show we played as MADE OF HATE. It was supporting IRON MAIDEN at the stadium for 30,000 fans. Even though it a dream come true I was a little nervous before the gig. Once I came on stage I was in shock that people greeted us with the warmest feedback we could get. The response from the crowd was simply amazing and after the show on the next gigs we got same reaction. It was really, really nice. As for the performance we try to sound as best as possible. We get a lot of compliments on the melodic dynamic aspects of our music. So yes, our music gets strong enough live to convince fans to follow us.

Was any of it recorded for a possible live-release or bonus tracks?

We have some live footage, but it's nothing we can use at this point. It's just too little of it, we need to gather more and more of such shots. Plus, today DVDs are so advanced, lots of cameras, etc. so if we want to make something useful and enjoyable out of the DVD we need to get bigger so we can use all those fireworks and etc. You know, a basic footage isn't cool these days. It has to have balls and be exquisite.

How was "Bullet In Your Head" received in Poland? Did you/MADE OF HATE get enough media attention??

"Bullet In Your Head" was received pretty well in Poland, yet it must be said that in our country there is this problem with selling music, especially when we are marked as a band from the West (since we have our home label in Germany) and the price of the cd is pretty high. But that's a problem of Polish metalheads I suppose. Anyway we've got some pretty nice media attention, yet I can't say for sure what had the biggest influence - basic release or the IRON MAIDEN story. I bet it was a resultant of many factors. All in all we appeared in some Metal magazines, radios, portals etc. I think it was more than less after all. One of the coolest thing was for me dealing with Ernie Ball and Music Man. Thanks to Mr Grzegorz Rybicki I'm officially an EBMM artist and I'm proud of playing their guitars.

What about abroad? Enough to warrant European gigs?

We've received a lot of feedback from all over the world! There is no comparison between Poland and the rest of the world. It's pretty logic. However, abroad seems to be quite nice to us and now we are on the best way to appear on the roster of the fine booking agency. That way we will start showing ourselves outside Poland. That's what I'm dying for and can't just wait for the first European tour with MADE OF HATE.

In that context, any booking requests so far from European gig organizers? Or will most gigs still be played on Polish soil?

Starting in 2008 we have received several single show requests. The issue has been always the same - single shows are way too expensive. We need to link at least few shows in a tour to make it reasonable. Now, just as I said before, we are on the right path to make it all happen soon. I can't tell when exactly, but I assume that soon after some shows in Poland we will appear somewhere in Europe. We are a live band and it's killing me that it is so hard to play outside Poland in the way I would like to see it. Anyways, it's now just a matter of time and you'll see us on the stage soon.

Made Of Hate band picture 2010A more personal question: you cut your long hair. How come? And do you plan to let it grow again?

Haha, I get that question a lot recently. Well, the idea came in when I we were told that there is a chance to play before Iron Maiden on their show in Poland. I actually said that if we were chosen to play there, I would go and shave my head. All in all, Bruce started to play us and few weeks later I ended up with bald head. I grew a little faux hawk and that's all I can do now. I don't have a plan to grow it back. I feel better now and I think I look better. Plus now when I train sports I don't have problems with what to do with hair. Of course it's a minor issue. I like to think that not having long hair now reminds me of this entire Maiden thing. It's a symbol that I need to believe even in the most surprising scenarios. Anyway, cutting my hair was a shock to many people. Even my parents were surprised. I think that my father didn't recognize me when I first came home after the shaving. Funny thing after all. :-)

Like the first question: you had material ready back in 2008 for a new album. How about now? Any ideas or rough stuff ready for album no. 3? ;-)

Well, as it happens I already have like one entire song and four or five sketches of next songs. There will be another twist with the music and arrangements - now I'm using seven string guitar (of course by Music Man) and new stuff is dedicated in most of the cases for this type of instrument. That sounds really heavy and brutal. I'm waiting for the actual writing process to the point where it's necessary - now I'm exploring the world of seven strings and arranging it in a way I feel it's best. So let's say I made some preparations and out of them I have some ideas for the next album.

2010 is nearing its end. Did you manage to keep an eye on releases this year? If so, which stood out for you?

Hm...I really enjoyed both new album and the show by DIMMU BORGIR. It's really nice album and the orchestration stands out for sure. Another surprising album is JAMES LABRIE's "Static Impulse". Pretty solid, heavy stuff...but all in all the best album of 2010 is "Pathogen" by MADE OF HATE, no question about it. I recommend to get a copy and enjoy it :-)

And we're done. Many thanks again for taking the time to answer. If there's anything you wish to add, let it out. :-) In the meantime, all the best to you, the band and may you enjoy making music for many years to come. Don't forget to take a break now and then, of course, to... play football. :-)

Thank you for the interview and review. It was a pleasure to talk with you again and I'm looking forward to talk again soon. As for you people reading it, I'd like to encourage you to reach out for "Pathogen" by Made Of Hate and support us in making our dream come true, which is to play as much as possible. Your support is needed. I'd like to invite you all to visit our web places on MySpace, Facebook, our website and so on. We are there for you! See you on tour! Stay rocking!



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