STRAPPING YOUNG LAD :  interview with Gene Hoglan


e-mail interview by Artur Felicijan ___     



strapping young lad


07.03.2005  -  organized by Century Media  and gryphonmetal.ch


speaking about "Alien" , tour, projects, cohesion  in the band, metal styles, labels, videos, and... the Game of the Tower (Morbid never wrote "Turbo Lover")




Artur : I must congratulate you for making such a great new album.
"Alien" is about to be released worldwide just now, the countdown already
began a few weeks ago, and "Shitstorm" is online for quite some time as
well. Are you satisfied with the first public reaction?

Gene Hoglan SYL : Thank you for your kind words, Artur...
So far, it's been great! People who have downloaded off the 'net seem to
be diggin' it!
We know that we tend to fly over alotta people's heads, though. That still
doesn't make us stop putting out the music we love...


What's the story behind the album title? The artwork looks very suitable,
are the lyrics in any connection with the title as well?

To us, "ALIEN" means to stand alone, an absolute foreigner to ones'
I would venture to guess that that concept rings true to the lyrics as well.
Dev has supplied us all with much food-for-thought with the new one. A man
dealing with 'hyper-reality', as it were...


Obviously, "Alien" is an absolute progression from your previous
releases, but what do you personally think about the album? Where do you
find the main differences when comparing it to "SYL", for example?

I love it! I'm SOOO psyched about "ALIEN"! So much more than any of our
previous releases, and let me tell ya, I was pretty pumped for them, too!
The differences? Well, I think with "SYL", we were just finding our way
again, as bro's, as writers, as four guys working together. On this one, the
cohesion was there from the start-let's freak out and make the best album we
can! Leave no stone unturned when trying out ideas, there are no bad ideas,
just maybe ones unused...


You've been at the famous Armory studios for the second time now with
Strapping Young Lad. Was it any easier this time, did you had more time to
work on details?

I'd say they were both quite easy. This time, we only used the Armoury to
track the drums. I'm pretty efficient in the studio, the drummer has to be,
or else he just bogs down everyone else! *laughs*
For the most part, we had the parts worked out well in advance, with the
exception of 'We Ride', which was written in the studio.


Probably, a promotional tour will follow the release, will you tour as a
combo with Devin Townsend Band?

Hey, that'd be great! I'm not sure what exactly is going to happen with
touring. We commence on our US/Canada stint in April/May, and then we've got
some festivals to do over summer, I can see us doing a full-length European
tour by the fall...


Strapping Young Lad demands a lot of your time. Did you had to quit any
other projects because of that?

Nah, I never quit, the projects just go into stasis. Everyone in my other
bands are involved in their own projects as well, so everybody's usually
happy with what's going on...


Devin, Jed, Byron and yourself have been working together for quite some
time now. No specific line-up changes. You seem to be working incredibly
well in studio and on tour as well. What's the trick? A strong democracy?

I think so. We've all got our opinions, and they're usually all brought to
the table. If someone thinks something is a bad idea, we all listen to each


Can you tell us more about the song "Two weeks"? Why did you decide to do
a song like this?

It's a nice break to all the chaos. A 'palette cleanser', if you will.
Dynamics really bring out the psychosis of the insane parts...


Strapping Young Lad has elements of various metal and non metal styles.
The simplest way to categorize your music would be "extreme", but isn't that
just too plain and dull compared to the glory of the music you actually

I'd say so. Categories are pretty silly in general anyway, don't ya think?
Although, I have used the term 'glorious' when describing us...


Speaking of styles and music genre, you guys must have a really wide
range of taste for music, but how do you feel about the metal scene today?

It's pretty exciting at times...any genre one might be interested in is
available! For a young person, just finding their way though the metal
scene, examples are there at the click of a button! One can cut through all
the shit they don't like to find a new band that really get's 'em going,
that's killer!


This is your 4th release through Century Media. You've been with the
label for almost 10 years now, are you satisfied with the relationship?

Who's ever really happy with their label? What label is truly happy with
all their bands? You wish they'd devote all their time to you, and they
feel they're spending too much money on you already. You want them to just
'understand' your bands' music and get behind you, and they've already heard
ALOT of metal in their lifetimes, and seem to find it hard to get excited
about just 'music' anymore. There's always a bottom-line, somewhere.
There are alot of great people at Century Media, and to those who "get
it", we are grateful. They make it worthwhile. Strapping is absolutely
'next-level' shit, and sometimes that is met with crossed-arms and confused
looks. That's okay. For now.


You've made a video for each album so far, and have just released a DVD
"For those Aboot to rock", are you in preparation of making a new video from
the new album?

Yes, we've done one for "Love?". It's gonna be neat!


This is the question we ask each band we interview for the first time at
Gryphonmetal. It's sort of a game, called The Game of the Tower, and it goes
like this: There is a very high tower. There's only place for one band, but
you've got three waiting to be on top. In order to save your band, you gotta
kick the other two down. You've got these three bands: Judas Priest, Morbid
Angel and Kreator. Choose which one you will save and why!

Haha, great game! Hmmm...that's a tough one...I'd have to say Morbid
stays. I've always given all props to Kreator for never breaking up and
reforming, always stickin' it out, and seeing thrash metal through some
pretty lean years. And Priest are Gods, but they might be a little pooped
from climbing to the top of the tower in the first place. Morbid has just
reunited with the mighty Dave Vincent, and that's something both Jed and I
are excited about. Plus, Morbid never wrote "Turbo Lover" or covered "Johnny
B. Goode". So, Morbid it is!


Thank you Gene!

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