With their latest album “There Is Light (But It's Not For Me)”, out now on Massacre Records and reviewed here, Danish stalwarts Illdisposed continue their trend into the synthy groove-death genre. We asked guitarist and main musical composer Jakob “Batten” Hansen about his thoughts on the new album, his past with Illdisposed and just why they have a thing against long hair...
Thank you so much Jakob, for taking the time out to answer these questions and congratulations on 20 years as a band! I imagine it's been quite a ride since you joined. Do you feel like you've been in the business of Illdisposed for so long? And do you consider There Is Light as an anniversary album or just a natural progression?
Thank you. You’re right it has been quite a ride – but it definitely doesn’t feel like the 12 years I’ve been in the band. It feels more like 5 years or something. That’s the bad thing about having too much fun; time is disappearing right out of your hands! Anyway, the new album is just a natural progression. A “best of” album would be more appropriate as an anniversary album.
In what way does Tue Madsen's approach differ to previous collaborations like Fredrik Nordström?
We have known Tue since he was playing guitar in Pixie Killers, and that’s a freakin’ long time ago! So he knows how to challenge us. Fredrik was cool too though, we just didn’t feel like jumping on the boat to Sweden this time.
You've started using a lot of synth in the last few releases. Was it an evolutionary step or just an experiment that went right?
It was just an experiment that happened back in 2003 after we nearly split up. We needed some fresh air and ran into these 2 techno dudes. But it turned out pretty well, at least when you ask me. We’ve made so many albums that it’s refreshing to try something different now and then.
Do you find that you can pick holes in your own albums? And do you consider There Is Light your best to date?
After finishing a new album I can’t stand to listen to it for years because I’ve been working so intensely with it over a long period of time. But I don’t think There Is Light is the best one. Maybe the 3rd or 4th best.
Practising in a bathroom? Okay, if you say so...
Do you feel that you have learnt something with each release? If so, what?
Yeah definitely. If I didn’t learn something through all these releases I would be a complete moron. It’s about challenging yourself. You also learn to keep stuff to yourself and having to be an asshole sometimes to survive in the tough music industry.
Have lineup changes affected you significantly, given you and Bo are the main creators?
No not at all. The people that are changed are only playing live with us anyway, they never recorded anything with us.
What do you usually do before going on stage? Do you have any rituals?
We share a bottle of vodka. There’s nothing like vodka, it can get you up no matter how deep down you are. It makes the fog disappear.
Do you or the other band members have any musical "guilty pleasures"? Apparently you don't listen to much metal, so why did you cover the songs you did on Retro? Any specific reasons? Love the AC/DC cover, by the way!
It’s only guilty pleasures if you’re embarrassed about it. We all listen to everything from old Danish folk music to rap, pop, metal and whatsoever. We listen to a lot of shit - as long as it’s good shit.
The songs on Retro are songs we grew up with. Songs that inspired us to begin playing that kind of music ourselves.
How long will it be before you start recording A-Ha covers?
Uh, if that ever happens I hope someone will shoot me. I love A-Ha but doing covers of them is not something I’ll ever want to do. Bo looks a little bit like their singer though.
You've had quite a revolving door of musicians over the years. Would it be considered taboo to take on a musician with long hair?
My hair has been growing for a year now. And Franz got long hair since a few years. So we’re getting there!
We almost believe his comment on hair growth
Are there any famous people, dead or alive, with whom you'd love to hang out?
Right now I think the best choice would be Charlie Sheen.
Any parting comment to those who will be reading this?
Put some treble in it!
Thanks again for your time Jakob, and good luck with the remaining shows!
~ ~ ~
Interview conducted by Angel