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Detonation

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June 2001, the Swiss heavy metal band Detonation was on tour with Mortification. Their stop in Holland was the opportunity for Art For The Ears to interview the guys. In a backstage room of De Peppel in Zeist, Holland, drummer Daniel, guitarist Michael and guitarist Toni answered our questions. Toni was their spokesman while the others gave some additional remarks here and there.

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Discography: Cry It Out (2000). Available through: Detonation. Official website: Detonation. Interview by: mpo.  Date: June 30th 2001.

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Detonation

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First of all, can you introduce the band Detonation. Explain something about the history of the band and things like that.

I'm Toni, I play guitar and do some of the vocals. Daniel plays drums and Michael plays guitar too. We haven't got a bassplayer yet. But maybe we find someone. We came together in early 1997. And this is our first tour we've ever done. Tonight it's our 13th concert ever. We're absolutely beginners, but we're glad we can be here.

Your music can be described as heavy metal. If you want to specify that a little more, how would you describe it?

It's very difficult, I think. The main thing is thrash and speed metal but it has some hardcore vocals inside. Maybe a little bit punk influences or classical influences. And it's just like a cocktail.

How do you write your songs? I read on the CD that all songs were written by Detonation and arranged by the band. But is it that one of you writes a song and then the rest of the band adds things to it, or do you write in the rehearsal room like someone playing a riff and someone else comes with a drum fill?

Most of the time it's someone who has an idea that he plays and the others join playing. Then we get together and construct the song in the rehearsal room. I guess most of the songs are written just like that.

It's not that you are jamming in the rehearsal room and then out of nothing a song appears?

That could be too, that we try some things out and jam a little bit. But it's very noisy and it's difficult for the others when someone plays to listen and join. We tried that too but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work so well (laughs).

What are the main influences to the sound of the band? What bands do you listen to or whatever?

We never ever tried to copy another band but our favorite band, I guess I can speak for all of us, is Mortification. And Tourniquet, the old Deliverance, Living Sacrifice. Maybe Narnia.

But that does not really influence the sound of Detonation or maybe somewhere in the back of your head?

I guess it has influenced us a lot. Because when we started we didn't exactly know what direction to go. We just tried some things and play what we like. When you listen to it, you can hear that we like bands like Mortification and that stuff.

Okay. Right now you're on the European leg of the Mortification tour. Well, tell me, how many strings and heads have you broken so far?

I have no strings broken. And Daniel has no heads broken. And even Adam from Mortification didn't break something. And Michael also has no string damages. We played four concerts. Lincoln (from Mortification) has a lot of string damages. But we haven't yet.

How come? Normally when you play guitars strings break quite easily, especially when you play a loud kind of music like you do.

Well, in my case, it's only my own body that gets hurt. I bite on my tongue (laughs), or something like that. We are very carefully with the instruments. So, I don't know why. But I'm glad that nothing's been broken. I'm not a very good string changer. Michael can change strings very good.

Maybe you down tune your guitar which might help to save your strings. Or have you tuned in E?

Yeah, we have E-tuned our guitars. Michael sometimes suggests to try out a half note lower. But we didn't do that yet. Maybe we do it one day.

Toni Kälin

How's the tour going so far?

Very well. In Switzerland it was good for us, because we knew some people in the crowd. And we've never played in Germany or in Holland. And it's very cool how the people received us. We felt very welcome. Especially in Eastern Germany the crowd was very much behind us. I appreciate that very much. And the tour was very cool. We had no damage on the van or the trailer. It's a blessing.

Was it easier for you to play in Switzerland. You played in Winterthur. Was it easier because the people might know you there? Or maybe not because they are maybe a little bit more critical?

Both. On one hand it's cool that you have some people behind you. You know they are behind you no matter how bad you play (laughs). But on the other hand, when you have a bad set here (outside Switzerland), you can run away and hide yourself back in your home country but you can't do that in Switzerland. Next day you'll see them again. I guess it's totally different. Sometimes I had a bad feeling before a gig and it turned out very good. And sometimes I wasn't nervous at all and it wasn't as good. It's different. Michael was more nervous in Switzerland than here. And Daniel thinks it's easier at home. And I'm mixed up! (laughs)

And in Germany, how did the people respond to the live show? Did you get a lot of feedback? Did people buy a lot of merchandise and things like that?

No, we didn't sell a lot of merchandise but it was the first time some people we didn't know bought EP's or even a shirt. In Switzerland most of the guys we knew buy things, but here it's a blessing when you see somebody you don't know who's interested in that stuff. That's a new thing for us. The response was not bad in Switzerland, I guess. In Germany it was different. I guess we had good reactions on all three shows. But I was impressed of the Eastern German crowd. They didn't know one song but they were behind us, yelling and encouraging. That was very cool. And some people after the gig talked with us. Even in Kassel too. That was very cool for us. We've never experienced something like that before.

But is that the way they respond to all bands or Detonation in particular?

No, I guess most of them were there for Mortification. I guess 99% were Mortification fans in Germany.

But not in Switzerland of course...

Maybe 95%. Daniel thinks 80% and Michael 90% Mortification fans.

Besides playing with Mortification have you played with other bands? Tonight you will play with Morphia but have you played with other bands on the road.

Yeah, in Kassel we played with a band called Cherubim, a Christian hardcore metal band. They did a quite good set. I was afraid Steve was going to take them with him for the tour, but we had luck! (laughs). And in Zwickau we played with a band called Eus, a non-Christian death metal band. Very kind people. In Ludwigsburg we played with a punkband called Exakt, a German speaking Christian punkband. And in Switzerland we played only with Mortification but we had one half hour more on stage than on the rest of the tour because we were at home.

What are your favorite experiences on the road so far?

I have a lot of good experiences. We could fill a book. But it was great. I was just so glad that Steve Rowe and Lincoln and Adam are so kind and funny, cool people. And I never ever dreamed that we could experience something with them. Two years ago we were at the Mortification concert as fans. And when Steve Rowe walked by, we cheered "hey, oh, Morti, Morti!" And now we're sitting in the same room with this guy. And they are very kind to us. And we have a lot of fun. I guess tomorrow, or on Monday morning, when we leave and go back home, then we have to cry a little bit. We, Daniel and Michael too, think everything on the tour was great.

What do you think of the Mortification live set? You've seen the band each night. You got a good impression of how they are. What do you think of how they are on stage?

They are just excellent. They have a lot of power. And when you see Steve walking with his cane, then you wouldn't think this man has so much power and passion. The band fits together very well. They have a lot of energy, a lot of power. They play for two hours. They play the old stuff, Scrolls Of The Megilloth, Grind Planetarium, some stuff from Bloodworld. It's just amazing. They are in an excellent shape.

And the new drummer, does he fit in well, do you think?

I think he fits in excellently. He does a great job. He's seventeen. I guess he joined with fifteen. And he just plays awesome.

cover Cry It Out

Right now Detonation only has one CD out, the EP Cry It Out. Are there some serious plans for recording a second album?

We have only an EP out. We talked about doing a full length album. Maybe in January 2003. Maybe we can do something with Steve Rowe. And then we hope he will mix it. Because he has such a good knowledge in recording some metal stuff. When we recorded the EP the producers weren't directly into metal. We were their first metal band. So, it would be a big joy if we can do something like that with Steve.

But 2003 is quite far away. Is that because you're only ready then or for other reasons?

It has a lot of different reasons. We have to practise more. We want to write some more songs. And Daniel wants to play double bass. Two months ago he got his double bass. That's not much time to practise when you're preparing a tour. Maybe one of us, or all, is going to marry... It would be cool if we could do some concerts in 2003.

And you are hoping for a record deal or are you already negotiating with a company or are you going to do it independently again?

We would like to work with Rowe Productions with Steve Rowe. Maybe we can do something with him. That would be cool.

Is that what you hope or have you talked with Steve about it?

We have already talked but it's not fixed yet. But it looks good.

I have only one last question. Maybe you have some sort of final comment. Something you would like to say.

I want to thank the Dutch people for their interest in our homepage. We got a lot of reactions and we liked the opportunity to do the Art For The Ears message-board interview. A lot of people then wrote into our homepage. I was very looking forward to go to Holland. First of all, I had never been here before. And second, here are really a lot of metal fans, I guess.

Daniel: Giddy up with Jesus!

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