Thursday, July 4, 2013

Paganfire Interview

I recently spoke to Nonoy of Paganfire about the best known thrash band from Philippines and their great new debut full length,Wreaking Fear and Death. Aside from having known Nonoy for at least four or five years through trading he's a genuine and incredibly sincere dude. For whatever reason, it always seems like the coolest people make the coolest music. Paganfire is no exception to that rule. They've been putting out demos and promos and splits since... well... I'll let Nonoy handle all the history. 

CT: Nonoy, Tell me about the formation of Paganfire. How did the band come together in 2003? It's been ten years since the band formed! 

Nonoy: Greetings Jon!!  It is I, Nonoy you are talking to!!! Me and Jay have been playing under the monicker PAGANFIRE around 2001, this was when some revamps were made to our then band AGE OF DISTRUST, Alvaro and Rowell came into the fold in 2002, around 2007 we had problems with Rowell, thus in 2008, we had M.A. come in, as we speak it is the line up of me, Jay and Alvaro plus M.A. at the helm, so far it is a potent line up, and a very productive one at that, obviously it is not only 10 years brother, but what the heck there is no use counting the years, it is more killer to count the beers!!!!! 

CT: You've had a very stable lineup compared to a lot of other bands. Basically the same lineup as on your early releases. I think you had a different guitarist on the United by Thrash and Beer split and that's about it. What has made the band such a strong unit over the years? Are you all good friends outside of the band? 

N: It is our common goal and desire to melt people’s faces with our brand of our thrash metal that made us stronger after all these years,  yes we are good friends outside the band,  that’s why when we work on something and develop ideas the petty arguments don’t go anywhere else but within the walls of the studio, I guess when you are at ease with each other as friends the metal and alcohol just fits like lock and key. Rowell was the same guitarist on the split, it was the demo ’04 included in it. 

CT: Paganfire's first full length is out now titled "Wreaking Fear and Death." Tell me about the album. How did you decide what tracks to put on it? I notice a few older tracks like Lust Possessed, Obscure Syndrome. Are all the tracks older material re-recorded or are there new tracks as well on the album? 

N: The album is 8 tracks, 37 minutes of total thrashing metal hell, thrash done the way it must be, total metal to the bone! Apparently we started writing it around 2008, but to our dismay, many fuck ups happened, including Rowell’s disappearance and the decision to remain as a 3 piece or find another axeman, ,  it is a mix of old and new,  some tracks were developed  a few years later than the rest,  we are proud of  the final result and more honored that true metal maniacs and veteran metalheads totally like it, that in itself is accomplishment in my opinion.

CT: The production on the album is the best I've heard from you guys yet. It really does your material justice which, sadly sometimes on the previous splits suffered from some pretty harsh production standards. Why have you decided to now try and get these tracks sounding as good as they possibly can? Why haven't you put as much effort into the sound on all the other splits, demos and promos you've done? How did recording for "Wreaking Fear and Death" differ from past releases? 

N: I am glad that you liked what you are hearing,  if we map out our evolution this is the next step, to go and make things more killer by going for something we didn’t do before, go for a better production!  We thought it is time to do it,  As for your question that why it took us only now, first reason is the budget, we were lucky enough to have found this studio that has cheap rates, so we rehearsed a lot and planned the next studio outing well, and this album is the result of that (although admittedly we still consider ourselves nitwits inside the studio!),  those past studio sessions just reflects our learning process, each release  differs from the next because we tried various methods, changed studios, changed engineers etc, all part of the past now, we could have wanted to be more killer but we also have to accept many limitations then,  the recording for this album differs  from the rest because we are more organized now and the engineer is better than the others, and we finally have new gear and learned how to use them as well, we have better songs but we have never forgotten to let the metal flow free!!!! Argh!!

CT: How has the reception for the album been so far? What's the best / worst responses you've gotten for the release? 

N: The response is overwhelming, as partly mentioned most TRUE maniacs I have sent copies to really dig it, and say that is a  killer album, and the songs make them bang their heads, etc, the best part is all of them say it is a METAL album, no trendy shit and all, which is total hell for the poseurs!!! The worst so far is the fact that it seems the CD label is deathly silent and the Chilean version of the tape is cancelled because the label boss is unsure of himself, he has no word of honor or PALABRA DE HONOR so he can understand it!! And another thing is that no one wants to do the vinyl!!!! Fffuuuccckkk!!!! 

CT: The album has been released on Afterlife Productions. How did you get in contact with and decide to release "Wreaking Fear and Death" with them? How have they been to work with so far? 

N: I have been in touch with Wan/Afterlife Prods+Deadhead zine for a good number of years already, and even before he heard the album and way before we were writing it, he already agreed to release it, that says a lot about his metal lineage!! They are a killer label to work with, the tape sounds and looks good and the inlay is superb, they did what they promised and all is excellent, and we didn’t wait for an eternity for them to do it and for us to receive our copies,   Afterlife is a killer label and we hope to release more Paganfire stuff through them in the future. 

CT: Will you be doing another full length any time soon or will we have to wait for the passing of another three or four dozen promos, demos and splits until we get another longer album? 

N: As we speak we are at the helms of finishing a pair of new tracks which me may or may not use for a split 7” and another miserable sounding demo,  so I guess there will be a handful more releases again before any album will materialize, the reason for this is simple, it is our way of spreading the plague, through tangible and physical means!! I cannot look myself in the mirror and call myself “underground” when all I have to prove that my material exists is via facebook, youtube and bandcamp, we may utilize those tools in the future, who knows? but we will never 100% rely on it, so all those true underground labels out there, from the tiniest to the most known, beware PAGANFIRE will hunt you and pester you to cooperate with us and release stuff that we deem is necessary!!

CT: You have a ton of other material floating around in form of lots of splits and demos. Let's go through some of the other stuff you've released. 


CT: One of the noticeable things about your release is how much material appears on other releases. For example, your 2004 demo, "Mabangis! Marahas!" also appears on your 2006 split with Evil Attack. How do you decide when to put new material on a release and what old songs to use? Why did you use this particular demo on this particular release?
N: Yes, we have always done that and might continue doing it, that is the fastest and killer way to spread material, “Mabangis!” for example is only released by us on CDR limited to 100, very few right?? Then we have it re-released by Eternal Darkness Creations on tape with live tracks on the other side, that is in the US and to top it off we used it again for the split you mentioned, that is in Sudamerican lands, Bolivia to be exact, and also another CDR re-release in Canada via Skullfuckingmetal distro, all releases are done in micro quantities and in various formats from all over the Earth, the only way to spread the demo like plague!! We used it because it needs to be done!! The demo must be heard by all maniacs from whatever part of the Globe!! The same principle is applied to all the other splits and promos, spread the material via tangible means all throughout the TRUE underground!!

CT: In 2006 you released a VHS tape. How many of these were sold? Why did you decide to release a VHS tape of all things? No one buys VHS tapes anymore! I think the format is awesome though and it reminds me of all the bootleg live videos I have from the early 90's. 

N: Sadly this information is wrong, we released a promo VCD, and if someone re-released it on VHS without our permission that is ok, but it could be better if I see it!! Or if someone forwards me a VHS copy of it!! Arrggghhhh!!!!! 

CT: I loved your split with Germany's Moder (mainly because I loved Moder's Ewiger Tod). How did that split come about? Who contacted who when it came time to put that together? Once again you use a handful of live tracks which you are proud to claim are "Live and Fucking Raw! No Pre/post production exists!" What did you think of Moder tracks on this split? 

N: I like Moder’s death metal too, and yeah Ewiger Tod is their finest hour!!!! I have been in touch with Necronickel for sometime already, as you may notice I seldom deal with strangers or people whom I haven’t established good correspondence with, (unlike the Chilean label that cancelled the release, I just emailed that guy, and look what happened, fuck I lost a master CDR and $6!!!!) we have been toying with the idea of the release around 2008, and it took a very long time to happen!! But I am glad it did, though I am sad that Moder is dead now,argh!! Yes what you hear in there is our rehearsal, no 2nd takes or whatever, just a bunch of mics recording the devastation!! Live and raw tracks is our way to piss off all those “metalheads” who just drool over overproduced bands, hahaha shut up!! The Moder tracks are very different, reminds me of Celtic Frost, they are doomier now, still heavy and good death metal, but I think if they did something like Morbid Visions era Sepultura that will kill!!!

CT: You are very adamant that if someone doesn't like Paganfire, they must die. On your Dudurog! Lilipol! 2006 demo, you wrote "If you hate this demo then you are absolutely a poser and you must die!" on my copy. On your 2010 Promo tape it says "Poseurs Die!!!" right on the cover. What other releases have you sent out with such dire warnings? Any reason for this practice? 

N: All the poseurs must die indeed to declog the scene and for it to have more fresh air and space to move!!! They can die literally or figuratively, I don’t care!! Poseurs must never own our stuff or even listen to it, they won’t be able to handle the material anyway,  we label our releases so people like you will get to know what they are getting themselves into, so if they don’t like it, they can avoid it, otherwise if the warning alone excites them, they are in for a real thrashing metal ride!!! I really haven’t met people from other bands who like people who don’t like theirs, have you??? It just so happened that we are vocal about it, hahaha.  

CT: Your split with Beast Petrify, "Hypnotic Thrashing Beast," you have appearing the first full version of "Metal Thrashing Militants." But it says that the song appeared on the "Thrash Metal Blitzkrieg Vol 1." 7". What is different about the version on this tape versus the one on the 7"? 

N: The 7” version is missing a whole minute of music, as per label DEATHSTRIKE RECORDS, they have to do it to make it fit, at first I thought was a shitty decision of theirs and I really felt that the track before ours should be the one cut off, but as the years went on, I think it was OK after all, as that made an instant 7” version of “Militants”. This is our very first vinyl release and I think it served its purpose well, as for this Chilean released pro tape split with Beast Petrify, this is another slab of metal with fellow maniacal metal brothers!!!! 

CT: You've released one 7" EP along with all your demos and splits. This was in 2008 and called "Hate Vanishing Point." Can you reveal a little about how this release came about? This was released via Iron Bonehead Productions. How were they to work with on this release? 

N: I was  always asking people around if they want to do something, and the label boss Patrick just agreed to do it, he is also a complete metal maniac, the label is killer as well, as things went ahead as promised and we received our copies soon after the release, the slight letdown was we had  to wait a bit for  it to happen, the working experience with them is killer as obviously Ironbonehead is one of the few labels out there that is totally into the metal and not into the Euros!!!! 

CT: Any other releases worth mentioning? What is your favorite release you've done so far other than "Wreaking Fear and Death?" What release would you tell metalheads they should check out to get the full Paganfire experience?
N: VEHEMENCE ENSUE pro tape by North Cabin Enterprise, TASTELESS REVENGE pro tape by Hard Music Production, INVOKE FALSE METAL’S DEATH LP by Monster Nation (which combines the first two I mentioned, and is still available) TASTELESS REVENGE + bonus CD by Old Cemetery Records (still avialble too), these I  think are better releases to begin with when one is new to the PAGANFIRE discography, then afterwards proceed to WREAKING FEAR AND DEATH and regress to the old demos “MABANGIS!” and “DUDUROG!” now that will be a complete and full PAGANFIRE experience!!!

CT: Paganfire is probably one of the most notable Philippino bands other than Deiphago, Kratornas and maybe Korihor? How are you viewed amongst other bands, metalheads in the Philippines? Do other metalheads view Paganfire with a certain celebrity status being that you've been active for about ten years and have a ton of material out? Do your shows draw a significantly larger crowd than other thrash bands in the country? 

N: We have managed to get known outside the country due to our hardwork and dedication, the Underground is not a place for lazy bastards! I am not concerned at all as to how other metalheads view us, it is ok with me if they put us in high regard or treat us like shit, I do not care, as long as they don’t  meddle with our activities that will be ok, but I am aware that some people do give us their outmost respect and with that I am honored,  I am not aware of how many people do other shows gather, because I do not go to there and check it out, some people told me that there a handful more people at our shows, I do not care really, if it’s 100 or ten we are playing to, we will thrash them all the way just the same!!! And on another note, there are no other TRUE thrashing metal bands in this country, if you hear them you will agree that they are trendy motherfuckers and that their brand of thrash is just too clean and mainstream compared to PAGANFIRE.
CT: How is metal viewed upon by those not involved with it in Philippines? The mainstream media circles and your everyday citizens of the country? 

N: Most people even the mainstream media are completely oblivious to METAL, they think that guys with long hair, wear black and listen to loud music are worshippers of satan and regularly take drugs..i guess that is about it, but beyond that no drastic actions are done by authorities like raiding your houses, or (perhaps?) intercepting your mail, your email, or police harassing you for looking different, or maybe I am just relaxed to be not paranoid??? I know my parents ,relatives and some supposed true metalheads think of the whole culture as nothing but a phase in life that you will outgrow sometime, hah but they are wrong, METAL IS LIFE! NO METAL NO LIFE!!!! 

CT: What would you describe as some of the most memorable live experiences you've had so far? Have you had any opportunity to get out of the Philippines and play abroad or is too expensive and difficult to leave the country to play in other countries? 

N: There are many, there was once an instance in 2001 when a group of kids started having seizure like behavior when we started to play Sodomy and Lust, and some gigs in 2002-03 when my strings would break, or this 2008 gig that I had to change guitars in the middle of a song and the crowd thought it was planned and they all applauded, they didn’t know it was and emergency and I just acted calmly hahaha, we have no roadies over here Jon, Many gigs from 2011 to present are memorable, with lots of good friendly violent fun!! Gigs supporting foreign acts etc, all gigs are good memories!! The gig we did 500kms outside Manila last 2011 is also awesome!! Our first time to do so, nope no chances yet to play outside the country, no good offers yet, and you are correct it is way too expensive to do it, the money we will spend will finance 2-3 albums provided we go for the same production of Wreaking, and if the studio won’t jack up rates anytime soon! 

CT: There was a lot of information in Noise Gate #3 which featured a handful of reviews and an interview in Noise Gate #2 which I haven't had the chance to read. Tell me about the support you've gotten from specific individuals across the underground? What labels and individuals have been the band's biggest supporters? 

N: That is from Boris of Macedonia, sadly I do not have anymore contacts with that guy, I hope he is killing poseurs well!! If I drop all their names I will definitely miss out somebody, I consider all people, zines, labels, traders, bands, maniacs and everyone else whom I am, was and will be in touch with as supporters of the band, even those people I do not know but buy our stuff they are all worthy of my thanks!!! Cheers to all of them !!! Keep on supporting the TRUE underground, fuck the rest!!! 

CT: What bands would you call major influences? Obviously you've done some covers across your releases including Slayer, Sodom, Celtic Frost and Dark Angel. 

N: You forgot our mistake riddled No Remorse cover from Metallica,  all these bands are considered major influences in the PAGANFIRE camp, as for me I also look up to INFERNAL MAJESTY, DEMOLITION HAMMER, RIGOR MORTIS, HOLY TERROR and ORDER FROM CHAOS as influences, these bands have written songs and delivered ideas that not too many can handle, Call them whatever you want but in my selfish opinion they are the best in what they do and should be listened upon by all the cocks who call themselves metal.  

CT: What other bands from the Philippines would you recommend checking out for those looking for new and excellent music from the metal underground?

N: check out bands like SACROSANCT, CORRUPT INSANITY, INCARION, CHAMBER 69 (R.I.P.), INTERMENT (R.I.P.?), MORLOCH (R.I.P.?) If you have the chance you won’t regret it!! Then proceed with other hardworking acts like TENEBRION, ANCIENT WARLORD, PATHOGEN, MASS HYPNOSIA etc, there are bands rich in talent around here but are all dumbfucks that do not know anything about the TRUE underground. I hope they all bump their heads one day and realize what they are missing after all this years.  If anyone is genuinely interested with these bands I mentioned just drop me a line and let’s do something!!! 

CT: Are you familiar with any bands from New Jersey, USA? Surely you've heard of some of the bigger names from the state and it's thrash history. What are some of the bands from New Jersey or the local area here (New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland) that you're familiar with and listen to? 

N: are ANTHRAX and OVERKILL from there?? Those are the only bands I think from your state that I know of, not sure with the smaller ones or I might have listened to them but not all aware that they are from your area, argh!! Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, and Baphomet are all from there right???Agnostic Front??? Queensryche??Malicious Onslaught?? 

CT: There are a lot of people that refuse to trade with individuals in the Philippines for fear of being ripped off. The country has a notorious history of being a haven for scammers. Does this limit your exposure outside the country? What would you say to those who refuse to deal with individuals from the country for fear of being ripped off in trades?

N: I cannot blame them, it is of course such a fucking drag when you get ripped off! Well sad but true, Davao city has turned into the rip-off capital of the world, so BOYCOTT THE DAVAO RIP OFF SCENE, do not even contact people from there, those addresses in Davao city and post code of 8000 and above should be completely ignored!! I cannot say completely if the rip-off vacuum has affected Paganfire, but as of now there are no deals turned down because I was mistaken for a dumb ass rip-off from Davao, People should BOYCOTT them!!! Do not even keep in touch with them so they will be cut off from the scene and will slowly die!! Be vigilant!! Expose those subhumans for what they are, total worthless scum!!! 

CT: What are you favorite beers to drink from the Philippines? Are there any beers worth mentioning to try and seek out?  

N: San Miguel pale pilsen and San Miguel all malt are the best beers coming from our shores, if you get to see it at your import store, try it, you won’t be disappointed, other people recommend Red Horse beer, but I don’t, that is junkie beer!!  But foreigners like it , so if you can try it too, the best is the local gin, GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL, fucking 70 proof and is used to lit firewood in some far flung places, no Filipino will deny the power of the gin!!! Hail Ginebra!!! 

CT: What do you do for a living outside of Paganfire? I assume that you can't survive on Paganfire alone. How do those around you that you work with view Heavy Metal? Have you converted anyone into metalheads that weren't fans of the genre before hand? 

N: I do office work at a medical facility, my being a metal maniac is never an issue in the workplace, they are all intelligent enough to consider that it is my passion and a part of my life, and not just some adolescent phase, I have tried in vain many times to convert some non-metal people I know, but to no avail, they just listen to the bands I recommend them and that’s it, I guess that’s what is it to them anyway, entertainment, so there is no need to waste my time on them, I just let them be, live and let live. 

CT: How can people contact you and get your releases here in the USA and in Europe? 

N: Interested maniacs can contact me: NONOY PADREJUAN #60 NARIG ST., VETERANS VILLAGE, PROJECT 7, 1105, QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES,for trades, cooperation, other questions etc, move your lazy asses and write now!!!! 

CT: Thanks for the Interview! You have the last words! 

N: no Jon thanks goes out to you!! I wish I have given your interview the justice it deserves!! And I also hope that this intie will go to print on your upcoming issue!!  Next thing we should talk about is a possible PAGANFIRE release on your label, what do you think??? Maniacs get a copy of WREAKING FEAR AND DEATH now!!! True thrashing metal done by true thrashing metal maniacs!!!! People in the US should get it from MANDARANGAN RECORDS from Chicago!!! Pardon the shameless plug! Argh!!!!


Canada Spaceman said...

Great interview, but webzines stil suck! Only paper is real! Print this in a real fanzine or DIE!!

...and interview BEYOND from Germany too. I am still waiting to get an order I made a very long time ago, but if they don't ever send it, they will die too!!

Orion M. said...

Well, I put out a fanzine three years ago and there was NO interest from anyone in checking it out so I decided not to do another copy. Maybe in the future.

Unfortunately I don't have the time to put another paper zine together right now with all the other stuff I'm doing / involved in.

What did you order from Beyond?

Canada Spaceman said...

I ordered a Beyond tshirt, and I bought your zine,Issue #1 from SFM Distro. Since it looks made professionally (when compared to mine for example), I never thought about writing to you as I thought I would be ignored,and wasting a stamp, so was waiting until Keegan had #2 for sale.

Canada Spaceman said...

and I agree about Stonedirt in Issue#1, I would NOT have ordered that from SFM Distro if it was properly described (Pantera sounding) as I don't like them very much.

Orion M. said...

Ahhh. Yeah sucks you never got the shirt. I guess it may have been gone already or something? Anyway, I would hardly call my zine professionally done. If you want to send me a copy of your zine / a few copies for my distro, email me and we'll set something up.

And yeah, that Stonedirt demo blows.