In this exclusive must-read interview to The Headbanging Moose, Canadian death metallers Fractal Generator translate into “numbers” their music, their admiration for all things science, the burdens of being an independent metal band in Canada, the end of the world and more!
The Headbanging Moose: Could you please introduce us to Fractal Generator, telling your story from the inception of the band until today? What’s the core factor that keeps the machine moving for the band, I mean, what’s the main reason for the band to exist? And where did you take those eccentric “names” (040118180514, 102119200914 and 040114090512) from?
102119200914: Fractal Generator is 040118180514 (Bass, Vocals), 040114090512 (Drums) & 102119200914 (Guitar, Vocals). The band formed sometime in 2007 as a death metal outlet for a few of the members of Wolven Ancestry. A demo entitled “The Cannibalism of Objects” was released in 2008. The project lay dormant until 2013, when the current incarnation of Fractal Generator was conceived by 040118180514 and 102119200914. We wanted to create a type of dark and atmospheric death metal sound that we hadn’t heard before, with lyrics inspired by various science and science fiction ideas. As for our “names”, they are a numerical representation of our actual first names.
THM: What’s the feeling of having your first full-length album finally released, the excellent Apotheosynthesis, and how did the whole writing, composing and recording process go? What are your goals and expectations now after Apotheosynthesis became a reality?
102119200914: It definitely feels great having finally released Apotheosythesis. We wrote the songs over a six month period in 2013 and refined the album through rehearsal before beginning to record at the end of 2014. 040118180514 has his own recording studio and has a lot of experience recording and mixing. This enabled us to complete the entire album “in-house” while still achieving the level of quality we wanted. Now that Apotheosynthesis is released, our main goal is to play a few shows and start working on our next album. I don’t have many expectations, mostly hope that it will reach the ears of the people who would appreciate it.
THM: As mentioned in our review for the album, one of the most remarkable aspects of it is witnessing the very positive evolution in your compositions from your 2008 demo The Cannibalism of Objects to Apotheosynthesis. Can you share more details with us on how that change has impacted you as a band? What’s different today from when the band started back in 2008?
040118180514: When we did “The Cannibalism of Objects,” Fractal Generator was nothing more than a curious side project, and the album is composed mostly of improvised material. The drums were completely improvised and guitar was added overtop in an improvised fashion. “Apotheosynthesis” retains the spirit of improvisation in that we wrote the riffs using the improvisational method, but the songs were carefully crafted afterward to create full, meaningful compositions with a cathartic feel. I’d say the main difference between the band now and then is the addition of 102119200914, because we work really well together and can generate a lot more ideas when we are bouncing them off each other. The fact that we have 6 more years of experience as musicians under our belts certainly doesn’t hurt either.
THM: It’s always a huge pleasure to see thoughtful and meaningful lyrics in heavy music, which in your case is represented by the addition of science and technology-related topics such as the chaos theory to your music, therefore enhancing its impact and density. Why did you choose to follow that specific path of science and space, mixing it with Progressive and Death Metal? And how unique do you think your music is if compared to the other bands available?
102119200914: We chose to follow this path out of a common interest in science fiction, science, the cosmos and technology. Our style is a combination of all of our favorite elements of death metal and black metal, with an experimental approach. I think our music is unique; we may have similar elements to some but I feel that our general sound is different from anything I’ve come across.
THM: Talking about one of my favorite songs of the album, Face of the Apocalypse, I love the veracity of its lyrics (“Endless replication / A cancerous mutation / Of the mother earth / Merciless consumption / An unprecedented emergency”) in regards to what mankind is doing to the world. Is this indeed your vision of society? What was going through your mind when you wrote the lyrics for this exceptional tune?
040118180514: We knew we wanted to write a song about the human race being forced to leave Earth. As we all know, its a very real scenario that we could face as a species. However, the potential reasons for this happening are many: nuclear fallout, pandemics, environmental/climate change effects, asteroid collision, etc. It could even be something completely unforeseeable. I couldn’t decide on a single scenario I wanted to use, but I did want to focus on scenarios that are fueled by human activity. In this way the song could be seen as a warning against our current destructive ways. In the end I just kinda mixed several of these scenarios together into one crazy pandemonium, and the idea for “Face of the Apocalypse” was born.
THM: In the introspective and melancholic Reflections, it really feels like Fractal Generator wanted to add a conclusion to the story told during the whole album. How important was it for the entire band to have that type of aftermath in Apotheosynthesis? Do you consider it a concept album, and what reactions do you expect from your fans after listening to the entire record?
102119200914: Apotheosynthesis takes influence from a lot of science fiction stories and concepts. In a way it’s sort of a concept album. The songs all follow a loose futuristic storyline in a universe where humans have destroyed their home planet and have to look to space for a new home. The album explores their journey to Mars and beyond. For the track “Reflections” we wanted to shift the spectrum, focusing on the atmospheric and ambient elements more than the speed/ guitar driven approach we have on the rest of the album. We wanted to create the feeling of floating aimlessly in the cold, dark void of space, gasping for breath in a space suit slowly running out of oxygen while contemplating existence/fate. We felt this was a good way to end the album as it might provoke imagination in the listeners.
THM: Who are your main influences in music and anywhere else? I suspect you’re huge fans of the progressiveness and aggressiveness by Death, the futuristic concept by Fear Factory, the darkness by Behemoth, and of course, you’re probably also into the works by renowned scientists such as Carl Sagan and Edward Lorenz. What else makes you want to write music? And do you have any other hobbies that also inspire you in your songwriting?
102119200914: My main musical influences are Myrkskog, Zyklon, Morbid Angel, Death and Hypocrisy. I also draw a lot of influence from science fiction shows/movies, i.e. Tron, Star Trek, Stargate, Babylon 5. As well as story-driven video games like Mass Effect, Deus Ex, The Dig, Half-life, etc. I also find inspiration in reading about new technologies, theories and scientific studies.
040118180514: I have always been a big fan of Scandinavian black metal and it’s been a huge influence. In terms of death metal, I am mostly influenced by the more progressive/experimental Canadian bands, such as Gorguts and Augury. Other than music, I’m very interested in learning about science and technology and how they can be used to make the world a better place. I am also interested in philosophy and the nature of consciousness, which is probably where some of my interest in chaos theory comes from. Sagan and Lorenz, as you mentioned, are of course highly influential in these fields.
THM: Let’s talk about the current Heavy Metal scene in Canada. I’ve had the satisfaction of reviewing some amazing Canadian bands lately the likes of id., Phantom, Display of Decay, Reanimator, Valknacht, Viathyn, Kafirun, among many others. However, it seems that day after day heavy music in Canada is becoming more and more underground, preventing a much wider audience to get in contact with most bands no matter how good they are. What’s your opinion about that, and what can or should be done to change that uncomfortable situation?
040118180514: If you want to talk about why the Canadian metal scene doesn’t get the credit it deserves, I think there are a lot of factors. For one thing, metal isn’t terribly popular among the general population in Canada for whatever reason. I’ve toured the country and you get the sense that metal is mostly met by common people with contempt, or at best, confusion. The people going to shows are mostly only the die-hard metal enthusiasts that we all know and love. The other main factor I would say, is that Canada’s geography and sparse population make it almost unfeasible to tour. Without the ability to tour, our bands are left in their hometowns to stagnate. Our government isn’t exactly helpful with arts funding either, unless you live in Quebec. I suppose one thing we could do to remedy the situation is to keep the conservative party out of Ottawa.
THM: How have your scheduling of live performances and your search for a record label been since the release of Apotheosynthesis? What other big challenges have Fractal Generator faced so far as a heavy band in a not-so-heavy world?
040118180514: We’ve played a handful of shows so far and they’ve been great. We haven’t really searched for a record label yet. I think that you mostly have to wait for a label to come to you. However, the entire structure of the music industry has changed so much, I sometimes wonder if labels might soon become the redundant middle-man in between the bands themselves and the media outlets that promote them. The revenue just isn’t there anymore to be able to feed that many mouths. Bands are going to have to take on a lot more responsibility, and I think it’s something we can pull off.
THM: A big thank you for your time, we at The Headbanging Moose really appreciate that. Do you have any final words to all headbangers in Canada and all over the world reading this interview?
102119200914: Thanks for the interview and thanks for supporting underground metal!!