Trendcrusher

Seputus Interview

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Seputus was started by Steve Schwegler in 2005. After a hiatus, he revived the band in 2013.  The band also features his band mates from Pyrrhon, Erik Malave and Doug Moore . Their debut album Man Does Not Give was one of my favourite death metal albums from last year. I was blown away by their mix of death metal, black metal, grindcore and noise.

I spoke to Steve Schwegler about the album, their unique sound and also their plans for the future.

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You started Seputus in 2005. What inspired you to revive the band again in 2013?

Steve Schwegler: The goals of the project changed somewhat over the years. Seputus was done “for fun” mostly at the beginning; there were not any goals in mind at first other than writing music Doug and I would enjoy listening to. Frankly, I revived the band in 2013 out of emotional necessity. During the last couple years of my military career, I took on a wildly different job than I had usually performed. I experienced some events during that time that brought back a visceral desire to write aggressive music.

After picking the guitar back up and woodshedding for a while, all of a sudden I had started considering songwriting ideas that I had never thought of before. Although I wouldn’t say it stopped being fun, Seputus became more personal for me at that point. I had a lot of heavy emotional feelings during those years, and I had been compartmentalizing them to ensure I could handle my military work properly. Finally, it just got to the point where I needed some sort of catharsis, and I ended up working on the album basically non-stop when I wasn’t performing my duties as a military member. Writing the music and trying to interpret my emotions “accurately” was extremely gratifying for me.

The lyrics from your debut album Man does not give draw from personal experiences. Can you tell us a bit more about the album?

Steve: It’s important to mention that Doug Moore wrote all of the lyrics for this record, and that they are his thoughtful reactions to the music that I presented him with. The simplified, overarching theme of the album is that of disgust for the actions of mankind. Doug painted very deep, descriptive vignettes of different situations in each individual song. I cannot encourage people strongly enough to read through the lyrics themselves, and take some time to decide what they mean on a case by case basis. Doug’s lyrical work on this album is, in my humble opinion, some of his best.

From a musical standpoint, Man Does Not Give was a deep exploration of the negative feelings I had about life at that time. I used the opportunity to ruminate on what kind of person I thought I was, and what I was capable of doing with my life at that point. Themes of betrayal, deep-seated fear and personal anxiety fed a lot of the songwriting. Despite the depression I felt at that time, I found that I was incredibly productive when writing music. I wrote all the songs on the record, from start to finish, in a period of six months. And I mean that quite literally, because that was the manner in which I wrote MDNG. I kept coming up with ideas that would continue the flow of the previous song I completed. The first song you hear on the album is the first song I wrote, and so on throughout the entire album.

After I was satisfied with the songwriting, I mixed and remixed the record alone, second guessing myself on the results for nearly a year and a half. I wasn’t entirely sure how to achieve the sound I was looking for. The process of creating MDNG was a daunting, arduous task. It was a learning experience that I am grateful for, but I don’t think I’ll ever write a record in that manner again.

The album sounds like a jaw dropping mix of death metal, black metal, grindcore and noise. How did you develop this unique sound?

Steve: I’ve nourished my obsession with quality extreme music for well over a decade now, and my tastes have continuously evolved. The collective listening experience of all the amazing albums I’ve spent time with have had the most profound influence over my writing process. I’d make the analogy between writing an album and what is said about authors of great novels; they loved reading great writing too. Inspiration has been essential to me for creation. I spent a great deal of time developing the sound of Seputus by asking myself what I’d love to hear from an album. It is accurate to say that, besides meeting my personal needs, this album also functions as a love letter to the extreme metal community.

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You engineered & produced the album. What do you feel are the main advantages of producing the album yourself?

Steve: The main advantage of producing the album myself is that I had total control over the engineering process and the artistic direction of the record. I could instantly make creative changes born from conversations with Doug, and by referencing my own extensive notes as I listened to the demoes continuously. I used all the available tools at hand to make sweeping artistic decisions in real time, and once everything fell into place, finishing this album was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had. It is also, obviously, infinitely cheaper in a monetary sense to make an album yourself.

That being said, I’d caution that it is very time consuming and stressful to assume the responsibility to produce an album yourself. When deciding to do it yourself, understand that the outcome and the responsibility falls on you; an album is forever. So to all the DIY’ers out there that may read this, don’t be afraid to enlist your closest confidants to put ears on your work during the process. It is an eventuality to lose perspective on the albu
m’s sound over time, and the input of my friends and fellow musicians have been crucial for my sanity.

Pyrrhon also recently released an EP this year. How do you manage between both bands?

Steve: As far as splitting responsibilities between both bands, compartmentalization of our time has been the most effective tool. Pyrrhon and Seputus are two very different entities songwriting wise, so it has not been difficult to split our time between them. Doug focuses on one project at a time lyrically, and does not generally allow any cross-pollination between bands when doing so. I follow the same philosophy; I set aside a particular timeline to engage the mindset required for one band or the other. I’d also like to mention that Pyrrhon completed the “Running Out Of Skin” EP before I joined the band, so the outstanding drum work is all Alex Cohen’s doing, not my own.

The album is being released through PRC music. How did you get signed to the label?

Steve: Doug reached out to multiple labels while shopping the album around, and Remi from PRC Music was quick on the draw to contact us. He showed a great deal of enthusiasm for our album right from the start, which is reflected by the fact that he put the additional effort forward to press vinyl for us. We got along right away and he made us an excellent offer, so we were thrilled to sign with PRC Music!

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Are there any shows/tour planned in promotion of the album?

Steve: At this time, and for the foreseeable future, Seputus will remain a studio project. We’ve found ourselves incredibly busy with Pyrrhon as of late, in addition to the complications of our personal lives. Forming a live lineup for Seputus is, at this juncture, nearly impossible for us to commit to. However, I will not say it will never happen. I’m still creating new Seputus material, and we may decide to do it live in the future if the right circumstances align.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?

Steve: A great deal of attention and care, from many parties, was put into making the best record we could. From the heartburn of our endless production process, to Caroline Harrison’s amazing artwork and Alan Douches’ final mastering at West West Side Music, it has been a labor of love. Creating this album was a super real experience, and we are extremely proud of Man Does Not Give. So to everyone out there, we humbly ask that you give it a shot. Lastly, I want thank everyone who has given it a chance and passed us their words of encouragement. Thank you.

Written by trendcrusher

March 2, 2017 at 10:00 am

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