SEVERE TORTURE Your recent album "Misanthropic Carnage" is being promoted by the label as banned in Switzerland and censored in Germany - a considerably smart move in the present-day situation I have to say, do you agree? Also, what do you think of the irony of it all - when a work of art has to be promoted as being censored?

Severe Torture: Well the thing is that our label just uses this situation in our advantage. We didn't plan on being censored and being banned, but it gives good promotion indeed. That the artwork is being promoted as censored is just a marketing tool for the label, art should not be censored, it shows how narrow minded some people are. Also in stead of fighting it they are just helping us. The cover artwork - as I understand - was subject to censorship due to the excessive blood on the cover and for being specifically violent and frightening - do you think this actually is true? And how much do you think such imagery can affect the young generation listening to your music?

Severe Torture: I guess the artwork is pretty brutal, so I can imagine that there are some weak people who are offended about it, but it is not created for those people. So they should fuck off. I don't believe that our artwork affects anyone, all death metal fans know that it's part of the deal, it's part of the "entertainment". I don't think that there is somebody out there that will start killing people after seeing our artwork. Do you think there should be a certain level or margin beyond which a band should not go in doing its cover artworks and if so where it should be?

Severe Torture: There should be no margin in the kind of artwork we are using. But I can imagine a margin for political bands, if you know what I mean. For sure there will be other things but I can't come up with one now. Have any of you gotten kids and if so would you be worried about them getting exposed to and furthermore being fascinated with images of violence and bloodshed at a young age?

Severe Torture: None of us have kids and don't think one of us will get one. But I do think that it is a parent's job to teach their children!!! If you learn your kid the difference between right and wrong and teach them respect, there will be no problems. You have to expose children to images of violence, they have to know what excists, but you have to talk with them about it. Again parents should teach their children everything they need to know nowadays. This is the problem in the world today, parents do a shitty job in raising their kids. I don't know about the situation in Europe and in the States but over here bands using such imagery, or even more so, bands dealing with Satanic in their performance are being closely watched by a special FSB (ex-KGB) department. There have been cases of certain bands being banned from several clubs on that basis. What happens really is that there is this civil-dressed FSB-officer standing there at the gig, and if there is a band he might think as over provocative he would go to the club management and talk to them. The talk is usually as follows - 'We don't give a shit about the band and musicians - they are earning their money and don't care - but would you want to bear the responsibility for all of the audience? If any of those morons will go and pillage a cemetery or worse beat somebody up or even kill them, would you want to bear the responsibility for them?' - 'No, of course not' - 'Then this band should not be playing in your club anymore' How is the situation around in your parts?

Severe Torture: Well after the club in Switserland decided to bann us, the local politics heard about it and told the club that if they let us play, they would close the club for that night. But around here there are no "agents" at shows or something. So that's is quit ok, I guess. If anybody somewhere should kill somebody or whatever and he/she has been listening to your band - would you feel upset? I am not talking about feeling responsible for them, 'cuz that's bullshit - but I mean upset in the artistic kind of way - as in being upset because assholes and idiots like that are actually part of your audience and that they find your music inspiring for such actions?

Severe Torture: I would not be upset, there are a lot of fucked up people in the world. And about that I would be upset that such a person is a fan of us, well I bet there are a lot of people that I rather not have as fans, but I don't care, everybody is free to like our music. In general do you think a musician is responsible for their audience? Probably not on the legal basis of course, but rather morally responsible. I mean, to a certain extent but every band and every musician is what is referred to usually as a public figure, that has some sort of influence over their audience on the basis of charisma, or whatever Art, and music per se is known to be as a very powerful tool

Severe Torture: Well I do believe that as an musician you have to feel responsible for your audience, but to certain extend. If you are just entertainers you are not responsible for someone's actions, but if you try to spread a message and people handle according that message, you are responsible, I guess. Can you describe how would your ideal listener look in your opinion? I mean what would you want your audience to look/behave/think like? Up to the point when you would say I am proud that this particular type of individual is listening to my music?

Severe Torture: Well they should be like us, in a way that they should be true death metal fans, who like to party and who can be reasonable. I think that describes it best. Also really good looking metalbabes are welcom as our audience, hehe. Returning to the subject of censorship - do you think it should be abolished altogether, limited, or, say, become more involved and cooperative with the musicians and labels. I mean, so that it becomes more of an advisory agency working in close cooperation with label and band representatives and trying already at an early stage to allocate a certain compromise that would be suitable for everyone?

Severe Torture: Well I am not sure, a band should do what they feel like. Such an agency could affect the artist original intent. Okay, thanks very much for the interview and now your last chance to promote your album, say whatever you have left on the subject of censorship and send a message out to your audience in Russia

Severe Torture: Censorship sucks! But our album is brutal as fuck, go out and buy it. Hope to play in Russia soon!! Thanks very much for the interview and don't run in trouble with the law anymore! ;)


(November, 2002)

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