Interview with Olan Parkinson and Steve Maher of Abaddon Incarnate
By Tammy Lomax
Hi Everyone, Rick Here,
In the underground extreme music scene Irish Deathgrind outfit Abaddon Incarnate could be considered a seminal band within the genre. They’ve been around for over 25 years now but there have been some interesting developments of late. Our very own Tammy recently got the chance to have a chat with Drummer Olan and Guitarist Steve about not only these, but also the bands history!
Tammy: Firstly, congratulations on the recent news with being signed to Transcending Obscurity Records for a multiple album deal. How are you feeling about this? And what will this entail for 2020 and the future?
Olan: Thank you, Tammy; yeah it is great news and great timing. We were planning to record in 2020 anyway but now to have an official platform through which we can release it is amazing. I have known of TO records for a long time and always admired Kunal’s drive and his dedication to real underground bands and really heavy stuff too, almost like the Indian Relapse Records. So, in June we are heading to Foel Studios to record with Chris Fielding which is awesome. I have worked with Chris several times now. He is just great, a thorough professional and just gets heavy dirty music. He has good history with Irish bands too having recorded with both Primordial and Mourning Beloveth. With regard to the future, who knows, Abaddon have always been an unknown quantity, but history has shown that we ‘do not go gentle into the good night’ so I would expect something ferocious for full length no 6.
Tammy: Kunal Chokski (owner of TO records) mentions that he has been a huge fan of Abaddon Incarnate since the release of “Nadir” in 2001. What is your favourite track on this album and why? And can you guide us through the process of how you wrote the album?
Olan: Ha heavy question; I of course have several! I’m going to pick two if I may? Opener ‘I Will Nail You In’ has got to be up there. It’s just relentless from start to finish and the lyrics match, just full on without being overly graphic, but full of genuine vitriol. Ironically the title came about from a joke which I will tell you in person one day. It’s still a staple in the live set, our ‘Angel Of Death’ if you will. I also love ‘Unclean’ I think as a contrast it is a bit more mid paced but with a real groovy middle 8 but it literally is unclean, it feels it, it’s a filthy song, again the subject matter is quite dark! I wrote the lyrics for this one, and I love exploring the blackness within humans and the depravity that we are capable of.
The writing of “Nadir”, once it got underway happened quite quickly. We actually had about 10 tracks written for an album and thought we were almost there with the process. It felt strained and not very natural though, we hadn’t quite crossed the line into Grindcore at this stage but we were all getting into more extreme stuff, I was really loving Brutal Truth’s, Extreme Conditions and Need To Control, and we were all getting into Nasum circa Inhale Exhale and Human 2.0. So, one rehearsal Bill came in with the main riff for ‘I Will Nail You In’ and that was it, game changer. We scrapped the whole album and started re-writing and it was Deathgrind from then on. And due to the Nasum influence we asked Mieszko (RIP) would he be interested in working with us and the rest is history. “Nadir” was recorded over 2 weeks or so in his studio in Sweden.
Tammy: Abaddon Incarnate have been going for 25 years. As you might expect, during this time, some members have come, gone and returned. What inspires you to keep motivated regardless of setbacks?
Steve: I’m pretty stubborn, so setbacks motivate me. It’s sad to lose old members but people move on, the exciting part is when you get a new line-up; you get new ideas and energy!
Tammy: Abaddon Incarnate were the first extreme Irish band to play in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. What advice and tips can you give to up and coming bands regarding networking and getting their name out there?
Steve: We were approached by South American promoters “Guts n Blood”. He did a magazine feature and the tour arose from that. Similar to our first Australian tour! If you want to get your name out there you need good distribution and good PR. Labels will do PR work but sometimes it’s worth investing in a bit more PR. We have a few individuals who do good work for us.
Tammy: You guys have had some huge achievements, like supporting massive bands Obituary, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower etc…What has been the most memorable and rewarding so far?
Steve: Playing with all these bands is great. But the most memorable gigs are the DIY tours we headline ourselves like the Australian, South American or Russian tours we did.
Tammy: What is the most Bizarre thing that has happened on stage on a tour?
Olan: I can only speak for myself here of course but there have been a few. One gig, years ago, a guy jumped up on stage, smashed a beer glass and started cutting himself while we were playing. I also remember a gig in the Czech Republic at this small bar in the middle of nowhere. When we arrived there was no one about. No cars, chickens running around…all very weird. But come gig time people came from all over and filled the place. We had this support band and they had this dude playing guitar who had lost his arms and legs when he got run over by a train. He had this little rig fashioned where he had his plectrum attached to his stump, and he played with that…amazing! That place had some of the weirdest coloured drinks I’ve ever seen. But probably the most memorable bizarre thing for me was on that same tour. Not on stage however, but we were out with Desecration and this was towards the end of this tour. We had decided to stay in a hotel after this gig; it might even have been the last show. But we finished late, like midnight or 1am and we went back to this Hotel. It was all locked up but there was a cellar bar open there so down we went. The barman was sitting on this couch with this topless girl and watching porn, drinking a bottle of champagne. He was a very friendly chap though and brought us over a bottle of Absinthe, genuine Absinthe. I don’t think any of us had had the real shit before, but we got stuck into it. After whatever amount of time, the door burst open and these two rather large policemen barged in, guns and all, and next thing we were all up against the wall getting searched as they were roaring at the barman. But I’ll never forget just looking at the guys and everyone was pissing themselves laughing, it was so surreal, none of us had I.D. on us…nothing, it could have been a really serious situation but at the time it was the funniest thing ever. Thankfully they just kicked us out and we went to our room. I haven’t had any Absinthe since that night!!
Tammy: With some help and guidance from Zero Tolerance Magazine, in 2013, you made your stamp in Australia and have set up tours like ‘The Drunks and Convicts Tour 2017’ and a vast amount of others. Can you explain the pros and cons regarding the Australian underground scene and if there are any similarities to any of the other countries you’ve played?
Steve: I love Australia. The bands over there are quality and the scene is pretty awesome especially in places like Melbourne! We play a lot of small shows over there too but in Melbourne we always manage to do at least two gigs and get a sizeable crowd. The last tour we did there for example we did 3 Melbourne gigs in 2 weeks. Melbourne is an arty creative place. Australia is really unlike anywhere else. There is a unique vibe to the place.
Tammy: London Deathfest, Dublin Deathfest and headlining Carnage Festival in Switzerland are amongst some of the festivals you have previously played. What festivals would you like to play in the future?
Olan: I guess any of the big ones have to be on the list. Hellfest or Wacken would be awesome. Personally, I would love to get to Maryland Deathfest. But also, festivals like Fuck The Commerce and Obscene Extreme are just brilliant for showcasing the filthiest bands on the planet. But it’s important to support smaller festivals as they will be the festivals of the future. Metaldays in Slovenia for example! That is definitely one of the better new festivals. Great country too!
Tammy: Abaddon Incarnate was reformed from thrash legends Bereaved. What were the reasons for you changing the name and who made the decision?
Olan: I think it was mainly due to the change of direction, musically. We felt that the name Bereaved, while a cool name, didn’t suit the heavier, more aggressive direction the band was headed in. So, I think the decision was a collective one. We had several variations but eventually settled on Abaddon Incarnate. It suited our themes and mind-set at the time. Lyrically things have moved on, but the basic ideologies and motivations are the same. I still quite like the original logo which I designed (I use that word loosely) I can still remember the 30 or so attempts over a couple of days to get it to what it is now, Brutal Truth’s logo was the inspiration. I can still remember bringing it to rehearsals for approval, and Steve saying, “it looks like a coffee stain”, but they must have liked it because we still use it today.
Tammy: If you could all select one Icon to invite over for a good few beers and fine dining who would it be and why?
Olan: Well unfortunately, I can only speak for myself here. I would love to sit drink and talk with Reinhold Messner. Many people will know that he was the first mountaineer to summit all fourteen 8000 metre peaks and the first to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen as well as the first solo summit of Everest, the list goes on. It is an incredible feat today but absolutely unthinkable back in the days that he did it. He has written over 80 books and runs a mountaineering museum in the South Tyrol. I just think he would be fascinating to talk to. However, I could be wrong. Maybe he is sick of talking about mountains and would just want to get pissed. But that in itself would be a cool story!
Rick here again;
I’d like to thank Tammy, Olan and Steve for the interview and I, for one, cannot wait to hear the new album when it is ready. If you want to find out more about Abaddon Incarnate then click on the links below
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Tammy Lomax and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.