Interview with Jakob Batten, Illdisposed (March 26th 2008)

There’s no rest for the wicked, it would seem. A mere two years after the release of ‘Burn Me Wicked’, another blistering album from Denmark’s premier death metal combo is on the street.

Thomas plays the inquisition symphony for composer/guitarist Jakob Batten.

Congrats on the new, crushing disc! Would you agree if I say that this is a back to the roots album of sorts?

Jakob: Exactly. We got tired of all the modern elements and stepped back to where we belong.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that The Key to My Salvation is my favourite track on ‘The Prestige’. Which one is yours?

Jakob: In general I think the songs are strong this time. But “Weak is your god” and “A child is missing” are my favourites at the moment. I think that “A child is missing” is one of the best songs I’ve written, after finishing it I had kind of the same feeling as when I wrote “Dark”.

What exactly is the meaning of the album title?

Jakob: That the songs are strong and we feel good about it. In other words that we are arrogant pricks.

Your new guitarist Franz Hellboss was allegedly booted from Volbeat because of his lack of discipline. That didn’t worry you when you recruited him prior to the recording of ‘The Prestige’?

Jakob: Well, then he came to the right band. There’s absolutely no such thing as discipline in this band. We don’t try to achieve anything or do things the right way. It’s all about having fun.

You joined Illdisposed in 2000. What convinced you that this was the right move back then?

Jakob: Actually it was in 1999 but the first album I was part of was released in 2000. When Lasse first called me I said no because I thought he was a jerk. Then he called me back and insisted and I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. At that time we also tried to get my old band Infernal Torment established again but it didn’t really work out. So the time was right to try something new.

You are credited as the composer of all Illdisposed music. Do the others never contribute (apart from Bo with the lyrics)?

Jakob: At the moment I write everything. It’s not because I want to, but because I have to. The others don’t come up with anything. I hope Franz can contribute with some music for the next album so I can relax some more.

Who have been your main sources of inspiration over the years?

Jakob: I’m mainly listening to the radio so indirectly I think I’m inspired by what I hear on the radio. I’ve given up following the metal scene, too much crap is released and it all sounds the same to me. When I listen to metal it’s the good old King Diamond, Sanctuary, Slayer, Forbidden albums. The stuff I grew up with.

Bo Summer is adored by the German press for his alternative use of the German language. I reckon because he at least tries unlike most other visiting artists. Is the track Ich Bin Verloren in Berlin a nod to the German fans for their support?

Jakob: Yes it is. It’s no secret that Germany is our biggest market and we love to play there. And you make the German people happy and surprised when you speak their language. It’s probably because they only speak German themselves so it’s surprising to them that we speak other languages than Danish.

Your track ‘Dark’ was included on the soundtrack for the horror flick ‘Saw’. How did that come about?

Jakob: Roadrunner released that soundtrack and asked if we wanted to be part of it. The movie was released in a special edition including the soundtrack CD and the sales figures for that one went more than 500.000, so it’s pretty good promotion for us.

You changed to the AFM label. How has AFM been different from Roadrunner?

Jakob: Roadrunner was more professional in every way and I had to talk loud to AFM a few times already. But they are trying their best. Our new album is a priority release on AFM. That wasn’t exactly the case at Roadrunner.

Who, in your view, are the movers and shakers in Danish metal right now?

Jakob: I think it’s pretty obvious that Volbeat are the ones that get all the attention now. You can discuss if it’s metal or not. I’m not sure myself. Besides that I think the whole hype about the metal scene in DK is gone. I guess people are getting used to it.

You’re trapped on the moon, but luckily you’ve got your iPod with you. Which five albums are on there in best case?

Jakob: Forbidden – ”Forbidden evil”
King Diamond – ”Them”
Suffocation – ”Effigy of the forgotten”
A-HA – “Scoundrel Days”
Slayer – “South of heaven”

Thanks a million for answering my questions, Jakob. Any last shout-outs for our readers?

Jakob: See you out there. Hopefully we do a full DK tour this year but it has been difficult for us to book anything but Århus and Copenhagen since our last national quarantine.


Illdisposed - The Prestige

Album available on AFM Records/Target Distribution.

For more info on bandet - click on the album cover.