Power of Metal.dk Interview

Interview Mark Drastup - Essence, July 2013


Of course all Danish readers will be familiar with the band, but for our foreign readers, could you please give a short introduction of the band?

 Hello! We are a Danish thrash metal band consisting of four music lovers. The two of us (Lasse Skov (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Mark Drastrup (lead guitar)) have been playing together since we formed the band in 2005. Since then Rasmus Kalke joined the band on bass duties in 2012 and Nikolaj Kjærgaard joined the band this year taking care of the drums. We all love to play metal and we just want to get around the world, performing and having a good time with people we meet on the road.

What has the band been doing in between the release of your debut album ‘Lost in Violence’ and the new album ‘Last Night of Solace’?

 After the release of Lost in Violence we played a couple of tours, such as the Summer Campaign tour together with Vader and Krisiun. We also played a couple of festivals such as Roskilde Festival and Vagos Open Air in Portugal. Beside from playing concerts we quickly began to write the new songs for Last Night of Solace.

What is the biggest difference between both albums?

Since the release of Lost in Violence we have matured a lot as musicians, both individually and as a band. As a result of that our songwriting has matured and I think that the songs on Last Night of Solace is more diverse, but at the same time there is more coherence between the songs

You were the winners of the “Rock the Nation Award” in 2012, is this a kind of contest and how is that possible for a heavy thrash band? How much did you have to pay? (joke).

Yeah we won the Rock the Nation Award 2012, which secured us a booking deal with Rock the Nation and a record deal with their label Noiseart Records. We are extremely proud of winning this award, because so many great bands enter the competition and that makes it extra special that they chose us to be the winner. Maybe they chose us because they could see that we are a very proactive band, we don’t sit at home and waits for good things to happen. We actively find new opportunities for development and evolvement and that will never change! Haha luckily we didn’t have to pay a single thing!

How is the writing procedure for an Essence song? Are you just jamming and see what comes out, or is there a main song writer.

 Lasse Skov and I usually jam riffs out at home and when something feels right then we write it down. Then we will get together and try to put the riffs into an arrangement, and keep working on it until we feel that we have a basic song. The next step is to meet up with the other guys in our rehearsal room and play the song. The song often changes during the rehearsal and then we go back to the drawing board, and work on the new ideas we got during the rehearsal. We keep on with this process until we feel that we have a “finished” song. When we have a couple of “finished” songs, we record them at Tabu Studios with producer Rune Rask. We keep doing this until we have enough songs, like 20 or so, and then we pick out the best ones, which we will record again as a full album. This process takes a lot of time, but we think that all the hard work gives the best results. 

The first thing that entered my mind listening to the album is the name Mille Petrozza. Lasse does sound a lot like him (or Mille sounds like Lasse), due to that your music also sounds a lot like Kreator, even though there are differences. Not afraid to be set away as a Kreator clone?

 Haha I think that it must be Mille that sounds like Lasse. No we’re not afraid to be set away as a Kreator clone. Kreator is an amazing band and we all enjoy listening to them, but I think that our riffing style and songwriting is very different from theirs. In addition to that our lyrical universe is also very different from Kreators, so I do not think that we will be set away as a Kreator clone.

There are a lot New Wave of Thrash Bands at the moment, how are you going to see to it that the people will notice you?

 We will keep on developing our skills and songwriting, because as James Hetfield once said “if you don’t have the songs, you have nothing”. And we share the same opinion, that the songs are the most important thing, so we will keep working hard on writing the best songs we can. And I think that people will notice us because we have a more melodic approach to thrash, which is not very common in the thrash genre.

Do you follow the scene and if so, which new thrash bands do you like most?

Yeah I follow the scene, because there are a lot of very talented new bands out there. If I have the pick a few then it must be Havok and Lich King. Both bands have some incredible vocals, catchy riffs and hooklines, and especially Havok have some really cool solos.

German thrash and the American Bay Area bands are big inspirations for the band I suppose, are there other bands or styles the band is influenced by?

 I listen to all different kinds of melodic metal besides from thrash metal, and that also gives me great inspiration. But we all have a very different taste in music and listen to a lot of different music besides from metal. As a result of that we write music in a very personal way which I believe id a big strength, because when we combine our skills we get a better result and the songs become more unique that way.

You are a 3-piece band, isn’t it difficult to create the same heavy sound on stage like on the album?

 Actually we are a 4-piece band haha. We just didn’t have a bass player during the recordings, which is why the bass on the album is played both by Lasse and Peter Tägtgren. But since then Rasmus Kalke has provided the deep notes and he is doing a really good job. So we can still manage to create the same heavy sound on stage!

Are there already touring plans, or festival gigs planned?

Yeah we’re going to play Nibe Festival in a couple of days. And then we have two tours coming up. First we are going to tour Europe together with Mercenary and Omnium Gatherum in August/September. Right after that tour we have a co-headlining tour with Mercenary in Denmark in September/October. We love to be on the road and we can’t wait to get out there again.

Does a band like Essence find the internet a blessing or a curse for the band.

 Besides from the downloading issue I think that the internet is a blessing. The social medias make it really easy to get in touch with the fans, and it’s also a really good tool for promotion, as you can reach out to people in the whole world by a single click.

You have to be the opening act for three other bands, which three bands would you choose if you have to pick them?

 It’s hard to choose just three bands, but I think that my personal list would be: Metallica, Volbeat and Slayer. Three really amazing bands which I have been listening to for a long time, so it would be incredible to get a chance to be opening act for them!

These 5 albums should every die-hard thrash fan own:

1.      Metallica – Master of Puppets
Slayer – Reign in Blood
Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
Forbidden – Twisted Into Form
Destruction – The Antichrist

Anything else you want to share with our readers?

We hope you will come out and have a good time with us at one of our upcoming shows! Visit www.facebook.com/essencemetal for concert dates. And thank you for reading this interview! It means a lot to us that you have taken time to read about four young guys trying to make it big in this world, by doing what they do best – playing music for the hell of it and that will never change!

Thanks for answering the questions!

My pleasure!

Essence - Last Night of Solace

Label: NoiseArt Records.

Link: www.myspace.com/essence.



Lasse Skov - Vocals & Rhytmn guitar
Mark Drastrup - Lead Guitar
Rasmus Kalke - Bass
Nikolaj Kjærgaard - Drums

Last Night of Solace (2013)
Lost in Violence (2011)
Art in Imperfection EP (2007)


Interviewed by Reinier de Vries