Old interview with Patrick Savelkoul (Callenish Circle)

I did this interview back in 2005 when I was writing for Global Domination webzine.

At first, I was only supposed to do a review of Callenish Circle’s latest effort “Forbidden Empathy”, but as it turned out I also had an opportunity to interview the band’s leader and I quickly took advantage of it. I talked with Patrick (vocals) about brand new stuff, early days, techno and alcohol.


Patrick: Could be better. Didn’t sleep last night, went to bed at 23.00 but at 03.30 I still hadn’t slept for a single minute so I decided to get up early today. So I feel kinda wrecked now, hehehe. But aside from that I am doing fine.

Let’s talk about your latest album “Forbidden Empathy”, a double CD compilation that contains your first 2 albums, demo and MCD. Tell me, was there a demand for such a release? Did fans put pressure on you or was it just a whim, something like “Hey guys! Let’s re-release our early stuff, just for fuckin’ fun!”?

The main reason for releasing this 2CD is that our early releases lacked decent promotion and distribution. Since most of these releases were out of pressing or hard to find we got more and more people asking for our old material. Also because we gained some new fans after the release of “Flesh_Power_Dominion” and “My Passion // Your Pain” (both on Metal Blade Records). So after all those years we thought the time was right to re-release all our old material properly so it would be available for our new fans as well.

Since I don’t own the booklet for the new album, only a promo and side note, I’d like to know: who produced each set of material, where you recorded it and so on… what was the feedback on your music back in the day?

The “Forbidden Empathy” 2CD consists of all our previous Metal Blade Records material, recorded between 1995 and 1999. First of all the “Lovelorn” demo, recorded in 1995 at Beaufort Recordings Studio. Then there is our debut album “Drift of Empathy”, recorded in 1996 again at BRS and released the same year on Hammerheart Records. Then we have the “Escape” EP, recorded in 1997 at BRSonce again and released in 1998 by Polar Bear Records. Last, but not leas, there is our 2nd album “Graceful yet Forbidding”, recorded during 1998 and finally released in 1999 by DSFA Records (Benelux) and in 2001 by Edgerunner Records (in the rest of Europe). And to complete the material there is also an exclusive track that was originally recorded for the “And the Ravens Left the Tower” compilation, that track was recorded late 1995 and released through Teutonic Existence Records in 1996. Well I guess we never really had to complain about the response of the press. The only problem was that our record labels back then kinda sucked when it came to promotion and distribution, so most people only got to know us after the release of our latest 2 albums on Metal Blade Records.

When I was typing a review of the compilation, I tried my best not to compare you to other European metal bands. It was not because I didn’t want to, I just couldn’t find any good comparison. You display many elements of different styles like doom, death or thrash metal making your material quite varied. Do you always try to be original?

Good to hear you couldn’t really compare us with other European bands, but to be honest we don’t really try to be an original band. At least it’s not our main goal. In the early days we were definitely influenced by bands like Death, Pestilence and (old) Paradise Lost. Our first original songs were of course far from the level of the aforementioned bands but you can obviously hear their influences back on our early recordings. During the years we headed into a more aggressive, more intense and more melodic direction. With each new album we progressed as musicians and songwriters and there is a big difference between our latest album “My Passion//Your Pain” (2003) and our very first demo “Lovelorn” (1995). But if you listen each release after another you can hear it’s a natural and steady progression the band made during the years. With each album we developed our sound to what it is nowadays. I don’t know if our sound is so different from others and to be honest I don’t care either. I mean we just play the music we like the most ourselves, and I am aware we are not playing a completely unique style, but I do know we managed to create a typical Callenish Circle sound during the years, based on already existing metal styles.

When you look back on times where the things about CC were just starting to be, what do you feel then? Do you still regret some situations that didn’t help or even stop Your career? Examples are welcome.

After we recorded our “Lovelorn” demo (in 1995) and the first reviews came in, it was a really exciting period for the band. Maybe we shouldn’t have signed the deal with Hammerheart Records after recording just one demo, ‘cause to be honest the band wasn’t really ready for a record deal at that time. Perhaps it would have been better to record another demo, just to get some more studio and songwriting experience. But hey, that’s talking with hindsight – eventually we didn’t do that badly I guess?

Now you are on Metal Blade Records. Are you pleased with work they have done for you so far?

So far the cooperation has been excellent. I think we are one of the few bands that are actually happy with the work of their record label, hahaha. I mean you always hear these musicians complain about their record label, but that’s definitely not the case with Callenish Circle vs Metal Blade. They treat us right, provide us with good budgets for studio and artwork, the distribution is taken care of in a very professional way, and they support us wherever possible when we want to go on the road – what more could a band wish for?

I read somewhere that you are about to release a new full-length album. What is the title of it? How many changes have you brought to the music this time around?

No title set for the new album yet. Well, just imagine the best of what we did on both MB albums, add some really cool groovy parts and combine this already deadly cocktail with some high-tech wacky soundscapes, delivered by Gail Liebling (mastermind behind Gail of God). I think a lot of people will be amazed when they finally hear our new album. The recordings are scheduled for May/June and the mix will be done with Tue Madsen (a.o. The Haunted) at Anfarm Studio in Denmark. We aim for a November release worldwide.

As far as the world goes you can’t get by on playing only metal. What do you guys do for a living?

Gav & Ron are working in the I.T.C. business. Rocco is working at a cookie factory (no shit!) and apart from that he’s running his own rock & metal pub “Ed & Rocco’s”. Muuk is a heating technician (unemployed at the moment) and I am still working as promotion manager at Dutch record label Karmageddon Media.

You are a true metalhead and stuff, but I know you just have to be into other styles of music as well. So, what are your main, non-metal influences?

Well I am not really the kind of metalhead who listens to metal only. After listening to metal music for over 15 years I noticed I hardly got excited anymore when listening to all these new releases coming out every month. Around the same time I discovered a completely new world when it comes to music, and from all this “dance” related music I am mostly into club, progressive and trance.

I am really happy that I discovered this kind of music (even at a later age) since it’s completely different from metal. I also often go out to clubs where they play this kind of music. Just have a look at my favorite club VersuZ in Hasselt. Sometimes I also go to big events like Sensation, Mystery Land or Trance Energy. These are really big events with between 25 000 – 55 000 people, but personally I prefer the cozy atmosphere in a small club with just a few thousand people. It’s really hard to explain what really attracts me to dance music. I guess it’s the combination of music, lights, visuals and the friendly atmosphere between all these party people that makes it special. I can really release myself and get into higher mental spheres when the right vinyls are spinned by the DJ. Don’t get me wrong? I still enjoy listening to metal, but mostly the older stuff and I also still enjoy playing in a metal band, even though it’s not only metal I am listening to 24/7.

If I didn’t enjoy playing in a band anymore I would quit immediately, I am not going to fool myself. But don’t worry – I still really like it a lot to play live and also to write and record new music with the band. It has simply become a part of my life for the last 12 years.

What is your first thought when you think of my country, namely Poland?

Vader, Behemoth, Jerzy Dudek, Wlodi & Ebi Smolarek and cold winters.

Patrick, I have once heard you do not drink alcohol at all! Why, why… and why???

That’s not 100% correct. The thing is that I don’t drink beer. I really think beer tastes like shit. I know a lot of people (definitely in the metal scene) won’t agree on this but it really makes me puke when I even smell beer. Occasionally I drink Bacardi or something similar, but not too often.

Because you are replying to a Swedish metal webzine, and I’m a Pole, I can’t leave you without getting to know your opinions regarding a few Swedish and Polish bands. Here we go:

“Left Hand Path” & “Clandestine” are absolute “classic” old school Swedish death metal albums. I have these 2 albums in my personal collection (on good old vinyl and on CD).

Great live band, although their latest albums sound a little bit repetitive for my taste. Pioneers of the extreme Polish metal scene. Respect!

In Flames:
Definitely a good band (live & albums) even though it’s not really my cup of tea. Their last album has its moments though.

Killer live band with very high potential… this band will become really big? mark my words!

Also a good (like In Flames) band but I don’t like the clean vocals too much. Sorry Bjorn.

Only heard 1 track so far off their latest album, but that really sounded devastating! The next big thing from Poland after Vader & Behemoth!

Cool band. Toured with them in 2003.

Never heard their music, or I just can’t remember.

Grindcore is not my thing. Sorry!

Have you ever visited the Global Domination site? If so, what do you think of it? Maybe you know why we are so great?

Nope. Send me the URL and I will have a look !

OK, we are about to end this fucker right now. Well, the privilege of the last word is yours, you may (have to) greet me for doing this interview.

Thanx for the cool interview dude! to the readers; make sure you check our new album late 2005 and in the meantime keep an eye on our website : http://www.callenish-circle.com

THRASSSHHH !!!!!!!!!!

Cheerz, Pat.


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