Monday, September 10, 2012

An Interview with Lance Gifford of Bitter Peace/Funere Mundi

How long have you been playing guitar and what got you started?

Around 27 years, and believe it or not it was upon seeing the band KISS live with Judas priest opening up for them in 1979, and at that time hearing the heaviness of Priest I knew I wanted to play.

When did the idea for Bitter Peace come around and what is the history of the band?

The idea for Bitter Peace came along around 2005, I used to do a Black/Death Metal fanzine in the early 90's, and I decided around 2005 that it was time to record some music of an extreme nature, it initially was just for me for myself, and eventually a few people heard it and thought I should persue it more. I met Dakota (Vocalist for the first CD) and laid down some vocals, he was a good fit for the debut CD as it did have some Death metal elements and I couldn't be bothered to write lyrics at the time. As the band progressed to a more straight forward Black Metal style I took over lyrical duties as well, this caused some friction and he also didn't care for some of the more atmospheric aspects of the new music so the cooperation terminated at that point. The new vocalist THE MANY and I see eye to eye completely and the 2nd CD is close to completion and is far superior to the debut, which I actually can't even listen to at this point.

I noticed the Iron Cross on the album cover along with some of the song titles. Do you consider yourself an NS band and do you feel being lumped into that category is helpful/detrimental? What are your thoughts on the NSBM scene as a whole?

Well, this is difficult to answer, but I will try to as best as I can. Do I consider the band an NS band? No, not really but I don't reject any comparisons as some of my lyrics can lean towards that, but not nonsense like some bands do. I wouldn't consider it a help or a detriment, for these reasons, one the extreme Black Metal underground is just that, extreme, people understand that this is not nice music and it shouldn't be for everyone, so therefore it is commonly accepted. Also, I have no aspirations of ever polishing the band to try to become popular, I do it because I enjoy it and if some people relate to my music that is great. It would however be detrimental if I were to try to make the band a sellout big band, as it is not really accepted in a lot of circles. Hopefully this answers this somewhat clear.

When did you get into black metal and what is your opinion on the state of it (and metal in general) these days?

I have been into since the early days, back when Mercyful Fate, Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer/Celtic Frost came about. I didn't really consider Black Metal as such because it was a bit more tongue in cheek and a lot less serious. But the late 80's and early 90's brought the explosion from Scandinavia, and that was an extremely special time, this was the genre's absolute best era. Ultima Comparatio covered the church arsons and violence as it was occuring, I interviewed Faust from prison, and kept in touch with him throughout his incarceration. It was the best of times for this music. The scene is not what it was, but there is some great music coming out these days, MGLA from Poland is absolutely brilliant, as good as anyone, any time. Marduk is simply the best Black Metal band active today, they continue to lead where others follow. The Greek Black Metal scene is fantastic these days, Acherontas leads that brilliant scene. Metal in general, it is still good in the underground, still shit on the mainstream.

How did you get together with Saroth from Immortal and Ebboth to form Funere Mundi?

Ebboth is a long time friend, he has come and stayed with me here in the states a couple of times, the first time was back in 95, we have remained close. Saroth is a friend of Ebboth's and when he heard the Funere Mundi he said he would like to do bass, he was and is quite welcomed to the band. They both saw what Funere Mundi represents, an absolute throw back to the scene of the early 90's, Euronymous was a huge influence and it shows on that recording.

Are there any other musicians you would like to collaborate with?

Morgan from Marduk, he is a long time friend and just an amazing representative for Black Metal.

Does Bitter Peace have any shows lined up?

Unfortunately none, we just don't have a full line-up and finding individuals with the right mindset here in the US is difficult.

What three albums can you not live without?

First and foremost, Mayhem's "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", Dissection's "Storm of the Lights bane" and Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse" are the other 2 that come to mind, but there are countless, very difficult question.
What albums/bands have favorably caught your attention in recent times?

As mentioned, MGLA from Poland is brilliant, anything by Acherontas, anything by Marduk, Nader Saduk for an amazing Death metal CD.

What does the future hold for both Bitter Peace and Funere Mundi?

For now just getting the debut Funere Mundi completed and find which label we will sign to is all that the focus is on with Funere Mundi, and just finish up the 2nd Bitter Peace as well, I am quite pleased with how it is turning out.

Alright Lance, thanks for your time. Any last words for the blackened masses?

Thanks for a great interview, keep it extreme.

For more information, check out Bitter Peace at their MySpace page here
or contact Lance Gifford here

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