Pÿlon - Jan Thomas, Matt Brand

Sometimes the best “excuse” to do interview is when there is some kind of a dispute. Well, there was a rough start with the guys from PŸLON but there are no bad feelings and the following interview was the best way to set the record straight. After all we are brothers in Doom!

Hey guys nice having you in METAL KAOZ. What is the current status of PŸLON? Please make a brief introduction of the band.
Matt: Hi Maria, thanks for the opportunity of an interview with you and sorry if we had a bad start together. This was never my aim and a sort of misunderstanding I think!

Jan: Hi Maria and METAL KAOZ, thank you for this friendly welcome! Many of your readers might not know us yet, so we might give you a brief description of PŸLON: we are a Doom band from Switzerland. Now, that was easy, but there is a bit more to tell: we have just released our fourth album - the third one of our trilogy - and we are working on our first vinyl album.

What does the band’s name mean?
Matt: I never really liked that name... but we got known under that name so we kept it. In the beginning it was just a name of what the first drummer thought it’s a cool name... so we didn’t think about it. And when we changed the music stile to doom, it seemed that it wasn’t too bad, because the meaning of “pylon” could also be a cross. Well I still don’t like it... but actually it doesn’t’ matter...

Jan: Pylons are mighty structural elements like towers next to gates in ancient Egyptian gateway architecture – that fits rather nicely with doom metal, don’t you think? The funny thing is that we had the name already when we played hard rock, but now it really suits us. Isn’t ‘pylon’ a Greek word anyway?

Do you consider yourself a Christian band?
Matt: No, because if it would be, all members should be Christians. Only I and the new guitarist are Christians, so it would be wrong to call the other musician Christians. We use Christian lyrics as well because I like it, but Jan also write lyrics about other topics.

Jan: We do not, but there are enough people who do. Should we get annoyed about this? Well, this label will probably attract as many listeners as it will put others off, so in the end we can pursue our beliefs or disbeliefs without having to worry about what others see or want to see in us.

Do you feel offended when someone calls you a Christian doom Metal band? What is wrong with that?
Matt: not really, it’s just that we never mentioned this on our release sheet or somewhere. So it seems that some reviewers not really research on our site or ask what/who we are really. It’s more that fact who makes me angry some time... I am a Christian and there is nothing wrong with it! But this and many others things like wrong lineup and so on who are just taken from other websites with wrong information about us and added to the own review by some reviewers… and then it goes around the globe, and when I read it as owner of the band, it just seem that I don’t know this band! Strange, isn’t it?

Jan: Just that everybody is doing it! (laughs) But of course there is nothing wrong with Christian or at least religiously-interested Doom Metal: PENTAGRAM, COUNT RAVEN, CANDLEMASS, BLACK SABBATH, TROUBLE... thank God for them!

Do you think labeling the music is something close to discriminating? How do you respond when someone puts a ‘label’ besides the band’s name?
Matt: no, actually not, but when Metal has a positive Christian touch, it seems that lots of people react very negative... And when it’s a negative Christian touch, nobody cares about it… strange not? So where does discrimination begin?

Jan: I think it is quite normal. As a band, you want to help the “right” people to find you, and as a listener, you have to find a way to cope with all the music which is out there: MANOWAR are heroic”, RUSH are cool”, Devin Townsend is crazy”,RUNNNING WILD are pirates” ... none of these comments have anything to do with their varied music, but they help to turn you onto a band or discard it as uninteresting.

Few months ago, you have released “Armoury Of God”. What is the feedback you are getting from the fans and the media?
Matt: as for the albums before, we get lost of positive feedback. We where always very surprised about it! We never expected this. We where making our strange sound and send our CDs through the world. I don’t have the ambition to be as perfect like many musicians wants... I just want to play, having fun and put my emotions in the songs. I am my biggest fan, I think.

Jan: It is surprisingly positive. I mean, those are the songs we had fun tinkering away on and now there are people who think of them as art! Luckily, no one says they were perfect, because it is always more interesting to read a review which carefully weighs positive and negative aspects.

How do you respond to reviews with low ratings? I myself gave the album a low rating but that’s how I felt.
Matt: actually I never respond to reviews, because I don’t have time. And it doesn’t hurt me if someone makes a low rating or think the album is bad. Everyone has the right to have his opinion about music he likes or dislikes. The ratings are many times very strange, so we have bad review with good ratings and god reviews with low ratings, what does this means? But we are not alone with that, many “big” bands knows the same “problem”. Actually only an objective review is a good review. A review who tells about the whole thing, about the good and the bad side of a band. And who can give to the reader an idea what he can find or hear with a new album. But actually... it doesn’t matter, we are happy with everyone writing about us. Even negative, it’s publicity... finally. And so lots of people will download and listen to our album and maybe like it? And that’s the aim. The reason why I respond to yours was the fact mentioned above, lots of things just seem very strange to me... and I didn’t recognize my own band in a certain way... it was not because of the rating. But because of wrong information in it! And it was just the one too much... sorry Maria!

Jan: Haha, yes, we know! But reviews are pieces of artistic writing, just like musical compositions, and they generate different reactions: sometimes one of us is annoyed by a “bad” review but the other one feels that it is a well-worded and fair assessment, and sometimes one of us is very happy with one critical review while the other one feels that the writer just wanted to be mean because he or she did not like the word ‘God’ on the cover or something as superficial as that.

Ok, let’s talk about the album; is there a concept behind the lyrics?
Jan: No, not a thorough one. At first, I wanted to use lyrics on very different religions, but the way the songs came about, we used older, good ideas as well, so this did not happen. Thus, the album ended up with most lyrics based on western religious concepts ...and death, of course. Much, much death as always.

What were your main influences / inspiration that lead you to write “Armoury Of God”?
Jan: As with its precursors “The Eternal Wedding Band” (2006) and “Doom” (2009), many ideas for songs came together between 2004 and 2006, but we waited for the time to be right before working on them as well as on entirely new songs. Had they been used for “Doom”, they would probably have sounded softer because we had no permanent drummer with rhythmical inputs back then.

Andrea Tinner is the last addition in PŸLON’s lineup; so, how his playing affected PŸLON’s music?
Matt: well it changed lots of things... he is the best drummer we ever had. So we where forced to rehearse even more! Most of all, Jan and I! It is good to have such a drummer who wants and can play even everything. And who drive you to go more to your personal limits, even if they where not very high, those limits! Haha. But the making of “Armoury Of God” was good for me and Jan.

Jan: It has got a bit harder and heavier, also with occasional double-bass rolls. In the meantime, by the way, we were joined also by Andy LaMorte, a very versatile - and friendly - second guitarist who allows Matt to concentrate more on vocals during rehearsals.

What is the artwork about and what is there a connection between the artwork and the lyrics? Did you have something to do with choosing it?
Matt: Well, the cover is a part of a 10 time bigger picture that represent a wheel of life, beginning with the birth and finishing with the death and final judgment. Our detail is, of course, the last one, the death. It is from 1831, from a French unknown artist. We loved it because the color was also the same than on “The Eternal Wedding Band” and “Doom” and that it would fit well in our concept of the trilogy. We wanted the color of the covers being also in relation to each other. For the next album on vinyl we will have a color cover by Gustave Doré. Very nice...

Is “Somewhere In Nowhere” a CANDLEMASS cover? Give us more details about this song.
Matt: Well, here we have a special thing that is not really clear... in fact the song we are covering here is the demo version that Edling made 1985 even before CANDLEMASS exists, still in the NEMESIS area. I am (probably) the biggest fan of NEMESIS in the world... the band NEMESIS had before he called it CANDLEMASS, and also a fan of Edling as a vocalist. I know, lots of people think he was a bad singer, I don’t think so. For me he could have been stayed vocalist. So the CANDLEMASS version on “Tales Of Creation” is very different than the one we covered! More complex, more riffs, only the lyrics are nearly the same. That’s why our version is more a tribute to nemesis than to CANDLEMASS. I want to cover more songs of NEMESIS in the future, songs who will be more clearly associated to NEMESIS. It’s only a matter of time… with this song it was a misunderstanding...

Do you think that the Doom Metal scene is crowded with many bands and consequently albums?
Matt: Well there are lots of bands today in this genre, many of them using growls or deep vocals. I do not really like them. I more like clean vocalists… but to be honest, most of the time I’m listening to the classic old records of the 80’s and 90’s. And I take my inspiration from them, also trying to sound old school, I don’t like Doom Metal who is produced too modern.

What about touring; what are your immediate plans? Any festivals? There are many very good Doom festivals in Europe.
Matt: I know, lots of people wants to see us live… but I don’t think that we will play any gig in the next years... we concentrate on recoding new albums. There are lots of new songs already written. Actually we have already beginning recording the new album “Harrowing Of Hell”. I have a family, a work, a house... so I don’t have time to concentrate on gigs. I more like to spend my time in the studio, recording and mixing new stuff, this makes me happier J and I don’t think that I am an interesting live person... so nobody really miss something... haha. The next album will be a vinyl release only, so we maybe won’t take too much time until it’s finished... because we need only 40 minutes of music, and this is for PŸLON, I think, only 5 or 6 songs!

So, what’s next for PŸLON? Do you have a timetable fixed or do you take things as they come?
Matt: actually we have a timetable! Jan and I counted that we need 8 more years to realize the albums that are already planed... The concepts, titles, lots of songs and lyrics for 3 more albums are done. So we will see what the future will bring. If this will work as we want, we will be see live not before 10 years from now...

Well guys thank you for taking the time to answer to my questions. If there is something you feel it needs to be said please go ahead!
Matt: Well, thank you again for the opportunity, Maria! A last word: this world is only a bridge; don’t build your house on it... we are just strangers and guests here on earth...