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Monday, July 28, 2008

Take 5 With Eric Hersemann of Gigan

Tampa has quietly crept on the radar over the years as a haven for blistering American metal when you stop and consider some of the modern era's greats hail from Tampa such as Cannibal Corpse, The Absence and Hate Eternal. Eric Hersemann is one of the area's more notable musicians, having played with Hate Eternal, Diabolic and Lord Blasphemer in his career. His prolific tech skills on guitar and bass has led to the formation of Gigan, a trio set upon unleashing metal so complex it brings expressionistic elements of grind, thrash, prog and death metal into a swirling miasma of cacaphony.

Add to it a cybernetic undertow that reminds of early years Voivod, and Gigan on their first full-length album The Order of the False Eye have created a layer-filled, senses-attacking odyssey that requires multiple listens to process it all. The Metal Minute caught up with Eric Hersemann for a brief discussion on Gigan's labyrinthine metalscape.

The Metal Minute: Alright, bro, so you backed yourself up from our last correspondence; The Order of the False Eye is one hell of a trip. Since your Footsteps of Gigan EP, you’ve really opened Gigan up to new possibilities. By far, The Order of the False Eye is a broader conception of grind and tech metal with a combination of psychedelics and cyberpunk. You obviously saw the direction Gigan was heading between the EP and the new album, so can you bring us to that point in time where you found the necessary focus to create something so mind-numbingly complex as The Order of the False Eye?

Eric Hersemann: The direction was very obvious to me due to the fact that when we corresponded; half the record was already written! I was also aware that we chose the three easiest Gigan songs to digest for the EP recording. We did not want to freak people out too early with something so intimidating. The Footsteps of Gigan CD was the gateway drug leading listeners to the true addictions of The Order of the False Eye! As far as necessary focus, Gigan is always intent on challenging our fans and listeners with everything we hear in our heads!

MM: There’s something about The Order of the False Eye that reminds me of a deathgrind spin on Voivod. To me, it's something confrontational yet highly evolved to where the listener is compelled to spin this album a few times to get a proper intake, considering the top layer ethereal guitar and bass lines alone demand their own attention, much less the bottom layers that paintbrush the album’s underscore of hypnotic brutality, using songs like “Still Image Symphony” or “Occult Rites of the Uumpluuy” for example. Certainly Killing Technology and Rrroooaaarrr beforehand were so cutting edge and provoking in their day they were hard to digest at first, but of course time has made them metal classics. Is that a goal you’ve strived for with an album as undeniably “busy” as The Order of the False Eye?

EH: Any Voivod comparisons are accepted with great honor and humility. As far as Gigan ever reaching those pinnacles of greatness, we shall have to wait and see. We in Gigan don't think in those terms; we just live in the now and create the best music we can.

MM: Going another step further with that, I spun The Order of the False Eye at two largely different decibels, so much I found the lower volume revealed a lot more of the album’s details and intricacies, whereas the higher volume gauged my ears out much of the time yet created a loud ambience all on its own. Do you feel there’s a dichotomy to The Order of the False Eye in this manner?

EH: No, I feel most records are easier to understand at lower volumes. In addition to that, the louder it gets the less your ears can be trusted, anyway!

MM: Obviously it’s been awhile since you’ve played with Diabolic and you’ve also moved on from Hate Eternal, but do you feel you’ve brought anything from those bands into Gigan? As mentioned previously, Gigan can be spellbinding and trippy but the groundwork for this band is a violent and explosive form of metal that might be said to be rooted in your past associations, just using “Chrysalis” as an example.

EH: No, what I brought from those bands I already had many years ago. Listen to Lord Blasphemer's Tales of Misanthropy, Bloodlust and Mass Homicide, which is also recorded by Sanford Parker, and you will hear the same levels of aggression, dissonance and technicality, albeit delivered a little differently. When I joined those other bands later in my career I brought myself to them, not the other way around.

MM: Grind metal has gotten so sophisticated and technically advanced it’s hard to believe it started with Napalm Death, Lawnmower Death and Wehrmacht. Having created your own mathematic twist on grind with The Order of the False Eye, how do you see this specific genre’s metamorphosis, particularly for your own purposes in Gigan?

EH: I think all genres in metal are in a state of constant change. Things that are currently known as grindcore, black metal or even hardcore are unrecognizable to me. Those labels on bands used to help but now they just confuse. I believe people should stop labeling stuff and start buying it. Then maybe the bands they like will do more than just put shit on MySpace. As far as Gigan goes, we are gonna do what we do and if that changes things, cool! If not, the true fans will show up to see us when we play and that is all that matters! Thanks for this interview and we hope to see all Gigan devotees this summeand fall while we tour!

Copyright 2008 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute


David Amulet said...

"I believe people should stop labeling stuff and start buying it."

Artists often say this, but they don't realize that so many fans come to their music only because somebody says, "Oh, you like [Band X]? You'll love [Band Y} because that group is [insert subgenre here], too."

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