An Interview With Swiss Doom Metal Band ‘Pÿlon’


Pylonlogoblack hpPÿlon, hailing from Switzerland, have been garnering quite a bit of attention in the world of doom. The band has already successfully released 2 EP’s and 4 full length albums independently. Their previous 3 albums combined to form a three part opus. The first part of the trilogy entitled “Th’ Eternal Wedding Band” has been out of print for years, and as a commitment to their fans that purchased it, they have vowed never to repress it again. The second and third part of the trilogy, “Doom” and “Armoury of God”, are equally becoming harder and harder to find for doom fans worldwide.The band’s 5th full length release ‘The Harrowing of Hell’ may be the one that moves them to the head of the pack. In late 2012 this album was released as a Limited Edition vinyl version of only 300 copies and contained 7 tracks for those avid vinyl collectors. A limited cd edition pressing  [500 copies] has been released June 2013 via Roxx Records. In november of last year the band also released an split album together with British death/doom metal band My Silent Wake “Empyrean Rose”. Below an interview with Matt and the other guys of Pÿlon.

TMR: Hey guys this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there in Switzerland ?

Matt: Everything fine so far! Thank you. It’s cold here but we can still play the guitar…

TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]

Matt: The band consists now of Matt Brand – guitar and former vocalist.
Oliver Schneider – guitar and Andrea Tinner on drums. The vocals are now taking over by Nomad Son singer Jordan Cutajar.
Reto Hardmeier – Electric Session-Bassguitar and unrequested comments.Pylon_2011.2

TMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Pÿlon’

Matt: I founded the band in 2002, initially as a stoner/grunge band, but then we get back into Doom metal/rock that I already played years before in an other band. The band has already had tons of musicians coming and going… there are not 2 albums with the same line-up. We have already released 5 regular studio albums and are currently (December 2013) recording the 6th, which will be released on Roxx productions US in the beginning of 2014. Pÿlon is now more a studio band than a live band; we had the last concert in 2007. The reason is that I have less time for gigs, since I have a family and kids who are more important to me than to play concerts… but I still love to play music so I concentrate more on song writing and recording.

TMR: What is your musical background ? [for everyone personal]

Matt: I began to play guitar back in 1988. I first played grindcore with a touch of black and death metal. But I soon had to face reality that I was not a very fast guitar player… so I began playing the speed I feel more comfortable and this is doom metal.
I came to metal when I was very young; I was fascinated by the clothes, long hair and symbols that the metal guys wear… so I knew already as a young boy that this music could be only great! I think the first really hard music that I heard was “deep purple in rock” from the collection of my uncle and then I knew that not only the guys where cool but also the sound they listened too! Well, after my grindcore project I played 3 years in a “sisters of mercy-like” band. Then in the mid 90’ I founded my first Doom band who split up 3 years after. Then I played in a rock cover band and finally founded Pÿlon in 2002. Which I hope will be the last band that I have to establish…! Between all these projects, I played in several bands as guitarist and bassist.

Oliver:  I played in Minsk Security for 10 years and am now playing in Exile RD and Pÿlon. I have joined Pÿlon in early 2013 but have already played with them as a guest live and on record.
Jordan: I was raised with the grunge scene….. Nirvana, the Offspring, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains…………along my teens I dug more into Metallica, Guns n Roses, Iron Maiden………………until one day my father decided to hand me his Vinyl collection and hearing to Immigrant song drove me crazy.  I have started my music carrier doing Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep covers and strangely enough I never was a doom metal fan…………pls do not hate me!!!!!! Nowadays my main influences are Ronny James Dio (RIP) and Rob Halford to mention two pillars of metal.
Reto: 15 years with (Technical) Death Metal, various (Studio-)collaborations within Country, Power Metal and Singer-/Songwriting stuff. Currently delivering the low-end for Zürich-based TornadoRock-Powertrio Despu Palliton (and Pÿlon of course!).

TMR: Why the name ‘Pÿlon’ ? Is there a story behind it ?

Matt: not really, the band was initially called “painwork inc.” but the others thought that it might sound too hard for the music we did. So that’s why we changed it in pÿlon. with a democratic vote… :-/ Jan, the long-time bass guitar player, put the ¨ on the y to make it a bit different.

TMR: Is ‘Pÿlon’ a Christian metalband, or Christians in a metal band ?

Matt: I wouldn’t call it a Christian band, since I think that only a person can be a Christian, not a band. And the bass, guitar and drum player are not Christians. I am a Christian and since it’s my band I put some Christian/biblical themes in the lyrics and concept. So it’s actually more Christians in a metal band. But I don’t have a problem if the band is labelled a “Christian/white metal band”. I want to spread some positive thoughts with my music that even if we live in a dark world, there is light that can be found in God through Christ.

TMR: As a Christian what is your relationship with God like at this point in your life, and what sort of message would you share with the readers at this time, that would inspire and encourage both believers and non believers to cling onto the things of God. [for everyone personal]

Matt: to have a relationship with God is very important to me; I think I would kill myself if I wouldn’t have it. It gives me hope and confidence that our life is not just a product of some “evolution”. And that we are not just living for dying. There is a big treasure in the word of God who gives me a lot of strength. And my way with Him showed me that he never disappoint. Jesus saved me from suicide. That’s why maybe my music is still dark in a certain way, because it reflects my inner feelings.
Jordan: I am a Christian and I  practice Christianity by being loyal and respect others, those that are close to me and even the ones that I do not know because I believe that loyalty and respect are reciprocal.

TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Pÿlon’ ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?

Matt: I write most of the music, a lot of songs are actually very old, since I have them in mind since more than 20 years. But I never found a person who wanted to play those songs with me that’s why I put them on ice a long time… Most of the songs where written when I am at work. Though, sometimes I awake in the middle of the night and have a song in my mind, so I take my guitar, record a demo of the song and go back to bed… Most of the songs just overcome me and are suddenly in my mind, only a few songs where written aware to sound following an exact aim. I have now still approx. 30 songs who are unplayed and who exist in a demo version and wait to get on an album. When I work on a new album, I chose which ones I want to have on them and then I begin working on them more precisely and work out a demo that I give to the band and then we arrange it together.
Most of the lyrics where written by Jan Thomas who was the bass guitar player for 10 years. A few lyrics where written by me, and some lyrics are taken from the bible (psalms, passages from scripture) and some are poems from other writers.

TMR: How do you describe the music of ‘Pÿlon’ the best ?

Matt: monotone, melancholic, I try to create my music very atmospheric more than to try to sound technical or fast or whatever else. I try to make it sound the most emotional I can. I love this kind of music myself, it makes me feel very satisfied, relaxed…
Reto: Epic, spiraling, subliminal

TMR: What are some key principles or phylosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person? [for everyone personal]

Matt: I try to live the way Jesus Christ showed us. To love and respect everybody. It’s very hard actually… but I think its worse the try…
Jordan: Smile and make others feel good, help others and make yourself feel good……..
Reto: Do what you want but don’t be a dickhead!

Pylon_20cover_20art_originalTMR: Your latest album “The Harrowing of Hell ” was released June 2013 via ‘Roxx Records’. What can you tell us about this album ? How did you get signed by ‘Roxx’?

Matt: On “The Harrowing of hell” I put more easy or “commercial” songs than on the previous albums. “THOH” should be more oriented to sound a little like count raven for example. I didn’t want to take songs in the vein of “doom” or “armoury of god” that are more progressive.
We wanted to release this album on vinyl only actually…. But then Roxx asked us if we would be interested in a special CD edition with bonus tracks. Well, we couldn’t say no to this opportunity… so they signed us and re-released the album in 2 versions. (one single CD version and a version with a bonus disc with a best of the past 3 albums). They will also release the next album, “homo homini lupus” which we are recording now. (From December 2013 to February 2014) and who hopefully should be released in spring 2014.

TMR: Recently you have released a split album “Empyrean Rose” together with “My Silent Wake ‘. How did this come about?

Matt: when we met Ian Arkley again at a concert that they played in Switzerland, we came to speak about this idea. We still had some “offroad” tracks that I didn’t want to put on a regular album, so we had the idea of a split through our label, Quam Libet records. Roxx where interested in this idea too, that’s why it became a co-release. BTW: The split is strictly limited to 500 copies.

TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Pÿlon’ ?

Matt: I think the fact that there were people all over the world who liked the sound of Pÿlon was a highlight… haha. I never expected that, to be honest!

TMR: And the worst thing were ? [if there is one]

Matt: maybe the fact that it’s very hard to keep the same musicians enthusiastic for a longer period of time for the vision that I have for the band and to stay in to follow that aim… But thank God there are enough people who like to play in Pÿlon, so that’s why the show goes on..!

TMR: What is the last album you bought ?[for everyone personal]

Matt: Wayne – metal church. And the CD version of a classic for me: Magnum – on a storyteller’s night…
Oliver: Pearl Jam – Lightning bolt and Alter Bridge – Fortress
Jordan: I believe it was Sabbath’s 13…
Reto: Carcass – Surgical Steel / Ihsahn – Eremita / Avatar – The Black Waltz

TMR: What makes you laugh? [for everyone personal]

Matt: fawlty towers and Tom Hanks in Ladykillers…  and lot more…
Jordan: A pint of beer…..haha
Reto: mostly only about comicalness of the situation

TMR: What is your biggest fear ? [for everyone personal]

Matt: that something could happen to the people I love.
Jordan: Falling off the stage………..
Reto: Bassplayers have no fears! …except of going out of beer… indeed

TMR: What is the Swiss metal scene like?

Matt: actually Switzerland has tons of good metal bands! We have all kinds of metal here. But only a very few plays doom… 
We released 9 compilations through our record label (Quam Libet records) called “heavy metal nation” which shows the different faces of the Swiss metal scene. And we realised every time that there is probably not a single village in Switzerland who doesn’t have his own metal band 

Empyrean RoseTMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band? [for everyone personal]

Matt: Spending time with my wife and the children. creating graphics in the photoshop. Watching movies in my home cinema.
Oliver: I travel a lot, i like movies and going to the cinema, doing something with friends and whiskey.
Reto: Spending time with my lady, reading, motorcycling, going out, music in every aspect

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

Matt: Through interviews… banners and reviews, mostly through the internet. Sometimes with advertisements in printzines.

TMR: How do you prepare for a show? [for everyone personal]

Matt: it’s been actually a long time since Pÿlon played a show… the last live was in 2007. But if we do, we rehearse a lot like most of the bands do. Before the show, I drink a beer… and then: let it rock!
Oliver: Well about half an hour before the show i warm up by playing some guitar, that’s about it.
Reto: By tuning my bass, drinking max. 3 beers and having a good time (internalising the songs has happenend the weeks before)

TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days? [for everyone personal]

Matt: I don’t visit many gigs unfortunately; it’s a matter of time.
I listened to these albums in the past weeks:
Wasp-inside the electric circus
Nocturnu-album 2013
King Diamond-conspiracy
Magnum-on a storyteller’s night
Saviour machine-same
My silent wake-silver under midnight
Omen-the curse
Mass-voices in the night
Oliver: Not nearly as much as i used to and not as much as i’d like but most bands that come to town don’t interest me that much.
Reto: I’m a little tired about the “big” names in the business so I more often attend a gig of a band I’ve never heard about before. And if they turn out to be crap, we all know why God invented alcohol…

TMR: Name some of your favorite bands to play with live [past and future] and tell us why ?

Matt: I would like to play live with these… (But we didn’t until now): My silent wake, Battalion (CH) sin starlett. Because they rock!
Reto: Atheist, Helheim, Melechesh, Cannibal Corpse, Orange Goblin and Avatar because they had both, the balls AND the magick!

TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked? [for everyone personal]

Matt: I can’t remember, I try to forget such things very fast!!
Reto: Q: “Are you too lazy to shave your facial hair?!” – A: “No, I’m too manly to not wear a beard.”

TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands ?

Matt: nowadays? There are too many!! 
Reto: Laziness, lack of balls & focus on the music itself, unkindliness and lack of balls… did I mentioned lack of balls?!

TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?

Matt: be yourself and don’t try to imitate some other band.
Reto: Do what you want, work hard, believe in yourself and please don’t start to worship the church of assholism!

TMR: What are your plans for the near future ? [European tour maybe ?]

Matt: first of all to record the new album and try to make it better than every older album 
Then we will produce a video for a new song in March 2014.
Then: begin working on the 7th album  and to try to make it better… than the 6th..! haha.
I’m not yet sure if time will make it possible to play some gigs in 2014, it’s still 50/50.

TMR: Guys thanks for your time and the interview. Enjoy the holidays and we wish ‘Pÿlon’ all the best for 2014 … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final statement ?]

Matt: thank you Eelco for the interview and the support so far!
Reto: Thanks for the Interview and stay doomy!

Band members:
Matt Brand – Guitar
Oliver Schneider – Guitar
Andrea Tinner – Drums
Jordan Cutajar – Vocals
Reto Hardmeier – Electric Session-Bassguitar

Natural Songbirth [2004]
Th’ Eternal Wedding Band [2006]
Doom [2009]
Armoury Of God 2011]
The Harrowing Of Hell (LP) [2012]
The Harrowing Of Hell (CD) [2013]  [Album Review]
My Silent Wake / Pÿlon – “Empyrean Rose” [2013] [Album Review]

Video below for: Psalm 139a

Video below for: Gethsemani


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