Desaster - 14/01/2019

I have been a hugh Desaster fan since my late school days, but I have to admit that I lost my connection to them during the last years. One of the reasons for that was definitely their inactivity during the last 2-3 years, of course. But they suddenly got all our attention again a days ago since their long-year drummer Husky left the band because he became the new Sodom drummer and had lack of time to continue. So I took my chance to call guitarist and founding member Markus ”Infernal“ Kuschke by phone and talked about the whole long Desaster story until today for 40 minutes. And it turned out to be very interesting! Here we go!

 

 

HELL-ö Infernal! Do you remember when Desaster were founded back in 1988?

 

Markus: Yes, well… When we were 15/16 years old, we all had the dream of having an own band. At first, we tried to write our first songs on acoustic guitars, haha! It was short time before Christmas that we told our parents that we wanted to found a band and needed instruments for that. That was when we got our first guitar and bass. Only a drummer was still missing. We found him one year later, in 1989. Then we met a club for our very first show although we didn´t have any songs. Our first gig had most priority, haha! But we actually wrote our first songs after that. That´s why we always say that the year of our foundation was in 1989 although we first started in 1988; that´s right.

  

Where did you know each other? Did you go to school together? Or what was it like?

 

Markus: Yes, kind of. We all went to different schools actually, but we all travelled with the same bus to Koblenz and did stage diving and tape trading on our way, haha! So yes, we all knew each other before.

 

Have you already played in other bands before?  

 

Markus: No, Desaster actually was our first band! 

 

How did it happen that you used the German spelling of the band name although you had English lyrics? 

 

Markus: This was actually not our own idea, but there was the Destruction song ‘Total Desaster’. They also spelled it with an “e”. And because we were hugh Destruction fans, we chose this name and took over this “mistake”. We never cared about that because we were the German Desaster anyway. Also, when we talk about the band, we always say Desaster (pronounced the German way) and not Disaster, like the people from foreign countries do, so…

 

 

On Metal Archives it´s said that the band did not exist in 1991 (1988-´90 and 1992-present). Is that true? What went wrong at that time?  

 

Markus: Yes, that´s true! We had some problems in 1990. First we only had a session drummer who went to school with our former singer. He also played in another band and didn’t want to rehearse regularly with us. And he had lack of time. And our former singer, Creator Cassie, also developed other musical interests, so we parted ways. That´s why Desaster we “on hold” in 1991 before we were able to restart with a new line-up in 1992. 

 

On your three demos you still had the old band logo with the SS runes. Was that a kind of provocation, or did that happen accidentally? Maybe a tribute to Kiss? And was that maybe also the reason why you changed the logo for all your later releases? 

Markus: At first, we didn’t even recognize that they looked like SS runes. For us they just looked like flashes of lightning. But when we were recognized by the public, some people really asked us about that quite often although we never had anything to do with Nazi stuff obviously. And then Christophe Szpajdel, the logo man, who already designed thousands of band logos, came up to us and said, “Hey, I heard you have some problems with your logo. Here you have some ideas.” And so we decided to use the new logo from that day on, without the SS runes. It was first used on the split-7” EP with Ungod which was released even before our debut. 

 

Concerning your demos: Your third demo ‘Lost In The Ages’ was re-released in 2007 as a bootleg-split-CD from Finland; together with the Impiety demo ‘Ceremonial Necrochrist Desecration’ (spelled with “c“) and their 7“ EP ‘Salve The Goat…Iblis Exelsi’. It was entitled ‘Ceremonial Necrochrist Redesekration’ (spelled with “k“). Do you know this bootleg? And do you have an idea who spread it? 

 

Markus: Yes, I have heard about that. I would like to have it too, haha! But I think I never held it in my own hands… I don´t know. You know, there are always releases like that because people like to have it, But mostly, they are just business men who want to earn money with it. It´s always sad that the bands don´t get their free copy for their own collection at least. Our address are always given in our booklets. So they could just send it. Also ‘A Touch Of Medieval Darkness’ was bootlegged a few years ago. We are not financially damaged by that. We don´t lose money with this, but the labels do and have to deal with it then. But we as a band once wrote all those songs and deserved to get a free copy of those bootlegs at least, in my opinion. 

 

 

No matter if bootleg or not: This CD is great, isn´t it? I mean, there are releases featured that have been sold out for a very long time now! And metalheads are always fanatic collectors! What do you think about such collector´s items in general?  

 

Markus: Yes, of course! I am a vinyl collector myself and have one or another bootleg in my collection as well! That’s why I say: I don´t have anything against those bootlegs in general! I´m not like Lars Ulrich of Metallica who can´t sleep at night because people bootleg his music and he doesn’t have enough pocket money for postage anymore, haha! I´m proud if we are bootlegged because it´s also a kind of honor from fans. But as I said: It would have been nice to get free copies for our own collections then at least! 

 

How did you have the idea about the split-7“ EP with Ungod in 1995? Did you know the band before? Or was it the idea of your label Merciless Records back then?

 

Markus: That was a funny story actually because some bands in the black metal underground didn’t like each other. It was a fact that we really loved Ungod! You can say that they were the first German black metal band of the second wave who already released something on vinyl. And Schiekron had tried to contact us several times to ask us if we were interested in doping a split-EP. But the letter got lost by the German mail… And he thought that we were arrogant and didn’t want to do that, haha! But this case was later solved by our good friend, Iron Pegasus Records owner Costa Stoios who had contact to both Schiekron (who´s unfortunately not in Ungod anymore today) and us. Of course we wanted to do this split! And as you might know, this split-EP was of course later released by Merciless Records.

      

Your debut ‘A Touch Of Medieval Darkness’ was released in 1996; eight years after the foundation of the band! The album was well-received in the underground. Were you aware of the cult of this album back in the day? Or did this cult status develop though the years?  

 

Markus: No, not at all! We were pretty annoyed because we had already been active since 1992 and always had problems to deal with. Our debut usually should have been released many years ago! Maybe our career would have developed totally different… If you could say career at all… But it was not released until 1996. We recorded it in 1995 and always had problems with our former drummer. We didn’t rehearse a lot… And Merciless Records took themselves a lot of time as well until the album was finally released. But it should have been released long time before that! Maybe it would have been a milestone like a band like Mayhem… Who knows? We´ll never know… Just imagine! But we´re proud of what we created! If this album is ´cult´ today, it´s a fact that makes us proud!    

 

On your second album ‘Hellfire´s Dominion’ there was your smash hit ‘Metalized Blood’ featuring Thorsten ”Toto“ Bergmann of Living Death in the second verse. How did you get in contact with him?

 

Markus: Yes, we had good contact to Atomic Steiff who had also played drums in Living Death. We also spent the night with the Heavy Metal Fan Club Velbert where we recorded the album. And we asked him if he could convince Toto to reactivate him because he had not done anything with music for several years at that time. But he convinced him to be back from the dead! There was a funny story: Toto was really enthusiastic to sing for us. And on his way to the studio, he practiced the song in the car. We already sent him the demo track before, so that he knew what to do. And we listened to it in the car, and he started to shout it at the traffic jam, haha! That was pretty cool

 

 

Daniel: On your first albums, you played a mix between black and thrash metal with a few medieval melodies included. Why did it take so much time to find your own style? I think it became more and more unique on your later albums. Or am I wrong in this case? 

 

Markus: Well, not really unique, I think. But you´re right: We often had those medieval melodies in the past. We sorted them out a little bit because our current singer, Sataniac, does not like medieval stuff that much. And of course, we respected that! But we still have atmospheric influences here and there. We always call them ballads when we have slow passages, haha! But I think our style is still varied. The last albums received some really good reviews although we don´t really care about that much. We must always like our own music; that´s all. Otherwise we wouldn’t release it.  

 

In 2001 you played your last show with your former singer Oliver ”Okkulto“ Martin at Wacken Open Air. Did you already know that it was your last gig with him? Or did he tell you later? 

 

Markus: Infernal: No, we didn’t know it. But the atmosphere in the band was really bad at that time. Okkulto and Tormentor always had conflicts. They had totally different plans how the band had to work. Tormentor is someone who wants to play anywhere every day. He´s the born musician, you can say. Okkulto was a shy guy who only wanted to play selected, special gigs in front of a selected audience. We reached a point where it just didn’t fit anymore. That´s the reasons why he left the band in the end.   

 

Daniel: Today Wacken is a very commercial event. Desaster is total underground. Why Wacken for all senses?

 

Markus: Of course it´s possible that he decided this for himself, as a special highlight maybe to end it up… But I don´t really know if that´s true… 

 

Two tracks of this Wacken gig (‘Sataniac’ and ‘Show Them How’) were released on the ‘Sons Of Infernity’ 7“ EP. Why didn’t you release the complete gig as a farewell show cult tape or something like that? 

 

Markus: Just because of technical reasons. Those were the only two tracks that were good enough to use, haha! The sound was pretty bad, but it was also a good chance to end up this era. We already had one new studio track entitled ‘Sons Of Infernity’ which we didn’t want to throw away. We really wanted to release it and still needed a b-side for that. So it was a good chance to do it like this.  

 

Do you know Okkulto´s new band Eurynomos? And what do you think of it? 

 

Markus: Yes, of course! Costa Stoios of Iron Pegasus Records and some other friends of mine also play in this band! Everybody knows each other in our area. I followed the band from the very beginning and think it´s great! I can´t wait for their debut album! I think it will be released soon! 

 

Have you stayed in contact with him after his departure from Desaster at all?

 

Markus: Well, not directly after the departure, of course, because the atmosphere within the band was really bad… There were a lot of conflicts between us. But life goes on and we met each other again after some time. Today we have a normal friendship again. He´s also a member of the Hellbangers Moselfranken fan club where I´m a member too. So there´s no bad blood between us anymore, and we support each other again. Everything is fine between us now! 

 

How did you get in contact with Guido “Sataniac“ Wissmann as his follow-up singer? Have you already known him before?

 

Markus: Yes, once we had organized a gig together featuring Asphyx, Warhammer and Divine Genocide, the old band of Sataniac, from the Eifel area. And on this gig I was pretty fascinated by him as both singer and person. When Okkulto left the band, he was even our first choice. We contacted him directly and he became the new Desaster singer.  

 

Your bassist Volker “Odin“ is the only band member wearing corpse paint. Why? Would it be much cooler to have a unique look with the whole band? It reminds me on Mayhem´s Dead a little bit who also was the only corpse paint guy of the band on stage for a while… 

 

Markus: Haha! No, it didn’t really had to do with Mayhem actually. When we re-started the band in 1992, we had both Okkulto and Odin in our line-up. They were just high black metal fans and started painting their faces in the beginning. Me and our drummer were not fascinated by this and just didn’t do it. But we said from the beginning that everybody can do what he wants. And since Okkulto left the band, Odin was the only corpse paint guy in the band left. That´s all. 

 

 

After 22 long years, you suddenly parted ways from for drummer Stefan ”Husky“ Hüskens who was a member of the band from 1996 until 2018. He always had a lot of bands at the same time. He now plays in Sodom and Asphyx. In the past he also played drums in Carnal Ghoul, Metal Inquisitor, Metalucifer, Deathfist and Decayed. Was it just too much to handle? Was that the reason for the split? And are you still friends at all? 

 

Markus: Yes, of course! We´re still good friends! We still respect and like each other. It was like you said: It was just too much work for him. Husky has two bands; even two quite big bands! And he has a ´normal´ job as well. It was clear that there was not much time left for Desaster anymore. We hadn’t rehearsed anymore and only met for gigs. It was even him who suggested an additional session drummer for live gigs because he already knew that he was not able to play all gigs with us. And then we got along so well with our session drummer that we decided to bring him into the band. We finally wanted to rehearse and write songs again! And that was not possible with Husky anymore, and so we decided to do it this way. Of course, for us it was not an easy decision! We grow up with him. I have known Husky since he was 15! W e were sad about it, but it was necessary. We didn’t want to slow down his career. He´s the drummer of Sodom now which had been a dream for him since his childhood to play in a band like this! And, of course, we are proud that we achieved this! So there´s no bad blood between us at all!   

 

Your new drummer is, surprisingly to me, Marco ”Hont“ Hontheim who played drums in the German mainstream radio rock band Jupiter Jones from 2002 until 2018! I always had to listen to their big hit ‘Still’ (which is German for “Silent“) on the radio at work! I hated it! This didn’t seem to be a really true decision of yours, haha! How the Hell did that happen? I mean, you will definitely not have stayed in front of the radio, listened to that song and said, “Wow, check out this amazing drummer! He´s fucking amazing! We have to take him into Desaster!”.

 

Markus: Haha, yes, your´re right! It wasn’t that way for sure, haha! What least people know is that Hont actually had a real Metal life before he joint Jupiter Jones! He had played Divine Genocide, together with Sataniac (!) and in Monastery from Saarbrücken (so not the Dutch Monastery with the same name, a short-lived Sinister side project in the early 90´s!). They had released two CD´s and played thrash metal. But they were so damn understand that even I never heard of them before, haha! Usually I know all underground bands from my area… But those CD´s never got my attention strangely… But as I said: Hont has a metal past and he’s really happy now. After Jupiter Jones split up, he wanted to make noise again! 

 

But did he know Desaster at all?

 

Markus: Oh yes! He has always stayed in contact with Sataniac. They also don´t live too far away from each other in the Eifel area. He had always followed our career and Sataniac’s entry into the band back then as well. That´s why he already knew Desaster!    

 

This year Desaster have their 30 years anniversary! I think there was no anniversary show or release because of the line-up change behind the drums… Are there any plans for that in 2019? 

 

Markus: Well, as I already told you in the beginning. We ourselves always say that our year of foundation was in 1989. We will definitely do something that way. We have plans to release a single at least, entitled ‘Black Celebration’. We already played it live. It is the first song we wrote together with our new drummer Hont. About any further plans, like an official anniversary show etc., we don´t really know yet because we had celebrated our 25 years anniversary in Bamberg with a DVD, CD and LP already; a show featuring several ex-members and stuff like that. We won´t definitely do that in the near future again for sure!   

 

Something different I wanted to ask you: In 2015, there was a Desaster tribute sampler (‘We Worship Desaster’). Do you know how it happened?

 

Markus: Oh yes, haha! I don´t really remember how this happened, to be honest. One day someone came up to me and told me about those plans. I asked myself who would contribute on this at all, haha! I mean, I heard some cover songs here and there over the years because they were sent to us and it was really interesting to hear their interpretations of our songs. But I think this tribute CD was a little bit too much, haha! I mean, we´re not really a legend, you know? But it was a cool thing to listen to those versions. I like that CD, of course! But I don´t know if it sold much or if people were interested in that at all…    

 

Were you aware that you had so much influence on the underground at all? 

 

Markus: Well, nowadays I recognize that a little bit because our name is often mentioned in several interviews; in South American countries for all senses! We really seemed to have a lot of influence on many bands. I´m always shocked when people mention us in the same sentence with Sodom, Destruction and Kreator because obviously, we were the next generation. But for those people we belong to that era too strangely because we´re also German thrash metal. That´s pretty amazing!  

  

If you take a look at the last 30 years today: Is there any Desaster album you personally like most or least? And if so, Why?  

 

Markus: Well, there’s no ´I don´t like it anymore´. I like all our albums. If I had to choose one, I would vote for ‘Tyrants Of The Netherworld’ from 2000, the last album featuring Okkulto on vocals. For me, it´s our perfect album. Most people say that ‘Hellfire´s Dominion’ was their favorite because of ‘Metalized Blood’ and ‘Teutonic Steel’. Those two songs are always wanted on our live shows too. But I personally like ‘Tyrants Of The Netherworld’ most.  

 

Both Odin and you, are the only original band members left. Could you imagine to still continue with Desaster if he left the band as well? Or would you split up the band automatically then?  

 

Markus: Oh, that´s hard to say actually. In the past we always said that we four guys, Tormentor, Odin, Sataniac and me, would be Desaster forever. But he had to depart from Husky unfortunately. I think music should be played as long as the spirit is still alive. If nobody is interested anymore, it´s okay because then we would still play music for ourselves. Of course, some bands should end up before it gets ridiculous, haha! But on the other hand, I think that Desaster proved a lot in the past. Our last line-up remained the same for a very long time! If another one left… I don´t know… We can´t foresee that. I always live in the here and now and don´t care much about the future.  

 

What are your future plans with Desaster? Will there be a new album soon?

 

Markus: Yes! We have a new, great mood within the band now. We can finally continue rehearsing regularly. That´s very important for us! We´re a real band again! We want to play, rock, try different things and a lot of drink beer together. We have fun again! And we want to continue playing more live shows. There were not many shows during the last two years… We definitely plan to record a new album and already test some ideas with our new drummer. It works perfectly! But I´m afraid it will last until 2020 until we have a new album ready to release…  

 

Okay, Infernal! Then we have finally done our marathon now, haha! Do you have any nice last words left?

 

Markus: Yes, I simply want to thank all of you who always supported us! Also thanx to you for doing this interview! I really appreciate this! It´s always great to us that there´s still a lot of interested in us old guys, haha! Now we are all in the mid 40’s. I see that in the scene as well, of course! There are still many old bands around who are still active. Some of them became boring from time to time, I have to admit, although they´re still praised for their glorious past. But they ruin themselves, in my opinion. I hope we don´t belong to them! People should still like us because we still play great music! 

 

Daniel Müller/ Patchman Marco for Headbangers Zine & Metal-Experience

 

 

Current Line-Up:

Markus ”Infernal“ Kuschke - Guitars

Odin - Bass

Guido "Sataniac" Wissmann - Vocals

Hont - Drums

 

Studio Albums:

1996 - A Touch of Medieval Darkness

1998 - Hellfire’s Dominion

2000 - Tyrants of the Netherworld

2002 - Divine Blasphemies

2005 - Angelwhore

2007 - 666 – Satan’s Soldiers Syndicate

2012 - The Arts of Destruction

2016 - The Oath of an Iron Ritual