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Interview mit Bob Bagchus (Soulburn, Minotaur Head, Ex-Asphyx, Ex-GSBC, ...)

If we talk about Bob Bagchus everyone directly gets in his mind the band "Asphyx". For sure this Doom/Death Heavyweight is an institution in the scene and its nowadays success is very well earned, but besides this interview for sure isn't only Asphyx related it also will go into the other corners of Bob's musical career covering his actual resurrected Main-Band Soulburn and a lot of the other things going.
Sascha: Hello Bob, hope you have a good day so far. How are you and how are the things going?
Bob: Hi Sascha. All OK here. Just finished the 3rd Soulburn album.
Sascha: When it comes to the fans they first and foremost bring your name in contact with Asphyx. Also after an strong release in 2014 with Soulburn's second album "The Suffocating Darkness" it didn't changed much on the situation. How do you feel about it?
Bob: To me that is of course no problem at all since Asphyx is and always will be my band. There is nothing which can/would change that. It is a fact which is as certain as death itself. It does not bother me at all. It is a fact and that is the way it is. But Soulburn as it is now is a total different band than Asphyx is these days. Some parts will sound like old Asphyx a bit but that is the style both Eric and me created and that is our own thing.
Sascha: A underrated album in the catalogue of Asphyx is and was "God Cries". What a lot of so called fans don't even know nowadays that Theo Loomans wasn't the follow up for Martin van Drunen and Ron van Pol but he was already in the band before them. How it came to be that Theo returned to record another album with Asphyx and how do you feel about this album nowadays?
Bob: If people do not know the fact that Chuck Colli was the first Asphyx singer and Theo the second Asphyx singer then they are not real fans at all, just logo worshippers. We asked Martin in mid 1990 to follow up Theo and Theo was going to be lead guitarist. Theo and me already had contact again in 1992... I wrote 2 letters,1 to Ron van Pol and 1 to Theo. I asked them if they wanted to replace Martin since he and Asphyx parted ways after the tour with Bolt Thrower and Benediction. Theo had my priority of course but it was Ron who responded first. I waited some weeks but got no response from Theo. After I got Ron in the band Theo phoned me and said his roommate forgot to give him my letter..... well...that sucked alot and I prefered Theo way over Ron but we got Ron already so I had to say no to Theo, unfortunally. In 1995 AJ Van Drenth and me had a black/doom project Throne and I asked Theo for it. He said yes but in that same phonecall we raised Asphyx again and some months later God Cries was recorded. I still like that album alot and I am really glad we recorded it. It sounds different but I do not care about that. I know what this album meant to Theo and therefore I love it.
Sascha: I heard also a lot of times that Theo should have been part of Soulburn. Did he ever record anything with the band?
Bob: Yes indeed, I asked him for Soulburn too but after some weeks Theo phoned me and said he was done with death metal. We respected that and I asked Wannes from Pentacle and he did a marvelous job on the first Soulburn.
Sascha: As you resurrected Asphyx back in 2007 the line up felt incomplete for me. Eric Daniels was missing. Paul Baayens for sure is a great guitar player, but for a nostalgic fan like me the shredding and desperate sounding style who gave Asphyx its trademark sound was missing. Why didn't Eric join at that time?
Bob: It was actually the Party San who came up with that idea. I would never resurrected Asphyx myself again. But they were the trigger. I asked Eric but he could not do it at that time, unfortunally. So I said no to the reunion at first since Eric could not be part of it. But after some weeks Martin came up with Paul and after I said no to that too I started to wonder why not? We already cancelled Party San in 2000 and it still felt really bad for me and Wannes too, so this was our way to make it up to them. Paul did a great job I must say. And it seemed the people liked it too. So all respect to Paul. And the reality is that quite alot of people do not care that much who is in the band or not, as long as they hear the songs it seems okay. So that means Asphyx has a very strong logo and that is okay.
Sascha: Eric and you can be considered as best friends. You both together write the best music possible that was proven with Grand Supreme Blood Court and also with the new Soulburn album. Do you guys push each other to the limit while songwriting?
Bob: Yes we are, already for 27 years. Well, we know exactly what we want and it all just comes out very natural. If Eric plays a riff I know exactly what to do and what has to follow etc etc. It is our style for decades.
Sascha: As the debut of Grand Supreme Blood Court came I thought I'm directly back in the year 1992. This album was for me the legitimate follow up to "Last One On Earth". Do you agree with this?
Bob: Many people said the same thing and I can agree on that. If it was just Eric, Martin and me playing on it it would have been the perfect follow up for Asphyx - The Last One On Earth for sure. It has the same style and composition structures as that Asphyx album. Even the drumsound is very alike.
Sascha: You and Eric left GSBC last year. Was that related to have more time and space for Soulburn?
Bob: Yes it was and we both felt that Soulburn was more our thing. We both love OSBM alot and especially old Venom/Bathory. Besides that GSBC was sandwiched between Asphyx and HoB so there never was a future for the band in the first place. As it comes to me, I already was done with GSBC. Do not get me wrong, I absolutely love our album alot but I did not see myself doing another GSBC album again. It was too much all in all and my feeling told me to go for Soulburn a 100% which I did. Eric felt exactly the same too. We only do music were we believe in a 100% and that is Soulburn.
Sascha: When we see the actual line up of Soulburn you have some strong musicians on your side with Remco and Twan. Before both joined there was Henry Sattler (God Dethroned) and Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, Minotaur Head, Ribspreader, Revolting etc.) in the band. I would have been loving to hear a recording in this line up. Was it touring related that this line up didn't hold to long?
Bob: The line up we have now is the only right line up for Soulburn and for doing what we are doing now. If we had the "other line up" we would not be able to play the gigs we needed to play. Rogga became a dad for the 2nd time and is needed back home which I can fully relate to since I have a family myself. It was too bad Rogga could not do shows of course but it was with a very good reason which we have to respect. Everything happens for a reason and this time the reasons were that we got Twan and Remco and it all fells into place. I personally think Twan is the best singer we ever got!
Sascha: Talking about Rogga... You guys released recently a few songs on youtube with a project called Minotaur Head. Can you please give us a insight about this project and is there a release coming?
Bob: Yes,a damn fine and extremely heavy project too! We recorded 7 songs and we recently got signed by War Anthem records. Our album should be out in October. The idea of this project dated already from some years ago, though. But now we finally made it come true. Minotaur Head is a doom/death metal project which operates in the slow atmospheres. Our influences are Black Sabbath/Trouble/Cathedral and Winter but I think we already have our own style. The record is mixed by Ronnie Björnström and it sounds massive as lava! It steams on like a doomdozer from the pit of the earth!
Sascha: What is with "To The Gallows" (Project of Rogga Johansson)? Are you and Eric still part of it or was this project put aside?
Bob: No Eric and me are focussed on Soulburn. But TTG seems to have songs with Henri though. So there might be something coming out too.
Sascha: Another person that was missing with the return of Soulburn was Wannes Gubbels (Pentacle/ex-Asphyx). Doesn't he was an option in the reunion after he left Asphyx in 2010?
Bob: We asked Wannes first, of course, but he has it too busy with his family and Pentacle. But it was Wannes who came up with Twan!
Sascha: Actually you are writing with your band the third soulburn album. How is the song writing going and when the actual album will be released is there also an title for the album?
Bob: All is recorded and mixed.Both Eric and me went to Sweden last week for the mixing of the album. It was mixed at the Endarker Studio from Magnus of Marduk. It sounds absolutely excellent! The sound is exactly as we had in mind and that is very necro,as we say it.It has all the dynamics and it is natural.It brings back the good old '80's feel which we love alot. The new album is called "Earthless Pagan Spirit".
Sascha: Last year you released a song on Cyclone Empire's Imperial Anthems Series as an split with Desaster. The song is called "The Last Monument Of God". Will this song appear on the new album?
Bob: It does appear on the new album but only as a bonustrack for the first 2500 copies. It is re-recorded and is different than the version on the 7".
Sascha: Last year there was a compilation of Throne released on Vic Records called "The Fullmoon Sessions". Eric was also a member of the band. Did this music influence Soulburn style?
Bob: Yes there was this fine release on Vic Records. Glad they released it! No, Throne was not an influence on Soulburn although Bathory was the main influence in both bands but still it sounds different. Throne also had alot of old Messiah in it too while Soulburn main influences are Venom/Bathory mixed with early Asphyx.
Sascha: Is Throne actively writing new music again and if yes is it more a project or a band for you?
Bob: No,Throne is no more. We all are too busy with our bands but I am really glad AJ and VIC made it possible to do a release of our old stuff.Throne was having a great time with AJ van Drenth and I still love it.
Sascha: A maybe funny question but I need to ask it. How often does it happen that people believe you are Henri Sattler of God Dethroned? Both of you look very equal.
Bob: It happened maybe 2 times only but some people did mistake me for Eric of Legion of the Damned and vice versa though.
Sascha: Thanks Bob for taking your time to answer the question. The last words in this interview are for you.
Bob: Thank you Sascha for this interview!

Juli 2016 //