– Greetings Dwid. Hope all is well at your end.
Hello Dozakhi, yes. all is ideal here in Belgium. Thank you.
– 2013 was a big year for Integrity. The release of the much anticipated Suicide Black Snake album, and then an unexpected remixed version of Systems Overload which was widely hailed as well. Other 7-inch releases were put out as well during that year. How do you feel about 2013 in retrospect?
We had been working on those recordings for a while, so it was rewarding to see them finally come to fruition. The Systems Remix worked out better than we had anticipated. Much better than the original version. Robert Orr and Aaron Melnick did a perfect job on the remix.
– One thing that struck me about Suicide Black Snake was how – despite having a dedicated fanbase and a trademark sound – how you never cater to what the audience expects. The song “There Ain’t No Living In Life” in particular was something I never expected. Can we expect more songs of that nature in the future by Integrity?
It is difficult to ever say what to “expect” from Integrity. Only time will tell. We do have some unreleased, older recordings that are finally making their way to vinyl via A389 records in 2014. The 1st will be a split 7” with VVegas. We recorded that song a few years ago. And in the Fall another split 7” will emerge from A389, this time its an unreleased song from The Blackest Curse session from 2008.
– Much has been said about Integrity’s musical influences and the likes of GISM, Septic Death and Misfits. Though the band isn’t exactly a purely musical entity – it comes off as being a very visual act enamored with certain aesthetic qualities. What artists, writers and thinkers have helped influence you and the atmosphere you try to create with your music?
Francis Bacon, DeSade, Andre Breton, Bruno Schulz, Patrick Bokanowski, Arthur Rimbaud, Felicien Rops, Vordb, Ismaelta, Robert Johnson, Tristan Tzara, Sakevi Yokoyama, Blind Willie Johnson, Vincent Price, Charles Manson, Oscar Wilde, Max Ernst, Danzig, Guislain, FW Murnau, Peter Levenda, Al Columbia, Kenneth Anger, Howlin Wolf, Rozz Williams, Pushead, Son House, Boyd Rice, Kent Williams, Robert W. Chambers, Mike Mignola, Jaromil Jireš, E. Elias Merhige, Aleister Crowley, Genesis P’Orridge, Theodore Roszak and many, many more.
– You mentioned once that Belgium provides you with the isolation necessary for you to make music. I had always assumed that claustrophobic, crowded environments are better breeding grounds for music as intense as Punk/Metal. How does isolation help in making music with Integrity?
I am not a social person, and I do not enjoy my mind to be cluttered with the distractions of crowded environments. Imagination is something that is often born from silence and darkness.
– Speaking of Belgium – You did vocals for a Belgian Metal/Hardcore/Punk band called “Congress” and their song called “Dogma” many years ago, and also did a video for another song of theirs. Are you still in touch with them or any Belgian Punk/Metal bands?
Yes, Congress hired me to direct their music video, and also asked me to also do a guest vocal on their album. They are a great group of guys.
– Can you tell us a bit about your label, Dark Empire Records, and the upcoming Gehenna record?
Actually, my label is, Holy Terror records.
My son, Max’s label is Dark Empire records and he has released the new Gehenna 7”
The new Gehenna record is brutal Neanderthal destruction that only G can deliver.
– You have always been a prolific musician, stretching your claws out to a variety of different genres. Are you working with any side-project these days? And is there any chance of you doing another Roses Never Fade record?
I left Roses Never Fade 6 or 7 years ago. I believe that a new incarnation of Roses Never Fade eventually plan on a new recording. However, I am no longer a participant of that project.
I have a project titled, Vermapyre
– Integrity’s music has evolved over the years and with a quarter of a century of experience with the band, have the motivations behind the music evolved as well? And on a personal level, how much do you feel your own personal growth is indebted to the band?
Integrity has always been a source for my own private entertainment, to make music and imagery that I would like to experience. The rest is just a falling away. It is an exorcism of my demons and a means to question the mysteries that obstruct our view of human existence.
– Before we end this, I have always wanted to ask you about the religious symbols – especially the usage of the Islamic shahadah – in the Holy Terror logo. As someone from a predominantly muslim country, seeing it made me intrigued. Isn’t the amalgamation of religious symbols a little contradictory?
I am not certain how religious symbology and my music could ever be viewed as contradictory. Even the label name, “Holy Terror” itself expresses religious connotations. The main component of my lyrics has always been interwoven with religious overtones and inquiry towards lost knowledge of the humans existence. I would say that my music is foremost a religious outlet decorated in the trappings of a dark aesthetic consumed by the horrors of life.
– Thanks for the interview. Has been great talking to you. Good luck with your future art.
thank you for your kind words and interest in
– Hassan Dozakhi