Damian “Sfenson” Bednarski is behind deathgrind band Unborn Suffer and industrial metallers Kontagion. Both have had albums recently featured on this site, (Nihilist and [R-!-E]elentless, respectively), so now seemed a great opportunity to catch up with him and quiz him about both projects.
Let’s see what he has to say for himself…
Introduce us to Unborn Suffer and Kontagion!
UNBORN SUFFER is a deathgrind band I have been doing for 15 years now, we have 5 albums out, the latest called “Nihilist”, released on February 2016 via SELFMADEGOD RECORDS. KONTAGION is an band mixing industrial, groove and death metal that started off as a side project of mine back in 2007 but later became a regular band. We have 2 albums out, the latest called “[R-!-E]LENTLESS” released in June 2015. I recommend checking us out on www.facebook.com/unbornsuffer and www.facebook.com/kontagion.
What are your influences, and how do you channel these differently into each of your projects?
Brutal death metal, mainly from USA, and many incarnations of grindcore influence me in writing music in UNBORN SUFFER. As far as KONTAGION goes, in the beginnings we were hugely influenced by cyber metal in the vein of FEAR FACTORY but recently we moved into more industrial, post and djent oriented sounds. As you can see I’m talking about different genres of music so it’s very easy to channel these differences into each band. Of course you can still find some small similarities between them: I growl in US and K, both bands use samples (but KONTAGION uses them a lot more often), I use the same gear but adjust the sound differently in each band.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Generally I don’t listen to any recent music and recent bands. I try to follow recent steps of bands I really like and most of bands I listen to started out in late 80’s/ early 90’s. For the past few months, maybe even years, I’ve been catching up on past music I kinda skipped/omitted in 1980’s and 90’s and now, after all these years, I can see and hear the magic and awesomeness. Some things I’ve listened to recently and recommend, let’s see:
BRUJERIA – Pocho Aztlan – finally, a new album after 15 years!!
DIE KRUPPS – Paradise Now – wow, what a great industrial metal album, maybe too much electronic at some moments but still awesome
SURGICAL METH MACHINE – SMM – well, what can I say, uncle Al never fails!
DISCORDANCE AXIS – Ulterior – I’m catching up on a lot of good grindcore I missed in the 90’s and that’s one of them
Tell us about Unborn Suffer’s latest release, Nihilist
To make a long story short: “Nihilist” was recorded between September 2014 (drums) and January-March 2015 (rest of instruments + vocals). We mixed the album in the summer of 2015 at Invent Sound Studio in our hometown Bydgoszcz. Later we started searching for a label that would be interested in releasing it and we signed a deal with Polish SELFMADEGOD Records, who released it in February 2016. It is our 5th album by the way 😀
How would you say Nihilist compares and contrasts to Kontagion’s latest – [R-!-E]elentless?
Both albums are aggressive, they contain extreme and brutal music but on opposite poles of extremity. “Nihilist” has a lot of blast beats, guttural and screaming vocals and some breakdowns and it’s a simple album as far as sound goes – just drums, guitars and bass tearing it up with some occasional samples. “[R-!-E]LEN+LESS” is filled with a lot of distorted sounds, varieties of drum sounds, self-recorded noisy samples filled with “regular” samples, vocals from shifting from growling through shouting and clean singing, music is a lot more slower and, let’s say, darker. I’m very proud of these albums, they are the best thing I musically did so far.
How did you choose the cover artwork for both albums?
I didn’t contribute a lot of ideas for the “Nihilist” cover besides the main figure being tied up and blindfolded. Rest of the ideas came from the rest of the band. Same was with KONTAGION’s “[R-!-E]LENTLESS”. My first idea was a real life picture of very creepy Jesus figure on a cross, looking almost zombie-like but the idea was dropped. The gargoyle was inspired by GODFLESH’s cover of “Us and Them”. First we picked the exact same gargoyle figure from “Us and Them” now even realising it. Good thing we saw that in a nick of time, haha.
What’s the process you use for writing songs – does this differ between the bands?
UNBORN SUFFER’s music is a fusion of three brains. Usually I write a sketch of a track, do riffs (my riffs or bassist’s riffs), a simple drum machine, record a quick demo and send it to the rest of the band. Later we meet on rehearsal and do/learn the track. In the end it turns out a lot different than the demo version because everybody contributes his talent. Rest of the guys write lyrics in UNBORN SUFFER – I wrote my share of lyrics on first three albums.
KONTAGION’s songwriting is a bit different and it’s defined by us playing with a drum machine. All of us write songs and lyrics. Usually one guy composes a whole track (drums, both guitars playing in harmonics, bass, keyboard) and sends it in guitar pro/midi format. I later make a drum machine out of it, learn the whole song and bring it ready for rehearsal. We learn it, make small changes/adjustments, discuss who will write lyrics and who will do main vocals (we all sing in KONTAGION).
How do you think your music will progress in the future?
I feel that KONTAGION will become less metal and more experimental, It’s even starting to be like this now. We have 12 tracks ready for new album, they are still metal but we incorporate some non-metal elements. As far as UNBORN SUFFER goes I don’t know. We are too busy promoting “Nihilist” at the moment and have only 3 new tracks written. Time will tell. Maybe the next album will be even more grindcore-ish or maybe we will play more death metal influenced music.
What’s your favourite song from each band and why?
That is a very difficult question to answer. I can’t say that my favourite songs are “the best”, that’s just my personal feel about each song. I love “Liquid Shit In Your Head’, the opening track from UNBORN SUFFER’s debut album for its simplicity and brutality. “I Am Your Nemesis” was a track that pushed the band up on its feet and a lot of people still love that song, myself included. I honestly don’t know what is my favourite KONTAGION song. Maybe “Soul Embrace’, I think we managed to do a great composition and a decent videoclip with it.
What motivates you to create the music you do?
This answer will be simple: passion and love, nothing more.
What does the rest of 2016 hold for you?
Gigs and promotion of both albums. We have few concerts planned until December with both bands, the most important one being the 15th anniversary of Unborn Suffer that will take place on 17.12.2016 in our hometown of Bydgoszcz. You can follow other dates on our pages www.facebook.com/unbornsuffer and www.facebook.com/kontagion.
Any final words?
Thanx very much for your time. To all of you reading this – SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND!!