Hypnos is from the Czech Republic, they has existed since 1999 and has mainly played classical death metal. After a short break they are back – stronger, heavier and a bit darkened, this fall, their new album The Blackcrow is released. We took a chat with them about the past, present and the future.
If you were to introduce yourselves to someone that hasn’t heard your music before, how would you describe yourselves and who, Hypnos are?
Well, I am Bruno, frontman of Czech death metal band Hypnos, who was one of the mainman of another Czech death metal band Krabathor between 1986-1999. That means for 35 years I have been dedicated to extreme metal. All details can easily be found on the Internet.
What inspired you to choose the name Hypnos?
The Austrian band Pungent Stench. They have song entitled “Hypnos” on their debut album. I liked this word; it is short and easy pronounceable in different languages.
How has your music developed over time? Are there any significant periods?
Hypnos was founded in 1999, more than 20 years ago. It is expectable that our music went through some changes and development during this period. But no major changes, we still sit on a death metal chair, but we just do not wanna stay retro-act, we wanna follow current times and be a modern extreme metal band – by sound, composing, philosophy etc.
I mean we had two important periods, first one was between 2000-2005 when we were under the German label Morbid Records, recorded albums with producer Harris Johns and did for example European festival tour with Morbid Angel & Behemoth. second important period started in 2010 and lasts till now – we are struggling to bring our band higher.
Which bands have you found to be inspirational, both when you started and now?
Man, tons of bands. We are lovers of music and we have many musical heroes. At the beginning both me and the drummer Pegas, of course was continuing the work we were doing when in Krabathor. Today we are not a strictly old school Death Metal band, and I mean you can find parts of for example doom or black metal in our music. Especially our last album The Whitecrow sound more diverse than any other of its predecessors.
Your logo also changed: Is this because of the big change in your music style, or is there other reasons for this?
Hey, what big change in our music are you talking about? I really do not mean we did some big jump between the styles. Our current logo was accepted when we returned on scene in 2009 year after our break. I personally did not like original logo anymore, that’s why!
Close your eyes and think back on your time with Hypnos – find in your hearts the moment that means the most to you. What happened in that moment?
There is not such a certain moment. Band means continual work and every small success is important. Yes, we had very good moments as for example tours with mentioned Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Amon Amarth, Vader, Napalm Death, and when we worked in the studio with my personal icon Harris Johns (Helloween, Kreator, Voivod, Sodom, Tankard, Pestilence.) or Borge Finstad (Mayhem, Borknagar, Arcturus). But as I said, you must work hard all the time.
On The Whitecrow, you describe yourselves as nonentities. How does a nonentity manage to sell 666 copies of an autobiography in three months?
Depends, in what connection you are looking at this. If I compare myself with our local scene, yes, I will agree we have some position and status. If I consider ourselves in comparison with the worldwide scene, and speaking just about extreme metal – Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Gojira, Machine Head – just to name a few – we are real zeroes. Anyway, it does not mean I am reconciled with this fact and do nothing to change that. Everyone can change things all the time. If we want to reach some positive changes, we must work hard, harder than before.
You guys have had a long break and came back from that with material that is heavier, stronger and darker than ever before – what inspired this change?
If you mean the break between 2006-2009, yes it happened due to my private issues. I could not hold the band any longer on the level I wanted. When we returned at the beginning of the next decade, many things had changed, the train was far away, and we had to begin again from the bottom line. Concerning darkness in the material, it is my intention from our beginnings, to write heavy, evil and dark music, but I guess I am still not successful. I hope that next album will go further in this.
It isn’t only your music that has changed during the break: the lyrics has also taken a much lighter direction. It seems more optimistic than your more critical lyrics from before the break. What have made you so happy?
Life itself, I consider myself as a really happy man. I always proclaim that we are creators of our own happiness – I mean us Europeans. It is not fully valid for lands where the war is et cetera. But this “light” in the lyrics and music was only the concept for The Whitecrow. Things are going to change on the next album.
The contrast that the music gets darker while the lyrics get lighter do you have any thoughts on that?
I am positive man, I wanted to speak a language that everybody could understand. I wanted to make them understand me and my feelings, to make them say: “Damn, I know this situation from my life!”. Honestly, if you read the lyrics of most metal bands – you have no idea what they are talking about. No talks about any personal experience of the writers and listeners. I do not like that.
It is a huge style change, and I like it, but what do you personally think about bands that makes style changes like this yourselves? And have you gotten any reactions to it?
Man, you listened to that album! I personally do not like major changes, when I was younger, I was pissed off with and still do not like the changes done by bands like: Massacre, Cancer, Desultory, Amorphis, Tiamat, Morgoth etc.
But on the other hand I like “development” in music, represented for example by Death or Carcass. In my opinion it is much better than for example repeating the same formulas for decades. Concerning Hypnos, I guess we did not do any major change, it is still death metal with heavy tunes and grunt vocals.
And reactions, there is a few people that fell in love with that album but the truth is that this album needs to be listened to several times. Some people tried but gave up. We also got negative responses, but despite this, most of the people respected the change and did not denounce the band, they are mostly still with us.
Your logo also changed: Is this because of the big change in your music style, or is there other reasons for this?
Hey, what big change in our music are you talking about? I really do not mean we did some big jump between the styles. Our current logo was accepted when we returned on scene in 2009 year after our break. I personally did not like original logo anymore, that´s why.
On The Whitecrow the introduction and epilog consist of a monologue, which makes the album sound like storytelling. Is this on purpose?
Of course, this album is conceptional – the main topic is focusing on positive things in our lives and telling it in a way people can easily understand. Narrator is Paul Speckmann from Master, who lives nearby my place and I am grateful for that. He has really cool voice and of course, correct pronunciation as an original American.
In these days of quarantine, when you can’t tour – how are you guys spending your time?
Writing new material for upcoming album and spending my time with family. I have a 1-year old daughter and I want to give her as much of my time as possible. I am so much in love with her.
Is your upcoming album The Blackcrow a continuation of The Whitecrow? Are they somehow connected?
Yes, it is gonna be part. 2, conceptually connected with The Whitecrow. Darker, more evil, more sick. This is gonna be the album about the darker sides of human minds and behaviour. Something like Yin and Yang.
How far are along in the process of producing The Blackcrow are you?
Writing the material, we have 5 songs written already. Studio session is booked for May in Czech Šopa studio and we hope that nothing will change due to the current situation in Europe. If everything goes well, the album will be out 16.10.2020 via German Einheit Produktionen (digi+jewel CD), who have stood by us the last decade (actually 20 years if we count Einheit predecessor Morbid Records). LP version will be out the same day via Czech Monster Nation.
Do you have any plans on touring after the quarantine is lifted, and is there a chance that this tour will involve visiting Denmark?
Yes, autumn 2020 we will dedicate to touring over Czech Republic and Slovakia. Currently I am working on postponing some spring shows to autumn, as most of the bands do today. Next year 2021 I would like to focus on gigging abroad but it depends on how good a manager I will be. Of course, I would love to come to Denmark one day as well to play a show there, but till now we did not get any invitations yet. I contacted some Dannish festivals in the past already but they were not interested. I hope this could change in future…. So organizers, bookers and promoters in Denmark – feel free to get in touch with me.
How are the Czechia metal-scene? Are there any bands, you think deserve a bit of attention?
There is a bunch of bands as everywhere, good and bad. But the ones connected to rock & metal that are worth to be checked out are for example Stroy, Pražský Výběr, Dying Passion, Root or Inferno. Definitely top class acts, unfortunately not as well-known abroad.
Any last words or questions, you would have liked me to ask you, that you want to answer?
Thanks for your time your dedication to this entity and Hypnos, Generally, every band needs support and the fact you put it into Hypnos and not into one of the other millions of bands deserves our appreciation. I can´t even remember when I last was doing interview with someone in Denmark, it have been a while. For the ones who might be interested, follow us on our sites on Facebook and YouTube.
Assignments: Reviews of Releases and Concerts and Interviews. Nerd on all levels (finding releases, bands and labels) - Giving the editor gray hairs... Active: 13-12-2019 - 27-08-2022 Favorite genres: Blackened Death Metal - but listens to all kinds of metal and rock!
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