For several reasons 2015 will be a huge year for music. One thing is clear; it marks the public introduction of Infectus 13. This band is the brainchild of Sid Falck, former drummer of famous acts such as Overkill and Battlezone. This band delivers pounding thrash jams, but also incorporates an intoxicating groove that will stick with any listener. Overall, this is definitely a band that will define the thrash genre.
Infectus 13 is starting off strong this year. They debuted their premiere single “Enemy at the Gate” on February 24th. If this isn’t enough for the hungry fans, then they’re slamming pavement with their first album this summer. Infectus 13 has the rare ability to use the aggression of thrash to affect the listener deep within their emotional state. In short, this band will provoke listeners so dramatically that we’ll be hearing a lot from them.
I had a chance to interview Sid Falck himself. In the interview we discuss his idea behind Infectus 13, what he can tell us about the band’s plans and how he feels they will stand out from other bands.
The Age of Metal: Infectus 13 is finally coming underway! How do you feel about all of this?
Sid Falck: Obviously I’m very excited, but admittedly also a little apprehensive. Returning to playing was not something I had plans to do or even gave much thought to, frankly. Although it was a question I was asked on a regular basis, my stock answer was always: “maybe one day, we’ll see”. It really wasn’t until my health situation changed, that it kind of became clear; maybe I needed to consider it in a more serious way. From there it was really just a question of, “how would I like to be remembered after it’s all said and done? Would I like to be remembered for something I was part of so many years ago, or for something more recent?” From there it was mostly me running my ideas by a couple of trusted people, to see if they thought it would even be something the world gave a crap about — and here we are, a year plus into the process.
TAOM: This is a project that has been in the making for a long time. How will you deliver the aggression? Will you tease the listeners with multiple song releases, or accelerate to the top with the release of your debut album?
SF: The plan has always been to write, record and then hopefully release a full length album.
I decided at the very outset that I wanted to let people know that we were for real, not just another “Facebook band.” The easiest way to do that, in my opinion, is to put something out there. That’s why we did the quick recording of the song “Paint It Black.” The fact that the project has taken much longer than anticipated (by me at least) is my fault, due to the fact that I have scrapped so much material that originally seemed strong, but later didn’t hold up in my opinion. So we’ve almost had to start from scratch a couple of times.
TAOM: What all can you say about your debut album?
SF: It’s gonna be awesome. At the first “meeting” with the participants, I laid out the criteria for anything that will be included: it has to be heavy. And anything we do has to evoke some kind of emotion: aggression, joy, sadness, anger, something. I don’t really care what kind of emotion, but the material should never leave you without feeling something! Also, this is about going back to the roots of thrash. Back to when it was about writing great songs, not about who can outplay whom. I’m so fucking sick of listening to these “newer” bands who as musicians are technically way superior to anything we could ever do back in the day…except they can’t fucking play for the song, they can’t seem to play a groove or make the song the center focus. All they seem to be concerned with is outplaying the “other” guy. [It] drives me crazy. So my philosophy is: if a song only have three parts, no fills or frills but rocks, leave it alone! On the other hand, if it needs ten parts to make its statement that’s what it needs then — it is all about the songs.
TAOM: You hinted to me about a first song release. Can you inform our readers about the song?
SF: Again, because of the fact that we have taken so long to finish this, I strongly felt that we not only needed to thank people for hanging with us patiently, but also to prove that yes we are for real. So after talking to the guys, I decided that we would give people an original song to hold them over until we finish this. The song is called “Enemy at the Gate.” It is not a sacrifice song; it is a song that will still be included on the full album. And we will make it available on February 24th, 2015.
TAOM: According to my research, I see that this is a recording project. Do you ever plan on playing shows? I understand there are health issues involved, so would you ever get anyone to fill-in on drums if you can’t play?
SF: Well, you’re correct. This started strictly as a recording project Will it stay that way? I don’t know. It’s not something I have really talked to the guys about, except for maybe Shawn. I don’t see this project going on a typical tour, for a lot of reasons. However, if someone wanted us to show up at a couple of festivals here, in Europe and/or South America I’d definitely listen to what they have to offer. And no, if I am unable to play there’d be no one filling in.
TAOM: How did you come up with the name Infectus 13?
SF: Skillet was taken and Frying Pan didn’t have quite the same ring to it. Seriously though, Infectus is kind of a non-descriptve name. It doesn’t really lock us into a specific category. And 13 because this project was conceived in the last couple of months of 2013, and my birthday is August 13th.
TAOM: The first song you released was a cover of “Paint it Black.” Obviously the song is iconic, but is there another reason you covered it?
SF: Well I chose it because it’s a very dark theme, a girl’s funeral. [I also used it] because, as you said, it’s very iconic. I really liked the potential the song offered to make it heavy, without going down the same path that every metal artist has gone previously with that song. I wanted to come out and do the unexpected. Everyone wanted and expected me to come out with an Overkill type song, so naturally I did the opposite. It was very important for me to establish from the start that this is my project, my chance to play whatever the fuck I feel like. I know that makes me sound arrogant or conceited, but it’s the truth.
TAOM: Can you tell us briefly about each member of the band?
SF: Sure. [On vocals is] Bob Barnak. The main reason I decided to actually proceed with this project was for me to have a chance to do something with Bob. I am a huge fan of his work with his regular band Speed\Kill/Hate. And having him [be the vocalist] for I13 is a huge privilege [for me]. He’s talented, funny and a very intelligent guy. His track record speaks for itself.
[On guitar is] Shawn Sanders. Shawn has been around for a lifetime. He was in a band called BagEyes. They were one of those bands that opened for everyone famous; everyone knew them, every label courted. But unfortunately, they fell apart before they could go anywhere. Shawn is more of a hip hop/metal guy as opposed as a straight metalhead. He brings ideas, lots of them, to the table that none of us would have thought about in a million years. He was originally only going to engineer the album and help with ideas, but it very quickly became obvious to me that I really needed to have him be a permanent part of I13.
[On guitar is] Janna Jordan-Squires. Janna is one of those talents where you go. “How does the world not know of her?” Literally, she picks up her guitar and your jaw hits the floor. Unfortunately I have only very limited access to her talents at this point, so she is focusing on only a couple of songs. Because the project has taken so much longer than originally anticipated, Janna has had to step back to concentrate on her other projects, and I was somewhat at a loss about my next move.
[The newest guitarist is]Steve Pogue. Steve is the newest addition to the project and probably also what has saved our ass from stagnation. He’s [a] “been there, done that” [kind of guy]. Luckily Shawn and Kelly (the project coordinator) was like, “you really need to talk to this Steve guy.” And lucky for me, I did. He is extremely talented as both a guitar player and songwriter, and he and Shawn bounce of each other so well it’s scary. His sense of humor is as sick and twisted as mine, and he has just brought a lot of laughter and enjoyment back into the project by reminding [us] that this is supposed to be fun.
[On bass is] Andrew Guthrie [formerly played in bands such as Monstrosity]. Andrew came into the project halfway through last year, and he has added that little extra “something” to things that was missing before. Again, [he’s] another guy with a [great] sense of humor.
TAOM: You’re putting emphasis on each member of the band incorporating their individual talent to collectively create the Infectus 13 sound. Is there a particular reason why this appeals to you?
SF: I think that if you’re going to do something like this, you have two choices: you can do what you’ve always done, or you can do something a little different. I come from the heavier/thrashier side of metal — that means that when I come up with ideas, my ideas are inevitably based in thrash. So when I throw an idea at Shawn, he not only hears my idea completely different than I do but what he throws back at me is typically something I would have never thought. To a large extent, the same is the case with Steve. I think that is how you step out of your safety zone, and hopefully create something really fucking cool.
TAOM: Are they any particular musicians or musical styles that stand out to you? And will any of these styles be featured in the Infectus 13 sound?
SF: I have listened to a lot of the more “industrial” type of metal and what not. So while we’re not an industrial project, there are definitely going to be a couple of metal songs with industrial feel to them. But by and large, we are a thrash metal band project. So you shouldn’t expect dance songs.
TAOM: This is a thrash project, but it won’t be “Overkill 2.” What does Infectus 13 have to offer that is different from other thrash bands?
SF: Correct. It will not be Overkill 2. It would have been so easy for me to call Bobby G up and say, “Hey, come write and play on this. I’ll play and write with you on your stuff.” Truth is, it would have been easy as hell. [It] would for sure have generated a lot of buzz. But it would also have undermined the whole reason why I’m doing this, which is a chance for me to close my musical chapter the way I think it should be done. I hope we are going to stand out from others in the way we approach our songwriting; use only what parts the song needs. Besides that, I am probably not the best person to tell how or if we’ll offer something different.
TAOM: I know you have played in other bands and with several musicians in the past. Do you feel this is the project that is yours? The vision of Sid Falck?
SF: Yes! Although I continuously solicit opinions from everyone involved with this project, and everyone can and do bring whatever they feel like to the studio, at the end of the day it’s my call. This is a chance for me to do things the way I think they should be done without having to compromise or sacrifice things I think are right. Naturally at the end of the day I might not have all the answers but at least I won’t be in a place where I say, ”great album, but it would have been better if we’d done this or that as I suggested.” Of course, that also means if it sucks [I’m the only one] to blame.