In May The Committee has released their new album, titled Utopian Deception. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed them about it.
Hey, congratulations with your new album, Utopian Deception. It’s really nice.
Thank you for this interview and for your support of The Committee.
Your lyrics are quite in-depth, can you tell something more about the concept behind Utopian Deception and how you come to the decision to use this theme?
We started work on Utopian Deception 3 years ago. It was a long and tedious journey.
This album is a fictional story that focuses on social engineering technology and how it’s used in order to eradicate entire civilisations. The story is told from the point of view of the “Protagonist” who takes the listener through a 6-step process of how to achieve his plans. The technology ranges from subtle aspects such as the questioning of classic beliefs, replacement of established language by vague, incoherent and meaningless words, to much more effective strategy such as lavish use of mass media, lobbying and outright bribery tactics, as well as solidifying the strategy of the protagonist into a solid legal structure. The end result is always the same: A subtle change in beliefs and perceptions that will eventually morph into a self eradicating system of silent genocide and the collapse of entire civilisations.
This topic is very heavy and interesting to us. Therefor it took some time to thoroughly prepare all the material and music. This is why we always take our time to release a new album.
Most of the lyrics on Utopian Deception are in English, but some parts are in Russian, while Ashes – Norm also includes one line in German and French as well as, again, in Russian. What’s the reason you choose to sing these parts in these languages, while the rest is in English?
We always used different languages in our albums in order to emphasise our International collaboration, but in Utopian Deception it was more important than ever, since the “Protagonist” doesn’t discriminate. He uses his strategy on one and all. The technology is the same and it crosses cultural and linguistic barriers wherever it’s used.
The cover artwork is also very nice with a lot to discover in there. Is there a deeper meaning behind that and if so, what’s that deeper meaning?
We had the pleasure of working with 3 different and very talented artists on this album. The main artwork has been created by Damir Septic Pavic, who not only understood the concept of the whole album, but as he explained to us also “lived through it”. Therefor he did his best to combine the music and lyrics into a set of illustrations that clearly shows how the technology is used and intertwined with emotion and destructive force. He opted to create the cover where the old system has been reduced to ashes that are dumped into the abyss and promptly forgotten by one and all.
The sigils of this album have been created by Dan Capp. He took great care to analyse the process of how the strategy flows throughout the 6 songs and how it evolves into a terrifying and destructive force.
The final result of the album was crafted by no other than Csaba Nemet who has decades of experience in the extreme metal world. He took the (sometimes chaotic aspects of the illustrations and the sharply contrasting sigils and skilfully composed a total picture for the listener into a final collection of music, visual art and the lyrics.
All 3 people have put in hours of work into understanding this album and creating their personal interpretation of it. To say that it’s been difficult would be an understatement. The meaning of the complete artworks closely mirrors the theme, music and lyrics of the whole album. Although the graphic style is not a classic black metal one, we are still very satisfied how it turned out.
The first pressing of the CD version of Utopian Deception comes with an patch and an implantable RFID-chip. How did you come up with the idea of the RFID-chip?
Since our very first album Holodomor we always had a tradition of including something special into the very first pressing of the cd’s. The rank seals have been a tradition from the very beginning. Also we are still normal metal heads like our fans and supporters and if the band that we are a fan of does something special with their release, it really adds extra value for us, therefor it was only natural to follow in this tradition.
The RFID chip implant was our idea to highlight the theme of Utopian Deception.
Is there a message behind the addition of this RFID-chip and if so, what’s that message?
I can assure the reader that the RFID chip implant is 100% real. We went out of our way to acquire it and implement it in our album. The message is quite simple. While the story of Utopian Deception is completely fictional, we are still getting a glimpse of it in our daily lives, regardless of our cultural and other (mostly trivial) differences. It’s a future that’s being prepared for each and every one of us and it’s important to note that the fans of extreme music know it quite well. It’s the “utopia” that we are being led towards and it exists today. Simply being aware of it is important.
On your website you state “The Committee is an international collaboration of doom/black metal musicians who dedicate themselves to the art of extreme sound and controversial topics. The Committee does not support any political views and ideologies, yet the collaboration does not allow themselves be bound by such tyranny as restriction of free speech and freedom of expression in music, themes and lyrics. Extreme music is the last frontier of freedom in the Orwellian/Darwinist cesspool of today’s society.” How do you see the future of free speech and the freedom of expression in music, themes and lyrics?
Currently we are witnessing an interesting phenomenon whereby people seem to be paying attention to the opinions of politicians, celebrities, athletes, musicians and other individuals who have absolutely no credibility or knowledge of the topics they are discussing and forming a public opinion on. Therefor we would like to remind the reader that our words here should be seen as entertainment and nothing more than that! Happily for us the metal community is famous for having own critical and logic thinking.
In 2020 especially we are witnessing polarisation of society that borders on insanity and in some places even on civil war. For the people among us who grew up without the internet and social media cesspools it’s evident more than ever. The logic and reason goes straight out of the window in exchange for newly created synthetic reality that’s foreign and unnatural to us all. We are using prosthetics for our own minds and critical thinking. This will eventually lead towards a disaster. For people who know history it’s clearly visible that we are repeating same mistakes time and time again. We are in a world of labels and division. Therefor The Committee tries to go beyond trivialities such as politics and goes towards the deeper meaning of processes and events, calling towards active participation from the mind of the listener. We question everything and we don’t like to be bounded by the ever tightening noose of new norms and artificially promoted beliefs. Our goal is to have the listener asking questions by the end of every album.
In your Facebook-biography you state that “The Committee is a live band, but does not play many times each season.” What’s the reason behind not playing live that many times each season?
The reason is very simple. All of us still have our daily obligations such as jobs and family. Therefor we cannot play as many live events as we would have wanted. That might change in the future, depending on our personal schedules. In the end we try to focus as much of our time as possible on the music and the theme of our albums.
Unfortunately I unexpectedly couldn’t go to last year’s edition of Eindhoven Metal Meeting (of which you can read the preview here), where you played. How was that show?
Just like every time on Eindhoven Metal Meeting, the show was a blast. We had an amazing response from our fans and supporters. The professionalism of the organisation and logistics is off the charts. Simply everything was well organised and executed. It’s a pleasure to play live on EMM every time.
I guess that due to the fact that you don’t play live that often your shows must be quite overwhelming. What can people expect when coming to a The Committee show?
Since the beginning we stayed true to our analogue sound. We try to preserve it on stage every time. Every live event is a ritual for us. We do our best to convey the emotion and atmosphere to the listener and not to focus on our own appearance too much. When it comes to the performance, we try to recreate the wall of sound that you hear on the record. The music goes first every time.
Speaking about shows, you were part of the line-up of this year’s edition of In Flammen Open Air, which is postponed due to the Corona virus. In Flammen Open Air already announced the date for the 2021 edition, as well as some bands that would originally perform this year to come back next year. Is The Committee also going to play on In Flammen Open Air 2021?
As far as we are informed, the live ritual on In Flammen is still on. We are looking forward to 2021 and all the live events. We still rehearse every week and do our best to keep the lines of communication with our fans and supporters open at all times. It sounds strange, but the period of 2020 (especially the quarantine) was the most productive period for us in the whole existence of The Committee. We are completely ready for 2021 and looking forward to the live rituals that have been postponed.
You were already announced to play at MetalDays 2021. Can we expect some more The Committee shows in the near future? Maybe coming back to The Netherlands again?
The shows in The Netherlands are always amazing. We really hope to be there soon. MetalDays will be an interesting event as well, because we are big fans of this festival for years. Everything depends on our personal schedules and the logistics of our daily lives.
Since this time is a difficult time for many people, is there anyone you want to give a shoutout to?
We have extended our gratitude to everyone in the tank list of the Utopian Deception, however it’s important to mention that our shoutout goes out to the amazing metal heads from the legendary Skull Crusher club in Dresden. On 22nd of June this year one of their members; Enni the living legend has left this mortal realm and we will miss him dearly. He was one of the most amazing and authentic human beings in the world of extreme metal for many decades and he has done a lot for the fans and musicians over the course of these decades. Our shoutout goes to his family and the amazing crew of Skull Crusher. We will never forget this true warrior.
To our fans and supporters we extend our gratitude for their amazing support of Utopian Deception. We are amazed to hear that the album is 100% understood by the listeners and that means a lot to us.
Thanks for your answers! Is there something you want to say to our readers?
Thank you for this interview. It was a pleasure to answer the questions.
We would like to take this opportunity to issue a warning to our fans. You see even before this pandemic, we were heading towards a financial disaster of epic proportions that would make 2008 seem like a picnic. The pandemic was just a match and lit the fuse. The chain of events that will follow is unavoidable. Therefor before this winter of 2020 we want to advise the reader to take the necessary steps towards preparations. Contrary to what we hear in the media, this crisis is only getting started and it will be much worse and longer lasting than anything we have seen so far. The reader must prepare for a reduction of the standard of living, restrictions of mobility and income. We will see banks and huge corporations collapse. We will see government structures crumble and we will most likely witness a hyperinflation and new Brexit-style events in Europe. We will see much more civil unrest and we will see rising dictatorships. Therefor it’s important to stop watching the mainstream media and educate yourself on the steps that one must take to survive through this event and exit with victory.
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 29 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles.
In addition to DutchMetalManiac I also have a personal website on which I’ll post various things that won’t fit on DutchMetalManiac, but might be interesting for you as well. It’s in Dutch though.