Prickrott is a band you’d want to see at a festival – they’re as headbang-able, as they are conceptual and singalong-able, with a sound you won’t easily forget. It’s a clear case of don’t judge the band by its logo, which promises something from the progressive department, and yet delivers black metal with hints of industrial and gore genres, with visuals of a B-horror cult classic. Confused yet? Let’s see if this interview will answer it – meet Prickrott from The Netherlands. (Start photo left to right: The Scientist – Bass guitar, backing vocals, The Announcer – former Vocalist, The Shapeshifter – Guitar, backing vocals, The Defiler- Drums)
So, introduce yourselves, what is Prickrott?
The Shapeshifter: We’re an experimental black/death metal band from Enschede, The Netherlands.
The Scientist: An outlet!
The Defiler: Add Industrial-ish..
The Engineer: Anti-human hate machine!
Who are the people behind the band, where are you from, what you do, etc.
The Shapeshifter: I’m an artist from the Netherlands. Not sure what else to say; I do regular boring human things, and I compose music and draw things on the side.
The Scientist: Same, but 9001% more nerdy, haha.
The Defiler: We’re all from Enschede, I’m a technical draughtsman.. I draw cables & pipes for an energy company
The Engineer: Operational manager in entertainment lighting, so technically a bringer of light!
In your promo pictures you’re all masked, who are the characters? Do they have significance to the band’s concept, lyrics, or something else? Please explain.
The Shapeshifter: The masks, combined with our pseudonyms, are meant to display the true essence of our character in an abstract way. It’s highly personal, but that’s what makes it interesting I think. They’re not randomly chosen; it’s a personal avatar taken to the extreme.
From a live-show perspective, I think the masks add a nice touch. Not to throw shade, but I’ve always thought that most death metal vocalists look ridiculous on stage, simply because the act of grunting and screaming looks so silly. They typically look like grunting gorillas to me, even though they probably think they look badass in their mind’s eye. That’s where the masks come in handy, I think. Oh and by the way: The promo pictures were taken at a set of old (abandoned) WW2 Nazi bunkers. It was the perfect location for a photo-shoot, I think.
The Scientist: My character is kind of a sick, mangled representation of transhumanism. I definitely count myself as a transhumanist, but as someone well versed in technology I definitely see the drawbacks and dangers of our dependence of- and integration into- technology. Our song “Compound Capacitor” is also about this issue. It very much feels like we are constantly trying to run before we can walk, (inadvertedly) forgetting about the many risks involved. That being said: there’s a lot of potential for great things and many great things have already been achieved!
The Defiler: We’re outfit is derived from Leatherface (who was kind of derived from Ed Gein). When we thought of getting outfits, I immediately thought of this, because I’m a horror movies fan & collector and I liked the idea of ‘hiding behind someone else’s face’
The Engineer: Since I just joined the band my outfit is still under construction.
Who came up with the band name and what does it mean?
The Shapeshifter: The Defiler came up with the name. Back in 2005 we set out to create music similar to a lot of gore and grindcore bands, and Prickrott kind of suited that. As our music evolved, we decided against changing the name because it had a nice ring to it and it’s not something you see or hear often.
The Scientist: I think ‘decay’ would be an apt meaning for it too, but it’s up to personal interpretation, really.
The Defiler: Because it started as a Grindcore/Gore band, I thought of a disorder in lower male organs..
What kind of music background does everyone of you come from?
The Shapeshifter: Metal was actually the last type of music I fell in love with; my background is in electronic music. Things like industrial, hardcore techno, darkcore etc. When I felt like that scene kind of died out over here, I looked for other styles of music and it didn’t take long for me to get into extreme metal.
The Scientist: Woo boy, I guess I used to be into Elvis and really shitty Dutch music (like Frans Bauer). Eventually I actually acquired some taste and got into Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, then Slayer, Metallica and slowly more extreme metal. These days I listen to anything in between jazz, to blues, to (electro)swing, to (industrial) black/death metal and many other genres.
The Defiler: My music taste started with Thrash and Hardcore (Punk), but became more and more extreme: Death/Black – Grindcore/Gore..
The Engineer: Started with Queen, then went down the hole with electronic music sniffing my way out of the teen ages and then more and more discovered metal. Listening to a wide variety of metal, but mostly black/death/doom, though I do like folk from old times as well, including apocalyptic/doomy (neo)folk.
How often do you guys meet, rehearse, create together?
The Shapeshifter: We rehearse once a week, which I feel is kind of the minimal requirement since some of our songs are rather experimental with odd meters and such. A lot of the music is created by me and The Scientist nowadays. Our music doesn’t really allow itself to be composed on the spot, though we will come up with a bunch of riffs during rehearsal every now and then.
The Scientist: And occasionally we hang out at bars or at live shows. And yeah, we tried on-the-spot-composing quite a few times, but writing stuff at home and sharing it to the other bandmembers through online means, then playing the end result during practice has worked out really well so far.
The Defiler: What they said
The Engineer: Always too less, since life has other requirements.
How big of a part does Prickrott play in your day-to-day lives?
The Shapeshifter: To me, Prickrott is a self-reflection. A lot of the frustrations with humans and society on a day to day basis end up in our music in one way or another (through lyrics or riffs, or both).
The Scientist: Like I mentioned before, I see it as an outlet. I’m often (over)thinking about many issues that plague us as a species and theorize about solutions. A lot of the resulting thoughts and yes, also frustrations, end up in the music. I do tend to keep a lot of very personal stuff in my own music projects though, that is if I dare to put it in there at all. It’s not always easy!
The Defiler: I just need to chop wood now & then. And of course, there has to be some kind of challenge, what’s not hard to find in Prickrott’s technical drum parts.
The Engineer: When it passes by, can be any second of the day. As the others said, anything what’s experienced in life which fit to Prickrott will be fit into Prickrott. Lots of human shit to be fitted.
What is your history, how did you form the band. How did you decide which way to go, also style-wise?
The Shapeshifter: Prickrott was formed back in 2005 by me and The Announcer. We wanted to create a form of extreme and raw metal that wasn’t heard very often, since most metal bands had a slick and polished sound to them. At first we started experimenting with a goregrind sound, and we even appeared on an obscure split-release (for any hardcore fans: look out for a split titled “Brainfluid Cocktail”). It soon became clear that we wanted to take our music a bit more seriously, which is when we started working on our first demos.
The Scientist: Well, I only got into the band in 2014, so I missed a lot of the history. However I will say that this was the moment things got a lot more serious, as Prickrott finally was a full band, we started to polish our style and settle into the kind of music you hear on Dust of Obscure Devastation.
The Defiler: Similar as the Scientist said, but I have also rehearsed a few times in 2009.
The Engineer: As said earlier, I just joined the band. The guys I work with are creative, self-minded as well as open minded. Original stuff to be expected!
Not to label you in any way, but to those who haven’t heard you yet, how would you describe your musical style, sound and aesthetics?
The Shapeshifter: It’s definitely extreme metal, that’s for sure. The specifics can and are often argued about: Some call it industrial black metal, some call it death metal, some call it blackened grind… I like to shorten it to black/death since I think that covers most bases, but we also use a lot of industrial sounds in our music. Personally, it’s about mixing the extreme elements from almost all sides of the musical spectrum.
The Scientist: I’d almost describe us as experimental/progressive, but that feels kind of… nitpicking? Our core genre is definitely black/death, but we tend to mix in a lot of weird shit in there, so who knows!
The Defiler: We’re not pretending or aspiring to be too technical. We need to keep the flow going! I’m a doer, not just a listener, I like to be in the pit, to stagedive.. When I can’t do anything, it’s not good to me.
The Engineer: Black/death for sure, with lots of industrial influences, but it can go anywhere, with grindcore and progressive elements for example.
How do you evaluate metal scene today? In the NL and in general?
The Shapeshifter: Admittedly I don’t keep up with the local scene all that much, but a lot of it I simply don’t keep track of because it’s so uneventful. A lot of the bigger bands are thrashy, easy to digest acts that only play in a similar tempo and in straight 4/4… It bores me. Not to toot my own horn here, but we need more diverse acts to keep metal as a scene alive and interesting.
The Scientist: To add to this: unfortunately more creative bands tend to be more obscure as they are often less accessible to the general public. Bands were very much dependant on labels and managers whom tend to blind themselves on maximizing sales and finding the biggest audience. Especially now that the (metal) music business has become so big it has become less attractive for the big labels to take risks with a new kind of music style.
Luckily with the advent of the internet and the subsequent online sharing of music it’s become way easier for obscure bands to become known and it’s definitely changing the music scene as a whole. I only wish that more (local) venues would be more open to the various odd metal bands out there as at the end of the day it’s still a live show that really promotes a band.
The Engineer: Well, I do visit a lot of concerts and festivals, anywhere I can go. If I compare it to any other non-metal scene, there is not a better one than the metal scene. I won’t even see bands a lot, but just drink beer with loads of friends.
However, commercial shit is taking over more and more (again), attracting idiots and money sucking maggots. I tend to avoid anything too commercial and too expensive to attend. Then I rather go to very small venues to see unknown underground bands, buy their stuff, drink all the beer and attempting to get home.
How seriously do you take yourselves and this band?
The Shapeshifter: We take our music fairly seriously, though we draw an obvious line at outright self-parody. Our lyrical content and themes are very much sincere, but we mix things up a little bit whenever we can. Some people hate this format because it’s “gimmicky”, but the truth is that if we don’t present ourselves the way we want we would never stand out from the crowd. We would be just another band and that’s not the way to move music forward, in my opinion.
The Defiler: Myself I don’t take seriously, but our music I do!
The Engineer: The band is serious, life is a joke.
What are in your current works and near future plans?
The Shapeshifter: We’ve been working very hard on rehearsing, since we have a new vocalist to train. We have a 45 minute set-list and we’re almost ready to go.
Furthmore, we’re working on a short EP that will contain a couple of remastered songs from our Total Fucking Meltdown release. The sound quality on TFM was really abysmal, so now that we have the means to properly record our music, we want to give some of these old songs the attention they deserve. These songs will be fully re-recorded and reworked, and this EP will also feature a brand new song for good measure. It’s going to be very brutal.
The Scientist: And after the EP we are planning a new album. We got quite a few songs written already and a bunch more on the way. So plenty of new stuff is coming!
The Engineer: Working my ass off to get the vocals right to go on stage soon, also for the EP which is coming including some new songs the guys wrote. Lots of nasty stuff coming!
Are there any live shows or festival planned? What kind of experience is it, to watch your live concert?
The Shapeshifter: We don’t have any dates planned yet, but they are soon to come. Our live shows are all about energy. It’s about taking out all of your hostilities. Let the world know that you’re mad as hell, and that you’re not going to take it anymore.
The Scientist: We want it to be an experience for all the senses, though mostly audio and visual of course. It’s in-your-face with moments of atmosphere. In fact, in the future we hope to add some cool visual things to our stage, such as custom lighting and some cool FX.
The Engineer: The wait is mostly for me! We will be ready soon.
In the long run, what do you want Prickrott to become and be known/remembered for?
The Shapeshifter: “Goal” is a bit of a loaded word, since that implies that we actually ave some sort of long-term plan. However, I would like Prickrott to be leading the way in terms of modern metal. Not necessarily towards a new genre of metal, but I would love it if our music could inspire metal fans to let go of the tropes that genres like black and death metal are unfortunately suffering from. A lot of metal heads are still allergic to new sounds, and I want the genre of metal to open up so we can finally properly explore it.
The Scientist: Definitely for the variety and experimentation in our music, but also for the subjects we adress in our music.
Like the Shapeshifter said, I hope it inspires people to open their minds. There’s so much good stuff out there, lest you are open to it! And frankly, this goes not for just the music, this goes for the subjects and issues adressed as well!
The Engineer: I don’t care really, if you like it, awesome. If you don’t, I couldn’t care less.
What makes your band unique and memorable?
The Shapeshifter: I would say our sound, first and foremost. I think one of the most unique and defining traits about our music is that any seasoned metal fan of any subgenre can listen to our music, and likely find something to enjoy about it.
The Scientist: We definitely have found our own recognizable sound and style (though there’s plenty of room for further exploration).
The Engineer: The experimental things this band has done, got them their own sound and style, very creative, perhaps it is not experimental anymore but just a unique style!
Are you actually looking for a label? And if so, what kind of deal would you ideally like to strike?
The Shapeshifter: Yes. Please apply at the front desk. All jokes aside, I think it would be great if we could land a deal with a record label that has a strong consumer base and plenty of outreach. I don’t think signing a major record-deal is really in the cards for us, seeing as our music is so difficult to pigeonhole, but one can dream.
The Scientist: A definite yes, yes and also yes. Also feel free to apply at the back desk as well. Though what that means exactly may be up to interpretation, maybe, haha…
The Engineer: A label is always handy, I leave it to the two above to arrange.
How many records have you released so far and where can we find them? And generally, through which channels can we get any of your songs?
The Shapeshifter: We’ve released three demos and two full length albums so far. The first two demos (Fuck Your God and Hate United) are rather obscure, so you’d probably have to hunt for them at an underground distro. Total Fucking Meltdown was re-released on cassette by Zwaertgevegt, and he also released both Cyberworm and Dust of Obscure Devastation on cassette. Dust of Obscure Devastation can be purchased on our Bandcamp profile. I think you can listen to the entirety of Cyberworm for free over on Zwaertgevegt’s SoundCloud page.
The Scientist: Yep. Get Dust here: https://prickrott.bandcamp.com/releases
The Engineer: Be sure to check something out!
Who’s in charge of your cover artwork and what’s the idea behind them?
The Shapeshifter: That’ll be me! I can go in depth about every album cover I designed (which is all of them), but I would probably be here all day so I’ll give a brief description of the prominent releases.
Hate United’s album cover is a picture taken of a fenced off area near a mental institution; I think that speaks for itself.
Total Fucking Meltdown’s album cover features a sculpture of a face created by The Announcer made back when he was still part of the band. The sculpture represents mankind’s insanity.
Cyberworm’s album cover features a surreal painting I made, which I think suited the soundscape-like nature of the release.
Dust of Obscure Devastation’s album cover is a picture taken by The Defiler (though heavily edited by me). It depicts the metaphorical “dust” in the album title.
The Scientist: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust!
The Engineer: All in Shapeshifter’s hands!
In the music scene today, whom would you like to play or work with?
The Shapeshifter: I’m not really picky, haha. I like working with people who are open-minded and creative.
The Scientist: I very much value open-mindedness. You can find some very narrow minded, elitist individuals in the music scene. Such a mindset kills any creativity, which is kind of a prerequisite for good art 🙂
The Defiler: I know too many artists I’d like to play with.
The Engineer: I don’t care, if we can with anyone who wants, fine. If none, also fine. I have no heroes.
Who and what are your artistic influences?
The Shapeshifter: I don’t know where to begin, haha! To start, I think any industrial band like ourselves has to acknowledge Killing Joke in some form. They form a lot of the foundation that modern industrial metal bands operate from.
Furthermore, I’m also a big fan of more experimental bands such as Dodheimsgard and Trollheim’s Grott.
The Scientist: Anything that piques my interest, really! Since I tend to listen to something entirely different every other day there’s always something new and interesting to explore. Lately I’ve been quite inspired by Polish black metal bands such as Mgla, they got some great melodic atmosphere going on.
The Defiler: I began with Metallica, Slayer & Anthrax (no Megadeth really, the guy can’t sing ;p)
After that, a lot of Death Metal and some Grindcore
The Engineer: Anything I ever heard I like, limited to what I can do myself vocal wise. Mostly filthy dark guttural singing I’ll end up with.
Who writes your lyrics and what are they about? What inspires you to create?
The Shapeshifter: Our vocalist usually comes up with the lyrics, so that would be The Engineer. Me and The Scientist do chime in with lyrics some times.
The Scientist: Yeah, we usually suggest ideas for text and/or subjects which are then turned into actual lyrics by The Engineer.
The Engineer: Just nihilistic stuff from day-to-day nihilistic life.
Any song(s) that are more special and personal to you? If so, please explain…
The Shapeshifter: My personal favourites always tend to shift. However, the title track to Dust of Obscure Devastation holds a special place in my heart because I feel like it combines all of our different musical elements so well. The song is heavy, but the transitions are almost seamless. I love that, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
The Scientist: Well, I mentioned “Compound Capacitor” before, because of the subject matter being so personal, but also because it’s the first song I had a lot of input in composition-wise. Kind of the moment I started opening up and settling into my role in the band.
The Defiler: I like “Dust..” & “Dood en Gebroken” a lot, because it’s fast with lots of variety. I also like “Dead Audience” a lot, because the guest vocals from Roger Beaujard (Mortician & many more) blend in so very well!
The Engineer: I’m just a couple of months with the band, but I do know their music for much longer. I have my favourites, but that’s not of anyone’s concern. I give everything with every song to spread its message.
And who composes the music? Is it a band effort or one rules them all?
The Shapeshifter: As mentioned before, I compose most of our music together with The Scientist. Sometimes we’ll come up with riffs when rehearsing, but everything comes together when the two of us work on it. As a rule of thumb: If a song sounds very death metal in nature, it’s usually composed by me. If it sounds ambient and almost post-metal like, it’s typically composed by The Scientist.
The Scientist: I usually write my own bass lines as well as the occasional guitar riff. Recently I’ve gotten into doing some synthesizer things (since I’ve build a bunch 😉 ) but The Shapeshifter is way better at that kind of stuff haha.
The Defiler: Composing is mostly done by those 2, but if there is something I don’t like (for instance when the song falls dead), I ring the bell
The Engineer: All the composing was done before my time, well I leave them to do their stuff. Though just as the Defiler said, if there is anything I don’t like I will tell.
Does Prickrott have a mission? If so, what is it, what is your message?
The Shapeshifter: Embrace the apocalypse. Life is not sacred.
The Scientist: Open your mind to the world around you and to your own flawed nature.
The Engineer: To kick a boot into any body part we can reach, it may change something, it may not. Then just kick again till death, whatever.
And if right now you had a chance to make a video, what would be it like? And to what song?
The Shapeshifter: I would probably have to go for Dust of Obscure Devastation again. Or perhaps a song that we haven’t officially released yet. We’re actually already planning a music video. For our first music video, I would probably keep it a bit simple. If we could rent out some kind of dilapidated factory for a day, I think we could shoot a nice first video there.
The Scientist: A video for Dust, definitely. After all it’s the track that best shows what we are all about. I’ll probably have some fun in After Effects/Vegas with it too, haha. Like I mentioned about our live shows, the experience is important and it would be cool to convey this in the video as well.
The Engineer: Yes, Dust indeed!
What do your band members like to do outside of the band that contributes to your musicality?
The Shapeshifter: Not necessarily to our musicality. I’m active in a lot of artistic mediums, but I also work together with The Scientist on some music outside of Prickrott.
The Scientist: I have my own music project, called The Scientist, in which I freely experiment with a broad spectrum of genres. Besides that The Shapeshifter and I are working on a very fun atmospheric black metal project, which will hopefully be released sometime this year.
The Defiler: Watch lots of other bands!
The Engineer: Listening to music all day long if possible!
What are your thoughts on the internet’s role in the music industry today?
The Shapeshifter: From a consumer standpoint it’s absolutely amazing. From an artist standpoint, it’s really difficult since you share a platform with literally millions of other bands. I find it annoying when so many people seem to think that upcoming artists should also have to be excellent marketers and whatnot. As an artist, you just want to focus on creating music, not all this other crap. Back in the day people would look for new bands themselves; That hardly seems to be the case anymore nowadays and I kind of lament that.
The Scientist: It’s pretty great! Like I said before it makes an artist independent from labels and the need to sell per se. At least you now have a better chance to expose yourself to people whom may not be looking, lest you get your social media skills up to snuff 😉
The Engineer: It opens up the world for any band, might be good or not. Nowadays it is difficult to keep track of all the music which is there. Back in the days it was just a cassette you copied from a friend, and if lucky you could buy the original somewhere. That cassette was treasure and much liked, and played until it was broken. Well, time moves on and it made all much easier to look for any music, and hear it instantly.
Are you active on social media, where fans can keep up with your news and plans?
The Shapeshifter: We have a Facebook page that we keep up to date with our most recent developments and appearances (live shows).
What can we do, as your fans and followers, to help and support Prickrott?
The Shapeshifter: Help us perform our shows in your country! We would love to tour around other places besides just The Netherlands. If we can strike an affordable plan, we’d be happy to show up in whatever shithole we can reach.
The Scientist: Come see us and have a jolly ‘ol time! Haha. Besides the live stuff it also really helps if people share us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you name it). If you want to support us financially (so we have the funds to travel for example) you can buy our album on BandCamp, or buy merch after a live show.
The Engineer: Buy all our stuff, visit all our future shows, talk about us to anyone, share the crap out of any social activity we do, I can list a lot! Well the usual stuff bands need.
What else would you like to share with us? Please tell.. For example, any interesting stories, omens, funny moments.. ..?
The Shapeshifter: I had to think for a moment, but here’s some trivia that I think hasn’t been shared publicly yet: For our first ever live-show five years ago, we decided to open the show with a nihilistic speech that The Announcer wrote. For this occassion, we made a lectern for The Announcer to stand behind. Me and him made that thing the night before the gig. I’m still surprised how it hasn’t completely fallen apart.
The Engineer: Come and see one of our future shows, drink beers with us and the shit comes out. I promise.
Thank you for your time, and good luck! I already look forward to your tour.
The Shapeshifter: Glad to be of service! Thanks for the interview, and make sure you check out Dust of Obscure Devastation if you haven’t already. I promise it’s worth it.
The Scientist: Thank you for this interview and your interest in our music!
The Defiler: You’re welcome! And thank you so much!
The Engineer: Thank you! See you soon!
Marina Minkler – journalist
Band photos – Peter Doornbos