Genial Grinder: An Interview With Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé

Belgian death-grind outfit Aborted just celebrated their 20th Anniversary. Well, last year they did. But think of it. 20 years of death, grind, and chopping up listeners into little sanguine bits. The group’s new album, Retrogore, isn’t too far removed from its predecessors, but where it stands on its own, is in the songwriting. Aborted have learned, through sickness and health, that a good solid tune means everything to a world where fast is getting faster and heavier is getting heavier, but group’s, some of which are Aborted’s kin, still couldn’t write a memorable song to save their horrible, miserable lives. Retrogore changes that. It’s instantly memorable, but not devoid of the very things — insanity, mostly — that have made Aborted Belgium’s best export. Outside of Lambics, of course. Decibel sits down with the ever-affable, always-hateful Sven de Caluwé. Welcome to Aborted’s genial grinder!!!

How were the writing sessions for Retrogore?
Sven de Caluwé: We started writing early on in 2015 and the writing was rather spread throughout the year, everyone writing in their corner at home and passing demos around. Towards October we spent a month together every day working on the songs and writing new ones, it really came together as a group effort and spent a lot of detail to make it technically proficient yet catchy and have a very dark atmosphere.

What kind of nasty visions did you conjure up while naming it, Retrogore?
Sven de Caluwé
: Retrogore is all about nostalgia towards the good-old golden age of horror, the ’80s, so it’s very heavily inspired by that time period in cinema, as well as some more current political and religious events that have seeped their way into my thoughts.

How would you compare it to The Necrotic Manifesto?
Sven de Caluwé: It is darker, more evil sounding, there is just as much extremity and intensity as Necrotic but it is a bit more spaced, some parts are more memorable/catchy, some parts are way more over-the-top technical and extreme (it has the fastest tempos we ever recorded at). And it has the typical Aborted sound just evolved in a more dark, pessimistic, horrendous way.

Are you approaching the music differently?
Sven de Caluwé: Not really. We wanted to mainly make the songs just as impactful and extreme, but also more memorable by adding some dark melodies, oppressing doom vibes and up the ante on the technical scale yet keeping those hooks you know.

How is writing music in 2016 different from when you first started in the late ‘90s?
Sven de Caluwé: Vastly, i can not emphasise it enough VASTLY. there was no recording stuff at home then, there was practice 2-4 times a week and try to hash out songs that way, which was also great because you immediately knew the songs would work live. Now its a lot easier to pan out your ideas within the area of knowing what you can play, however you have to actually play it as a band to know if the songs will transcend on a stage or not, a mistake many bands make imo.

What is the writing process like for Aborted? You have a lot of cooks in the kitchen.
Sven de Caluwé: We are all equally involved in the songwriting and everyone has an opinion, lots of cooks, but somehow it works, the bottom line is, it has to be aborted in the end. we are all open to new elements and all that, which there are definitely most of on this new album, but it still very much sounds like aborted and brutal.

How would you define Aborted’s music if you had never heard anything like it before?
Sven de Caluwé: Like a bulldozer ramming down a roller-coaster smashing a billion bodies without remorse, warring, or regret, death incarnate!

So, what was it like recording Retrogore? The usual stuff?
Sven de Caluwé: We recorded the new album at the Kohlekeller Studio with Kristian ‘Kohle’ over 20 something days roughly together with his assistant Kai and JB tracking his own bass at the studio. Kohle did a bunch of awesome productions like Benighted, our Termination Redux EP, Powerwolf, Crematory, etc.

Lyrically, Aborted explore fun, happy topics. What gives? Are you guys demented or does the obtuse and disgusting delight you?
Sven de Caluwé: I hate everything. I hate everyone. And above all I absolutely loathe the current state of our society. This album has more personal views upon religion and politics than I ever thought I would put on paper for a band as I hate getting into those matters, we prefer getting into gore loving fun themes about poo poo and horror movies, but some things needs to be said, of course in our own very well aborted drenched sauce!

Immigration and terrorism are hot topics in Europe. What’s your opinion?
Sven de Caluwé: My thought is everyone should be given a chance and being helped in a way, that means immigrants but also the locals, sometimes society helps one more than the other in order to be a politically correct douchebag or to be a racist asshole. There needs to be balance, people need to get chances, after that, what they do with those chances is up to them. A potato should be a potato, not a piece of ham. By that I mean the media should call things what they are and focus on the actual problems. If someone gets a chance and decides to violate it then they should go where such behavior is tolerated, the people who want to immigrate to get a better life and do just that should get all the happiness they deserve. Terrorism can go suck a dick. Religious extremism and terrorism are archaic principles and practices that should be eradicated along with those who believe in them.

What are some of Aborted highest career points at this point?
Sven de Caluwé: We toured the world with The Necrotic Manifesto, going to places in Asia and South Africa, where we have never been. So far with every release we get to do more cool shit, so I would say it only keeps going up, playing the festivals is always a great honor.

Last year was your 20th Anniversary. What’s that mean for Aborted?
Sven de Caluwé: Lots of fun! We did some very exclusive tours and released an anniversary EP. One very cool thing was playing Graspop on its 20th anniversary, the first festival I ever went to, 20 years ago, the year I founded the band, playing there when we both had our 20th Anniversary was definitely something emotional and profound for the band.

** Aborted’s new album, Retrogore, is out now on Century Media Records. Order a copy or two (for grandma, of course) by clicking HERE.