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Grand Supreme Blood Court Interview

A Conversation with Guitarist Eric Daniels

By

Grand Supreme Blood Court

Grand Supreme Blood Court

Century Media Records
Updated November 13, 2012
Grand Supreme Blood Court is a new band made up of current and former members of Asphyx and Hail Of Bullets. It includes vocalist Martin van Drunen, guitarist Alwin Zuur, bassist Theo van Eekelen and drummer Bob Bagchus. Guitarist Eric Daniels, who left Asphyx and the music industry back in 2000, is also a member of GSBC, and fills us in on their debut album Bow Down Before The Blood Court.

Chad Bowar: How did Grand Supreme Blood Court form?
Eric Daniels: The original idea was to do a project with the name The Company Of Undertakers. The reason it was not lifted from the ground was the busy schedule and commitments of everyone in this project. Some riffs were laid down, also some complete song-parts. The long distance between our hometowns also made it difficult.

But after awhile, Bob, Martin and myself looked through the material we made during that time, went into the rehearsal room and finished two complete songs. Those songs were also recorded on the album. Because this was a new start and beginning, Martin came up with the name Grand Supreme Blood Court.

What's the concept behind the band name?
Grand Supreme Blood Court is a mix between the Grand Jury and the Supreme Court as they exist. The name is bound together, it stands for justice in its most brutal way. No mercy, no convictions, just carry out the tasks to die. We all five are judges as well:
Grand Magistrate Bagchus - Firing squad commander and coffin drummings
Grand Judge Daniels - Axe wielding beheader guitar
Grand Prosecutor van Drunen - Verdicts, sentences and tormented howls
Grand Registrar Zuur - Blood runes and flesh-saw guitar
Grand Executioner van Eekelen - Torture instruments and slaying bass

Describe the songwriting process for Bow Down Before The Blood Court.
Alwin, Bob and I composed and arranged all the songs together for the record. Two songs were made earlier (the ones that Martin, Bob and I did). About two years ago, I started to compose riffs and recorded them into my PC, then made MP3s from that and sent them to Bob and Martin. They liked it right away, and they were feeling good. I was coming back to making music again.

Together Alwin and I did the most riff writing. We are a golden tandem as we say, we know what each other likes and the best way to compose the riffs together. You will hear two guitars on the album, just that extra touch to complete the songs. We have many possibilities in the future to make solid, good songs.

How did you and Alwin divide up the guitar parts?
We did not really divide the guitar parts like a sort of structure, we just combined our ideas and riffs. We compose at our homes, and then when we have ideas, we come together to my place and we play our riffs, just to see how to combine them in the song. Or Bob (drums) and I both go into the rehearsal room and jam a lot.

Alwin and I work riffs out or put new riffs in to finish the songs; it all went very naturally. Alwin and I feel how our best riffs can be combined, it’s a golden tandem. In the end, we both have our own parts to play: Alwin is responsible for the higher harmonics above the riffs, I like the basic and low parts to play-- and of course, the tremolo and doom solos. We divide the parts according to what we’re both best at.

What will you remember most about the recording of the album?
The most memorable thing about this album is the intense atmosphere and the process of making the songs. We took a long time to record the album, and it was fun and a joy to do so, with all the modern technologies like digital recording etc. We recorded the music at the Sonic Assault studio with Frank, and we did the vocals and one song at Harrow Productions with Harry. It all went fine to do so in a relaxed way. All those good memories are reflected in the final album. People can hear we had a good time and wanted to make a very good album.

How would you characterize the style/sound of the album?
It’s brutal, heavy, real doom/death metal the way we like to play it. Sawing guitars down-tuned to B, a heavy, in-your-stomach bass sound, pounding tight drums, and a sick-sounding voice. Those ingredients are the characteristics of GSBC. Dan Swano did a very good job to create the sound we really wanted. He’s the man with the golden knobs.

What are your expectations for the release?
Well, we know that our record company Century Media Records did a hell of a job for us by giving attention towards the band name and album. The whole staff in Europe and the U.S. needs a cheer and gratitude for doing this and making it happen. After the release, we can see more what the album will do, and what expectations we can receive. The point of view for this one is that in the first place, we created this album purely as fun, hanging out together to play the music we really wanted to play, as it is with our heart and souls. That’s the main part of it all.

You had been absent from the scene for a while. Why did you leave Asphyx back in 2000, and why was this the right time for you to return to metal?
I was focusing on other things. Best to see it as a long time rest that I needed, after some crazy musical years. Indeed after the On the Wings… album, we did some shows and I needed to focus on other things. I got a job and work at it still today. It took me some years to reach the job I wanted to do, and I succeeded in that. I also had a family life, but four years ago it ended not-so well. I don’t want to go into detail, it’s too personal, but my best friends know and I want to keep it this way.

Most important is that I needed those years to be a musician again today. I almost never touched my guitar in those nine years, and looking back, it’s good I did not. All the inspiration that I kept inside, I used for the upcoming album. A fresh start and in another time. I never thought it would happen again. I have been writing music for two years already, and those hidden inspirations are seeing the daylight after I picked up the guitar again.

It was Bob actually who gave me the inspiration and urge to step in again; however, we did not plan and speak about this. It was just a feeling I had to pick up that guitar again, just to see for myself how it would turn out. For two years now, I play my guitars every day for about one hour. I found out I missed it so much, being creative and composing. It gives me a sort of happiness inside, a well-done feeling, no matter if I play only for myself. Lots of things happened in my personal life in those 9 years. Now it feels good to make music again, and most importantly, to have my best friends to make the music with.

GSBC's first live show is in December. Do you plan on doing any more shows/tours?
Yes, we want to play live shows as well, but we just have to see what’s coming our way after the release of the album. Than we can see more what will happen concerning shows. But it’s for sure that people can watch us live in the future…The show we have on December 1st is in Ingolstadt, Germany. For me personally, it’s a try-out show. I was away too long and need to get the feeling back on stage.

Do you see GSBC as a side project one-off, or do you anticipate future albums from the band?
GSBC is not a side project, or project at all. Let me make myself clear about this: GSBC is a full band on its own. People can expect more albums coming up. So that’s the future plans.

How did you get started in music?
I started to play electric guitar when I was 14 years old (30 years ago). I did not have any lessons because the lessons that were given did not interest me very much. I learned to play the guitar myself, every day playing that thing in my room at my parents’ place. I earned my first guitar during school-years with a paper route together with my brother. I started to play the guitar when I heard the song “Blackout” from the Scorpions. I liked the rhythm guitars on that album so much, it was boiling inside me to play the guitar.

Also, I tried to play songs from the early Saxon and Judas Priest albums. Quite hard, but never gave up. After awhile, it became too soft for me, I wanted to play brutal stuff-- keep the emotion in it, a backdoor for my feelings. When Venom’s Welcome to Hell was released, I was sold, knocked out; that was the style I wanted to play. Technical stuff I liked to listen to, but not to play.

Later on, I played the early Metallica albums. That was a tight playing style that I really liked. Not very technical riffing, but very efficient. Of course it wasn’t brutal enough. I kept the tight playing, combined with my guitar sound, and that’s still my riffing and style today. So, from the demo days of Asphyx, I played the stuff I liked.

Who were some guitarists who inspired and influenced you?
Mostly rhythm guitar players: Rudolf Schenker, James Hetfield, Malcolm Young, Mantas (Venom), to mention the most important ones. I am not a solo guitar player from origin, the trem solos and doom solos came later. Most of the time, I play the rhythm guitar.

But I sure have favorite guitar players who I respect a lot: Michael Schenker, Akira Takasaki, Angus Young, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, etc. The guitar players I grew up with in the '80s metal age.

What was your first band, and what type of music did they play?
I played in several local bands when I was 18 and learned to play and wanted to be in a band. I played thrash-style as well, speed metal. It was a good beginning for the later saw-like style I developed for myself. Perfect for the death metal later on.

How did you come to join Asphyx?
A friend of mine was a bass player (his name is Benno), and he had contact with Bob. He asked if Asphyx needed a second guitar player as well because Bob and Tonny were looking for a bass player and vocalist. I traveled with my friend to Bob and Tonny, and the match was really good. A week later, Theo joined Asphyx as the vocalist. From that point, my membership in Asphyx was a fact.

What are your fondest memories of your time in the band?
Oh man, I have a lot. 11 years in a band brings so many experiences: fun, joy, hurt, sadness, etc. I really can’t point out the fondest, but if I may say, the two European tours we did were an experience of their own. That period, the boys got separated from the men, so to say.

Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
To our American death-thrashers and beyond, I would say: check our album, check the concept of the album, the Blood Court takes no prisoners, we only sentence you to real doom/death metal! You RULE, and respects from my side! We hope we visit the U.S. someday to spread this pure and honest brutality!

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