Salva Rubio is the author of "Metal Extremo: 30 años de oscuridad / 1981 – 2011", a book dedicated to study the extreme metal in all forms which was published by the Spanish editorial called Milenio. Also, he is one of the founder members of the band The YTriple Corporation. Today we speak for a long time with him about the band, the book and other questions.
Hi Salva, rather than start with the questions I would like to tell us who you are for those who do not know you.
Hi everybody! My name is Salva Rubio and I am the writer of “Extreme Metal: 30 Years of Darkness”, currently the largest book of original material written about this subject, as you can check it here.
I am also a fiction writer (my first novel will be out in June) and a screenwriter, currently hired for co-writing four feature films (website here), and I am also the vocalist of The YTriple Corporation, a death metal band of which you can download our second EP here.
How was born the idea to write this book and why you think that nobody had written something similar before?
When I was attending college, back in 2003, I wrote an academic paper on Extreme Metal for our History of Music teacher. He was so surprised! He was a musicologist and he did not have a clue about the existence of a kind of music which had existed for 20 years then, so he proposed me to write and publish a book about it... but he died soon afterwards and I ditched the project. Almost 10 years later, I decided to give it another try and narrate the first 30 years of Extreme Metal, from 1981 to 2011, and I finished and published it.
I do not really know why anybody has not attempted anything like this! There are other books on Extreme Metal, that is a fact, but up to my knowledge, there has not been anywhere a book which covered all the substyles and three decades until now.
You've counted with the collaboration of other people to do so or has been more like a solo project? What sources have you used most frequently for its wording? How long do you used every day to write it?
It was a solitary project. The reason is that I decided to focus on musical form, excluding sex, drugs & rock’n’roll stories, crimes, suicides, church burnings and all those sorts of trivia which are not really music. Holding a degree in Arts History, I focused on sound, form, structures, aesthetics, lyrical contents, ethics, etc, writing a sort of “cultural compendium” of what we call Extreme Metal, rather than focusing on easy line-up data, discographies and that sort of boring Wikipedia stuff.
Since there were no books based on musical form that I could refer to, I decided to write it from my own point of view, so I wrote from my experience, my analytic capabilities, and the countless records, concerts, ‘zines and such that I have experienced.
It took two full years to organize and write, and one more to see it published. About the daily time I used for writing it, it was anything in between 2 to 12 hours a day.
Sometimes is difficult to bring order to a written work, especially if it's large. What was more complicated, write about the bands or structuring the book?
Actually, it was more complicated to find a structure in which every band, record, style, tendency and fad could fit like a puzzle. It really took a lot of planning. On the other hand, reviewing more than 1000 bands was a really hard work, since as I was saying, rather than just writing down data and facts (which you can always check online) I decided to talk about every band’s evolution through the years. I had to re-listen to literally thousands of records, which also was the best part of the project: enjoying the music.
The book does not include an endless list of data for each band and I as reader I'm grateful for it. Did you decided to do to avoid to make a book too long or you considered that include those data it was unnecessary?
As I was saying, that kind of data (personnel changes, lists of every demo, EP, record, etc) is very easy to find online and nobody would buy that sort of data-encyclopedia book. I decided to let people be able to actually read the book and enjoy the “journey” rather than bore everyone with facts.
The extreme metal evolves continuously, merging styles or by introducing variations to existing ones, but for a time that we don't see a true innovation as in its day it was the introduction of grind, black metal or death metal, do you think that there is scope within the extreme metal as emerging out another trend that breaks the schemes?
This is a very interesting question. Actually, the main styles of Extreme Metal were born roughly between 1984 and 1994, and no new “main” style has been born, besides Death Metal, Black Metal, Grindcore and Doom Metal.
In this sense, there is an interesting comparison between Black Metal and Death Metal. Whereas the first, from its very beginnings, was totally open to experimentation, the second has remained very conservative throughout the years. The result is that, almost 20 years later, Black Metal has a lot of derivations and basically every other sub-style has had it say on it: there is Symphonic Black Metal, Melodic Black Metal, Death/Black Metal, Norwegian Black Metal and Classic Black Metal, its influence dominating also most of the Avantgarde scene.
At the same time, Death Metal has proven to be very conservative (which is not bad at all, since that attitude has kept it alive), but it has slowed down its development. Even the 90‘s Technical Death Metal wave suffered from it, and all the innovations that bands as Death, Cynic or Atheist gave to the style have taken decades to develop, and they are still growing. And while there have been isolated bands that tried their take on it, there are no such schools as Industrial Death Metal, Symphonic Death Metal or Norwegian Death Metal (check Molested for a sneak peek of what this could have developed into).
So I think, creatively and influence-wise, Death Metal still has at least the same room to grow as Black Metal, specially if the most unorthodox approaches are finally welcome.
All the aforementioned is said regarding the “main styles”. And even if I am compelled to think that there will not be another of those “main” styles, there is plenty of room for new, derived styles:
Industrial Metal, Folk Metal, Gothic Metal, Goregrind or Avantgarde are all styles that mix one of the “main” styles with a derivative form (thus their names). So next we can question ourselves: is there any other style in popular music that can be mixed with Extreme Metal?
I am inclined to think that, as it happened with Folk Metal, whose beginnings were humble and disperse and today it is one of the most popular styles, there is a lot of room for those other styles to grow creatively speaking: for example, very few Doom Metal bands play in the original Halifax-area style, since most of them derived to prog and gothic forms. So there is plenty of explore there. And after the 90’s hype, Industrial Metal faded almost to nothing, and I think when there is some sort of huge electronica/techno revival, those influences will revive the style. And of course, in Folk Metal most bands, regardless where they come from, play mostly with Northern Europe influences, while there are a lot of regional folk influences to be added to Extreme Metal, like Flamenco (check France’s Impureza if you haven’t, Nile lovers).
Of course, there are styles with which hybridisation seems too unlikely, like Country, Hip Hop, Latin American, Ska, Soul, Psychobilly or Reggae, but no one can tell, since there are already disperse influences ranging from African heritage (like in Obituary’s World Demise), Latin influences (check out Atheist’s Steve Flynn drum work), Blues (sludge and stoner), Jazz (Exit-13 and many grindcore acts), New Age (Black Ambient acts)...
In any case, Extreme Metal is very much alive and given a dark, sometimes even humorous twist, anything seems possible
The book is totally international and you have created a page in English to publicize the work. Has the Publisher thought about the possibility of translating it into other languages or have you contacted publishers outside of Spain to publish it?
As you say, the book has only been published in Spanish, which seems strange, since Spain does not have the huge metal scene other countries have; we are almost third world in that sense. But this way we have reached the whole of South America, where metalheads are really dedicated and supportive.
The next step is to translate it to at least English, and I would be very happy if it got translated to German, Finnish, Dutch, French and whatever language international metalheads can enjoy.
The hardest part for getting that translation is the book length itself: with 612 pages and more than 256.000 words, it is an expensive book to translate to other languages.
The best part is that sales are really good, and once translated it could be a best-selling book in the Heavy Metal genre in other languages.
Since we are talking about a timeless book (it covers the first 30 years of Extreme Metal), I am really patient about the translation: the book will not get old even if time passes.
On the other hand, we need your help! Should you have any contacts in the publishing industry or should you want to publish it yourself, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your ideas.
Or just simply, spread the word copy pasting www.extrememetalbook.com everywhere. Thank you in advance!
The book has received very good reviews (including my own) by its high quality and quantity of information provided. It was difficult to find a Publisher to publish it due to the underground nature of its content? How works the sales of the book? What do says the Publisher about the sales?
It wasn’t really hard to find a publisher, since the niche of metal books in Spanish is really poor: any publisher could see that there is a market for a book like this. The hard part was finding a publisher that respected the metalhead mentality, which I was very protective of. For example, some publishing houses wanted to limit book length (so it would have been incomplete) and others wanted to have commercial bands on the cover, while the final choice of Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger speaks for itself. I decided to go with the publisher that gave me freedom to control those issues, and I was very satisfied with Milenio.
About the sales, I just received sales data for the first month (December 2011) and I can say almost half of the first edition was sold in that time! Any publisher I can think of would certainly be happy with that.
So in this sense, I must say that I am really thankful of the Spanish and Latin American scene and how much they have helped me to promote the book, because the publisher decided not to invest a dime in marketing or publicity. Happily, we of the Underground support each other.
We have read also you dedicate time to cinema, literature, photography, painting... From where comes this hobby to all these facets of art and which of these practices in a professional manner?
As I was saying, I work as a screenwriter, writer and also paint, photograph, play music... I have always been very curious and slowly, through my life I have tried many artistic disciplines, now at my age (34) all that work it is starting to pay off.
You are very involved in the extreme music scene, because in addition of having written the book, you are in the band THE YTriple Corporation since the year 2000, can you tell us a little bit of the band?
David (ex-Neverdie) and me started the project a long time ago, and slowly and patiently, we gave it shape over the years as a two man project. Nonetheless, when Phlegeton (Wormed, Human Mincer) joined us on drums, we decided to push the possibilities of the project and make it a full-time band.
Formally, THE YTriple Corporation is a mixture of influences, anything between Arch Enemy, Heartwork-era Carcass, Fear Factory or Death: it is dynamic, harsh, melodic and straight to the point: the kind of music we enjoy.
Lyrically, it is also a playground in which I am telling a grand story, a sci-fi adventure with cyberpunk influences in a post-financial world war setting, with corporations battling to earn territory and a soldier who lost his memory trying to find his place in this planetary chess game.
You have recorded your first EP titled “The sentinel’s eyes” and in addition to being able to buy the merchandise of the band on your official website the EP can be downloaded for free from the same page or purchase it through digital download for a small fee. Why have you decided to do so?
Our main goal right now is to make the band known to any metalhead in the world, and the best way for doing that is a free release. We have even uploaded it to a site like Mediafire, so you can guess we support and encourage people downloading and sharing it. Feel free to paste it on your site, facebook, etc and you will be supporting us!
You are also invited to listen to our Judas Priest version of “The Sentinel”, currently only in YouTube.
I forgot! The EP was recorded and produced by ourselves, or the entity known as Delta314. More about this soon!
Your near live debut at a festival as big such as the SWR Barroselas means a great pressure for the band?
As you say, we will play our first show at the SWR Barroselas Metalfest, which is a honor for us! We are very glad that with just a minor release (an EP) we have been invited to play in Portugal, and we hope this is the start of a promising band career. There is no pressure involved, however! We will give our best at Barroselas. Be there!
And now we can tell to you one notice: the book will be presented in that festival. The presentation will be held on April 28th, and will consist of a round table in which various aspects of Extreme Metal history will be discussed, along with the presence of the festival's creator, Ricardo Veiga.
But that is not all! As special guests, Dutch supergroup HAIL OF BULLETS will join us for the presentation to narrate us their privileged version of Extreme Metal history.
As it is widely known, in Hail Of Bullets there are members and ex-members of Death Metal bands as important as Asphyx, Thanatos, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, Gorefest, Comecon, Houwitser and a long etcetera.
It is a real honour for us to count with them as guests, and one more reason for you to attend SWR Barroselas
What projects you have currently for the band? Is there a label that has been in contact with you to edit you future work?
Actually, I can say that we have finished recording the demos for our first LP, titled “Medusa Megalopolis”, a 10-song cyberpunk epic of cold raw aggression and intense emotional melodies.
We will start looking for a label soon, so any label from Holland who wants to listen to our material will have a head start! Request our material at info[at]ytriple.com.
Before the end of the interview, would you add something about what we have not spoken?
I just want to say a loud ‘Hi’ and ‘Thank you’ to BRUTALISM.com and all the readers for helping us make our work known and ‘thank you’ in advance for sharing the book and the YTriple info. Remember the links and share them!
Greetings and thanks for responding to our questions.
Thank you, stay extreme and remember: WE WIN YOUR WARS!!