Purveyors of death/grind destruction, HOSTIA demanded to be the final Rebel Extravaganza interview of 2022, and who were we to deny? Newest album, Nailed, out on Deformeathing Production crams 15 tracks of malevolence, madness and mayhem into under 25 minutes, which
just gives you a chance to hit play one more time at the end…if you survived the first time…
Interview with St. Anacletus [Guitars] and St. Sixtus [Vocals]
Interview By: Lord Randall
Rebel Extravaganza: When you formed back in 2017 was it more because there weren’t enough bands doing the style you wanted to hear, or there weren’t enough bands doing it correctly?
St. Anacletus: We never thought about it this way. It doesn’t matter. We formed HOSTIA because we had the need to play this kind of music and because this made us happy. Outside world doesn’t matter.
RX: Were you in contact as far as playing shows with bands each other were in previous? Looking back, I see everything from metalcore to psychedelic bands some of you have been in.
St. Anacletus: Yeah, we know each other for a long time and we met on stage and behind the stage many, many times before HOSTIA. That was also one of the reasons we wanted to do it together.
RX: Is HOSTIA a chance to leave the past behind, or more diving into the old school death metal/grindcore sound and not trying to improve on it. More a celebration of the old than trying to do anything groundbreaking or new?
St. Sixtus: Honestly, I didn’t think about it. In my opinion, over-analyzing your work kills its naturalness. We don’t plan like “Let’s do some old school songs and some more modern ones”. The whole composing process comes naturally. Of course, we can hear jumping around metal genres, but that’s how we play with music. I’m not a fan of sorting music. It doesn’t matter if it’s old school or new school, there’s only good and bad music!
St. Anacletus: And as we all know in the category of death/grind metal it’s hard to invent the wheel again. But at the same time, I want to create our own identity musically. All the old school stuff is the foundations, but we try to build on it something a bit different, something that maybe one day we could call our own version of death/grind. And there is also the concept and visual part that for sure we want to create something new!
RX: How quickly did the songs start coming together? Must have been pretty fast, as the first album was out almost within a year.
St. Anacletus: Yes, it was fast. Actually, some songs or riffs were already waiting before we formed the band, so it went smoothly.
RX: Who were your influences when you first started playing, and do you find those have stuck with you over time?
St. Sixtus: Looking back, I think the biggest influences on me as a singer were Mike Patton, Glenn Danzig, Chris Barnes, Glen Benton, Freddy Mercury and Dave Gahan. It’s not just about their bands and music, but how amazing frontmen they were.
St. Anacletus: My all-time number one was and is Metallica, and as maybe I am not so ultra- excited about everything they are doing now I am still a huge fan and still going through all they do. And I do really enjoy all the albums and I am very curious about the new one. And from the guitar playing side – I am the rhythm guitar player so – fuck – James Hetfield’s riffs were huge inspiration – I mean HUGE – the picking, the tightness. That’s the reason I play the guitar! Another band that I grew up on and it is still with me is Paradise Lost – from A to Z. Love it. Of course there is much more and my must have playlist would have to include: Vader, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Slayer, Samael, Machine Head, Death, old Sepultura, Megadeth, Acid Drinkers, Illusion, Hatebreed and some more!
RX: Has the band – and I hate to use the word “progressed” in this case – over time, or is part of what you love about HOSTIA that it’s a Bolt Thrower type commitment to not change or waver from the initial sound/plan? Obviously, you become better as a band by playing together, and you’ve certainly done enough live shows to be really tight when you want to be.
St. Anacletus: It is about reinventing you again with every album but keeping the brutality, the energy and the main stylish frames. I find it quite challenging to stay in death/grind style, maybe adding some thrash or hardcore flavors and in the same time not to record the same song and album over and over again. We try to make diverse sounding albums, where there is a lot going even if half of it is under blast beats. It is what makes us excited. I am not sure if we can call it progress, but for sure we don’t want to repeat ourselves as much as it’s possible in this kind of genres.
RX: Carnivore Carnival dropped just as COVID-19 was really settling in and starting to fuck with the world. Compare the recording experience of that album to Nailed. Anything drastically different in the way the album was recorded? HOSTIA seems a band that would thrive recording in the same room, not just trading files over the internet.
St. Anacletus: Actually we recorded Carnivore Carnival before COVID-19, but it was released during the pandemic. And we recorded material for Resurrected Meat [EP] and Nailed in the end of the pandemic, so it didn’t really affect much working in the studio. But I guess it affected the writing process. There were no concerts so we could focus on the new stuff right after Carnivore Carnival. So, in the end we wrote and recorded more songs than ever and split them to EP and LP. Process of writing looked pretty much the same. I came up with songs ideas, record them at home with programing drums, then check with St..Sixtus how he feels them vocal wise and then show them to the rest of the guys and if all approved, we work on them live on rehearsals. St. Sixtus used to work on vocals on his own and also demoed them and sent them to me. But as we don’t live in one place anymore, we need to mix both ways of creating – live and online.
RX: Any lessons you learned from Nailed that you’ll take into the next album?
St. Anacletus: Don’t mix two albums at the same time. Went great but was a bit of a mindfuck!
RX: If you could, go a bit into the lyric inspiration for ‘Stone In The Throat’ and what should already be a classic, ‘Polish Black Metal Makes Me Sleepy’.
St. Sixtus: ‘Stone In The Throat’ is quite a personal song. It tells about a person close to me and her struggle with severe depression. A fight filled with desperation, helplessness. About relationships with loved ones in this situation. [It’s] About the inner battle and the titular stone you can’t spit out or swallow.
‘Polish Black Metal Makes Me Sleepy’ is quite a perverse title. Most perceived it as a criticism of the polish black metal scene. The truth is completely different, the title should be taken literally. The idea was born during a conversation with a friend. There was a time when I suffered from insomnia, and herb and a few black metal records helped me. Personally, I am a fan of energetic black metal and in Poland there’s a fashion for a sad and climatic variety of the genre. I never implied that it was bad, I just stated a fact. The lyrics itself are actually a tribute to the black metal scene. It’s also a fact that I find it incredibly amusing when grown men take it too seriously. Reactions to this title only convinced me of that.
RX: That riff in ‘Siberian Werewolf’ is killer. How did that song come together?
St. Anacletus: Thank you! It became one of our favorites to play live actually! I wanted to have more ultra-heavy down tempo moments and that’s how ‘Little Priests’ and ‘Siberian Werewolf’ came to life. There were more slower ideas but it’s hard for me to get slow and keep the energy and punch of the song so I threw away a lot of them. I guess in those two cases we succeeded! Slower parts also give great space for St. Sixtus’ lower growls so that’s something I would like to explore more in the future for sure. And it’s great to play live! Just makes you wanna headbang right away [Laughter]!
RX: Having grown up under so-called “religious freedom” and knowing nothing of the Polish experience with church dictatorship, etc, it seems the issue really isn’t that there is religion or spiritual belief, but that true spiritual belief (which should be individual, and between you and whatever deity and no one else) is tainted and ruined when you push your belief onto another.
St. Sixtus: Amen to that! Unfortunately, in Poland the church is deeply rooted. As you wrote, faith is an individual matter for each person. As far as I’m concerned, you can believe in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t care. I am also aware that weak or not quite smart people need to believe in something because they cannot accept the idea that their existence has no deeper meaning. However, if we are talking about the institution of the church, it is the worst creation of mankind. They are unpunishable, untouchable. They act like the mob; they intimidate simple people with fairy-tale Hell. They don’t pay taxes, they live in wealth, they rape children and all with the permission of the government. Currently in Poland you can end up in prison if someone thinks you have offended their religious feelings. It’s sick!
RX: Is it just me, or is Antigama a ridiculously amazing band?
St. Sixtus: Sure thing! Unfortunately, the band is appreciated more abroad than in Poland.
St. Anacletus: Yes it is!
RX: Basement/squat shows and guerilla-style gigs can be extremely fun, but extremely dangerous. Was at a local show with a funk band, Misfits-styled death rock band and southern metal band at a country & western venue recently. What’s a strange show experience you’ve had as HOSTIA, something in the Spinal Tap variety, where either something went horribly to shit or you look back and wonder how such an absurd thing happened?
St. Sixtus: I don’t remember any particular event like Spinal Tap, which I love [Laughter] Believe me or not, I personally like such “specific” places, I think it’s part of folklore. Personally, I love playing in small clubs, I love having people within reach because then I feel that the energy we give comes back to us. I like when people run into chaos on stage. The only thing I’m not a fan of are backstages, in places like this [Laughter]. It’s not that the place is supposed to be as clean so that heart transplants could be done, but…we’ve dealt with places where it was better to spend time and change clothes in the car.
RX: Describe a HOSTIA show in 10 words or less.
St.Sixtus: We have two slogans that give us 10 words. “Groovy Godless Grindcore”, “We are here to buttfuck your soul”!
RX: Plans for next year?
St. Anacletus: Bring the host to all the new believers! There are some new shows to be announced soon so stay tuned!