1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
After the album release, we went on the November Massacre Tour to promote it, had one hell of an album release party with Derrick Green from Sepultura as our special guest, as well as played few shows in the new year. Other than that, no significant developments, as it is still too early to see where to go next, although, we are getting some feedback already, generally positive, so only time will tell, if we are heading in the right direction.
2.Recently you have put out a new album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction it has taken and also how does it differ from your past recordings?
We are not the kind of band that would alter its style dramatically with each new album. Of course, we try to make every new album a little bit different than the one before it, but to what extend a fan or a reviewer can perceive it as a change or not, we cannot objectively tell. Either way, we do not want to become entrenched in a single way of composing things. Far from it. We are always influenced by what we like, as well as by what we may have recently heard, or what caught our attention. Each one of us has his favorite acts, from which he draws inspiration for his compositions, and then it is up to all three of us to agree on how to best combine all these influences into a new song. In fact, this new album is the first one which we recorded in three-member line-up only, which is for example reflected in the guitar riffs, which are this time made only for one guitar. In the past, we always worked with two guitars complementing each other, but now it is more the case of more straightforward and more compact riffs, rather than expanding melodies or multiple solos. Additionally, this time we also focused more on the vocals, in the sense of me and Martin alternating more often than before, which in our opinion makes the songs more diverse, both on the album as well as on live gigs.
In my opinion the new album is more straightforward, rawer, faster, with more changes in tempo and in vocals. Additionally, we included some more “modern” elements here and there, which is something we did not do before.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?
A permeating theme is a crucial element of this new album. Its very title “Follow” refers to man as a creature that is easily swayed by crowd mentality and especially by some charismatic figure who can easily manipulate both individuals and said crowds. Actually, our lyricist Štefan Ležovič made a list about what each song means, so here it is, and maybe your readers can guess what belongs to which song J
Wars can be waged even for noble reason, but on the front lines, it is always the case of ordinary people slaughtering other ordinary people.
There are those, who are willing to forgo free will and the right to choose, for the mere promise of material wealth and comfortable existence.
Man can be so weak and empty that joining some movement or following a strong leader becomes a necessity, for he does not know what to do with his own life.
Is it better to keep people in blissful ignorance regarding their future, even if you know that they are going to die? Or do you tell them the truth even at the risk of them spending the last moments of their lives more frightened than before?
The promise of salvation can make many follow senseless orders regardless of their consequences.
Sometimes, one’s petty anger leads to a point, where one responds to words with clenched fists and punches.
It is surprising how many people are willing even today to follow an ideology that was defeated a long time ago.
Focusing only on one’s own needs may seem like the right thing to do, but only to the moment when you need someone else and you realize that you are all alone.
No matter what path you follow in life, what idols or what leaders, in the end you have to answer to yourself.
4.I have read that the band use have the names 'Imago' and 'Executor' what was the decision behind the name changes and also what is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Tortharry'?
It was the case of gradual evolution. The band began forming already from 1984 onwards, and way back then the name was IMAGO, since it was something of a garage rock band playing on some local dance nights at the most. After all, we were 14 back then. Later, we began to incline towards hard ’n heavy, and were heavily influenced by icons such as Slayer, Sepultura or Metallica, and so we decided to change the name to something that has more balls to it. Initially, we meant to keep that name, but found out later that it was already used by one other band, which prompted our search for yet another original name, which arose from the distortion of the word “tortura” (meaning torture). And so in 1991, Tortharry were born. The word itself has no meaning.
5.The band has been around since 1991, what is it that motivates you to stay around and create music after all of these years?
First and foremost, to get our music to more fans abroad, which is our priority. We do what we can to get contacts outside Czech Republic, but it is not easy, as many can surely attest to that. We do have some notable achievements in this area, that being a tour in Brazil, on which Tortharry supported Gorgoroth and Belphegor, or a mini-tour with Sepultura, but there is lot more we would like to do. Being on a big tour with a big star is often times not that much about how well can you play, but rather about being on the right place in the right time, as well as having a financial backing. Another big dream of ours is having our albums released abroad under license by some big label (that said, we are 100% satisfied with our current label MetalGate Records), which may be a sort springboard towards bigger shows alongside bigger bands. In any case, we shall keep working hard as we always do, and we shall see. This is our motivation. Tortharry is our life, beside of course our families and our personal lives over which the band at times takes precedence.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
That is a no-brainer – two shows with the legendary DEATH in 1999, wherein we organized one of those and it was the last show of Chuck in the Czech Republic. Honor to his memory. Next in line is the aforementioned Brazilian tour with Gorgoroth and Belphegor in 2007, and last but not least, the 2012 mini-tout with Sepultura.
As far as our stage performance goes, I would put it into the category of classic technical death metal performances, meaning that we emphasize the music side and the stage visuals, but since we are only three, there is not much chance of doing some elaborate show. We build on delivering a precise musical performance.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
To promote “Follow”, we already had the November Massacre Tour around Czech Republic, and other than that we plan to play the highest number of shows possible, both at home and around Europe. Our summer highlight is the MetalGate Czech Death Fest (www.czechdeathfest.cz), which we co-organize with our label MetalGate Records, and on which we always perform. This year, we shall have SEPTICFLESH and LOCK UP as headliners, so you are all cordially invited to come to our little town of Červený Kostelec between June 12 and June 14., 2014.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of death metal?
In Czech Republic, we’ve has thus far an utterly positive feedback to our new album. When it comes to worldwide feedback, that is yet to come.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Right now, it is too early to tell anything specific, but in general we will keep heading the way we do now, so our music will be first and foremost the good old Tortharry, with some modern influence here and there, so that we keep in touch with the current trends in death metal. It goes without saying that our death metal basis will not change.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Our influences include Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Suffocation, Sepultura, Death, Slayer, Gorefest and many others. In fact, we have so many favorite bands that naming all of them would take a long time indeed.
As to what I am listening to these days, I have a very wide spectrum. Simply put, many styles and kinds of music, nothing truly specific.
11.Do you have any non musical interests?
Truth be told, music occupies a great deal of my spare time, so much so, there is virtually no time left for anything else, all the more because what time I do have left, I dedicate to my family.
12.Before we wrap up this interview do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks very much for this opportunity and hail to all fans of good music.