Mar 2014 05

With the proliferation of electronics continuing to blur the lines between industrial and extreme metal, Aborym truly stands in a class all its own. Malfeitor Fabban speaks with ReGen about the band’s latest album, Dirty, truly living up to its title.


An InterView with Malfeitor Fabban of Aborym

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Since its unholy spawning in 1993, Aborym has stood outside the parameters of the extreme metal scene with which many have associated the band. Formed by Malfeitor Fabban, the band’s sole consistent member, and originally performing covers of various other metal acts before striking out on its own with guest vocals from Attila Csihar, Aborym began to carve its own little niche with the incorporation of harsh electronic and decreipt industrial atmospheres. The results over the next two decades with such albums as Fire Walk with Us and With No Human Intervention was a sound that stood apart from both ends of the spectrum – too vicious and metal for most rivetheads, yet infusing elements of techno, EBM, drum & bass, and even classical to give the metalheads more than a few looks of confusion. And yet, amid the myriad of influences as a singular sound that few other acts, if any, can lay claim to that has kept Aborym producing some of the most alienating and enticingly aggressive music available today. After several shifts in lineup over the years, the trio of Fabban, Paolo Pieri (a.ka. Hell:IO:Kabbalus), and Bård Eithun (a.k.a. Faust, ex-Emperor) stabilized in 2008, culminating in the 2010 release of Psychogrotesque and 2013’s Dirty. With a new remix companion about to be released, featuring the talents of XP8, Mortiis, Red Sector A, and Narchost to name a few, Fabban speaks with ReGen on the production and development of Aborym over the years to result in Dirty, an album that he defiantly states is the best work the band has yet released. Drawing from the wretched and awful realities of the world, Fabban tells of how Dirty lives up to its title.


The band’s latest album, Dirty was released in 2013, coming three years since Psychogrotesque. As both albums were recorded at Fear No One Studios, in what ways is Dirty an evolution or progression from the themes – both musical and lyrical – of the previous album, if they are at all?

Fabban: We changed our way to work again and, of course, I’m talking about a deep evolution. First of all, in the prerecording phase of the songs, we create all the structures in our home studio on hard disk; we write the digital drum parts and study the various steps and structures of electronic drums. When the pieces are defined, we enter into the recording studio where Bård records the drums and then we work on the editing, we correct here and there, and implement electronic drums structures, samples, and all the rest. We work a lot on synths, sequencers, and software like Steinberg Cubase with the help of different VSTs. Many songs from Dirty have been written directly on hard disk via midi, just to make sure the sounds could come out ‘squared,’ very cold, with strong, predominant industrial sounds. We decided to proceed in this way for the album to sound much more ‘electro’ and much more projected towards the industrial. Once we set the structures, the foundation of the songs, Paolo works on the rhythm and on the rest of the guitars. Then we move on to the many arrangements, samples, the rest of the synth lines, loops, drumming, and metrics of voice. It was fucking hell, but it was worth it. In several passages, guitars play along synths, working as a real additional rhythm. Now, I can think of ‘Helter Skelter Youth’ or ‘Bleedthrough’ – mixing Dirty also took away our mental and physical health. It was some of the most complex mixing that I had witnessed in the past 15 years. Moreover, in post-production after the mixing, we carried on with our sound engineer Emiliano Natali; we have entrusted the album to Marc Urselli of Eastside Sound Studios in New York and D.Loop (ex-Kebabtraume, now in Limbo/Kirlian Camera) throughout the industrial/electro part. We wanted the maximum in the process of mixing and post-production, and we got the most, even though it was really fucking hard.

Dirty‘s themes deal with modern decadence, crisis, social seclusion, and isolation. ‘Irreversible Crisis,’ for istance… I took inspiration from writings dating back to the ’70s. At the time, America was shaken by huge social turmoil, which was often quite violent. What happened was that the need for rebellion against a common enemy, the American empire and its politics, united different and disparate forces from the extreme left to the far right. Movements like the Weather Underground or the Black Panthers fought together and they actually achieved something. I believe that in some cases, the violence, this collective explosion, worked and some results were brought home. Well, I think this could be particularly useful in today’s climate. The message is: act now before you get fucked through and through.

Sexual repression, urban violence, diseases, complex and unstable, often violent kinds of relationships… I just wrote about something I can see everyday in my city. My only great inspiration, what actually pushed me to write lyrics like that, is the everyday life, my daily careful study of the people I meet everyday. It’s exactly a cross-section of modern society, lyrics that talks of things visible to everyone. Everything that surrounds us is a huge container of shit and piss and this fucking planet is falling apart. I see it this way. Dirty is completely based on that and it is also loosely based on what we did starting in 1992 – getting in fights, waking up messed up and drunk in strange Dirty beds, drug addiction, alcoholism. ‘Bleedthrough’ is indeed a reflection of a typical couple who has a complex, unstable, often violent kind of relationship – we see them on the pages of gossip magazines and often end up in blood baths.

You, Fabban, have been the sole consistent member throughout all of Aborym’s various incarnations. As it has now been 20 years since Aborym first began, what has changed philosophically for the band? In what ways has Aborym done what it initially set out to accomplish, and in what ways have those goals been surpassed or have yet to be attained?

Fabban: Lots of things. This band is constalty evolving and we are growing up, and the fact that we made one of our most willfully uncommercial gestures and still managed to step it up is something I’ve got to be pretty pleased with really. I mean, this new record is more into the industrial/electronic and it’s less ‘black metal,’ and personally, I never want to get in the situation of making records just to please the fan base, which a lot of bands do; in fact, it’s what most bands do, making records just to please the fans. You can invest your own music and your own style with a personality that makes it somehow unique and original and which somehow transcends your influences. We can all listen to With No Human Intervention or Fire Walk with Us or Generator, and we can figure out what their influences might be, but at the same time, these are all albums that transcend their influences. Through the strength of personalities, we have created something that sounds unique. I think Dirty is something unique in the metal scene. You can say it’s beautiful, but it’s also ugly, it’s very organic, but it’s very electronic. You could say it’s easy to get into, but at the same time, it’s pretty difficult to get into. I mean, there are things on this record that metalheads would be appalled by. It’s uncategorizable. This is our best album; I personally believe that, and I believe it sounds ‘dirty’ because this album deals with very dirty things, through dirty machines.

The current lineup of you, Bård Eithun, and Paolo Pieri has been together since 2008. What is the working dynamic like among the three of you that it has lasted for these last five years?

Fabban: Immediately after the release of Generator, I decided to change the lineup and Paolo Pieri joined us. Since then, the lineup has never changed and things are working beautifully. From 2010 to today, we pulled out two albums, Psychogrotesque and Dirty, which is actually a double album. We are a perfect fucking machine now. Paolo and I write the music, we define the times, we take care of the arrangements, and in many cases, we worked with synths and keyboards lines. Once defined the songs and the moment in which everything sounds like we want, Bård looks after writing the drum parts. We work like a team; no fucking leaders in this band. We are like a little family and the things in this band began to stabilize when Paolo joined us. In the past, I was involved in the songwriting together with old guitar players and from Generator on, I could count on Paolo also in the process of writing. We wrote Psychogrotesque together and since then, I knew I had found a serious person with a remarkable talent with which I could carry on a band as Aborym. Collaborations with other musicians and friends have always existed and is something that fascinates me a lot. I love confrontation with other musicians. It’s an added value and is something incredibly meaningful to us. When everyone involved is doing it as a labor of passion for the music, you know you’re going to get something special. I’ve absolutely no idea what we were going for. We literally started to make music and we didn’t think about what we wanted to do. We didn’t intellectualize it at all. It was effortless. It wasn’t self-conscious. No decisions were made about what direction to go in. The album began to have a feeling of shape and style all on its own. It’s the more schizoid, dynamic, and modern Aborym album – the most direct and up-in-your-face, but also the most elegant and refined. I think we made a fucking cool album for the new generation of electrocution and for all those who like quality music with intelligent and up-to-date lyrics; a disc full of adrenaline that in the end leaves you speechless. It’s like a cocaine trip. Many songs of the new album has been written starting from synthesizers and programming on hard disk because we felt the need for some very psycho and fucked up music. We had the need of something really shocking and eye-popping. We strongly wanted to focus on something really cool and powerful. And we did it, not caring about ‘business’ rules or standard clichès, as always.

Helping to celebrate two decades of existence is the track ‘Need for Limited Loss,’ which features numerous collaborations spliced together from difference sources. Where did the idea for this track come from, and in what ways do you feel it exemplifies the Aborym aesthetic?

Fabban: ‘Need for Limited Loss’ is a song written by Alberto Penzin (CO2 and ex-Schizo) with the intervention of the many fans who have sent us their ideas and audio files that we put in a unique song. We wanted to involve our fans and we did it in the only way we know: through music. We have entrusted to Alberto the structure of ‘Need for Limited Loss’ and he immediately liked the idea. He sent us the bass lines, drums, and guitar and we started to put together loads of stuff that came to us from our fans: samples, small arrangements, vocals, lyrics… anything – an absurd, schizoid cut-up. I think it’s the best way to thank our fan base: invite them to write a song with us and with Alberto.

2013 also marked the band’s return to performing live, although drummer Bård Eithun was not part of the lineup due to the band’s use of a drum machine. This is just a small part of Aborym’s industrial properties, and you’ve spoken of Eithun’s involvement in the programming aspect of the drums. Since many industrial and even metal bands that use drum programming in the studio insist that a live drummer is necessary (be it for a fuller depth of sound or for a more dynamic visual appearance), what drove the decision not to use a live drummer for the live shows?

Fabban: I think of Dirty to be the best the work of Bård Eithun. He did a great job and from the beginning and our intention was to get a mix of acoustic drums played and electronic drums, samples, and digital interventions. For this record, we got to use a library of custom sounds called The Spiral Shaped Chamber, created for us by RG Narchost, who has been working with us. This library will be available for downloading from our website. We wanted everything to sound in perfect industrial Aborym style. But we want to sound more ‘industrial’ when we play live shows; we need to sounds like machines.

While industrial and metal have been coming together even before Aborym’s inception, the lines between the two seem to be becoming ever more blurred as more and more metal bands utilize different technologies (i.e. drum programming, synthesizers, vocoders, etc.) while industrial bands strive to achieve the power of a live rock or metal show. Since Aborym was notable for being an industrial/black metal band and has now expanded to include elements so diverse that some consider you avant-garde, what are your thoughts on the validity of genres and categories, especially in this day and age with so many different styles being blended?

Fabban: We’re not the kind of people who are desperate for success at any odds and are going to go into the studio and give out product for the sake of maintaining something, whatever that may be. That gives me the confidence to take my time coming out with more music. I want to be good. I don’t want to disappoint our fan base, but this band always plays its own music. We really don’t care about the business, the market, scenes, and so on. I’ve always said it’s our greatest strength that we cannot be categorized. It’s a great strength that basically what we do will still be unique 100 years from now. People will still be listening to the records and saying, ‘Fuck yes, they really had something special.’ Aborym didn’t play any specific kind of music from day one; we just played Aborym music. And because we didn’t fit into any genre or category or existing demographic or market, we had to build our audience literally from the very first person on. We didn’t suddenly arrive with a ready made audience of 50,000 people who would buy any record made in a death metal style for example. So, that one of the reasons it’s taken us 20 years to get even to this stage. It’s been really tough from time to time, but I do believe that ultimately, if we do make it big into the mainstream, we can be very happy that we’ve done it on our own terms and that the audience is not going to be fickle and is not going to drift away because there’s no one else that sounds like us.


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