Longtime Pyrexia guitarist Chris Basile answered my questions about Gravitas Maximus, the band’s new album.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Would you please introduce yourself and the band Pyrexia without using the usual “Metal” labels?
Chris Basile (guitar): Thank you for the interview my friend. This is Chris and I play guitar in the OGDM (Oldschool & Groovy Death Metal, ed.) band Pyrexia.
Do you remember how the name Pyrexia came up?
Chris: I was out voted on that one. I’m not really a fan of the name. Back in the day Guy had taken out a dictionary and just went through it finding interesting names. He found the word Pyrexia and the rest of the guys liked it. I begged to change it because of the meaning but I lost that battle. No going back now!
I’m happy to say that your new album Gravitas Maximus is about to be released. How would you sum it up in two words?
Chris: Mandatory Listening
How does the album creation process happen? Was it different from the previous album?
Chris: It’s pretty much always the same process. I write the songs and the drums and record a rough demo and give it to the guys to work on. From there we record for real and then send it out for the final mix/master.
On this album, you welcomed John Glassbrenner, on drums, in the band. How is it for you to have fresh blood in the band?
Pyrexia: It would be great to never have to change members. But from time to time it just becomes necessary.
About the artwork, did you have any guidelines to help the artist? What is its link with the music?
Chris: Definitely. Armaada Art does great work. I gave him a full synopsis of what I wanted with the raging zombie Gorilla etc. He sent a few versions back and forth and I’m more than happy with the final product. I think it fits the ferocity and heaviness of the album.
Every track of Gravitas Maximus is made of pure raw and Old School Brutal Death Metal, what are your influences? Did they evolve with time?
Chris: My influences are myself as a 17-18 year old kid combined with the songwriting ideas of the person today who’s been doing this for 30 years. I just wrote what needed to be written.
You teamed up with Unique Leader Records since a while, what is your relationship with your label?
Chris: R.I.P. Erik Lindmark. The new leadership of Jamie and Matti would make him more than proud. Unique Leader is behind us in a way we can really do our best.
As well al know, Covid-19 crisis fucked a lot of things up since last year, how did you face the situation as a band? Did the crisis have an impact on the album itself?
Chris: It was and is terrible. We were on tour here in the US with Pathology when it hit and that was the first thing cancelled. After that we had several tours cancelled including one with I Am Morbid and the festival tours like Obscene Extreme, etc… in the summer. Terrible. We made the most of it and recorded Gravitas Maximus. But as I sit here today I worry that our March and July Tours overseas will happen with this ongoing panic and lock downs.
Even if there are still a lot of doubts about the worldwide situation, maybe you already have plans for the band’s future?
Chris: As of now we have I Am Morbid book in EU for this march and the festivals again in July. All we can do is hope.
The band is active since 1990, and even if there was a lot of line-up changes, and even a hiatus, how do you keep the flame alive?
Chris: It’s in my heart. It’s so much of what I do, I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t write and record Death Metal. For good or bad I take this music Death Metal very seriously. I care about it and spent my life watching it grow into a respectable art. I feel blessed to have had a part in Death Metal however big or small.
How do you feel before getting on stage in general?
Chris: I love and miss it dearly.
Do you remember the first time you tried to sing? When and how was it?
Chris: It was the first and last. Probably when I was 16. I can not sing.
What was your first Metal album? Bought by yourself or offered by someone.
Chris: My first metal album was a Christmas present I asked for. I absolutely hate the band but as a kid I was taken in by the fire and blood of Gene Simmons. So my first album was Destroyer by Kiss. The flames got me !!
What led you to the Death Metal universe?
Chris: I’d say it was a progression. Slayer, then I fell in love with German Thrash. Destruction. Kreator. It was around then we started writing music and our natural way of playing something heavier was what was to be called Death Metal.
Do you feel any evolution of the Death Metal scene in general?
Chris: Very much. In the early days you played a show and besides the bar staff the only other people there were the other bands you were playing with. And that was ok. You were with like minded friends , probably drinking and having a great time. But now there’s an actual fan base for the music and a more acceptability in general.
What do you love about your music that you cannot find in other band’s music?
Chris: I said this the other day. I think it’s the music genre that’s growing the fastest. There’s a new band out every day in Death Metal. I don’t think you can say that about Rock or Hip-Hop etc…
Do you have hobbies aside from music? Do you also have a job, or does your music income allow you to live?
Chris: Well for most of my life Death Metal was really Debt Metal. Things are def turning around. The main thing I do outside of this band is raise and spend time with my daughter. She actually has photo edit credits on the new album and helps me daily with video edits and animations.
Are there some bands, recent or not, you would like to recommend us?
Chris: I’m liking the new Pathology. Waiting for the new Analepsy. The new Waking the Cadaver is ignorant.
Maybe you already heard about the french Metal scene? Which French bands do you know and like?
Chris: I love my french brothers and sisters but sadly i’m unfamiliar with any French Death Metal. Tell me some good ones and I will listen!! (Loudblast, Mercyless, Gorod, Benighted, Kronos…Ed.)
What if I ask you to compare Pyrexia’s music with a dish? Which one and why?
Chris: Definitely a steak dinner. Juicy, full of flavor, heavy on the plate, might leave some blood, and you def feel satisfied when you’re done. But your still gonna order it again when you come back to the restaurant
Are there some musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with on a song, or more?
Chris: I’d love to work with Ken (Bedene, ed.) from Aborted. I’m in awe of his command of the drums. Hell Sven (de Caluwé, ed.) too. Such a great front man. I’m an Aborted fanboy.
Last question: which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour with Pyrexia and three other bands!
Chris: My dream Tour Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, The Black Dahlia Murder, Pyrexia.
That was the last question for me! Thanks a lot for your time, last words are yours!
Chris: Thank you again for the interview. Please go out and buy or download a copy of Gravitas Maximus. Add us on Spotify and Instagram ! See you in 2022!!