Infected are one of Australia most innovative and legendary acts. From their beginnings with their debut ep Prick to albums Crawlspace and Control in the mid 1990s they took death metal into an experimental/ industrial direction. Infected are a influence in not only their music but their lyricism and efforts in the community. Infected were such a large part of the Coroners Report original print run it was a must to catch up With Joe Kapiteyn (vocals) 24 years later as Infected have returned!
Where have you been ? What's been happening? ''Infected first disbanded back in ’96. We were offered a deal with Roadrunner Australia but we had to move to Melbourne which only half the band were willing to do. So it caused a bit of a rift and we ended up calling it a day. It never sat well with me that we parted with bad blood so about 5 years later I suggested the idea of the band getting together to record the last song we wrote together before the split, Straight White God. We released that as a single and did a couple of shows and it was a lot of fun That exercise did the job of healing things and we’ve been getting together every now and then ever since.
This is your second reformation? What is it that keeps drawing you back? ''Third actually I think! It’s the guys mainly. We’re more like family than friends at this stage. You can have disagreements, you can not see each other for a long time, but you’re always drawn back to each other eventually. This time around we were approached by Slayfest festival here in Perth in late 2019 and the timing was good for everyone. Then COVID hit just a week before the show and it was cancelled, which was very frustrating but it also put things in perspective for us I think. The realization that being able to perform music is a privilege and you can’t take it for granted. On the other side of lockdown, we had a greater appreciation for what we had. The energy in the room was bigger, more focused and determined to make it count. And we did, we had a great set and immediately received an offer on a headline show of our own in December of 2020, which also went really well. All of a sudden we’re a band again.
This isn't just a bunch of gigs (for the cash) but the real thing? ''Cash, that’s a good one! There’s not much money in it at all, and even if there was, that alone would never be enough for us. We’ve been around long enough to realise that ambition and business are creative poison and not the reason we do this. It derailed us the first time around. When you have a bit of success and want to keep propelling the band forward in size and scope, you can very easily lose sight of what’s important, and we did. It burnt us out. Now we approach it more as something we do for enjoyment rather than achievement. Being in a band used to cause me enormous stress - psychological, physical, financial - but I’m not gonna kill myself on any of those fronts any longer. I just try to stay in each moment and enjoy it rather than constantly worrying about what’s next.
Is it kind of like the mob. Just when you thought you were out the metal pulls you back in?
''Haha kind of. I think that, strangely, we just like spending time together.
What can we expect from you musically, and has most of the band returned?
''It’s the same four guys from 1993, which is pretty rare for a band that’s almost three decades old. We’ve added a fifth member, Andrew Wright on keys, but he was there with us from the start, producing our first two recordings ‘Prick’ and ‘Crawlspace’. We are all very different people but there is something in the chemistry of being together in a windowless carpeted room that just clicks. In terms of new material, it’s very early days yet and we’re still feeling our way. Pieces of music are floating around but haven’t found anchor yet. It won’t be forced and may take a while as we have more responsibilities and less time than we did when we were 20 obviously. I think early indications are that it will be a return to our roots - a heavier, death / doom sound. I’ve definitely returned to the Crawlspace style of vocal. And loving it.
Your were pioneers of Australian industrial/extreme metal. Will you be incorporating more elements into the Infected sound?
''Do you mean like hip hop or jazz? Haha. No. I’m not really interested in pushing boundaries or blurring genres any more. The whole experimental industrial angle we pursued in the mid 90s is very of its time. Right now, I just want to write some solid, heavy as fuck metal. Andrew definitely brings some different aspects to the table with his keys and samples but they are more to enhance the mood than drive the the songwriting.
And lyrically. Can we expect more of the insightful and thoughtfulness you are famous for?
''I just write honestly from the head and heart. My values and convictions are very much the same but I’m a little more world weary than the idealistic young man who wrote those early lyrics. I think the new material will probably be more personal and abstract and less earnestly political in nature but who knows. The world is a shit show right now so there’s no shortage of inspiration.
And the connections to various groups such as Amnesty international?
''Sadly I’ve long since stopped being directly involved. I still support organization's and march with movements when I’m able to, but my time and energy is limited. I’m 50. I run a business and I have children. I’m tired. Family is my priority now. I do hope my kids take up the mantle though. There is a lot to be concerned about in their future and frankly the conservative boomers running the joint do not give a fuck.
As a world aware band . What sort of things have got you most concerned with the current state of the world? ''I don’t speak for the band as a whole as we are individuals with different views. But speaking for myself, it’s the environment stupid. That’s got to be the priority cos we’re all toast otherwise right? The plague of social media disinformation and rise of right wing fuckery are obviously of great concern too. Has our mass consumerism and instant gratification spiraled out of control? ''It has been out of control for decades, I don’t think right now is much worse than the 50s. Or 80s. That’s capitalism. People definitely have shorter attention spans thanks to social media, and I’m as guilty as anyone else. I read way less than I used to and spend way too much time scrolling through my phone. It all feels a little hollow doesn’t it? Everyone struggles with it. I try not to beat myself up too much though. I mean, it’s absurd. We are a speck in time and space. I just try to be creative, be mindful and be kind. How has music changed for you since your beginnings in 1987? And what still makes it exciting for you. ''We really had no idea what we were doing back then. It was all naïve self-belief and blind bravado, and there’s certainly sometime to be said for that. Now I feel like I know what I am doing. I’m aware of my strengths and limitations and I make better choices. And I’m definitely more relaxed. That’s what’s exciting now I guess. The freedom of having nothing to prove and just being present and savouring the experience. Metal is exciting again? Well, the band is exciting again, to us at least. To be honest I don’t connect much with what’s going on in metal today. A lot of it seems too clinical and over produced. But I also appreciate I’m at an age where my taste and opinion is perhaps no longer relevant or vital. Nostalgia comes into play more. I must admit, I do mainly listen to the old stuff. I enjoy some newer albums from time to time. The new Nappy Death is fantastic, but they’re an old band of course. When I want to listen to heavy, more often than not I'll put on some old Entombed, Celtic Frost or Carcass, stuff like that. I keep returning to the golden age between about '85 and ’93. That was when I was truly excited about metal and it’s hard to match that feeling of youth and discovery and endless possibility. You can tap into it and relive it, but you can’t duplicate it.
Your catalog is being re- released. Are you flattered by the enduring interest and legacy of Infected? Most of the interest has been centered around our first album Crawlspace. Prime Cuts reissued it on CD in 2008 and it looks like it will get a vinyl pressing through another label in 2021, which is a pretty crazy thing. But it’s a great album and I feel okay saying that. I think it can hold its own against any other Australian release of that early 90s period. With everything we did after that, there is some interesting stuff there for sure, but we just tried too hard to progress and be different and I think it was rushed and clunky. Some of it is undercooked. Some of it is a mess. But Crawlspace endures. It’s not for everyone, it’s quite a harsh, abrasive album, but I can listen back to that one and be happy with it. Which is saying something for me. How do you feel about the immediate availability of music rather than waiting for the physical release? ''I’m not one of those old school grinches grumbling about streaming. The potential reach is so much bigger, there are definitely a lot of positives and as a fan I enjoy having so much new music so easily accessible. But the magic of going to the store, holding the release in your hands, poring over the artwork and lyrics, that has certainly been lost. Then again, the vinyl resurgence has fans valuing the physical experience more than ever. I’m torn, I enjoy aspects of both. Do I have to pick a side? The greatest book we've never read? I wouldn’t presume to guess what you haven’t read! I think every Australian should read Dark Emu, so if you haven’t I’d recommend that one.
Top 6 albums of all time… ''I’ll limit it to metal albums. Ride the Lightning is the one that started it all for me but Puppets and Justice could slot in there too really. Slayer Reign in Blood was the first album to scare me and then that feeling became like a drug and was a gateway to Morbid Angel, Dark Throne, Deicide et al. I could easily include Left Hand Path in this list but it was really Entombed’s Wolverine Blues that made a bigger impact on me. It’s just so ferocious and the lyrics are quite unusual. It’s a singular record, they created their own sound, their own world. Twice, really. Godflesh Streetcleaner, cos it’s still the heaviest, most nihilistic thing ever recorded. Lastly, gotta go right back to the beginning. Sabbath. Vol 4 and Master of Reality get held up a lot - and they’re amazing of course - but I really adore the first two records, self titled and Paranoid. It’s incredible that they were released in the same year, like 200 days apart or something ridiculous. To me they’re like the world’s best double album. I know that’s cheating but fuck it, there you go!