With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to ABANDONED (DE). Anders Ekdahl ©2018
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
Holger: It’s always the never-ending search for the perfect thrash song, as well as the perfect riff of course. Some musicians are pleased to play cover songs or songs from the other guys in the band, not so Kalli and me. Since my first band in `88 me and my band mates focus on writing own songs. Sure we did a couple of covers, but mainly it’s all about writing own songs. Sadly Abandoned didn’t have a bunch of classic albums with lots of hits in the past. Maybe I would think different, when I could play some great Best-Of sets like Sacred Reich do for years now. But I’m still motivated to write new riffs and songs.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
Holger: We did our last recording at the well known Kohlekeller Studios with Kristian Kohlmannslehner in 2007. “Still Misanthrope” was recorded by ourselves, which means Kalli our singer and guitar player did it. This is the main difference. Kalli gathered lots of experience during the last years with several recording sessions for Roxxcalibur and Masters Of Disguise. Especially the third Roxxcalibur CD “Gems Of The NWOBHM” sounds fantastic. So it was an easy decision to let Kalli do it. Our Drummer Konny also used to run a small recording studio in the past, where we recorded both of our Demos in the early 2000s. So there is a lot of recording know-how in the band. Kalli and I spent a whole day for the guitar sound by trying several amps, cabinets, microphones, and preamps. But it pays in the end, I love the guitars as well as the whole production.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
Holger: So there is no red thread in the lyrics. Most of the lyrics are written by Kalli and it’s about different things he had in mind, up to some more fantasy stuff like “It’s Alive”. I and Konny also did some lyrics in the past, but the main focus in Abandoned are not the lyrics.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you identify with?
Holger: Different people use to have different views on this point. Finally it’s a mixture of classic German Thrash Metal and some Bay Area Thrash. We’re not that aggressive like Destruction and Kreator and not that melodic and technical like Forbidden and Heathen. We used to have a nice phrase on one of our old shirts: “Somewhat fast, somewhat melodic, but 100% Thrash”. That might fit very perfect. Some do compare us with Rage due to Kallis Vocals, which is not totally wrong, but musically we sound completely different. My faves are old Destruction, Forbidden or the very first Angel Dust, that are the main influences within my songs.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
Holger: In 2008 the band was literally stopped due to a couple of line up changes, which also lowered the activities of the band. In 2012 Konny and I rejoined the band, which used to be some kind of a restart for Abandoned. So we decided to name the new EP “Still Misanthrope”, in dependence of our very successful demo “Misanthrope” released in 2003. The new artwork looks a bit alike “Misanthrope”, because we wanted to have those four skeleton guys in the cover again, which also appear on both album covers after “Misanthrope”. Our friend Stripe Schinzel from Artwörks created this skeleton-sign back in the days and we asked him to do the new design as well. So this time, there’s no big idea for the artwork.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
Holger: You have some bad album covers all the time, just check some covers from the early 80s. It’s mostly something between having a good laugh or just wanna start crying. But I think in Rock Music, especially in the Metal scene you will always have bands with a good or great album concept, which includes good artworks. But you’re right, the importance of a good artwork for a stream or a download is very small. But there will be always someone with a vision for his band.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
Holger: My lyrics (I did just two up to now) are based on movies I saw. I just grabbed the idea for the lyrics and tried to find a fitting and good sounding title, which not included words like “Unicorn” or “Hobbit”…but I think “Orc” or “Klingon” would work. So it mainly has to sound cool, so you can scream the title at a show, without being ashamed for it.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
Holger: I do not use any streaming services at all. I just buy CDs and vinyl. For my IPOD I use the files from the original CDs. Of course I use You Tube to check some new stuff, but mostly I use my collection. I write for a small German magazine, so I get lots of new stuff for reviews. The main problem is this “digital music is for free”- thinking in everyone’s head. Me and my friends copied lots of tapes in the 80s/early 90s, which is nearly the same as an illegal download. But just “nearly”, because the quality of the copy was kind of poor compared to the original. Years later I bought most of those records I used to own on tape for my collection. For the future that means, it will be much harder to be a professional band. There will be less professional bands or musicians and of course less interesting experiments with the music. Just a few bands will be able to take a break, reload their batteries and do another great album again. All those bands below the very successful big ones are caught within an album-tour-album routine, which could end up in a reduced creativity. Hopefully there will be a solution for creative musicians in the future…
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
Holger: It definitely is very important! But sadly we’re beyond the 40s, some have children and are responsible for their families. So playing live has to be well planned for some weeks or months in advance. But of course we try to play live as much as possible.
What lies in the future?
Holger: It’s our 20th anniversary this year. We definitely want to do a new album this year! I have already finished a couple of songs and we have another old song from the “Misanthrope” recordings left. So there will be some more German thrash metal from Abandoned in 2019!