DRUNKEN FOOLS is a dark atmospheric German rock band. If you think that sounds like a bad thing you ought to check them out because they will change your mind. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-For many bands you can already recognize the corresponding genre by the name of the combo, for example “Slayer”, “Sepultura” or “Pro-Pain”. These names already promise a lot, before the CD has even been pushed into the player-slot. But there are also enough other examples. With us, the listener gets to hear something completely different than the band name “Drunken Fools” might suggest. We do not make fun rock, no Klamauk and we do not (only) sing about alcohol. When we named the band 22 years ago, it was a whim. We didn`t think about how it might effect others by then. We kept the band name because it means a lot to us. For us its all about music and how our music works. And we are often “Drunken Fools”, so the name might not necessarily match our music but fits with us as individuals.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-After we have finished a project and can sit back and relax, then the results are just as we imagined. So this is a very satisfying feeling after all. Especially with the songs we had bee fiddling for a long time its always great to get them finished. We do not fear that people might not like it. To us its very important to be satisfied with the results. When we started to record “Escape”, first of all we wanted to do this adventure for ourselves. The goal was, to bring many years of work and songwriting to a good result. I could imagine that things will be different at the next album though. Satisfied fans an listeners are an incentive and certain expectations are being presented with this. Expectations, that every Musician wants to live up to a bit.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-We did not record our last Album in the studio. Nowadays, there is enough affordable technology on the market available, so we were able to actually record the album in our rehearsal room. With this there were many advantages: No time pressure. We were able to take the time we needed to work on the songs and try other things out. However, we also experienced disadvantages: No real producer, nobody on the mixer who would give possibly some ideas. The most formative feeling for me was: “Couldn`t I have made it better?” But you have to stop at some point, as there is also the possibility to arrange broken songs.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-To promote yourself is very time consuming. Especially if you neither have ideas about promotion nor the necessary contacts. We tried it this way first. However, we quickly realized that things would not work out this way. Therefore, we turned to an external promoter, or he turned to us. We gladly accepted the offer and are thankful we did so. We would not have gotten the attention we get now because we are all having jobs. There is no time really to promote the band or the new album.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in rock/metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t rock/metal enough as a tag?
-To me as a listener it’s a great opportunity to make a pre-selection. After all, Black Metal is completely different from Death or Trash Metal. To us as a band though that’s different. We have a hard time subordinating ourselves to a particular style. The musical boundaries are just not clear enough for a style. While some call our style “Dark Rock”, others call it “Atmospheric Rock” or “Folk”. In the end it doesn`t matter to us. If people like to listen to our Music, the genre does not matter.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
-When you are part of a particular subculture, you perceive yourself as part of a larger whole. This is perfectly normal in my opinion. Man wants to be different from others. This happens through a lot of things, for example through the choice of clothing. Who plays in a band, is part of a particular scene also. Although this scene is in itself a bit completed. Whether this takes place on a local, national or international level does not matter. At least this is my opinion. After all, we are still pretty local. I think it is a pitty if some individuals think, they are better because of that. Unfortunately, I have often experienced this behavior. Arrogance and cognition are characteristics that I deeply detest. Cohesion and the feeling of creating something together as well as being equal among equals are the things that not only makes up a band, but a hole music scene. And this is exactly what I love about the metal scene. And about the “Drunken Fools” .
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-In my opinion the meaning of the cover is decreasing. Less in the Metal area, but on all other genres though. Spotify, Itunes and Co are mainly presenting the music. Therefore, the artwork of the cover is rather not important. Many Metal Fans are still buying the CD`s. In my opinion, these are the people who keep a large part of the CD market alive. And especially in this case the artwork of the cover still plays a very large role. This effects especially new or unknown bands. Once the band is popular, it becomes noticeably less important. I think Iron Maiden would sell the same amount of records even without Eddy on the cover.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
-Oh, this is an easy one. With a real label in the back you get much more support. If you do everything by yourself, you will soon miss the right tool. Of course, you could just upload your stuff to Spotify, but there is no guarantee that people will listen to your songs either. With a label you have access to completely different marketing options. The problem is, that everybody is releasing their own music to the sheer mass of music that re-enters the market every day. Artists with potential do not get the attention they deserve. On the other hand, the musicians have the opportunity to easily spread music and build a fanbase. This fact is a double-egged sword. In the end, however, the big labels decide what is heard and what is not.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-A difficult question as we have not played a concert for many years. Our singer Maleen is pregnant, so we had o postpone live support for our new album up to summer 2019. We are still in the planning phase therefore, although there are already a fixed and two pending appointments. There is nothing planned before mid-June this year. By the way, we are not set on special shows. We can and want to play everywhere: in clubs, pubs or open air. The main thing is, to have fun and get to know a lot of great people. We only exclude political motivated events.
What lies in the future?
We would like to play as many concerts as our professional life and our everyday life allows. We also would like to tinker with a new album. We have decided to release a concept album. We are not sure about the theme yet, but it will be something historical.
Drunken Fools are:
Sönke Martens, Guitar and vocals
Martin Lübker, Bass
Maleen Stangier, vocals
Jasmin Grünau, Keyboard
Marcus Junge, Drums