Despite having existed for 10 odd years I cannot remember ever having heard a single note from German MINDREAPER. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
Marcel: As I know from our vocalist Sucking, who is the only founding band member left, the band was formed in March 2001. He was inspired to do music by himself while he was watching the Iron Maiden videotape “Donington Live” from 1992 with a couple of friends. The essential drive was just to create own music and have a good time, without special plans at the beginning to make it big out. I think that is also pretty much the essence how Manuel, Ens and myself started to make music. Since then music has become much more important as a priority in our lives of course and is an indispensable part of our life every day. But the essential drive still remains. Without it we wouldn´t do what we do, regardless of the level of success. Music should be authentic in terms of its passion. That’s what we stand for.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
Marcel: To be honest, we do not really think about which sound or style we want to prefer, if we come up with the songwriting. First of all we like to go on that really naturally. The analytic part may be come up if the song structures become clearer. We like to do songs that can stand for themselves, as well as to write stuff that is combined together on an album and allows some emotional dynamic. We take care that the songs of an album don’t sound too much alike. If we see a lot of similarities of our Demo-Songs we usually discard the weaker ideas, from a common point of view. These decisions are by far the hardest thing in our songwriting process, because we usually establish that kind of outsourcing-process as a democracy. That sometimes really hurts the one of us who is most convinced of the parts, but usually we find consensus real quick. If we talk about influences, we of course have all our favorite bands and musicians (not only Metal), which can be really different, but we definitely share a great love for the Melodic Death Metal of the 90s, which we can not deny on the actual album (laughing).
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
Marcel: I think that really depends much from the kind of person as a musician or band that you are. In the case of Mindreaper we are of course able just to record only the music by ourselves. We did a lot of recording for the preproduction for our current album and other bands/side projects that some of us have. In that phase we learned what we want and don’t want to do. The first songs on that album were written back in 2015 and we recorded a Demo (which was never released) with 3 other songs. From that time only two songs (Enigma and Purity of Wrath) are left. The 3 others were a lot more experimental, but they didn’t really work well in context with the other songs or in a way so that everyone of us could stand behind it. That was an important development and a hard lesson to get rid of the excessive ballast, that didn’t fit with our mutual vision. Also since then we knew from that point we wouldn’t be able to produce an Album in a professional way alone. On the other hand the actual Line Up only exists since 2016 and our singer is the only founding band member left. So we discussed what sound we want to prefer now. As I said we like the old 90s Metal, but we do not want to copy that kind of music in a way of 100 percent. Beyond that we did not want the sound to become like too dusty or too overproduced. Therefore we decided to place most of the recording in the hands of an experienced producer. In the case of Mirror Construction (…a disordered World) Andy Classen was the best choice we could ever made, to keep the balance between a modern and a traditional sound. We didn´t want to take any risks regarding production quality to sound like a self-recorded product. So the hard thing about the new songs was to determine the recording strategy and the financial aspect that depend on that, as well as the decision not to release new stuff to soon. As musicians most of us have the desire to know what the audience is thinking about your work. Especially in a time you have the impression that every second someone releases new material. The temptation for rushing a release can be very strong, but it is very important to resist and to prepare your music in form of a development songwriting that needs time and to get promotional offers for a bigger range.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
Marcel: If you consider the music scene as a whole, there is indeed a movement trend of an accumulation of single releases by a lot of musicians to recognize. From my opinion it can destroy assuredly the appreciation for an album as a “whole” or a piece of art. I ask myself many times how pieces like Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon or stuff like that would have worked, if nowadays technology was already available back in the day. From the other hand listening to the albums seems to be very important for the Rock and Metal Scene even in 2018. At least it is more essential that you have really good songs with less fillers who will touch the audience. If you have a product like that backed by a good promotion I am convinced people will give their attention to the whole album, if they like the two or three Singles from the album. They only choose the songs they like from an album or not, thanks to nowadays “easy access” via the internet. Seems like a fair trade on first look, but unfortunately the income for the musicians are always below average, if you only consider the digital distribution. But of course it depends on every listener himself and the adjustment to the music they like. Especially the younger generation seems to be less patient, but I don’t want to over-express that. Our Band still believes on albums that work as a whole. We try to stay positive in that aspect and don’t want to write music that will just fit to be a good single for the quick shot.
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
Marcel: That is a good question. I mean if you listen to most of the commercial stuff today it seems that the quality of an artist has become completely meaningless. The most diverting success of musicians depends on the matter of attitude and willing of your promoter more than ever. But for a sustained career a musician needs the opportunities of development, to rise above the generic and disposable shitloads, that are create by a lot of wannabes. That all depends of how much or less he can live from his art or the time he will have to work on it. It is definitely more difficult to work on your musical abilities, new songs, getting a tour and doing promotional stuff if you are into a 9 to 5 job. That leads to a lot of time-consuming activities to hold your quality. Most of the professional active Bands we see on the great festivals or tours are established since more than 20 years and they had the opportunity the build their reputation through hard work by the “old way”. But nowadays it is way more difficult for new bands to grow, because of the “all for free” mentality. By the availability of more music you ever could hear in your lifetime, there comes in addition an increase of supersaturation by the audience, which makes it harder to convince them of your music from my opinion. Therefore I think the upcoming bands, even if they make really great music and so on, do not get the appreciation over a long time they deserve, because you have to compete more than ever with an immense density of bands and music. If the will to support of a bunch of new coming bands will not increase or continues to fall, I think we have to consider that real active bands with a professional touring package, big concerts and so on could disappear more and more. Maybe that kind of extinction could be necessary to brighten the spark and great music of true passion regains its original rebellious value again in a distant future.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
Marcel: From all we have heard most of the response was really positive so far. This album is our first when it comes to a professional release. Therefore at the time we get the most attention through our actual album, because of the really good promotional work from our Label Black Sunset/MDD and SureShotworx.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
Marcel: I think I can speak for all of us that the most surprising contact was the request for the Russian tour we did last year. The promoter became aware of us, because we joined the Graveyard Classic Tour with Six feet under 2016. We never would have thought that we would get an opportunity to tour in Russia for 10 days so quickly. So far this has been our most impressive experience.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
Marcel: In the underground scene which we are moving there is definitely a really great cohesion at all. Overall the bands know that it can be really hard to get people to come to your concert, therefore the awareness to work as a community is pronounced very well in the underground metal scene. Of course you have to offer an exchange gig most of the time. But these conditions are usually considered as fair. In addition there are a lot of uncommercial festivals which keep the scene alive, in a very selfless way. From my opinion that whole underground thing as a community is by far more important as a band alone sometimes, because it creates the basics to grow up as a live band. For sure there is a lot of pay to play stuff going on, but luckily it isn’t everywhere.
So yes we feel and know we are part of a greater community, especially through the bands and fans we met through our touring and we are still connected to some of them. Many greetings here again to our russian friends.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
Marcel: The live scene today is for us the most important thing. Because of the excessive availability of music via the internet, it is very essential to leave a lasting impression as a live band to stay in the collective consciousness of the fans. From our personal experience the performances will ensure that we can sustainably retain and convince fans for our music. Furthermore we build a larger network of contacts with other bands or organizers on that way, which logically results in new possibilities for live performances. We are sure that we would increase a bigger following the more we perform, but it’s not the only thing that depends on it of course.
What plans do you have for the future?
Marcel: For this and the next year we want to promote our album as much as we can, preferably in the form of single live performances and touring. We`re thankful and really open minded for any offer we can get. This year in November we are in planning to do an Eastern Europe tour which will take us through the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. At this time we´re in the production process of our first music video for our song “New Age Tyranny”, which will hopefully be released in the middle of July or August this year. On top we are writing new songs for the next album and hope that the gap to the next release will not take too long. However, we will avoid putting quantity before quality.