OLD MOTHER HELL are new to me. For that reason I wanted to know more about them. Answers by Bernd Wener (guitar, voc) Anders Ekdahl ©2018
We live in a world where there are literally millions of bands to check out. What do you have that sets you apart?
-We never planned to be different or unique in a certain way. We never had the intention to create a new sound or something like that. We are just three guys composing songs in our rehearsal room which we would personally love to listen to. It seems, our taste is not that different to a lot of people in the metal scene according to the feedback we got so far. I guess many people out there get that we love what we do. We are not in it for the money nor the fame.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-The name Old Mother Hell was Ronny’s (Ronald Senft, bass) idea. It refers to age-old belief in the Earth Goddess or Earth Mother. An archaic notion visible with many tribes which can be tracked back to the Old Stone Age. She provides us with life but also represents ferocity, chaos and the powers of nature. The two symbols in our logo are a little bit like yin and yang, standing for life and death.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-We are influenced by traditional metal bands like – but of course not exclusively – Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath. Especially Ronny and Ruben are also huge doom fans. We actually did cover Candlemass’ Solitude on our very first show. Ronny and me also like classic Hard Rock stuff very much. I guess this would be the intersection connecting the three of us and leading to the kind of music we compose. But there is specific plan behind our music. If a song feels right at the rehearsal, we don’t mind if it is more Doom, Hard Rock or more the traditional way of metal riffing.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
-Maybe the digital market is more “fragmented” in a way that people tend to listen to single songs instead of whole albums. Maybe they don’t even listen to music very deeply that way. People buying and playing albums on disc or even vinyl on the other hand are way more connected and emotionally involved in the music they love. Personally I think that every format has it’s right to exist. I don’t condemn any of them.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-Well, my bandmates would probably agree with your notion. I personally like to have all “my” music with me and don’t think this will be the end of music as we know it at all. I guess you already mentioned the reason why it feels different: since the digital age you get to know millions of new bands, way more than say 20 years ago. Everyone is able to record a good sounding album with relatively small budget. Also there aren’t that many legendary bands anymore. But how could there be? Metal and Hard Rock are both well-aged genres. You can’t invent them again, they are already there. You still can write great songs though and record them with emotion and energy. I feel a hunger for authentic – call it “old school” if you like – kind of music. No more loudness war, no more hundreds of guitar layers or grid editing till death. Look at the success of bands like Night Demon, Dead Lord, Graveyard and the likes. Great music will always have the power to touch people and find an audience.
What part does art work and lay out play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
-We have a quite simplistic approach with our music. One single guitar track, bass and drums, only selective layers of voices. The artwork should underline that. Nothing fancy, just plain and grounded.
Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
-We see social media as an additional way. Our main approach is old school as is our music: playing live and word of mouth, as you mentioned. Actually the deal with Cruz Del Sur happened because of word of mouth on social media. So it is a mixture of both in our case, if you will.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-cene in the area in and around Mannheim, which are feel part of. Especially Ronny and Ruben are active in that area for many years. Ronny also knows a lot of people from all over Germany. Internationally not so much yet, but let’s see what will happen.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-We love the feeling of playing live. Of course it is still a great way of spreading the word. It also separates the sheep from the goats. You can’t fake playing live very well, especially in rock and metal music. But as we aren’t in our twenties anymore, we always have to keep our responsibilities regardings families and jobs in mind when planning shows.
What will the future bring?
-We are already working on new songs. Don’t expect something very soon though, because we always take our time refining and iterating on our ideas. On the playing live side there are some really great shows coming up. Always keep an eye on www.oldmotherhell.de and/or our facebook page www.facebook.com/oldmotherhell