It might not seem strange to you but it did to me the first time I saw this band’s name. SCHAFOTT is an odd name no matter language. But hey, if it works why not go with it. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
-When we started Schafott we had just two maxims: creating harsh and sinister violence and to be free from any boundaries. Our musical vision is heavily influenced by 80s metal, but we never wanted to copy anything. We wanted to really create. Therefore: yes we feel, we achived what we wanted.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-Absolutely! We were pleased to work with highly qualified persons, that we all knew for years and that we trust. We did the recordings by ourselves together with Jonty Lava, who also delivered an outstanding mix of the album. Patrick W. Engel than gave it the last punch with a very powerful mastering. Patricia Huck did an overwhelming cover art for us and we simply love the result. Conny Cobra (Knark-Art) did the perfectly matching calligraphy and layout. Thereby the visuals fit the music of The Black Flame in a superior way. We had a lot of freedom thanks to High Roller Records throughout the whole process and by this the result is even better than we expected it to be.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
-Schafott is a perfect constellation as a band. Even though, we have a quite straight vision of the band’s sound, we all have very different influences and these merge again and again in what we call Schafott. As said above, the main focus is aggression, but on top we want to include melancholy-driven melodies, piercing leads and innovation in compositions. This leads to a special mixture that is varying and challenging and thereby very fulfilling for us.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Absolutely. Lyrics help us to transport the special feeling that we had, during the composition of a song, to the listener on a further level. We write blasphemous lyrics, as these fit the atmosphere of our songs best. Still all songs include interline questioning of forms of coexistence to values or personal struggles.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-An album should be a trinity of art – music, lyrics and visuals. The latter one will always appear in mind if one thinks about a special album (at least in the best case). We don’t think this changed a lot because of downloads etc. The artwork is still the first eye catcher and at best let you already glimpse into the music. In the case of The Black Flame, Patricia visualized the lyrics of the album’s title track amazingly.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-Tough to say, but maybe for the US: there is still a bigger music industry, even though it is questionable if this is desirable. UK: at least in Metal they don’t seem to have so many new big ones. Scandinavia on the other hand has it’s big plus most probably from encouraging kids quite early to play an instrument and promoting young bands and musical efforts. But for us success is in the first, if we can be proud about the musical result. Next would be appreciation from people we respect. Still there is a need for some widespread as well, to be able to tour and to continue writing and concentrating on creative processes without being worried too much about financial things.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-We don’t take this too serious. It is a big plus to have access to all music you want. Even though, people tend to cherish a bit less. But there will always be fanatics that use this open access tool in a positive manner. In the end thanks to youtube, bandcamp etc. music can spread more easily. And the high quantity doesn’t keep the percentage of quality, but quality will always assert itself.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
-The scene in Saxony is quite awesome. There many bands that really stand on their own and everything feels quite vivid. Into Endless Chaos and the bands around (II, Bloody Vengence, Evil Warriors, The Inner Abyss, Vidargängr, Antlers, Cntmpt, …) this lable in Leipzig, are pushing the limits! Further, with outfits like Archaic Thorn, Heretic, Prugatory, Old Arrival, Ascension, etc. whole Saxony has very unique bands. Surely the German scene in general is very strong with a lot of promising bands, many good venues to play and many maniacs around. Thereby a national scene is usually the steppingstone to get impact on a broader audience.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
-Acceptance is really not what Metal should head for. It dilutes everything. On some extend this line is almost exceeded. You can buy a Slayer shirt already in big fashion discounters and most probably these consumers do show mercy.
What does the future hold for you?
-After the long preparation time of the album we enjoy ourselves to finally be creative again and to work on new material. That feels great. After the release there will be quite some gigs in Germany and hopefully a tour coming next year. Furthermore we are planning an EP as a follow-up.