STILLERS TOD

LLERS TOD is a German atmospheric/avant garde black metal band that just recently dropped a new album called “Jupiter”. Anders Ekdahl ©2020

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?
-Well, there’s always something within me that I need to express. Some feelings, some thoughts that become so strong that they need some musical expression. Also, music is such a big part in my life that new ideas keep popping up in my head all the time and from time to time they become so strong that they I need to let them free.

How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-Since we are a very young band, recording techniques haven’t changed so much since we started making music. What has changed for us is that we have more money than when we were young, so we can afford better recording tools, haha!

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?
-The lyrics are a very important part of Stillers Tod, because I never write music for it’s own sake, it’s always to express some kind of message. Our new album is a concept album about psychological and cultural theories: The main themes are early childhood, parent-child relationships, trauma and personality development. I talk about how our subconsciousness and cultural archetypes influence the way we evolve as a personality and how this can cause inner struggles and conflicts with the people we are strongly connected with.

Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-We are influenced by other Avantgarde and Atmospheric Black Metal bands such as Dornenreich, Nocte Obducta, Urfaust, Nagelfar, Sabbat (JPN), Grabnebelfürsten or Lunar Aurora, but also by much classic Heavy / Epic / US Power Metal, such as Iced Earth, King Diamond, Warlord, Bathory, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. But then there are many non-metal influences, such as classical music, Portuguese folk music or 90s Gothic stuff.

How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-I’m a graphic designer myself, so I create all the artwork for Stillers Tod. When I painted the cover artwork, I put in many symbols that play a role on this album: The artwork shows the symbols of birth and death, which are strong psychological influences; then there are the symbols for the sun and the moon, which both stand for the archetypes that I’m talking about in my lyrics. And then there’s this person dressed in a wolf skin, which stands for inner conflicts that are expressed in irrational aggressions.

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?
-To me as a graphic designer, the artwork always plays a big role. To me, an album is never only about the music; it needs the visual part to become a complete unity. Without the art, an album is somehow naked, there is one part missing that the listener needs to fully dive into the world of an album.

How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-Most of the times, the song titles are clear as soon as the lyrics are finished. I search for one or two words that describe the theme of the lyrics, and that’s it. But most of the time I search for something that doesn’t express the message too clearly; I love it to hide the true meaning of a song behind some metaphors or riddles.

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?
-I think that the world of music always changes, but that doesn’t mean that we have to lose things we love. Of course, people will buy less and less physical versions of their favourite band’s albums, but bands that love vinyls, tapes or CDs will always press a small amount of physical copies for people who are into that. I’m also a fan of physical copies, but I believe that the world of streaming and the world of LPs and CDs can complement each other: Many bands offer free downloads to their LP versions, so you can have both: The vinyl and the digital album. And many young bands can get more fans by presenting their music online – fans that will later maybe buy a physical copy. So the digital and the physical way can perfectly work together.

How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-Sadly, we don’t have a live line-up since it’s very hard to find good extreme metal drummers who aren’t busy with tons of other bands. We hope that this will change in the future, because playing our music live would be great.

What lies in the future?
-We’re currently working on a split album which we hope to release next year. We don’t reveal yet who will be the other band on the split, but you can follow our social media channels to get the news as soon as we announce them!

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