Winters – “Berlin Occult Bureau”

Winters – “Berlin Occult Bureau” (Van Records)

Van are the kinda label that seem to always send me something different to the norm – and Winters is my next challenge! Self described as ‘…like Ace Frehley on downers…’ I guess that isn’t too far from the truth given they’ve even named a song after the man. Musically Winters are a mixed bag owing as much to The Damned as to Kiss and The Beatles but that probably doesn’t tell you very much. But listening to songs like ”Auslander’, ‘On Your Street Again’ and ‘Run Run Run Run’ their trance hypnotic vocals meld with raw ugly guitar noise and a heavy depressing rhythm that could easily relate to anyone into doom, noise, post hardcore – or just plain hate. But what really strikes me is that this lot aren’t from some inner city gutter but Scotland’s wealthy Aberdeen and even look totally normal (if a little on the old side). Guess it’s always the quiet ones….or I have the wrong band lol.

Phantom X – “The Opera Of The Phantom”

Phantom X – “The Opera Of The Phantom” (Pure Steel Records)

Well, they certainly don’t make ’em like this anymore! Phantom X were formed from the ashes of 80s LA band Omen and since their “Rise Of The Phantom” debut in 2005, have been telling a conceptual story, the final chapters of which are on this album! Musically, the sound is 80s power metal with a hint of the operatic which although not a million miles from Maiden, is still very much an American one on songs like ‘Storm Riders’, ‘Holy Hell’ and ‘All Hail The Heroes’. Vocalist Kevin Goocher has one of these high wailing vocals that you’re either likely to love or loathe but that said one must admire the dedication of Phantom X, who along with the likes of Anvil etc can’t be making much money outta playing this classic style of music, so I guess they must really enjoy doing it lol!!

ELECTRIC LADY

ELECTRIC LADY is yet another Finnish hardrock/metal band. And as with any other Finnish band they are good enough to interviewed. Minna ORA (singer) was kind enough to answer my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I can’t say that I’ve read too much about you guys before. What have you been up to?
-Last past ten years me and Kari Ora have been touring in Finland as an acoustic duet with pure melodic and bluesy songs. The Electric Lady is a new band formed in 2007 when i started to think of a real band to give our songs more powerful and rock with raw sensuality that mirrors life but at that time we didn’t think much about targeting the international scene. The idea aroused when we met Nicole Morgan, a french journalist who first dropped a line to us on Myspace to say she truly loved our melodies and style. She encouraged me to sing in english (our songs were only in finnish on Myspace), and when we met Nicole in Finland some months later she convinced us to spread our music worldwide. … Then came the idea of a collaboration. A couple of lyrics are from Sanna Korkee, she is a famous lyricist in Finland and Nicole wrote most of the album lyrics. Our first LP “Black Moon” as The Electric Lady was released by the end of 2011. Of course advances in technology have lowered the entrance barriers to the music industry but these lower barriers have made it that much more difficult to stand out in the crowd. How can we expect to be successful and meet the audience ? I guess it is a dilemma that all artists must face, and of course we do. The most important issue for us today is to play on stage and of course sell our stuff to maximize the ascent to stardom (laugh). So we actually plan to have gigs abroad to seize and reach the audience and spread our music… We keep fingers crossed !

Electric Lady makes me think of Jimi Hendrix. What is there behind the band’s name? How hard is it to find a great band name?
-Well, it’s a true compliment ! ‘cos in our opinion no one can be compared with Jimmy Hendrix … but yes he is one of our deep influences indeed. When listening to our album, you can find many other influences from different old bands mixed with our own style. The material is eclectic, sometimes recalling the print of Iron Maiden, Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher…, nervous when incorporating guitars and drums (You Can’t ) or blues (Through Ice And Snow). In this album the band’s vision is best displayed in the cogent ballad “That’s The Way” and in “Your Heart Is Hundred Times Bigger Than Mine”. The Electric Lady band name was kinda response to our acoustic name “Acoustic Lady”, a sort of rebel echo. We didn’t think much about a specific name, the “electric thing” fitted our state of mind at that time, that’s it. Pepe Lindholm (drums) was the first musician to join the band and give the songs his own touch. We made demos and the sound was just like they wanted it to be. Later on Samuli Jokinen (keyboards) and Jussi Sinervo (bass) joined the band and were fully part of the line-up. Nicole Morgan is today the 6th member.

Where do you fit into the Finnish hardrock/metal scene?
-Before all we are a Finnish old school rock band. Although The Electric Lady is distributed on a worldwide heavy metal digi-store Metel.net (we’ve been top listed for 7 weeks with our single “A man of that kind” and our album was also in the top 10 for a few weeks), and a French metal label “Brennus”, it isn’t considered a pure metal Finnish style band, it has all the elements of rock bands with a typical Finnish culture : introspective lyrics cultivating a rebellious manner + moody melodies… Like much of Scandinavia, Finland’s main contribution to modern popular music is heavy metal and related fields. In Finland you may find influential metal bands with various influences and expressions (about 25 genres…hard rock, heavy metal, strong heavy metal, melodic…and so on). One of the most popular band abroad is HIM whose music has been labeled “love metal”. Regarding our material, most of our songs are from deep heart. Our music was primitively punk and transformation into an atmospherically rocking/ hardrocking outfit brought more infatuation, amazement and passion from our growing fans in Finland. We are not pretending to be more or something that we are not and our songs are not produced in meetings or by musical trend-stylists, they are what they are and stand behind that.
How much of camaraderie is there between the Finnish metal bands? How much of a DIY-ethic is there?
-We have embraced the DIY ethic, promoting self-organized gigs in small clubs and setting up our small independent record label (ORA MUSIC) and distribution networks. Making and promoting music without major label backing is what many musicians do actually. When you don’t have money to hire PR people to run media campaigns for you, it is up to you to make sure people know about the music you are making. Solidarity or camaraderie between musicians is an important part of the DIY system. As far as we are concerned, we try to help some musicians (not only finnish by the way) and it usually works in both ways. Despite the fact things sound far much easier with a label, even a small one, to have relationships with press/radio to generate some buzz.

When you have an album out does that open up more doors for you as a band as to not having an album to show for?
-Well I think there is no rules. Each artist could talk about his own story and true start. Getting noticed in the music business comes down to aggressive pursuit and a little bit of luck. The sad truth is, every writer, radio station, website, or fan for that matter, you are trying to reach is likely being bombarded with info from other music hopefuls. Having an album out is quite an issue and might help to stand out from the crowd but promotion is the key word. Good promotion not only helps listeners discover your music, but it also draws the attention of other people in the music industry who are able to open doors for you, like promoters and more. Black Moon is our first international release, and we obviously try to drum up some press coverage to take our album out to a wider audience. Every success and every bit of progress, no matter how small, is a building block for our next step. Nothing can exist without medias. But stage and gigs are also a way to draw attention. The other crucial point is to figure out who is the right audience. These things all have a way of tying in together. Networking is essential too. The best way to open a door in the music industry is to have someone who can open it for you (laugh).

With the success metal has on the Finnish charts does that make it easier to get noticed outside of Finland too? What benefits can you gain from just being Finnish?
-No I don’t think so, it’s not that much determining. Being a Finnish doesn’t give you any special chance to get through and be noticed. It’s never that “easy” in this business, whatever you play or wherever you are from. It does take a lot of work. There is no kinda “passport” calling for success or drawing attention except maybe to have some good stuff and meet the right people at the right moment. Regarding our band having english lyrics took us one step beyond anyway.

What would you say has been the biggest contributor to the way Electric Lady sounds like?
-First you have to put together the right team of musicians. Creative differences are important contributors coupled with our own influences (Led Zep, Iron Maiden, Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan …. And Albert Järvinen, who used to be the Finnish guitarist of the Hurriganes.

How important is it to have people outside of the band work for you to open up new markets?
-Now the turning point is international so the pressure is different, and music business has rules we have to face. We have to think on how to harness the marketing and production techniques available today to maximize the ascent to stardom. Product / Competition / Market / What makes the difference with other competitors in the genre / strengths / eventual weak points or deficiencies, that is to say a defined strategy, are also some of the important points we have to focus on… We are aware of the challenge and are looking for people to brand the band and refine the marketing program. All depends on the goals you have. One of them is to seize all good opportunities enabling us to share our music with most of the people.

Where do you find the right kind of people to work with and more importantly how do you know that they will deliver what they promise?
-Well we have been rather lucky. We have currently some good relationships and happy collaborations with some distributors and promoters in Finland. We also met some great people in France and already had the opportunity to be part of a festival and also a music/movie contest, but France has a justified reputation of being somewhat complex in its music approach and we know it can take a bit of time. Today we have new good contacts in the UK/Ireland where our album has been warmly welcome and we will probably start very soon a happy and (I do hope) long-lasting collaboration with Ravenheart. Regarding the people around the band, most of them are true reliable people and friends, but as we want to spread our music we also have to trust the people who suggested some help. Music is music and business is business, and any business has to involve a win-win rule. We try to remain confident and positive to keep up a peaceful and trustworthy relationship. Finns are fair people and we expect the same in return.

What are the plans for the future of Electric Lady?
-We think about short term and long term plans. Today our priority goes to The UK / Ireland. We’ve had some success recently with our album and we’re seriously looking for a (label/agent/manager) to help us take this success to the next level. Next step be Nordic countries and Germany + France, Italy and Spain. We are also currently working on new stuff (we want our next album to be different, somewhat surprising). Playing a show as the opening band of Evanescence, Volbeat or Joe Bonassama is also something we would love to do. So next step is to get our name on the bill and let their promoters know our band is on the lookout for a good support slot… The most important ever is to stay true to ourselves and our music.

HEAVEN RAIN

OK. so the Balkan metal scene is a blank to me. But I’m eager to learn more which is why I sent HEAVEN RAIN an interview. Answers by Goran Bastinac. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

You have a couple of albums to your name yet your are not that well known. How hard is it to get out of your native country and onto a wider metal scene?
– Yes, we have one full length, Far and Forever, released back in 2008. and a whole bunch of singles and EP’s. Our new album Second Sun has been released in June 2012. via Music Buy Mail from Germany. It’s pretty hard to get out from this country, of course. Bosnia is not a country that would come up when you think about the metal or any other kind of music for that matter. On the other hand, we have had several line up changes and that also slowed us down. However, our current line up is strong and we’ll try to do our best to promote our music in general. I would also take this opportunity to say hello and thanks to our label Music Buy Mail for all the support they gave us with our new album.

What was it that made you want to form a band? What pivotal moment made you decide that this is what you want to do?
– I started Heaven Rain in summer of 2006. as my homemade studio project, but I wanted to play all this stuff live, so in 2008. I formed a band with my friends Nebojsa Lakic on drums and Bojan Joksic on bass guitar. The main goal was to create and play the music that we all like. We’ve crossed a long and hard road since then, but nevertheless, we are happy with what we’ve accomplished.

When you come from a region that has been through so much turmoil as Balkan has how does that affect the way you write music?
– Yes, and that is a very sad fact. Balkans surely is not a good place to create any type of art, or to live in it for that matter, because of all the bad stuff that happened around here in the past years. But like I said, we were sick just to be ignored and to do nothing, so we formed a band and try to fight it all with cool and straight forward heavy metal.

I am fascinated how by combining words you created new meaning. What does the band name Heaven Rain mean to you?
– Thank you very much. Heaven Rain is a symbol for a new beginning – at least for us – in a creative way, if any other way is not available. But at the time, things started to move forward for us, and we are getting more and more attention from abroad. We don’t want to prove anything to anybody, we just want to play great music that we love as far as we can, for people who care, wherever and whoever they are. We are just satisfied with that.

How hard is it to find the right people to work with when you want to record an album? Do you have to look elsewhere to achieve what it is you are looking for?
– It was hard at the beginning, but since Miona and Igor joined the band, Heaven Rain now have a solid and very motivated line up. We’ve travelled 500 miles to get to a suitable studio to record all these great songs that you can hear on our new album. So, I would say that anything is possible if you believe in what you do.

How clear a vision do you have as to what it is you want to accomplish when you enter a studio? How much do you correct and take away in the studio?
– Before we entered the studio, there were several stages to accomplish. The first stage was to make songs that we are all satisfied on rehearsals, meaning that all the arrangements and technical stuff needed to be absolutely clear. After that, the second stage was to record all the songs as a pilot versions, and the third stage was simple “lock and load” mode for the studio. Our producer Marjan Mijic was pretty surprised how nice we all were organized and prepared for this project. 🙂

What would you say is your greatest appeal to a metal crowd?
– That would be our new album Second Sun for German label Music Buy Mail, some great live shows we have played recently and of course, more and more people who discover us almost every day. We are all avare of the fact that there are soooo many metal bands from all over the world, but hey – how many metal bands do you know that comes from the great city of Banja Luka, a capitol of the Republic of Srpska, inside Bosnia and Hercegovina?

What kind of metal scene are you a part of? How much of a metal scene is there in your country?
– Well, Heaven Rain performs melodic power metal combined with atmospheric, progressive metal, some ambiental stuff is there as well and a nice dose of heavy metal and hard rock. Maybe you could call it a euro metal. We do have some cool bands around here, but they have the same problems as we do. There are no proffesional metal dedicated magazines or TV shows, no hard and heavy clubs or a regular metal nights, so you get the picture. But on the other hand, that didn’t slowed us down since we are playing the music that we like. People who care about that stuff knows how to get to us and that’s the whole story. On the other hand, our music is “out there” since 2008. and whoever wants to check our songs, can do in in a matter of seconds via YouTube, Facebook, MySpace or through our official website.

Do you get a chance to play with a lot of international bands? Where do you go to to get experience and to build a following?
– So far, we didn’t had a chance to play with any international band, but hopefully we will soon. As I said before, we don’t have international metal festivals with any kind of tradition. But we do play live shows with a bands from our town or Serbia and Croatia as well.

How in a perfect world would the future for Heaven Rain look like?
– Well, we’re hoping to get a chance to play some nice tours around Europe, and to make more music for the people that will love it as much as we do. That would be really nice.

INTERNAL NIGHTMARE

INTERNAL NIGHTMARE from Australia might not be the most well known band from down under but they sure work hard at changing that. Be the first amongst your friends to discover this act. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What is the hardest part being a small band on the way up?
-I guess just trying to get yourself noticed in a world where there are soooo many bands out there. There is no shortage of inspiration and songs but it’s just getting people to hear them.

How easy is it to be deceived into thinking that we are on our way up just because you play a couple of good shows and people pat you on the back telling you you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread?
-Haha. Yes this is a common occurance but i guess as long as you just keep yourself grounded and just be the best judge of what you do i think you’ll be fine. As long as you aren’t too critical and hard on yourselves otherwise you’ll never be satisfied. It is nice to be validated by people though, however you shouldn’t by in to it too much either.

I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook and “likes” because they basically mean shit, how do you know that you’ve built a fan base on social media when everybody and his mother can hit the “like button”?
-That is somewhat true….i think most of anyone’s ‘fans’ probably have never even listened to you before. But from a promotional or marketing standpoint it does look good if you have a lot of likes. Promoters do take notice of that stuff as much as people would like to think they don’t.

Maybe we should disperse of the usual introduction bit too before we move on. Who and what is Internal Nightmare?
-Internal Nightmare is a band of 3 guys trying to satisfy their creative sides by making music that they enjoy playing and also enjoy listening to. When we do start writing new songs they will go through the ‘ringer’ before we are satisfied with them. If we aren’t satisfied then what’s the point of playing them!?

When you come from Australia how confining does it feel to be stuck on an island? How do you best get out of there with your music?
-Well I can’t imagine how hard it would have been for bands from Australia before the days of the Internet. These days you can sit from the comfort of your house and promote your band and music to people on the other side of the world in the click of a button. It’s fantastic for bands these days. And because of things like social media it is becoming increasingly easy to contact people who usually would have been unreachable. So although we are not really in the best place to make a name for ourselves in the heavy music scene with any real kind of depth, our name can be taken abroad quite quickly. But then of course you have to tour overseas to show you’re the real deal.

What kind of metal scene are you a part of? Does it ever feel like you only play to the already initiated?
-Well I guess you could say we are a part of the Melbourne metal scene. You would be surprised though just how vast and how many sub genres exist in this scene though, haha.

I only heard of you through a comment I wrote about being reported for sending spam messages on Facebook (which I do not do). How well have you promoted the band outside of Australia?
-We have promoted the band outside of Australia reasonably well. Just by making contacts through various avenues has helped to drum up some interest in this band. Networking with people is the way to do it, though we still have a long way to go to really start to make an impact.

I do understand why a band records an EP but what are the benefits of doing just an EP and not an album beside the recording cost?
-Well from our point of view this EP was basically a way for us to show people the new direction the band is heading in. We have been around for 6 years roughly and so of course the sound of the band has changed over the years. Then when this newest lineup was writing songs together we wanted to get out some of the newest material as soon as possible as a taste of what’s to come. Then by the time we release the album we should have a few people interested.

How much of a DIY-ethic is necessary for an Australian band to make it on an international metal scene? What kind of labels are there in Australia that can support a band?
-The DIY approach is definitely something that you have to partake in over here as there just isn’t a great deal of room or support to be any other way. There are some good labels over here that can help you with distribution, promo and marketing etc, but in terms of funds to get yourself out and about in the touring sense, especially overseas, it is difficult. You really have to make some sort of decent income to then take yourself around the place. We all have jobs and i think in this day and age that you really need to now. Long gone are the days when you could do nothing but play music and someone would pay your way.

What would a perfect future look like for Internal Nightmare?
-Travelling around the world playing our music to people and even help giving people the chance to use our music as a healing tool for themselves. We are big believers in the healing power of music and providing a distra_ction and getting pleasure out of it no matter what is happening in your life. It’s been a big part of my journey and i know the power of it. Plus sharing the stage with some of our heroes and making new friends would make us very very happy.

Thanks again so much for the opportunity to speak with you today and i hope you enjoy the new EP.

Christian ‘Dirtbag’ Doherty
Guitar/vocals- Internal Nightmare

KAMIKAZE KINGS

Being Swedish I’m not that into the larger than life image some bands surrounds themselves with. I go more for the music. As with KAMIKAZE KINGS. Had the music not been good I would have paid them no attention. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

How hard is it to come up with a good and catchy band name? What does your band name mean to you guys?
-KAMIKAZE KINGS, the band name, was given to us. It came out of the blue! Sent from up above! We are blessed and we feel entitled to call us KAMIKAZE KINGS. You know this joke: what is the difference between a terrorist and a rock star? … Well, you can negotiate with a terrorist. We do things our way and we give it our best shot. That is why we are KAMIKAZE KINGS.

What kind of hardrock scene is there today? How much of it still lives on in Germany?
-Germany is a great country to be a rocker! First of all there is Berlin with its famous Rock clubs such as Wild At Heart or SO36. Then there are still Rock and Metal legends like Accept, Doro or Skew Siskin who release strong albums and who tour a lot. We as KAMIKAZE KINGS are not part of a secluded scene. We like to rock. So when someone’s up for Rock ‘n’ Roll entertainment a Kamikaze show is the place to be. We have a lot of friends who are part of a variety of special scenes: Bikers, Metalheads, Rockers, Punks and Rockabillies. They all come to our shows and it is great fun to party with them.

I’ve always wondered why a hardrock/metal band releases a single. What does that give you as a band?
-We do it for the fans! They like it and we love it! We shoot a video for every single release and design a special cover. And for example on the single for “BOYS ‘N’ MEN” we have a special non album track called “The Dream Is Dead” which you cannot get anywhere, but on this single release which is a special treat. Many asked for the release of “Saturday Night Hero” as a new single release so we decided to do it. This is the kind of communication we like to have with our audience. We do it for them and it is always great fun to shoot a video and read the feedback we always get after releasing a single.

What kind of reactions do you get to your recorded music? Are you able to see a bigger interest in certain areas? Where have the band worked best so far?
-We get a lot of passionate feedback. All in all it is very positive and encouraging. We also get amused comments and confused statements by people who just cannot get it that it is allowed to be a KAMIKAZE KING, to wear Wrestling belts, put on heavy make up and to have a good time with the fans. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to be what I am. We get a lot of response from all kinds of different magazines, blogs and TV stations. For me the most important thing is to entertain and make people enjoying themselves by listening to our music and watching our videos.

How do you promote the band for it to grow in all areas of the hardrock globe?
-We do everything we can to promote the band and the upcoming album “The Law” which comes out August, 31th. In a few months everybody who is into Rock or Metal will know the name KAMIKAZE KINGS. Our record company Limited Access Records is very supportive and experienced. It is good to have them by our side.

I remember that there used to be hardrock clubs in Germany in the 80s. Is that a good way of promoting a band, visiting these kind of places?
-Well, I don’t go that often to Hard Rock Clubs. I don’t have the time. We all work really hard to promote the album and play as many gigs as possible. So we know a lot of clubs by playing shows but as a private person I prefer to stay at home and concentrate on booking, promotion and writing lyrics.

How hard has the social media hit the live scene and socializing in reality rather than in front of a computer screen?
-Who can say? For better or worse we have to deal with it. This is the current situation and the current state. I like it that we can get immediate response from fans worldwide by participating in the social media network. We organize gigs and stay in touch with promoters. So that is awesome. I think someone who is into Metal and Rock is willing to attend every concert in his area. You can encourage these guys by posting your stuff and they will come! This is great!

Do people care for a live show today or have they become jaded by all the jeans and t-shirt guys they’ve seen up on stage?
-People love great live shows. Kurt Cobain is dead and he took the Jeans and T-shirts mafia with him. Today anything is allowed and a good live show is very much appreciated. Of course there are these whiners who always complain, but then again: a king is a king. I don’t give a flying fuck if someone thinks I should step back or be more serious. The thing is: we are deadly serious about what we do and what we promote. The live show accentuates our intention to give the fans some kind of faith in life. And they feel it! It is all about passion, energy and our love for Metal Rock.

How important is image in order to make a band stand out? When does image become too much?
-I think in the bitter end you cannot create an image. It is an illusion. People who are trapped inside of an image go crazy. I don’t wanna be Britney, poor, old Britney. That is why she lip syncs all of the time. And she cannot dance anymore! How can you forget how to dance? She must be on very strange pills. Anyway, people or the media project an image. We entertain with what we have to offer as artists. Then it it is up to you to give us an image.

What does the future hold for KAMIKAZE KINGS?
-Only the best: we release our album “The Law” at the 31st of August and play a special release show at the Wild At Heart in Berlin on the same date. You can check our official website www.kamikazekings.de for the latest news and feel free to contact us on Facebook, Twitter, Regioactive, google+, MySpace or Reverbnation. It is always good to get in touch with you guys!

LESBIAN BED DEATH

Do you like your music a bit on the left side. If so LESBIAN BED DEATH should be right up your alley. Interview with Dan. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I gotta start with the name. Why such a strange band name and why the use of a sexual orientation in it?
-I discovered the term ‘Lesbian Bed Death’ on a late night television documentary. I thought it’d be a cool name for the band. It’s certainly memorable.

You are on your third album now. Do you feel that the band has progressed the way you intended?
-The band started as a fun side project, and a cheeky nod to the Goth and Glam bands I grew up with. I always thought we’d make one album, and that’d be the end of it. Surprisingly, the band became really popular, and started outselling my regular band, Razorwire. We made the second album because we were receiving so many requests from fans for more LBD music. I’m pleased with the way the band has progressed musically, and it’s now closer to my original vision of ‘Lesbian Bed Death’ than it was in the early days. We’ve really found ourselves as a band, and I’m very happy with the new album.

What is it with horror and rock/metal that fits so well together?
-I’m not entirely sure. It may be that Horror and Rock/Metal are sub-genres, both shunned by the mainstream, but deeply loved by the fans. Both Horror films and Rock/Metal have stood the test of time.

Mixing horror with music is no new fad. What in your opinion has been some of the more successful horror/rock/metal collaborations?
-I particularly love the soundtracks to ‘Return Of The Living Dead’, ‘Lost Boys’ and ‘The Crow’. Dokken’s ‘Dream Warriors’ (Nightmare on Elm Street 3) & WASP’s ‘Scream Until You Like It’ (Ghoulies 2) are a couple of favourites.

Where do you see yourself fit in and how important is it to fit in to a specific scene?
-We don’t really fit in. This is why I initially thought that we’d only ever make one album. I was really surprised when the band became so popular on the underground. I think it’s important to fit in with a scene from a marketing point of view, but not fitting in with a scene is better from a creative point of view. I’m not a fan of narrow minded scenes where the bands all sound the same, dress the same, have similar artwork etc. They’ll sell a lot of albums in the short term, but it’s the bands who start these scenes with fresh ideas who’ll be remembered.

When you mix different styles of music does it make it easier to appeal to a crowd or does it bring with it the trouble of finding a crowd?
-The latter. There are a lot of narrow minded people in this world who know what they like, and like what they know. Making an album that sounds like something already popular, and adhering to the image that goes with it is an easy way to gain some cheap popularity. Creating music that sounds different is always going to divide opinions and challenge old ideas. However, it’s so much more rewarding to pick up fans who truly love your music, rather than people who will like you for five minutes because you fit into a trendy scene, and sound like everything they already like. I have the utmost respect for bands who carve their own path.

Your latest album comes with a DVD of videos. What purpose does a video serve today?
-A video is a great way for people to see the band as well as hear the music. I don’t believe in style over substance, but if you have a great band, great imagery adds to the entertainment. With Lesbian Bed Death, I wanted to make music videos which were more like mini Horror films. The video brings people into our world.

How much of a DIY band is Lesbian Bed Death? What are the benefits of doing it yourself today?
-We’re completely DIY. I started the label myself. We book our own shows, do our own PR, post albums to fans etc. We are our roadies and drivers. It’d be nice to have a big label behind us because of the doors they could open. Unfortunately we don’t, so we do the best we can with what we have. The main benefit of being DIY is that we make music the way we want to. We don’t have to run anything by a man in a suit, who probably wouldn’t be on the same page anyway. We work really hard and appreciate everything we get, because nothing is for free and nothing lasts forever.

Is it easy to find channels to distribute your music today? Are people more willing to look for new bands?
-We are fortunate to be working with a distribution company in the UK called Shellshock. They have got our albums into most UK record shops (and some in other parts of Europe), and sorted out worldwide digital distribution for us. Compared to other labels with bigger bands, we are small fry, so we really appreciate the efforts they have made for us. I don’t think more people are necessarily looking for new bands than before. I think the popularity of Youtube has caused people to stumble across new music, usually when they’re looking for something else. Having the word “Lesbian” in our band’s name certainly hasn’t hurt our hit rates online.

What plans for the future do Lesbian Bed Death have?
-We’re looking at releasing some singles in the near future, so we’ll be recording some B-Sides. We’re planning to arrange a couple more music videos soon too. We have a UK tour organised for the rest of 2012, and we’re hoping to venture into mainland Europe in 2013, providing the world doesn’t end in December.

MERCURY TIDE

For all those of you old enough to remember Angel Dust from the 80s you be well pleased to know that Dirk Thurisch has a new band going now called MERCURY TIDE. But do not expect a continuation. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

When you’ve been part of a somewhat successful band what is it that makes you want to do it all over again?
-Of course because it was a great time. We reached and lived a lot of things and I would do it again anytime. It is a pity that Angel Dust doesn’t exist anymore. But if something just doesn’t work out, one should leave it behind. We already tried it again in 2010, but it only worked out at the beginning. We also played shows, but after a short time, we realized that this wouldn’t just do it and the band fought each other again. So we decided to put Angel Dust back on ice and now nobody knows what is going to happen with it in the future. But I am proud that I experienced the times with Angel Dust and in the future, we will still play Angel Dust songs so that old memories will come up…

How hard is it to not fall back into old tracks again when you form a new band? How hard is it to write music in a new direction?
-It is not difficult to have a new band, although you will take your recent experiences with you into a new project. Obviously MERCURY TIDE sound different from Angel Dust but that is totally fine. MERCURY TIDE are a little bit less complex but my voice remains the same, of course. Therefore, a part of Angel Dust will stay, e.g. songs like “I need you“ already sound a little like MERCURY TIDE. To me everything must just fit together. It is important that the final work sounds good and the listener feels passionate about it. Of course, the content like e.g. the guitar techniques must also fit.

Angel Dust were part of the German thrash metal wave of the 80s. How much of that past still lives on when it comes to the interest for Mercury Tide?
-Experiences and adventures stay in your mind and these things automatically transfer into the new band. But the songs of Angel Dust and MERCURY TIDE are of course different. For example the guitar riffing of MERCURY TIDE is totally something else, where Angel Dust pushed it to a high-speed level, we now play very calm and slower riffs. What stayed the same is my voice. Nevertheless, we do our own thing with MERCURY TIDE, it is a complete different thing than Angel Dust and a new beginning.

The album sounds amazing. How hard was it to achieve what you wanted in the studio? Did it take a lot of compromises to get it to sound the way it does?
-Thanks. Before we started with the recordings I buildt up a new line-up with my old friend Carsten Rehmann, our new drummer, who I knew from old days before Angel Dust. With Chris Pohlmann, who I played together with at Angel Dust I got a new man on the bass as well as Sim Reaper on the keys. We didn’t have any time pressure to complete the album because our drummer Carsten owns the studio. I wrote the songs back home and I knew what they should sound like. I think of a basic idea, music wise and lyrical wise.The band then works it out and records it together. For example there are three songs that I wrote with our drummer, Carsten. We all were happy and proud of us when we heard the complete new album for the first time. Overall we needed one year and after we signed with our new label Limited Access Records, who really believes in us, we still had some things to do like mastering at Eroc’s Mastering Ranch or photo shootings. I hope you will enjoy the songs, since I have grown mature over the years and at the songwriting I noticed that my new songs start, where the old ones end. It was a beautiful feeling to continue “Killing Saw” where Why…”? stopped. The new album was recorded with passion and it means a lot to me. It is a new beginning.

How hard is it today to promote an album when there are thousands of bands to compete against?
-Of course there are tons of bands, today you have to work even harder to make a good picture of your album towards the masses. But you must never give up, although in the 80’s everything was easier. The most important part is that you have fun at doing your music.

How do you notice that people have changed the way that they consume music today? What can you expect to sell in terms of CDs for it to be considered a success?
-I think nowadays there are less CDs sold because people download songs from the Internet. Only true fans still buy CDs, just like me because I am still “old-school“. I have a large vinyl, tape and CD collection and can tell a story of my life to each one of them. When people come to a bands concert, that’s not bad either.

Is playing live still as big a factor in marketing the band today as it was back in the 80s/90s?
-Yes it is a big factor for the marketing to play live because the more you play, the more fans you get. But you should watch out because not every festival is good for a band. If you don’t fit to the others, you should let it be. Also, if you could get a bad press release…I hope that our album “Killing Saw“ blasts everything, so that we will get lots of shows, also internationally. Right now we have played two release shows in Germany, at which we played some new stuff to see how people react to the new songs. Currently, we are playing several shows in Germany for example we played as a support Act for Jon Oliva’s Pain or at some festivals. Of course we hope to get further offers from foreign countries 😉

How has the live scene changed over the years? I get the impression that two band tours are a thing of the past and that today it is more package tours or festivals.
-Yes that is true, duo-shows are usually not happening anymore because too many concerts exist nowadays. For example in our home city, there only play four or five bands or even festivals at a time.

Where do you see Mercury Tide fitting in today when there are so many sub-genres within heavy metal?
-I can not exactly tell because we do not “fit in” to anything and we didn’t focus on that, we just played what we liked and felt. I think that this is the best way to feel good about an album later on. We just held onto our known style and did not build anything new but just played what we felt. This concept worked with Angel Dust, too. You could also call it “Melodic Atmospheric Metal“.

What does the future look like for Mercury Tide?
-We signed with Limited Access Records and it makes me really happy to have a real band and serious stuff to do. We will also record new songs, soon, so that our fans don’t have to wait another ten years for the next album! Right now we are filming a video clip to the song “Searching“ of the album “Killing Saw“. We will also play more shows in Germany and hopefully internationally and in the new year we will again go to the studio. I hope our album will make you happy and it is fantastic to have a fresh start with the band! So everything will go easy and fine!

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA

With an all star line-up consisting of folks like Björn Strid and Sharlee D’Angelo that are more extreme metal this couldn’t be further from that. Everything will be explained in the interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I guess you get asked why a project like this a lot of times so I’ll start with what is so great about 70s hardrock/rock??
-It’s the time when albums really were albums. You listened through the whole thing and there was a point why every track was in a specific order. Aside from that, I just simply love the melodies and arrangements from the period around 77-83, there’s something so timeless and epic about them.

When I listen to albums by bands like Genesis, Yes and a whole host of other 70s acts what strikes me is that they seem so free of clichés. Where did it go wrong?
-Somewhere along the way, single songs became more important than the actual albums. People got more spoiled and expected more and expected it fast. That’s why albums of today or especially singles need to be so processed and perfect to fit the human ear that already is so used to having everything served. Imagination is lost.?

When you play the kind of music that you do how important is it to keep it true in spirit? What kind of agenda do you have?
It wasn’t hard at all since we are a bunch of classic rock freaks. We just knew what to do just by having eye contact, everyone had the same vision and knew what would and wouldn’t fit in. Timeless melodies were really the main key as well and to create a real groove that you seldom hear nowadays. ?

When you do not live in the same place how much does modern technology help? Is there any risk of modern technology ever messing up the original idea of the band?
-Well, I really wish we could have record the album the analogue way but at the same time we didn’t wanna be too nerdy about it. To usi t was all about creating something old sounding that would still make sense today, without becoming too much of a pastiche. However, it was so refreshing not having to hear the words “beat-detector” or “auto-tune” in the studio, there’s too much of that in today’s music. We wanted to create something that feels alive.

How much of a liberation is it to not have to think within the narrow confines of your ordinary day jobs? Does not having a normal band frame allow you a greater freedom in being creative??
-For example Soilwork means so much to me and represents a lot of what I stand for and enjoy, including lyrics, arrangements, intensity and melodies. However, I’m a musical chameleon and have so many things I want to express in so many ways. I’m just a big music lover. Of course it was a great challenge and also very stimulating to step away from the metal norms for a bit, it has given me so much that I will also bring with me to Soilwork as well.

You released the album on an Italian label that nobody seems to have heard of. Why chose such a narrow passage to get the album out??
-To tell you the truth, it was REALLY hard to find a label for this kind of music. Labels just didn’t seem to see the point of it, plus there were no real selling points since me and Sharlee are more well known in the metal genre. It wouldn’t have been very hard to find a label if it was another metal project. We were dealing with a few labels but my friends at Coroner records really believed in us and they are one of the few labels that I trust, so we decided to go with them. They’ve done a great job so far!

What kind of expectations do you have on the album? Do you think people will rave over simply because of who’s on it or will they actually like it too?
-I guess both. There’s been a lot of curiosity around it. A lot of metal heads have expressed that they definitely didn’t expect this and that they first felt uncomfortable listening to it and in the end felt that the album was irresistible. I really think anybody could appreciate this album, there are not a lot of albums out there today sounding like this. The sound is old but in many people’s ears, it sounds refreshing.

When you put together an all-star line-up how hard is it to get all the right people to accept? How much red tape is there in getting all you guys together?
– Well, we already knew who would be perfect for the band since we shared a common love for classic rock and we knew they had the right feel for it. All we had to do is to arrange 1 rehearsal and we knew it was gonna happen and that it was gonna sound real good.?

How does a recording session differ when you don’t have the same kind of pressure of delivering as you usually do when you are in the studio?
-It was a new feeling even though I always create a lot of pressure for myself, I always wanna give my all. Still it was a great feeling not having to live up to any crazy expectations, all I felt was that: “wait until you hear this, I bet you haven’t heard anything like this for a while”. That was the main drive.

Is the a future for Night Flight Orchestra?
-Absolutely! We already have plans for a 2nd album and want to book festivals for next summer. Hopefully also put together a tour or tour Casinos with Styx in North America. That would be awesome..

SPELLCRAFT

I love black metal the way Marduk and Dark Funeral play it. With full force and no pardon. That is why I like Spanish Spellcraft. Interview with singer Midgard.

I often wonder why people feel a need to play in other bands. What is it that makes you want to play in more than one band?
-Initially, I was only playing in OUIJA, but this band disappeared and then I became part of the line-up of SPELLCRAFT, because they didn’t have a singer in that period. Being together again, Map (guitar founder of OUIJA) and me decided to return with OUIJA. For this reason, I play in the two groups and there isn’t problem in it, we can divide and continue with both, OUIJA and SPELLCRAFT are different bands with different history too, each one follows its own way; but they are close bands at the same time, all of us are friends since our childhood…remaining united; it is the most important.

What is it that you want to create with Spellcraft that you can’t do with your other band(s)?
-As I said before each band gives me a different form of express my emotions, maybe in my opinion, the sound of OUIJA is more enveloping and twisted than SPELLCRAFT one but I would define its sound as more killer and aggressive…but I’d rather people drew their own conclusions about that.

How hard is it to choose a title for an album? What does the title mean to you?
-More than hard, I would say it is complex, because nowadays there are a lot of bands in the underground scene searching the most attractive titles, really full of evilness for their albums, in these days everything is invented, you have to think, read, search and get informed about a suitable title for the album, in our case we have chosen this name because it is also the title of a song of this work. Yersinia Pestis is the name of the bacterium that bred the Black Death, it evokes panic and terror; it’s a cursed name in the history of the mankind. We arrived to the conclusion that this name was perfect for our blasphemous creation, because it is enigmatic and at the same time killer…nothing more suitable, its name still keeps stench to death.

When you write lyrics in a language that isn’t your native how hard is it to get through what it is you want to say?
-Yes that’s true, it is always difficult to explain your thoughts and emotions in another language that is not your mother tongue, for example, Spanish language is richer in vocabulary than English, this why so many times, I must look for the suitable word for the translation because firstly, I always write the lyrics in Spanish. But with patience and work, good result are achieved.

What is black metal to you? How would you like to define it as a genre?
-This is a question that would have a never-ending answer. About the first question, the Black Metal is, for me like the Metal in general because I love other styles as Death, Thrash and the classic Metal. It’s a way of life, I grew up listening to this music, whenever I remember a part of my life, it is always linked to a song. It’s complicated to understand for common people, but we are a new religion across the world; we are joined under the same flag, the flag of Metal and this flag hasn’t got just a nationality.
And speaking only about the Black Metal, in my opinion, it is the rawest and more primitive genre into the Metal Music, I need this music for spitting all my blasphemies and my darkest desires against all the established, this world is sick maybe the Armageddon is near because the human race are imperfect and totally destructive with itself so nothing better than playing the music of the Devil to grab his attention and provoke the damned servants of false doctrines…this world is full of vermin; kill’ Em all.

How do you know if a song is good? What criteria do you use to decide what is good and what is not good?
-First of all, I can’t decide if one song is bad or good, you and the rest of the public have to say it, I can just give a general idea about our stuff, but I don’t like to give my opinion of my work because it wouldn’t be real. I can perceive the potential of a song, of course, but the final result is the most important issue and only the people can decide if it is good or bad.

When you enter a studio what is it that you want to get out of the experience?
-Entering a studio it’s always an adventure. At first, you have a concept of what you want to get there but as the recording moves on a lot of things change. This is a job between all the members of the band and our sound engineer, everyone contributes with their ideas. Finally, once all the instruments are recorded, the turning point is reached, the final mix, when all the elements are really fused until the tiniest detail.

How hard is it to find the right kind of people to work with?
-Yes, this is difficult but we are friends from the childhood, our ties of union are stronger than the music and this also makes the band be more joined. We act like a democratic system everyone has their own voice and viewpoint about the composition of the songs, but after discussing our ideas, we reach the better for the band; this is the secret.

How much of a DIY aesthetic is there to the Spanish underground scene?
-No DIY aesthetic here, each band follows their path… For example in our city there is one more band, they are Temple Abattoir; they play raw and excellent Black metal, they are good friends of us, as well …The Spanish underground metal scene is totally alive currently, other Spanish bands that I would mention would be ERED, MARTHYRIUM, LUX DIVINA, BALMOG, PROFUNDIS TENEBRARUM, etc…to mention just some of them..

What would you like to see the future bring with it?
-The destruction of the Vatican and a million of vultures eating the entrails of the pederast cures while the Pope is sodomized by a shemale Virgin Mary…hehehe…
Thanks so much for the interview;
…Only the strongest shall prevail…