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Sturmprophet - A storm is brewing (Sebastian Berckey) - Online April 2008

Hi guys, Alex from "The Metal Observer" writing, how are things in the STURMPROPHET camp?

Moin Alex, here everything’s going very well! Our album only received good reviews, we have some gigs coming up and we even started with the song writing for our next album…so we can’t really complain :)


How did STURMPROPHET start out? Most people probably have never even read or heard your name…

The band STURMPROPHET was formed in 2004 by myself (Basti) and Max, after we had written a few songs with guitar and keys. The current line-up with bassist Tim and drummer Ben is the same as at the beginning, just that Max now also is handling the vocals. We recorded our first demo in a youth center in early 2005, before we went into a “real” studio for our first album in 2007.


STURMPROPHET is a rather unusual name for a Metal band, as you didn’t just take the easy road and use the name in English, how did that happen?

From the get-go we had been looking for a well sounding German name, as our lyrics are supposed to be only German as well. The English translation would only be different by one letter anyway ;)


The same goes for the lyrics, which are exclusively German, had it been a premeditated move to keep things in the mother tongue and potentially reducing the fanbase a little?

It was not so much an explicit decision against English lyrics, but rather we haven’t seen any reason so far NOT to sing in our native language. If you look at the English lyrics of many German bands, it often is quite obvious, why they switched to the foreign language ;) But that doesn’t automatically mean that German lyrics always have to be super-poetic either, just because they’re easier to understand. We think that even with German lyrics Metalheads world wide will be listening to us, as music still is the most important thing and music neither speaks German nor English, hehe…


Musically it’s also very hard to nail you down to one specific style, with elements from Black, Death, Thrash, Power and Viking Metal, did you have trouble deciding what you would want to sound like or is is part of the appeal to keep the listener guessing what will come their way in the next song?

Oh, we are perfectly capable of deciding what we want to sound like, exactly like THIS :)!! We just don’t really care for setting ourselves any musical borders. It would be way too boring to just re-do the same old stuff, so we play whatever we feel like and can be combined with guitars and keyboards. The fun factor is the most important thing in our music and the songs should always remain accessible and bangable! Metal! For the listeners, I think, that’s an advantage as well, getting a few surprises, but still being able to listen to the whole album in one shot.


How would you describe the band to someone, who has never heard you?

That’s always very hard, because that’s also why our style description on the homepage is a little long with Melodic Death/Thrash/Heavy Metal ;). Roughly I would say that we simply play heavy, raw and bangable Metal, which is melodically loosened up by keyboards and guitars!


In the course of the album each song has its own character and has at least one element that will set it apart from the rest, how much do you plan stuff like that ahead? Do you consciously go for these different characters or is that more or less coincidence?

Like mentioned above, we hate boring and uniform songs, so we try to use many different ideas into the single songs and not to repeat ourselves.


How does a STURMPROPHET song come to be? Looking at all the different elements I don’t think that it’s going to be 20 minutes…

Most songs start with a riff of Max or a melody of me. Until a song sounds like we want it to, it indeed takes a little more than 20 minutes, hehe…several weeks actually! Even more so as no song is presented to the band in finished form, everyone adds his ideas, so it takes a while before everybody is happy!


One comparison that I came across a lot is with DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER. How does it feel to read that name in every other review, is it annoying or are you ok with it?

Well, as every review brings some comparisons, but at the same time also points out our originality, we don’t really care that much. We’re even happy to be compared to such a great band without being put down as boring (or good ;)) copy! DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER always have been big role models for us and surely also our music. It’s not all that surprising to be constantly compared to this band, as there are not that many big bands anymore that are really diverse and open, combining heavy Metal with melodic keyboards without limiting themselves musically… But I also think that if you compare us with the newer material of the REITER, we are sounding somewhat different.


Where do you draw your influences from when it comes down to composing? I would guess that they’re pretty widespread...

That’s right! At home we listen to almost anything that has Metal in its name, if you don’t count wipeouts such as Metalcore ;) To mention single bands would be nonsense, because you usually are not directly influenced by a band, but rather subconsciously by the music. And within the band we listen to anything from Death, Thrash, Black Metal over Melodic Death Metal up to Power and classic Heavy Metal etc...


What I would like to mention separately is the song “Schwermetall”. Normally we get these kinds of tracks only from the so-called “True Metal” bands and not so much from your corner, is it your personal ode to steel?

Exactly! We love Metal and thought that a completely German ode to Heavy Metal would be something new and exactly the right thing for us, haha!! Why always use English, if you sing about Metal? You can also write wonderful Metal hymns in German, as you can see ;)!! In our eyes we, too, play “true” Metal, that works with keyboards and without the typical Heavy Metal vocals!!


Another point that I have to address is the distinct lack of a label. Has anyone approached you yet and/or what would you be looking for in a label?

So far we neither received offers nor have we really put much effort into it, as of right now we’re pretty happy with how things are going. If the right offer comes up, we won’t hide from it either, though! It would be important to us not to get any time pressure or musical limitations!


Would you rather be no. 25 with Nuclear Blast or no. 4 on a smaller label (given that you still are a pretty young band)?

Hard to say, as I’d need to know the conditions! Those could be quite bad with a smaller label and rather good with a bigger one, even for smaller bands! It would be important that we still could do our thing and of course we also want to see a little more popularity!


How do people usually react when hearing your music for the first time? I could imagine that for many it’s not love at first listen…

Yes, the problem in this case mostly is the camp that generally does not want any keyboard sounds in Metal, even less so, if they take on a stronger role here and there. On the other hand the people who especially like the melodies and keyboards often have their trouble with the screamed vocals etc.


But I think that it is normal that a band that consciously transcends genre borders often don’t always make only friends. But we don’t really care, as there still are enough people, who have an equally open taste as we do and like the music!


Which song of STURMPROPHET do you like most and which one least and why?

Here the band is pretty split, which in itself should speak volumes about how many good songs we have, hehe!! I personally really like “Auf Steinigem Pfad“, as it’s cohesive, hymnic, melodic, has a brilliant solo part and also one of our best lyrics. The others especially favour “Träumer“, „Am Galgen“ or also “Verdammt Und Munter“! But that changes all the time as well, as the songs all are very different and it often depends a lot on the current mood! But thankfully we are not really unhappy with any song on the album and even our old songs have their charm, even though we do feel that we continuously are getting better ;)!


Which goals do you have for STURMPROPHET and how did they change over time?

Our biggest goal was and still is to play the music that we all like. Of course we also hope that many people like it and that we will also be heard outside of our local area and become a little more popular. That only can be achieved by playing a lot and everywhere, which is our main goal right now, to play more and also a bit further away from home. With our first album under the belt (we can definitely check off this goal with great satisfaction ;)) we feel ready and motivated to go a long way!!


So what brought you originally to take up an instrument and start a band?

We always had liked music, so it didn’t take too long before we tried an instrument. Well, and as several instruments often sound better together than alone (mostly drums or bass ;D) a band was not far either. And to not only consume the music, but also be part of it has its very own appeal as well! Especially because it’s plain fun to fly off the handle to your own music on stage or in the rehearsal room!!


If you don’t play music, what do you do to kill time and make money? Last time I checked, companies still wanted money and not creativity and enthusiasm…

Haha, yes, it would be great, if we could pay the grocery store with our CDs or sing a little song as payment!! Main problem would probably be amps and power…but maybe the stores will take care of that at one point ;) As we all are still pretty young, we all still are in our education, be it vocational, school or university, but there still is enough time for other activities such as Metal, music or Metal…


Which emotion would your music be?

Metal! I think that sums up all the different emotions that our music processes. Most of our songs surely are joy and exuberance, but again we don’t want to limit ourselves, because we also want to keep the option open to write melancholic, angry, reflective or sad songs. Who knows what kind of emotions will cross our way in our songs in the future…


How do you define success? Only in numbers or is there another definition for you guys?

There are many different definitions for us, but surely not in numbers! Success already can be a special gig or a small personal goal for the band. Everything is so relative that it’s really hard to write anything about it.


If you could not compose/play music, what would you do?

Good question, probably we would still try to, hehe! Even though I’m not sure, if we’d be happy with what comes of it! If you are so untalented that you can’t do anything like that, then you would probably not even try to play music yourself! So then it would stay at the consumption…


What do you love to hate in today’s music industry?

Well, what can you really hate, industry is industry and in the end is connected to making money. Good music is independent from that anyways. There are many good underground bands that play brilliant music and just as many absolutely commercial bands that still play extremely good music!! Then there also are bad bands that don’t have a label for a reason and also bad bands with label that just have good marketing.


Do you think that there still is a real underground as many years back?

Well, due to our age we can’t really compare to what it was like “many years back“, but I think that there still is one nowadays. The definition of “underground” is the problem, because everybody interprets it differently. If you think of it as local bands, that’s what I do, then it is very “there” and also better than before, as it is getting easier and easier for small bands to produce good demos and the networking through the internet has done its part as well!


How important would you think the internet is these days to promote a band?

The internet definitely is the medium number 1 to get the name of your band out there. The chance to make your music accessible via your homepage or MySpace is worth a lot, you don’t need any compilations with 20 songs anymore, because this way it is a lot easier as well to find good bands that don’t have a deal and therefore don’t have the promotion machinery on their side. But a homepage or at least MySpace page is something that many bands have even before they have any songs of their own… Then the numerous webzines and other Metal communities come into play, which in my opinion have rendered the print zines more or less ancient already, I for my part don’t feel the urge to spend money for interviews and reviews that I can get on the internet for free and with a lot more variety, especially as they mostly also are a lot more up to date! All in all the internet is probably the best thing that could have happened to a scene such as Metal with its myriad of possibilities to communicate and network between bands and their fans.


Which album in musical history would you wish was yours and why?

Hmm, I personally would have loved to see the STURMPROPHET name on “All You Need Is Love“ by DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, of course played by STURMPROPHET ;)! It is rare to hear such an ingenious album full of emotions and heaviness...


If time travel was possible, which historic period would you like to visit and what would you miss most from the present?

I think most periods would be interesting for a short visit! I would love to have a look at the 70s or 80s, when Metal and Rock just started out, unfortunately we missed that time. I would probably miss the internet most and the chance to listen to good music all the time and everywhere!


Time for „quick fire“, what comes to mind first for…

Heavy Metal?

STURMPROPHET and banging!!


Often a lot more relative than people see it...


With a few exceptions rather important in music!


Yes, we live here!


Don’t need it! (The rest of the band might vastly disagree, though, hahaha)


Brilliant invention!


One should express them!


As far as mp3s are concerned grossly misjudged!!


You sit at the bar, Lemmy comes in, sits next to you and orders a big glass of milk. What would you do?

Laugh! Film a video and put it online on YouTube ;D!


Just on the side – what do you think of "The Metal Observer"?

Very nice thing! It is just nicer to read reviews and interviews for free and updated every day than to buy a printed magazine that mostly just features the same old and hyped bands...


And my traditional last question: What’s your favourite question about STURMPROPHET that you’ve never been asked, but would finally like to answer?

I’d say that you pretty much covered everything that you could want to know about STURMPROPHET! I don’t have an answer right now, not even a bad joke, hehe.


Thanks for the interview!

Thanks for the great questions, it was fun!!


2005: Sturm Der Propheten (Demo)

2007: Auf Steinigem Pfad (CD, Self-Production)

Alexander Melzer

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