Hey guys, first of all thank you for being so enthusiastic and having the time to conduct some research and shed some light on your first EP - "Nach Ewigen Gesetzen". Let's start with a general question: What are your general feelings for this winter?
Mike: Well, this winter started a little late, but was cold enough to freeze them. Much work to do, many ugly faces to cope with. Probably this one is kind of like those winters in upper Siberia, when it's dark all day and all night long and you get to know what at the heart of winter really is.
Georg: I think our feelings concerning the EP are quite good. We are proud of having done such a high quality 4 track EP on our own. I hope that there is even more proceeding especially regarding labels and publicity. But we have a good feeling on this. We want to reach a common purpose that we've set ourselves and that is having success.
Aris: You've been around since quite a while, what are the main problems for young artists nowadays? How long did it take to organize yourselves to be what you are today?
Mike: I could give you an endless list of topics to speak about concerning this question but let's focus on some main aspects associated with our situation. In a way it's funny, but the problems arising in our region are of “trivial” nature like “we need a place for rehearsals” or “hey guys some local Metal band is performing tonight, anybody interested? - Nope, a beer at Hell's Pub will do...”. Especially our town is like a huge nest of koala bears sleeping for 23 hours a day, interested in nothing, particularly not interested in offering young motivated people an opportunity to go forward. We started in 2006, so ok, it took us, let's say about two years to build the current line-up, but ok we are seven, ehm., six guys and a girl, quite a lot of musicians for Metal band.
Georg: It took us a long time to stand at the point we are standing at the moment. I think we were more than a bit disappointed after the last demo “Sie kamen” didn't turn out into what we wanted it to be, what of course was our mistake, but overall a mistake of a person working in the “Heavensdoor Studio”. But after we got along with that, we soon played our first gig, and Michi wrote a bunch of new songs which gave us a new purpose of what we want to do and step by step we climbed up to where we are now. But we think it can even be way higher. ;)
Martin: The first problem is to find motivated musicians, that like the music you want to play, this took us tree years. The second problem is to find some place to practice, that has acceptable inventory (we are still looking for one) and the third problem is to get some gigs, if you are not yet well known.
Louis: I think the main problems nowadays are to get known by many people and of course to get under contract. It took some time to find all the musicians. It's hard to get someone who is able to play the songs, who is able to read the music and who has the character that fits to the other ones.
Aris: You describe yourselves as "Melodic Death Metal". That seems very out of place for me. Would you give us some insight about why choosing such a vague subgenre for you?
Mike: Most people would describe our music as “Symphonic Metal” or “Dark Metal”, I guess. For me personally these terms always refer to bands like WINDS OF PLAGUE or AVANTASIA, belonging to the category “look I got some cool shitty orchestra sounds in my songs, I'm so symphonic, I'm so melody”. I don't like my music to be associated with those bands and their style. And when we speak about “style” here, each let's say “distinguishable”, band or musician has its own and it's not necessary to categorize for me. But of course it is if you have to write a short information about your band and stuff like this. So here the problem appears., and we had to make a choice. Ok you're right, the word is too rough, but who cares, you can compare it to writing 4 as 3 plus 1 or 2 plus 2 if you want to add 5. In this case representation doesn't matter but the value is essential.
Georg: I think melodic death isn't the most correct category for our music. I think we have influences from everywhere and they contain Melo Death too, but I think we are rather a mix of many subgenres. You can find everything from a classical touch to a Black Metal touch in our music. I think we've just not arranged among each other which special type of music we are playing.
Louis: To be honest...we didn't know exactly which subgenre we fit most, so we choose this one because of our melodic as well as our Death Metal influences. Otherwise you would have to say: Metal with Death Metal as well as classical influences and some other genres, too which are too much to mention. In fact you could say: It's Metal.
Aris: Give us some insights about your stance to Metal and the other musical styles that have inspired you throughout the years.
Mike: Of course Metal influenced me a lot, both the music and the, , well call it “lifestyle”.
Georg: I think we have a widespread musical taste. Each one of us listens to different styles of music and subgenres in Metal. It is spread from classical music over various types of Metal up to electro or for example Klezmer ;). Tina by the way doesn't really listen to Metal.
Aris: Okay, now that we've learned a little bit more about you, tell us what "Nach Ewigen Gesetzen" is all about.
Mike: In my opinion, in “true” arts, if the art is done for the sake of itself not for money or other purpose ;) I mean, art IS about itself. For instance if a artist draws a painting then painting is about the painting, look at it and admire if you like it. Lyrics and everything around the music might be important of course, and indeed are for most people, but from my point of view the music for itself does the work. Take Chopin's sonata in B minor and do mindful rehearsal – you know what it's all about without a single word. In this context it's important to mention that since none of us is a good poet, we decided to ask a friend of us to help. We gave him the midi versions of the songs and waited for about two weeks, I think. And then after two weeks I read the lyrics for the first time and what an amazing thing: It seemed like he could really extract each of the thought I had, when I was composing the music, and put it into words. So if you look for the “deep content” in our music, it's everything there in the lyrics. Interpret them the way you like.
Martin: It's about things in life that are inevitable and constant like death and war. You get confronted with them every day and you have to deal with it, so the music is a way of coping.
Louis: The EP should show that you can write music even today which is full of power, without sounding like someone else.
Aris: What do you feel when you create the music and what are your goals?
Mike: If we talk in the context of “ideological” concepts, as stated in the previous question “real” music is there for itself. As I hope that our music is kept real, the music first of all isn't produced for, say, any “higher purpose” but comes out naturally. Like a river seeks for its down the mountain until it reaches the great sea. It's there, no aims, just blue and beautiful. For me there no “special goals” I try to achieve with the music - for example like a Black Metal band is willing to spread Satanism through the music as a major goal. On the other hand there is of course a musical concept within the songs. To combine all influences we have to something special, unusual. To create something we always wanted to hear, but never found. To show that music can be heavy, but beautiful and mindful at the same time. Many people say our music is not heavy for some reason, but Slayer or a filthy punk band for instance is. Haha, don't get it, ever found a track of Slayer with a 210 bpm Blastbeat on it? But ok, this will end up in a discussion about what "heavy" is and so on, another time maybe *smiles*.
Georg: Creating the music in PHDONOS DEON is mainly a job of Michael. But it’s interesting and satisfying to have a complete song after you step by step set the pieces together in the rehearsal room. At that moment the vision of the composer which he had when he wrote the song expands of fails. I can't follow what Michael is really feeling while he's writing a song, but when I play our songs, I feel satisfied and proud to play along with six other guys.
Louis: It's some kind of gratification I think. You feel free because you can switch your ideas into notes and so you can express yourself in a marvellous way. For me our goals are first of all to bring the music to the masses. This is only possible in correspondence with a label and so we hope to get to a good one.
Aris: You're driving in your car when suddenly a cat runs out right in front of you and you accidentally hit it. You're in no hurry to get anywhere and the poor animal is screaming in pain but you don't bother to stop and help it. How do you feel?
Mike: Fuck it, theory claims stupid cat is dead on impact. Crapped my bumper is ruined, damned fuckwhore...
The recording for your second output is quite amazing concerning the possibilities you had. How important is a clear production in music for you?
Mike: First, thanks for the compliment. On the issue of clarity I'd say it depends. Think of a good old Jazz track for one moment - the famous recording of "Minor Swing" by Django Reinhardt is brilliant example. It just wouldn’t be the same without this “noisy” or “old-fashioned” touch. The sound you produce has to serve the musical structure of your piece. Our music mostly doesn’t consist of just “riffs” or “licks” like you would expect from a common Metal or rock band. If you inspect it in detail, you will find a lot of complex arrangements, many different melody-lines working together at the same time. If you don’t hear them, they get lost. The music is disturbed, this very crucial part of symbiosis is lost – it becomes noise, but not the music we were intended to create. For this reason a pure sound is essential for us.
Georg: I think a clear production helps us to bring out the variety of our music. Imagine how many details got lost on “Sie kamen” due to a not fully adapted production. We wanted that every little detail can be heard and I think we quite reached it on “Nach Ewigen Gesetzen". You normally listen to famous bands with a nearly perfect production and you are used to it, so if you want to be successful with your music, a good production is the basement of success. (Of course there are exceptions)
Louis: A clear production is the basic thing for this kind of music. You've got so many tracks and so many instruments which are all an important part of the song. If our EP was half that clear it would not be enjoyable to listen to.
The album artwork really puzzles me. Can you explain the connection to the music?
Mike: Don't be boring man, puzzle on, the proof of connection is not longer than 30 pages, I know you can do it *smiles*
Martin: It depicts a glacier, the eternal ice, things that never change, so it shows the idea of "Nach Ewigen Gesetzen".
Georg: There is no real connection between music and cover. We just wanted something epic and monumental. Perhaps the rising diver symbolizes our possible success, who knows?
Are there any upcoming gigs where we can see you in action? How about farther away from your home?
Mike: Our genre is not the easiest to be booked, but hopefully we will be on stage on the several open air events.
Georg: Without having rehearsal room we don't have planned any gigs at the moment. But as soon as it is possible to rehearse again, we try to find gigs, and of course we are not averse to play farther away.
Louis: We're actually searching for a new "practice room" but we're also working on new gigs. In 2010 we're going to have several gigs for sure, and I hope that some of them are farther away from home.
What are your big musical influences in classical, Metal and Jazz? Feel free to add more genres.
Mike: Concerning classical music it’s easy, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Dvorak, Mahler, Brahms, Lizst, Verdi, Schubert, Strauss, but also several guys of the modern era like Khatchaturian, Ornstein, Legeti. To speak about Metal influences, I think there are too many. You find this cool element in this part of a songs, and that cool element in another, but just to name a few for the protocol, NIGHTWISH, SIX FEET UNDER, NARGAROTH, BEHEMOTH, Yngwie Malmsteen (this guy will teach you that you can destroy any cool idea by shred), THE VISION BLEAK, ROTTEN SOUND, Too funny, that I almost don’t listen to any of bands listed above. During the last two years I discovered the wide field of Jazz. I enjoy very much sub-genres like gypsy Jazz and bossa-nova which had a notably impact on my musical development. I hope to record some Jazzy stuff as soon as time allows. Ah, I forgot traditional dance music. tango, waltz, polka, we already implemented the waltz. Be curious what's next *smiles*
Is a full-length album coming up soon? Anything exceptional that you have planning?
Mike: Actually we'd have enough material for two full-length material, but without “professional” help, it's almost impossible for young artists as us to finance a recording at least in a quality as the EP. We hope our search for a suitable partner will be successful and you can enjoy a PHDONOS DEON full-length record soon.
Georg: A full length album is not intended at the moment.
Louis: First of all, we try to get a label, which gives us the possibilities to record a full length album and get several gigs. You have to mention that we've got two full length albums of songs ready to be recorded...
Would you categorize your music to be part of a greater concept that you would like to present?
Mike: As it's obvious from the rest of the talk in my eyes the music itself tells you the whole story – THAT's the concept if you want it. The music to be so powerful and intoxicating, that all emotions and idea which belong to each particular song, are completely in there, in the song, in the notes, in the wave propagating from your player to your ear.
Georg: I think that there is nothing more than a musical concept. We don't have the intention to express certain political/religious meanings or always bemoan the loss of sth. The concept is simply to develop the music we make. There are always things you can do better.
Thank you all for your time and effort you put into answering the questions with a little more vigor than expected, best of luck and see you in the future at some concert maybe!
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