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Stillbirth interview

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The Gutted at Birth Asian tour is the most ambitious initiative by an Indian metal band. A quick look at the tour dates and I realized that Gutslit are playing a gig almost every day without any breaks, no easy task especially in a place like Asia. Accompanying the band on this tour are German death metal act Stillbirth. The band last month released their fifth album Annihilation of mankind via Unique Leader Records and it slams. 

I spoke to Stillbirth vocalist Lukas Swiaczny ahead of the tour about traveling across Asia, Annihilation of Mankind and also the current state of brutal death metal.

You are weeks away from your Gutted At Birth South east Asian tour with Gutslit. How does it feel?

Hey Guys, thanks for the Interview. We had a stressful and busy time with many shows and the release of our Album “Annihilation of Mankind”, and also with getting Visa done, flights booked, shows booked for the asia tour. I didn’t realized that the tour is already starting in a couple of days, but the time is running fast and we are preparing our stuff every day for this tour. It’s the biggest DIY Asia Tour ever done by a Death Metal band and we are happy that we got our brothers of Gutslit with us. I am a little bit scared if our travels will work well, if we get any problems at the borders or with the police or something. We have to fly nearly every day, so this have to be a logistical masterpiece. But still, highly looking forward to start the tour. Actually we are playing the first show on the mighty NRW Deathfest in Wermelskirchen / Germany. After that we are heading to Frankfurt Airport and we will fly to Dubai. The first flight is already challenging, because we are landing at 7pm in Dubai, and the show starts at 8pm. I think, when this show is done, I will be a little bit more chilled.

You have toured across Europe with Gutslit last year. How did this South East Asian tour come about?

We toured already two times with Gutslit in Europe. In 2015 and in 2017. We wanted to do a south America tour, but we didn’t had enough contacts in this part of the world, so we decided to go to Asia. Gutslit was the right partner for this trip, because the music is sick and they had a lot of contacts to asia-promoter.

Asia is a hard market for touring bands, because the prices are pretty low. In the most of this countries, merchandise of bands costs like 6 Dollar a shirt or 5 Dollar a cap. Merchandise is not a real option to cover the costs. We had to cover the costs before and had to put money out of our pockets on top. At least we got costs of 12.000 Euro, which we have to pay by our self. But we are not doing this for the money. We are doing it for the experience and for conquering new parts of the world. And maybe we can generate new fans on this tour.

Your recently released album Annihilation of mankind sounds slamming. Do tell us more about it.

“Annihilation of Mankind” is a concept album about the initiation of a world war, that ends in a post apocalyptic nuclear utopia, as seen on the KILLER Artwork, done by Aghy Purakusuma from Indonesia. We are telling a fictional story, but maybe it’s more real than we think. Every song got its own drive, suitable for the lyric concept. We tried to create a perfect symbiosis between the lyrics and the riffs. The sound should be groovy and slamming but also technical and clean. On every new record we try to do it much better than on the last record. And personally I think, that we did a big step compared to our last Album “Global Error”. Hopefully the fans also can deal with this step.

What was the writing and recording process for the album? Did you try anything different this time around?

We were working on “Annihilation of Mankind” since the end of 2015. After “Global Error” was released we started with the songwriting of “Annihilation of Mankind” but we were slow in writing because we were on the road playing shows nearly every week. Most of the songs were written by me and our bass player Dominik “Pumpa” König. We changed a lot on this album compared to the last album. At first we focused on a better concept with better lyrics and more technical riffing. I am not a native English-speaker, so you can imagine how hard it is, to write lyrics which are more than just meaningless words. In the writing and recording time we were also struggling with member-changes, which made it even more challenging to write decent music.
We decided to kill the rap-parts on this record. Some liked them, some hated them. I did also nearly all the vocals on this album for the first time. Normally Pumpa was doing the high screams, but my voice was better in shape after all the touring, so I recorded also his parts.
Guest vocals are also a new addition on “Annihilation of Mankind”. All of our guest vocalists are great friends of the band and we are happy that they are on this killer.

Don Campan – Waking the Cadaver / Hate Diplomacy -> Track Hypnotized by Lies
Duncan Bentley – Vulvodynia, Xavleg -> Track Highest of Malice
Zdenek Simecek – Godless Truth / Ex-Psycroptic -> Track First Strike
Chris Butterworth – Crepitation / Kastrated -> Track Nuclear Stench
Andree Kress – AK420 / Ex-Placenta Powerfist / Ex-Stillbirth -> Track Annihilation of Mankind

The recording process took a long time. After our guitarist Philipp Schubert left the band, I had to learn the songs and than I recorded his guitar parts. We recorded all the songs at DPK-Studios in Hagen. That’s Pumpas own recording studio. That’s why we took the time that we needed. We recorded all our CD’s and since Pumpa is a professional Audio-Engineer now, the sound was getting better and better.

What are your thoughts on the current state of brutal death metal?

I think that brutal death metal gets more and more attention. With help of bands like “Vulvodynia”, “Ingested”, “Slaughter to Prevail” and “Within Destruction” the younger generation is jumping on the brutal death metal train. You can hate this “Fake-Slam” bands as much as you want, but they are doing a good job in getting people into brutal music. I have heard a lot of times “Vulvodynia got me into Slam and Deathcore, but soon I discovered the world of technical and brutal death metal”. We are also getting better and better response on our music, especially on live shows. Maybe there is a new age of brutal death metal coming, like in the early 2000s.

What’s currently on your playlist?

My playlist is pretty tight right now. Iam listening to Stillbirth, Placenta Powerfist and xavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffx right now, because these are my three projects and every band got a new Album out, or out in the near future. So I have to listen a million times to the songs and get them into my head, haha.
But besides that I got some new and old stuff in my playlist. Like Zubrowska (grind from France, RIP), Amputated Repugnance (slam from Belgium, RIP), Embrace your Punishment (hardcore/death metal from France), Without Remorse (hardcore/death metal from USA), Diaroe (death metal from Germany), Organectomy (technical slam from Australia), Waking the Cadaver (no words needed) and a lot of more.

Live in Mumbai

The band completes 20 years next year. What has kept you going despite the line up changes?

Stillbirth is my baby. I don’t need kids, I got them in the band, haha. I am listening to death metal music since I was 12 years old (now 34) and you can’t just quit your passion. Music is a big part of my life, that’s why I am also doing the Deathfeast Open Air in Andernach, together with Mike Heinemann. And we are organizing a lot of shows with our promotion teams of “Brutal Grooves and Grinding Moves” and “Blast-A-Palooza”. I think I will do this for the next 20 years and I will be glad about this decision.

But yes, the most challenging things are Member-Changes. I am happy that at least Pumpa is a second stable member since 2005. Since our founding in 1999 we had more than 15 lineup-changes and it’s always the same. New job, new wife, new passion. The members are coming and going, but the music will stay forever. It took a long time to get a line up like I wanted it. But I think we got it now. Jan, our main guitarist, left the band right before the release of “Annihilation of Mankind” due to his hard working times. We catched Jens Strack from Obsolete Incarnation as a second guitaris. He is a great guy and we are friends for ages. All of the band members in Stillbirth are friends and great musicians. With Simon “Sims” Stürmlinger, Martin Grupe and Jens Strack we got motivated and very professional musicians in the band and I think this will be a stable line-up for many years now. Let’s hope that. But if not, than the band will still be alive and going on doing music.

Do you have anything special planned for the 20th anniversary of the band?

We are still thinking about a special. Hopefully we can go on another USA-Tour in this timeframe. But if we are staying in Europe, than you can bet your ass on it, that we will be doing a great party in our Hometown. Or at least a mini tour included Oberhausen (Germany), Osnabrück (Germany), Zug (Switzerland). Because these three places are our headquarters and the fans are more than just great!

We were already thinking about a gig, where we play all our five releases and maybe with some of the old members. We will see.

What can fans expect from the Gutted At Birth shows?

It will be heavy, unmerciful and I think these guys haven’t seen something like this before. Our goals are our life shows. Playing shows on another continent will push us even more to kill every stage we step onto. If you never saw a life performance from Stillbirth, check out our “Summer Breeze Teaser” and you can smell the brutality:

Do you have any more shows/tours planned for the rest of the year?

Before we are going on Asia Tour we will be playing in Linz (Austria) on the Linz Deathfest, after this we are playing on the NRW Deathfest in Wermelskirchen (Germany). After Asia we will hit the UK for a show in Birmingham and the Fall in the Brawl Vol. 3 Festival and the next one is one of the last shows of the Festival-Series “Monthly Assault”. And after that we will be on another Europe Tour with Ingested and Extermination Dismemberment, which will be released the next weeks. Our year is pretty packed and we are already booking the first shows and festivals for 2019.

Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much for doing this interview with me and for supporting the scene. Thanks to all the fans out there which support Death Metal, Grindcore, Goregrind, Slam, Deathcore and so on. Keep it brutal and don’t stop telling the people about the heaviest of the Heavy Metal. Thanks to all Stillbirth fans which are supporting us since years, and also thanks to the new fans we gain every year. You are all great people and we love you all.

And at least, thanks to Unique Leader Records for taking us into their rooster and giving us the opportunity to be on one of the best labels on this planet.

I manged to catch the Mumbai leg of the tour over the weekend. Stillbirth played one of the most intense and fun sets I have seen in a while. The Indian leg of their tour wrapped up last night and those in the cities on the upcoming dates should definitely catch the show.  

Written by trendcrusher

September 25, 2018 at 4:46 pm

Joerg (Folter Records)

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I have been featuring mainly grindcore and death metal on the blog recently, it’s time now for some black metal. I was introduced to Folter Records a German metal label by Ulf (Metal Masala). The label have put out some killer black metal releases in the past 26 years. Do check out their recent releases at the end of my interview with label owner Joerg.

It’s has been 26 years since you started the label. How does it feel looking back?

I´m proud that my label is still alive. There are many labels coming and going through the years, but to survive for more than 25 years, that makes me proud.
So it´s a good feeling.

Your first release was As Divine Grace – Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn. How did it come about?

This was my first CD release, before I had released two 7“ EPs. I don´t know from where the band got my address because I was not well known as label and just at the beginning. Anyway, I got a promo tape and I had to travel to my grandfather by train and I had enough time to listen to the tape.I was more into extreme Black and Death Metal, but somehow I was touched by their music and I would release it.

What have been the most memorable release/s on your label so far?

There are a few, SKYFORGER-Thunderforge, URGEHAL-Death is Complete 7“EP, MAYHEMIC TRUTH – Cythraw 7“EP.

What is the biggest problem that you faced so far in running the label?

That I never got a distro service for my releases. But this have changed now. Since about 2 years I have a german distro and since last month also an american distro .

What kind of marketing do you do?

We still press promo CDs we send out to mags, in german mags we book advertisements and of course we send out digital promos. Bands play live and this is the best promo you can have. Of course when the band play well, hehe

What changes have you noticed in bands/customers in the past few years?

Bands accept more worse deals. In the past, the label had to pay studio costs, to pay royalties and now the bands are ok to get some % from the pressed CDs. Since customers don´t buy CDs in the right amount, the labels can´t pay for everything anymore. For bands it´s better to accept such deals than to have no deals.

What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?

I need a good feeling that the band will fit on my label. The band should play live, this is very important.

Have you been in a band? What instrument do you play?

No never and I don’t play an instrument. There are enough talented and untalented musicians hehe

Do you have any advice for those planning to start a metal music record label?

Better not to start a label when you have no money, no distro and not the right bands. Many labels have closed over the last years, hard times.

What are the upcoming releases from your label?

The next 2 releases are NARBELETH-„Indomitvs“, a BM band from Cuba, ah not just a BM, it´s the best BM band from Cuba and the new album of ARCKANUM-„Den Förstfödd“. Both will be released end of September.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?

I have to thank you for the interview once again and keep the flame of Metal alive.

 

Here are a few of the recent releases from Folter Records.

 

 

 

Written by trendcrusher

September 23, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Interviews

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Fountainhead interview

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Fountainhead is solo project of German guitarist Tom Geldschläger. I was introduced to his music by Vishal J Singh. Last month, Tom released Reverse Engineering, his 3rd album as Fountainhead. The predominately instrumental album has a strong influence of Indian classical music, unlike anything I have heard before.

I spoke to Tom about the album, his work as a producer and also his other projects.

 

fountainhead1

Hi Tom, what have you been up to lately?

Hi Peter, I’ve been super busy, as usual. “Reverse Engineering” just came out, only a few weeks after my second album with the “Pitts/Minnemann Project”, called “The Psychic Planetarium”. Right now, I’m in the process of starting a label together with some amazing people and the physical edition of RE will be the first release on it. Also I’ve been recording guitars for a new project mixing metal, dance music and russian influences, which I’m really excited about. Also, I recorded a ton of guest solos and did some more mixing and production-work.

How does it feel now that your 3rd solo album Reverse Engineering has been released?

I’m really glad to finally have it released since it’s been sitting on the shelf for quite some time while I had other obligations to fulfill – years, actually. I’m also glad it seems to get very positive responses from the fans and the press, which is not always a given when you’re trying to do something unique, something that doesn’t repeat what you’ve done in the past and may go totally against people’s expectations.

There is an influence of Indian classical music on a few of the tracks on the album. How did you get into Indian classical music?

I’ve been fascinated by Indian music for many years. Discovering the richness of Indian music went hand in hand with me developing an interest in meditation and eastern philosophy. Fortunately, these days I’m able to occasionally work with some amazing Indian musicians and I’m sure I’ll explore these influences further in the future.

A couple of the tracks have instrumental and vocal versions. What is the reason behind that?

Most of these tunes were originally written as vocal tunes for a band-project that didn’t end up happening. Re-working them as instrumental versions was the easy part and i just didn’t want to decide on either version. However, working with different singers was a lengthy and difficult process and I didn’t even get to include all of the vocal tracks we recorded, unfortunately.

Fountainhead - Reverse Engineering

The album features performances by Derek Roddy, Jacob Schmidt, Linus Klausenitzer and many more. How did they become a part of the album?

By me asking them. Most of these musicians I’ve known for a while and had already worked with in other projects.

With members in different countries, how did you manage the recording of the album?

I recorded most of the basic tracks in my Studio in Berlin, including demo-versions of the remaining instruments/parts, which I then sent to the guest-musicians to “put their own stamp on it”. They then recorded in their own studio of choice and we sent files back and forth until the final result was reached. Sometimes we even worked using skype.

The album has a cover of King Crimson. Which other bands would you like to cover?

No plans for other covers at the moment. “Model Man” was another song we did in the band-project I mentioned earlier, so it made sense to include it on RE. I’m not a big fan of covers, unless you’re able to give the song a unique and fresh perspective. It looks like the next Fountainhead release will be all-instrumental again and will certainly have no cover-versions.

You are also a producer. What projects are you currently working on at the moment?

I just finished producing and mixing an EP of old-school power metal for a band called “Liquid Fire” and mixing an electronic music album. In September I’ll be mixing a jazz-trio’s album. Anybody can hit me up for that sort of work, btw.

What advice do you have for younger musicians who like to become full time musicians?

Keep your ego in check, don’t be an asshole, but also don’t take shit from anybody! Work on your attitude and mindset just as hard as on your music. Don’t take shortcuts, they’ll always come back to bite you in the ass. Look to others for inspiration but never copy them, find your own way to do anything.

Fountainhead

What are you plans for promotion of the album? Do you have any live shows planned?

No full-band shows are planned at this point, it would be just too much of a financial burden. But if the right offer comes I certainly wouldn´t say “no”. For now, I’m looking forward to a few select shows where it’ll just be me and a backing track, for example at the “Holy Grail Guitar Show” this October.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much for your support! Keep spreading the word about Fountainhead, there’ll be more to come. Also, keep an eye out for big things happening at vmbrella.com! In the meantime, get your copy of “Reverse Engineering” at thefountainhead.bandcamp.com. Love & Light!

Stream/Download Reverse Engineering below

Written by trendcrusher

September 22, 2016 at 10:00 am