1. Could you tell us a little more about your debut as a band (any fun anecdotes about your debut)?
Fil (Filip Hörschläger, guitars): The whole origination process of the debut was a single anecdote, if you want so. At the beginning, we recorded in a private recording studio, where after two weeks of drum recording, the police was on the doorstep to temporarily end the recording. A short while later, we could no longer reach the studio owner and struggled to at least get the tracks that we already recorded. I had all the files at home then with a lot of tracks to still be recorded. I had to learn how to record, how to mix and master the tracks. Retrospectively, I can hardly believe how it turned out so well.
Michael (Michael Bichler, singer): The debut album is actually a transition of a metal album that Fil wrote and recorded together with Alexander Pichler (who also played most drum tracks on Dinner for One) with their metal band Proktologue. Actually, one of the reasons that our style of heavy acoustic rock developed was the fact that Fil and Alex couldn’t find band members who would play the metal songs and they thus had to re-arrange the songs in an unplugged setting. In the very early days, they added rather untypical instruments like accordion, saxophone and flute on stage, which made a very special sound that was the beginning of our powerful acoustic rock. When I came to the band, I just immediately fell in love with this strange style and unusual sounds.
2. For our readers who have never heard it, how would you describe your music?
Fil: In a few words, we would describe our music as “powerful acoustic rock”. Essentially, we try to combine different genres like alternative rock, metal, progressive rock but also straight rock and pop influences and give it a certain twist by playing everything with only acoustic guitars. A lot of influence comes from alternative rock bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, A Perfect Circle, Pearl Jam or the prog band Porcupine Tree but this doesn’t mean that we actually sound like these bands. Just like Pink Floyd had influences both from the progressive and the pop or commercial genre, we do not want to shield ourselves from certain influences too much.
Michael: There have been some interesting descriptions of our style in reviews of music magazines and especially in the reviews from Jamendo listeners. We have received over 600 reviews for the debut album on Jamendo and most of them are incredibly flattering. The amazing feedback of the community on Jamendo was always a huge source of motivation for our band. After finishing “Dinner for One”, we did think that our style had something fresh and unique but to see so many people from all over the world share this opinion was extremely motivating for us.
It's great to know that people who can't afford to buy
our album can download it too on Jamendo.
3. If I borrowed your ipod right now, what artists would I find in the recently played list?
Fil: Well, there are a lot of artists on the good old pod and the list is changing constantly. You will find these on the current list: Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold, Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV, Alter Bridge – Fortress, Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II, Bob Dylan - All Time Best, Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around, Dream Theater – Dream Theater, Emerson Lake & Palmer – Tarkus, Genesis - A trick of the Tail, Incubus – If not now, when?, Tesseract – One/Perspective, Tool – 10,000 Days
Michael: On the prog/metal side you would definitely find Tesseract’s “Concealing Fate” and also some local Austrian bands like Koko (their new EP has just been released on Jamendo), Fiasco Électrique, Ensenada and Jo Strauss. Presently there would also be some Hip Hop – Outkast and the new Run the Jewels album. Of course, there are also artists from Jamendo on the list, like Josh Woodward, Fresh Body Shop, TenPenny Joke, Maya Filipic, The Jimmy Hofer Band, Irfan, John Q, Talco, Jeremiah David and others.
4. You just released your album Through on Jamendo. What stories and messages are you trying to convey through it and are you working on the production of a new album?
The creation of Through has been a common process of the band and the lyrics have been written by different band members (mostly by the singer Michael but also by Filip and one song by Judith, the female vocalist). The common theme of the album is the duality of human existence but the words are pretty diverse in tone and depth. While the lyrics of “Good Night and Shut Up” are basically a light and ironic rant, the lyrics of “Burning the Witch” and “The Villain” tell rather dramatic stories of fictional and archetypical persons. Other songs like “Through” and “Cyranoia” are very personal lyrics that probably a lot of listeners can relate to on an emotional basis.
We are indeed working on new songs that we are going to release on Jamendo. It will probably be an EP and no whole album yet, as this would take us longer. We will work together on the EP with Alexander Pichler, the original drummer of Proktologue, who played most drum tracks on our debut. Also, we are currently producing a new music video that will be released next year, to the song “Burning the witch”.
5. Your songs have been featured by Rammstein during their tour. Could you tell us a little more about it and the impact it has had on your career?
We cannot exactly evaluate the impact the support of Rammstein had after they found our music on Jamendo. We know that they have played a lot of our songs to several hundred thousands of listeners on their tours, which is amazing for us. But we do not know how many of these listeners know whom they were actually listening to. It was, after all, a huge source of motivation for us and naturally something to brag about.
The funny thing is that we found out that Rammstein played our songs when three members of the band were at a Rammstein concert in Prague and couldn’t believe their ears when they heard our song “New Born Son” on the PA. They were literally freaking out and there even is a video that documents that. But this really is not suited for public.
We found out that Rammstein played our songs when three members of the band were at a Rammstein concert in Prague.
6. What’s your favorite song to belt out in your car/shower/bedroom, at the bar or for karaoke?
Michael: For karaoke, I prefer swing songs and sing them pretty badly of course – I mean, that is an important tradition after all. In the car, I either sing along with the CDs I’m presently listening to or songs that go easy like national anthems. I especially like the U.S. and Italian ones, the Austrian is pretty boring though.
Fil: Car: Tool – “Lost Keys”/”Rosetta Stoned”; Shower: Pink Floyd – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”; Bedroom: Maya Filipič – “Stories From Emona I”; Karaoke: … well, I am very good in interpreting the Titanic theme from Celine Dion – “My heart will go on”
7. What are the best memories you keep from your public performances?
Fil: When we played in Gasometer Vienna, the audience was so loud that I thought I heard the choirs of a thousand pirates roaring - that gives your ego a decent boost and makes your knees shudder at the same time. But I enjoy smaller concerts most where you just let go and after the gig ask yourself if the last hour really passed already and then realize you have been in a trance the last couple of songs.
The concerts in front of larger audiences like in Prater Vienna in front of over 5,000 people or on other big stages are certainly things you would remember. Yet, there are so many moments in smaller locations that are just as good. For example, we played a charity concert on a boat where we only play to candle light as it was a charity for “Earth Hour”. As there weren’t enough chairs for the audience, some people were sitting on blankets on the floor right in front of us. This was rather intimate and a great atmosphere too.
Michael: Overall, you get the chance to meet a lot of great bands and nice and funny people when you are doing shows and that alone is worth all the effort. It was also great in the beginning when most people didn’t know what we were playing and we told everyone that we would play some sort of acoustic rock. The look on their faces after the first songs when they saw what we actually meant with ‘acoustic rock’ was fun to watch too, especially when they were metal fans.
8. What was the craziest experience you lived as a band?
Our longtime drummer, Willy, who was not only a great musician but a very nice and intelligent fellow, had a special ability to produce crazy situations. For example when he had to use the bathroom for a while right before we wanted to go on stage where an audience of 5,000 was waiting or when he played with a bucket standing right next to him on our album release show because he tasted a new energy drink right before the show that made him feel very sick. On another concert, we had a four star hotel provided by the organizer. As that was the only time we ever had a sleeping possibility provided at a concert, we wanted to enjoy the comfortable rooms and have a big breakfast on the next day, of course. Fil and Willy finally wouldn’t use this option but instead would party way too hard and end up sleeping under a stair just outside the location we played.
Another crazy experience was when we played in Slovenia and on the way back lost our way. We ended up on a steep road in the woods that would eventually lead to a huge stone pyramid on a hill with a stone circle on top of it and a small church within that circle. To the very day, we could not find out whether this building even exists or if we got lost in a parallel dimension. Neither the locals nor the internet knew could tell us anything about this huge historic building.
9. You chose to share your music for free under Creative Commons licenses on Jamendo. Why did you make this decision?
When we released our debut on Jamendo, we never thought it would be downloaded over 45,000 times in five years. From the first weeks, we saw that there was a special dynamic on this platform that we did not see anywhere else. As mentioned, it is just such a huge motivation if people from all over the world respond in such an amazing way to your songs. And it is great to know that even people who could not afford to buy your album can download it too. On the self-interested side, spreading your album through Jamendo is a great means of getting your music heard by thousands of people who share the music with their friends or use your songs in their private videos.
10. Do you have a fun anecdote that your fans don’t know about and would be surprised to hear?
Fil: Yeah, we have all been abducted by aliens who did a lot of weird examinations with us. But if you are able to work up these experiences through music, this is easy to handle. … Well, to be serious - a running gag within our band is the many variations that different music journalists or concert organizers come up with when they mess up spelling us right, like Amity of Fame, Enmity in Fame and others. We would then of course come up with other names like “Animals on Flames”, “Agony of Pain”, “Aliens in Vain” (here we have them again) or others.
Michael: Another nice incident that comes to our mind was when a string of Fil’s guitar tear at a concert during the song “Relegate the Judge” before the second chorus. We would just play on and Willy and Roman (Bass) were playing so heavy that the chorus was pretty fat anyway. It only took Fil until the guitar solo to replace the string and just go ahead with the solo. I could hardly believe my eyes as the time frame was much less than a minute.
Another thing that comes to my mind would be the countless jams of Fil, Roman and Willy during the rehearsals. They were improvising a lot when we were working on Through and I remember when I left the rehearsal room for a few minutes and came back to hear Fil, Roman, Willy and Judith all play a tune that seemed like a complete song that they were playing for years already. They were all improvising but it just fit so well that I could hardly believe they were – this jam would later become the song “When It Comes To The End”. However, I have to add that I’m not a big jammer and I can tell you that they could go on with a jam for dozens of minutes which brought me onto my knees at times.
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