Dr. Doom's Lair - this great website features some killer interviews and CD reviews. There might be many sites out there to choose from for your review and interview needs but there is no finer than Dr.Doom's Lair so show some support and check it out and tell your friends. I interviewed Manuel only just a couple of months ago but you can't get too much from this band so I present to you another great interview from the Doc. Big thanks go out to Dr.Doom for allowing this interview to be shared with the readers of Doommantia.
DrD.: Hello Manuel and thanks for this interview! The reviews so far for both Golden Bough and Demos are overwhelming. A lot of reviewers have already named Golden Bough a classic epic metal album. How did you receive this success?
M.T.: We are overwhelmed all the same. No one in the band really expected that the album would be perceived so warmly by such a wide crowd. We were pretty sure the people in the traditional metal underground would love it, but we didn‘t expect such a great response from the wider metal audience.
DrD.: You give very selective lives and judging by Demos and Golden Bough you take your time between releases. After the success of Golden Bough did you ever considered redefining yourselves as a band? I mean turning Atleantean Kodex into more like a “full time job”.
M.T.: No, never! The band was and still is a „fun“ thing we do in our free time. This way we have the absolute freedom to do whatever we want to do without any compromise. This wouldn‘t be possible, if we signed to a big label or if we turned the band into a full-time job. That said we‘re also too experienced to fall to the illusion that we could really make it „big“ with music like ours. No band playing traditional heavy metal will ever be able to make a decent living just by the music in 2010/2011. It would be rather foolish signing to a bigger label with music like ours, it would ruin the band.
DrD.: How do you explain the fact that so many fans of different kinds of metal equally enjoyed Golden Bough? For instance I am a Doom metal fan but besides a few doom elements the album is far away from what I usually listen to!
M.T.: Maybe it‘s because we offer the essence of Heavy Metal, the common root and tradition everyone can relate to. While Heaven Wept coined the term „universal metal“ for their latest album. I think our style is pretty similar. We‘re mixing different kinds of metal, e.g. NWOBHM, Epic Doom Metal, Epic Metal, obscure US Metal. This might appeal to a wider audience.
DrD.: Golden Bough displays an excellent turn into more traditional forms of metal. A lot of people might have asked you “what you don’t like in today’s music industry”. I am going to reverse the question and ask you is there something that you like in today’s metal or music industry in general?
M.T.: I fucking hate the industry. They‘re parasites who feast on the creativity, blood and sweat of the underground metal scenes. They‘re full of shit and need to be destroyed. The good thing about today‘s metal is the vibrant and diverse underground, with great shows, awesome bands of different styles and cool fanzines. The underground has never been more alive than today. It will keep metal alive and dangerous despite the attempts of the industry to turn it into a silly carnival event.
DrD.: How do you explain that lately many bands turn their style to more classic heavy metal approaches?
M.T.: Because Heavy Metal has become a trend again. People are sick of the plastic sounds and turn to the real thing. Real guitars, real drums, emotions, passion and great musicianship. Real Heavy Metal is a very honest style of music. It doesn‘t need huge arrangements and a perfectly clean production. You can hear that the music comes from a bunch of people just like yourselves and not some overpaid producer with his arsenal of drum computers, samplers, triggers and fake sounds.
DrD.: I happen to own the vinyl version of Golden Bough and I couldn’t help noticing an obsession to the details. This is true also lyrically, musically and artistically. Do you consider yourselves perfectionists? Is that the reason why so much time passed between Pnakotic Demos and Golden Bough?
M.T.: Yes, I think so. We only release music which we think is perfect. We wouldn‘t release a song, we‘re not happy with 100%, even if this means working on an album for 10 years. Same goes for the layout. I think it would be a shame to spend so much blood, sweat and tears recording an album and then wrapping it in some generic sleeve. Everything needs to be perfect and fitting together, from the music, the lyrics down to the last detail in the layout of the LP-Version.
DrD.: We all know that your main influences are classic epic bands like Manowar or Bathory and perhaps solstice up to a point. Do you listen to any contemporary bands? Is there any band that has drown your attention?
M.T.: Thousands! There are so many great young bands out there who have taken up the torch and bearing it to the next decade. Bands like Dark Forest, Procession, Striker, The Lamp of Thoth, Arkham Witch, Mountain Throne, Powertryp from Franconia. They‘re awesome. No need to worry about the future of real heavy metal.
DrD.: You have worked with Phil Swanson (Hour of 13) how did that collaboration happen? What other musicians would you like or plan to work with?
M.T.: Phil Swanson was our first singer. When we started the band we put an ad on the internet saying that we were looking for a singer. Phil contacted us and we recorded a couple of tunes together. We released the „Hidden Folk“ EP in 2006 together. His performance on the song is absolutely outstanding, really eerie and woeful. We parted ways when we decided that we should rehearse regularly and play live. A dream would be to record a couple of songs with Eric Adams, which will probably never happen. Same goes for Quorthon and Bon Scott, but for different reasons… It would be cool to write some songs together with Rich Walker from Solstice though. His guitar tone is the heaviest in Heavy Metal and he‘s a genius when it comes to writing epic stuff with great, folky melodies.
DrD.: It’s obvious that you’ve invested a great deal of time in writing your lyrics! Unlike most epic metal bands that usually write how cool war, battle and blood is you choose to analyze a more complex subject! Do you think that it’s important to pass a message with your music?
M.T.: Sure, music that doesn‘t „stand“ for anything is just superficial pop music. Heavy Metal has to „stand“ for something, Heavy Metal needs to pass a message – even if it‘s an unconscious message.
DrD.: I couldn’t help noticing that there are some religious and maybe even political ideas being expressed in Golden Bough. Do you believe that the ideas found in epic lyrical themes can act as a metaphor for example contemporary social problems or perhaps subjects that are not so ìepicî.
M.T.: Absolutely! Every lyric on „The Golden Bough“ can be interpreted in a modern, political way. Some of the songs even were intended as a sort of „political“ statement commenting the situation of Europe today for instance. But it really depends on the listener what he makes of the lyrics. He can read them as simple „fantasy“ stories, telling of ages long past, but he can also try to get „behind“ the words and decipher them as metaphors, which stand for something else.
M.T.: Yes, we tried to avoid a „modern“ production on „The Golden Bough“ with huge digital computer drums and a vocal mix which sounds like straight out of a pop production. Instead, we didn‘t use any triggers or post-production on the drums and tried to make the band sound like it was recorded live in a club with every instrument roughly at the same level. This way the songs sound really alive and dynamic, the atmospheres in the songs can really unfold much better than in a digital, polished production.
DrD.: Some songs are really lengthy. Did you ever worry that this might make the record harder for the average listener, or perhaps it will be more difficult for your live performances?
M.T.: No, we really don‘t think about things like that when we work on the songs. The main thing for us is that we like the songs and we think that a song is perfect. If other people like the songs as well – awesome. If they don‘t, fine as well. We‘d still play the same kind of songs even if noone bought an album. The band is „our“ thing, the music is the music WE want to hear.
DrD.: What are busy with this period? Shall we expect some kind of release any time soon?
M.T.: Yeah, there will be two smaller releases in 2011 to look out for. We‘ll do two split EPs. One with FUNERAL CIRCLE from Canada and another one with another doom metal band later in 2011.
DrD.: Thanks again for this interview! The final words are yours!
M.T.: Thanks for the interview! Blood, Fire, Death!
Atlantean Kodex Official