IN NOWHERE (Germany)::::......
at: 14th, January 2017
1. So first and foremost, what is going on in the SIN´s camp as of now? I had heard that there was new material being written for a 2nd full length, please elaborate?
Hi there! Thank you for this opportunity for SOMEWHERE IN NOWHERE from Germany here! Well, what´s going on in our camp right now? We just finished a successful year 2016. We played like 7 gigs which is quite okay for a small band like us, without a label in the back. The gigs were always fun and the other bands were cool too in most cases. In between, we always continued writing new songs. For 3 songs, I already recorded the drums on metronome. 3 others will follow, so that we will have 6 songs with an approximate playing time of ca. 32-35 minutes. We think that´s it´s enough for a good album. Our debut album had 11 songs and 56 minutes. But we think that today – in the age of downloads – not many people will take the time to listen to a one-hour album properly. It´s better to have a shorter album without fillers. We hope that the album will be available in summer latest. Time will tell…
2. The more years a group is active, the more the responsibilities and the demands are, especially in things like music, releases, lyrics, live shows, interviews and so on. How difficult is to support a history of 20 years?
Yes, the band grows up in things like that for sure! In the past, the band just wanted to have a demo as giveaways for concert promoters to get more gigs etc. It was not important if a cover looked good or stuff like that. Today it´s way different! On the debut album, we wanted to make everything better! The songs were better-structured and better-played, the production, the cover, the layout, everything looked better. We wanted to show a development to the first demo after the long wait of 12 years. We had worked nearly 3 years on the debut! And we didn´t want the people to be disappointed after such a long time of waiting. We wanted to have something in our hands that we were all proud of. So we thought and discussed about everything all the time to get the best possible result. We had an epic cover artwork, a both-sided, colour-copied booklet and a printed CD-R to make it look the most professional self-production that was possible for us. It´s the same with lyrics: In the past they were inspired by our favorite bands and full of metal clichés. Today they are more serious with a darker background and connection to real life. Also on stage, we always want to improve. In the past, we didn´t care, made no speeches to don´t waste time. Now we do have speeches to entertain between the songs. I personally go to concerts and festivals very often and I hate bands that are bored on stage, don´t move and don´t talk to the audience. If I only want to listen to the music, I could stay at home and only listen to CD´s instead. We put a lot of time into interviews. This is our 4th one in 20 years. That´s not much… We are not asked for that regularly, so we always feel honoured and answer them as good and extended as possible. We want the people to like us as a band, no matter if on CD, live or in a fanzine or webzine. This is something that really grew within the last 20 years for sure! We always learn more and want to go a step further. We are no professional musicians. This is just our passion. And we put a lot of heart blood into this.
3. Take us briefly through your life´s musical journey. Were either of you basically trained as a child? Musically, what were some of your early favorites? What music did you enjoy early on, but later grew out of?
I was only trained for 3 weeks actually by the drummer of my father´s jazz band when I was 9 years old. At that time I only knew music that my parents liked, like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Joe Cocker, Simon & Garfunkel etc. But I didn´t listen to that kind of music without them actually. In 1991, I first had contact to MTV. There was music by Roxette, R.E.M., U2, Bruce Springsteen etc. That was okay for me because it was hand-made music, but I never really got into it. But I always hated dance music! My parents never listened to dance music, so I never really had the chance to get into it, haha! But in 1991, there was also heavier music going on on MTV. Metallica had just released their “Black Album”, Guns N´ Roses had “Use Your Illusions 1&2”, AC/DC had “The Razor´s Edge”, Alice Cooper had “Hey Stoopid”, Scorpions had “Crazy World”, Nirvana had “Nevermind”, Red Hot Chili Peppers had “Blood, Sugar, Sex Magic”, Pearl Jam had “Ten”. There were video clips by Metallica (“Enter Sandman”), Guns N´ Roses (“You Could Be Mine”), AC/DC (“Thunderstruck”), Queensryche (“Anybody Listening?”), Iron Maiden (“Be Quick Or Be Dead”), Def Leppard (“Let´s Get Rocked”), KISS (“God Gave Rock and Roll To You”); stuff like that! That really kicked my ass! I was fascinated by heavy music and all the jeans and leather outfits from the beginning. We had a shop where you could rend CD´s for 1 DM (0,50 €) per day, and I just took everything with cool logos and covers, checked them at home and recorded them on empty tapes. Among them, there were 2 compilations that really introduced me to heavy metal music: One was entitled “Hard´n´Heavy”, a double CD with tracks from Judas Priest, Motörhead, Testament, U.D.O., Saxon, Skid Row, Mat Sinner, Deep Purple, Scorpions etc. Another one was entitled “Time To Rock” and featured bands like Loudness, Malice, Raven, Metal Church and some others. 1991 was also the year when I decided to play drums in a metal band for the first time! I liked the cover artwork of Motörhead´s “1916” album which just had been released. And when I first heard the drum intro of the opener “The One To Sing The Blues”, I was cursed for all times, haha! Until today I must say that the first bands that I discovered are mostly still my favorite bands: Motörhead, KISS, Scorpions, Queensryche, Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne, Testament, Overkill, Metal Church etc. There are not really ´sins of the past´. But of course, it always became heavier. In 1992, I first heard Helloween (“Pink Bubbles Go Ape”), Black Sabbath (“Dehumanizer”), Running Wild (“Pile Of Skulls”), Metal Church (“The Human Factor”), Testament (“The Ritual”) and Overkill (“Horrorscope”); all their current albums back then which I still love, even if they were released after their ´classic era´. In 1993, I first heard Venom, Bathory, Destruction, Sodom, Benediction and Cannibal Corpse. In 1996, bands like Possessed and Celtic Frost followed. In 1997 I started with 80´s US metal, like Liege Lord, Breaker, Heir Apparent, Warlord, Medieval Steel etc. and NWOBHM stuff, like Holocaust, Blitzkrieg, Diamond Head, Savage, Angel Witch as well as with progressive rock and metal, like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Symphony X, Enchant, Poverty´s No Crime, Vanden Plas, Time Machine, Arkhe´, but also Spock´s Beard and old stuff like Rush, Yes, Genesis with Peter Gabriel, Marillion, IQ etc. Also in 1997, I started to listen to occult horror metal bands, like Death SS, Mortuary Drape and Halloween (US). Then in 1998, I got into the underground black metal scene with active tape trading etc. That has been a really long journey for me. And it never ends. Trends have come and gone, some new bands were quite cool. But the early bands are still my favorites. I grew up with them and they will always be in my heart. I will never betray my roots!
4. It has been a long journey from your first demo “Beyond All Visions” to the debut full-length album “Back From Nowhere, Into Eternity”. How do you see the course of your band so far? Have you achieved your initial goals or even surpassed them?
Oh yes, a lot of time passed by since then. But that wasn´t really planned like this. The band was always only a hobby, and after the first demo “Beyond All Visions” in 2001, SOMEWHERE IN NOWHERE played many gigs. In between there were always line-up changes - several second guitarists have come and gone. Then I joined the band as the new drummer in 2009. From 2010 on we worked on the debut album “Back From Nowhere, Into Eternity” which finally saw the light of day in July 2013. The title of the album was, of course, a symbol for the long time we put into it. But I think we reached our aims so far. We compiled all worthy good songs of the whole career of SOMEWHERE IN NOWHERE on the debut, so that we could finally leave the past behind and were able to go a step further. Now we are a real unity as a band, better musicians and more serious songwriters. If we take a look at the band history, we can always see a logical development. And that´s also important for us! For the new album, all songs were written for 2 guitarists (On the debut, Sascha Sievers played all guitars on his own). You will hear the cooperation between rhythm and lead guitars better than ever before. We won´t change our style, but we also don´t want to repeat ourselves all the time. That would be too boring for us.
5. A few of SIN members are involved with other project and some were before. Could you give us a quick summary of band members´ projects outside Somewhere In Nowhere?
Actually, only Sascha Sievers and me are more active than the others. Singer Lars had some very small school bands before SIN, nothing more. On Metal Archives, it´s said that our (old and new) guitarist Sascha Olschewski also played in Evidence Of Fear, but this is a mistake that hasn´t been corrected on that site yet. Sascha Sievers and me also play in Is Love Alive? (psychedelic doom metal) and Goat Of Mendes (heavy-/pagan metal). But it wasn´t planned like that; it just happened. Is Love Alive? searched for a new bassist for half a year, but we didn´t find one. Sascha asked us if we still need one and he just joined as bassist although he´s actually a guitarist. Also in Goat Of Mendes it was also a kind of accident. I didn´t know a bassist and asked Sascha just for fun to join our legion. Strangely enough, he agreed, haha! In the past, I personally played in several other bands, like Shade Of Faith (heavy rock), Source Of Sorrow (melodic-/gothic metal), Temple Of Tiphareth (occult dark metal), Black Horizonz (eccentric black metal), Nebeltor (rehearsal black metal), Zadögoat (war black-/death metal) and Wytchscythe (80´s underground metal). For me, it was not really important to have many bands; it just happened. But it was important for me that all those bands sounded different! If you listen to everything from 70´s hard rock over classic 80´s metal up to death- and black metal and have like 3800 CD´s, 1200 LP´s and 600 tapes in your private collection at home, it doesn´t make any sense to me to have 3 or 5 black metal bands only. I know many people dealing like this though... But I don´t want experiments anymore! I joined SOMEWHERE IN NOWHERE in 2009, Is Love Alive? in 2010 and Goat Of Mendes in 2014. Goat Of Mendes I only did because I grew up with their music! I first heard the band in 1999 when I was still at school, and it was an honour for me when they asked me to join! I already had all their CD´s in my private collection and knew all their songs. Also, I see it as a chance to improve as a musician. The music is very technical and varied, and I never really took any drum lessons. It´s tricky, but a lot of fun! But all members of the 3 bands have been good friends for any years, and I think I will grow old with all of them!
6. How much time and effort do you spend on the band to get everything to look and sound the right way?
I can´t really tell you actually. We rehearse once a week for almost 2 hours with the whole band usually. All other stuff we discuss via our mobile phones on WhatsApp mainly. Andre, our bassist, always has ideas for new songs and records them at home to not forget about them. Normally, he always has ideas for fragments of lyrics fitting to the songs. If he doesn´t know how to continue, I finish his lyrics in most cases because my English is the best of all band members. But we don´t write music and lyrics regularly. Also, before a CD release or a gig, we work much more on layout or rehearsals etc. Also we rehearse new songs intensively and very detailed and collect ideas to improve until we are satisfied with them. So I can´t really say how much time we spend with it. Sometimes it´s more intensive, and sometimes less… no full-time job!
7. Who would you say are the biggest influences impacting the music of Somewhere In Nowhere, both as a band and you individually?
Well, every band member also has his own musical favorites, of course. But to sum it up for SOMEWHERE IN NOWHERE, our sound is mostly inspired by Iron Maiden (guitar melodies), old Manowar (pounding riffs), Annihilator (up-tempo stuff) and Candlemass (doomy riffs and deep melodic vocals). Live, we also covered songs by Judas Priest (“Breaking The Law”) and Motörhead (“Killed By Death”); in the past also Manowar (“Hail And Kill”), Accept (“Balls To The Wall”) and Scorpions (“Rock You Like A Hurricane”). But actually, we don´t really sound like them all, to be honest. As you can see, all bands above mentioned sound totally different. We are not like all those young retro bands only copying Iron Maiden, Queensryche or Mercyful Fate alone. Our influences are obvious if you know them, but all different pieces stick together to create an own, unique sound you can´t really compare to other bands in my opinion.
8. How do you as a band find your own sound? How much does environment play a part in how you sound? Is there a specific sound for your region/country pertaining to the style you play?
Well, I think it just happens. Everyone has his personal favourite bands as inspirations, of course. I personally like toms and breaks and always tried to support the other instruments. I like snare and tom fills exactly fitting on the guitar hits, for example. That is something I really love about Annihilator who also do it like this. Then it sounds more compact, better-played and slightly progressive. Also, now the harmony between both guitars is much more important than in the past. To the other part of your question: Yes, there might be specific sounds in different regions in Germany. The Hamburg sound of Running Wild, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iron Saviour, Not Fragile etc. is famous, for example. In our area we have Sodom, Kreator and Darkness, all playing traditional thrash metal since the mid 80´s. There are many small metal bands in our area that fit together musically when it comes to gigs. We played gigs with Fairytale, First Time In Hell, Seth 13 and From Ambush, and the spirit in all bands is nearly the same. That does not mean that we learn or copy from each other, but combining those bands on a live billing makes sense musically! We all have become friends and there´s always a nice atmosphere between the bands when we share the stage together.
9. When you write songs that are longer than 7 minutes, how do you keep it interesting to listen to?
Oh yes, our progressive elements… On our debut there was only one or two songs under 5 minutes, haha! Well, same here: It just happens… Mostly we have an acoustic intro, a riff, 2 verses, bridges and choruses each, a different part in the middle, then a guitar solo and then we get back to bridge and chorus at the end of the song. Also, the riffs starts 2 or 4 times first, until the singer starts. So there´s a lot of stuff happening within our songs. But on some new songs, it will be a little bit different. Some songs last “only” 4 minutes and sound more compact compared to the past. But, of course, there will also be longer songs again. It´s like a trademark for us. We always want to keep the songs interesting for us and don´t want to get bored, so we claim to have many structures to force us as musicians as well. If we all don´t like an idea 100 %, we wouldn´t record it! But that also takes a little time…
10. When you release a record, how much attention do you pay to things like track order, lay out, and artwork? How planned is everything?
In the track order for a CD it´s a little bit like planning a setlist for gigs: We always try to find the right mix. We wouldn´t put two slow, doomy songs in a row, for example. It´s important to have a mid-tempo track in the middle to slow down and be prepared for the next fast track. Layout and artwork are important too. I think as a collector: People who like us at the gigs and maybe want a CD from us, get something that they like. That means both music and layout. Music is art and the whole product should fit together as a whole. We think a lot about it when the time is right and discuss everything. And again here: If there is something, we don´t like, then we wouldn´t do it!
11. I remember, in the 80´s, how hard it was for smaller bands to get a decent sound. How easy is it today to find a producer/studio that understands your needs?
That´s still a big problem because usually on CD it often sounds totally different than live. On “Back From Nowhere, Into Eternity” we recorded and mixed everything on our own. We didn´t really know how to do it, had to learn everything and bought own equipment for the recordings. That´s also a reason why it took so long. There are good and bad facts on self-productions. If you do it in a good studio, it costs a lot of money and you work under pressure. But then you have the force to do it. If you do it on your own, maybe you make some mistakes you can´t correct afterwards. Also, you don´t work on it regularly. If you don´t want to do it now, you will do it later. And more time passes by. On the other hand, we could just do anything that we wanted. We had no one in the back telling us how to play etc. There are always two sides of the coin. I like both ways though! In other bands we had several studios and producers and, of course, we learned a lot. You get a point of view for things you never really cared or knew about. There were some producers who hadn´t heard our music style and strange guitar sounds before. But in most cases we were satisfied with the result in the end. On the other hand, it´s also relaxed to be in the recording room on your own and record part for part without any pressure. Both sides are interesting.
12. What are your feelings on this development of digital replacing physical?
Bad feelings. End of the question, haha! No, seriously! As I mentioned before, I´m a fanatic collector and have tons of CD´s, LP´s and tapes in my private collection. I only listen to MP3 when I have to write reviews. If I want to listen to music, I never listen to it from the computer. I also don´t use an MP3 player when I´m travelling. But I´m not an enemy of digital stuff anymore like I was in the past; only when it comes to my collection. But sometimes, handling with MP3 data is easier. You can send it faster when someone is interested. You can upload them on websites etc. You can get digital guitar tracks on your computer and listen to them until you enter a studio to record your drum tracks, for example. If you should play session drums as a German on an EP for a Russian band, for example, in the past you had to travel the long way to Russia. Today you get everything by e-mail, can record it on your own and send it back. With the post office, the delivery from Germany to Russia by mail with your recordings on a CD-R would take 4-5 weeks, and sometimes they don´t arrive, but get lost. With Wetransfer, it takes only 20 minutes until your recordings arrive in Russia without any loss of quality. That´s amazing! Do you get the idea? When you´re a small band and you only made 100 CD-R´s with your own money, you can´t always give them away for free and pay much postage to other countries all over the world. Yes, we sent one CD to England and one to Russia in the past. That was okay, but also, many people are no collectors of CD´s anymore; maybe because of space problems or whatever. Generally, we as musicians, want to hold our physical copies in our hands to show what we achieved. Just uploading songs on your website and having no CD´s with you on gigs, does not mean that you have a demo, an EP or an album, in my opinion. In the past, you always had something to show in your hands when you had a band. Could you imagine The Beatles or Black Sabbath in the 60´s and 70´s, going to a record shop, giving them 100 recorded blank tapes and say, ´Here´s our new album. Spread it to the people!´? Haha! Definitely not! Why should we say, Ýes, we have an album. Here you can download it. There are no CD´s.´ That doesn´t make sense at all! MP3 is killing music in its artistic form!
13. Regarding the topic of your lyrics, what originally sparked your interest in legends, mythology and fantasy? Is it something you grew up with?
Well, as I told you before, in the past we were heavily inspired by the bands we grew up with. The first lyrics dealt with the typical metal clichés like war (“Storms Of Fire” and “Atomic Warfare”), pirates (“Sons Of The Sea”), the middle-ages (“Templar´s Lament”), fantasy “The Dragon Of North”), witch-hunt and the holy inquisition (“Demon Witch”), sinister parallel worlds (“Dark Portal”) or just heavy metal clichés in general (“Metal Is The Law”). Everything that was used by other bands, was interesting to get some inspiration; just to have something to sing about. But, of course, the lyrics had to be interesting! So legends, mythology and fantasy are just one part of the subjects our lyrics deal with. For me personally, it is something I grew up with. I´m totally into fantasy, horror and some science fiction when it comes to books and movies. And some of them are definitely epic enough to be used for great metal lyrics. Many bands do that! Everybody knows “The Hobbit” and “The Lord Of The Rings”, of course! And bands like Blind Guardian often made use of it; also “Battle At Helm´s Deep”, the debut album by Attacker. Cirith Ungol, Hawkwind and Skelator are big Michael Moorcock fans and used his stuff for lyrics. Holocaust released the album “Covenant” in 1997 which was a concept album about the first trilogy of “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever” by the mighty Stephen R. Donaldson; my favourite fantasy saga by the way! Burial Vault´s “Incendium” album is a concept album about the science fiction classic “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. Manilla Road used many Edgar Allan Poe lyrics, like “The Haunted Palace”, “Spirits Of The Dead” or “Masque Of The Red Death”. Arkham Witch deal with H.P. Lovecraft in their lyrics. Same do Rage from Germany with tracks like “The Crawling Chaos” or “Shadow Out Of Time”. Shadow Keep´s “Dark Tower” dealt with the well-known saga by Stephen King. Iron Maiden´s “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” was an old poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about a curse of ill omen on a sailing ship. It has always been like that in metal lyrics. When it comes to fantasy, I personally like Stephen R. Donaldson, Michael Moorcock, Lord Dunsany, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, Neil Gaiman, Wolfgang Hohlbein and A.C.H. Smith most. Of course, I also like this sword and sorcery stuff by Robert E. Howard and Karl Edward Wagner as well. My favourite horror authors are H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Herbert, Clark Ashton Smith, William Hope Hodgson, Algernon Blackwood, Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, Montague Rhodes James, Bram Stoker, Graham Masterton and Edward Lee. And my favourite science fiction authors are H.G. Wells, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, John Christopher, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, Stanislaw Lem, Jules Verne, J.G. Ballard and Poul Anderson. They all are perfect inspirations for great metal lyrics. I always read a lot and also like the movies made from all those books and stories. Also in books and DVD´s, I´m a big collector, haha!
14. If you had to highlight one important message behind your music, what would it be?
Never give up, always have fun and be positive!
15. You are an unsigned band at the moment. How much of a DIY scene is there still left around the world that can support you if you want to tour or release an album on your own?
Oh, there are many bands hyped here that have a record deals although no one understands, and there are also many small promising bands that seem to have no chance. To have a record deal would be much easier for us to spread our music, get some more gigs and lower all costs, but until now, nothing happened that way. It´s okay for us because now we can do what we want without any pressure in the back. There is no label saying we had to work faster or change our music to reach more people. But a label just for better distribution would be fine, of course! We have many friends playing in bands that only have small labels, and it´s okay for them. We also know many bands doing everything on their own. There are still a lot of bands using the DIY method because they don´t have the means that record labels have. DIY does not only mean releases, but also gigs. When we play with other bands, we always get more friends and stay in contact. Here and there, we ask them for gigs and we just do it. It´s as simple as that. We want to play live more or less regularly, but because of jobs and families, we don´t have the chance for a bigger tour anyway. It´s totally satisfying the way we do it now. We enjoy that!
16. Germany has some great if underrated metal bands – that never seem to get the acclaim or attention of their Scandinavian peers. Why is that? Does the German scene lack the ´notoriety´ of the Swedish and Norwegian scenes?
Is it like that really? I´m not sure about it, to be honest… Maybe concerning German black metal it is… But Scorpions, Accept (and also newer bands like Rammstein) are still very big in foreign countries. There are not many metalheads in Germany that like Crematory so much, for example, but in East Europe they play packed shows with 3000 people in the crowd. There they are much bigger than in Germany strangely. As far as we can see it, bands like Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Running Wild, Blind Guardian, Rage, Grave Digger, Helloween etc. play really big shows all over the world. Of course, small bands don´t get that much attention, but how should they? The really big bands are big because they have mighty record labels like Universal or Nuclear Blast in the back. German underground bands are, of course, not well-known outside of Germany. But I think that´s a problem in all countries in the world. Take a look at East Europe: Pokolgép (Hungary), Arakain (Czech Republic), Aria (Russia) etc. are big bands in their country, but totally unknown outside. I think, in every country it´s the same. Hey, I only know Goat Semen and Levifer from Peru. Are they well-known in your country? No, they´re not! So how could they get more attention in the rest of the world then? Do you know what I mean? Germany has some underground bands that now get a little more attention than in the past, like Stormwitch after Hammerfall covered their classic “Ravenlord”, S.D.I. or Iron Angel who played some festivals lately. Scandinavia has always had great bands though, like Bathory from Sweden, Oz from Finland, all those black metal hordes in the 90´s, like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Emperor etc. Sweden has a young metal scene with bands like In Solitude, Portrait, Enforcer, Lancer, Bullet etc. You´re right! But also those young Swedish bands don´t get enough attention everywhere. They always tell us that they like playing in Germany most because there are always many people coming to shows and festivals. When Portrait play a show in Germany, they play in front of 300 people, in Sweden they only play in front of 25, although they´re from that country! So, to make a long story short: I don´t think it´s really a German problem only… ;-)
17. With the easy access to internet you can spread your music across the globe just sitting in front of your computer. How much effort do you put into promoting the band worldwide?
Oh yes, that´s true! In the past, it was much more difficult. We post something on Facebook regularly, so that people don’t forget about us. That´s a really important thing when you´re a small band. Also, it´s much easier to spread our music now. You can upload video clips on Youtube. You can upload all your recordings on Bandcamp, so that the people can listen to it for free and download it if they want. Bandcamp is quite successful. There were people from England, Russia and even the USA who downloaded our stuff. Some of them put one of our songs into their online playlists to show unknown bands to their friends. We got interview requests on Facebook by people from Hungary and Peru! That´s insane! But that´s also really cool because without the internet we never would have reached those people! For bands, it´s much easier with internet connections. And we make use of it.
18. We have come to the last question of the interview. Do you have any final words or anything you would like to add?
We´re really proud to get your chance here! We never would have imagined that a guy from
SouthAmerica would ever contact us! Thanx for everything! Support small bands and honest heavy metal, the old school way! Check us on Bandcamp, like us on Facebook and spread the message far! Cheers from Germany! \m/