"Be impressive for the moment and live your life, because there could be no new morning for you, make your ideas now and not tomorrow"
Medieval Metal or Mittelalter-Metal is one of those rather obscure metal genres that often get lost by the way-side. Granted it's the likes of Subway To Sally who were early pioneers of the sound i.e. mixing traditional German folk / medieval sounds with the solidarity and steeliness of metal music. Quintessentially German, Medieval Metal to the German Metal scene is as what Oriental Metal is to the Middle East-North Africa metal scenes, reflecting their culture and becoming a product of that area. Leading the wave going forward is Feuerschwanz (lit. Fire Tail) whose 15 year career is bristling with 8 albums until the 26th of June when album #9 drops... "Das Elfte Gebot" (The Eleventh Commandment).
GMA interrogated vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Hauptmann Feuerschwanz about the band's origins, how Medieval Metal became a thing, the excitement at signing with Napalm Records, what new fans should expect at a Feuerschwanz concert and what plans they have going forward.
This was their first interview with a UK metal media.
For those who have not heard of Feuerschwanz could you give us a brief history of the band?
"Feuerschwanz was founded in 2004 and originally played in the German Medieval / Folk Rock scene. In the beginning we were playing at markets and then year after year we entered the rock stage of the career; becoming heavier with each passing year and reaching the Hard Rock sound. Since 2012 we headed towards a rock sound and since the last album "Methämmer", we went into the metal scene, embracing this awesome transformation into a very heavy rock sound. So now we are a Medieval / Folk Metal band."
Medieval Metal / Rock is an interesting genre, arguably Subway To Sally were one of the pioneers of the sound, so what is it that makes Medieval Metal stand out uniquely?
"That's a good question, I think Medieval Metal is a really 'special-German-thing'; this kind of music I think is a little bit kind of like a lifestyle, so a little bit between metal, between old instruments, Folk, castles in Germany; we have many castles and they are very romantic, the time of the knight... this is a mixture of all of this."
So generally would a Bavarian Medievial Metal scene / band sound different to that say of a Hamburg Medieval Metal scene / band?
"OK! In former times the differentiation was between east and west, so Subway To Sally is a good example for a eastern band and they had a very special style, but now it's not so important from the north or the south, there are many bands with very good and interesting styles... there is no direction from the north or south. Feuerschwanz in former times made funny Thrash Metal music; a little bit like Alestorm, but now we're more epic with Thor and Odin (the gods) with us, but also we drink the special drink of Odin, mead, the honey wine."
Now the biggest news was that you signed with Napalm Records, surely this has to be the biggest news since Feuerschwanz started?
"Since the last album "Methämmer" our progression to metal music involved us finding our sound and this became a very good step to go to Napalm Records. In former times we were on a smaller label in Germany (not a rock / metal label), so we are very happy and proud to go with Napalm Records for the future."
Tell us what a typical Feuerschwanz concert is like, what goes into it, etc?
"Our idea is to bring people energy and a good example of this is the song "Metfest", we have pictures online from our last tour, you can see a little bit of the power; the idea is to celebrate the life, drink and have fun."
What does album title "Das Elfte Gebot" mean; how long did the recording process take?
"It has a very deep message, you be impressive for the moment and live your life, because there could be no new morning for you, make your ideas now and not tomorrow - this is the message.
We have a two year album cycle, we make our pre-production - we are self-made musicians, we make the production for ourselves and have all of the songs on the computer, then we go to the studio with our producer and make the last pieces, the vocals and so on. So we need a year for production.
We have one song that's not on the album, but it's a very good song and will come on the next album, because we wanted eleven songs on this album and so one song had to go."
Given that most of the internationally successful German metal bands have had to switch to English to gain more exposure (except Rammstein), will Feuerschwanz create English songs for the non-German speakers?
"We have a second bonus track album with cover versions and we cover some metal songs from the likes of Powerwolf ('Amen & Attack'), Sabaton ('Gott Mit Uns') but also the pop song 'I See Fire' by Ed Sheeran. We try to explain our idea of music with some cover versions, but it's the typical Feuerschwanz sound being used."
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, what has Feuerschwanz been doing at home and have you been doing any hobbies / interests?
"It's a hard time for us because we tried to promoted our new album and with no festivals or concerts, it's not going to be easy but we had an idea that we have started via crowdfunding, we stream a concert online for the day of our new album's release - we have a concert on a castle, now we have a lot of work to realize it and know where we stand at this time."
At what point during your life did you decide that you wanted to become a musician? Who did you get into first?
"Oooh! Very good question. During my childhood we founded a rock band at school, firstly I became a bassist and then I progressively go step-by-step to become the vocalist of the band. I listened to the likes of Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath, etc., then I started with the 'Ride The Lightning' tour with Metallica... I loved many metal bands from the 80's and in the 90's I explored folk music, the Medieval folk scene, now I come back to metal."
What does your family think of your music? Are any of them musicians?
"We have some singers in the family but I'm the only one who has a band, every time my brothers are asking me 'hey how's it going with Feuerschwanz?', it's also nice to have some nephews come to the concerts - I have a very big family."
For metalheads visiting Erlangen, what bars and venues, sights or attractions would you recommend?
"Erlangen is a city with a big university with many students, the bars are not so high-price and are more for students. It's a very cosy city of which I love to ride my bicycle through and around it, have some beer in the student pubs. There is one club in Erlangen with a 1,000 capacity, the E-Werk kulturzentrum (old power station) has many concerts... but not today (laughs)."
Speaking of which, Germany is known for it's beer and so what are your favourite brands of beer?
"We come from Franconia, this is a small part of Bavaria and we have many breweries... so we are specialists in beer. We have a special kind of beer which tastes a bit like English beer in a typical Franconian style, in fact I love to taste the beers from the small breweries.
Of course you would have heard of Oktoberfest, this is the hardest festival in Germany and it's a little bit 'too much', too many people although it's an international gathering... I don't like it. In Bavaria all towns and cities have it's own beer festival, so in Erlangen we have the Bergkirchweih fair, our special ale fest... but not this year (laughs)."
After the COVID-19 pandemic, would Feuerschwanz look to play in the UK? Are you concerned about Brexit? How are people coping with the lockdown?
"We are very curious about the reactions of some regions and countries, especially of the UK the godmother of music, but we know it's hard to have concerts in the UK - you get a can of beer and oh, now play. It's very hard to go to the clubs in the UK, so we are very curious at the fans reactions, we hope that there is a good reaction and that they love our music, and then we could go with Powerwolf or so, I don't know hehe.
As for Brexit, in a music context I don't think there will be much changes in music - most of the time we've played in Germany and only once in Russia. We hope it's not so difficult to come to the UK to play.
Russia involved playing a special concert in Moscow in 2009, it was a great experience to play internationally and gave us a taste of playing overseas.
Well the weeks have been quiet, the people are familiar with the regulations and are disciplined, now there are murmurings going around saying it's too long, we wan't more freedom and now it's bubbling a little bit; as a psychologist it's so clear that people are overwhelmed with the feeling of staying at home, to isolate also.
What do fans at your show's tend to shout, is it true that fans say the second part of the band name after the band says the first?
"Shouting is in many Medieval concerts, so the band would shout out the first part and the audience replies with the second part e.g. 'Feuer' 'Schwanz'. One fan in the crowd shouts first and then the whole crowd shouts out the other part of the name. It's all tradition, like a football song.
It is quite euphoric, our goal is to increase the energy and raise the roof, it's our job, it's our profession to 'blow up' the audience."
All things considered, what plans does Feuerschwanz have left intact for the rest of the year?
"That's a good question too, it could be we make one or two more videos of the new album, presented after the release and leading into the 2nd half of the year it could be we start writing for the next album, it's very hard this time."
Have you got any hello's, thanks or greetings you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
"Greetings? Ok, well this was my first interview with a person from the UK and I'm very proud to have this interview, greetings to the UK and we hope you enjoy our next album. Many thanks also to our fans."
Symphonic Metal arguably has become lightly stagnated over the years, the overused cliche of female angelic vocals against flowing symphonies and crashing dramatic sounds is almost formulaic if not too run of the mill, and so it needs fresh impetus to keep it churning. One such band to deviate from the formula is Germany's Beyond The Black who take a slightly darker approach and yet seem to bring in elements of pop or schlager to an extent in the vocal department, either way this quintet are a force that's ripping up the rule book and setting their own rules.
This will be evident on their forthcoming album "Hørizøns" which comes out on the 19th of June via Napalm Records on CD (standard and a limited edition box edition), vocalist Jennifer Haben spoke to GMA during her interrogation about how the band came to be, how she got into singing, where the band is heading given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the new album and of course why Beyond The Black are not your average Symphonic Metal band, they are in their own league.
"[on female looks in metal] it's always a combination of how somebody looks, if you like to look at skin and also if you like to listen to them, this is a combination that I don't really exactly want to combine"
For those who have not heard of Beyond The Black, could you give us a brief history of the band and what the band name means?
"The band started in 2014 and with the first album we started off with a more Symphonic Metal sound, and with this album (Hørizøns) we decided to make it a little less symphonic, but with a more electronic sound - changing a bit of the sound and in doing so add something that actually we're listening to right now on tour.
The meaning behind the band name is that it is showing what the band looks like and is showing what we're singing about, so 'Beyond The Black' - the lyrics connect with the emotional ballads (there are strong boys behind my back) as a contrast to the super-happy stuff you tend to find in Symphonic Metal. With the lyrics, we always have these sad and emotional stories - these are always 'Beyond The Black' moments.
I'd never try to be the 100% Symphonic Metal band that out often know... I just say it (hehe), I haven't been a metalhead always... I started making pop music, this comes also part due to that none of my family or friends at the time listened to metal. This is also why I am not copying things that other bands do, because I don't have it in my blood that says 'this is how Symphonic Metal should be', so I do it how I think it should be done.
When you're inspired by every single genre, there is always something unique that comes out I think."
You have your 4th album "Hørizøns" coming out 19th of June, in aid of the release you have released 3 singles, what was the receptions like?
"They reacted super-different to every song, but they didn't act super-surprised (hehe), because I knew a lot of people would like 'Misery' on the first time they heard it, so this was kind of the challenge for us and also for our fans to be open-minded for something that they don't expect. This is something new that the people would have to listen to, to be more understanding in what we're doing right now; what we're doing is showing the fans and other people that we're just not that one song or one sound, that we are different and can show other faces (which is what we did before). I think that was one song that was really a statement for that.
I think that 'Golden Pariahs' was different to 'Misery' in showing another face; we never stuck to certain things in the recording stage, I never did something like that in my whole life, this was something that I was looking forward to do because I love doing new challenges. I think we show a lot of different things in the singles before the album release."
Now at times bands will release special editions or fan editions of the album, with "Hørizøns" you have a 'limited box edition' coming out, please tell us more about that.
"There are not more songs if that's the line of thought, instead we use the term 'box' to make it super interesting to the fans. We have something special in it - it's a piece of our very first backdrop that we had used, so this is unique and you get it when you buy it. Normally I think something like this you would be able to buy (maybe) 10 years later at a super-expensive price. Of course this is helping us if people are interested in something like that, of course selling CD's has become a little more harder and are not selling as many as perhaps few years ago, so you always have to think about things that could be unique things to buy.
I think there are a lot of things in it that could be interesting for the fans."
Aside from the single releases, given that COVID-19 has put a huge halt on the music industry, what has Beyond The Black been doing given tours / shows are cancelled?
"Of course there are a lot of things that other people or other musicians are doing in general, we did some special things for our fans including a 'Golden Pariahs' home recording / stream, that was something special that we really enjoyed. We're really thankful for the fans for engaging with the challenges that we set, everyday there are people doing these challenges, to see how excited they are to listen to that album."
Given the success that Beyond The Black has had with album releases, signing with Napalm Records, etc., given your a young age, is this something that you have taken in your stride?
"I think that there are definitely times where it's been overwhelming for me, but I also think that because before Beyond The Black I did so many other things, I could understand how it was to be when I was 11. There are a lot of things like that before Beyond The Black, of course being on a big German TV show, 'Sing Meinen Song' was a big difference to everything else that I did before, because it was much more attention; the magazines are different because they want to tell you something that you have said in a wrong way.
But as far as the stage goes, I've been on stage since I was 4 years old so having more and more crowds, I'm super thankful for that and are really overwhelmed when I rewatch our Wacken show online and see what it's like from the crowd, you don't see that when you're on stage. When I see that I think 'wow!... what the f**k?!?!, what is happening there?!?!' (laughs). So I don't really think that it is big until I watch it, this is overwhelming when I watch something like this."
Is metal music in Germany still reaching the mainstream charts? Are the general public appreciating it still?
"I think it's strong in selling albums and that's why it's still super-high in the charts, but there are a lot of people who hear the word 'metal' and there are two ways of how they think about it, one way is 'oh I know Wacken Open Air, this is amazing! But everything else, I don't care' and the other way is 'oh metal? I don't listen to that'... not everyone, of course the metal scene is big, but it's not like everyone is listening or is open to metal. I really understood that when I was in a German TV show called 'Sing Meinen Song', people were writing me afterwards saying 'oh my god I never listen to metal, but I listen to other bands as well now, I always thought that metal was screaming and stuff, so this is something super awesome' - this is one reason why I wanted to make that TV show as well because it was a chance to show to people that metal is super-variant or can be super-variant."
This is the thing though, people will hear metal and think screaming, right? Would you say metal is more than just music, but an identity?
"Yeah! It's like that, but what is funny is what I said before, Wacken Open Air, it seems to be everywhere and for everyone. I see so many cars with the W.O.A. sticker on or on bags and stuff, so I think that there are also a lot of people who are not actually listen to metal a lot, but maybe the softer bands. A lot of older people who maybe don't listen to metal even attend (some have broken out of retirement homes to go), so this is something like a tradition where everyone is accepted - you can also compare it to a carnival to be honest (hehe), because it's that one time of the year where people come together even if they don't listen to metal.
Yeah for sure! That is the point and reason why people are acting the way they are, I think that also Wacken is getting more and more open each year or at least that's what I can see with the band's they are inviting - there's a lot more people that can go and be seen very easily."
You released your music video "Misery" this year, how long did it take to record and what is it about?
"We had like 10 hours in a day, but with every single music video that we do we tend to record until midnight, leading into the morning (around 3 am). The main theme for me was the adventure of being in a bubble, wanting to break out of this bubble and become herself, to be herself."
In terms of your fan base, where there any instances where you were surprised at where fans contacted you from, country-wise?
"I wouldn't say right now because I know our fans are everywhere, but I think the first time I said 'wow we have fans there?' was when a lot of people were writing to us from Mexico and the USA, places very far away and places we have never released any album there, it's on Spotify but we never released it internationally and so I didn't expect something like that; especially when releasing in German-speaking areas. That was a really 'wow' moment and there are other countries like Japan that we could play in, a festival there, I think the far away countries are always the most unexpected."
Addressing the sexism and misogyny issue that grapples not only the society in general, but musicians also, is this something you have personally received?
"I think I'm lucky with this because I have to say that I'm always thinking about how I present myself on stage, or on social media and I'm really looking over not to show too much sexiness or too much... my outfits are not 'not' sexy you know, but they are not showing a lot of skin or stuff and I don't want to be reduced to just how I look; it's always a combination of how somebody looks and if you like to look at skin and also if you like to listen to them, this is a combination that I don't really exactly want to combine - this is maybe the reason why there are not many people out there that wouldn't do that."
Putting that into context with the 'female-fronted' style, do you think it's an out-dated tag that should be gotten rid of?
"This is a question that is still not easy for me to answer, because I think I can understand why people could take that term as one thing that they could think about whether they like it or not, because maybe they like female voices more than male voices; I can understand that because I'm listening to everyone, but I think in some ways I enjoy female voices a bit more than male voices.
This could be something that people can decide whether they listen to it or not, of course there are people who listen to every female fronted bands because it's 'female-fronted'; if they like it, they like it. Of course you should say 'male-fronted' bands as well, I'm not sure about it and thinking about this question (a lot of people are asking me this) I still don't have this one way of looking at it."
Have you got any hello's or greetings you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
"I want to say thank you so much for the interest in this interview, for the album, thanks to Napalm and the fans. Hopefully we will be doing the tour with Amaranthe towards the end of the year, we will not cancel any shows but only postpone if we have to."
Gone In April started in 2011 through their debut album "We Are But Human", culminating in the band playing across North America and Asia; the latter seeing this group co-headline 'The Great Indian Octoberfest' held in Bangalore. They also headlined the WaveTransform Festival 2014 (North America), as well as other events in the USA.
Following Gone In April's second album "Threads Of Existence" which saw new members joining from the USA and Canada, and another appearance at the WaveTransform Festival, GMA decided it was time to collar this group and excavate the facts behind this multinational facade.
So we bound Julie to a chair in a leather catsuit and placed Yanic in confinement, at least that way they could not escape... mind we did not give Julie the catsuit in the first place... another story for another time. Read below to see how it went.
"It is nice to see the diversity and unity continue to grow within the metal community" (on metal music)
Firstly, how did Gone In April come to prominence and how do you maintain communication? Seeing as it's key to an international band / project, what limitations have you overcome?
"Yes, some aspects of international projects are indeed managed a little differently than bands whose members all reside within the same region, however, many aspects are not any different at all. In terms of communication, my belief and experience over the last decade is “if there is a will, there is a way”. Communication between Gone In April team members is very efficient. Through emails, text messages, video chats, etc, we typically get replies from musicians within 24 hrs, which enables us to move forward with our planning efficiently."
"Writing new material is an aspect which is managed a little differently. Since writing is not done during rehearsal with all musicians in one room, each musician writes his parts in his home-town, and sends recordings of his parts by email. One of us will start to work on new material, and send audio files to the other musicians. Then, another musician will work on the material in his home-town, and send his parts to the others, and the work continues in that fashion over a period of several months. All musicians work separately, listening to the other musicians’ audio files, focusing on, and analysing, the composition, and providing feedback to other team members. Once everybody has reviewed and approved all the parts, the official recording begins and all parts come together. Some musicians record in their studio, and some travel to the studio where the majority of the production is taking place, which in this case, is WaveTransform Recording Studio in Knoxville, TN, USA."
"When it comes to band rehearsals and live performances, we all rehearse in advance by ourselves, and the group meets in the same city for rehearsals a few days before the series of live performances. Working with musicians from different countries also requires travel (flights, lodging, etc), as well as working with immigration organizations to get work visas for the musicians which are not citizens of the country where performances are taking place. Therefore, there is a bit more administrative work to be done by the band, however, once a band has experience with international management, international touring becomes a much easier task and many opportunities open up for the band.
For example, Gone In April had the opportunity to travel to Bangalore, India, to perform as a metal co-headliner, alongside Children Of Bodom, at The Great Indian Octoberfest 2012, a 3-day festival with a typical 60 000 attendance. This opportunity might not have been possible without the international management experience of the band. The band also performed at the WaveTransform Festival, in Knoxville, TN, USA, in 2014 and 2016, as well as for other dates in the USA between 2012 and 2016. These international concerts have helped the band get more international visibility. In addition, getting amazing support from magazines, webzines, etc, from various continents, through album reviews and interviews helps a great deal as well. Global Metal Apocalypse is a great example of that! Thank you!"
Having played in India, would you say that metal music unites the world regardless of social, political or religious differences?
"Yes, from my experience, the metal community is a very diverse community. I believe the diversity promotes a sense of open-mindedness, unity, and adaptation. I have had the chance to perform in North America, in Europe, and in Asia, and fans have always been very supportive, regardless of social, political or religious background. In addition, metal musicians are constantly pushing the limits of music composition and performance, and the diversity of the metal community has contributed to creating the sub-genres of metal. I believe that musicians who have contributed to creating sub-genres of metal have come from several different backgrounds, have been exposed to and have had interest for various cultures, which has led them to be interested in several styles of music, and hence, help create a new blend. It is nice to see the diversity and unity continue to grow within the metal community."
You recently released your second album 'Threads of Existence', could you give us a break down of what each song means? What did you do different on this album in comparison to your debut 'We Are But Human'?
"The concept of the 1st album focused on the psychological evolution of a 13th century warrior. The concept of the 2nd album focuses on survival of an individual, or a group or a society within various environments and situations, through its existence, hence the title “Threads of Existence”."
The Curtain Will Rise:
An individual, whose goal is to climb Mount Everest, begins his climb after having trained for years for this challenge. On the way up, the climber faces mental and physical challenges, and wonders whether or not the top will be reached, or if death will be faced. If the top is reached, the curtain will rise to reveal the achievement.
Our Future Line:
A young boy’s family passes away in a tragedy. The boy is brought to a guardian. The guardian, who owns a sawmill, treats the boy as a slave, does not provide proper food and shelter. As the boy faces these challenges, he becomes stronger and eventually takes ownership of his future time line and makes changes to his life, by confronting the guardian, and freeing himself.
Remember The Days:
A group of sailors leave their home country to travel overseas, to a land which they believe will be filled with better opportunities. The sea is a challenging environment. The group struggles, and, in their fight for survival, many of them die of malnutrition. Sailors remember the old days in their former country and wonder if they took their life for granted. In their search for greener pastures, they might not survive the trip, and if they do, they hope it will be to find a land that contains opportunities which were worth risking their lives.
As Hope Welcomes Death:
Soldiers are injured at war and are taken to the infirmary. Although they are now on safer grounds, another battle begins: a battle for survival. Medical staff do their best to take care of soldiers, and keep their spirits up. Some soldiers hope to make it out alive and fight daily for survival, and others wish for death in order for their suffering to come to an end.
Embracing The Light:
At the end of his life, an older gentleman holds his grandson in his arms. While his own life bleeds away, the baby’s life is just starting. The old man passes down his knowledge to the boy, telling him all he knows about this world where beauty is weaved with horror, where time stretches forever, and then suddenly flies away. He hopes that he will continue to live in the memory of his descendant once he draws his last breath.
A Million Souls Gather:
Cancer begins to grow and invades the body. After much growth, the individual feels symptoms and finds out about the cancer. Treatment is necessary. The patient will fight for survival alongside powerful allies: technologies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment begins as the allies, the million souls, gather and begin the annihilation of cancer.
There are 16 personality types per the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. One type, the “ENTJ”, is organized, productive, motivated, with high willpower, determination, and leadership skills, has vision and a desire to achieve. The “ENTJ” will not sit back and see what life brings, but will proactively make things happen and relentlessly work to achieve its goals. It takes many types of personalities for a society to survive and be healthy. The lyrics present the world in the eyes on an ENTJ personality type, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the personality type.
The Great Contemplation:
An author’s inspiration is constantly challenged throughout his lifetime, hence his survival is threatened. At the start of the author’s career, all ideas for the first publication are fresh as the author has not yet written and released any works. As the author grows, he gets challenged to find new ideas for the new publications, as to not repeat or release the same content as the first books. The author evolves and develops new tools and ideas to generate inspiration.
The Will To End A Life:
A fighter pilot during war has 2 choices: kill to survive, or be killed. Although the soldier fights to rid the world of evil, the soldier realizes that “overtaking evil begins with the will to end a life”, and that “evil begins with the will to end a life.” Survival sometimes involves surrendering to evil. The soldier begins to questions his actions.
Regarding your new album, have you got any plans to take your album promoting shows to Europe? The UK?
"We are currently working on dates for the North America, Asia, and South America for autumn 2016. We look forward to opportunities in Europe in late 2016 or 2017."
You played the WaveTransform Festival, what can you tell us about the festival? Are there any more festivals near to where you are situated?
"The WaveTransform Festival is a series of prominent music concerts presented at one of East Tennessee’s theatres, the US Cellular Stage at the Bijou Theatre. The line-up consists of artists from WaveTransform Recording Studio. The festival features events which cover several styles of music, and which include both local artists and international musicians. Gone In April was fortunate to perform at the last 2 festivals, and we look forward to the next festival. Another great festival in the area is Progpower USA in Atlanta, GA, featuring national and international acts."
What hobbies does the band have outside of playing music? Do you have any pastimes you indulge in?
"I play with symphony orchestras, sing with opera companies, and teach voice and violin. When I have a little bit of time, I enjoy hiking, crossfit, D&D, as well as spending time with friends.
Marc teaches music in college, and outside normal hours, is hired as a session guitarist for live and studio. At the moment, he is doing a Masters degree in Music, therefore, most of his spare time goes to academic work for his studies, and rehearsing. He enjoys watching movies and playing video games.
Steve spends most of his time on tour and in studios, away from home, but to answer the question, he just texted and said his hobby involves “trying to play bass half as good as Yanic does air-bass”.
Now you know Yanic enjoys to air-bass…! Yanic works over 100 hours per week. He is a Physicist and Engineer, and designs nuclear medicine scanners, and also runs a recording studio (as an engineer and session drummer) and event management company. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This applies to Yanic’s crazy lifestyle. He loves what he does, so everything is like a hobby. He does enjoy watching movies and TV shows to relax a bit before his little amount of sleep.
Aaron likes to spend time with friends, watch movies. He also plays in another band, produced at Yanic’s studio, so he spends time writing and performing for his band."
What plans does the band have for the rest of the year?
"As mentioned earlier, we are currently planning live performance dates for autumn of 2016. We look forward to growing our fan base, and meeting a lot of fans on the road who support the band."
Finally are there any hello's / thank you's you wish to send out?
We would like to thank all the fans who have supported us throughout the years. We look forward to meeting many of you on road! If you would like to see Gone In April perform in your home-town, contact us and let us now! We will be glad to pursue opportunities within your region! Many thanks to you, Rhys, from Global Metal Apocalypse for all the support!
Folk Metal has changed into many different forms since it's birth and over the decades these off-shoots have blossomed into their own being. Celtic Metal, Pagan Metal, Oriental Metal, etc, they all have a story to tell, but what of Crossover-Folk Metal? This rather interesting genre has been wallowing around a fair bit but without any real solid foundation being created. This is probably why Germany's Punch'N'Judy are a bit of an oddity when it comes to the Folk Metal tag, we caught up with accordionist and vocalist Ute, the sole remaining musician from the original line-up, to ask her about the journey the band has made, future plans and information about their home region.
Hey Ute, so please give us a brief history of Punch 'N' Judy, how you formed, member changes, etc?
Well, it all started off as a project at the end of 2012. We had some ideas for Folk songs with complete power and so we began to search for other musicians. In 2003 we had our first gig as Punch'N'Judy and from there on it started growing. Because of jobs or private situations we had some line-up changes, the only position which is still the same from the beginning is the accordion. But until now we are still going our way and we are still here.
Now you play a form of Crossover / Folk Metal, what inspired you to take this music style?
This was really not planned, the only thing we knew when we started, was to make some kind of powerful Folk music. All members brought their own music style to the band and so it just happened that we had metal elements, rock, medieval, hard rock and folk. We liked it that way and tried to find a name for that kind of music style and so our Crossover-Folk style was born.
Why the band name Punch 'N' Judy, apart from it being a well known British puppet show?
Yes, it is a well known puppet show in Germany as well, over here it is called "Kasperletheater".
We have a song on our first album "Spring!time", called "The Punch and Judy Show". This song was our first one, we made it together with the first band members and so that is how we found our name.
This year Punch 'N' Judy has been going 10 years, how do you plan to celebrate it?
Oh, when we did the first gig back in 2003, we already had our 10 years (2013), but we did not celebrate it. (Editor: to avoid confusion Metal Archives says they formed in 2004 (http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Punch%27N%27Judy/122459)
Have you performed outside of Germany? Do you plan to play in the UK?
Yes, we sometimes play in the Netherlands and we have played in Austria as well. If someone is going to book us in the UK, we would come over ;-)
If the band owned a plane, who would be: the pilot, the co-pilot, the baggage handler, the steward and the person screaming at the back 'Oh my god, we are gonna die!'
This is a very easy question to answer, nobody is the one screaming 'Oh my god, we are gonna die!' But everyone of us is sometimes the pilot, co-pilot, baggage handler or the steward, otherwise this band would not exist anymore. We are strong together and each of us has several things to do in the band, that is how it works.
What plans does the band have for the rest of the year and into 2015?
Some of us are planning to go on holiday this year and we will play a few club gigs. For 2015 we are planning the festivals now and hopefully we will get some good ones.
Besides Metal festivals, gigs and shops, what attractions / sites should metalheads go to in North Rhine-Westphalia?.
This is really a difficult question, we have a lot of Industrial culture here in the "Ruhrgebiet" where you can do several things from exhibitions to free climbing in an industrial area. We have a lot metal pubs and clubs as well. You should come here and see what`s going on.
What is your favorite song from all 3 albums you have released? (you can pick one song per album, explain why this choice of song)
From the first album 'Spring ! Time' I like "John Maynard", because this is also my favorite poem.
I like "Flibberty Gibbet" from the second album 'Punch On !', this song always gives me a smile on my face. And from the third album 'Cross!ng Over' my favorite song is "Last March", I like the arrangement and the strength of the song.
What other bands should readers check out from the North Rhine-Westphalia region?
I have no special one, there are a lot of small bands which are very interesting.
Finally do you have any greetings, thank you's etc, you wish to send out to fans, friends etc?
We`d like to thank everyone who is interested in music and supports bands, otherwise we and other bands could not exist. Thanks to our fan club and the great "Chaosraben", and thank you for the interview.