M. – Bass
J. – Drums
P. – Guitars
T. – Guitars
C. – Vocals
Young, with only a debut album, "I – Apophänie", behind them: the german Schattenbrandung live between two worlds, between black and doom. Today we have the pleasant chance to talk with them: let's get to know a little more about their reality.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, how are you doing? This year is about to end, how do you evaluate your work so far?
P.: Hey, we're fine.
Schattenbrandung, let's start by talking about the choice of this name: what does it mean? Why did you choose this monicker, what's your connection to it?
There's no particular story attached to that name, if this is what you wanted to refer to. It's a neologism we came up with in our early days and we sticked to it. An acceptable translation would be "Surge Of Shadows" – now, with a healthy amount of imagination, that is a visually stunning perception. The picture suits the sound we pursue.
What can you tell me about the line-up, who are Schattenbrandung's members, how did they familiarize with metal music in the first place and what bands do they listen to, either as an inspiration for their sound or just as a personal preference?
Not much, honestly. I can't recall the personal histories of all band members in their entity and I'm not sure if they'd remember if I asked them, but I can assure you that there is no genre that isn't or hasn't been heard by someone in the band.
Your band was created about three years ago, and, like many other young bands have been doing lately, your first release was a full-lenght: can you explain your choice?
I'd like to see music as a vehicle for conveying ideas. An EP doesn't leave enough space for me to do that – and honestly, talking about demos: I'm not willing to believe that any musician "likes" to do demos. They're a means to an end to finance subsequent serious activities, and today it's perfectly possible to do that without recording crap to begin with. We could reconcile with the idea of doing an EP with covers or something like that in the future, though.
I liked your album, a lot, in its very balance between two artistic natures, black metal and doom metal, that in your work never get in each other's way; how did you give birth to this album? Usually, how do you proceed in the composition of the songs, both musically and lyrically?
At first, there's a lyrical concept. There's no special procedure for the musical part, though. Two of us literally "write" music from time to time, but usually, nothing definite turns out that way. We rehearse new material until it feels right
What are the main topics of the album? And, since "I – Apophänie" is the first of three chapters, can you explain how will this trilogy advance?
The main topic is that this whole world mankind has built themselves is a lie. You need to open your mind, associate and discern the patterns these lies are built on. The most people will think you're suffering apophany, but that's the prize you have to pay for unfolding the truth revelated everywhere. "II – Apostasy" will be about killing the responsible entity – call it god, if that helps understanding. In "III – Apotheosis", the enlightened, orthodox self will claim its crown as the new god. Everything spiritual leads to becoming god. At least it should, because if it doesn't, there's no point in it…
Even if albums are often analyzed on a song-by-song basis, I find best to listen to your work as a unique solution; but, if you had to choose only one song to play on a gig, which one would you choose, and why?
Everyone in the band has his personal favourite, I guess. We also get into arguments about our setlists on a regular basis. I'd choose "VII" because I think it works best as a standlone compared to the rest of the material. It's been the latest song we've written among those that made it onto the album, too.
"I – Apophänie" is a self-produced album, carefully worked out both in its production and in its graphical aspect, and limited to 444 digipak copies. Bands that decide (or happen) to work without a label to cover their backs are giving more and more attention to the details and aspects that count the most for their music; do you think this is an answer to the carelessness of many labels?
Of course it is. For the majority of musicians, there's no way to bring a holistic concept into being when working with a label. You'll always have to hazard the consequences, either in the financial or in the artistic aspect. We won't do that. There is no point in music if it doesn't strive for perfection. The very essence of art is trying to deliver the most authentic image of the artists vision, and if you're serious about what you do, you cannot compromise that for the sake of finding a better distribution partner.
What's the german underground scene like, from your point of view? And the metal scene in general?
There is quite a lot of good stuff going on in the underground here. I'm not talking about black metal for that matter, though, because nowadays black metal scene is a transboundary joke. The metal scene in general is pretty fucked up, too, I think, but that's of no further interest to anyone of us neither. I guess I'd basically like the idea of an actual community or scene exclusively consisting of people rejected by society because people can't stand their sobriety. Sadly, that's not what the metal scene, or any scene, for that sake, is like. Most people involved in metal affect gravity instead. Actually, they're in it for the fun like the whole scum they take pride in for hating. I can't solidarise with that.
If you had the chance to change a trend or completely erase a genre that you really hate in metal music, what would be your choice?
Core. Not primarily because the music would actually be worse than all the other crap out there, though. The reason are the degenerate fucks that this scene consists of. They are even worse than the morons in normal metal, and that says it all. T. just noted that the overwhelming majority of these fat, mead-sipping wannabe-pagan dregs would deserve to be erased just as well. I could acquire a taste for either. Sadly, it doesn't matter too much in the end because we're not in the situation to erase anything, literally speaking.
While chatting with various friends, I often had to criticize their way of only listening to foreign music, neglecting our national scene; of course much of what I listen to myself is coming from beyond our national borders, but why should we ignore our own bands without even listening to them? How can you relate? Is there some sort of preference for non-german music, among german metal fans?
I certainly agree that this approach is bullshit, but I never noticed such behaviour here in Germany.
This is a moment of crisis, the circulation of money is very scarce: illegal downloads are a thorn in the side of music industry, and many governments refuse to provide art with an adequate protection; can sites as Bandcamp, that you chose yourself to join schattenbrandung.bandcamp.com, really change this trend?
It wouldn't be a loss in terms of musical quality if the affiliated industry died – that's for sure. That being said, I don't think actual art needs protection. Just think of all the grand visual artists of the past 500 years. For every original painting, there are hundreds of copies reproduced in facsimile, and more often than not, they're so convincing that people actually buy them. No one would forget about the actual originator and give laurels to the guy who crafted the forgery anyways. I'm not concerned about the crisis. I take a mischievous pleasure in the fact that a lot of people in the music industry do, though.
Once upon a time we used Myspace, now there's its legacy, mostly Facebook and Twitter: in your opinion, is keeping contacts through those channels helping much? Has promotion become almost exclusively an internet prerogative, or do you think live gigs and direct contact with fans can still make the difference?
I appreciate the opportunities new media has to offer. There's no reason to be nostalgic about the whole paper-warfare of the older days. The actual thing is still happening in the real world, of course.
About live gigs: do you remember your first time on a stage? What was it like?
I always feel lousy when playing live. Actually, it has nothing to do with the process of playing something in front of a crowd. The thing pissing me off is that there's always someone not involved with the band, but concerned with the show in some way who will fuck the whole thing up rest-assured, and there's nothing you can do to prevent that. I always want to bludgeon somebody to death when that happens – and it always happens! It's a natural law. A pleased audience tends to make up for that, though.
Have you had the chance of playing your album live? What kind of feedback have you received?
Yeah, we did once not-so-long ago. There was a shitload of people that liked it and a miniscule minority that didn't. We ppreciate it if the biggest part of the audience enjoys what we do, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if they didn't either. If that is the case someday in the future, we'll simply refrain from doing further shows and concentrate on recording. No big deal.
Short term projects? Have you already started writing the songs for the second chapter of your trilogy?
M. and C. are involved in other black metal projects running alongside. They're both recording at the moment, if I remember rightly, but I can't serve with any details. T. is producing electronic music, playing shows as a DJ occasionally. I like to mess around with instruments I don't master when I have the time. Some time ago, I refurbished an accordion that my great-grandfather stored in the basement. Now that it works again, it breeds some pretty eerie sounds. We've been thinking about featuring it in the distant future. There's a piano standing around in our rehearsal room aswell. I recently bought some homerecording equipment, so there's actually a chance to do some of this more exotic stuff on the next records. We'll see what the future brings.. And, yes, of course, the successors of "I – Apophänie" are already in the making.
A dream that you would like to fulfill as a band?
A big club show – maybe over the length of a whole saturday – with some of the bands we love, no thoughts to be spent on the budget or the ticket sales. There would be insane light/sound features, a fire show and all the good stuff to eat and drink. Now that would be insane. That will never happen, but how do they say? "While there's life, there's hope", haha. I venture to disagree.
And that's all. I thank you for the time you took to keep us company. If you wish to say "hey" to anybody or send a free message to all of those who read us, this is the time: feel free to end the interview as you like.