It gives me great pleasure to be interviewing brilliant German Sludge/Stoner Metallers – The Moth who recently impressed me with their excellent début album – They Fall.
This is what I had to say about this excellent album - “It is hard to believe there are only three people in this band as it feels like double that amount. Riffs come flying you at every corner and the vocals adding layers of tension and excitement unlike anything you have heard this year.
The album is expertly played and produced through out. If you like you’re Sludge/Stoner Metal with an extra layer of lo-fi psychedelic fuzz based vibes then you can’t go wrong here. The Moth deserves your attention now. This album came as a real surprise to me when the band originally contacted me. The album cover might not give anything away but as the famous saying goes – Appearances can be deceiving – Or – Never judge a book by its cover.
And both of them are true for The Moth. Look this album is testament that Germany have another excellent Sludge/Stoner Metal band to call upon. It could be that these Sludge Rockers could be one of my fave discoveries of 2013.”
Well The Moth have kindly agreed an interview with me.
Q1 – Hi there. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today?
– Hey Steve! Thank you so much for doing this interview with us, and for supporting us so well. We REALLY appreciate!! At the moment we are still incredulous and thrilled about now being part of the fleet of THIS CHARMING MAN-RECORDS. We got the news only a few days ago.
Q2 – Can you give our readers a brief history of how the band came about.
– Freden and I used to play in a band called „Bangkok Cash“ from 1999 to 2009. The band then split for personal reasons, but Freden and I continued jamming, though the split was a hard thing to digest. In autumn 2011 we decided that we wanted to give it another, real try. Music was just too important to us. We were only two of us and Freden was still playing the drums, as he had in Bangkok Cash, though he is originally a guitarist.
We were looking for a guitarist first, but fortunately had not found one until Freden got back to his roots last year: the strings. That was when THE MOTH really took it's flight, and we finally started writing songs. We then tried out eight drummers, before we asked out Tiffy (Philipp's nickname), whom we forced to stay. He was only with us for a little more than four months before we recorded "They Fall“.
Q3 – How would you describe your music. I would describe it as Psychedelic Sludge/Stoner Metal. But your music has a sublime Progressive edge to it as well.
– You were the first to use the description psychedelic, haha! We would probably describe it as Sludge-Metal to keep it simple. It is so hard to describe music. Sludge comprises so many bands, that have different styles. But what they all have in common is that honest, uncompromising core.
Q4 – How did you all become involved with music.
Cécile: I have played in bands since I was 18. But I had not found a musical home, or how you would call that, not until I heard and met the Sissies in 1997, a band that Freden used to play in and Tiffy also later. It was overwhelming: powerful, angry music like I had never listened it before and I finally knew where I belonged musically. In 1999 Freden, another guy and I founded Bangkok Cash. I couldn't live without music since.
Freden: At 14 I started playing the guitar. My friends and I were mainly listening to heavy-rock, thrash- and death-metal. Very young Tiffy and I started our first metal-band ‘satan claus’ - it was just for fun and we didn't play any concerts. A few years later I founded with some other guys the band ‘sissies’. A mixture between hardcore, heavy-and stoner rock. After the first album Tiffy got into the band and we recorded three more albums till the split in 2005. At that Time, 'bangkok cash', where Cécile played bass and I played drums, became my main-project. It was a pity, when the band broke apart 2009. On the other hand it meant that I returned to my old craft: playing the guitar – and I am very glad about that decision.
Q5 – Which bands/artists/musicians have had a direct influence on your music
Cécile: Sissies album „Fixed“ and High on Fire have had the biggest impact. Then Black Sabbath, Wino, Queens of the Stone Age, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Kylesa, Baroness.
Freden: There is a lot and it would be a long list. I’m mainly interested in mighty and grooving riffs. I think, for example, different bands like cathedral, crowbar, motörhead, bolt thrower, trouble and all the projects of Scott Weinrich have had an influence.
Q6 – Why the name The Moth. Any special reason behind it.
– When songs are under progress, we give them names, that somehow fit. One song was called THE MOTH, cause it reminded us of a chubby moth flying around in the night. When we couldn't agree on any other name, on this one we could.
Q7 – Well what can I say about your brilliant new album – They Fall. Wow. Loved it as you can tell. Thanks for contacting me. Was it a hard album to write and record for.
– No, not at all actually. Some songs we worked on for a rather long time, until we were satisfied, others were done really quick. „They Fall“ was just a few days old when we recorded it. But what actually cost us quite an effort was the vocals.
Neither Freden nor I had ever sung in a band before. So we only began working on the vocals, when almost all the songs were ready. The amount of cola-rum drunken at rehearsals rose dramatically at that time. But it was so much fun just from the beginning... a complete new tool to express ourselves. As to the recording: We recorded all eight songs live in one day. The next day Freden doubled the guitars. On a third day we did all the vocals.
Q8 – I love the dual vocals on the album. It feels like you were both at war with each other which I mentioned in my review. Was that the intention for the album. Carnage against Calm. Order against chaos.
– Haha! No, Steve! We're not yelling at one another, we are yelling at a third party ;)!
Q9 – Did you release the album yourselves on CD. Was that a hard decision to make to release something yourselves. As you guys deserve to be signed because of this album.
– No, it wasn't. We just wanted our music to get out there, and having a label was something that seemed very, very far away. We first planned to record just four songs as a demo so we could apply for gigs and maybe contact labels. But then we thought. Fuck it, let's just record all the songs we have, if we are in the studio anyway. That's what we did.
Then we ordered a hundred copies. We were not sure if a lot of people would like and buy it. We sent one of those to Christian Weinrich frot THIS CHARMING MAN RECORDS. Six weeks later we are on his label. Still cannot believe it.
Q10 – Who came up with the excellent album cover as it doesn't tell you what to expect. OK it's a moth like your band name but it doesn't give the listener any other clues on what to expect which is a real bonus as well.
– When Florian Zeh was almost ready with the mixing and mastering the artwort needed to be done as well. We didn't want to waste any time. Since we are all the worst drawers, I quite simply googled „moth“ and found a picture of this incredible moth on flickr. In photoshop I turned it into black and white, worked on the contrast and the light – and that was it. We thought: Rather keep it simple. The cover looks just imposing and a bit threatening.
When I contacted the guy who had taken the picture to ask him for permission, that was quite a surprise: He's a scientist working in Singapur, and had discovered this moth-species in Venezuela. He was the first to have photographed it and was in the papers all over the world because of this. But he said: Sure, no problem, take it!
Q11 – How big of a help has BandCamp in getting your music across to the masses.
– bandcamp is really helpful! People check your music and buy your record without you having anything to do, except for playing good songs of course and loading them up. That is what really impresses us about the bandcamp-users: They don't care if you're big or not, or where you are from: All that counts to them is if they like the music or not. Bandcampers have independent opinions, they don't wait for the masses to follow.
Q12 – I am a big fan of the German Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene at the moment. Some great bands coming from their. Voltron, Amber, Aleph Null, your good friends – SHAKHTYOR and one of personal faves – Wolves Carry My Name. Is the German Sludge/Stoner Metal scene thriving at the moment. Are there a lot of gigs and venues for you to perform on a regular basis.
Jes! Somehow people are suddenly very open for and appreciative of this kind of music. We don't know where this comes from.. probably from bands as High on Fire, Kylesa and Baroness, who have smoothed the path for years. But no matter what! People finally seem to be ready for this, so also for us, and we sure like that!
Q13 – In 5 words or less describe the live THE MOTH experience.
Q14 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.
– Jes, they are! Some really like our style, and those who are not especially into that kind of music, still come to our concerts, because they just want to see their friends onstage, hang around with the tribe, and have fun afterwards.
Q15 – What are your favourite bands you are currently listening to. Any bands that myself or our readers should check out.
– We are all into Shakhtyor. And Rodha, a great Sludge-Band from Hamburg. And the third part of our hometowns Sludge-Tryptichon. You definitely also should check out our label-brothers from Wall, Mountain Witch and Union of Sleep. Cécile still mainly listens to High on Fire and Baroness, Freden to a lot of different metal- and sludge-Bands.
Q16 – If you could provide words to wisdom for people wanting to start a band – What would they be.
– Just do it. There is no excuse not to. If you really want to do it, you'll find your musical soulmates. Sooner or later. Until than, sweat it out.
Q17 – What are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a band. Financial aspect being a part of band could be a major disadvantage.
– There is only one disadvantage: When your band breaks up, that sure sucks. It's like loosing a vital part of yourself.
Q18 – Can you tell us what you have planned over the next 12 months or so.
– Right now, we are just overwhelmed to have signed with THIS CHARMING MAN RECORDS and will release our debut „THEY FALL“ on vinyl there. We are just really, really excited about that one! We are also already working on new songs, and will record our second album as soon as we can. Until then we want to have fun playing gigs, and hope to support some bands we are fans of. Playing in the UK, the Netherlands or the northern countries would be a dream.
Q19 – Finally do you have anything to say to your fans.
– We are really thrilled about each one of you and thank you for believing in us and supporting THE MOTH! Hope to meet you at a concert soon!
Thanks for your time. Best of luck with your album. And congrats on getting the album released on Vinyl. Can't wait to buy that one.
You can buy The Fall on DD and CD from The Moth’s Bandcamp page.
Check The Band from the following links.