Wednesday 20 March 2013

Interview with VOLTRON

Kaventsmann cover art

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing the brilliant German Sludge/Doomcore/Stoner Metal band – VOLTRON who recently impressed me with their stunning new album – Kaventsmann 

They have been receiving a huge load of praise for their blend of Sludge, Doom, Stoner Metal with a distinct Progressive edge.

I called them the bastard offspring of Gojira and Mastodon and I meant that in the best possible way. These guys are brilliant musicians. I even bought their new album on Hand Made Metal CD.
So I am pleased to say the band have been kind enough to agree to an interview with ourselves.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

Nik: Weather is awful like a summer day on Spitzbergen. Perfect Voltron weather. Looking forward to our rehearsal tonight. Songwriting from hell!!!

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about. 

Mars: Born ten years ago, released three e.p.'s and two longplayers, lost a few voltronista, won a few. Always are victory.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound. You describe it as Doomcore. What is Doomcore in your own words. 

Mars: A bastard made from slow and mean heavy metal – with the emphasis on heavy – a bit of hardcore and a pinch of stoner and psychedelic. And, most important, a big chunk of indifference towards genres and their restrictions. One might also call it sludge but I think we are too much metal for that.

Nik: To me DoomCore means that we want to create an intense drop tuned sound that is mixed with the power of metal, hardcore to an own amalgam in which slow blackness meets something like deconstruction.

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

Mars: Melvins, Kiss, Sonic Youth, Richard Wagner and the late Talk Talk. Yeah, honestly.

Nik: I Like very much Neurosis, Isis, Mastodon and stuff like that. But with my musical roots I’m stucked in early Punk Rock and HardCore. This is where I come from. Metal played and still plays a very big role in my life. First to name in this genre is IRON MAIDEN. I’m a fan boy! I do also like late stuff like Himsa, Darkest Hour etc. As well very, very, very important Bohren and the Club of Gore (fucking great band!).

But it's not the whole story. My musical base is wide. I like Singer Songwriter/Americana, Psychobilly, classical Rock'n'Roll, Jazz sometimes, Scandinavian IndyPop like Logh and and and... 

To say it in philosophical way: the only one good music to me, is music that fits to me, myself and I.

Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

Mars:Unfortunately the later. On the other side: being a full time musicians means to have to do a lot of shitty things. We don't do shitty things.

Q6 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

Mars: Yes. Though we are old enough to not have to ask our parents whether they are okay with what we are doing or not.

Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual. 

Mars: Both describes it best. One guy comes up with an idea – that's often me – and then we work on it collectively. Sometimes an idea emerges when we are jamming.

Nik: Collective. Every song is a Voltron Baby with five daddies. We all give something to grow this baby. Sometimes somebody thinks that he does most of the songwriting with bringing his ideas. Well, we let him think so and bend his ideas into the Voltron Universe. That makes him thinking that he's kind of the songwriter and he's happy. And if he's happy we are too. Only if he's coming up with Talk Talk riffings he's always sent into the corner with donkey ears on.

Q8 – Your have released your brilliant new album. Are you happy with the responses so far.

Mars: Yes, they are actually quite good. Could be more though. It's difficult to get the attention you need when you are without a label.

Nik: Very! I love to read the reviews. The reviews make me think that there are some people out there who try and manage to understand our work. That’s great. And cream on top is that we always get very kind and good reviews. Black balm on our lost souls.

Q9 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

Mars: Concerning the songs themselves: different. Some just fly by and write themselves, others need a lot of persuasion and work to become what they need to be. Studententoeter e.g. needed a whole year until it became what it is now. Concerning everything else: it was the most difficult thing we ever did since we had some line-up changes in the most sensible moments until we were at a point where we didn't know if this album ever was going to be released at all.

Q10 – Is there a scene for Sludge/Doom/Stoner bands to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.

Nik: There is a scene. In Berlin as in Germany in general and it’s growing over the last years. But in fact we’re not pure sludge, not pure doom and well not stoner (but stoned sometimes). In my opinion new, growing subcultural scenes tend to close themselves up to other influences. This makes it difficult for a band like ours which is not pure in any way. So at my point of view, it could be much easier to play live, if we'd decide that we concentrate on doom or sludge or what so ever. But that’s not what we want to do. We’re Voltron and we do the stuff in our way. You like it? Great! You don’t? Hey, you’re a nice person anyway.

Q11 – What is the live Voltron experience like. What makes you stand out from other bands.

Mars: That is probably answered better by our audience but I hope it is a lot of intensity and power.

Q12 – Do you have any interesting and exciting stories from tour. Have you toured with anyone famous. If so who have been your fave band to perform for/with. 

Mars: The most famous band internationally speaking perhaps would be Poison Idea.

Nik: To me the gig with Poison Idea was a great thing. As I was a punk in my teeny days I'd loved to play with them. Tour stories? Hmmmm... The interesting stories are censored. Sorry. Maybe when we meet somewhere and check the brews, then I will tell you some of them.
The truth? I forgot most of the interesting or exciting stories. Drug related amnesia. ☺

Q13 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

Mars: Did I mention Talk Talk? Honestly, I don't listen that much typical metal / sludge / whatever.

Nik: Black Shape of Nexus, YOB, Mastodon, Sunn O))), Eyehategod, Neurosis, Isis, Pelican... but also old stuff as Saint Vitus, Candlemass, Crowbar etc.

Q14 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world? 

Mars: These blogs are great! Music business has changed so much in every aspect and we love that blogs like yours adapt the whole process with such a passion. Mainstream Mags often still have not found a way to cope with the fact that more and more bands resign from doing it the old way, they have difficulties to categorise bands like us that come along and release an album without a record company.

Q15 – How did the design of the album cover came about. I love the fact you have made a Hand Made Metal Case CD. I just had to have one.

Mars: Before we released any full length we released three e.p.'s which all came along with a cover artwork that had some kind of weaponry as theme. Now we have two albums which feature an animal, we are doing it in trilogies, so expect the next album to have an animal on the cover as well. Concerning the metal case we thought that it was cool to have something special and handmade. Well, the metal case isn't handmade but the Voltron lettering on it is.

Q16 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

Mars: most: Chicks, chicks, chicks. Least: Constant trouble with our girlfriends. Okay, no, seriously: I don't ask myself that question since I am not making music because it has more advantages than disadvantages, but because I feel the need to do so.

Q17 – Germany has a brilliant Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene at the moment. Many great bands starting to appear. Is it easy for a band like yourself to get exposure or do you rely on people in other countries to buy your merchandise and listen to your music.

Mars: To be honest we haven't had much reactions from other countries so far. Right now this seems to change a bit, since we got reactions from different countries. We'd be pleased if we can do some concerts in the future in other countries.

Nik: We rely on everyone who supports us with buying a CD or a downlod. We’re not that known. So we’re happy if someone gives a bit of his hard earned money for our work. To say it in the American way: "Thaaaaank you! We appreeeeeeciate thaaat! Aaaaaaawesome!"

Q18 – Your a DIY Band. What does that entail. Do you do everything yourselves like producing, recording, booking concerts and merchandise.

Mars: Yes, all of that is done by ourselves. Though we record and produce with a good friend of ours who we have worked with since we started recording our very first e.p.. We would love to have a booking agency though cause booking is a pain in the ass.

Nik: Most of that. Yes. Hard work. But therefore the glitter is all ours. Okay when we did the recording there was an engineer. A great guy, Alex Hornbach. He is – I would say – some kind of a co-producer. He always has something special to put into our stuff or opens another point of view. He is very much related to the the sound of the records. An important guy in our universe. The force is with him and it's our will that he will live long and prosper.

Q19 – Does that have a profound effect on your personal lives. Or is it just part of the job you have to get on with. 

Mars: Yes and no. Of course it's a part of the job of being in a band and not just jamming in your cellar. But indeed it's a lot of work and we spent a lot of time on organising and stuff like that.

Q20 - What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

Mars: Due to the line-up changes I mentioned earlier and other things we could not influence it took us five years to release this new album – we are very keen not to repeat that. So we plan to be ready to enter the studio by the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014 to record the successor of Kaventsmann. But don't nail us down to that, we learned it the hard way that plans aren't always working.

Nik: Playing Live!!! Composing!!!

Q21 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Mars: Thanks a lot of course. We are honoured by every single person who loves our music and supports us. And always remember: We are victory. And so are you.

Nik: Thank you for being our fans. AAAAAAWESOME!!! ;)

Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best from ourselves at Sludgelord. Cheers. Steve.

Check This Great Band Below: