Wednesday 22 April 2015

A Storm Is Brewing - Interview with Andreas from Phantom Winter

Phantom Winter risen from the ashes of Omega Massif and have released a stunning debut album with Cvlt. A bleak, heavy and despairing affair that's winning praise within the Doom/Sludge Metal community for it's sheer brutality.

I was given the chance to interview Andreas (Guitar/Bewitched Screams) from Phantom Winter and ex-Omega Massif to see what inspired him to create such a heavy, brutal and poetic album.

So lets get started....

CVLT cover art

Hi Andreas. Thanks for doing this interview, how are things with you today.

Hi, even if no one would expect this from guys of a band called “Phantom Winter“, we are very happy that it is springtime in Germany and it is getting warmer.

Before we talk about your new album. Can you tell our readers a brief history on how the band came together.

About one week before Omega Massif ended, I started PW as a sideproject to write my own music. Christof liked, what he heard and he joined me. Then we recorded the song "Wintercvlt“ with Christian joining me on vocals, as I was sure, I could not sing everything live. After that recording I wrote more songs and we could win Martin for the band. We recorded the album as a 4-piece and David, our other guitarist, joined us afterwards.

Why did you choose the name Phantom Winter for your band. Though it perfectly matches the cold atmospheric feeling of your music.

I always wanted to make anything with"Phantom“, I like the spooky aspect of it. Suspense. Winter fits perfectly to give the band it's final touch, the Winterphantom everyone carries inside and wants to get rid of. Or that he or she loves.

Most people may of heard of Phantom Winter being the spin-off band or the new band featuring members from Omega Massif. Does that bother you all being compared to Omega Massif even though you are two very different bands.

No, well I am actually guilty of that aspect, because I posted every single news on the Omega Massif-facebook-page. It is ok, that the Omega Massif-fans know, this is not the end. This is the beginning. Everyone in the band walks on a new path and gives birth to something special, as Omega was.

Did you all know each other very well before Phantom Winter came together as a band. Did you know right away that this was going to be a good thing to do.

I know Christian and Martin very long. Christian is a good friend, Martin is a good friend and an old schoolmate. Christof did not know them, but it worked out very well. We all did not know David, but he, even if he is ten to fifteen years younger than the others are, seems to fit in very well. Well I think I knew, that this is a good thing, yes.

Obviously you're sound is very different to Omega Massif. Your sound is heavier, darker and very more depressing. Did you know that you all wanted a different sound from what came before it.

We have vocals, samples, yes, the music might be a little bit more brutal, more in your face, more middlefinger. This might be the result of the change in songwriting. The Omega-songs were a collaboration, in PW I write the songs. So I can follow a very special path with every single song and I can connect the lyrics with the music as good as possible. And as we sing about everything that bothers me, the music has a darker, more depressing touch. Omega was a soundtrack to mountains, I like to call Phantom Winter a nightmare.

Let's talk about your new album - Cvlt. What can people expect from this album.

It has five songs with very different sounds."“Corpses Collide“ for example is kind of a wake up call at the beginning, it hammers it's way through your ears and has this piano and whispers – middle-part that sounds like Poltergeist meets weird fairytale."Finster Wald“ is nearly instrumental but has an highspeed-outbreak ending."Avalanche Cities“ has kind of a real song-structure with refrain and bridge and stuff and it is the only song with some more positive melodies to give it a big contrast within it's parts. If you are into heavy music, you might find something, you like.

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

It was easy. I had so much energy inside my whole body and mind, because the death of Omega Massif struck me very hard. I used this force to unleash the winterphantom. It gave me peace with the loss of the other band which was a very central issue in my life.

Why did you choose the name Cvlt for the album and that particular spelling for it.

Because of the song"Wintercvlt“. Music can be kind of a"cult“ this song is describing. And even if we do not like cults, it seems that no one can stay away from every cult. TV, music, internet, work, this new way of nutrition, yoga, whatever. So this has an ironic touch. And the Vs instead of the Us are our middlefingers to the whole NSBM-scene, which often uses runes or old german mystic symbols to be evil or whatever (song "Finster Wald“). In our eyes this is nothing but kindergarden.

What influences you when writing and recording your music. As the album has a depressing vibe to it.

I use the music as kind of a reminder for myself that says: Don't become an asshole! Keep your integrity. The lyrics, the music sound very depressing, yes, but actually this is very positive music. I know, this world will stay an ugly place and PW will change nothing about that. But Phantom Winter is kind of a mirror or a symbol for the audience. No acceptance. No surrender. Grab your own winterphantom and throw it from the top of a skyscraper.

The album has started to receive some fantastic reviews so far. Has this surprised you in anyway. Did you expect the album to make this good of an impression.

This is fantastic, yes. I do not know, what I expected. I hoped, that anyone would understand Phantom Winter. And it seems, that it struck a nerve. We appreciate every single response to our work, this helps us to keep going our way.

Will you be doing an extensive tour in support of the album. If so will which areas will you be visiting in the future.

We will play some festivals like the awesome VOID and the STATELESS SOCIETY and there will be a lot of clubshows (Berlin, Cologne, Munich etc.) all over germany. It will be about 20 shows this year, that's a lot for us.

How important are physical products to a band like yourselves. Which musical format do you like releasing your music in. DD, CD, Cassette or Vinyl.

Some of us are into CDs, the others in LPs, Cassette is more like a gimmick, but a nice one. I prefer LPs with downloadcodes, something nice at home and the bits and bytes for the road.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to a group collective or individual.

I write the songs and the others join me in the finishing process. This is a really good way to work straight, effectively and to follow one big vision for every song.

Apart from the new album release what other plans do you have in store for the next 12 months or so.

We will play our shows and write new songs, we think it would be nice to have new material very soon.

How would you class your music as. Sludge, Post-Metal, Blackened Sludge, Doom Metal, As your music has been called a lot of things. Do you take notice of musical terms such as those mentioned above.

We call it "Winterdoom“. We think this gives someone who does not know any song of PW an idea of what we might sound like. But anyone can call it as he or she wants. We don't care about such classifications much.

Well guys thanks for doing this. Best of luck with the album. It's a great album. Do you have any words of wisdom for your fans out there.

Thanks for supporting us, come to our shows, if possible, it will be very frosty.

Words by Steve Howe and Andreas from Phantom Winter.

Thanks to Magnus at Creative Eclipse PR for arranging this interview. Thanks to Andreas for taking the time out to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

CVLT is now available to buy on Golden Antenna Records on CD/DD/Vinyl.

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