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Interview: I Am Giant

mit Paul Matthews vom 10. Januar 2013
I Am Giant - Was verbirgt sich hinter diesem knackigen Namen? Größenwahnsinnige Musiker, die gerade dabei sind die Weltherrschaft an sich zu reißen? Punkt eins der Frage ist im Augenblick noch nicht beantwortbar, wird sich aber spätestens mit dem dritten Album sicherlich durchblicken lassen. Punkt zwei dürfen wir bei der in London ansässigen Truppe aber zustimmend abnicken. Gerade im Oktober hat ihr erstes Album unter dem graziösen Titel The Horrifying Truth das Licht der Welt erblicken dürfen. Dabei hagelte es viele gute Rezensionen, bei denen im Allgemeinen vor allem dieser energiegeladene Sound und Ed Martins Gesang besonders gelobt wurden.
Und nun? Jetzt muss natürlich nach dem die zum Album gehörige Tour kreuz und quer durch Europa beendet wurde auch schon am Nachfolger gebastelt werden. Zur Freude der Fans befindet sich dieser selbstverständlich schon in der Mache! Doch wie läuft überhaupt so ein Songwriting-Prozess bei I Am Giant ab? Gibt es dabei irgendwelche Stationen, die besonders kompliziert oder nervenaufreibend sind? Macht die Band die Musik aus sich selbst heraus in erster Linie für sich selbst, oder ist das oberste Ziel den Fans zu gefallen und ihre Gunst zu erobern?
Auch ist es interessant zu wissen, ob nach den guten Rezensionen der Debütscheibe ein gewisser Druck auf den Jungs lastet, das erste Album zu toppen und die gerade frisch gewonnen Fans nicht zu verlieren? Wie man weiß, wandern gerade zwischen der ersten und der zweiten Scheibe große Teile der Fanmassen wieder ab, weil die Band nun plötzlich nicht mehr wie auf dem Debüt klingt und eine - in Metalkreisen nicht ohne tief Luft zu holende - Veränderung gemacht hat?
Erfahrt dies und viel mehr in unserem Interview mit Bassist und Gründungsmitglied Paul Matthews!
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

The Interview:

Alex: Hi Paul Matthews! Thanks for taking the time for this interview. How are you doing?
Paul: I’m doing very well thank you ... I’ve just finished an awesome New Zealand tour and I am currently in a beautiful part of New Zealand at the height of summer so, really good.
Alex: In 2011 you released your latest album “The Horrifying Truth”. When can the fans expect some new output from you?
Paul: We are working on it now. And we may even have something ready by late this year. If not then early next year is a definite.
Alex: Most of the criticism on "The Horrifying Truth" was really positive! Does that lead to some kind of pressure when writing a follow-up record? Or are you completely relaxed when doing something new?
Paul: We don’t feel any pressure other than the need to put in the time and focus. Just spending time, and developing our material until we are really feeling it and its giving us goosebumps. Thats the important part. It’s similar to running a marathon: If you’ve prepared really well, then you have nothing to worry about and you can enjoy the experience.
Alex: Would that still be the case if the critics would have been mainly harsh and devastating? In general, do you care what magazines or reviewers say about your music?
Paul: It’s always nice and well received to get compliments. In terms of harsh criticisms, I’d say there is not a lot we can do for the critic in that instance. Our music just isn’t for them. We’ve all worked on different projects and been in bands before so musically we have strong identities and we know who we are, so there is nothing we can do about it if someone doesn’t like us. We’ll start by writing the best stuff we can, that we really dig and then see who is on our wavelength.
Alex: And what can you tell us about the current production and the songwriting process?
Paul: We’ve collected loads of ideas and rough recordings over the past few years and we’ve been passing them around among ourselves working on bits here and there until some of the ideas start shining and standing out. Then we take those ideas and refine them. I’ll record demos of them and have all the parts finished. Then we’ll have them ready to take to the studio when we record the next album.
Alex: How is the songwriting process done in the band? Do your actually write down the structure and first ideas on note sheets, or is it more of a try-and-error-process while playing and improvising on the instruments?
Paul: Definitely a try-and-error.. and we normaly do it by recording ideas into the computer and messing around with different variations based on the initial idea. Then we’ll see what is sounding fresh and exciting when we listen back to it and what is worth working more on. Sometimes the very first idea doesn’t even make it through to the final song.
Alex: Are you a band that writes their songs mainly for themselves, or do you try to reach and maybe please the fans? Maybe a little bit of both?
Paul: We really just have to be ourselves musically and creatively and make our musical judgements based on what we are feeling ... and hope that other people will emotionally connect with our grooves, melodies and lyrics. Its great to meet the people that do connect. Its the greatest feeling.
Alex: Could you explain to our readers how your musical style has developed over the years?
Paul: As a band we’ve only been together for just over four years so its hard to judge how much we have developed so far as a band. After our next record it will be good to see how other people feel we’ve developed. As individuals I’d say we all brought our own unique influences and ideas to I Am Giant which has created our own distinct sound. And as a result of our experiences prior to I Am Giant we’ve been able to learn some of the important things to focus on in a band, such as, among other things, the need to put the song first and foremost.
Alex: How would you describe your crowds? Mostly young fans, or a lot of old fans, too?
Paul: Leaning more towards the young I think, but we do get older fans at shows too, which is a great compliment because I think it means there has been enough depth in what we’ve put forth that we’ve managed to reach someone who has probably been exposed to a lot more music from a wider range of great artists over a longer period. Its harder to impress those old guys!!
Alex: Do you have any strategies for catching the attention of the people? Or is it more like they’re coming to your music on their very own?
Paul: They are coming to our music on their own for sure. We just do what we do best and if it’s your vibe, see you at the show!
Alex: Currently, a lot of bands have a quite hard time to get their concert halls sold out, especially in rock and metal music. How do you make people come and watch you live on stage?
Paul: To be totally honest it all depends on how much exposure we’ve had in that particular town. Some places we play are sold out. others aren’t and it depends on a number of things including how many times we’ve played there before and how much radio and TV play we’ve had. The trick is to keep going to those places and playing and the music will spread through the community of people that like your type of music. At the moment Rock & Metal are not the mainstream ... so this is where it comes down to sticking to your roots and the music you have a passion for regardless of what everyone else is doing.
Alex: In general, how is the current development of the rock scene in New Zealand?
Paul: New Zealand always has a healthy supply of talented musicians in all genres so there are some cool younger bands coming through.
Alex: Who is more authentic in your opinion? The younger generation of bands that is now standing in the spotlight of the media and concert halls, or the experienced old bands that in some way are the giants on whose shoulders they are standing on?
Paul: To be fair, if they are truly feeling the music then they are authentic. But if they are almost plagiarising the originals well then, not so authentic. But it doesn't seem to matter to the audience! I see bands that are almost tribute bands of historical acts selling out shows. So, if the public are digging it, you're doing something right.
Alex: What would you say has been the most enlightening moment in your history as a musician? Any especially memorable stories (anecdotes) you would like to tell us?
Paul: It has to be supporting Slash in Australia. Thats one of the reasons you start a band in the first place ... so you can share the stage with a guy like Slash.
Alex: For a lot of people, your field of work seems to be some kind of dream job and a gift. How do you feel about that? Do you agree?
Paul: It’s true that we’re lucky and I totally agree. Of course the grittier parts of the job are not so glamorous and there are a large number of elements that the outsider wouldn’t even be aware of. There is a huge amount of competition. And, if at any point we stop working hard on our band, it’ll quickly grind to a halt.
Alex: Is it sometimes hard for you to manage this professional life besides personal life with your family?
Paul: Not so much ... I’ve done it all my adult life so my family have grown accustomed to it and know the situation from the outset.
Alex: What can you tell us about the future of I Am Giant?
Paul: Its gonna be loud!
Alex: Is there anything left you would like to tell your fans out there?
Paul: You can contact us any time on our facebook or twitter.. we love hearing from our fans and we all reply personally. We’re grateful to everyone who has supported us and kept us writing music!
Moderation: Alexander Kipke

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