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Interview: Ghost Brigade

mit Wille Naukkarinen vom 8. Oktober 2012
Wie uns Gitarrist Wille Naukkarinen im Interview verriet, basteln die Jungs von Ghost Brigade gerade wieder an einem neuen Album, von dem bereits vierzig Minuten Songmaterial fertig geschrieben sein sollen. Bisher war man es von den Finnen ja gewohnt regelmäßig alle zwei Jahre neuen Input zu bekommen, doch woran liegt diese zuverlässige Kontinuität? Ist dieser Rhythmus beabsichtigt und durch den Songwritingprozess bestimmt, oder kam es ohne Zutun der Band zu dieser Entwicklung?
Wie gehen die Jungs überhaupt beim Schreiben der Songs vor? Setzen sie sich alle ins Studio und malen kleine Kringel mit Hälsen auf dem Notenpapier oder jammen sie einfach, bis da etwas Gutes bei herauskommt? Bekanntlich gibt es viele Wege zum Ziel und so ist es natürlich auch bei der Produktion eines neuen Albums.
Ghost Brigade gehören mit ihrem Sound außerdem zu einer der Bands, die man stilistisch beim besten Willen einfach nicht so wirklich einordnen kann. Hier mal etwas, das nach Melodic Death Metal klingt, auf einer anderen Scheibe klingt es aber wieder nach Sludge - selbst eine Mischung aus Stoner, Doom und Punk - und irgendwo dazwischen nimmt man einige progressive Elemente wahr. Ghost Brigade ist einfach Ghost Brigade. Besser wird man es wohl im Bezug auf eine stilistische Einordnung der Mucke kaum ausdrücken können ...
Den einen oder anderen Hörer wird eine solche Vermengung unterschiedlichster Stilistiken und die daraus resultierende klangliche Vielfalt womöglich erst mal abschrecken. Aber wozu sollte man sich als Band Grenzen setzen, wenn die Musik - wie laut Wille in diesem Falle auch - vom Herzen der Musiker kommt und somit eigentlich das authentischer gar nicht sein könnte? Oder besteht heute immer noch die Gefahr mit einem solchen Sound ins Leere zu arbeiten, weil die meisten Metalheads nur mit den ganz großen Genres, wie Power oder Death Metal etwas anfangen können?
Lest einfach selbst, was Wille uns dazu im unten stehenden Interview erzählt hat!
Viel Spaß dabei!

The Interview:

Alex: Hey Wille! First of all, thanks for taking the time for this interview. How’s the band doing right now?
Wille: Hey there! We're doing just fine here. Taking it pretty easy at the moment, we have done this band pretty much non-stop for seven years now so we figured it's time to have a little break 'til the end of the year and charge batteries.
Alex: Your music is generally described as a mixture of Gothic, Melodic and Doom Metal. Would you agree to that? Where do you personally see the band genre-wise?
Wille: Ghost Brigade is Ghost Brigade, there's no genre for it other than that. Our music is a mixture of many many different things, and it certainly doesn't limit itself to metal only. In addition, as long as we keep writing music purely from the heart, it will always be special and unique.
Alex: Generally, how is it for you to play concerts abroad? Still a thrill or already bald routine?
Wille: It's actually both. It's always exciting for us to go abroad but at the same time, we have played hundreds of shows and that of course adds some routine to it. For example, if we stop at a gas station in Germany these days, I don't take hundred photos of it like I used to when we toured there for the first time. But on the other hand, stepping on stage is always just as exciting. It doesn't matter where we are or how many times we've been there before.
Alex: Unless genres like the big ones – Power Metal and so on – your music falls into a category that seems to be quite hard for a lot of people to get used to.
Wille: That's very true, my friend. Not everyone understands where we're coming from with all this but that's not the intention either. We write music that feels natural to us and it's up to the listener if they find it interesting or not.
Alex: How is your experience in concerts? Is it only a small elite of fans coming, or are the people quite open to your musical approach when you’re playing like at a festival? With lots of people encountering your music more or less “by accident”, simply because they are here.
Wille: Oh man there's all kinds of people at our shows. There are those who have been there since day one as well as those who find us by accident. But I think generally speaking our music appeals to a quite diverse crowd, which is a great thing.
Alex: How do you see festivals like Wacken? Is it a big party where you have fun by playing in front of huge crowds when compared to small club concerts, or is it more like a promotional boost. Getting fans to know you and widening your fanbase?
Wille: First of all, playing big festivals have their limitations. Usually you don't have time to do a proper soundcheck, you don't have your own backline and the playing time is strictly limited. 35-45 mins usually. And that's not much concidering that we have many songs that are almost 10 minutes long. So that's why I personally prefer club shows. We can play longer sets with our own equipment and make sure the sound is as good as possible.
Alex: What’s the intention behind your music? Do you want to transport a certain message – or different ones in different songs? Or is it more like pure entertainment?
Wille: To me, Ghost Brigade has always been an outlet for deeper emotions. Be it good, bad or something in between. It's the pureness of it that I am most proud of. Also, most of us human beings have the need to express theirselves creatively one way or the other. This is just my way of doing it. I think that processing certain things through my riffs and lyrics is actually more natural to me than any other way I know of.
Alex: How much of a deal is music in your very own lives? Do you sometimes listen to your own songs?
Wille: If I don't listen to music, I write it, collect vinyls, go to shows or do occasional DJ gigs. Plus I play in two bands at the moment. So it's pretty much present all the time. It's a way of life. I listen to our own songs from time to time but mostly new stuff that we've been writing rather than old stuff.
Alex: And when did the music actually become your life? Was there any key moment?
Wille: Initially I guess it happened in a local library at the age of 15. I used to go there after school almost every day to listen to Metallicas “..And Justice For All”. I fell in love with it and shortly after, I bought my first guitar and started playing. At around same time, Ghost Brigade drummer formed his first band but they didn't want me to be a part of it because apparently I wasn't good enough yet and wasn't enough into death metal. However, somehow I convinced them and the rest is history. I have been playing with him in same bands for 19 years now.
Alex: A lot of great metal bands come from Finland or Sweden. Actually, it seems to be treated like a quality warranty if a Melodeath band comes from Sweden or a Power Metal Band comes from Germany, for example. What do you think about that? How does it come that certain genres seem to be very present in some countries while in others they are not?
Wille: Honestly, I have no idea. But the whole thing is very interesting though.
Alex: One year ago, you released your third longplayer “Until Fear No Longer Defines Us”. Looking back now, how have been the reactions to the album?
Wille: Well, as far as I know, the reactions were excellent and in many aspects it's been our most successful album to date. However, every one have different opinions about it, some say Isolation Songs is our best album, some say Guided By Fire and some Until Fear No Longer Defines Us. So I don't me, every album we've done is just as successful and important no matter how much they've sold or what a certain review or journalist has said. I am proud of all three.
Alex: Are you satisfied by the results or are there maybe some things you’d have done in a different way now?
Wille: You can always do things better in retrospect. It's always been like that. But that is exactly what pushes you to write the next album. You realize you could've done this or that thing better and write new songs as long as you feel it's going to be better than its predecessor. Once you make a perfect album, you can just stop making music or form a new band.
Alex: Where do you see the development or differences when comparing this album to the earlier ones?
Wille: It's mostly how we arrange and build songs. The more you make albums and write songs, the more you learn to actually listen to the song and let the song come together in its own terms, rather than just writing a bunch of songs that are more or less “same shit in a different can”. It's very interesting now to write music because there's a whole new emotional dimension to it. You don't just put riffs after another and call it “a song”. You go deeper than that. You think things like what kind of emotions do I want this song to express or what kind of soundscape the song in order to reach its full potential. Writing music is very exciting to me right now.
Alex: Until now you’ve always released a new album in a 2-year-interval. Are you already working on a new one for 2013? If so, which direction is it going to take stylistically?
Wille: We are working on new songs all the time. We have almost 40 minutes of new music but we won't start rehearsing it until next year as we are currently taking a break that I told you about earlier. So I don't know, maybe a new album in 2013 but if not, then definitely 2014. The whole album/ 2 year thing is not a rule to us. It's just a thing that happened on it own, unplanned. Quality over quantity.
Stylistically speaking I don't want to give away too much information at this point. All I'm going to say is that I personally haven't been this excited since Guided By Fire. I have gone through same kind of emotions writing these new songs than what I felt when I wrote the songs for Guided By Fire, there's this weird sense of a new beginning and freshness ... can't really put it into words.
Alex: When you’re writing an album, how do you actually do that? Is it like actually composing them or more like having a large-scale jam session?
Wille: I usually write the songs here at my home studio. I record instrumental demos and send the stuff to the others. Then we gather to our rehearsal space and start building the songs from there.
To me it's very important that I am alone in a room when I write GB songs. I get to a deeper level this way. I could never write a Ghost Brigade song by jamming.
Alex: So, what’s up next for Ghost Brigade? What can the fans expect?
Wille: We have many cool things coming up. As I said before, there's a sense of a new beginning.
Alex: Would you like to leave some final words to the fans out there?
Wille: Thank you for the unforgettable first seven years, let's make the next seven even more so.
Moderation: Alexander Kipke
Wer in das aktuelle Album „Until Fear No Longer Defines Us“ von 2011
reinhören möchte, kann dies hier tun:
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