Greetings over there. First I’d like to thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. I highly appreciate this. As I always do on the initial question, I ask you to, please, introduce yourself to our readers.
We have to remain unrecognized, no one must know of our existence or activities. We make sure no one ever remembers us, because we can only carry on our business if we pass unnoticed.
Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren has just released its début album, Imagines Itineris. What can you tell us about it, concerning the music? How would you describe the sound of the album for a person that isn’t familiar with it?
As “Blackened Progressive Metal” – because every band needs their own subgenre – suggests, you will find a blend of Black Metal with Progressive Rock and Jazz, Classical and Latin elements. Those elements are moulded to give a homogenic texture to the songs, along with a hint of pop-appeal.
Now I’d like to talk about the lyrical aspects of Imagines Itineris. I personally found the lyrics very interesting and thoughtful. Well, not only concerning Imagines Itineris, but the band itself, what are the main aspects and subjects that you are interested in writing about? And what influences Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren when it comes to writing lyrics?
Imagines Itineris is a conceptional album about growth. As the title suggests (Pictures of a Journey), each song represents an allegorical state of mind during the development of the protagonists personality.
You might recall a situation, in which you experienced a mundane event with the sensation of sudden clarity about how odd that event could actually be. The main aspect of our lyrical endeavors is to recreate this sensation from own experiences but also from fictional ones – with every subject you might trip over. So it’s very hard to specify influences concerning the contents, but poetic theory of form and classical word/tone composition techniques are of great importance to us.
That in mind, one will understand, why it’s essential to (re)consider for oneself. Maybe with one hint or two, but we won’t give you a blueprint.
In a way connected to the previous questions, how hard was it for the band to record Imagines Itineris? I ask this because it took four years after the release of your demo. Why did you take this amount of time? Do you feel that there’s not enough support for metal bands from the labels, especially with so many illegal downloads out there?
That’s a story you can fill a novel with! The demo was actually recorded in 2008 for Vinterkrayde, which emerged from a comedy project by Johann Faustus between 2003 and 2006. As it was impossible to find any members, it remained kind of a solo project and shortly after recording the demo the whole thing was given up.
When Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren was founded back in 2009, the old demo was something like a plate of leftovers; Just better than nothing. It took 3 more years to assemble today’s band, so recording the album didn’t even take that long. We practiced about 4 month and gave the old songs a massive makeover, then started recording in fall 2013. It was hard, though: We did the whole production ourselves, which mostly consisted of improvising recording equipment and reading manuals about audio processing. But we are pretty satisfied with the outcome and very happy, that Der neue Weg made a professional release possible.
Due to lack of experience, we can’t actually say anything about labels and their politics; Just as much as that we can’t complain. And illegal downloads are, at least for small bands, a great way to gain recognition. For that reason, we released under creative commons license, so it’s legal to pirate the album.
Allow me to ask about the change concerning the band’s name. As we can read around the internet, Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren was founded in 2006 as Vinterkrayde. Why did you decide to change the name? And why did you choose Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren? Is there any different meaning behind the band’s name? Is it related to the book Momo?
As mentioned, Vinterkrayde was given up, because there was no future to it. Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren was the new band’s name of choice, because the comedic background simply wouldn’t fit. And the imagery of the gray men from Momo, those coldhearted but somehow pathetic businessmen, is as fascinating as the novel is great.
In one of my last interviews, we talked about how people, in these days, has everything in a click away and all that matters is the first thirty seconds impression. I’d like to ask you how do you feel over this and what can a band do detach itself from this problem as well as to distinguish itself from many others?
In a society as deluged with media as ours, it’s impossible to concentrate on every piece of information or art. You are forced to select rather quickly and media continue to adapt by delivering archetypical material – sounds somehow familiar, I’ll stick with it. On the other hand, you’ll stumble upon archetypical media and classify it as boring right away. It’s important to be able to choose, what’s the right thing for you. The actual problem is, that people often don’t like to choose on their own and keep eating, what Mommybird barfs into their stomachs.
It’s easy to do something different as a band, but, speaking from experience, you’ll scare off people, who are used to barf.
As I told you, I heard one song on Bandcamp and was fascinated by it. I decided to look for more information on Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren, but there isn’t that much in English. Even though you do sing in English as well and not only German, all info I found from the band itself was in German. Is there a reason for it? Do you feel like first you have to conquer the German crowd and then go for the “world”?
We prefer the term “establishing a regular clientele”.
As for that, it simply wasn’t necessary to provide information in english until now.
You’re playing at Ragnarock Open Air, how are you feeling about playing in this festival? Could you describe to us how a Die Gesellschaft der Grauen Herren concert is like? What can the fans expect from you?
Well, we enter the stage, play some songs and then leave. We are really looking forward to doing that on Ragnarock Open Air, because it’s our first bigger festival.
What were the elements concerning metal music that drew you in? In what age did you get in touch with musical genre as well as when and why you decided to become a musician?
You don’t choose to be a musician, musicianship chooses you – If you are passionate about it and you are able to compete with frustration gnawing on your thread of patience, it’s your thing.
Unlike presumably every other Metal band, we don’t really feel obligated to Metal. As Aiolos once said “We don’t play music for Metal fans but Metal for music fans”. It’s just a question of aesthetical preference, even though no one of us is still really into Black Metal. It’s interesting and somewhat fascinating when you are young, because it seems extreme and out of the line, but when you grow out of the adolescent blindfold, you can enjoy it for what it is: An aesthetical standard.
So, when did we get in touch? Around four to fourteen, probably.
Before start working on this interview, I was reading some articles about society, how we have evolved, but most of us are more empty nowadays with the sole goal of owning what’s the coolest, what’s the newest, what we are told to own, what’s the best and it’s a must to have it and then we die. How do you feel about society, generally speaking, nowadays, not only in Germany, but on a world-wide scale?
Owning the coolest thing is easily achieved by simply buying our album! Or the Fuzz Probe by Zvex Effects. But there isn’t much to say about society, it’s the same thing as with media: People, who are used to swallowing barf.
Here I always ask a few things about your personal life and, as I always point out, nothing that will invade your privacy. It’s just to know a little about the human behind music. What are your favorite activities, hobbies, drinks, books, movies? Anything you’d like to share with us. What do you prefer enjoy doing outside the music world? Are you more of a winter or summer person? Whatever you’d like to tell us, please, do so.
That would be a very, very long list. We are all very different and consider one another completely imbecile in questions of taste. The only activity we enjoy altogether is watching Harald Lesch videos on Youtube.
And so we reach the end of this interview. One more time, thank you very much for this opportunity. I also would like to wish the best for the band in the future. Do you have any last words for our readers?
TIMESAVERS ARE GOING PLACES FAST !
THE FUTURE BELONGS TO TIMESAVERS !
MAKE MORE OF YOUR LIFE – SAVE TIME !June 13, 2014