It’s a great pleasure to be interviewing Festung Nebelburg, so, thank you very much for talking your time to talk about your work. Your latest album, Zwischen den Jahren, is an outstanding release. You managed to put out an album that has depth, power. Please, I ask of you to tell us how hard it was for you to achieve this. Besides, how long the composition process and the recording itself took to be completed? While on this subject, let us know a bit about your composing process, how it works.
Hello guys and thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to tell your followers something about my project Festung Nebelburg!
It was not really hard. Making music is one of my hobbies – as well as my home area’s folklore. Festung Nebelburg is simply the result of the combination of these two of my fields of interest. I started with the first track (Prolog) for the album in late December 2010 and finished the music for the album in late september 2015.
There is not much to say about the composing process. I read something that catches my emotions. Then I try to transform these emotions into music. I still record everything in my little home studio – just like when I started with Festung Nebelburg in 2005.
Still on your musical influences and your creations, I felt that the album is varied, blending elements of different metal styles, as well as rock music, the use of acoustic instruments and diverse vocals. When creating your art, what are your first intentions? What makes you/ drives you to compose your music? And what has influenced you when working on the musical part of Zwischen den Jahren? I am not just talking about the metal side, but also the folkloric traditional Germanic music as well.
My intentions? None! I just play music without thinking about anything. If I think a saga or legend is really interesting and catches my emotions I want to transform it into music. Sometimes, I use add riffs that I already recorded before – if they fit to the mood of the particular saga. Generally, I don’t stick to any music style limits. I listen to lots of different styles of music. Indeed, Festung Nebelburg is mainly influenced by metal. But I don’t limit Festung Nebelburg to a style. If i like an idea I add it to the song. The “rock” influences stem from my punkrock roots because I listened to raw punkrock a lot when I was a teenager. In my opinion, all these musical influences without limits as well as the regionalism create the uniqueness of Festung Nebelburg. Some say, you can’t blend (black) metal and (punk) rock. I think you can. And obviously, quite a bunch of people like it.
My driver for the project is that I can conserve my musical ideas and parts of our regional culture. In a time in which traditional knowledge and customs are considered outdated and tend to be forgotten it is important to counter such developments and present traditions in a new way.
As for the lyrical aspects, you have chosen the “Rauhnächte” theme. I believe that many of the band’s admirers are aware about this “concept”, the twelve magic nights, but some that are getting to know your music now, might not be familiar with it. Please, I ask you to let us know a bit more about it as well as why did you chose to create an entire album about it? In my humble opinion, it is so much better when bands moves from the regular themes that have been explored too much already.
To beign with: We are not talking about the times of the early Germanic people. 50-100 years ago, the customs of the Rauhnächte were still very lively. After that, Rauhnächte traditions were partly forgotten and mostly continued in small villages in Bavaria and Austria. Nowadays, the customs are rediscovered again in a growing number of towns and villages in South Germany and Austria. This is a development which I highly appreciate as it shows that people start to care for their cultural heritage again.
The Rauhnächte are the nights between the years, the last days of december and the first days of january. Today it’s just christmas time. Back then there was something going on next to the christmas traditions. The Rauhnächte were said to be full of magic and secrets. In these dark wintry nights the future could be predicted, the wild hunt terrified those away who stayed outside the house and took the wrong paths, souls haunted the living and the boundaries of our world and the otherworld were crossed. Young men wearing big ghastly masks, the Perchten, rumbled through the villages and scared the inhabitants. Sometimes one could hear the cattle talk. But then one who hears that is going to die in the coming year. Still, also good things could happen and blessings for the new year could be received by several incidents.
Lots of ancient pagan traditions were kept alive in the Rauhnächte customs and were an expression of the people’s spiritual life. Even today the Rauhnächte can boost certain emotions in people. For me, it was very important to dedicate an album to this spiritual time. To me, they mean a lot and may contain knowledge that we still can use nowadays. And I enjoy the special mood of this time.
Something that I always enjoy getting to know about one-man bands, from the musicians themselves. Please, could you tell us the main reason or reasons why Festung Nebelburg is a one man band? I have heard many different answers, such as one that did not want his visions being “contaminated”/ “tarnished” by others as well as some that felt it was much simpler to work this way.
I prefer working on my music alone. Festung Nebelburg is an expression of my inside. It is like a valve for the things that move me.
I played in several bands. I liked that too, of course. But the project is my own baby so it will always be me who is responsible for the creative process. Nevertheless, I could imagine to have some guest musicians on my records in the future or to play live. The project is important to me. So I am very very picky concerning other people. If I set up a live line up, I’d only choose people who share my interests – especially for regional folklore.
In addition to the previous question, and I hope you didn’t cover this subject on the above reply, let us know, for you, what are the main advantages and disadvantages, if any in your case, about being the sole member of a band.
Main advantage: Recording what, when and how I want it.
Main disadvantage: Maybe getting too stubborn and deadlocked because all the ideas only come from one person.
People tend to make assumptions about musicians because of their creations, musical styles and lyrics. I remember when many people thought that one of the biggest names in Pagan Metal was a man that lived in the middle of a forest, but, in fact, he is a very urban person that does not really like living in the countryside. Being that said, are you a nature person? Do you enjoy paganism, seeing it as a way of life or “simply” as interesting legends?
I’m absolutely a nature person. 100%. Although I live in Munich at the moment (because of my job) I think that living in the countryside is the better way of life. My hometown isn’t much bigger than 10,000 people. I just need to walk for about 10 minutes until I’m in a forest without seeing other people. The proximity of nature is essential to me. That’s why I spend most weekends in my home area. To be fair: I like the many bars and pubs in a big city. Still, I plan to move back to the countryside in the future. I feel good when I’m in the forests or when hiking. Better than in a crowded city. It’s just more me.
To me, paganism is a way of life and a way of viewing things, of course. To me, it also means to realize and consider yourself as a part of nature and to live in harmony with nature as best as possible.
One of these days, I was reading one of your interviews and you stated something that I always thought. That about ten, twelve years ago, there was just too many Folk/ Pagan Metal bands. I used to ask the musicians if the style would be harmed due to this… and, as you said, only the serious bands and fans survived all this hype. However, I have been sensing an increase in the “popularity” of the style again, but this time with better, more serious bands, working with different folk concepts and musical influences, concepts of their own nations, creating something different, in fact, unique. Are you familiar with these bands? How do you feel about the current Pagan/ Folk Metal scene?
I guess that I am not really familiar with these bands to be honest. Mainly, I listen to older records when I listen to pagan metal. But it’s nice that some of the “old crews” survived and create music. Nevertheless, I appreciate that more bands try to focus on what’s right at their doorstep. I can’t really say something about the scene though. I just try to make the fans of Festung Nebelburg happy, hehe. And this group doesn’t only consist of pagan metal fans.
I am aware that it is too early to talk about any new Festung Nebelburg work, as Zwischen den Jahren was released last year. But, as most of the people that enjoy your music, I would like to know if believe that a new album will take a long time to be released, such as the case with Zwischen den Jahren? Of course you cannot say with precision, but you might give us some hope about more music to be enjoyed in a, hopefully, near future. All in all, how do you see the future of Festung Nebelburg?
I won’t publish any information about possible release dates. I made that mistake already and learned that it makes no sense. So unfortunately, I can’t say if it will take 2 or 20 years until I will release the third album. It will be released once it is finshed, hehe.
What I can say though is that I reflected on a new concept for a third album. And I think that I found something quite interesting already. Let’s see what it turns out to be in the end. Still, I need to buy a couple of books again to get to know more about that topic. And yes, I also recorded some new musical ideas yet.
I always ask a few personal questions simply to know the man behind the music better. I also point out that it is never anything intrusive, of course. I just would like you to share favourite activities or hobbies, bands, authors, movies… Germany has presented us with some cinematic masterpieces. Do you enjoy German movies as well?
My favourite activities are making and listening to music, doing sports, being outside in the nature like hiking, reading about history and traditions and drinking beer in bars, pubs and -as the warmer time of the year is coming- beer gardens. I like a couple of German films, too. But I’m not really a cineaste. It takes a lot until I really become a fan of a movie.
One more time, thank you very much for this interview. I wish you all the best in your present and future plans both personal and professional. I leave to you the final words for our readers.
Thanks a lot for lending me an ear and reading about my project Festung Nebelburg. It’s always nice to answer questions about it – especially if they’re not standardized. So thank you too for the interesting interview!
All of you guys who don’t know the project yet can use the Bandcamp or Facebook sites to get to know more about the project. Take care all of you guys.
All images belong to their rightful owners. Special thanks to Markus Eck fro MetalMessage.de for the help.May 7, 2016