'The Cold Heart Of The Sun' has been released half October. How has the response by the fans been this far? Is fan response important for you?
All the reactions have been great so far. We did not play much of the songs live yet because we decided to play less in the last half of 2007. But a better known song like "(Reach) The Sun" went down really, really well as we played it live! We will start a tour in January where we will play mostly new songs. This will be the first live test for most of the songs. But all the reviews so far were great and we sold twelve copies of the album worldwide until now, so everything is fine, ha-ha!
The response by the media has been diverse; from praise till people complaining that your music, compared to previous releases, is losing a little of its energy and is becoming too common (compared to other bands). How do you feel about such criticism? Do you care about grounded criticism or do you not care about those things at all? Does criticism put pressure on you when it came to making the follow-up?
Where did you read a bad review? I think nobody showed me the bad reviews because they all know I would be in bad mood for weeks! But, honest, we think it is our best album to date and we also think it is much more interesting and diverse than most of the other shit that's been released this year! Really, we are 100% sure that the album is great, though I must say that it is a kind of hard album. Some songs are a little bit confusing by the first listen and not really straight. I never read a piece that is written about us the others tell me about the good things and some of the constructive criticism! But there has been a lot of shit been written about us and our music, especially in the beginning, that I do not want to waste my time with reading unqualified nonsense about me anymore! We are thankful for a good critic because sometimes you get blind to your own faults. If you are so close to something you could easily lose your objectivity! But I do not feel any pressure at all! Of course you made your music for the listener in a certain way, but you start making music for yourself. And it is more than clear that there will always be fans who dislike some stuff... so in the first place we have to like the songs!
Did you have a specific goal when you started to write material for 'The Cold Heart Of The Sun'?
Yes with every new album we have the goal to gain another step. That is very subjective, but we do not want to do something again. So we always try to do something new and maybe some totally other stuff than on the album before. And we always think it is very important for an album that it is diverse and the songs are very varied. But that is the only point: trying to get a better album done in our eyes! If the people think the album is better than the last one is a whole different story! Besides that we do not think about anything when we start writing songs. We do not force something in a certain direction.
Normally we take sometime off from touring and playing live and start to collect all our ideas and then we just start rehearsing all together. We throw all our different influences together and try to build a song from that! Very simple. Someone comes with a riff and we start with this riff and build a song around it! No one comes with a completely finished song. Making the final song is always an act of all of us five together. If there are five or six songs ready Andre and I start to write lyrics for them and then I and Andre try to fit in these lyrics... that's all!
How will you be able to stand out with 'The Cold Heart Of The Sun' between the enormous amount of bands and good releases?
I just do not see an enormous amount of good releases ha-ha! To be honest, I somehow lost an overview. I do not know how many bands exist, what which band released or whatever! I do not listen to many hard bands in private life. So, I do not know! We made a great record and we have some loyal fans. That has to be enough ...
You, every now and than, proclaim yourself as a vegan-straight-edge-band; are you not afraid that this will limit the amount of people listening to Maroon? I mean: there will be people who do not feel for the vegan-straight-edge-movement and therefore might neglect the band.
Yes, this happened from day one. I am sure a lot of people did not give us a chance just because we do not eat meat! I do not know why, but I am sure it still costs us some listeners. In the beginning we were very direct and we wanted to share our beliefs with everybody else. Maybe this was wrong, because a lot of people branded us intolerant and ignorant back then. But we do not use this vegan straight edge thing as a slogan anymore. We started this band because of the love for the music. In the last years a lot of people who are not vegan or straight edge started to like us and this is great! We make music for everybody, though especially veganism is very important to us!
The album has been produced by Alexander Dietz and mixed by Jacob Hansen; in which things of 'The Cold Heart Of The Sun' can one clearly hear their vision/ideas?
It is hard to say, because we go to the studio with completely finished songs, there is just not much space. Our friends in the Rape Of Harmonies studio (Alex, Patrick and Ralf) of course had some input on the recording process! For example a lot of the solo's and bass lines were worked out with Patrick W. Engel and all the keyboard stuff was arranged and played by Ralf Müller. And also Jacob always has a lot of great ideas like some minimal sound changes that really colours the end product! But after all the songs are to 90% on the record like we rehearsed them!
Alexander Dietz is from Heaven Shall Burn; does him producing the album also mean there is a friendship between the two bands or was this nothing than a business-like cooperation?
No, we are all very close friends. We started with HSB and played a lot together and we live in the same area. So, we know each other for almost ten years now and do things together privately also. And as Alex joined HSB we liked him from the start. We recorded our first album at the Rape Of Harmonies studio in 2001 and recorded some compilation songs there, so we also are friends with Patrick and Ralf for quite sometime. That was one point to record the album there, because it was a really good and friendly atmosphere, because we know each other very well!
Who is responsible for the lyrics, what subjects are included and what do you want to bring across with them?
I write most of the lyrics and Andre writes the rest. We write about everything that is important to us at some point. On the new record the subjects are very different. It goes from almost political stuff to dark, cryptic lyrics. I mean there are a lot of things I see and think about in everyday life and all of this influences your lyrics. I like the esoteric touch of "(Reach) The Sun" very much on the new record. But to me it is still very important to write something with content. I still have something to say. Just listen to "Fear The Most Them Who Protect".
Both 'The Cold Heart Of The Sun' and 'When World Collide' were released through Century Media. What has Century Media been able to do for you and what did signing with Century media mean for your career?
Well, we are happy to work with them and they can do a lot for us, because they have a lot of good contacts. It brought us one step further. Of course we have not always the same visions about the things we want to do but we are happy with them most of the time.
Search engines at the internet and sites as Amazon seem to have the biggest problem with the difference between your band and Maroon 5 (not music wise but name wise). I can imagine there are some kids out there who mistake your band every now and then with Maroon 5. Does this bother you and if so, have you ever thought about changing your name? Why (not)?
You might laugh, but I did not hear from any mix-up yet! Of course there may be some 14 year old girls that get on our website by mistake and wonder why Maroon 5 looks so bad now ha-ha!
I can tell you one funny story though. We've been on tour with Neaeaeara (like I like to call them J) in Southern Europe just recently. And then we played this old-school heavy metal pub somewhere in Spain and there was an add in the newspaper for this concert. It was all about the show: Maroon will play with Neaeaeaeaeaeara and stuff like this and then there was a big picture of Maroon 5 besides the add. Under the picture was something like Maroon will play the bla-bla pub on Sunday. And this picture was so fucking bad! I think at least 2000 people stayed at home because they thought a Modern Talking cover band is playing a heavy metal pub! But we really would like to tour with Maroon 5! Ha-ha!
Your website can be found underhttp://www.maroonhate.comwhere it once washttp://www.xmaroonx.com.What was the reason behind this change in web address?
As you said before, we just did not want to limit our own audience anymore. We did not want to be reduced to those two x's in our band logo anymore. So, we changed the domain name.
When you visit the current website there is just a short line telling the visitor that the new website will be coming soon. When will that be done? In the mean time you use MySpace. How important is MySpace for a band as Maroon?
We still are not very far with a new website to be honest. You have to know that we are very, very lazy ha-ha! To me it is very sad, but nowadays MySpace is so much more important than an official website. There are bands that define themselves only via MySpace. It is all about plays, views and friends. Everybody thinks you are a huge selling band if you have trillions of plays which is total nonsense I think. It is very sad that people do not give a shit about design anymore. I prefer official websites because they all look different and some are very well thought designed and just nice to look at while MySpace always look the same. But for us as a band MySpace gets more and more important because that is what the kids want especially in our scene. We always refused to take part in MySpace until one year ago somebody made a MySpace site for us. I do not know when a new website will be online, maybe never ha-ha!
How do you see the band's future and what do you hope to have achieved in, let's say, about three years from now?
I hope by that time we will be history for 2 years ha-ha! I learned to not think too much about the future of the band because it always turns out very different then you thought it would. We will just go on like we used to. We had to deal with a lot of shit, especially in the last two years but we also made some experiences we will never forget! But it could all end in a short time, so we keep on working hard and try to do our thing!
Are there any other happenings or things going on with the band or you personally that you would like me to let people know about? Do you have anything to say or add for closure?
We will be on tour for most of 2008 everywhere in the fucking world! We start our tour in November and we will go to everywhere in Europe, to Russia, to South America, Australia, USA and Japan and everywhere where somebody wants us to play. So stay tuned and we will see you somewhere on the road! VIVA HATE!