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Island

Island. 'Orakel'. When I got the cd in the mail I had that same feeling when I got the latest album by Sleepytime Gorilla Museum: what the hell am I supposed to do with this? And damn it: Island has almost the same effect on me as Sleepytime: after two songs I was listening totally mesmerized. And not once, not twice, the album is almost on repeat in my mp3-player, and nd with bicycle times of two hours a day I hear it at least once... Taken to account that this album consists of two EP's which the band released around 2003/2004. Vendlus Records was so nice to bring these small gems on one cd so that we can enjoy them a bit longer. It became time that Lords Of Metal contacted these remarkable Germans to find out more about 'Orakel'. We spoke with Christian Kolf, singer and guitarist of the band.

By: Wilmar | Archive under different metal

band imageTo me the album 'Orakel' was a first time getting to know you. Can you tell us something about Island and what you are up to now?
Island was founded in autumn 2003 by Patrick Schroeder and me. Before Island we played together in Valborg. We had some personal problems in Valborg around 2003 so we decided to take a break. Patrick and I continued to play music together. Florian joined as a bass player. Patrick knew him from working with Klabautamann. At this time they started to rehearse the songs for Klabautamann's Der Ort. At first Island was a continuation of the style we played with Valborg, but a little bit more complex, faster and with more “romantic” melodies. We wrote six songs and recorded them in winter 2003/2004, which appeared as the Orakel Demo. About five months later we recorded another three tracks which appeared as the Island EP. Around may 2004 Patrick decided to leave the band, because didn't had the time and motivation to continue with that style of music, he also wanted to concentrate more on his other band Centaurus-A. After that Florian and I started to write new songs with two guitars, because Florian is originally a guitarist. We had no drummer so this had also an effect on the songs, which became more quiet, and less death metal. We wrote about seven songs and in January 2006 we started to record. Rafael Calman, a friend of mine with whom I played in Orbo, recorded the drums and we also worked with Florian's brother Clemens, who played brass. Vendlus will publish an album later this year.

On 'Orakel' there are two EP's combined. Between the 'Orakel' EP and the 'Island EP' is a difference in style. The vocals change into a more depressed Tom Fischer like vocal-style. Was Celtic Frost inspiring to you?
No. At this time I was not listening to Celtic Frost. I started singing with clean vocals, it was always natural to me. The reason was that: Due too much screaming and wrong screaming I hurted my voice so much and I got throat polyps. So I decided to sing more clean and not to stress myself around with the urge to sing extreme all the time and to destroy more of my voice.

To emphasize on that, you don't seem to be a band that gets easily inspired by other musicians. Yet I will pop the question: what kind of music makes your soul move?
Pavor, Dead Can Dance, Bohren und der Club of Gore [excellent choice, ed.], Philip Glass, Johan Johansson, Queen, King Crimson, 80s pop songs, 90s Metal and Celtic Frost rule!! Best comeback ever! [couldn't agree more, ed.]

Why is the intro to 'The White Ghoul' not mentioned on the inlay, but found as a single track on the cd?
At first this track was the intro for the ISLAND EP, simply entitled “Intro”. That's okay for the first song on a CD, but for a track in the middle of an album it sucks. We wanted to keep it as separate track but we also didn't want to give it a new title, so that people start to think that we did this on purpose – an evil psychological experiment.

You call Island one of the most emotional musical journeys you have been on. Are you guys so melancholic?
Yeah, we are a melancholic guys that like to laugh a lot. Regarding to the upcoming full length album it was really an emotional journey. Because of the fact how the album was written and recorded. In 2004, when we started to write the material, I got very sick and these music and lyrics have attended me in this time. It's so emotional to us because it was a necessary action and not just because we wanted to make a new album. I created something positive soothing out of the disease. You know, from time to time this music moves me to tears, this makes it untouchable for me.

Your lyrics are quite poetic. I would like to invite you to tell us more about the metaphors used in your lyrics.
The lyrics are about personal experiences and thoughts. I try to use strong and beautiful words that create more like a feeling than a clear message, something that animates the fantasy.

Some of the songtitles are in German (your native language) but the lyrics are in English. What is the meaning of that?
That was back in 2003. Just a freak of nature. We liked the sound of the words.

I was frankly very fascinated by your music once I popped the cd in my player. What do you guys do what other bands don't?
I guess we are very open for everything and we don't want to sound like this and that band. We always liked to experiment. Trying to create approximately something new has always been very exciting to us. We are focused on a good creative flow and we try not to run away from our faults and cheesiness. We try to accept what we are and generally we want to move ourselves with our music, to make life more meaningful, to have a good time. That's our way of making honest music.

In my review of 'Orakel' I tried to categorize your music as alternative death metal. Do you recognize yourself in that description?
That's okay. In the beginning we described it as “atmospheric death metal with progressive rock and hyperblast beats”. But that are just descriptions - needful, but not always appropriate.

Listening to your Christmas song 'Oriel', it strikes me that it's totally different from what you did before. Is this the new direction Island is going?
Well, the Orakel material is five years old. And Oriel is from 2007. I wrote it on a afternoon in autumn or something like that. It is connected to the style of the album, that will appear on Vendlus later this year. [actually very curious about that upcoming album! ed.]

You gave signed a deal with Vendlus Records. How did you get in contact with them?
We sent out 2 demos to Joseph of Vendlus Records, all but “Orakel”. He listened to the new material and remembered the old Orakel-Demo, which he had somehow. He told us that we had an amazing range and really original style, so he wanted to re-release “Orakel” plus the “EP”. We went into the Studio with Armin Rave, who produced/worked with such acts like Pavor, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Bethlehem, Grabnebelfürsten and Woburn House, to make a new mix and mastering for the songs.

You have your own distribution company called Zeitgeister Music Distribution. Is it helpful to control the distribution of your own music? And what do you need a record label for then?
We have a lot of other projects and we thought it would be cool to create a web shop for all this stuff. Maybe some people are interested in more of our stuff, so with Zeitgeister they have a good overview and cheap prices. We also wanted to create a fundament to release music in which labels are not interested, so that we don't work for nothing. At least we can release it via Zeitgeister, and that gives a good feeling. We are independent but we have no distribution and not that much money. We want to work with labels, because they are much stronger. We are not interested in doing everything on our own. It makes a lot of fun to work with Vendlus or Paradigms Recordings. These are great guys.

Besides Island you are involved in a range of other projects like Klabautamann, Woburn House, Valborg, Orbo and Slon. Can you tell us something about those creative outlets?
Klabautamann is a Black Metal band founded by Florian Toyka and Tim Steffens back in 1998. They released two album “Our Journey through the Woods” and “Der Ort”. At the moment the guys are writing material for a new album and planning some live concerts. Woburn House was founded by Florian and me in 2005, because we had no drummer and we just wanted to rock out in the rehearsal room. So Florian took over the drums, because he played that instrument some years ago, also on the first Klabautamann demo. Somehow the music became something between doom and psychedelic rock. We were joined by Fabian, with whom I also worked in Orbo before, on bass and we wrote four songs in the rehearsal room, recorded them and got signed by Paradigms Recordings. We recorded another album, that will be released by Vendlus around summer 2008 and we are also planning some live concerts. Orbo was founded 2002. We wrote three songs as a band and then it transformed more into a recording project. We have written a 50 minutes song, but we are still waiting for the right time to record it. It will be a lot of work. Slon is a fun grind project by Patrick Schroeder and me. We just do this when we have time and feel like it. After we took a break with Valborg we came together in last year's summer to write some new tracks in the original line-up. That's Patrick Schroeder on drums, Jan Buckard (who has drawn the Orakel artwork) on bass/vocals and me on guitar/vocals. We recorded 9 songs in December 2007 on analogue equipment and at the moment we are contacting some labels.

What is the current status for Island, is it your top priority or do you give more attention to the other bands like Woburn House?
Every band gets its attention when it's needed. At the moment we are waiting for the release of our first full length album and we are concentrating more on other projects.

Are there any tourplans for Island?
No, not at the moment.

Is Vendlus Records going to put out more of your music? If yes: when?
Klabautamann – Our Journey through the Woods Re-Release (spring 2008)
Woburn House – Monstrous Manoeuvres in the Mushroom Maze (summer 2008)
Island – selftitled album (autumn 2008)

Thanks for the interview. I would like to give you the opportunity to have some last words!
Thank you all for your interest. And if you like, check out these following links:
www.zeitgeistermusic.com
www.valborg.de
www.klabautamann.de
www.woburnhouse.net
www.orbo.ws

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