First off congratulations with the release of your full-length debut 'Facticity'! Could you start with a short introduction of the band? Who are Over Your Threshold and what are your intentions?
Lukas Spielberger: Thanks man. Over Your Threshold is a five member death metal band from Munich founded in 2006. In August we released our debut album 'Facticity' via Metal Blade Records. Our musical intentions are creating death metal songs, sometimes in a more progressive way combined with different music styles.
The debut is released via the mighty Metal Blade Records. How did you land a deal with them and what was your first reaction when you learned of their interest?
Ludwig Walter: It is quite a coincidence how we landed that deal with Metal Blade. 'Facticity' was recorded already back in 2011, and one of the first things after completing the album was searching for a fitting label. At the same time two songs of 'Facticity' were uploaded for promotion - at first on MySpace and Reverbnation, later on YouTube combined with the album cover. In fact it was YouTube which got the ball rolling then. In March this year we received an email of a YT-user who said that Metal Blade heard our songs, liked it and was interested in more. So what we did was sending our album there, and after a short time of contacting the deal was set. It won´t surprise you that all of us were very stunned when we first learned about Metal Blade´s interest in us, and to be honest: we still are, haha. My first reaction was pretty mixed. There was everything from being euphoric and excited to 'What?!? Metal Blade is interested in US?!?'. A lot of metalbands are dreaming of being signed to such an awesome and legendary label. That´s why we are really joyful this signing came true for us.
The band is called Over Your Threshold. What is the deeper meaning behind this moniker and why did you choose it?
Lukas Spielberger: Haha, to tell the truth, by the time we decided to call us 'Over Your Threshold', we mainly thought it sounded cool. Sure, maybe you can interpret something into it or find a connection between us or our music, but all in all there wasn't any intention.
Could you elaborate on some of the topics that you guys write and sing about?
Lukas Spielberger: Most songs deal with similar topics, and this leitmotiv is reflected by the artwork as well. Raffaello Santi's painting 'The School of Athens' shows plenty of Greek philosophers, including Aristotle and Plato. This painting can be found again in our artwork - as a modern interpretation. The human-like creature on our front cover represents Aristotle and Plato in one person. On the one hand, people aspire to God or other transcendental entities (compare Plato pointing to the sky / heaven). On the other hand, there is the philosophy of naturalism which emphasizes the factual condition of human existence and the life on earth (compare Aristotle pointing to the ground). This is the reason for the naming 'Facticity'. Nevertheless, it is essential to say that people should reflect or question things by themselves. Everybody is free (and maybe even challenged) to make his or her own picture of the lyrics and the artwork.
Over Your Threshold clearly consists of a collection of very skilled musicians. When did you start playing your instrument and how did your playing style evolve towards playing technical death metal?
Lukas Spielberger: Basically we all are hobby musicians. I started playing guitar at the age of fifteen. In the beginning the style of Over Your Threshold was something like melodic death/thrash metal. Over the years we developed as musicians an got more and more into progressive music. In order to progress, we always tried to set the level of our music very high, compared to our skills.
What are some of the main musical influences for Over Your Threshold and why?
Lukas Spielberger: The fundament of our music is death metal. My personal favorite and an obvious influence therefore is Death. But all of us have their own special influences, what you finally can hear in each individual instrument. Our drummer Julian for example is very much into Opeth, what is reflected in his innovative drumming style. Of course not to forget our German colleagues of Obscura and Necrophagist
Ludwig Walter: Kilian and me joined Over Your Threshold after the completion of 'Facticity', so the new material will contain a bunch of new influences that can´t be heard in the current songs yet. For me as a musician, my main influence in metal has always been Swedish death metal (especially bands like Dismember, Edge of Sanity or Vomitory) and Sentenced (R.I.P.). I more or less started listening to metal with of those bands, so of course it characterized my development as a vocalist.
In general, what does the creative process look like in Over Your Threshold?
Lukas Spielberger: Normally we do 95% of the songwriting at home. Each member devises his parts and sends it to the others. Therefore we prefer to use Guitar-Pro (a tablature program), sometimes we do a rough recording. For us it's easier to create the main structure at home before we start to play it in our rehearsal room. While practicing the material, we just do the last arrangements. So it's not the typical jam session.
According to you, what constitutes a good song?
Lukas Spielberger: I prefer songs with a well-arranged structure but still with a certain technical demand and progressive touch. Therefore songs don't get boring coz you always hear some new details.
Ludwig Walter: To me there is no rule of how a good song is supposed to be 'constructed'. There are so many tracks that couldn´t be more simplified. On the other hand some songs gain quality the more complex they get. It´s the whole package, all the details together, that have to convince. But nevertheless, each genre has its own essentials that hardly can be missed.
Germany seems to be a good and steady breeding ground for technically skilled musicians and bands. Any theories why this might be the case?
Ludwig Walter: I honestly cannot name a theory which explains that fact, but in some way technical metal established itself pretty well in Germany. You´re right about that. The only thing I can say is that some specific genres are really huge and unique in some countries. There is Finland with melodic metal, Sweden and The Netherlands with death metal, Norway with black metal and then Germany with technical stuff like power or progressive metal (just to name a few examples). Of course those genres are spread all over the planet, but it´s clear that their individual appearance is really strong in some places.
What are your short term plans for promoting the new album? Any chance those plans include a show in Holland?
Ludwig Walter: Our first priority definitely is called 'gigs'. There´s just no better way to promote an album than presenting your songs to a live audience, so we´re constantly looking for opportunities for new live shows. Besides we´re also planning and organizing concerts by ourselves, which includes playing abroad as well. Yes, there actually are efforts to get shows in Holland, and we´d feel really honored if that worked out. Besides that, there always are a lot of plans to put into action, especially what goes for the short termed ones. That ranges from merchandising to stage appearance to reviews for example...and the other way round. There are countless ways of promoting 'Facticity', and we´re trying to take advantage of any possible option.
These were my questions for now. Thank you very much for this introductory interview and the best of luck with promoting the new album! If you have anything to add, please go ahead.
Ludwig Walter: Thanks a lot for your questions, your support and your interest in Over Your Threshold, cheerz to all the metalheads in Holland, and last but not least a special greeting to one of my all-time favorite vocalists in death metal, Rachel van Mastrigt-Heyzer. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!