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World Come Down

Je moet het je ongeveer zo voorstellen: je werkt (nou ja, 'werkt') voor een e-zine (in dit geval Lords Of Metal) en dan krijg je maandelijks een flinke portie cd's, concerten, dvd's enzovoorts te verstouwen. Dat is niet altijd te vergelijken met een vakantie. In sommige gevallen heb je hoge verwachtingen naar aanleiding van de biografie, het artwork of vanwege de buzz die een bepaalde band omringt en vaak worden dergelijke 'beloften' eerder een teleurstelling. Soms zit er ook wel eens een cd bij waarvan je bij jezelf denkt dat het ronduit bagger is, en dan weet die band je toch te pakken te krijgen. Zo was ik vreselijk benieuwd naar de cd van Redemption Unnamed, en dat was mij toch een teleurstelling. En dan stop je 'Skullflower' van World Come Down in je speler, met de verwachting op nul komma nul, en je krijgt dan toch een pak op je flikker. Een score van 88 uit 100 is dan ook sterk gerechtvaardigd. Lords Of Metal vond het dan ook niet meer dan terecht om wat meer aandacht aan dit sympathieke internationale gezelschap te geven. Aan het woord zijn gitarist Gary Kretzer en zanger Markus Maximilian Strickler.

Door: Wilmar | Archiveer onder different metal

band imageI was very much surprised by your album 'Skullflower', and currently I am listening to it quite a lot on my mp3 player. It sounds familiar and yet it has a lot of other flavors that I really dig. Looking on your website about some information about the conception of the band, I found the bio lacking information like how you got together, when and how long you have been working in the metal scene. Could you give us a more detailed description of World Come Down?
GARY: Basically it all started in 2005 when my band at that time broke apart for some bloody stupid reason. Again everything was ruined - musically as well as emotionally. And that hadn't happened for the first time either... I then swore to myself this will not happen to me again. So I got myself an iBook, recording software, some hardware and started over from scratch. Many of my ideas hadn't been too welcome in my previous bands - too soft, too heavy, too complex, too whatever... Now I had the freedom to do everything exactly the way I imagined. That really set me free. Markus was the perfect match for the vocals - especially when it gets down to writing material and being creative. We've rocked together in the past and have known each other very well for several years. So on the weekends he started taking the train from Munich to my place...

MARKUS: ... yeah, it always takes me ages to get there by train...

GARY: ... and we arranged the lyrics and vocals in about 8 weeks. Markus writes all the lyrics and they fit together perfectly with the music. He sings in his native language English which makes it all even more expressive and authentic. I already knew Beda from the American Institute of Music in Vienna where he was by far the best drummer even then. We used to jam frequently and I always wanted to play in a band with him. Beda is a really funny and nice guy, very experienced and a full professional - surely he's one of the best drummers out there in Austria. Also, he's the only drummer I know who can play the complex stuff I wanted. We sent mp3s back and forth by email and then we directly hit the studio for the recordings of 'Skullflower'. So we never actually rehearsed the material prior to the recording.

MARKUS: Gary recorded the bass on the album and Mudz joined World Come Down on the bass guitar later on. He used to play guitar in my previous band - being the direct successor of Gary. Musically he's a great addition, fun to hang out with and a really pleasant dude.

GARY: Yeah, what a great team!

The band consists of two Germans, an American and an Austrian. Doesn't that have certain consequences when it comes to rehearsal, recording et cetera? Or have you guys all moved in together somewhere in Germany?
GARY: You're right, sometimes the large distances can be quite annoying even though Markus 'the American' lives in Munich/Germany as well as Mudz. More of a problem is Beda's hometown Salzburg/Austria. Especially because he lives from playing gigs and has a tight schedule. So sometimes the distances cause conflicts, but we're glad to have this constellation. And you just can't have everything.

MARKUS: Sure it would be great if we could rehearse more often. We've only rehearsed five times in nine months so far and the gigs really worked out fine. We can compensate quite a lot with our experience - but we can do even better and we're working on that.

You guys don't look new to the scene (I estimate you somewhere mid thirties, beginning forties), isn't it hard to start over again with a new band, or do you consider yourself lucky enough to be so experienced in bands?
MARKUS: We're all in our mid thirties - except Mudz who's in his late twenties - and we've all been making music for many years. Gary and Beda make music for a living and Mudz is an event-technician so he's in the biz as well. That makes me the only one in the band with a 'normal' job. All of us are music-junkies and we've just got to make music to be happy and live a fulfilled life.

GARY: That's not necessarily connected to commercial success. It's more about passion, emotion, expression, being creative, about people – and having special attitude towards life. In the meantime I don't really mind starting over again with a new band. It used to be a lot more exhausting. But with the right people, having certain experiences, setting the priorities and knowing the mechanisms of the scene - it works out fine.

MARKUS: Sure, it's still a load of work. But hey, no pain no gain!

GARY: You just got to be ready to accept all kinds of odd tasks ...

Your debut album 'Skullflower' has been out for a while. What are the reactions so far?
GARY: 'Skullflower' is definitely an album that polarizes. There are 'lovers' and 'haters' which I prefer to everybody saying “oh yea, it's okay...” which is something I can't connect to. A lot of people really like the diversity and unexpected turns 'Skullflower' takes. If you wanna mosh for 40 minutes straight it's the wrong album 'cause 'Skullflower' is nearly 60 minutes long... (laughs)

MARKUS: We've had some positive reviews in German online-mags and with 'Rebeat' we've got a good distribution-partner in Austria. The release-date is September the 1st. By that date the album should be out on Amazon and on other major online-distributors as well. A good step in the right direction.

One thing that really hit me is the thick and heavy sound of 'Skullflower', although your producer does not seem to come from the metalscene. Was that a conscious choice, since it could have worked out quite differently.
GARY: The most important issue when working with a producer is trust. You have to trust in his abilities, he has to share the vision of the band and he really has to want to make this record.

MARKUS: Gary and I had already had the pleasure of working together with Achim Lindermeir before with other projects. And every time we worked together it was fun and a great experience. Achim definitely has a metal background even if he's produced a lot of different styles lately.

GARY: That was important for us. We don't want to sound like many other metal bands. Metallica, Machine Head, Slipknot, Slayer, Tool are all great bands but they're already out there. Isn't it boring if you listen to a lot of new bands that almost sound identical? That just makes it exchangeable and less original. We didn't want that to happen to our record. If you want to take another lane Achim is the right guy for the job with his stylistic openness and his creative approach. His mantra was "...we'll keep working on it until it rocks - no compromises...". We took our time and experimented a lot, especially with the guitar sounds. It was worth it.

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When listening to the first two songs 'The Golem And The Copycat' and 'Haunted' I really got a Slayer vibe. Especially 'Haunted' and the way it's sung reminded me of the heavier tracks by Slayer. Is Slayer a big influence for you, or is the resemblance a coincidence?
GARY: When we finished the production and listened to 'Haunted' we all said "okay, sounds like a Slayer-tribute-song" but it wasn't planned at all. I wanted to have an up-tempo song on the album and so I sat down and started writing. It was pain in the ass because everything I wrote sounded crappy to me. So I accepted to only have 10 songs on the album - and no really fast track at all. And then, on an evening two weeks later I was just jamming along when it happened and the riffs for 'Haunted' somehow popped into existence straight from the heart. If you try to force writing it almost never works out.

MARKUS: Sure, Slayer is an influence. But not more or less than other bands we love to listen to. Of course 'Haunted' is a brutal bastard of a song, technical and rough at the same time - no prisoners taken! With the vocals it really can remind you of Slayer. We'll take that as a compliment. [it certainly is meant that way, ed. Wilmar]

From the third track you put us all on the wrong track. Especially the fourth song 'Shadowman' is one of my favorites. In those songs you display a preference for eclecticism. World Come Down doesn't seem to want to be categorized. Aforementioned song moves from metal to alternative to progressive. Is it on purpose, or do your songs kind of evolve that way?
MARKUS: The problem about categorization is that once you've been defined it gets really hard to make changes to your image. But World Come Down is supposed to be free to do whatever we want. Not just the style XY or style XYZ. Personally, I prefer artists that can change and reinvent themselves over and over again. There are so many really interesting styles out there - so why restrain yourself?

GARY: With 'Shadowman' you picked a good example on how some of our songs develop. After writing the last chorus the song still felt incomplete but it was clear to me that I didn't want to add more identical parts I had already used. No bridge and double chorus and then wrap it all up. The song was supposed to continue differently. And then the idea just came along. Some songs show a more classic structure depending on the mood, the situation and the feeling. If a song needs a more classic structure then that's what's going to happen. We're not dogmatically trying to be progressive. The vocals are a very important element: they can give a complex or progressive song a central theme and hold everything together. It's quite similar with 'Radiate', 'The Source' and 'Ego Multiplied'. Especially latter because if you want to be precise, it doesn't have a structure at all and still works well as a song.

On 'Abyss' you display a more sensitive side of the band. How many faces does World Come Down have? And more important: how many faces can we expect for the future?
GARY: Yes, 'Abyss' is a very special track where Markus displays the very slow and painful decline of a relationship. It's quite emotional, sensitive and a perfect symbiosis of lyrics and music. Since everything changes, World Come Down will change as well. I for my part hope we will keep on evolving in the future. Standing still is just like death. Maybe we will become harder, more complex, more sensitive and catchy... Or a certain style will establish itself in our songwriting. Everything is possible and I'm eager to see it happen - there is so much more to experience...

MARKUS: And if you hear a flute, a piano, a cello, an oboe or any other instrument on one of our songs - then it's because we want it exactly that way and it sounds great to us. We won't be bullied to do anything just because some style or a scene tells us to.

Looking at your tourschedule: it looks quite empty. Are there any tours in the works?
GARY: Yep, you're right: 'empty' is the right description for our tour-schedule. We had some massive complications getting the CDs, the promo-CDs and our promo-kits produced. It all sort of blew up - but that's what happens if you can't take care of everything yourself. The promo-material was due mid-February and it arrived mid-May. A bit late for any summer-festivals and that was that. Shit happens! At the moment we're really getting going with promotion and sorts - for Germany as well as other European countries. For example we're on to some dates in Holland as well. It's always a tough ride getting dates for a new band but that's the way it is. I'm looking forward to our schedule filling up for October and later.

With 'Skullflower' in your baggage, what does the future look like? Are there plans for a follow up, or are you still so much busy promoting this album that you don't think about the follow up? What can we expect from you?
GARY: Sure we think about the future and future releases. We've completed the layouts for five new songs and that's not a bad start. If possible we want to finish the recording of our follow-up somewhere around summer 2009. It all depends on having enough really good material and completing my pro-studio on time. Is there anything better than having your own recording-studio? But most important for the future is playing as much live shows as possible. That's the way.

By the way, what's with the omega symbol on your website? Is it a synonym for the bandname, the end of the Greek alphabet, or do you have another meaning to omega?
MARKUS: Hey, I didn't think anybody would take notice of it. But yes, it's the last letter in the Greek alphabet (the 'end') and of course a synonym for World Come Down. To me a symbol of renewal, of what follows between cycles. And I really do like the look of it...

That wraps it up for me. Any final words?
What ever you do: believe in yourself, work hard and be true.

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