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End Of Green

Kleurrijke figuren met een sterke identiteit hebben we nodig om ons bestaan in dit ondermaanse op te fleuren. Ook al zijn de teksten melancholisch en soms ronduit gitzwart, toch biedt End Of Green het perfecte elixir om soelaas te vinden in duistere gedachten teneinde de realiteit te aanschouwen. Jaren geleden trok deze band mijn aandacht door talrijke concerten op Summer Breeze en albums als ’Songs For A Dying World’, ‘Last Night On Earth’ (2003) en ’Dead End Dreaming’. Na 25 jaar na oprichting staan ze er nog steeds en komen zelfs enorm sterk terug met een nieuw album, genaamd ‘Void Estate’. Daar gaan we eens over spreken met gitarist van het eerste uur Sad Sir, je weet wel… die ene met zijn iconische baard en dreadlocks. Eén van die kleurrijke figuren inderdaad…

Door: Vera | Archiveer onder gothic metal

Hello Sir! Let us start with congratulations on the new album ‘Void Estate’ and on your 25th anniversary as a band. That will be celebrated with a special gig at Summer Breeze, so this is the perfect moment to resume your close affinity with that festival and the memories on that gig this year...
Summer Breeze is a family thing for us. The first time we played that festival, it was located in a tent which was just a little bigger than the merchandising area there nowadays (laughs). Achim, the promoter of Summer Breeze Festival, also signed us for Silverdust Records when there was basically no one interested in our band at all. Together with T., may his beautiful soul yell at us like he always did, they made us what we are now. Honestly, without T. and Achim we would not be talking right now. So I guess End Of Green and Summer Breeze Festival will always have a connection that is way bigger than words can describe.

With twenty-five years in the running it would be nice to hear from you: what were the highlights and biggest kicks so far in your career?
The highlight probably is that we have not been fatally injured by any of these mean kicks we got hit by over the past years. One thing that is really strange and somehow sad: lots of those bands we used to play shows with when we started out - they split up by now. And I am thankful that we haven’T, and I am also thankful that folks like Undertow and Jack Frost are still around. The funny thing about being in a band for 25 years is: We spent more time in our lives with this band, than without … and it just happened like that. No one of us ever thought about that possibility. We always did what we do and all of a sudden, we were the „old guys“ … and I’m still excited like a little kid to play on festivals with Asphyx or Heaven Shall Burn.

What could have been better or moments when bad luck struck in those years?
Oh, it’s human nature: We would have come up with some silly idea to fuck our shit up, even when things would have been totally great all the time (laughs). I know for a fact that we split up after ‚Dead End Dreaming‘. It was ugly. But the bottom line is, the show, we thought would be our last one ever, turned out to be a huge turning point. So, that’s so much luck we had there… there’s no use in becoming greedy. We’re writing songs, releasing records, we’re able to tour because there’s people interested in our music and the neighbors think we’re celebrities (laughs). That’s great and more than any of us ever expected. Brilliant.

After this little reflection, let’s put our sights on the future and the new album ‘Void Estate’. It took a bit longer to come up with a new album this time: four years. What were the reasons for that?
Sometimes we don’t feel like we have anything important to say - that’s a good start for not saying anything at all. That’s basically what we did. We wrote songs, hung out, took care of our lives … until we got to the point, where we felt like being in the mood for more End Of Green music. Nowadays I often think bands are expected to act like these content-machines, just spitting out stuff all the time. It’s like: Don’t rest, people might forget about you. Update your Instagram and Facie, make a funny viral clip, tour, next record and don’t forget your Facebook. …. I think bands are supposed to write songs, release them when they think they are cool, go on tour. We just took ourselves some time for those parts.

Could you tour enough for the previous one ‘The Painstream’? What happened with the band after the release of that one in August 2013?
We toured a lot with ‚THE PAINSTREAM‘ and took a break, afterward someone came up with the idea of doing an acoustic tour and we did that: play our songs properly seated with bigger guitars and tour like that. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like four years at all - when I think about it now. Especially, because I remember a lot of „doing nothing at all“ - musically.

What can you tell about the writing process for ‘Void Estate’?
That kind of happened. Usually we write songs all the time, each of us. And we listen to each others’ songs and ideas. If we agree on some ideas, we start working on them. This time Michelle came up with a lot of ideas, and I mean: a lot. But actually I can’t tell if any of this happened a year ago or maybe two years ago. It just happened. Which is pretty cool, I think.

I think it is even darker and also calmer than ever. Do you agree on that? It is almost a return to the doom influences of the beginning, isn’t it?
Definitely, though I’m not sure about the doom part. We always had that in our songs, maybe this time those influences are better heard. I like calm music that is dark and heavy at the same time, challenging but still comfortable to hang out with. With ‚VOID ESTATE‘ we took that risk, just because we wanted that. It’s almost bull-headed and calm tough …. If that makes any sense (laughs).

Michelle is doing an amazing vocal performance! Diverse and intense! I also have the impression that it is a ‘vocal oriented album’ more than ever. Do I see that right?
Yes, absolutely right. And apart from all the great singing, Michelle was also the producer of this record in his own studio. Something we have never done … or dared …. At all. This time we just did a lot things different than in the past. Not because anything was shitty - no, just because we were curious how this would turn out.

band image

’Crossroads’ appears to be a cover from Calvin Russell. Aha I still have a CD from that musician, ‘Soldier’, funny. Please tell us about your affinity with that artist and the choice of this cover…
Michelle and Kerker heard that song at a party of some friends of theirs - and they fell in love with that song as well. I personally heard about Calvin Russell a lot over the past years, but I never actually got in touch with his music. But ‚Crossroads‘ is a brilliant song - I like that storytelling a lot.

One of the songs that really struck me, is ‘Mollodrome’. This is really moving! Can you tell a bit more about it?
‘Mollodrome‘ is way too intense to talk too much about it. Basically, it’s about that moment when you’re informed that a loved one has passed away. It moves me every time I hear it.

The last track ‘Like A Stranger’ is also a highlight. The atmospheric, flying guitar sounds remind me a bit of Sólstafir and/or post rock… one song on the previous album also gave me that feeling. Any comments about this beautiful track?
Kerker and I have been listening to a lot of post rock, which I think is sometimes really intense music. I guess the first band that got me into this kind of music was Mogwai from Scotland. This Will Destroy You are also great. It’s music that is based on atmosphere that keeps on growing. Love it. ‚Like A Stranger‘ is definitely influenced by that - it’s almost a song that you can let yourself sink into.

You regularly play acoustic gigs and one of them can be found on a bonus DVD with ‘Void Estate’. Please tell us about this registered show in Berlin and the memories you have on that evening…
My first thought: Kerker was badly injured a couple of days before. He closed the door of his car … and forgot to remove his fingers before. I still can’t believe how he managed to play anyway. My second thought: the day before that show was my birthday and we played in Hamburg - and surprisingly we were not too damaged in Berlin the day after. The show was filmed by two fine ladies who asked if we’d mind them filming the show. They did this with just two cameras which is really amazing.

There is also a bonus track ‘Leave This Town’. Since it is not included in the promo package, I’d like to ask you more about this one? Why did it end up at bonus track? Same quiet style as the album?
Initially it was just some sort of joke Michelle recorded, but we all liked that Manson’esque vibe and the humor as well - so we decided to put it on the record as well. And: because it doesn’t fit in at all (laughs). I’d say it’s „lounge goth“.

I remember that you switched from producer from time to time. Who did you work with this time and where is the album recorded? In other words, some details about the recording process would be fine…
The last three records have been done with Corni Barrels in Munich, which was always great. But after three records we thought we might try something new: Michelle produced the record at home in his Darkland Studio. We used to record demos there, but we never dared to do a real record - but it felt good. We all know the place from day one of End Of Green, because it’s located in his home. There’s a cat walking by from now and then, I brought my dog, we know there’s good coffee downstairs in the kitchen - it’s like being at home. In a safe environment.

Are there any guest appearances on the album?
Yes. Blacksmith, a friend of ours has been doing the guitar solo in ‚Mollodrome‘

Who did the artwork and can you tell a bit more about its symbolism?
The artwork was conducted and arranged by Kerker. It’s great to have some member in the band who is able to translate music into visual art. But we’re not sure about the symbolism, yet (laughs). Even between the five of us there’s about seven different interpretations of the title, the artwork and the songs. We never came closer to „art“ than on ‚Void Estate‘. (laughs)

Are there any plans for music videos?
Yes! We had a lyric video done for ‚Send In The Clowns‘, I came up with some sort of clip for ‚The Door‘ and we did a video clip for ‚Dark Side Of The Sun‘. We might do even one more.

I found out that LuSiffer broke his arm. How is he doing now? Will he be able to play at Summer Breeze?
He got the bandages removed three days before Summer Breeze. But we knew that, so we asked our friend Alex to fill in, in case Lusiffer is not able to play the whole show. So at Summer Breeze we played the show with Alex and Lusiffer joined us for the last song - he’s back now and well.

And to occlude: what are the plans for the near future and for gigs and touring?
We’ll embark on a German tour in October and November. And we hope to continue after that. We didn’t play too many shows over the last couple of months, so we’re really looking forward to playing shows.

If there is anything you’d like to add, please feel free to do it here…
Thank you for your interest in our music, we really appreciate this. Nowadays there is a lot of music around. We’re happy and flattered if someone chooses our tunes for some quality time.

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