Hi, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I had the pleasure to listen to your album ‘Rats In Palaces’ last month and I was amazed by the energy and the potential you showed us. How have other reactions been so far? Are you satisfied with the result?
First of all we´re happy to hear that our songs seem to include the kind of energy we tried to put in! Most of the reviews were very positive, which makes us very proud. We also have read a rather critical review about 'Rats in Palaces' which basically says the songwriting wouldn’t be enough to fill a whole record. Although this is obviously nothing that makes our record more attractive for people who never heard of us, we take it as an honest feedback.
Since you are a pretty young band and this is your debut album could you please introduce yourself/yourselves and the band to our readers?
We are a five headed German metal band, founded in 2012 and consisting of Luis Strietholt on the drums, Sven Müller and Phil Unger on guitars, Janis on the bass guitar and Liane Walter as our vocalist. We are in our early twenties and perform a mixture of old and modern thrash and death metal styles. On September 22nd you can get our album 'Rats in Palaces', which follows our EP from July 2015.
What were some of your biggest inspirations and motivators when writing the material for your first album and how long has it taken to have enough material for the record?
It is not easy to name particular influences as such. When certain ideas come to your mind for example riffs, solos our just lyric lines, you might associate a special setting our maybe even pictures leading to more elements that fit to the basic idea. That´s when you can start composing. Of course the content of our lyrics have as well a severe impact on the whole song. If we want to criticise, like we do it in the title track, it is like talking to the person or the people we address. On the other hand metal songs provide a perfect opportunity to reflect negative and sad subjects. This might be the general inspiration.
Could you explain some of the writing process that the band goes through? Is the whole band involved or is just a part responsible for it?
The basic ideas have been written by our guitar players Sven and Phil most of the time. Afterwards Liane and Phil worked on the lyrics together. In a few cases it has been the other way round. By the time a certain concept for a song is clear we finish it all together in our rehearsal room and share our ideas. This last step is very important as well and we experienced satisfying results in working by this method.
Could you describe a bit about the lyrics, is there some kind of concept and could you explain why you have chosen them?
Basically, we write our songs about all the things that take a lot of space in our minds. It is influenced by news, daily life and even personal experiences. This might be the reason why about one half of the songs on 'Rats in Palaces' deal with political and social subjects.
The album title is 'Rats in Palaces'. I personally have to think about today's society, the gap between the rich and the poor. Do I think in the right direction and/or can you tell us a bit more about it and why you have chosen this title?
Yes, this is the main subject. We chose this album title, because it represents in general our thoughts about the problems and the misery in this world, such as human beings being used or oppressed as economic tools and sacrificed in order to raise profit. At the same time it covers the topics of other songs on the record like 'Social Lies', 'Bring back the Anarchy' or 'Mankind´s Grave'.
The cover has been designed by the well-known Costin Chioreanu who also made the covers for bands like Arch Enemy or Vader. Was it easy to get him and how did that workout? The context to the album title can’t be overlooked.
We simply sent him a mail with a request for designing our album. It did not take long for him to reply. Actually we never expected it would work out that easily, because we are just one of a million bands from the underground. But as it turned out, he is not just a great and extremely gifted artist, he is also a very kind person. When we saw the first sketch we were completely overwhelmed. We had sent him lyrics and our impressions and imaginations about the cover beforehand. Those were already very close to the lyric lines of the song 'Rats in Palaces'. The way he captured it all was breathtaking. The crowned rat symbolizes a kind of cruel reign that satisfies its unlimited greed without taking care on victims. This is what happens every day especially in less developed countries where people die in poverty or at least in live threatening work. The companies could easily create fair working conditions but they simply don’t give a damn about it. They only focus on money making. That´s why we call them 'Rats in Palaces' on our record. Costin understood all this and knew how to bring it into the artwork.
After I heard the album for the first time I checked out who is playing in the band and I was pretty surprised that a girl is grunting. There are a lot of female grunters where I miss the last bit of power in the voice to make it perfect, but I really didn’t have that feeling with Liane. I really enjoyed that! It’s not the newest thing in metal, but do you see yourself as a female-fronted metal band and do you think that you profit from it?
We never thought that we are something special. But by playing more and more shows in the beginning, it was obvious that a woman singing with a death metal voice used to impress the audiences. A friend of ours who helped to promote our first EP told us to mention it right in the beginning of the promo text to have it more catchy. Since then we kept doing it that way when promoting our band, but it did not feel really good. Now we think of leaving it out of future descriptions, just because we believe in our music and in our lyrics, and not in our gender. But nowadays with so many bands everywhere some people don´t really have the intention to have a close look on a band beside their outward appearance. It is a sad and depressing fact, especially when you talk about music, but it´s just the significance of our time. Mankind never really stopped to judge with their eyes. Honestly we can´t ignore it helped a lot to play the 'female fronted' game when asking for shows, reviews or just to promote our music.
Who are some of your biggest influences as a band and are there bands you are really hoping to share the stage with?
Yes, actually we are very much influenced by thrash bands, especially Overkill and Exodus. Phil has always been admiring the writing of Gary Holt. But there are more bands like Lamb of God and Vader that perform a very dark and powerful style with brilliant lyrics, and they belong to our role models as well. Live we would go completely crazy if we can play just with the bands and musicians we love. Beyond the bands we already mentioned those would be Thy Art is Murder, Iron Maiden, Morgana Lefay, Testament, Decapitated, Sum 41, Gojira, Cripper, Slipknot, Slash, Slayer, Whitechapel, Disturbed…. Probably this is still not the end of the list!
Are there any future plans for shows and tours to promote ‘Rats In Palaces’?
Actually we wanted to play a little tour based on weekend shows together in Germany and the states around Germany with our friends from Bloodspot. But except of four shows, and one of them was cancelled a few days ago, we were not really successful about that. We contacted many clubs, other bands and people who are well connected to many live locations but up to now we mostly got no reply. Nevertheless there will be Incertain shows and we promise to share information about that soon! We are very very very hungry for the stage!
This wraps it up for now. Any last words you want to share with our readers?
We are so thankful you guys showed interest in our band, and we especially thank Lords of Metal for supporting us! Hopefully we see you all soon 'on the road' and we do not disappoint with our first record!