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Twee jaar na ’Monument’ en amper een jaar na hun uitstekende live registratie ’Live Insurrection’ staat de Duitse vaste waarde Crematory op de deur te bonken met nieuw werk. Dat bonken op de deur kunnen we ditmaal letterlijk nemen, want bandleider Markus Jüllich is duidelijk misnoegd over de gang van zaken in de muziekwereld en steekt dat niet onder stoelen of banken. Maar wat telt is de muziek! ‘Oblivion’ bevat alle ingrediënten om er een succes van te maken: stampende uptempo songs, momenten van bezinning en de stugge afwisseling tussen ruwe en cleane zang. We praten bij met een eerlijke, openhartige muzikant…

Door: Vera | Archiveer onder gothic metal

Usually the band has a meeting before creating a new album in order to decide on the style or the direction you want to go. What was coming out of that brainstorming when the time was there to write ‘Oblivion’?
Hello Vera, thanks for the nice words to ‘Oblivion’. I think a great album came out of the brainstorming. We met about six months ago and gathered ideas. But we don’t really have a concept that we follow, when we met. Things come out naturally, when you work with a band that is around for a long time and has new members and four producers also. ‘Oblivion’ is a very guitar riff orientated album, and has great melodies. For the first time you don’t find German lyrics on a Crematory release. But that also happened naturally and wasn’t part of a concept. Felix had both versions for the songs, but when we started recording the vocals it just happened, that ‘Oblivion’ turned out to be made for English lyrics.

You are the main composer, but the three new members who entered the band around 2015 and 2016 added new vibes to the songs. Can you tell a bit more about their contribution on the writing process?
You are right. I am producing the albums for a long time now. So all the ideas come to my desk and I work out the basic arrangements to find out what would work for a good song. As we are working with two guitarists now, you can image that I ended up with twice as many riffs and ideas nowadays. Tosse and Rolf work out their parts in Rolfs studio and arrange their parts for the live performance, cause Rolf plays the lead guitar and Tosse focuses on the rhythm guitar and his clean vocal parts. Tosses vocal melodies are different to Matzes. He is based in melodic metal, so his influence on the new songs is the one that is the most obvious to hear.

Are their lyrics you want to go deeper into? A kind of subject that inspired you this time?
Felix writes the lyrics for Crematory, so that is his baby. I know that he likes to write about good and bad a lot. We all have “demons inside” (which is one song on the album) and they force us to do things. Good or bad. It matters which side you choose. Producing an album always starts with a lot of fun and the closer you get to finish it, the more the dark side comes out and makes you fight for your opinion of the song.

You returned to the Kohlekeller Studios with producer Kristian Bonifer, but three additional musicians were important for this creation. Who, what is your connection with them and what did they do to give a surplus value on the record? (like orchestration, indie style, metal guitars etc...
Right. We have three co-producers outside the band working with us, that brings in a lot of ideas. Walter is the guy who has great ideas for fat guitar riffs, while Dirk works on our catchy melodies for keys and samples and Stefan does the orchestral things. Kohle and I put all the stuff together and arrange everything.

Last year the DVD ‘Live’ came out. How do you look back on that release?
We did this to present our new line-up with the three new musicians. We don´t play a lot of live shows because we have all normal jobs and families with children and this is a possibility to show the fans all over the world our live performance.

You seem to have something special for us, visually, because photos and video clip(s) were made (or are in the making) on a beautiful location (castle). Please tell us about this adventure...
The castle in Bruchsal you mean? An awesome place really. I was doing research in our area here. We live near the river Rhein, where we have a lot of old castles. Bruchsal was the first choice, cause we liked the architecture a lot. On the other hand it is really hard to find a place, that allows you to take pictures inside and even shoot videos in there. Especially when it comes to loud musicians, that looks scary to them! When we changed from the ballroom to the huge hallway and started to play, all hell broke loose at the castle´s office and they came running because they were scared, the place would collapse! But at the end we did fantastic photos and three video clips.

band image

What are the pros and cons of having a normal job besides the band and having more freedom, because you don’t have to live from the band? Has it always been that way, also in the nineties when bands like you, Lake Of Tears, Tiamat and Cemetery were quite successful?
In the nineties everything was fantastic and we could live for and from the music. But now it´s all different. When we started, we all had regular jobs and the music turned out from being a hobby to being more and more important for our lives. So back then, most of us quit the jobs cause we just had been way too busy touring and writing songs etc. We needed the time only for the band and we loved it. Now, we all have again our regular lives with jobs and families. So that is the main priority really. We usually plan a long time in advance, when it comes to the studio or touring activities, so we all can find the time for both, family and music. Until now it works out fine like that. Today it is really hard to make a living from CD sales, cause the streaming and downloading kills the music. I posted something on Facebook lately, and we got lot of shit for it, cause people thought we would disrespect our fans. That wasn’t the intention at all! We are proud to be still able to produce albums and go on tour, but we had to wake up the fans, and tell them the truth. Copying kills music! Fuck Downloads! Fuck Streaming! Buy CD´s or LP´s or your favorite band will not exist any longer, because the musicians earn not enough to pay the next record.

Since ‘Revolution’ you regularly enter the German charts. Are there singles on this new album or tracks that are really written with that purpose?
Crematory never has been a band for the charts, even we entered often. We have a solid base of fans which is important to us. Of course when you write the songs for the album, you can feel which one will turn out to be a hit. That’s why we choose ‘Salvation’ as the first single /video to give the people an impression on the upcoming album. After that we will release two more videos and singles with our songs ‘Immortal’ and the ballad ‘Stay With Me’.

When looking at your website, putting up questions, a sad news item struck me. It might be the last album you will make and the last tour... Can you explain a little bit more about your feelings about this topic and this sudden thought?
The post I mentioned before…. so you are very up to date. Thanks. That’s good to know. I had to speak it out loud. We have 1,5 million streams on the last album ‘Monument’ and only sell 1% of that in original CD or vinyl. That kills us. With the CD compensation from the record company, we can hardly produce our albums. And we really want to release albums that sound really good. ‘Oblivion’ is a very good production and we get a lot of feedbacks regarding the really good sound we created. If the sales drop even more, we can´t produce on that level anymore, and we don’t put stuff on the market that is cheap and sounding cheap. That Is not Crematory. So, I spoke out loud, what went on in my mind for months, cause I felt that the fans needed to know what goes on in our minds. Crematory was always a band that was very down to earth and since our first tour, we always meet the fans after the show at the merchandise area and talk to them. So with the social media today, we open for them this way. Some people might hate us for that, but it´s just the way it is. And that fact is really making us angry. If people don´t want to lose Crematory they should change their behaviors and buy CD´s and no downloads or streams. Copy kills music! Fuck downloads! Fuck streams! Buy CD´s or LP´s! We know that money is always an issue for people, but streaming is the end of music. In the new album you can find a voucher for 10 euro, so that the buyers can use that to have a discount on our merchandise items.

I hope the tour will take place and things will turn out well! To occlude… any hopes and wishes for the near future from you...
Thanks a lot. We hope the tour will be a success and the people will like ‘Oblivion’ as much as we do. We put a lot of energy to it and the set list for the shows in April and May will feature some of the album’s new tracks.

If there is anything you’d like to add, feel free to do it here...
Please rethink and support your favorite bands. Buy CD´s or LP´s. Fuck downloads and streams! Copy kills music.

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