Joe-First off, how on earth do you pronounce Neaera? It seems like there's so many different ways of spelling it! What does it mean as well?
Sebastian-We pronounce it rather like some U.S dudes would: "Ne- ai- ruh". Neaera is an ancient Greek figure of both history and mythology. The historic one was a slave whore who eventually gained her freedom in a lawsuit. The other Neaera was sort of a half goddess, daughter of Zeus and a mortal woman.
Joe-Other German bands like Heaven Shall Burn and Fear My Thoughts have a similar sound to you, would you say in general, coming from a certain country affects your sound and style?
Sebastian-To some extent I would agree. We are personally very close to those bands and talk a lot about music. We all are into old school European bands like At the Gates, Dismember and Bolt Thrower. As our bands were founded some years ago, we all deliberately wanted to pay tribute to those legends from "the old continent" in our own ways.
Nowadays the Internet plays the most important role in getting in touch with music.
Long and expensive trading distances are abandoned, so there are many young, striving bands that have an infinite variety of influences to choose from.
Joe-Your new album 'Omnicide-Creation Unleashed' is out May 26th, was there anything specific you wanted to do differently this time round?
Sebastian-Yeah definitely, first of all we agreed early on about having a different producer this time. Our last two albums were both recorded and mixed at Jacob Hansen's studio in Denmark. On 'Omnicide', we wanted to give our new songs a different approach with regard to the final sound. We were very glad to have Zeus willing to take care of the mix.
The instruments were all recorded in Germany together with our friend Alex Dietz of Heaven Shall Burn at the Rape of Harmonies Studios.
As for our song material, we wanted to write some fresh, new songs with a bit more melody and groove. Each of our albums has a unique character. On our last album, 'Armamentarium', we had a clear focus on brutality and epic melodies. 'Omnicide' is more desperate in its colour and we added some more Black Metal parts and tempo changes.
Joe-What was the meaning behind the album title and artwork?
Sebastian- 'Omnicide' simply means the total extinction of life on earth by human hand. The append -'Creation Unleashed' can be seen as a short philosophical expression of the idea that the human race is driven by some kind of fatal autopilot. Greed, fear and judgment are the major motivations for our actions. Even the intention of "making the world a better place" may justify wars, propaganda and oppression.
I mean, look at those people running around scared of losing everything they have in this current financial crisis. People even kill themselves because they lost some numbers on their account. We wanted to stress this contradictive behaviour in 'Omnicide'. The lyrics vary from more personal identity issues to global and environmental problems in which we think this concept is expressed.
The artwork was again made by our friend Terje Johnson from Norway. He did a great job visualizing our basic concept already on 'Armamentarium'.
The blood on the front cover and booklet of 'Omnicide' was meant to give hints on recent human presence as kind of an "after the apocalypse" point of view.
Joe-You have released an album pretty much every year, with only a two-year gap from your last album 'Armamentarium' to now. Do you just hate to stay idle and prefer to keep writing all the time?
Sebastian-Indeed, the breaks we've taken between releasing albums and writing new songs have never been too long. I guess its because writing songs is for us the most exciting thing besides playing live.
When you are done recording a new album, you've already invested so much time into the songs with listening to them about a hundred times, that you're almost longing for something new. As we all are kind of restless and full of energy types of people, it is hard to sit still at home without working on new stuff.
Joe-What do you feel websites like www.myspace.com and www.lastfm.com for example have done for the band?
Sebastian-Just recently we uploaded a new track called 'I Loathe' on Myspace. I think Myspace and lastfm have by now become the major platforms for bands to stay in touch with their fans and present themselves to a new audience. This really can't be underrated nowadays. The fact that bands use the opportunity of streaming their entire albums on Myspace before their physical release underlines this relevance.
It's really exciting for us to see how mixed the reactions have been since we put 'I Loathe' online. It shows how much people indeed care about what a band does, even if they take their time to express their dislike. Nevertheless we deliberately chose to put the opening track online since it is really a bit more different from our last songs. It simply shows some variety but it should not be seen as the "this is what each song on the album sounds like".
Some people took the chance judging the whole album only by listening to one song. This is of course sad on one hand but this is also what makes those platforms so interesting on the other. By now most of the comments we received were positive and it's cool to see how often the song has been listened to. We'll probably also be streaming the whole album in the near future.
Joe-What goals have you set yourself with the release of your new album? If any?
Sebastian-Since this is already our fourth release, the pressure on us isn't that high anymore. Our last releases were all received overwhelmingly well by both fans and critics. By now we've reached so many people that most of our early goals have been fulfilled. With 'Omnicide', we want to maybe reach some more people on a global scale. In the near future we want to spread the new material over Europe's stages and of course in the U.K. Maybe we'll get the chance of finally touring the U.S. as well.
Joe-Do you feel that your reasons for writing music have changed over the years?
Sebastian-In the beginning we were very eager to put all our musical talent into the songs. As we've played live more and more often, we all grew on our instruments. At that point we started to focus more on songwriting and the development of certain musical facets.
You also get to know more about what the fans might like when you play live. So this is also something that grew in importance for us when writing new material. Another major aspect is how people react to lyrics and topics we stress. When the audience sings along with songs that have a clear critical message towards bullshit politicians etc. it's a bit less superficial than yelling at their ex girlfriends in each song. So the more people we reach, the more we are driven to take responsibility for our own uttered opinions.
Joe-A few hypothetical questions…Would you rather keep touring but never release a new album OR keep writing albums but never tour again?
Sebastian-As I said writing songs is very exciting. But if you gave me a guarantee people wouldn't get bored after years of playing the same set, we'd definitely keep on touring...
Joe-Name the most annoying person(s) to have on a tour bus for several months?
Sebastian-I don't know any annoying people that would actually get the chance of sharing a bus with us ;-) Our singer can get quite annoying when he's hungry.
Joe-Who would be the most fun person(s) to have on your bus?
Sebastian-Chuck Norris maybe?
Thanks a lot to Neaera and Andy Turner from Metal Blade Records.