Frequency Drift interview (07/2012)

With: Christian Hack - guitar, woodwinds, flute
Conducted by: Ivor (in person)
Published: 28.07.2012

Recorded at Night of the Prog 2012, Loreley, Germany, 08.07.2012.

I was contemplating about going to the Night of the Prog 2012 festival quite a while ago. I looked through the line up and the bands I hadn't heard about. Frequency Drift was one of those I put on my to-do list. But it was only a week before the fest that I stumbled across them again and was totally blown away by their latest album ... Laid To Rest. So beautiful... Having discovered it that late, however, it left me virtually no time to get to know the band and their music in depth. In a rush I caught up with their guitarist and flutist Christian Hack backstage for a short chat just before the start of the Haken set.

Christian Hack

Since probably not many have heard about Frequency Drift, at least on Metal Storm, how would you describe it and what is Frequency Drift?

We describe our music as cinematic prog. Cinematic from cinema because it all started with a two part CD (Personal Effects), part one and part two of a story. We are all fans of serials like Lost, or Battlestar Galactica. Big cinematic scope and stories. And we all like playing music in the style, let's say, Pink Floyd with these atmospheric things, or the older prog, things like Yes, Genesis, things like that. And we try to find a new approach to it, to combine it with musical or cinematic things, or with music instruments like the harp, the flute, the violin. To integrate all that.

And having harps and violins in your band - how hard is it to perform all this kind of, what you describe as cinematic, this kind of music live?

It's not harder or easier than playing other things. We have good musicians, like our violinist (Frank Schmitz), or our harpist (Nerissa Schwarz). They know their job. Fortunately they are all electrified. So, it would be a bit of a problem on stage to have all these instruments in acoustic way - they would have microphone problems, and things like that. But in our case it's quite organic, we simply plug (in). Everyone is open to knew influences, so it works.

But where did you get the idea to use these films and these big series as a source of inspiration?

It's a thing of our interest. My brother (Andreas Hack, keys, programming), the head of this band, of the formation, is a cinema fan. And we all hear a lot of these cinematic soundscapes and soundtracks. And we hear a lot of other music. And it came quite natural to say, I'm playing flute, and the other one's playing harp, let's do that and we could do that. And by the way, over the time it developed into that because we saw that it functioned and we saw that is an approach that has rarely been taken in that wideness. There are a lot of people that have acoustic guitar or a flute but not all that together... and a prog band with guitar, bass, and things like that.

So, your - what is it - fourth album (... Laid to Rest) has been release a couple of days ago (July 6th). How would you describe it to a new listener?

Ah, I would describe the music... If you first hear our songs, or want to hear our songs, it's best to have it in a silent moment, when you have the time, when you can concentrate on the music, when you want to dream away. Because we always try to have little stories embedded in the song without telling the story via words or things like that, but have the music and the story for each one drifting in his own head. So, he can develop his own story. And you best take the time for you to have, not in a CD player in a shop, but in silence with the time and the mood for spacey and atmospheric things.

This is the fourth CD. How has the band changed over the course of the three previous CDs and this fourth one? Is it any different?

There are differences...

Yeah, OK, they are different. I mean, are there any drastic changes?

It's like the vocals are changing (for) the third time. And the called on stage today was the original second vocalist (Nicole Scharnagl) of the band. Our third vocalist (Antje Auer) jumped off the band and so she overtook the thing. But the tendency was to develop with different vocals. One vocalist has a bit more beautiful soft voice, the other one has a bit more rock approach. And with the voice and the other changes in guitarist style and the approach to music changes piece by piece. And we always have some people coming from outside, doing little guitar play here or a flute there. People say "Oh, hey, I'd like to play a part in it, a small part!" And they do a solo, or they do their part as guest musicians. So, it's always been the approach to have a core but a lot of guest musicians around it.

Nicole Scharnagl

There's not much information around about your band. I found a piece that said you will be composing a soundtrack for a movie called Montrak. Has it been done already?

I don't know. Maybe my brother... Montrak is by a, if I know it, Bayreuthian moviemaker (Stefan Schwenk). We originally come from Bayreuth. Perhaps my brother has teamed up. I don't know anything about it but that's not impossible.

Since you describe your music as cinematic, what movie would you choose for your music?

Ah... That depends...

Let's say the new album?

Hah, good question... I suppose there's no movie that would completely describe it. I would say you can do your own movie but it is one with a lot of wide musical landscapes, planes and some rocks, and bigger and wider spaces. Ah, I don't know...

Would it be a science fiction movie?

Ja, it would be. Personally, like Solaris or something like that. Maybe.

Let's turn the question around. What movie for would you want to write music?

(Here he seems to misunderstand the question but this is a good answer nonetheless.)

Ah, I personally would like to make a movie for Studio Ghibli, or something like that, because I personally very much like the Japanese movie scene. Or like Ghost in the Shell. Something like that. But that depends on who you are asking in our formation. Everyone has his own preferences. Something a bit like science fiction, a bit with wide scapes and not most, let's say, happy approach. A bit of drama or a bit of tragedy, or something like that, would be in my case a favourite.

Christian Hack

Do you want to add something to our interview, the short interview that we have?

(Laughs.) I'm happy that the festival was our first real gig we played.

You haven't performed before as a band?

No, not in this combination. Once before, in a smaller concert in Bayreuth to see how it works. There were a lot of other musicians performing at that time years ago.

So, how did the experiment go this time?

Obviously very good. We got a lot of positive feedback. People liked it. We had a lot of fun. It was an experiment that really worked because the question was how to get the quite difficult and multi layered version of the CD on stage. And it worked. And I hope it won't be the last time.

Yeah, definitely. I wouldn't like to see you not perform again.

I don't suppose that will happen.

Personally it was really nice to see you live. I actually discovered the band, let's say, something like a week before.

The approach of it was not to play on small concerts but to wait for a bigger point to get it over to people. Because it really works best if you have it on certain professional level. And we couldn't afford to do it on that level if we would do it on a headliner show ourselves. Or we would be all very, very poor after all that. (Laughs.)

Would there be a tour or something now?

Perhaps. A real tour... I don't suppose that will be a real tour because we are all having our own jobs. But we will do... as I heard, there's one or two offers for concerts already. I don't know when and where but I know that there are. And there will be shows in Germany and we'll see what's coming. I'm very excited about that too because I don't know what it will be.

This is really nice to hear! I suppose I'll end it here and wish you all the best.

Have a lot of fun!

Thank you very much!


Posted on 28.07.2012 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 47 users
29.07.2012 - 16:51
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Ah, nice interview.

Will definitely check it out their music.
29.07.2012 - 21:13
You take the best pics, Ivor. Still haven't checked their album, hopefully in the next few weeks.

Enjoyed the interview, though.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
30.07.2012 - 06:12
Jason W.
I simply cannot get enough of their latest album, and am so happy I ordered it from the band based off the single track up online. Cool interview, interesting to see they have so rarely played live at all and sound quite good on the live clips I've come across The band is correct in that there is a lot more to the songs than the lyrics or vocals, and most often the music expresses much more dynamic ideas when it goes off on its own tangents. I'd love to get a chance to see some of the new album performed!
"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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