German synth-rock on a rise! – interview with SOULIMAGE

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Hello guys! I hope you are well and “ready, steady, go!” for these questions I prepared for you.
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1. As for the beginning I’d like you to share the story of SOULIMAGE. How did that started for each one of you: when did you join the band and what were your first thoughts about the project?

SI_Juergen: I already played several times with Luck in different bands/projects since the 90s. In summer 2014 he asked me if I would like to join his current formation “soulimage”. All the time before I “only” made hand made music and was quite interested in interacting with electronic music. At the end I was challengenged to try something new, which lead me to soulimage.

SI_Burbn: I started in summer ’15 at SOULIMAGE and played in different bands and sideprojects before (unknown for the most). I answered on a posting by Robert at Facebook and now I am here😉

SI_Stefan: I already saw Soulimage live in 2006 and did the livemixing on one of their concerts in 2010 something. When Robert needed new musicians I called to do guitars or keys, what I ended up with. Before that I did my own gothic rock band from 2000 to 2010 and participated as live musician or sound engineer for several bands in the german gothic scene. Ironically, in my own band I played the bass, but I am nothing against Juergens skills.

2. And I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t add one extra question for the vocalist Robert, about the idea behind the formation of the band. When did you know that you want to form a band and what was your vision about it then and how does it look now? Did that change or is it still the way it was in the very beginning?

SI_Robert: Soulimage was created in my mind in 2005. Even before any music was written, I knew that the band or project should be called Soulimage. Then I started to work on songs. Everything was created on typical electronic pattern, until a few years later the idea of a real band came up. There were many line-up changes and the music sounded different over times. That’s why it was so hard to get some constance in the music. For me Soulimage should just sound awesome, no matter if it was electro pop or hard rock. But that, maybe, was also part of the problem, why it took this long to find the real Soulimage sound. It really took several years, but now we have arrived.
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3. It’s not that common for a band to describe the performing genre as “synth-rock”. Please explain where did that come from and why did you choose this over other music genres?

SI_Juergen: The term “synth-rock” is the combination of our most dominant music styles. “synth” stands in general for electronic music and “rock” I think needs no explanation😉

SI_Robert: Synth-rock is only a description of what we unite in our music. Synthetic sounds with some hard but also melancholic rock. We are no gothic-rock band, certainly influenced by this genre, but no way bogged down. Maybe there will be a new style of rock with Soulimage – I don’t know. But no matter what you want to call it – we just make our music.

SI_Burbn: I dont like to put our style in a typical genre like “synth-rock”… We use synths and playing a basic-rock-set, yes, but we are too “unclassified” i think😉 Sometimes we play metal with synths, sometimes we play industrial-rock, so every guy where listen to us has different explanations for this style. I dont care ’bout that🙂

SI_Stefan: Synth-rock is a defined term in germany to describe Bands like The Birthday Massacre, A Life divided and so on, everything thats not tough enough to be industrial rock/metal nor “Neue Deutsche Härte”. Technically it’s a spoof, most people forget how much synthetic stuff is common these days in produced music. For me it’s a punctation to point out that the digital parts are as important as the rockish parts, though the mass of the ingredients might vary. Maybe someday, the term will change. It’s just a word….

4. Connection of synth music with strong rock is so intriguing that I need to ask for the influences. What was your inspiration in the creating process and what ispires you in general?

SI_Robert: I hear a lot of different music. Classical music as well as hard metal. However, most affect me “Depeche Mode”. I love the mood of their songs.

SI_Juergen: The biggest inspiration for me was the work of bass player Twiggy Ramirez on the albums “Hollywood” and “Mechanical Animals” together with Marylin Manson. The way he supports the band and song is quite imposing. He’s also the reason why I started using distorted bass sounds.

SI_Burbn: I have a big repertoire on music styles i like, but mostly something with guitars in it😉 I learned a few instruments, but my favorite instrument was since the age of 9 the guitar. I listened to a lot of bands, but two guitar-players with very significant styles/sounds gave me goosebumps everytime i heard them and they impressed me alot; Richard Z. Kruspe (Rammstein) and Paul Allender (Cradle of Filth).

SI_Stefan: Speaking of electronics, my greatest influence is the work of Bruno Kramm, how he mixes harsh electro sounds and classical tunes perfectly on a very artistic level. Despite that, my favorite Bands is “Samsas Traum”. And I love the stuff Stevie Wonder did in the 70ies.
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5. Many great music bands and artists come from Germany that gained international popularity, such as Rammstein, Reamonn, Scorpions, Kraftwerk or Die Toten Hosen to name a few. Do you have equal ambition to become globally known or do you focus on your homeland?

SI_Juergen: We definitely do not restict ourselve. The rest is up to our fans and the music society. Try it on yourself, invite us to a Polish festival and meet us😉

SI_Burbn: I would love to play in the whole world, but like Juergen said; it’s up to the fans and the industry😉

SI_Robert: We focus on what the future will bring. It is much of the financial resources, whether you reach a corresponding degree of popularity. Money is not everything, but it’s definitely important to get further.

SI_Stefan: I like most of the bands you named, but I’d rather aim for a “cult-band” status, that is not that dominant in the charts but could manage to gain a solid fandom all over the world for decades.

6. On 20th of May this year your debut album “The Whole Universe” had its release. Can you share something from the working process? How long it took to record the album and what music lovers can expect from it? Also, how involved were you during the process of the making?

SI_Burbn: Most of us recorded our instruments at our own “home-studios”. I recorded only the guitar-parts for the album. Most of the work had to be done by Stefan😀
Expect nothing peticular of this album and you will love it😉

SI_Robert: Partly, I was really frustrated about my voice and the singing. This is certainly due to my perfectionism.😉 But ultimately, we have produced a good debut album, in my opinion. Even if it took really much time and nerves.

SI_Stefan: I hate them. All of them *laughs* The whole process took about 2 months, but everyone had about 3 weeks of work on their own, my job was to collect all the recordings, arrangements and ideas everyone had and put them together in one piece.
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7. Aside from the album release, you seem to know some other German artists like Florian Grey or Bitch&Chips that you already performed live with. What do you think about these other artists? Are they a serious competition to you or is it that you don’t consider anyone a competition?

SI_Robert: Why should good artists represent a competition? We only can learn from each other. Everyone invests time and money for the success. Florian Grey is a really talented musician and singer and he really deserves it. Bitch&Chips changed their name again to “Darkh”. But no matter how they are called – they fuckin rock the stage!

SI_Juergen: Bands should not be competitors at all. The most important thing is that we and our fans have fun and enjoy our music. Some people(and also bands) hopefully like us and others will not. That’s life.

SI_Burbn: Juergen’s right. It should be fun, so we don’t care ’bout competitions with other bands. I personally don’t give a f*** ’bout that😉

SI_Stefan: There is no competition in music. You have your occassional divas and “superstars”, fuck them, otherwise it’s important to help each other out, otherwise this whole underground music thing would not work at all.

8. As a band there must be a true bond between the members. What is the most funny memory you have with one another so far?

SI_Burbn: We don’t have fun and we don’t have funny memories. We are the most evil band in the world… I’am just kidding😉 It’s always fun to play with this guys and i’am very proud to be a part of it! But I could not name a particular memory with one of them, there are so much of it😀

SI_Stefan: I wanted that cake so badly…. *lol* *

* – What Stefan meant was most likely the cake one FOB (fan/friend of the band) made for one of the gigs that was unfortunately canceled due to bad weather).
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9. You are the members of the synth-rock (but still rock, though) band. How do you like to spend your time off? Or is there even any amount of time off for SOULIMAGE? Do you spend it together and separately and what gives you relief and calms you after a gig or time in the studio?

SI_Juergen: To be member of a band is a kind of partnership. But beside of the band almost everyone has his own family with childrens. A well balance is very important to keep both partnerships working. Most of the time when we are not busy with tormenting our instruments we are kidding each other.

SI_Burbn: As Juergen said, most of us has a family and working besides the band (we have to). There’s not much time besides that, so we “hang out” at gigs and at our “super-creation-room”😉 But personally i like to play video-games at home and going out to concerts, cinema, eating at restaurants and so on.

SI_Robert: Nothing else to say!😉

10. You have a strong bond with your fans. What is the most memorable thing you remember from your live performances?

SI_Robert: Our keyboard-player Stefan has pulled out his shirt on the stage. That has really traumatized me. More than anything else!😀 Otherwise I remember well in every single show. People give back so much energy.

SI_Stefan: It was at this one show, where I dared the audience to move at least as much as my mother (she’s a 5 time granny) that danced the whole time😀 And HEY, it was hot on stage!!

SI_Burbn: A complete family (grandmother, mother, children) where’s rockin’ to our songs! It was fascinating to see, that we could animate 60+ and 18+ year old people with our songs😀
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11. To stay with relations with others. Do you consider yourselves to be a role model for young artists and bands that are still in a phase of playing in the garages and trying to knock out for a bigger stage? What would be your advice for those young people?

SI_Juergen: The best advice to musicians is: never stop making music and keep your ears open.

SI_Burbn: Play the style you like and never (!) give up! But focus on your school/work! Don’t see it as something you had to do, it’s very important to have a good job… to finance your equipment😉

SI_Robert: Do your own style! Be faithful to yourself and always listen to your hearts!

SI_Stefan: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and try again. In art, everything goes!

12. Going back to your debut album, share with us some of the dates and places where people can find you performing live. How does the tour looks like and what are your plans for the near future?

SI_Robert: You can see Soulimage live: 08/20/2016 – Dresden (Club11), 08/27/2016 – München (Garage Deluxe), 09/03/2016 – Regensburg (H5). We will plan some more shows for autumn 2016. Otherwise we plan to release the second single from the debut album this year. For sure we will work on new songs and on a second album, but we don’t want to commit us still in a date.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview and I hope that soon a group of your listeners will significantly grow!
Iwona “Izzy”

SI: Thank you very much Izzy

The Legend’s Farewell

Today we said goodbye to one of the most important figures in the world music scene. We said goodbye not only to an amazing vocalist or musician, but to a music hero of many. We said goodbye to a legendary David Bowie.
The genius behind Ziggy Stardust, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter, and actor. That’s how David Bowie is described all over the world. This, without a doubt, makes him an icon in many ways.

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“His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.” ~ David Buckley.

His 28 albums were an enormous contribution to music and has become an inspiration for many artists in creating their own artistic visions and became the foundation for progress in the music itself, regardless of genre.

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His last studio album “Blackstar” was released only 2 days ago, an January 8th, 2016. The title track was however presented on November 20th 2015 and the second single of the album – “Lazarus” – was released later on December 17th the same year, as a digital download.

Even though “Blackstar” album consists only of 7 songs, David Bowie proved once and for all how to make a masterpiece. With it’s over 41 minutes, the album definitely deserves to be playing during music lessons. Not only for enjoyment but especially to show music students how to strive for perfection.

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If I only had a chance to give him my personal message I’d say to David Bowie: Sir, thank you for being the rare gem in the music industry for so long. Thank you for every album you’ve recorded. Thank you for not giving up to that nasty disease that cancer is, and once more gave us a piece of yourself. Thank you and rest in peace, Master.

~Izzy

New Single by Hannu Lepistö!!!

This day finally came!
It’s December 11th of 2015 – the big day! It’s the release time of the brand new maxi single by Hannu Lepistö “Damn Little Devil You”.

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Hannu has always been a very intense vocalist with his deep and warming voice. He was from the beginning a worthy successor to such artists as Tom Waits, Lou Reed, and even Bruce Springsteen. The fact that he comes from a mysterious Finland, makes his music seem even deeper and even more addictive and mesmerizing.

The specific hoarseness in his voice makes goosebumps to appear on the whole body. listening to his music is like to be under the influence of strong addiction that listeners do not want to get rid of. Because why, when listening to music by Hannu brings so many positive vibes into life of music fanatics?

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Sonorous and melodious songs enriched with a voice so pervasive by a man; a voice that sings about things so important for all like love, happiness or lack of it; and risks posed by everyday life, like pain or violence…

It’s all here – on newly issued maxi single, where listeners and fans of Hannu Lepistö will find two new songs by an unusual, original and very magical artist. Both songs – “Damn Little Devil You” and “On Eggshells” on one hand actuate a trance that makes these works to fall deeper in the head and won’t want to leave; on the other hand, bring the listener to focus on both musical background so rich in its details and on the lyrical part, which is not always colorful as in the case of most of today’s artists cases.

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That’s why I’m wholeheartedly recommending to listen to the latest single by Hannu Lepistö. Join this fascinating journey through a blaze of colors and a wide range of sounds that this great artist offers us. An artist as unconventional and humble as Hannu is. I have a feeling that it will pull you into the vortex and will make it that you will never have enough of it.

~Izzy

For more info about Hannu go to:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE http://www.hannuofficial.info/
TWITTER https://twitter.com/hannuofficial
FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/HannuOfficial/

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Hannu is back!

Hello Everyone and great to be back to announce one hell of a great info!

Hannu Lepistö is coming back with a new single! The main song will be entitled “Damn Little Devil You” with an extra song called “On Eggshells” as a B-side.
The premiere of the single is set on December 11th 2015.

Personally I can’t wait to hear those tunes!

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On Eggshells

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Damn Little Devil You

Unzyme “Override” – REVIEW

Over 4 years of waiting. They released their debut album back in 2010. 3 people in one promising band – Unzyme.
Over 4 years of waiting for the second album. Waiting – with hopes and fears.
I was hoping for progression. I feared that “Override” will be just as the first album. It’s nothing bad about it, but still I feared that they will remain in the point from which they started.
I wished for evolution of the music, the enlargement of the lyrics and advancement of the band itself. Now I can say my fears were unneeded. Unzyme met all my expectations.

I decided to take a listen with mixed feelings. I also decided to take notes while listening to the songs one by one, to describe my thoughts in the present time.
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1. Relay (3:27).
I was lucky to hear few songs in their demo versions and this one was one of the first ones. I was positively surprised how the music grew from a simple plan to the final version. The lyrics came its long way smoothly from a clean idea to a story that fits the band’s style.

2. Step outside (3:46).
This song is simply hypnotizing. If anyone is desperately looking for this magical place where music meets the lyrics – you don’t have to search any longer. This is the point of perfection. I was a tiny bit disappointed that it’s only the second song of the album, but my heart is smiling now. I used to focus on music background or on the lyrics, forgetting the other part. Here I hear everything as one. It’s very rare to create such gem.

3. Mother of all bombs (3:02).
Have you ever thought about mixing electronic music, meaningful lyrics and rocking sound? Impossible? Nope. It’s like mixing tastes and scents. You have to be a master chef in the kitchen to to things like that. Mixing styles that at once don’t fit in music, you have to be genius-minded. Here’s where you find this beautiful mind.

4. Sinking in the past (3:40).
This song is one of the best surprises on the album. While listening I thought like I’ve heard this before. And I don’t mean the demo. The final album version of the song reminds me of something. It’s not the feeling you get nowadays where everyone is coping everybody. It’s like a melody you had in your head for so long and finally you hear it for real. Unzyme definitely know how to perfectly connect electronical music with soft pianos and vibrating vocals.

5. Don’t accept your fate (3:06).
What else can I say? Do I hear cello? Or is it double bass? Violin maybe? My first thought was “Really guys? How could you molest my head like that? Is it even legal?”.
I used to be a major rock fan. Other styles were tolerated. And then Unzyme happen.
If you don’t believe musical miracles – you better do now.

6. I can’t stand this silence (2:51).
And here comes my fears. First tones of the song sounded like it’s going to be plain pop-ish song. But this fear lasted no longer than a neutron impulse. Joona made it sound like a proper and serious successor of Neil Tennant. The song brings me straight into the future of the style. Pet Shop Boys would be proud! The song is smashing!

7. Faces I knew (3:45).
Now that’s the music I like. Gentle vocals of Joona’s deep voice complement the music and create ensemble that is a real pleasure for the listener. That’s what I expected from this album. Wise words in song-lyrics, great not-disturbing music and the vibe. It’s hard to say anything more when you find something that speaks for itself.

8. Bad old times (4:26).
Have you ever felt hypnotized by an old music box from your childhood? I felt like I found that sort of music box in an old abandoned house. When it starts playing I can feel the air filled with dust flowing through my hair. Air brings old photos right in my hands. Dust sparkles in the dim light from the windows…
I might not mean the lyrics the way its author did but it feels magical. And i love to be tackled in my creativity spot!

9. Which way (3:32).
This is the first time I hear this song, so it’s like discovering new places.
I wanna applause to Unzyme again. I can strongly feel the inspiration of PSB, but totally in Unzyme style. I need to be on a gig where this song is played – I’ll be the first one dancing!!!
The biggest mystery of the album – the biggest shock! Can I clap my hands now?

10. Thought of decay (4:59).
So far my only lullaby was sung by The Cure. The list must be extended to this song as well. Lyrics are my kind of sad and moody. Music sooth me after a long day and after a great album that made me wanna move. Having this song as the closing chapter of “Override” is ideal.

To make long story short. Listening to the “Override” album was a pure pleasure not only for me – waiting few years on it, but especially for my ears. All my fears go away now, when I know how amazing it is. I started with a worried mind with a vision of a band that is not evolving. Now I wanna punish myself for how I could even think like that? It’s been a long way in time with a lot of bad and good stuff on the way. It’s shown in this 36-minutes-long album.

It was worth it. It was definitely worth it.
~Izzy

And now the squirrel goes dancing…