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

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

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

Zib zab zabulous, 13 questions from the grave – an interview with Private Line

On which album you enjoyed to work on the most?

Elias: I did enjoy making the first album coz there was certain kind of buzz going on in my head…you see I  was able to drink so many days in a row… But I have to say Dead Decade.

Ilari: Evel Knievel Factor ‘cause I took a time-out from everything else then. It was great to concentrate on the album only!

How do the studio sessions look like? Do you share your ideas while working in the studio?  How are the songs being born? Who has the most idea of lyrics, who likes to try new things, to ‘play’ with the songs the most? What are the point of views when deciding which songs would make on the albums?

Elias: It is like a brainstorm warzone from any given movie from Arnold Swartzenegger or Chick Norris. I say stupid one liners to Sammy and he usually say something wise like….”I´ll be back”. Afterwards in the final lyrics there is a line ” I´ll be back” lmao, sorry just kidding.  We do share all kind of ideas and riffs and we do like to try all sorts of crazy ideas. In the end they usually sound like Private Line. Which song make it to album….hmm depends on the package 😉

According to the question above: what is your biggest inspiration while working on the new material? Is there any new material being born? When can we count on a new album, and how far are you with studio works by now?

Elias: I guess I have to say life gives you best inspiration, usually the down side of it. There are songs, riffs, melodies etc, it is a puzzle.. can´t really tell when they´re  ready. They are kind of ready already but then they are not ready ’cause there might be something more ready coming…you know they are ready already and then they suddenly are not ready.  Simple as that 😀 Some of the songs might be ready already we just cant tell yet… hard question because I just don’t know the answer to that but I have a really good feeling in my liver that it wont take so long this time than the last one.

How did you came up with Greenpeace (“Dead Decade”video)? What was first:  the idea of the song or the proposition from Greenpeace to cooperate? Or maybe it was something else?

Elias: Song was first and I had a friend working on Greenpeace so it was zib zub zabulous.

ELIAS: How did you came up with the idea to have Animal from The Muppets as the tattoo?

Elias: Animal has been my buddy since I was a kido, so we are friends for life 😀

Does the fact you play in a rock band means you only listen to rock music or do you like other genres as well? Do you experiment with the styles while working on the albums?

Elias: Yes it does. I don’t listen to any other music than rock music. Everytime I hear a song for example in a bus, I run to the drivers booth and stop the bus and give the driver a CD that is full of good rock songs from unknown artist like, “Eagles” “Metallica” “Poison”…etc and highly recommend him/her to play it since I cant listen to any other music than ROCK…… Nooooo of course I listen to other music. I used to study classical music and jazz but I think rock music has the most impact on me.

Ilari: The genre’s really not that important as long as the song’s good & it has the right  feeling for the moment!

Ilari Heinäaho

Ilari Heinäaho

Would you risk and take a chance in Eurovision to gain some more fans and popularity or you’d be afraid of being pigeon-holed as an Eurovision band?

Elias: No.

Ilari: Don’t know!

What was the weirdest or sweetest gift you’ve ever received from your fans?

Elias: Parachute condom bag of course… lol

Ilari: Small McDonald’s fries.

Elias Logrèn

Elias Logrèn

Is there anyone from the music industry that piss you off really badly?

Elias: Yes, whole industry.

Ilari: Not any certain person but all the “geniuses”, who uses the music market to desperately & artificially maximize the shareholder value on the cost of music itself.

The song “Live, Learn and Grow Apart” means a lot to me, especially the line “We’ve gotta live before we die, don’t pretend we ain’t born at all”. I would like to know more about this song. How was it born, on what occasion?

Elias: many places as I recall..

Ilari: The main riff & chord progression came to me while driving a car with no working stereo. That’s how many good ideas come to me btw! This was taken to the guys, put through our PL-meatgrinder & painted with lyrics at Kaapelitehdas (our old rehersal place) and the previous East Sound Studio.

Do you consider making an album of (so far) unpublished songs, or a DVD with concert videos, interviews, backstage videos? Maybe an acoustic album, for which your fans really yearn for?

 Elias: Well we might consider 😉

Ilari: Second that!

What  do you do in your free time? For example, we’ve heard Elias is about to finish his studies in order to help handicapped people. How did this come and what will he do actually? And what about the “silent, invisible” member of the band, Spit? What are his hobbies, what was his original profession, his job?

Elias: I don’t have any free time but if I do…all hell´s braking loose. The way I see it you have to do something that counts for living, otherwise it is just working for money and I don’t have high respects for money, even though we all need it to get by..

Ilari: I try to work out in many different for not to explode my ass out of my jeans. And, of course, motorcycle stuff & drinking beer.

(from the left): guitarist Ilari Heinäaho, guitarist Jack Smack, singer Sammy Aaltonen, drummer Elias Logren and bassist Spit. Photo: (c) Kaylin Idora

(from the left): guitarist Ilari Heinäaho, guitarist Jack Smack, singer Sammy Aaltonen, drummer Elias Logren and bassist Spit.
Photo: (c) Kaylin Idora

 

German answer for Rock – an interview with Florian Grey.

FLORIAN GREY – is an acoustic project by musician Florian Grey from Germany. Florians virtuosic voice that reaches over 3.5 octaves is brought out in a perfect way by Steffen on guitar, Dave on bass and Felix on Cajon. The result is a great combination of rock music and soft sounds. Sometimes powerful and impulsive – sometimes soulful and quiet. Florian Grey started singing in his early childhood. At the age of 16 he formed his first band. The successful singer, songwriter and music producer Frank Bülow from Darmstadt was Florian’s music mentor. He was Florian’s vocal trainer for 2 years. In 2002 he completed his vocal studies. Even after the vocal training he continued taking singing lessons to form and improve his voice. He worked as studio /background singer for several well known German artist. In 2006 he co-founded the rock band Eves End. 2008, the band released their first EP “Dead End Hope”. The debut album “Frozen Heart Philosophy” was published in 2010. Florian was decisively involved in songwriting and composition. The band achieved considerable success in Germany. They played gigs / tours in Germany and Finland, and had the honor of supporting well known bands / artists like Doro Pesch, Lacrimas Profundere, Matthau Mikojan, The Jade, Saltatio Mortis etc. In 2011 Florian made the decision to leave the band. He then worked on different projects, e.g. with the band Royal Decadence, as a studio singer and guest vocalist with various bands. In 2013 he now is back on stage as solo artist.

(C) Music Lights Berlin

(C) Music Lights Berlin

First of all, we want to know how would you describe your style of music?

I would say it’s self-therapy mixed with stories that happens in life wrapped in melancholic poetic words.

You´ve been playing in different bands before you started your solo career. For example you had a band called “Eves end”. What was the reason for your decision to play solo now? And do you prefer playing with a band or alone?

I think you have to try different things with different people on your way to find your own style. When you ever find it cause music is so different nowadays. Sometimes you make compromises in a band that you wouldn´t do for yourself just to keep the wheel turning. But its dangerous cause you lose yourself more and more in these compromises. It rocks the most being in a band, but when you´re on your own you can lead the direction. When you find musicians who believes in your visions like you do or combine the visions of all members thats the best thing about it, but very rare nowadays. Everybody is different and, not in general but in my case, it’s the best way to express myself at the moment.

We heard that you are working on a new album now, is this true? What can we expect?

It’s too early to talk serious but there will be music.

What are your influences? How do you get inspired?

Over all its life, love and loss, it can be a verse or a few words. I write them down and keep everything in my little book, make a note in my mobile or it flows and I just finish a whole skeleton to be ready to work on. One of the biggest influences are definitely movie scores, I mean the instrumentals, sometimes of movies I´ve never seen. They create a whole world of emotions and feelings while listening. I adore the Music from Thomas Newman for example or Alexandre Desplat and Tuomas Holopainen from Nightwish to name a few.

Which one is your favorite own song so far, and what is the story behind of it? Please tell some words about it.

Hm that’s really hard to say, I don´t know. I wrote something last year I’m very excited to release somehow cause it took so much from me to write it down. I hope I can realize it

What make you decide to make music and what job would you like to do, if you were not a musician?

Good question cause most of the musicians work in dayjobs nowadays. I’m blessed to have one of the coolest jobs besides the music, working as a soundman and booker. Means I’m working with a lot of bands and that’s what I would do even when I wasn´t a musician by myself. Its quite inspiring as well and it keeps you grounded from the beginning, where I’m at the moment.

What are your plans for the future? Is there a special goal?

Have to rule the world XD…No no, the only goal I have is to make music. I think I’m on a good way now, ’cause after my last band I lost myself. The people I’m now working with believed more in what I do than I did, they believe in my ideas and I trust in their knowledge and experience. And I’m so thankful for this. Lets see.

What was the weirdest or funniest job you ever had?

As a printer in a print company… weird and very very stressy to take 500 printed wedding invitations in 2hours… and the payment was horrible, as so was the owner but I needed the money.

Could you describe one day in studio, recording stuff?

Nothing really thrilling, when you´re in the studio you try to have the best result and work on things that could be different or better. Studios are always very expensive so you have to be prepared and carefully arranged when you enter it. You can do much on one day if everybody are in a good mood and the atmosphere is well.

Do you prefer to play in front of a big or a small venue, and why?

I prefer playing in small venues, it’s more raw and familiar. You can see the peoples reactions and emotions in their eyes and faces and that’s important for me. To see how they interpret the song you sing for them. On the other side when I would get an offer for a festival I have to say it’s fun and you can present your stuff to a bigger audience and maybe get some more people to like what you do.

What’s the biggest challenge for you at the moment?

Hm, there are some challenges I work on but the most important one is at this time to realize some plans in music cause 2014 is not far.

What would you do if you would be invisible for a day?

I would steal the hand-painted picture of Bela Lugosi in that bar in my hometown and hang it above my bed… Nothing spectacular, some people would say going to the ladies restroom and listen what they talk or watch them do whatever but I think its boring that’s the reason they are there, that we don`t hear what they say.

What is the question you can answer every time, even when you are roused in the middle of the night?

First: are you listening? Yes! I just let my eyes rest a bit *SNORRR* Second: Adam is He-man 😄

What was your worst chat-up line?

Ha, I’m very bad at this. When I’m really interested in a girl I don´t need a bad chat-up line. I blame myself just with easy lines. I start to lose my grammar and the result is I’m the nervousness in person… I’m not really into starting a flirt ’cause I don´t think you find your special one in a bar or a club. If you are searching for a short adventure maybe yes, but I’m not interested in it. Sorry, can´t give you one right now.

Florian Grey’s tour dates:
GREY TEARS – XMAS ACOUSTIC TOUR 2013
04.12.13 | Hamburg | Grüner Jäger
05.12.13 | tba
06.12.13 | Bochum | Kult
07.12.13 | Berlin | Galiläakirche
12.12.13 | Göttingen | Exil
13.12.13 | Darmstadt | An Sibin
14.12.13 | Stuttgart | Four42
15.12.13 | Leipzig | 4Rooms

https://www.facebook.com/GREY.F