1.Hello and how are you? How are things at the STORMHUNTER camp at the moment?
Hello Nick. I'm fine, thank you. Hope all is well for you too. At the moment, we’re trying to promote the new album and to find some distribution partners. We also have a new live set with a few songs of the new album that we rehearse.
2.First of all I would like to know, which the reasons that lead you to the decision to produce and release your new album on your own were?
We decided to release the album on our own because of financial reasons. With a small underground label, even if you have a fair deal (and the deal with EmanesMETAL was definitively fair), the band pays the whole album production including artwork. The label pays the CDs and maybe LPs and the band gets a certain amount of CDs and LPs to sell themselves. This amount of CDs is not enough to get back at least half of the money spent by the band. Of course, if the album sells very well and is repressed, then this might work. But we have to be realistic. There are so many good bands and people don't buy many CDs anymore...
To be clear: we're not making music to become rich, in fact, we actually lose money with every new album, so this is an attempt to reduce the losses. Of course, there are some drawbacks... most of the time, bigger magazines ignore bands without a label and without distribution when it comes to reviews, or it takes ages to get a review in the demo section.
3.Which are the differences according to your experience between doing all the things on your own and cooperating with a label? Do you plan to continue in the same way in the future?
When doing all on your own, you have more control on what's happening, but it's a lot of work. As we all have regular jobs, it's impossible for us to spend as much time in promotion as a label could. Labels generally have more contacts and can reach more people than a band. We don't have any concrete plans for the future regarding labels and distribution. We're open to propositions even for the current album, for an LP release as an example.
4.There is a gap of 3 years between you sophomore album and your new one. How much of this time was spent in the composing and production of the new album? How has this time gap worked in general for the band (I mean in terms of creativity)?
As you may know, Frank (vocals) and Andreas (drums) have a thrash metal band named BITTERNESS, Fritz has his thrash metal band NUCLEAR WARFARE and Burkhard is a member of the death metal band BOWTOME. They all were busy recording albums with these bands. As STORMHUNTER is a hobby and not a job, this was not a problem. It's not possible to say how much of the past three years was spent in composing the new songs. I worked on new ideas every now and then and jammed with Burkhard during rehearsals. I had the demos ready sometime during 2013 and I began to rehearse the songs with Andreas. After that, we started some sort of pre-production, I worked on the lyrics with Frank and at the beginning of 2014, we entered the Iguana Studios to record the album.
5.In your previous album we could find a strong RUNNING WILD influence in your sound. This time, although the RUNNING WILD influences are here, I have to say that the band has achieved a more personal sound. How do you feel about it? Which are the new elements that you have introduced in the sound of STORMHUNTER with your new album?
We are very satisfied with the new album. I think our thrash and speed metal influences are more present on “An Eye For An I”. It seemed natural to have a bit more aggressive vocals. But for those who know STORMHUNTER from the start, this is not very new. The demo “First Battle” had aggressive vocals too and some thrash metal influences. I used some ideas in the new songs that I probably would have used with my former thrash-death band DARK ASSAULT. Since we stopped DARK ASSAULT, all my ideas now are used for STORMHUNTER. We also worked more on the choruses this time. We always had some “choirs” on our albums, but this time, we took more time to try out different things. People outside the band might notice more changes as we do in the band.
6.I like the title “An Eye For An I”. Which is its meaning? Does it have to do with the greed and individualism that dominates modern western societies?
This interpretation is new to me, but very interesting – and it also fits the lyrics. But I think that this is a general, worldwide problem and not just one of western societies. The aim of this play on words is to draw the attention to the omnipresent surveillance through governments, companies or private persons. No matter what you do or where you go, you are most likely filmed at a moment or another. Communication is intercepted, you are committed to give certain information to authorities without apparent reasons and so on. Private people take pictures and post them on social networks without bothering if all the persons on the picture approve of the publication. Looking at the original meaning of “An Eye For An Eye”, it wants to show the disparity of means in the context of surveillance. The erosion of privacy is justified with the so called war on terror. And nowadays, all sorts of things are labeled “terrorism” and then it seems dispensable to respect human rights. Surveillance does rather make people anxious than giving them a feeling of security.
7.The lyrics once again are not the typical ones, since you prove to be musicians that draw inspiration from the social and political issues of the modern societies. So, in a few words which is the lyrical story of each song that you have included in your new album?
Notice: I wrote a comment for the songs where Frank commented his lyrics.
“A Thousandth Part”: (Comment from Frank, our singer): Mankind is just a blink, /a thousandth part/ away from its own extinction.
“Among The Blind”: There are a few leaders in the world that shape the world according to their wishes and needs, regardless of human rights or existing laws. This all happens overtly, but yet the majority doesn't seem to notice it. Just take TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership... it is obvious that this is not made to increase, for example, social standards for the people. Although such a contract would have a huge impact on the lives of all persons in the EU, the negotiations are secret. However, the “partners” call it democracy...
“Cathodic Messiah”: In Germany, we have all sorts of “reality shows” and broadcasts with “scripted reality”. You can see a lot of propaganda there. For example, unemployed people are mostly depicted as lazy, stupid and messy individuals claiming that they don't want to work and prefer to live at the expense of society. Of course, such individuals surely exist, but the media represent these individuals as “the normal case”.
“Victimized”: (Comment from Frank, our singer) We all get oppressed and /victimized/ every day by so many people and institutions, sometimes without even noticing. We are like slaves to the system.
“Tortured Mind”: Our society stands at the precipice. The hassle against minorities (for example in Europe), are strongly reminiscent of the events in the years preceding the emergence of the Third Reich.
“Hell – Is What You Make Of It”: A cynic view on what's happening in Germany and Europe especially. The “Elite” does not care.
“Of Knights and Men”: Well, we're all fans of Monty Python... and we always had one song featuring some Knights on our albums ;-)
“An Eye For An I”: Surveillance
“Parasite”: I'm sure everybody knows selfish people...
“Running Down”: (Comment from Frank, our singer) Stupid and ignorant people are /running down/ our world without considering the consequences.
“Spring Is In The Air”: This song is about the austerity politics in Europe and the tensions arising from it.
8.I am from Greece and I want to stand especially on the song entitled “Spring is in the Air” in which amongst others you talk about austerity and how democracy does not function well in Europe. Well, let me tell you that in Greece we are in this austerity politics for 5 years and the only change we see is that the poor get poorer and the rich richer. Which are your thoughts about it? Do you believe that there will be a solution to that problem or Europe once again will go to destruction?
I don't know where this will lead. Austerity is not a new thing, it's something that has been practiced all around the world for a long time. The responsible persons don't have the intention to improve the situation of the poor, the goal is to make rich people even richer than they already are. For those people, the problem is not poverty, but how they can keep the poor in the bridle. Naomi Klein wrote an interesting book called “The Shock Doctrine”. If you look at history, war was also always a way to earn money, so the prospects for a solution seem rather bad...
9.The cover artwork is great. Who is the artist and how is the cover connected to the album? Do you agree that this cover somehow reminds us of Thundercats?
The cover artwork was made by Péter Sallai. The front cover is not directly connected to the album, but you'll find plenty of hints that one would associate with conspiracy and such things. The back cover has a more direct connection to surveillance and oppression.
I don't know Thundercats... so I cannot answer this part of your question.
10. What kind of reactions have you received so far from the press and fans for your new album? Which is the best comment that you have received so far? Also is there a weird or a funny one that you want to share with us?
As you probably found out, there are not many reactions from the press so far. The reactions of the fans are great. There were no “special” comments or something I could call “the best comment”. The “essence” of the comments is that the album has a lot of energy and power.
11. In my research for the band I stumbled upon the name SUBSPHERE. So can you tell us a few things about it?
When I left STORMHUNTER in 2002, there were no more founding members in the band. Since the other members wanted to make more progressive music, they decided to change their name into SUBSPHERE. That's all I can say about it since I was not involved in SUBSPHERE.
12. Will you do any live shows in order to promote the new album and when should we expect you for a live here in Greece?
We will play at the Metalheadz Open Air in Germany (in May) and we are confirmed for the Rising Fest in Dijon / France in September. Apart of that, we wait for a concert to be confirmed in Ulm / Germany for December. It's difficult to get gigs these days... so if someone wants to book us, don't hesitate to contact us via Facebook or by email. We would love to play in Greece, but we don't have any contacts to promoters or organizers there. Again, if someone wants to let us play in Greece, don't hesitate to contact us :-)
13. Thanks for your time answering my questions! I wish you the best of luck and my congratulations on the great album that you have released. The last lines of this interview belong to you…
Thank you for this very interesting interview and for your support. Your questions show that you took a closer look to our album. To all the Metalheads out there: you can listen to our songs on https://www.facebook.com/stormhuntermetal/app_6452028673 in the band profile. If you like what you hear, don't hesitate to spread the disease :-)
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis