At the Dark Troll Festival we had the chance to talk to Gernotshagen. This German band, which were also organizing the festival, were really open and talked about who they are, their sources of inspiration, and what makes their band so special. Though the whole band was there to provide us with answers, it was vocalist Askan who took up the duty to answer our questions. You can read all our findings below.
Hello Gernotshagen, and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! At first, could you tell us something about Gernotshagen?
One of the members were more eager to answer the first question, and immediately ‘We are the German Heidevolk!’ is shouted through the air. Askan takes over, and provides us with a more nuanced answer.
“We are Gernotshagen, and we are a German Pagan metal band. We’re not a typical paganband, because we integrate aspects of our native place, Trusetal, into our music. These aspects can be heard not only in the lyrics, but in the music as well.
Where do you get your inspiration from ?
“We get our inspiration from all kind of things. At first, we implemented pagan-elements in our lyrics, like most of the bands within our scene do. However, now we’re drifting towards a different direction. Lyrics are more focused towards general feelings, trying to convey emotions through the lyrics. Though when we started, our lyrics were more focused around the myths dedicated to Thüringen and its founding, and the meaning of Gernotshagen.
Who writes all the music within Gernotshagen?
“I (Askan, vocalist), write all the lyrics, though all the music is written by the band. The band composes a song, whereupon I write matching lyrics.
Is the song “Blinde Wut” from Weltenbrand based on own experiences?
Yes, it is based on a feeling that everyone can relate to on some level. This is one of the songs on the album where we drifted away a bit more from our normal themes, that are more pagan, to make place for themes that are more about what you feel on the inside.
How do you stay original and different from all the other with folk/paganbands that have been created over the past few years?
We try to choose topics that are not as common for our song lyrics and we just have a different sound. We believe that all of the bands that have become enormously popular over the past few years will not last, but the bands that were there before will survive.
In your logo, you can clearly see the mjöllnir (Thor’s Hammer) symbol below it. However, in the back there are some lines as well. What is this, and does this have a special meaning?
“This doesn’t have a special meaning, unlike the Mjöllnir of course. We felt that the logo felt a little bit ‘empty’, so we’ve added these lines pure for artistic purposes.”
Most bands change members from time to time. However, you still play with the same line-up as you started with. What is the secret behind such a constant line-up?
“Well, we actually changed drummer once! Other than that, we still have the same line-up as in the beginning. I think the reason behind this is because we know each other already for a very long time. Already in high-school we became friends, and after that we decided to start a band together. Also, we don’t see each other that often, which works well, hahaha. “
It takes you quite some time to make a new record, 2002, 2007 and 2011 where the dates of your previous releases. Could you explain why you need so much time between releases?
“We want to make sure the quality of the things we release is really high. We’re not the kind of persons to rush, just so we could release an album every year. That’s why we take our time, and just release something if we are sure it’s good enough to release.
You’re really popular in Germany, but do you also have ambitions to look across the border to other countries?
“We actually did a tour once, with Heidevolk, where we toured through Europe. It was quite a while ago but we have great memories of that tour. We had a blast with the guys of Heidevolk and we even played in a cow-stable! ” We are very keen to do some more shows in the Netherlands though. Especially since the Dutch crowds are usually a lot more enthusiastic. In Germany it happens quite often that the crowd doesn’t really respond. Sometimes you see people just nodding their heads a little with their arms crossed, not looking that interested at all. After the show however, these people come up to me saying the show was insane. So they do like it, but they don’t show it as much.
What was the strangest thing you’ve encountered in your years with Gernotshagen?
“Well, in the beginning, we had these replica’s at the front of the stage, of swords and weapons and such. Then all of a sudden, some drunk guy came up, grabbed a sword, and cut all the way over his arm, thinking it was a fake weapon. The blood was dripping out quite bad and his expression was completely shocked when he discovered that the weapons weren’t fake! ”
Is there still something you want to say to your Dutch fans and the readers of folk-metal.nl?
Come see us live :)