Black Pagan Metallers Thormesis from Germany have returned in 2015 with a new full length entitled “Freier Wille-Freier Geist” (“Free Will-Free Spirit”) out on MDD records. Combining elements of dark folk and German thrash has paid off for them with this new release by becoming one of the best releases of the year. Bassist Berucas answered some questions for us regarding the new album, the recording process and a few other items…check it out…..
Congratulation are in order for your epic latest release “Freier Wille Freier Geist”….how has it been received up to this point??
“Thanks for the congratulation!”
How did the recording process differ from your previous album (2012’s “Von Leere Und Tod”) if at all? Anything you wished you had done differently this time around?
“The recording process was completely different from the earlier once. First of all we recorded a pre-production which was the ground for discussions and let space for changes. Then, when everything was fine for us we started the actual recording process. We recorded everything in our own little studio in our practice room and did the mastering again, like at “Von Leere und Tod” with Eric Krauße.”
How do the songs come together for an album? Do you write a set amount of songs to be included or do you write more songs than needed and then decide which ones to include? Who does what in the process?
“Before we started the pre-production there has been a big amount of riffs and half-finished songs. Then we formed the songs for the album out of this. Of course some riffs have been kicked out but we don´t have songs that haven´t been recorded. The riffing is almost completely done by Travos, the lyrics come from Travos and Keltor. Berucas and Velsir are more passive in the writing process but everything is discussed together.”
While writing and recording the album did you have a general direction or feel you wanted to achieve with this release?
“More or less. We never followed a way to a target that we want to reach with the music, but the message of the album (and this influenced the feeling and the sound) was clear while writing: “Freier Wille – Freier Geist” (free will free spirit) is the end of the depression of “Von Leere und Tod” (from emptiness and death). It´s like the rising phoenix, about getting back on the right way of feelings after you´ve been lost.”
“In my review, I had a difficult time wanting to genre tag Thormesis….on your Facebook page you tag yourself as “Black Pagan metal”….do you feel this is accurate? How do you feel about the genre tag idea in general?
That’s comprehensible, it´s also a hard question in which genre our music fits best for us. I think since our latest release pagan black metal doesn´t fit very good at all. I think rockin´ melodic black metal would describe or music better, but also not 100%. It´s always very hard to put the music of a band or even a certain album into a genre, because every album has its own style. That´s the reason why we don´t care very much about the genre tags at all.”
Who do you think are your biggest musical influences either in metal or in general?
“This is also a question that isn´t easy to answer, because every single song that is heard by the one who writes the songs takes a bit of influence to his way of writing songs. In general Keltor brought more of the black metal feeling of the new Album and Travos the rock ´n roll feeling. Travos has a lot of influence from different styles because he is a big music lover. Great Bands that always inspired us are for example: Riger, Primordial and of course the legends like ACDC and Metallica \m/”
Do you think there are bands that you may think you have a similar sound to or may want to be compared to?
“Truly I never have an answer for that question, but I think this depends on being part of the Band. To find Bands with the same genre, sound or feeling is up to the fans and people who write the reviews.”
How does recording/practice/touring fit into all of your personal/private lives? How do you schedule/prioritize the music with everyone’s schedules?
“To have an active band takes a lot of time and a big part in our private lives. Sometimes this isn’t easy to manage especially since we get older and have jobs and families. But it´s the same like with every other hobby, if you do it with pleasure you´ll find the time for it. It always depends on the importance of the particular situation, sometimes private live is has the bigger priority, sometimes the band has.”
Do you feel pressure being signed to a label (MDD records) in having to do things a certain way as opposed to being independent? Do you feel there are both positives and negatives to being on a label as opposed to being indie?
“Fortunately we never got any pressure from MDD, that’s one of the pros for a little label instead of a mature label. Of course it can bring financial benefits to be completely indie, but this also causes more work and stress around the “music-making thing” furthermore it would be very hard to get some promotion. So in the end we think we have chosen the best way for us (!) with the release at a small label were we have good personal contact.”
I see you will be playing some festivals in the upcoming months….how important is touring for Thormesis? Do you feel an obligation to the label and/or the fans to play live?
“Personally for us it´s very important to play some live shows, because it´s always a great feeling to see people enjoying our music, further it´s great fun and big party for us whenever we have a gig! But it never felt like an obligation or a job. We would never play a tour if it wasn´t something that we want to do for ourselves.”
Have you had any discussions about the next release and what direction it may go in that may differ from “Freier Wille….”?
“Travos is already writing new riffs and lyrics for the upcoming album, also the name is certain, but we won´t tell it even now. It will fit in the story of the last two albums and might be a bit more atmospheric. Nothing more to say about it up to now.”
A big concern is music being available for almost anyone for free without an artist being compensated……What are your thoughts about this and has your opinion changed as you have a responsibility to your label?
“Like every other development it has pros and cons that it´s common that music is available for free nowadays. On the one hand it´s hard for the small musicians and labels because it´s getting harder to meet the financial meets to produce an album when the number of sold CDs decreases, on the other hand it´s very easy to reach a big amount of people with free music. I wouldn´t say that it´s better or worse, it´s simply different… We´re not responsible for our label…”
How important is social media (ex. Facebook, twitter, etc.) to Thormesis? What are you comfortable with doing as far as promoting the band?
“Nowadays it´s very important to use the social media, especially Facebook. It´s a great way to stay in contact with the fans and hold them up to date. The Facebook band-profile is the easiest way to find a band if you´re interested. So it´s a very good platform for bands that is almost necessary to use in my opinion.”
Any fav releases from 2014 or 2015 thus far?
“The release of our label brothers and friends Vargsheim was great. Further the latest Enslaved album is one of my recent favourites.”
“Do whatever you want to do, find yourself and be yourself – NOSCE TE IPSUM!”