Interview with Knaat
When Folk-metal.nl’s path crossed the one of Knaat at the Volk Metal Jacket festival in Vienna, it was time have a talk with these guys again. What happened since our last chat in 2012?…
Already nearly one and a half year ago you released your second album “Ein Sturm zieht auf”, so very late congrats for the same! Personally I felt that you were really developing your own style in the Folk Metal Genre. How would you describe the sound of Knaat by yourself and how was the feedback so far in respect of your new album?
Leo: “First of all I would like to thank you for the congrats. So far our release was received mainly positive. You can consider our first release as pure Pagan Metal, while we tried to experiment a lot more with the compositions on our second album. Therefore it was clear that not all fans will be happy with our development, but as I said mainly the feedback was positive.”
Max: “To the second part of your question. It’s quite tough to define but I general we are playing „Bavarian Metal with a lot of tootle“ or „A lot of tootle with Metal Music out of Bavaria“
“Just kidding!, I think you can’t really specify our music. Some say we are playing „Pagan Metal“ others are saying we are playing „Folk Metal“. In the end it does not matter for us.”
What I really love on your second album is the balance between your serious songs and songs like “Kraudmo” and “Kräuter im Arsch” which immediately puts a smile into your face. Was it difficult to find the right mix of songs for this album?
Leo: “No, not really. There is no concept behind our latest work. You need to take into consideration that it took us almost 6 years to release our second album. During 6 years you get a lot of different ideas and „Ein Sturm zieht auf“ is just the result of the various inspiration we had.”
Adrian: “So basically all songs had been recorded and at the end we were sitting together in the rehearsal room and think together about how we want to arrange the track-list. The decision was made commonly.”
Who is responsible for the lyrics in Knaat?
Max: “This is an easy one! I am writing the lyrics for Knaat.”
As it is very difficult in my point of view to explain your lyrics in English, I will make no attempt in trying to do so, but could you please advise us what are your main inspirations writing the lyrics for a new song
Max: ‘This is not an easy one ( All laughing )! Well, I have a lot of inspirations when I am writing lyrics for a new song. For example one of my hobbies is reading all kinds of books. So, if I take as an example our song „Weidenmann“, this is clearly inspired by the „The Old Man Willow “ of „The Lord of the Rings“ by „J.R.R. Tolkien. This „willow-man“ brought me to the idea to write a kind of pre-history of this character, but it is not as simple as this. For me it is very important that every listener of our music, can interpret the lyrics by themselves. Furthermore I have quite high demands in meeting my own given standards, not writing just lyrics, but for me personally, the lyrics of Knaat should come closely to poetry. This is why I am also inspired by the world literature, for example by the „Erlking“ by johann Wolfgang v. Goethe. Every song has its own background, so there is no formula for the way I write our lyrics.”
The Final Production
Keeping on the song production side, who is composing the music in Knaat? And is there first the composition or the lyric or a theme for the song? What are your main inspirations or influences when composing a song?
Adrian: “I write a lot of songs for Knaat, but in general also Leo and Michi compose our music. All of us are listening to different music genres and therefore at the end everybody brings his personal input into the songs, which create our special sound. Mainly it is starting with a riff or a harmony and then we try to develop the songs together in our rehearsal room.”
Leo: “Yes, basically we bring the idea’s to our rehearsal room and then everybody is playing the harmony three to four times. Thereafter everybody brings his personal idea’s how to grow the song and then we build up the song from the basic riff/harmony up to the final production.”
Since your album release show together with Finsterforst and Firtan in March 2018 in Munich, you played for the third time at the Aaargh Festival in Uttenhofen (Germany) with bands like Windrose, Nothgard or Gravedigger. I can imagine that your music is creating a real great atmosphere when played live. How was your gigs received by the audience?
Erwin: “A lot of our fans are telling us that we are a „live-band“. They would not listen to our music at home, but would immediately come to our concerts. We had a very funny story when we were playing at the „Dark Troll Festival“ for the first time. We had the pleasure to get booked for this festival and then the first thing we forgot was our band banner for the stage.”
Max: “So what do in such a crazy situation? We just decided that I need to say our band name as much as possible at the show so basically after every single song.”
Erwin: “This was leading to the situation that after our show a bunch of people were shouting „KNNAAAATTT“ randomly at the festival. It was really a very funny situation, but better such a promotion, then no promotion.”
In December you will already announced the Grimmest Winter Nights Part II in playing again an acoustic set of Knaat. Can you please advise us how it came to the idea in playing an acoustic set? And how was the feedback of your fan-base?
Leo: “This was as well a very funny coincidence. We have a very good contact to the owner of a music club in Munich. One night we had been partying there and we really got drunk as hell. Usually we are deciding everything in our band commonly, but that night the owner of the club asked me if we would be interested to play a acoustic set in his club. I was so drunk that I just answered: Yes of course!”
Adrian: “This was of course leading to the situation that we had been forced to arrange all songs in a new way in order to play them acoustic.”
Leo: “In the end everything went well and the feedback from our fan base was outstanding and maybe we won the one or other new fan.”
Not in Stone
Can we expect an acoustic album of Knaat coming up or will you leave it to the live shows?
Adrian: “Indeed we already had the thoughts to record our acoustic set, but so far we haven’t yet decided if it’s going to be a live recording or a straight up studio thing. However, catching the atmosphere of this certain event is only possible if it’s recorded live so currently we’re looking more into that. But as of right now nothing is set in stone.”
How would you describe the local folk/pagan/viking metal scene in Bavaria?
Max: “In very short words: Many good bands, too less fans. Simply the big hype about Pagan/Folk Metal is over.”
In these days I think it is quite hard as an independent metal band to survive in the music market? How big is the role of the digital platforms as facebook, youtube and instagram for you? For example I can’t find any of your albums on Spotify?
Leo: “The social media is becoming more and more important. In respect of the streaming platforms everybody in the band has a different opinion.|
Max: “It is just a fact that as independent band your main income is selling of merchandise. However we also understand that we can reach a much wider audience by using digital platforms. We will discuss internally how to proceed with this topic, but you are right that we should be well more active on digital platforms and social media.”