1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
> We have released the album a week ago, so at the moment we are waiting for reactions on the album, while at the same time we are preparing new shows and some promotional stuff. This is also what we have done for the last few months. It has been a lot of work.
2.Recently you have released a new album. How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
> The foundation of our sound has always been inspired by Gothenburg melodic death metal, like the one of Dark Tranquillity and early In Flames. But over the years my taste in music shifted more to progressive and black metal, so of course those genres influenced my writing for “Vas Hermeticum” a lot. It still is kind of this melodeath from our first album “The Ever Spinning Wheel”, but there are so many other elements and ideas, that you usually wouldn’t find in this genre, which make it a bit experimental in some moments. It’s hard to describe. I would suggest to you that you just listen to a few songs and you will see, if you like it or not. The songs are all very different from each other, so it’s very probable that even if you don’t like some parts of the album, there will be something else on it you can enjoy.
3.This is your first album in 4 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
> Between 2013 and 2016 we were focused on playing live and writing the material for “Vas Hermeticum”. Since we had three line-up changes in that period, a lot of time had to be spent on practicing with the new members. I guess the album could have been finished at least a year earlier if our line-up had been stable the whole time. In March 2016 we started recording the material, but the mixing and mastering wasn’t completed until early 2017, which is quite a long time. One reason why it took that long was, that we were very fussy this time, so everything had to be perfect for us. We needed a lot of sessions, where we did some minor changes. The other reason was, that we had some problems with the studio, so the mixing and mastering had to be postponed repeatedly. But we were now able to release it, finally. I hope the next album will not take another four years, but you never know…
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
> The main topics we deal with on “Vas Hermeticum” are the concepts of reality and illusion. Everyone has his or her own clear definition of what is real and what is for example imagination, a (day)dream, hallucination or even just an idea. Those things are often not clearly separable. We looked at this topic from different points of view. Some of the lyrics are more narrated examples of these cases. “Into the Shelter of a Mind” deals with losing consciousness as a way to escape paranoid thoughts, because in this state you feel safer and more protected from a danger that feels real to you, but from a “rational” point of view is just not there. “Soporific” tells about a person, who lost some loved ones and can only stay in (imaginary) contact with them in the dream state, so he/she uses drugs to induce and extend his dream phases. “A Walk on the Crystalline Path” is a very metaphorical narration about processing a traumatic event in your dreams. Other songs like “Non-Construct” or “End of Transference” or “Multipolar” use a more philosophical and psychological approach on discussing this reality-illusion-topic.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Amplified Memory'?
> It is about forgetting and therefore the imperfection of straight conscious reality and different layers of it. I find it fascinating that memories can be “saved” in your brain without you being able to actively remember them, but subconsciousness brings them up every now and then (for example in your dreams) without you realizing it. And as there are certain psychological techniques to intentionally “amplify” them, I thought of this term as a name for us. Considering that we chose psychological themes for our lyrics, it is an adequate name for our concepts.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
> The show at the big German Out & Loud festival 2016 was really cool. We were playing the newcomer stage there, while some of our idols played on the main stages. Our three shows in Zwickau were all really awesome. People there are much more interactive than in our hometown Munich, so we had the time of our lives up there on the stage. In Munich there’s a festival called “Inzestival”, where bands, who have members playing in each other’s bands, are sharing two stages. It’s like a big family meeting of Munich’s bands. There’s always a lot of people, and they’re mostly very open-minded. Although the festival has completely mixed genres, people who usually listen to pop and ska music watch black and death metal bands and vice versa. So, the space in front of the stage is always crowded and it’s a big party. We shot our music video for “Ammon’s Eclipse” at the last edition of this festival.
Concerning the question how we would describe our live performances, maybe it would be best to watch this video (or other live videos of us on YouTube), since it shows quite well the way we are on stage. I’d say we try to be dynamic and energetic on stage, while trying to act appropriate to the feel of the music, which means that when a song is sad, we won’t fool around and make jokes, because this would lower the atmospheric and emotional effect of the song. Since the album release, we are wearing new stage outfits, which some people may find a little strange. We are wearing lab coats with Rorschach inkblots on it. We think this outfit properly connects both the alchemic and psychologic themes of our album.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
> We are currently in the process of booking shows for 2018. Because of the unclear situation with the album, we weren’t able to book shows for late 2017, so people unfortunately have to wait some months until they’ll see us live with our new album.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme and melodic metal?
> Mostly very positive. Of course, since we mix really many elements and different styles and genres, some people find it too much, or there are always some parts which they really love and some that just don’t match their personal taste. But that’s the price you have to pay, if you try those things. On the other hand, all of them are agreeing, that the album is executed very well and the music is very creative and beautiful. If people find something on the album they like, we’re happy.
9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
> Our drummer Felix is also drummer in German avantgarde black metal band Nebelkrähe. They are currently working on their third full length album. Fantastic music, also very experimental and creative stuff. Our lead guitar player Chris used to play in a blackened death metal band called Gilgamesh, but after their singer and songwriter (who also contributed guest vocals in the song “Multipolar” on our new album) left the band, he left, too. He is, however, currently part of a new project, for which details will be revealed soon. I myself have been keyboardist and percussionist of German ska rock band Rapid for the last four years, in which Felix is also playing the drums, but I left the band one month ago. Felix is still part of the band. It’s something else, musically, which is always good to broaden your musical horizon, but ultimately, I was never really into that music and played there rather for reasons of fun. You get much bigger club and festival gigs and more active audiences than as an underground metal band.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
> We want to dive more into this progressive style we have been including on our new album. I think in straight melodic death metal, we already said everything we had to say on our debut “The Ever Spinning Wheel”. “Vas Hermeticum” might be the very expanded and experimental transition to a more musically complex, but still very melodic, catchy, focused and emotional style of extreme metal, which we will aim for in the future.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Basically, I think you can still and maybe will always hear a classical Gothenburg melodeath influence of bands like Dark Tranquillity (my favourite band) or In Flames, since this has always been the foundation of our music. But as I said, I prefer progressive and black metal nowadays, so on “Vas Hermeticum” I was influenced more by bands like Der Weg einer Freiheit, The Ocean, Dimmu Borgir, Enslaved, Opeth, Dark Funeral, Wintersun and many others. This year I have been listening to Leprous a lot, especially their new album “Malina”, as well as “Finisterre”, the latest album of German black metal band Der Weg einer Freiheit.
12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?
> No. No one in the band has ever had interest in that topic and to be honest, I can’t understand why so many bands today still cover those themes in their music. Everything about it has been said decades ago. There are so many interesting things out there in our world. Occultism, for me, isn’t one of them.
13.What are some of your non-musical interests?
> I myself am very much into movies and I think I have watched nearly 1000 movies so far. Besides, politics are very important to me. Moreover, most of us are students. Our guitar player Eley and I are both students of chemistry, so science is also one of our interests. Eley is very much into strength training. Wolfgang, our singer, studies psychology (you may get the idea, where the album concept and our outfits come from) and loves discussing philosophical topics a lot. Chris, our lead guitar player, is studying geography. Our drummer Felix is studying computer linguistics and I often get the impression you can get him interested in nearly everything. He has an impressive common knowledge. Our bass player Michi is working as a software consultant. He and Chris also love playing video games.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
> Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us in the last nine years, in whatever way. We would be happy if you remain faithful to us. To everyone who discovered us recently (or maybe with this interview): Listen to our new album “Vas Hermeticum”! We hope you’ll like it!