DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT is a four-member (since 2012) band from Germany. Active since 2008 and recently signed with Season of Mist, their new album “Stellar” was released this year. Nikita Kamprad talks with us about the album, the experience throughout those years, the stable but steady success of the band and his future expectations.
“Stellar”, the new album – in my opinion is a stellar album. Is there anything that inspired you to compose this album? A place, a person, music or some kind of experience?
The time when I composed the new album, actually, I haven’t listened to much metal music rather all different kinds of music like also pop music, indie, electronic music and stuff like that so it’s very hard to define certain musical influence for this album. And you said something about a place maybe – the song ‘Eiswanderer, it’s the fifth song of this album, it was inspired by a travel to Norway, to Bergen. I visited a friend who was living there and we did a journey through the woods and on top of a mountain in the middle of the night and it was snowing and we went through meter-deep snow so it was quite a very impressive thing for me. And some time later, this song actually was created, first the music for it and then the lyrics and the lyrics are based on this journey to Norway. So, you can say this is a song inspired by some kind of nature and a certain feeling I got when I went to Bergen, Norway. And for the other songs actually it’s daily life which inspires me so it’s very hard to find a certain influence for this album or for our music in general. It’s just coming together naturally.
That is very interesting. And all this – Norway, landscapes could be translated in ‘black meta’ in a ‘traditional’ kind of sense, if you could say. New album in a new label – Season of Mist. How do you feel about signing with a major label?
That’s right. We signed with Season of Mist last year. When we played Summer Breeze festival here in Germany in 2013, they came to our show and watched our set and right after our performance actually, the boss just came over to us and asked about our plans are for the future. And of course we haven’t decided to stop music or something like that so we told him yes – there are plans for a new album. We were indeed looking for a new partner to bring this album out. So, later on we got into detail by e-mail and then after some time, we had the contract. And we were really surprised that it worked out actually because Season of Mist was always our favourite label for this kind of music and we’re very glad to be signed by them. For the collaboration with them, it’s running very smooth and professional. The label before, Viva Hate Records from Germany, was only actually one man behind the label so soon we realized that it’s very hard to run a label when you’re just one person, you have much work to do and so you need bigger stuff actually. And this label, Viva Hate Records couldn’t provide this staff so we talked to him and we talked to him and said that we wanted to search for a new label for the new record and he agreed. Then, the offer by Season of Mist came and we were quite lucky with this all and very satisfied.
I would like to ask about the lyrical them and the music. The sound is certainly warmer and more melancholic that the previous opus ‘Unstille’. Is there a reason behind it or it just shaped itself in the process of composing?
Yes “Unstille” was quite aggressive in the tone and very harsh and clinic and we wanted actually to go away from this style because we had one album which was aggressive, “Unstille”, and now we wanted a new album which was rather like the old material, like the first album – rather melancholic, melodic and as you said warmer and more organic in the production. So, we focused on producing and recording this album very naturally and we recorded in a big room for example and this allowed us not to add more reverb and artificial rooms and effects than we actually need for this album. So, all the sounds on this new album are really natural and this maybe makes this album sound more natural and warmer and melancholic. And you asked about the lyrical themes I guess; every song actually has a certain theme of its own and the focus and the quintessence of every song is like reaching for the stars and reaching to sky and away from this earth actually. That is also why it’s called “Stellar” because this album is focused and aiming to the stars actually because there are so many limits and you’re getting limited in freedom of speech and in privacy and in every day, there are some borders in front of you that stop being yourself actually and I wanted to find a way to free myself or my mind from this life, from this daily life, to get away from here. Even if it’s only in my mind, it’s not physical because I know I can’t leave this Earth actually (laughing) so I tried with this music, this album, to get something like a medium to leave from here because there are too many things that are annoying me and that I’m not satisfied with how all this life on this Earth is running.
It’s very idealistic and I think the audience can understand that through the music. Black metal today has evolved and included every kind of compositions – innovations and transformations to the ‘traditional’ discipline. I’m referring to the classical piano part in ‘Repulsion’. How did that come to be incorporated in you music – are you a fan of classical music? You talked about the influences you had from pop music earlier. Could you talk more about it?
I am influenced by classical music quite much. I actually forgot a few minutes before when I talked about the musical influences. Classical music is a huge influence for me especially the music of Bach and all the composers at the very beginning who all had the very unique style in writing and composing music. And all these composers, they were actually the first who invented some kinds of rules on how to create music so it sounds good naturally. So, many of these rules, nowadays pop music for example and I find these in our compositions and in modern metal compositions as well. So I think it was a very important effort they did back then. This piano piece at the end of ‘Repulsion’ is exactly based on these rules of putting the different voices in a composition together. As I said different rules and I tried to create this small piece based on these rules. Because I think it’s an interesting approach to music or to writing music in general.
The line-up changed and we find yourself being in charge of the – harsher than previous records – vocal parts apart from playing the guitar. How was the experience of parting ways with an original member?
It was quite hard and like a ‘hit in the face’ of course because I’ve played with Tobias, the former vocalist, many years ago not only in this band but also in bands before this one. So, we knew each other quite good of course. And when he said that he leaves the band, it was like “how to go on now” because nobody of the rest of the band was able to sing and we thought about getting a new singer of course and there were a few options we wanted to try out but first we tried to go on as a four-piece and to get me as the main vocalist besides the guitar. And I was very surprised it worked out that good that we said that we can stay as a four-piece and go on as a four-piece and it’s actually the line-up now, is the line-up we wanted always to have because we’re one union, on a personal level we’re getting along very good so everything is cool and we couldn’t think of any other option actually.
How do you feel about becoming very respected and well-known despite the short life of the band?
I don’t know, that’s always a tricky question because we as the band we’re doing this just for the music and just for the fun we have playing this music and listening to this music so it’s very nice to see so many people all over the world and especially with the signing with Season of Mist, we’ve gotten more and more known internationally and not only in the German-speaking countries. It’s very very nice to see that so many people can relate to our music and listen to our music even though it’s all in German and many parts of the world can’t understand our language. But I don’t see this growth, the very fast development. I think it’s a very stable but rather slow development if you combine it to other bands maybe who got big and bigger within just two years or something. Because this band is around for six years now and I don’t think we’re that big actually or maybe we don’t see it.
As a fan, I should tell you that I’ve seen that development and I’ve seen that you’ve gotten bigger since when you started because I’ve been following you since then.
Yeah this is the reason behind the question. You’re on tour over Europe along with bands like Shining and Ne Obliviscaris. How does that feel? Do you enjoy being on the road or you would rather be in the studio recording, composing?
It’s both actually. We’re really enjoying being on the road because you meet people every day and you’re visiting new people you haven’t been before so that’s very cool and we’re having fun on the road. There was no day where we said that we don’t want to be in the van again and wait and drive these long roads and stuff like that. It’s always fun for us. But studio work, our last studio work, myself – I don’t know about the others – I’m actually also working as a music producer and engineer in the studio so I like being in the studio creating and recording new music. And you need new music to go back on the road so it’s always a circle actually if you don’t record albums, you can’t go on the road.
You’re participating in the very popular Dark Bombastic Evening in August this year along with names such as Agalloch, Shape of Despair and Dirty Granny Tales. Would you like to share more about your expectations of this special event?
It’s a very special event for us of course and there are many bands I discovered just over the line-up of this festival. Like for example, the band CLOUDS which is playing along with us. I think CLOUDS is sharing members with Shape of Despair I guess and I listened to the music and I was totally blown away because it’s so deep and melancholic. Even though it’s rather doom metal style, I’m not into that so much – this band really blew me away. Darkspace, as well, who aren’t performing regularly I think – they’re playing as well, I think at the same evening as we do. I’m really looking forward to them because I listened to their music for a long long time now and seen some live videos by then; it looks really really cool. So, I’m really excited about that. And we’ve never been to Romania before so first time and we will stay, I think, for or five days in the city so I hope we have plenty of time to discover the landscape and surroundings of the area and the festival of course.
Talking about festivals and tours, are there any plans of visiting Eastern Europe and Greece specifically?
Not Greece unfortunately. We are in contact with a promoter from Greece and we want to play there of course but it’s very hard because we have to fly and flying of course is very expensive and the promoter can’t provide so much money actually to afford the flights. That’s very hard for us to come to Greece for a single show but we hope if we’re doing a new tour, maybe at the beginning of the next year to stop by at Greece. Because we’ve never been to this eastern part of Europe and eastern south part of Europe so we definitely want to got there. And we’re working on another tour which is far far away from Europe for September-October this year and we hope it will work out but we’re sorting things out like flights and visa stuff, so it takes a little bit more time but we hope to announce it soon.
I hope so. Wrapping up, I would like to ask you how you imagine DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT and yourself in five years. Any thought or anticipations?
There will definitely be a new album and I’m currently working on new songs. Personally, I don’t know what I will be or how I see myself in five years but we want to go on of course with the band. And we want to visit countries and meet people and see cultures we wouldn’t see if we wouldn’t have this band or this music. So, we want to go out into the world and play our music for the people. That is all we do.
Would you like to add anything?
I want to greet all the Metalpaths readers and followers from Greece. Thank you for the interview and for your time and for your long connection with the band.