Thursday, November 21, 2013

... Interview with ABSENT/MINDED

If you search for new and fresh sludgy death doom metal, then let me introduce you Absent/Minded from Bamberg of German Bavaria. The band is active since 2009 and until recently those  men had just one solid full-length album “Pulsar”. Yet on July 12th , Absent/Minded did release their second work “Earthtone” and it sounds damned heavy and honest.  Jürgen Frohling, band’s drummer, is here to spread the words of Doom and Death amongst us!

Hail Jürgen! How are you man? Of course new album of Absent / Minded “Earthtone” is main news, but let me start with one simple question – how did you get into the band?
Hello, I´m fine!
Well, in the spring of 2009 I searched for musicians to make some downtempo stuff or something like that. After a short time I found our guitarist Uwe. Micha, a friend of him, entered the band with his bass guitar... a friend of mine, Steve, grabbed the microphone: ABSENT/ MINDED was born.

I see that you were involved in few different bands and projects, so can you say that Absent / Minded is main one for you?
Yes, Absent/ Minded is main for me. My 2nd band is My Shameful. But the founder and songwriter Sami lives in Helsinki. So we have no regular rehearsals.

How did you forge band’s sound through the years? Absent / Minded has recognizable “hollow” and “groovy” sound on the edge of sludge and death doom, so I wonder what kind of feelings did you put into your songs?
During the first 3-4 songs we didn’t have a clear idea how Absent Minded should sounding like. We just wanted to transport a lot of energy. And we didn´t want to copy our idols or other bands. We had to grow thru the years to find our own sound and our own kind of working.
Each member of the band connects own meanings with the songs on a different way. We have no main- songwriter. We are all a part of this thing. When we start writing songs it doesn´t matter where the ideas come from. My personal feelings I put into the songs are rage, sadness, relaxation and happiness.

And does that sort of therapy work in your case? Do you feel real therapeutic effect of such practice?
Oh yes, the most times it works. But I would it not call therapeutic effect. It´s more like a liberating effect.
Things like rage or sadness for example wanna flow. And I just let it flow into the songs. And of course: it makes a lot of fun to rock our songs with the guys!  

Jürgen, one of most famous bands in which you did play is My Shameful, how does this experience reflect in your work with Absent / Minded? And how do you work over new stuff? Does everyone in the band have their part in song writing?
Well, a few years ago I played in a couple of bands with a higher speed level, black/deathmetal or something. I still love blastbeats. In 2007 I joined My Shameful a few weeks before our Doom Shall Rise gig. It was difficult to switch from blastbeats to funeral doom. But it was awesome. I always liked it to play slow stuff like Deftones or My dying bride. But with the experience in My Shameful I changed more and more from high speed technical drumming to mid/ downtempo- heavy beats. It´s wonderful to create a lot of different moods with this kind of grooves! 
The most time when we work with new material we are all together in the rehearsal room. Sometimes it starts with a simple theme, sometimes anyone have some riffs or beats ... that´s different. Then we let it grow.
And I hope we gonna find a new label for My Shameful and for the new record. The recordings are done already.

Oh! So I have to ask you about new My Shameful stuff! Do you feel some noticeable changes in band’s songs? Or is classical depressive death doom enough for you in itself?
Yes of course. The “Descent” record was released more than five years ago. A lot of things happened since then. The new stuff is still close to funeral doom, but with a lot of more different influences and moods. The most songs are very strong. The first time I heard the songs, I heard the typical My Shameful harmonies, but on a different way. We wanna release the record in December this year. The chance to form your own opinion later ;)

Well, I never thought about that indeed, so you’re first man who I ask: do you see enough space to improve your skills as a drummer in one band? Usually it seems that doom is pretty slow to leave free space to demonstration of any astonishing attainments, will you break my stereotypes man?
That depends on how many genres you like and what you wish to play. I like the drummers from Cult of Luna, Katatonia, Deftones to Gojira, Nile and Strapping young lad for example. So it is not possible for me to bring all my favorites in one band. But a few bands are able to manage this.
I think the most important thing is, what kind of music or music-playing gives you the most!
And sometimes I realize, that very slow stuff is the hell lot more difficult to play than fast stuff! Because there is so much space where a beat exists but no hits on the drums. That is what I like in this kind of music: Space!

Can you tell about most difficult parts of “Earthtone” record-session?
The most difficult part was to find a good studio with a good producer.  In our music the sound is essential With the Earthtone record we needed more power, dynamics, rawness on a good quality level. And of course, it shoulded be affordable for us. We had good fortune with the choice of V. Santura and his Woodshed Studio/ Germany. We had a really good collaboration. He pushed us a bit, he dealed with our ideas and we are happy with the result. 
The biggest problem now is to find a good record company.

So you mean that there were no problems with records of some drums parties or parties of other instruments during this session at all? Just want to clarify that all went well and smooth! :-)
No, we had no problems in the studio. We had snowy weather in the middle of nowhere, our producer was relaxed and competent and we practiced the songs enough. So everything went well and we had enough time for the sound, organizing the tracks etc.

And Jürgen what’s about another way to relax besides music? Does alcohol or – opposite -some sports exercises help as well?
Well, sometimes alcohol helps, but only for a few hours! (laughing) It´s important for me to get enough time for myself or spending time outside. I get a lot of energy on this way. Another way to relax is the whole private stuff, spending time with my girlfriend or hanging around with friends. Keeping life in a balance with everything you do is a good way for relaxing ;)  

I see that “Earthtone” is DIY album as you release it without any labels, I wonder if you did knock in some labels’ doors before you get decision to do all things by yourself?
Yes of course. We did some calls to a few record labels with the Pulsar record. With the Earthtone- album also. We have a lot of good reviews. But it´s difficult at the moment. It´s pretty hard to find somebody  for a band, who do not care about mainstream or trends. But on the other hand it´s not bad to deal everything by yourself. We can do whatever we want, we have all the rights on our songs in the band´s hand.  And: Nobody can exploit us! But we will see, maybe we gonna find a label who cares about the music at first…  

I guess that musicians are worst critics of their own creations, I often hear it from them. But dare I ask you to evaluate both strong and weak (if these ones exist) sides of Absent / Minded.
Haha, good question! I think one of our strong sides is, we are a unity on stage. “We are able to go with the flow.” We know what we want. We don’t want to sell our souls for commercial success. We don’t want to become a bunch of jerks for popularity.
One of our so called weak sides is, we are not perfectionists.

What kind of reasons do you see for such intensive growing of doom scene for last few years? Is it because of society’s satiety? You know – it sometimes looks like slow fall down as such things as we have now were simply impossible 30 years ago, I mean extreme musical genres for example.
Well, I don’t know the exact reasons, but we realize, that this scene is growing. In my opinion, a lot of people are tired of this huge pool of overproduced bands and of the big metal- business. There are so many releases during the last years, which sound like other 100 bands. I think the individuality in attitude and sound is getting lost more and more in this mass of bands. In the most modern bands I miss the dirt and innovation. Most of the doom bands are not  focused on popularity, business or perfectionism. Sometimes less is more! And yes, I think a lot of listeners are saturated.
Maybe another reason is, that slow, intensely music could be a countermovement to the faster and faster becoming times. Especially in the so called “rich nations”.  I think this kind of music is focused on what really matters, our origins for example. Or just having fun
And of course, it´s difficult to create new ways in all the typical metal genres. So much is played already. I mean, what will be when all the great bands of the early days will finish? What comes next when Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden etc. are saying goodbye? Which way will the hard´ n heavy scene goes? I´m curious about this.

Jürgen may you give me a universal answer – what drive adult dudes to play such highly energized heavy music? This interview turns like philosophical dispute but it’s pretty interesting and common phenomena, so I wonder if those who addicted to such kinds of music see some concrete reasons for such obsession.
We are young and we need money! ;))))) (joke)
So...Tones and Music are one of the strongest forms to catch feelings and energies and bring them on a way. We love it to create new songs with no boundaries and to play the stuff on stage. There were a lot of bands, who gave us so much. And if I could give a bit back to anybody, that would be one of my highest reasons. And it really really doesn’t matter how old are you to play  in a band and walk the way of  Rock´n roll!

Ha-ha, the answer is accepted! :-) Thanks for your time man! Wish you all the best on band’s way to glory’n’money :-) Good luck!
Thank you for the interview! And some Doooom Greez from Germany!

Interview by Aleksey Evdokimov

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