With a solid new album out on Napalm Records titled Filthy Notes for Frozen Hearts, Germany's Lacrimas Profundere are set to make their mark on the international gothic rock scene. Sea of Tranquility's Ryan Sparks spoke with lead guitarist Oliver Nikolas to get all the details of the new album, the musical direction of the band, and of course, everyone's favorite hoppy beverage.
Read on for the complete interview!
Ryan Sparks: Filthy Notes For Frozen Hearts is a fantastic CD and the production from John Fryer is stellar. I understand he really worked you guys in the studio though didn't he?
Oliver: [laughing] Yes, he came from England only to listen to the new material at our rehearsal room, sat down on our bench and said 'Ok, please blow me away'. We played some tracks off the record and after 3 cans of coffee, only for him and 25 beers later for us he said 'Lets do it, you have 21 days for the whole production'. We recorded 16 songs in 20 days. This guy is strange, he doesn't know anything about sleeping, drinking Jägermeister or free time. We had to work from morning till midnight or longer every day and he doesn't know the word Sunday. So it was a hard job, but without him, it would be not the same. The first thing we told him was that we wanted a heavy record that is like a Goth fist in your face, but that goes straight under your skin. We play heavy Goth rock with tits. I don't like all these records with these keyboards and pop-productions. We have two guitars in the band and a heavy drummer so why hide them behind keyboards or cheap pop-productions.
SOT: Compared to past albums, was the recording process, i.e. length of time etc. comparable with how you guys usually work?
ON: Yes, we knew we had to record a CD in 2005 so we had to plan our holidays. We recorded the CD in Munich so everybody could drive to the studio if we needed them. First of all we recorded the drums and the bass in 4 days, after that the drummer and bass player could leave the studio, then came the guitars, so nobody needed more then 4 or 5 days.
SOT: Your band's sound has changed and evolved over the years, is there one particular moment or album in the bands history that you think was a real turning point towards the musical direction and sound to where you are now today with this new CD?
ON: Yes, after the Burning: A Wish record we said was the best record we could do in the doom, Goth metal direction, so we could record a Burning part 2 or find some new challenges. After this record we did the Fall, I Will Follow record and that was the turning point. Without that record the Ave End and the new one never would have happened.
SOT: After listening to this CD numerous times, one thought kept returning and that was, I'd bet the Sisters of Mercy would love to have some of these tracks.
ON: Wow, thanks a lot. This is one of the best compliments I've gotten in my life.
SOT: I don't have the full package but I understand the complete artwork by Meran is stunning. Can you explain how you came to use him for this project?
ON: We've worked together with so many cover artists through the years. Niklas Sundin of Dark Tranquility did the last cover, but he didn't have time to do the new one, so our label suggested we try Meran, and the results are fantastic. We all love dark comics so we asked him try to create a mix between Gotham City and Sin City, so yeah we like the cover a lot. It fits the music perfectly.
SOT : How big of a role or how important is it for the band that the visual aspects and packaging of the CD packs as much punch as the music?
ON: Very important. In these times everybody copies CDs or downloads music. You have to reduce the price of your CD´s and give the fans the deluxe edition as cheap as you can. I always love to listen to music and check out the cover and the lyrics. I don't copy music, I'm a vinyl junky and you could buy some great cars if you would sell my complete CD Collection.
SOT: Have you had a chance to play any of the new material live, if so how has it being received?
ON: Yes, at our festivals here in Germany we played about 6 new songs and trust me, ever since the recordings in December of last year I couldn't wait to play these songs on stage. It's great because we write the songs to play them live and to play them on every stage on the planet.
SOT: The band has been together for over 10 years and has played all over Europe and many festivals, have you ever played in North America and is there plans to come over here in support of this record?
ON: Yes, we're trying to play North America next year but first of all we had to play our shows together with Lacuna Coil, Poison Black, some headlining shows and some festivals in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain this year. After that we'll have time to think about other gigs next year.
SOT: Who do you think has been your main influence on you as a musician?
ON: For me Billy Duffy of The Cult and Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost, for Christopher it's Jim Morrison
SOT: You've said that you think that this CD "Is the best gothic record I've ever heard in my life, it is brilliant". That's a pretty bold statement and I'm curious as to what you think really makes this record stand out from any others past or present
ON: This record has the balls other bands search for, but you know, this is my opinion. If the people out there buy our CD and don´t feel the same, I´m sure we'll get the chance to meet you all next year and you all can smash the CD in my fuckin face.
SOT: Rock n' roll has had its fair share of bands with brothers in them and some have been notorious for not getting along. Do you and Christopher get along all the time or do you have times where you want to punch each others lights out?
ON: [laughing] Yes every week.
SOT: What dreams or goals that you still haven't achieved would you most like to accomplish in the future
ON: Better hotel rooms and more free Jägermeister.
SOT: Last question, I know you love your beer. Which country makes the best beer in the world and which is your particular favorite?
ON: [laughing] You can get the best beer in the world here in Germany for sure, sometimes at the Oktoberfest.
(Click here to read our review of Filthy Notes for Frozen Hearts)