Comaniac - Interview


With "None For All" Swiss tech-thrashers Comaniac have done a huge step forward in their career. The album presents very modern but also old-school orientated thrash and it's (at least for me) one of the highlights in 2023 (read my review here). I had the pleasure of talking to the whole band via Skype before their first rehearsal after the release show. If you want to get to know the band better, check the interview and of course their new album. Enjoy reading!

Michael

Cheers! How are you doing and are you already rehearsing?

Tom: We're going to rehearse today.

Stefan: We just came back home. Last Friday we had our album release show and today we are back in our rehearsal room for the first time after that. So now we do the interview and afterwards we start rehearsing.

How was the release show?

Tom: Cool!

Valentin: Great! It had a very good atmosphere and the location was pretty crowded, so all fine!

With "None For All" you released a very strong fourth full-length album. Apart from the very good reviews, do you think that this album will cause a bigger level of awareness about you?

Jonas: We have existed for over 10 years now since we started in 2012. This is our fourth album and when I look back in retrospect how the band evolved it has been a rather continuous increase. We always had opportunities to evolve especially musically which is also the main focus in our whole band – to interpret thrash metal a little bit new, bring some more color into the whole music and to discover new possibilities to make some old stuff more popular again in that genre. So we don't expect a breakthrough but we're considering this as a continuous development. With our third album ("Holodox"; M.) we might have had a slight descent in media presence because of Covid but with every album we got better musicians. From the first to the second one we had some better tourings and also better options to work together with labels and management and this we are hoping for with the new album, too.

Concerning the songwriting you developed yourselves much more. How far did the tour with Algebra, Cryptosis and Vektor have an influence on that?

Jonas: I think touring with Vektor and Cryptosis was very inspiring on a musical level. It was pretty cool to contest with them on a daily basis because both bands also started in the 2000s and it is great to feel the competition and to see who is getting something a little bit better than the others. Vektor is a really big challenge with that. So we were encouraged with this for sure to improve ourselves!

Jonas, you even notched up your vocal performance in comparison to the previous albums. Did you have a special training for that?

Jonas: I think the key to success was training to not only hear, but really listen to the music carefully. I can only improve myself when I learn to hear what I have to improve. I trained it together with Valentin during the recording process as he has studied music and is very experienced in it. This helped me very much, not only with this album but also as a continuous development. So sometimes a knot bursts and you get aware of what works and what not. The opinions of the other band members helped a lot too to decide what was a little bit too much or what has to be improved still. So taking all these improvements together made a very succeeding mixture.

Let's talk about the album itself. Did you compose the songs as a whole band or were just one or two of you involved?

Jonas: Most often I have an idea which is more or less far developed already and also the lyrics are done by me. So the musical component evolves out of the ideas with guitar and drums. With this we finally create the song. But most of the stuff is done by me.

Which bands / musicians inspired you the most for the songwriting?

Valentin: I am the lead guitarist and I prefer old Megadeth with Marty Friedman or Testament with Alex Skolnick. I am probably very focused on guitar players (laughs).

Tom: My major influences come from Metallica – Burton, Newsted, Trujillo and also Pantera has a huge influence on me because I love groovy, rhythmic stuff.

Stefan: My musical influences are very broad. I could count up two or three drummers I learned from 10 years ago but I don't know if that would be interesting. Apart from this, I listen to many different musical styles and bands and if I like the drums in it, I replay these things and draw my inspiration from that. I really wouldn't limit my influence down to one band because I have so many inspirations.

Jonas: What fascinates me and has a strong influence on me writing songs is this threshold between thrash to progressive bands like Nevermore. Also dynamics in the music, to work with loud and quiet, clean and distorted sounds and here Opeth is a very inspiring band. I like bands which had a lot of influence on the genre and gave it something new.

With 'Long Life Doll' you have a very cool and interesting ballad that reminds me of Depressive Age. Is this just pure coincidence and what does the lyrics deal with? My interpretation was that it deals with Munchausen proxy syndrome….

Jonas: 'Life Long Doll' is a girl's dirge who is the doll so to speak. In this dirge she mourns at her mother that she educated her after the mother's notion. Missed chances of the mother who didn't achieve these things during her life makes the mother make the girl try to experience like a trophy and she tries to influence the girl in a way that she lives her missed life.

Ah, okay. I thought it would be about a child that gets talked sick by her mother and that they are going from doctor to doctor and the mother keeps telling them that the kid is ill although it doesn't have anything. I experienced something like this in my job already and this is really sick. So how do you get such lyrics?

Jonas: It goes about thoughts and the possibilities of education, self- and external determination. In our surroundings, we all are about 30 years old, a lot of our friends started a family and so education and how to do it is a burning question but also how you as a role model have an influence on other persons because of living a certain attitude.

Do you have a concept on the album?

Jonas: We have a common thread on every album where we try to fit artwork, lyrics and all the things together. This is important to us. In actuality we deal with this balancing act between empathy and indifference and show this in different examples in the songs like 'Long Life Doll' where we ask how the mother could put herself into the position of her daughter. It is hard to put into words but we try to focus on this indifference and illuminate it from different views.

Yes, I mean, this is a still growing issue in society. How often do you hear in the media that somebody broke down and nobody made first aid?

Jonas: Absolutely. We also deal with topics like climate change. I mean this was already a huge thing in the beginning of the 90s - also in music like in 'Future Tense' by Sanctuary. So many decades have passed and you have the feeling that still nothing has happened about it. I experience myself when something like this is discussed politically that you get fed up or become overwhelmed with all these impressions. And sometimes you react very emotionally and completely differently from the previous reaction. So it is this area of conflict that we also deal with.

It is pretty tricky to get your album. Are you in some negotiations with labels to distribute the album in a bigger way than it is these days?

Jonas: We are in negotiations with a label for a re-issue but this all is still going to be discussed. At the moment you can get the album in Germany from Underground Power Records. We also have exclusive distribution partners for Scandinavia (Mephisto), Italy (Jolly Roger Records), and the US (Heavy Metal Museum). This seems to work pretty fine also the mailing distribution because sending albums from Switzerland to Germany is a big issue (because of high taxes; M.). So this works best or you can order it at Amazon, too.

Another possibility to get your album is of course to go to one of your concerts. Are there already some new plans?

Valentin: Yes, we have plans but a band with our status cannot play a headliner tour. So we need an opportunity to join another band but we are looking for this.

I was in Dortmund at the show and your temporary bass player had a broken foot. Was this a big issue for you? I mean this was very cool that he played the show with this cast.

Stefan: It was very exhausting especially when you play live as a support act with three other bands you have to build up the stage pretty fast. So you have about 10 minutes time to do all this between the gigs and when you have a person on stage that has a cast you have to do the whole for that one, too. So he broke his foot on tour while he loaded a trailer and this meant that we had to organize a hospital and find some doctors who would help and not refuse you and say we're completely booked, you can come back in two weeks. And having a cast while living in a two-stored tour bus where the bunks aren't too comfortable also isn't the best.

Jonas: We also played in some smaller clubs like Goldgrube in Kassel. There you had to go down a spiral staircase to get into the club and you had to load all the stuff through a small window, well (laughs).

Well, now finally the last words belong to you!

Jonas: Thank you very much for the interview. If you want you can check our homepage on comaniac.ch where you can find all our merch stuff and tour dates when they will be booked.

Entered: 12/24/2023 1:30:32 PM

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