Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
SAB- We make melodic rock/metal, with a dedicated devotion to the attention of authenticity and a focus on dark feelings and thoughts. We are not caught in the commercial circle but can give ourselves completely to the music. I really do think this separates us at least from some other groups out there. We are highly trained on our instruments and in song-writing, which gives us the freedom to do literally everything we want. We definitely can’t make a living out of music and are caught in the daily business, which leads to a view that is related to the peasant, not the king.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
SAB – I was born in 1991 in a small town in Austria – surrounded by more than 300 mountain summits excelling the 3000 meters range. While the summers are hot and wet, the winters might bring snow up to 5 meters that shiver in the sunlight for the 4 hours the sun is pleased to attend this place. I started with organ and piano, when I was at the age of 7 and moved on to bass when I was 13, guitar happened in the age of 14. I am a lefty, suffering ADHD, but I am playing my instruments right-handed. I failed high school twice and did my diploma in my grown-up years. I did machine-engineering school in my earlies. Now I am working as a programmer and will graduate business-computer-science (with an average of 1.12) in July 2022 (hopefully). I did every job that I can imagine, from a Mc Donald’s cook to a personal guard at the us-embassy in Vienna. I really didn’t miss a thing. In 2019 I got married to the love of my life and we are living, after some expose to Vienna, again in Lienz, Tyrol , which is the small town I mentioned (some 150 km south of Munic, and the same north of Triest). I was always into music, the fact that you can express yourself was always my go to feature of that. If something happens in my life, regardless good or bad, I have to put it into a song, otherwise I will never be satisfied with what happened and will never be able to close a chapter. My mother is Christian (more than it is good for anybody), my father doesn’t believe. But I was forced to attempt the Church every Sunday, when I was younger, which led to a nearly allergic reaction if someone wants to confess me to some religious thoughts.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SAB – This list is probably extensive and I can answer that only for me. This probably starts a bit surprisingly with the Austropop legend Gert Steinbäcker, then goes on to rock, where especially AC/DC, Oopmh, Korn and Rammstein were important as well as Devildriver, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Aitvaras, Sepultura and Trivium are considered an influence for me. Also, the techno “junk” of the 90s, Avril Lavigne, Nena, Bonnie Tyler and Green Day as well as Hans Zimmer and John Williams may not be missing on this list. When it comes to the profundity of lyrics, Steinbäcker probably influenced me the most. My guitar sound is based on Angus Young’s with an extra tick of distortion and a little less bass. Where vocally I was inspired by Children of Bodom and Sepultura, in songwriting it was In Flames, Aitvaras and Devildriver – at least that’s how I explain the outcome on “Harlequin”.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SAB – The recipe for Bad Luck is the divergence of “dreams” and reality – so I try not to think about that too much for the sake of happiness. If I had the chance for a European or US tour once in a lifetime, this would be a nice gimmick. But the overall dream might be to just continue with that what actually is. I mean, everything is perfect by now. I can make music, some enjoy. Also, the programmer life is not bad at all. There will always be a “more”, but I will wage that out for the given price.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SAB – It is me. There is no core message that overrides pieces. The process of lyrically coming to terms with Harlequin (the album) was a real ordeal. For months, I dug around in the shallows of my being. Not infrequently a bottle or two showed me the way there, and not infrequently the writing process ended in despair, crises of the senses, or total emptiness and depression. Never before have I dared to deal with my thoughts and myself with such intensity and to present the result in public, knowing full well that I was exposing myself to potential scorn in the local basin and thus also providing an insight into my soul to those whose horizon ends at the after-work beer and who have made it their business to bless any deviation from the norm and etiquette or even the essence of a free spirit with contempt and disfavor. This is exactly the core message of “Guillotine”, even if the choice of words is a bit more blurred and poetic. The title is a comparison of the instrument of execution to society, as both result in a mindless and lifeless biomass after all. “Rollercoaster” deals with addiction and its effects, the ups, the downs and the consequence, while “The Void” is about an old incident which still keeps me away from still waters. “Ripping the Veil”, one of the darkest lyrics of my songwriting career, is the spawn of the death of development and liveliness, the escape into consumption and the processing of a father complex, which as the last song of the album thus closes the circle to “Rollercoaster”. The title track “Harlequin” is dedicated to my uncle, who succumbed to his addiction in November 2018. He was someone who didn’t fit into the system, so he eked out his time at the train station watching life go by. I equated this with the historical figure of the harlequin, which also gave rise to the title for the song and album, just someone who does not fit into society and yet is part of it in secret, often as an observer or mirror. In the process of writing, the lyrics to “Something Ends, Something Begins” followed as a causal conclusion of the birth of a child (not my own) to the previous loss, describing in particular the world in which children must grow up. “Breathing Soil” is a new socio-critical homage to the zeitgeist and “Crossing Styx” briefly describes the path of transience. “Onomatopoesis” – an artificial word based on onomatopoeia, is built purely on aggression and is rather a humorous escape from the otherwise so serious dreariness of the rest of the album.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
SAB – We got ourselves a really good German promoter who is handling all this stuff for us. Everyone feels a little exhausted after this record.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SAB – It is what it is. If you are not keeping up with time, then you’ll be lost in the past. We provide hardware copies, DigiPACs, for those who still wanna have this experience, but you will have to get along with the download thing too. At least people are lazy, so it is easier for them to stream via spotify or something than to do a torrent load – which at least gives us as artists some cents. Those who wanna be part of us will buy the t-shirts and the hardware copies and these are the people we are owing our income. In the end, it also gives us here, at the top of the mountain, a voice.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SAB – John Schmidt’s “All of Me” – this song is nothing but great (even though he is Christian)
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SAB – When we were playing in another “County” and the people already knew the words of each song. I think there is nothing that can compare to that.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
SAB – after the recording, the work for “Harlequin” doesn’t stop. There is a lot of promotion and some more videos to do. I will be stuck with that and with my thesis at least until July 2022. After that we will come up with a brand-new live production, including the songs of “Harlequin” and maybe we might be able to perform that throughout Europe.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
SAB – As we have day jobs and so, shows will be rare. So, if you can be there, you should definitely do, if the music pleases you, might be your one and only chance. What to expect is, that among our official release, we will also do some songs of the two previous albums, and we will do some covers too. Rage – Straight to hell is for sure among them.
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