Stillers Tod – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
ST: We are STILLERS TOD, an Avantgarde Black Metal project from Constance and the near of Stuttgart, South Germany. We represent a side of Black Metal that is a little bit more experimental, progressive and atmospheric. Stillers Tod is something between a solo project and a band: the main core are our guitarist Samael and me, Kargáist. I’m the founder and singer of the band, I compose all the music, write all the lyrics and create the artwork, whilst Samael plays all guitars and does the recording in his studio.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
ST: STILLERS TOD was formed around 2006; we released our debut album “Katharsis” in 2009 and got very positive feedback from the press and the fans. Shortly after our debut we started to work on the three-part album cycle “Abraxas”. The process dragged on for a while and in the end the project was shelved. So far, we released only one EP from the project called “Vorboten Abraxas” in 2013. We gained momentum while planning the concept album “Jupiter” in 2014. During that time, Stillers Tod became less a band and more a solo project with guest musicians, so I gathered a crowd of musicians and sound engineers that invested several years of work in the new album. This summer, “Jupiter” was completed and will be released via SCHATTENPFADE in September.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
ST: My strongest influences are some bands from the Atmospheric / Avantgarde Black Metal spectrum, such as DORNENREICH, NOCTE OBDUCTA, NAGELFAR, LUNAR AURORA, GRABNEBELFÜRSTEN or URFAUST and much traditional Heavy / Epic Metal such as ICED EARTH, KING DIAMOND, WARLORD, BATHORY, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and BLACK SABBATH. But there are also non-metal influences: I listen to much Gothic music from the 90s (the early albums from bands like DAS ICH, GOETHES ERBEN or LACRIMOSA) for example; on the new album are even influences by the Portuguese folk music Fado or the works of classical composers such as Mozart and Schubert.
My non-musical influences are the thoughts and ideas of Hermann Hesse, Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung and Salvador Dalí, who influenced my way of thinking about reality, dreams, perceptions and our subconsciousness – all themes that come to life in my lyrics.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
ST: Playing a world tour and drinking champaign in my whirl pool, haha! Jokes aside, I am happy if I can reach many people around the world and touch them in an emotional and intellectual way with my music and lyrics. If people tell me that they could find themselves in my lyrics or that my music helped them in some way, then I’m satisfied. But one dream would be to perform our music live one day. Not having a live line-up makes this impossible at the moment.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
ST: All music and lyrics are written by me, except from some things like the bass parts, which are written by our bassist Jonas, or some guitar solos by our guitarist Robin. “Jupiter” is a concept album about psychological and cultural theories: The main themes are early childhood, parent-child relationships, trauma and personality development. There are also some hints to Sigmund Freud and his threefold psyche division and to Carl Gustav Jung and his archetype theory: He had this idea that certain pictures of archetypical figures (such as the “Old Wise” or the “Great Mother”) evolved through the centuries in our culture and appear in fables, fairytales, epics, paintings and other cultural creations since they are stuck deep in our subconsciousness. This influences also our feelings and expectations towards men, women, father and mother, so I try to analyze in my lyrics how these archetypes can be the root and the solution of interpersonal and inner conflicts.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
ST: Since we don’t have any live line-up at the moment, the only chance to promote ourselves are online magazines, social media and music videos.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
ST: Hard topic. I don’t want to talk about the financial and promotional aspects, because we all know the pros and contras. What interests me more is the artistic aspect: Downloads kill the album format. It was common for artists for decades to write new songs for one or two years, then go to the studio and record one big package of new material. But since music from all around the world is available faster and easier through the internet it makes more sense for artists to release one new song every one or two months than to work on a new album for years . Also, downloads make physical albums such as CDs or LPs obsolete. This may work for many bands, and especially newcomers can gain more attention with less financial risks. But I am a little bit old fashioned in this topic: To me, an album is more than a bunch of songs thrown together on one CD. The songs need to fuse to one unity that creates a new emotional impact. Also the artwork and the lyrics are a part of this unity, everything together creates and atmosphere in which the listener can dive into. Therefore it is very important to me that all of our albums have a lyrical and musical concept that is supported by the artwork. Listening to just one single song from our albums would take them out of context. I’m not an enemy of downloading and streaming, but I have the feeling that something in our music would get lost if you just download some songs instead of owning the original album.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
ST: All the still unwritten songs in my head. But I will write all of them one day, I promise.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
ST: If we focus on music: I hate album covers that are created with 3D programs and overloaded with digital effects. Just look at all the covers from Nuclear Blast, it’s horrible – it looks like screenshots from nerdy computer games. And I hate modern Wall-of-Sound-productions with high-pitched double bass tracks that sound like two guys playing ping-pong.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
ST: Releasing our debut album “Katharsis” was very important for me. For years I was surrounded by shitheads who kept telling me that I have zero musical talent and I should stop trying to make music. Nearly none of them even knew my music, but they still were sure that I will never release anything good. When “Katharsis” was released, the reviews were overwhelming: So many reviewers described the album as a masterpiece. Needless to say that it satisfied me to the deepest to show all the idiots around me this feedback and see their faces, haha!
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ST: “Jupiter” isn’t released yet, but we are already working on a new split album. It has the working title “Dolchstoß” and will be the first time for us to write songs about political issues. The songs describe how old and modern nationalist regimes wipe out the individuality and the independent thinking of people. All the material is ready composed and at the moment we are busy recording the songs and searching for bands to feature us.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
ST: Our debut album “Katharsis” and our EP “Vorboten Abraxas’” can be found on our youtube channel and our bandcamp page. You can buy it on bandcamp or, if you prefer the physical album, at www.schattenpfade.de