– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything doing right now with DROWNED, just before releasing your first full-length album?
We’ve put more than two years of hard work into it and needless to say we’re pretty excited about it!
– You were formed during the early 90’s and since them have rleased several short-length pieces, had long hiatus and also some line-up changes. Why has taken you over two decades to finally release your debut album?
It’s always been hard to find the right members. Most of the time the core of the respective line-up consisted of only two people. With the previous line-up («Viscera Terrae») for example, the core of the band was me and then-drummer Theby, and since he lived in Hamburg and I in Berlin, we could only rehearse seldomly, and in the end decided to split for good.
– Obviously your sound has been changing and evolving with the years, having now a quite different style compared to your early demos. In that sense, how could you say has DROWNED’s sound evolved throughout the years?
That’s hard for me to describe and maybe even pointless; others could do that much better. The early demos are 20 years in the past, so of course we’ve developed quite a bit since. With «Viscera Terrae» and during the 2–3 years that lead up to it we defined a new level which we explored further on «Idola Specus».
– And what’s now your vision of the band? I guess back in the day you were more or less experimenting and trying to find your own identity so, do you know have things cleare in that regard?
Yes, but we have been pretty clear about these things since the early 2000s, when we wrote the material for «Viscera Terrae». The longer you play and the older you get, the more you concentrate on the essential things that you want to express.
It just happened that way. The fastest song on the album, «Letzter teilbarer Strahl», is the last one that we put together, so … We’re just doing whatever feels right. To me, a certain variety is always important, and that’s a great thing about Death Metal in general; you can combine a lot of slow and fast parts, complex ones and really primitive ones.
– This time I also noticed certain Prog elements, something we couldn’t find on your previous releases I think. Is there always place in DROWNED for new influences and to try new things?
«Viscera Terrae» had a lot of sudden breaks and rhythm changes, but this time some of the riffs have more weird signatures, and we put a bit more focus on arrangements. I think the new material has a better flow to it, while still being complex and interesting. Maybe a bit trippy/necrohypnotic at times.
– Anyway you still have quite simple and straight-forwards riffs, with a strong impact and strength. Somehow riffs, always with a leading guitar melody, are quite traditional, but you aren’t a revival band at all, far from the almost Swedish DM style you played back in the day. So this contrasts with the rest of your music. Do contrasts and equilibrium play an important role on your music?
Well yes, but that plays an important part in almost any type of music. Metal is all about riffs, so you better have good ones! The 80s/early 90s scene, the Scandinavian one in particular, will always be a major influence for what we do, but we have our own perspective, and we always had a stack of very diverse influences outside of Metal, even if they may not be so obvious.
– Something that also seems to play a really important role in your music is the whole dark and somber atmosphere. What did you want to convey with it and where do you draw inspiration from to create it? It gives an interesting depth and occult imagery.
That’s what Death Metal is about, dark and crushing atmospheres.
– In fact I think it also helps keeping things eerie and even enhancing the aggressiveness your music holds. Nowadays aggressiveness seems to be only related to blast beats and relentless speed, but you guys are still fierce and brutal without the need of all that. That makes me wonder what is Death Metal about for you.
Well, as I said above: Death Metal is darkness. It’s a sad thing that this seems to have been forgotten by a pleroma of bands being advertised as Death Metal. Death Metal is not a musical contest for how many notes you can play, it’s an atmosphere, a spiritual condition.
– You don’t follow the stereotypes, and still being pure Death Metal, not sure if I should call it «old school», you have managed to create on «Idola Specus» a really dynamic effort, with interesting twists and embracing different influences. How do the line-up changes affect this?
The two new guys in the band are the only ones that this album could have been done with. Without them, Drowned would still be comatose. I really love the vocals and the drumming, they fit the new songs perfectly.
– As I said earlier, your atmosphere feels almost esoteric, creating an occult imagery with your lyrics, artwork, music… Evertyhing fits together. Is something you strive for to make everything on your music work as a whole?
Yes, of course. The music always comes first, but every detail is important.
– All this about «Idola Specus» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
– You are hailing from Germany, a country that has always been quite known because of its Thrash Metal scene, specially back during the 80’s/90’s but, how has the German scene changed since you formed DROWNED?
Except for the 80s Thrash bands like Kreator, Destruction, Deathrow, Mekong Delta etc. the German scene has always been a bit lame and never really managed to send out important impulses. The same thing applies to Death Metal. That’s not to say that Germany doesn’t have good bands to offer, but we just cannot compare to countries like Sweden for instance.
– Something that has had a major impact on the whole music world is, of course, Internet, being now easier to have access to a lot of different bands, from any period. Have you noticed this? I mean, has there been a growing interest toward DROWNED? Maybe even from younger generations.
When Drowned was first put on ice, from 1998 to 2001, I thought that it was permanent. The worldwide scene back then was in such a desolate state with all those third-rate wannabe Black Metal bands. I was just happy to take a break. When me and Theby re-activated Drowned and released «Viscera Terrae», I didn’t think that there was anyone out there that would actually take note, but people eventually did. By about 2004, there was suddenly a new wave of dark Death Metal, spearheaded by bands like Kaamos and Repugnant. I don’t know exactly how that relates to the Internet or to which extent Drowned benefits from it, but from my own experience it’s clear that it opens up gateways to shitloads of great and obscure music that you wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
– This being said, how is the current state of Death Metal in Germany? There are relatively new bands providing good stuff, such as NECROS CHRISTOS or KATHARSIS just to new a few but, how do you experience this as an insider?
Let’s drop some more names! How about Alchemyst, Venenum, Evil Spirit, Essenz, Ruins of Beverast or Ascension. Also never forget Bohren & der Club of Gore! It’s cool that there’s something creative going on for once.
– And finally, what are now your near-future plans?
Playing more shows, and maybe a small European tour in late 2014, early 2015. Then writing some more songs, the usual stuff, hehe …
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thanks for one of the more interesting talks lately!