– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with BETHELEHEM? What are you currently up to?
Hey, how’s it going ? Well, momentary we’re rehearsing a setlist for further live shows in 2014. Nothing too special isn’t it ?
– You have just released «Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia». How are you feeling about it? What are your expectations on it?
It has gotten a good release like ‘em all before. We’re pleased with it but have no expectations cos basically our albums are made for our listeners and that’s it already.
– And how is its feedback being thus far?
It’s polarizing as it already does since 23 years. Some people love it while others hate it. The same old story isn’t it ?
– During your early days in the 90’s you were a more active band when it comes to release new material, and now it seems you just take your time. Now you are releasng your first album in 5 years. What have you been up to during these las 5 years? When did the new record started to get shaped?
I started writing/directing the actual album in May 2013. It has taken so long cos the latest line-up was a bunch of lazy sleepy-heads which more were interested in drugs than into music. This fortunately could be changed already after the album got recorded in August/September 2013. Drug addicts no longer are welcome in Bethlehem !
– This has also been your first release with Prophecy after a really long cooperation with Read Stream. What made you move?
This long list of different releases at the same time like a Dark Metal re-release + Live DVD, the actual album + a 2CD box version and a 10 LP vinyl box + artbook no longer could be financed by Red Stream. That’s why label changes got necessary. In reconciliation with Red Stream of course who were involved into the process.
– Before talking about the album, if you don’t mind I would like you to introduce a little bit the band, to tell us who’s now in BETHLEHEM, as you’ve had several line-up changes throughout the years.
Sure. The actual Bethlehem is myself, still playing the bass-guitar. Torturer (ex-Belphegor) – drums. Schmied – vocals & Wahn – guitars. As I said it before, we have changed the line-up again cos we no longer wanna waste our time with drug-addicts who more are interested into their drugs than working on the music itself. This obviously and finally had to find and end !!
– Starting to dig into the opus, comment a little bit what did you want to depict with such a minimalistic yet straight-forward (and really singular) cover artwork.
The fly reflects pastime, triviality and death. An easily & trivial statement one would not need any kind of overrated image for.
– In fact BETHLEHEM has always been really singular in anything you do. Is BETHLEHEM an outlet to channel all your creative outlet?
Indeed. This really seems to be it right ? Other than that this whole Bethlehem appearance is eating more time than I ever expected it would. Therefore another project on a same or similar level would destroy seriousness. And instead of wasting myself in 50/50 kind of projects I better would like to do one thing a 100%.
– And what does the album title mean?
It means: fear of the 666 as an ironic meant conclusion of a studio album trilogy speaking about private hell & personal demons. Part 1 got released in 2001 (Schatten aus der Alexander Welt) describing hell & demons. Part 2 got released in 2004 (Mein Weg) describing methods or principles who to get rid of these demons and Part 3 (Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia) descrbies the (ironic meant) insight that one never can escape the private hell.
– As your previous album, this record has a quite experimental sound so, what did inspire it ?
Well, descripition like «experimental sounds» only and exclusively are made by you guys. For ourselves it still is dark metal and we got inspiration enough from what we’ve done in the last 20 years. Personal inspiration combined with musical likes. We’re not writing music in a common sense. It just happens out of the blue without thinking about it. We definitely are no musical kind of «architects» or whatever. Bethlehem still is the feeling band it always ways and ever will be.
– And it also has a strong, weird atmosphere that varies its mood with the songs. Is there anything you want to convey with your ambiences?
– Talking about such, how is the songwriting process like in BETHLEHEM? Is it a team effort or are you in charge?
Normally myself is the main songwriter who also produces our releases since the «Profane Fetmilch» 7″ back in 1999. The actual album mainly was written by our ex-guitarist Eckhardt. I just have arranged, overworked and later produced his ideas in the studio. This was done as a «thank you» for being part of the line-up in 13 years. Unfortunately we had to fire him after the recordings were done cos as I said before his drug addiction no longer was tolerable for us.
– In fact, as I said earlier, you’ve been through several line-up changes so, have they affeced BETHLEHEM in any way?
Perhaps soundwise but the essence still stayed the same.
– This about «Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Pure Dark Metal.
– In 1994 you released «Dark Metal», your debut album. A genre defining opus. An opus that inspired a lot of newer bands and albums, and that created a new style. It’s just a part of the Metal music history but, wha do you feel nowadays when you listen to it? And how do you feel about this «cult status» it has got?
Still a surprise cos when «Dark Metal» was created no-one was interested in this except maybe some people in France or the USA. I still like the album a lot like I do with every Bethlehem release. Personally I have no favorite album and like them all the same.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
The same old story. Playing live shows & creating more studio albums. Boring isn’t it ?
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Hola Espana ! Hopefully we can perform live again in your country one day!!