– Hi Oliver, thanks for your time. As SONS OF SEASONS is a relatively new band (formed a few years ago and about to release your second full-length album) explain us how did you guys hook up?
Beginning of 2007 Daniel Schild, our drummer, and me, left the band of ex- Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley. We had some major disagreements with a bunch of dicks, calling themselves «management». The first months of that year were reserved for the recording of Blaze’s new record, so I had some time off for the first time in years. Having the idea of my own band stored at the back of my head for a long time, it was a «now or never» decision. Thus Sons Of Seasons was born. After Daniel, the next member joining was Jürgen Steinmetz, our bassist. I met him in Japan, where he supported my other band Kamelot with Silent Force. Henning Basse, vocals, I also met in Japan, funny enough. He also supported Kamelot, replacing the singer of Firewind temporarily. Pepe Pierez, our new guitarist, joined the band only after our debut «Gods Of Vermin».
– And why did you decide you form the band? I guess SONS OF SEASONS gives you more freedom than working with other artists you have been involved with.
Precisely. I like working for other artists – as song writer, producer, mixing engineer and orchestrator. But you have to work within a set framework, you have to be careful about the specific sound of a band. Sons Of Seasons means to go down my own path and to set the directions myself.
– How positive is this for you? I mean like having your own «baby» with SONS OF SEASONS.
I didn’t realize how different the feeling would be. I’ve been in a couple of great bands, which accepted me as a full band member. Still Sons Of Seasons feels totally different. Even when we play in small clubs, or have to tour Europe with a van which is falling apart, it gives so much positive energy. And I’ve been lucky to find this line up. No egos, great musicians and good friends. And after many live gigs we are a tight and powerful live band.
– Your first «Gods of Vermin» got amazing reviews; did this motivate you to keep on composing? Did this make things easier regarding the creation of the new album or, on the contrary, was it harder due to fullfill expectations?
I was glad about the good reviews, but the hardest thing for me is always to fulfill my own standard, which is rising with each production. I knew «Gods Of Vermin» was just the start and that there was much to improve. The debut was still a lot of searching in the dark. When I started composing on it, I was still quite unclear about the style and sound of the band. The production and song writing for «Magnisphyricon» was a huge step forward.
– What does «Magnisphyricon» mean?
It is a word creation I was literally waking up with one day. «Magnus» comes from Latin, meaning «big», or in this case, rather «whole». Then the word «sphere», and the connecting «con». What I mean is the life of an artist, who is existing in his own universe, which is often very different than the outside world, and sometimes threatened by it. At the same time it means that Sons Of Seasons is complete now, with the addition of Pepe Pierez.
– And how do you think is the title connected to you and the sound in the album?
Well, it is also my issue, because I am an artist since a long time. I never had a different job, whereas the term «job» feels already wrong for what I do. There were times, though, when I wasn’t sure if chosing to become a professional musician was right, especially when finances were unstable – something every musician experienced probably more than once in his life. The songs on the album are always influenced by that perspective.
– I noticed «Magnisphyricon» has a darker sound than the one in your debut. Does your daily life afect your sound?
Not really. Despite the dark colours I paint with during composing, I am in a lucky and happy period of my life. Don’t ask me why, but my compositions always have something dark and melancholic about it. Deep inside I guess I have more a tendency towards negative answers to the big questions of life, and my songs reflect that.
– More or less the same with the voice, even I found it more aggressive (as your music now). Was this something intended? Could you say you had a different approach before or during the creation of the album?
We wanted ‘Magnisphyricon’ sound heavier, that I can say at least. I love ‘Gods Of Vermin’, but I missed some speed and heaviness right after we finished it. We were also experimenting a lot with Henning’s voice. He can come up with so many different vocal styles, it is like Christmas and Birthday at the same time for me as the producer. Many people associate him still with more traditional Metal singing, but he’s so much more!
– Overall, your trademark is playing an unique sound which is indescribable. How positivo is this? Both for you as an artist and for your listeners. Is it like a constant challenge?
Before ‘Gods Of Vermin’ there was a primary objective for me: Sons Of Seasons had to sound unique, or I would cancel everything before even releasing a debut! Of course I see the fact that people need more than 1 or 2 spins before they really get into our music. But the longer it lasts afterwards! The challenge is also that I took into account that we wouldn’t be an overnight- hyped band. We’re not mainstream, far from it. But I trust into the Metal world and that there are enough people who search for something new and stay open- minded.
– «Magnisphyricon» is your first album with guitar player Pepe Pierez. What has he brought new to the band?
He just makes the band complete! First of all he is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I never experienced him in a bad mood. He enjoys every moment making music. Then he is a great guitar player, and I was happy to find out he delivers fantastic riffs and song structures. The song «Soul Symmetry» on ‘Magnisphyrion’ is mainly written by him, for example, and it is one of the strongest numbers on the album.
– Simone Simons has, once more, provided her voice in «Sanctuary» as well as some other backing vocals. What has she and her voice brought to these songs?
First of all her voice blends perfectly with Henning’s. It is hard not to use her all the time. In the song «Necrologue To The Unborn» for example, you can hear how the second chorus opens up immensely when her singing is added. And on «Sanctuary» she changed my original idea for the verse melodies, and out came something very unusual for a Metal record.
– And how has been working again with her? Does the fact of being together makes things easier or the opposite?
We work and tour very well together. Which is not always a given in the business. Most important is that we respect each other’s skills and field of expertise. We established a harmonic work flow. Maybe it helped that we have been together in quite different environments – on stage as live musicians, in the studio recording, or song writing.
– Lyrics for «Bubonic Waltz» caught my attention. Could you please explain it’s theme for all the people who haven’t heard it yet?
It is about those periods in European history when the plague wiped out a third of the population. In some areas up
to three quarters of all human beings. The effect on human society is unimaginable. People were feasting and dancing among rats and corpses on the streets, and the basic principles of moral were torn apart. Nowadays our societies are already shaken when some minor desaster occurs. Back then every family was affected by the Black Death.
– And how much interested in this subject are you?
I love reading and learning about history. If you don’t know the history of your country, you don’t know your roots. The fascinating part is that history is like a chain, and former ages carry the explanation why something happened much later.
– I haven’t found any information about the album’s production. Could you please explain anything about it? How has been the whole process, etc.
When the word about Sons Of Seasons spread, people expected naturally a production on the same level like some of my other bands. What they didn’t see was that we didn’t even have 10% of the budget, being a new band and all. That meant to learn a lot about recording and producing ourselves. During the production of ‘Gods Of Vermin’ we made a lot of beginner mistakes. But we learned from that, and ‘Magnisphyricon’ went so much smoother. We went to different studios, and found with Dennis Ward a mixing engineer who fulfilled our expectations about a great mix.
– SONS OF SEASONS could be considered a «superband», but most of these kind of bands are just paralel projects. Is this your case or can we say SONS OF SEASONS is a stablished band?
Well, it is our second album, and I guess we proved we’re anything else but a side project. For everybody in the band Sons Of Seasons has highest priority. That doesn’t mean that for example for me Kamelot is less important – as a professional musician nowadays you anyway mostly have to do more than just one thing at a time. I also need to do different things to keep up my motivation. I work for other bands, have my students and side projects in Jazz and classical music.
– You’re constantly involved in musical projects; as musician, producer, etc. So I guess music occupies most part of your time. How important is music for you and what does it mean in your life?
It is my source of energy and happiness. Every day I wake up and I look forward to sit behind my instruments, to learn and grow. It keeps me being balanced, and refills my battery. Making music is what I want to do, what I do best, and I consider myself being very lucky that I found my talent and followed this direction.
– And finally, what can we expect from SONS OF SEASONS? Do you have any touring plans?
Yes: Very soon from now we go on European tour with Kamelot and Evergrey. In every sense a killer package! Right after we have a double headliner with the brand new band MaYan, founded by Mark Jansen, Epica’s mastermind. So, some exciting months ahead!
– That has been all. Thanks agian for answering to our interview. if you now want to add the last words, take the last lines.
I would like to thank all the music lovers out there who don’t just follow the mainstream, who are curious and motivated to look out for new things. Because of you a band like Sons Of Seasons can exist!