– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What are you guys currently up to?
Chris: Well, at the moment, I have to work night and day to get my regular work done before the tour. So I can focuse on playing live. Same for the other guys in Ahab. Just a lot to organize at the moment.
– I guess you may be tired of explaining the story behind the band’s name but, why and how did you pick it and why and how did you decide to take lyrical inspiration from “Moby Dick”?
Chris: Well, you’re right. haha. It was back in 2004, when Daniel and me got into funeral doom. We both planned to do some project. At that moment I was reading Moby Dick and came up with the concept of interpreting novels and literature. I thought this was just perfect for this kind of music. And Moby Dick fitted perfect to the mood of Funeral Doom. Daniel at the same time was looking for a name for his project and I told him I already have a name and a concept for mine: AHAB. At that time, he showed me his first song «The Stream». I loved it and we knew, we had to join forces. His song, my concept: AHAB was born.
– Your new album is entitled “The Giant” and will be released really soon. Considering the great feedback your earlier albums got; what are your expectations with this brand new opus?
Chris: Well, it’s always better to not have big expectations. Then again, you’re never free of expectations. I just hope, the fans will appreciate our art as much as with The Call and The Divinity. I know The Call for some people is THE Ahab-album. So probably one expectation is, that The Giant will be named as THE Ahab-abum in the future. But you never know. Never thought that The Call would be named as one of the classic funeral doom-Albums along with Skepticism, Thergothon and so on, That’s probably the biggest compliment listeners can give you as a band to name your album a classic.
– The cover artwork is something that really caught my attention this time around, if I’m not mistaken has been crafted be Sebastian Jerke (LONG DISTANCE CALLING) but, what does it represent and how did you work on it?
Chris: Well, it represents of course the story of the book. And Sebastian did a really great job. We didn’t tell him too much before how it should lool like and he came up with tons of great scribbles and drafts. He even read the book before he started. So what he created is not just a cover and a booklet, but his own interpretations of the book and our music. So it’s a piece of art that could stand alone with the book. The work was really his. We discussed the cover to some extent with him, but the layouts inside were done entirely by him alone. He sent em over, we saw them and just said: Yep, that’s it! I mean, why should I tell a real artist (he studied illustrations) what to do. He wouldn’t tell me vice versa, what the music should sound like.
– For lyrics this time you’ve been inspired by Poe’s novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym from Nantucket”, what attracted you about it to decide cover some concepts of his work?
Well, it just fitted perfectly our music and it was not too close to Moby Dick, The Essex and Owen Chase but also not too far away. It has some sort of travel documentary in it, some autobiographical content of Poe (Further South, Time’s Like Molten Lead), some psychedelic stuff and also this real science fiction-end (The Giant). So it was just perfect to interprete.
– In fact I have the feeling everything on AHAB is important and works as a whole: music, lyrics, artwork… Is this something important for you as a band and as artists?
Chris: Yes. Ahab is art for us. I think if you interprete such great writers as Melville or Poe you have to honour their work with much respect. Therefor we just wanted everything to be perfect. I do not know, if we managed to, but at least all involved did their very best from musician to lyricist to illustrator and sound engineer. We’re very satisfied with the result, indeed. But as always: The listener, reader and viewer will decide if we did everything right.
– On the album there’s a guest appearance by Herbrand Larsen (ENSLAVED). How did you come up with this idea and why Larsen? What could you say has he brought with his cooperation?
Chris: It’s really simple: Daniel and Stephan like Enslaved a lot and especially the voice of Herbrand. We played on the same festival in Madrid and Daniel just asked the guys (Herbrand was at the hotel already). The Enslaved-guys told us: Sure, drop him an email. Daniel did that and sent over rehearsal stuff of two songs: The Giant and Antarctica The Polymorphess. He liked it a lot and said yes. Again: We didn’t tell him anything about how he should sing. He just did it. What it brought? Well, Daniel told me, when he heard the voices, he was really inspired and afterwards wrote his melodies. So Herbrand is to some extent responsible for what you hear from Daniel on the new album. Yeah, Herbrand was inspiring. BTW: We paid him. He got three bottles of fine cognac. haha!
– This has been the first time you have recorded at an actual studio; how has this affected the final output?
Chris: Well, as you can hear, it just sounds more organic. We reduced the distortion and gain a bit to sound more massive and also the sound of the clean stuff and the drums is really warm. We used quite some old gear – like a Marshall-Amp from 1968 – on full power and mixed the sound with the High-End-Sound of our Laboga-Mr. Hector-Amps. Also we used highend effects and analogue Mixing desks with up to 8 microphones for one guitar cabinet.
– Musically I find more elements from different music styles such as Post-Rock of even Blues among others. Have you lately been listening to new music that has inspired you?
Chris: Well obviously what you listen to affects what you want your sound to be. And sure, we’re all into the xtreme doom, Death or Grind. But also into stuff like Crippled Black Phoenix, Electric Wizard, Earth or stuff like Isis and so on. Also there are some Jazz-like drum patterns, as Cornelius just studied Jazz-Drumming. You can probably hear that in the begnning of Further South or the quite folky riff in the second half of Deliverance. And the bluesy stuff probably is due to some nights listening to the newer Earth-albums. If you interprete literature musical genre boundaries should not play the biggest role. Otherwise you couldn’t capture the right mood of a book.
– And there are even less Funeral Doom moments, though those parts are still there. Was this how did you want this record to sound like?
Chris: Slow shall be the whole of the law. haha. Well, we’re still Ahab and Ahab will always be rooted in the extreme doom scene. But again: The Giant just had to sound different than the previous albums, as we interpreted a different book. And of course we’re developed as people, musicians and fans of other bands.
– Overall I think this is your most varied, solid and complete effort to date. What are your feelings on this and on the final result you’ve got with “The Giant”?
Chris: Actually, Ahab is my first band in which I still like every single album. I guess that’s something special. Normally you always have some things on previous albums you do not like any more after some years. But I still love even our very first song ever The Stream. But sure: The Giant is something very special. Also because there are many very personal lyrics on it, even though it’s inspired by Poe. And musicwise: I just love to play the songs. It has a feeling for me sometimes like really old rock music. I mean, the kind of music, I used to listen to with my father, when I was a five-year-old-lad. Can’t explain that, for obviously such extreme music didn’t exist back then. It’s just a very, very special album emotionwise for me!
– In fact is really dynamic, not to say you haven’t released the same album twice. Is this something you strived for? As I guess it’d be both too easy and too boring (both for you and your listeners) to do the same album over and over again.
Chris: Sure. I mean, we do not have to live from music, we do not have to take any time for thinking about: What do we have to do for the album to be succesful. We got the pivilege to play whatever we want to play. And to be honest: No band ever managed to do the same album twice. That just doesn’t work. Even for bands like AC/DC or Motörhead. You know, we’re Ahab and there’s one thing for sure: We’ll always evolve…
– All this being said; how could you describe this new “The Giant” in just 3 words?
Chris: I just need two 😉 NAUTIK DOOM
– You will soon embark on your first European headline tour with none less than ESOTERIC and OPHIS; how are you feeling about it?
Chris: Great! When we started out with Ahab, Esoteric were one of our faves. And now we’re on a co-headliner-tour with them. Awesome! And Ophis are real cool guys as well playing classic Death Doom. I think this will be a great 11 days men-vacation. somehow similat to being on trip with your schoolclass – but without the teachers telling you not to drink too much beer, staying out of the girl’s rooms and turn the volume of that bloody slow and sick music down . haha.
– And finally, beside this tour; what are your near-future plans after the release of your new record?
Chris: Well I just think about doing some project-band in a more 60s/70s rock-way. With Ahab we just try to set up a tour in the USA in the first half of 2013 and also thinking about a possible split-EP with some other band. Nothing sure yet, though.
– That’s all from my side, thanks again for taking your time to answer our questions. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Live fast, play slow, die old!
And thanx a lot for the oportunity, Tania! Really liked your questions!
Take care, doom-sistas! 😉