-Hi there. Thanks for answering to our interview. How are you guys doing having just released your debut album? It might be exciting times I guess. What’s the feeling when you can hold the real, physical artifact in your hands, when it’s not just something abstract anymore, not just ideas?
Thank you so much for having us. We’re more than thrilled that our work is finally ready to be shared. It was a long and sometimes rocky road but we managed it and the reception has been great so far. It’s a feeling like nothing else, maybe the best thing this band has achieved thus far. To hold our record in hand, to hear it coming out of the speakers at home and know that anyone can listen to it right now, that’s just so rewarding. Totally kills all the concerns one might have beforehand. Too bad the vinyl isn’t here yet. That’s gonna be another very special day. But we have already checked the test presses. They sound amazing, you better prepare for it
-You are very recent band. Why did you form PURSUIT? What were the steps prior to this album?
PURSUIT started 2016 as a half-hearted jam project. That went nowhere for a couple of years since we could never form a complete line-up, missing vocals and bass. That changed after our guitarist moved to Leipzig, made a new project there and proposed we could mash them both together. That’s when the band came together at last, early 2020. Then the whole pandemic thing happened and we had all the time in the world to work on songs and our image. It was a way of scratching our music itch at a time when we couldn’t perform live with our other bands. It was perfect timing, honestly. After one and a half years, we finished the album, just in time for shows to start again and people being as hungry for rock as never before. So here we are, ready to deliver what we’ve been working on for a long time now. Hope you like it.
-Starting to dwell deeper in the band, why did you choose “Pursuit” as your name? What does it mean literally and personally to you?
It actually took some time til we settled on our name, maybe half a year. PURSUIT was one of the options from the very start, but it somehow got lost between all the contenders for a while. Weird, since it perfectly describes the vibe we want to create. PURSUIT means following someone or something with the intent to catch (and maybe even kill?). It is dangerous yet intriguing and a bit sexy on the side. Imagine a dark back alley, completely desolate. Even the moon forgets to shine here. You make your first step inside and instantly know that you are not alone. There’s someone…something…lurking in the shadows, watching your every move, waiting to pounce. And you freeze in fear, horrified of what might happen next. But at the same time, you kind of want to know what happens next. That feeling is PURSUIT. To go a different direction: One can also pursue their dreams. That’s also a pretty good interpretation. After all, we created this band to fulfill our dream of making the music we love and spreading it throughout the world. But that doesn’t sound as cool, so we stick with the first version.
-Your debut album, “Loose Lips”, is a Heavy Hard album basically, but it also has US Power hints, among others. What have been the main music influences for PURSUIT?
That’s the question we usually want to avoid but have probably answered the most by now. Just to be clear: Yes, PURSUIT is a love letter to the 80s and the music of the time, but we are still our own pair of shoes, no cover band or the next „they want to sound like …“. Now that that’s out of the way, of course there are some names that get dropped more often than others. Classics like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Mötley Crüe or Mercyful Fate, but also fairly new contenders like Unto Others, Haunt, Cauldron, In Solitude or Eternal Champion. Rock and Metal are our companions since childhood, it is most likely that there are tons of influences that we can’t even remember. So, in short, everything that rocks is fair game. But to go a bit deeper, we pull from any source imaginable, as long as it serves in telling the stories we want to tell. Take the bridge section in „Beast With Two Backs“ for example. Maybe you’ve heard that lick before. It’s used at the beginning of Stanley Kubrick’s „The Shining“ or … The movement you hear is called „Dies Irae“ or „Day of Wrath“ and it is an old Gregorian chant that symbolizes death, punishment and judgement. We thought it made the perfect musical backdrop for underlining the transformation which the main character undertakes at this point in the story. She’s described as dying on the inside, being eaten and slowly replaced by a beastly version of herself that is lustrous and wild, a punishment for her childish believe in the good of mankind. That melody is at least 800 years old and it still fits like a glove. Inspiration can come from any place.
-And what does inspire you beyond the music realm? A moment, a writer, a movie, a trip…
We suck up everything that hits the sweet spot. Movies? „Candy Man“, „Jeepers Creepers“, „Nightmare on Elm Street“. Literature? Of course, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, R.L.Stine. But of course, we also get most of our inspiration from personal experiences. „Coins On Your Eyes“ was written to cope with the loss of a loved one. Not an experience you’d wish anyone but writing about it certainly helped the grieving process. And that’s really the thing to making music. You have to put yourself in there. Yes, the styles of those old bands are awesome and oh how we wish we could walk in their shoes just for one day. But simply copying the existing won’t get you far. You have to live your own life, make your own experiences and then put that into music that comes from within, not from around you. That’s what the audience relates to the most.
-In terms of sound it’s clear yet not too modern. It feels quite organic. Was it easy to get (production-wise) the sound you had envisioned?
In a way, yes but also no. We clearly can’t predict exactly what it would sound like in the end. That stuff usually gets finalized in the studio with the amp and mic settings and later in the mix. But we did invest a lot of time in recording demo tracks for every song. That way, we were able to fine tune the results, check what works and what doesn’t and even get a slight idea of the possibilities that the mix would give us. Of course, those demos sound kind of horrible compared to the finished product, but that’s not really the point, is it? It’s definitely the way to go if you want to make sure everything’s up to standard in the end. And we believe the difference shows. Having all of the nitty-gritty sorted out beforehand gave us a lot of time for fine tuning and experiments. In a way, that’s what makes the record special and, as you say, organic. There should always be room for the unpredictable.
-The cover artwork is also very 80’s. Tell us a little bit about the work behind it and the ideas you had.
We write our songs with a clear image in mind. When our singer Hannes pens down his lyrics, there’s a whole movie rattling down in his head. „Loose Lips“ was no different. And as soon as we chose it to be our title track, it was clear that those images had to become reality. At this point, we have to thank our photographer Maks Pallas, who later also did an immaculate job manning the camera during the music video shoot, for capturing exactly what we had in mind – and more. We cannot stress enough how important it is to work with people who understand and, better yet, fully stand behind your visions. Maks is absolutely one of those people! Same goes for Celine, our cover model. She is the one that Hannes had in mind from the very beginning. It is incredible that she agreed to do this gig and what she gave us was everything we could’ve hoped for. The story is very much cliché, and that’s intentional. We’ve all seen it before, young girl gets stalked by trench-coated pervert only to turn the tables at the last minute, revealing that she’s more than he could chew. It perfectly embodies the retro feel, borrowing from nostalgia fests such as Michael Jacksons „Thriller“ or „Candy Man“. Creating something never before seen might be the way everyone wants you to go, but at the end of the day, they all come crawling for the good old times. So there we went, studded leather jacket and hairspray hairdo and all. We believe that a good fitting impression is the most important thing of all. And if this cover doesn’t describe what PURSUIT is, we don’t know what will. Fun fact: We shot in February, so that floor was cold as fuck…At least that’s what Antonio, our bassist, told us. He’s the one who portrayed the bleeding body.
-Did you have a clear vision of the kind of music you wanted to play with PURSUIT and how you wanted it to be aesthetically?
In the beginning, not really. We just wanted to make music. It’s a testament to how well all of us fit together, just how coherent the material was. To think that a song like Roadreaper, which was first written out in 2009, would integrate itself so seamlessly between stuff that was written last year, that is incredibly lucky. Yes, there were meetings at the start in which we discussed the style we wanted to embody. But honestly, the riffs that we already had at that point were so strong, we basically just had to sign off on it and wrap it in a nice packaging. The aesthetics came with the lyrics, the stories we wanted to tell. Following that were the musical embellishments, like synths of particular guitar or vocal effects that give the music a certain vibe. And after that, the cover art and photo shootings were merely an act of visualizing what was already fixed in our heads. It’s magical when everything comes together to form something greater than its parts. And we are more than glad that it came out just like we wanted.
-Nowadays there are a lot of bands providing a traditional sound in different subgenres but what would you say makes PURSUIT stand on their own?
Good question. Yeah, there’s a lot going on within the scene at the moment, and honestly… most of it is pretty great. There’s so many different styles of old clashing and forming something new. In a scene that runs this smoothly, we’re not really trying to stick out like a sore thumb. Why should we, the people love the tried and true stuff. And with a genre this versatile, there’s plenty of ways to avoid being stale. We would be crazy to try and establish a countermovement with these conditions. So, to stand out, we simply try to create a good mix of elements that we think haven’t been used enough recently. Of course, that’s just our point of view. There’s so many bands, at least one of them is bound to have at least a similar shtik. But they haven’t crossed our path yet, so we see it as our duty to fill that niche. For us that would be a sleazy and mysterious atmosphere with glam and goth undertones but still heavy and sharp on the edges. It’s nothing to write home about, but we believe the final package is well-rounded and entertaining.
-On the other hand are you aware of what’s going on in the scene these days? Do you enjoy any of those bands taking back a more old school sound?
We are quite aware. Our playlists have been filled with those bands long before we even had the idea to create our own project. Acts like Cauldron, Eternal Champion, Unto Others (back then Idle Hands) or In Solitude, to go a different path. They have been forming our understanding of music for so long now and clearly are part of the reason we started this whole thing in the first place. That’s the great thing about them. One can listen to Judas Priest, for example, and it completely rips. That band is a foundational stone of rock and metal, nobody refutes that. But because they have been doing it for so long, and because they are just that big, there’s always that barrier of „I’m never going to be like them“. And who could forget the „times were different back then“? Sure, that’s pretty drastic, we bet lots of bands started because Priest motivated them. But aren’t those new bands just that much more accessible? They are living examples of how this scene is still active and being a part of it isn’t harder than plugging in your guitar and creating some goddamn music. We love that, and we’d love to someday be one of those bands that serve as role models for a new generation. That thing ain’t over!
-Lyrics cover very usual themes on traditional Hard/Heavy. Do you think sticking to certain stereotypes is almost necessary to build this kind of 80’s aesthetic and to provide something entertaining?
That’s the good thing, there’s a reason these themes are still used today. It’s because they are still relevant. We all love, we have cravings, we feel the pain of loss. Why do we need to reinvent the wheel when these haven’t ceased to be the most relatable topics of all. As a band, it is our job to capture the listener’s emotions on a musical level so that they may process them while listening. If your songs leave the audience cold, that’s a job badly done. And that’s why it doesn’t matter if the themes are stereotypical or not. Of course, you won’t find us rapping about smart phones or stuff like this. That just wouldn’t fit, you’re right there. The rest is really up the personal sentiment.
-You stick in any possible way, from the cover artwork to the sound and themes to a very 80’s style. What’s to you the most important thing in an album of the style? The overall feeling and attitude? The sound? The topics?
It isn’t any of that. What really counts is the sincerity. You can just tell when a band is putting on a facade, dressing up as something that they are not. And that’s what kills a good nostalgia piece. We make music that is very reminiscent of that era, but it is not to copy anything in particular. Those similarities come with the process, if anything. At the end of the day, we just try to be ourselves and write songs that could fit right in our daily playlists. But you won’t catch us wearing something on stage that we would be embarrassed to don in public, just because it is „true“ and „in line with the trend“. If your personal taste is in line, it will reflect on the end result, easy as that. Oh, and synths… synths are important as well.
-And finally what are now your plans after the release of this album? If I’m not mistaken you have self released it. Will you look for a label to issue it?
Well on the short term, we need to get on stage quick. First shows are already confirmed: 28.12.22 in Dresden and 14.01.23 in Leipzig. More will follow, of course. Besides that, we’ll take it as it comes. We have no real aspirations, don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time or anything. Let’s see where this road takes us. Might even be a label deal. We have stopped actively searching for one because the industry is a bit shaky right now and nobody wanted to sign a band that has less than nothing to their name. But maybe that’s about to change now, who knows? We wouldn’t say no. Until then, we’ll do what we do best, playing rock music.
-That’s it from our side. Thanks again for taking your time. If you’d like to add some final words feel free to do it.
It’s been a real pleasure. Thanks to you and everyone reading this. PURSUIT is in the starting blocks for a heavy year 2023. Don’t miss out! „Loose Lips“ is out now!