RALF: Well, we were working hard on issues. We put lots of sweat and tears in the process of finding out what our main goals for Vanish are. We really wanted “the big deal”, so we completely focused ourselves to achieve this goal. Nearly every day we worked on the strategy, the positioning and how to go into the negotiation. At the end we were successful and got our sponsoring deal with the best brewery, DINKELACKER, in Stuttgart. Free beer for the band. That’s awesome! So our creativity in the songwriting will be endless now. Besides that we signed a record deal with Massacre Records, also a very nice fact. But a beer deal is the best you can get with a band. We made it! (laughs)
BASTI: We really want to spread the word and want the people to know the name “VANISH” and associate it with killer songs and quality music. So we go out have a couple of beers with our fans and try to play our asses off to recruit more and more fans.
2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound of the new recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
RALF: I think we have grown up and we have found our style now. Our old songs are way more influenced by classical 80s metal. Not bad, but we wanted the good old music to sound refreshed and modernized. So some years ago we changed our sound more into modern metal with 7 string guitars, samples and loops. So today you can hear the good old trademarks of the 80s with guitar riffs, great solos and nice melodies combined with newer, harder elements that give the music the “ass-kick factor”.
BASTI: We try to be the real deal and stand behind the songs we have put out on this album. There is not one song that I consider a filler. So from the get go we wanted to make a balanced album that has lyrical and musical themes that come and go. Some of these recurring themes are very subtle, but we have always wanted to make a record that people can listen to dozens of times and still discover new things.
3.I have noticed that the album title is the same as the 2010 ep, how is the concept of the new album related to the ep?
RALF: Correct, the EP was recorded in 2010. This pre-EP of the album was a first try to define our new style. After we recorded and published the EP we sent it to some labels and online mags to receive some feedback. We wanted to get an idea if our new style is welcome in the scene. After many positive results and some offers we decided to continue that way. Over the next 2 years we wrote new songs and recorded the whole album COME TO WITHER.
BASTI: We rerecorded the tracks from scratch, so there is no leftover material on the new album. We have had some lineup trouble before 2010, so that year was really the formation of the band you can hear and see today.
4.There has been only a small amount of releases from the past during its 14 years, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap between releases?
RALF: As I mentioned already the band was initially a much more traditional metal band. After the SEPARATED FROM TODAY record we decided to refresh our music. That took a while and we had some discussions and lineup changes. When we decided what way to go, there was a lot of work in writing new songs and redesign the whole identity. We have also high expectations to our own quality, we don´t want to release songs which we do not support 100%.
At the end we now have the perfect lineup for VANISH. Our musical skills are pretty equal, we know exactly where we want to go and the chemistry between us is very good.
BASTI: Everyone asks about the 14 years. But we had different projects and day jobs. So before 2010 VANISH was never the priority, as we never really considered it to be that relevant and successful. But when we found our lineup we realized that people really dig what we are doing. We rarely played a gig without great response from the audience. So we decided “Let’s do this!”
5.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
BASTI: The concept of the record pretty much deals with today’s corruption of society through fundamentalism for example or power struggles that in the end will make the world a worse place to live on. So we express this in an extreme metaphorical way through the apocalyptic allegory in the songs and the artwork. But it is not a hopeless or depressing record. It is basically about the ability of humanity to redeem itself and pull itself out of this mess. So it is not a concept record, but most or all of the songs very loosely with these ideas. However, I believe we did not make it sanctimonious or preachy, you can still shout the lyrics after ten beers (laughs).
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Vanish'?
RALF: We had a first lineup change and a complete new direction of our music from hardrock to metal in 2000, so we were looking for a new name. It is really hard to find a good name for a band. The name has to be unique and good to remember. After checking out many possibilities and some internet research we find out that there is no other metalband that is called Vanish. We also like that you can play with the meaning in some lyrics. So we committed to this name. After that a big and famous company for chemicals has been inspired by our music a band name that they decided to bring out cleaning products to promote our music. We appreciate this marketing and promotion support, worldwide. So our record-sales will soon shoot through the ceiling.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
BASTI: I think our music works best in medium sized venues – if they are full (laughs) But our music has some big, epic moments, so we benefit from big lighting and huge speakers. But we like to be still close to the fans and really have fun.
We consider our performance to be very grounded and in your face. We have no bells and whistles or theatrical performances. We want to show real emotion in our performance everything else would get in the way. So we go out and rock, cry, shout and jump – then we hope everyone is happy and tired.
RALF: Of course it was very cool to support the big names like Queensryche, but I prefer the smaller shows in clubs. There is way more energy and feedback from the fans. Our stage performance is pretty crappy. We are all ugly and old and nobody likes to move on the stage. It is so boring, you have to come to a gig and see this!
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
RALF: We are playing some shows in the region to promote our album. Touring is rather difficult for us because all of us are working in day jobs J. We will concentrate 2015 to play some festivals.
BASTI: WACKEEEEEN!!! (laughs)
9.The new album had the singer of Primal Fear as a quest, can you tell us a little bit more about his performance and contribution on the album?
RALF: We first had no contact to Ralf Scheepers, our engineer Axel Heckert showed him some of our tracks in the Studio while we were recording. Ralf liked the music and offered to sing a little bit on the record as a favor. We of course appreciated this offer and send him some playbacks. We also met him in our rehearsal room to have a DINKELACKER and listen to the great Rock Star stories he told us. We are very happy with the result, it sounds great and it is the icing on the cake.
10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of power and progressive metal?
RALF: So far the feedback is way better than we all expected. The reviews are great and we already see a growing fanbase on facebook and twitter. We were pretty surprised what songs are the favorites of the people that reviewed us. Our impression is differing constantly. And we were not sure if there will be critique of the variation in our music. We expected that the journalists write something that we would have no clear style. But we like the issue that nobody can put us in a single category, very good to write interesting music for different metal people.
BASTI: We are really happy. But we have a bone to pick with one of the big magazines (laughs)
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
RALF: We completed our style and trademarks since we were composing the Come to Wither songs. We like the music we write ourselves and want to keep the style pretty similar to Come to Wither. That means our new Songs are having some progressive, some rock, some powermetal parts as well as we continue to metal it up a little bit with more thrash. We want to keep our songs and records interesting and innovative so the modern party with some electronics, samples and loops will rest, but on the other hand we don´t want to hide our origin and try to include the good old classic metal. We try to put this balancing act on CD, which I think, was successful so far.
BASTI: Ralf put it very well. I think from my point of view, we will have a bit more programming go on. So the keys will be more programmed than played, as we switched in our live shows from live keyboards to backing tracks. So I think we will incorporate more loops and electronics to accompany our killer riffs. We have a lot of ideas. I think the next one will be the longest song we have ever recorded. Lyrically it will go into a more psychological direction. What makes us human and why are some people not functioning in the world.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
RALF: This is not an easy question because everybody from us has different influences. We all started listening to metal in the 80s and 90s (except Tommy, he already started in the early years of metal because he is very old).When we were teenagers metal was in the “speed and loudness” phase. We listened to the German power metal heroes like Blind Guardian, Running Wild, Helloween. After that the US Power Metal and the Scandinavian bands was our music. As a musician you are getting better and with this development your claim to the music becomes more and more progressive. We all like the Prog heroes and like listening for example to Queensryche, Savatage, Dream Theater and Symphony X. In the last few years we (re-)discovered many great thrash bands like Testament, Kreator, Artillery, Exodus and of course the mighty Slayer. Last but not least there is a big influence by melancholic bands and modern metal bands. As you can see there are lot of different influences that also take place in our music. At the end we all prefer melodic songs with interesting arrangement and a good groove.
BASTI: When I came to VANISH I was pretty much done with metal. I listened to it religiously when I was a teenager, but then I moved on to other influences – more into the 70s (Gentle Giant, Yes, Kansas, etc.) and pun krock. Currently I am really into folk and singer/songwriter stuff. So if you listen closely you can find all these influences in our music. If you sing and play piano or keys…metal is not your first influence. I am also a huge Beatlemaniac.
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
RALF AND BASTI: DRINKING BEER!
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
RALF: First of all I l want to thank you for your support, additionally I like to recommend our Video “SILENCE” HYPERLINK "http://youtu.be/gwIcFa975h4" http://youtu.be/gwIcFa975h4 to your readers. Visit us on facebook or twitter and drop us a comment.
Answers: Bastian (vocals) & Ralf (drums)