Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ostrogoth Interview

 1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Hahaha way tooooo much to mention to keep it brief…. But I’ll try to anyway. The band did a reunion show back in 2010 at the Ages of Metal festival with 4 original members, being besides Grizzly on drums, also Bronco on bass, Red Star on vocals and WhiteShark on guitars. After that show, and with the Up the Hammers 2011 festival already booked, their second guitar player left the band, and Grizzly contacted me to join the tribe. I’d played with Grizzly a decade before in a progressive rock band, so we knew each other quite well. After the very successful show in Athens, we were to play KIT, but an unfortunate accident caused White Shark to recover for almost a year. (He nearly lost his hand). So our appearance at KIT was moved to 2012! In the months before our appearance it became clear that singer Red Star wasn’t really motivated anymore to give it a 100 percent and we decided to move on without him. It was obvious that the show at KIT was a make or break, and every person involved wanted it to last instead of being there on stage with Ostrogoth for the very last time. So we found new singer Josey Hindrix and he had the difficult task to learn all songs in about 5 weeks. We performed at KIT and everything went superb. We played a great show, and above all expectations, the fans went beserk!! Ostrogoth was back again. The year after saw us doing the “30th Anniversary Full Moon’s Eyes “ tour and having us do more then 35 shows in a lot of European countries. At the end of 2013, Bronco decided to take a step back due to physical problems and the combination of job/family and the band. So in came Stripe, a very talented bassplayer I’ve known for over 20 years !
Meanwhile, things went so well, that we started thinking about writing some new stuff… So we did, and “Last Tribe Standing” is the actual result of that!

2.Recently you had released an ep that was half new material and the other half live tracks, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on your newer songs and also how do they differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

That’s a good question. When we started thinking about the new material, we immediately bared in mind that it shouldn’t be that much different then what we did on the heydays of the band in the mid-80’s . Although the musical landscape has changed significantly during those 30 years, and all of the “new” members have very different musical preferences, it was clear that we had to continue the legacy of Ostrogoth in the most logical way, namely try to have the new album sound like a logical follow-up on the early material, just like if it would have been only two years after the latest release , and not 28 years hahaha…

3.The band was broken up from 88 to 2002 but reunited briefly but disbanded again until 2010, what was the cause of the split and also the decision to reform?

The band split up in the 80’s due to a lack of promotion by the record company. To be quite clear, the latest album in 1988 “feelings of fury”, showed a band that was already reformed with new members, changing the original sound too much, and writing too different sounding tracks compared to the earlier stuff. The fans didn’t like it , the record company did basically nothing to promote, and touring promises made by certain people didn’t become reality. All of this made the band split up until 2002 where there was a question for a reunion show at the “Biebob” for the 25 anniversary of Mausoleum Records. The band played some reunion concerts and was disbanded again for some years until 2010, when Ages of Metal wanted Ostrogoth to play another reunion concert. And here we are, in 2015!

4.While the band has officially back together until 2010, you waited until 2015 to release any newer music, can you tell us a little bit more about the long wait?

Well, as stated before, we reformed to do some reunion concerts, at first we didn’t think that much about new music. We did a lot of festivals, and the “Full Moon’s Eyes” tour, but then we heard our fans start to ask for new music. Also, we had more and more fans showing up again at concerts, both old and young!!!!
So we started experimenting with riffs  at rehearsals, but the accidents with WhiteShark and the bringing of 3 new members took its time to have them fit in the unique Ostrogoth style and sound.
And honostly, we aren’t that fast writers hahaha… However, I can confirm that we have some more music written as we have recorded, but for this new start, we wanted it to be an EP basically, just as we did back in 1983 with “ Full Moon’s Eyes.”

5.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Well, nearly everything is possible when we write our lyrics, although dragons and castles will most likely not appear hahahaha… Also, we avoid political issues as well as religion. Most of the time, lyrics handle about modern society and the way mankind behaves , like “No Risk Taken” . Or about the metal community and how other people outside think of us metalheads. Or for the fans, who have waited such a long time for new material, as in “ Return to the Heroes Museum”…  Clouds is about the first victim of the infamous Red Baron, in the first World War! You see, all kinds of topics are displayed in the lyrics!

6.I know that the band was named after a Germanic tribe, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?

Well, before Ostrogoth, Bronco and Grizzly played together in a band called Stonehenge.They had a kind of bluesy (hard)rock thing going on. And then they started listening to bands like Scorpions and Judas Priest. They altered their sound, became a heavy metal band, and changed the name. Out of some 60 proposals came the name Ostrogoth, which sounded fierce and fitted well with the musical direction!

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?

Every show the band gives its 110 percent to please the fans, they are the reason the band exists and they pay their well- earned money to see us. But if I have to pick out some of the finest moments, I’d say our show last year in Innsbruck, Austria, that was a feast from the first tones of the intro tape until the final chord! Crazy… Keep It True of course…. And playing at Rock For Specials, a two-day festival with more then 7000 visitors with only mental and physical disabled people! Definitely the most heart-warming concert I’ve ever played in my entire career!

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

At this moment, we are currently promoting the new album through a bunch  of concerts in Belgium. In May, we’ll be going to the USA for the first time to perform at the “Ragnarokkr Metal Festival”, together with some other great bands like Q5, Liege Lord, The Rods and Nuclear Assault. Looking very much forward to playing there! Hopefully, we can add some European dates this year, but if not, we’ll do everything possible to do a European tour early 2016.

9.A year back the band did a Lethal cover, what was the decision behind doing your own version of one of their songs?

Bart Gabriel from Skoll Records and Oli Weinsheimer from KIT wanted to have a special CD, with bands who had performed at the festival playing songs from another band who’d performed there. We were asked to participate, and so we did. I’m a big fan of Lethal, so I proposed the song “Plan of Peace” to the guys, together with songs from bands like Armored Saint, Vicious Rumors , Crimson Glory etc... We voted, and out came the track from Lethal! Actually we recorded two versions of the song, an electric and acoustic version, both are on the CD, with the acoustic version as a special hidden track!

10.The ep was released on Empire Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
It’s a smaller label situated in Belgium, not that far from where we live. Owner Tony has been a true fan of the band since the start, and it’s always been his dream to have us make a cd and vinyl for his record label. Although small, Empire Records works quite hard to make it’s way up, bringing nice quality cd and vinyl products to the fans. Next to us, they also did the first EP from Evil Invaders, Medieval Steel and they will release an new Warlord CD this summer.

11.On a worldwide level how as the feedback been to your reunion by fans of metal?

Really well I have to say. A lot of old-school fans are aware of our return and the reactions are overwhelming. We can only be humble and thank the fans for their continuous support towards the band, and we hope to see as many of them during our concerts!

12.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Mmmm not sure yet… I think we will start writing at the end of this year, but as I already stated before, we still have some songs written that weren’t recorded for “The Last Tribe…” Musically I think we won’t change that much, since fans expect nothing less but to hear the genuine Ostrogoth sound, which is a good song, sometimes epic, with nice twin guitar harmonies and a good-sounding vocal line , adventurous riffs and strong fierce rhythms.

13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I’m into all kinds of music, or almost all kinds hahaha… not really into that techno and drum ‘n bass style of music… but furthermore… for me, there’s good and bad music, in all kinds of styles and blends. I’m a big fan of Toto and Foreigner, but also of bands like Death Angel, Dream Theater or Muse, or John Scofield, Genesis and Heathen!
And don’t forget the real classics, like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Priest… or old-school US metal bands like Omen, Liege Lord and Armored Saint! I think our musical style sure holds those NWOBHM influences combined with some US metal parts (at least that’s what I like to think)!

14.What are some of your non musical interests?

Basically spending time with my 3-year old daughter, she’s growing up so fast and I have to miss a great deal of it, being on the road quite a few times a year with Ostrogoth or my other bands I play in. I love bicycle racing and football and watching some nice TV series, like “Game of Thrones” and “ The Blacklist”. I’m also watching those Monty Python films over and over all the time, which drives my wife crazy, hahahaha...

15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

First I’d like to thank you for this interview and the interesting questions. To the fans, please check out our latest effort “Last Tribe Standing”, available through Empire Records on CD, vinyl or digital download, either legal or illegal, hahahaha… And hope to see you somewhere on the road! That’s basically it for now, live your lives like you want to, and love and respect one another, the world would be the perfect place then!

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