Interview with Markus Ullrich of LANFEAR
Hi guys, we are really happy having an interview with you. How are you?
Pretty good so far. Reviews and all reactions are fantastic and though we make music for ourselves it's always cool to get some positive feedback.
First of all congratulations for your new album, it's really great. What are the first reactions from the fans?
They really seem to like the new stuff but we never had problems with that. Would be interesting to attract more fans this time, though :)
As the creators of this album are you satisfied with it, is there anything that you would like to change?
There's always a point where you have to stop and be satisfied. This time we wanted a heavier production and we managed that. The mix was done one year ago and I'm still very happy with it. For the first time there's really nothing I want to change. But I also have to admit that I'm not one of those persons who look back. I'm more interested in what happens next.
Who are responsible for the lyrics and who for the music?
I wrote the music for all songs except for "Word Not Spoken" which was written by our keyboarder Richie. Of course there're always some changes when we rehearse the songs so everybody is integrated in the process. Our singer Nuno did the lyrics, I think that's how it should be.
Whose idea was to combine those mexican/spanish guitar parts such as in "The Reverend" and in "Camera Silens" with the main prog/power ideas? I must tell that it was a successful result. And about the jazz touch in "Colours Of Chaos"?
Hehe, this was my idea - glad you like it. I always try to integrate new influences. The parts in "The Reverend" and "Camera Silens" were pretty easy and it was a natural process while writing the stuff. The jazzy part in our opener was more difficult and we tried dozens of different ideas in the rehearsal room. I really wanted a kind of swing feeling. At first it always sounded as if a metal band would try to play jazz and that's what we wanted to avoid. The more simple we played, the better it sounded. Of course it's also cool that I don't play the guitar in that part so there's enough time to drink some beer while the other guys swing...
What was your inspirations while you were preparing the songs, especially the lyrics? Is there anything that annoys you in our world?
I'm not the guy who writes the lyrics but I can tell you that there're lots of things that annoy me and the same applies to Nuno. I can assure you :D There's no special mood I need to write music, there're always some melodies or riffs spinning around in my head.
Who loves most Fates Warning in the band? You achived to put them very gently under your personal sound.
I think we all like them but Ray Alder definitely is one of Nunos biggest idols. When in a certain mood sometimes they sound very similar. I mean you really can't compare the vocal melodies. It's more the style of singing. There're two parts on the album which really sound as FW but this was pure intention - a kind of hommage. Nuno is more into the later stuff while I'm more a fan of the early phase - can't speak for the rest. To say that FW were our biggest influence would be totally wrong, though. They're one out of thousands bands we love. Sometimes people compare us, sometimes not. Some people compare us with Dream Theater or Symphony X which I really don't understand at all. Maybe they don't know other bands, don't get it :D
What are the plans right now, are you in any tour, are you going to visit some countries? Or are yougoing to gather ideas for a new material?
We'd like to do some gigs and then we play the Prog Power festival in Atlanta later this year. Some festivals would be cool but until now nothing's confirmed. There'll be no tour but if anybody's interested to book us feel free to contact us.
You have six albums 'till now. How many others do you plan to record, or you prefer to think more open and not making plans that may be overthrowed?
There're absolutely no plans.
Which is you favorite album from those six?
I'd say no. 5 and 6 simply because these two albums contain the best songs.
Now I want to ask you something really important. Why do you believe that Lanfear don't have yet a place among the big names of prog/power? Actually I don't think that there are many names apart from Symphony X. For example I was very excited when I heard your new album, that I said everywhere that I found the best prog/power album for 2012 by a band that can be as high as Symphony X and someone told me "stop saying that". Why is this happening?
Really can't tell you that. Most fans seem to don't know anything else than the big names and sometimes I think they also don't want to know more. It's more interesting to bash other stuff instead of being open minded and actually listen to it. It's also not that easy to for a German band in Germany. I mean we released album no. 6 and we always delivered quality stuff and received fantastic reviews. Did you see our name on the billing on one of all those big summer festivals? No. Why not? I don't know...I mean we play the ProgPower in Atlanta this year but have no single offer in Germany. A bit strange, at least :D Sometimes it's a bit frustrating but in the end we don't play music to be successful. We play music because we want to do so - that's it :)
What's your opinion about the metal music scene nowadays? Are you satisfied, is there anyhting that should be different, may with the labels?
I think labels are not as important as they were 10-15 years ago. What bores me to death is all that retro shit. I mean there're bands with guys who are 20 years old and pretend to live in the 80s. Most of them are copycats and there's one small problem with that. Copycats are never as good as the originals! It's a kind of trend to be "underground" with the exception that all those bands don't really know what underground means. Another thing: Lots of festivals, always the same bands...how boring is that?
Tell me about your thoughts of the artworks, how important do you think they are? I am asking you this because of your beautiful artwork in "This Harmonic Consonance". Should the bands have artworks making them in computers or by hand?
Depends on the stuff you like or the stuff that fits. I think there's no master plan. This is the first artwork of all our artworks I really like. Of course you always hope for something that really fits to the music and this time we had all the luck :)
Lanfear exist since 1993. How much has the band changed and what you personally have learnt from your career until now?
Don't believe anybody :D We really haven't changed as persons. We're better musicians, better songwriters and old farts but in the end the motivation is the same. To write good songs and record good albums and to have fun.
More and more new bands are being created and try to do their best. What do you suggest to the new musicians?
Rehearse! Learn to play your instruments before entering a studio. For me it's sometimes horrible to listen to those new cult bands who simply are not able to play and with singers who simply aren't able to sing. I mean I'm the first one who says "feeling over technicality" but hey! You should be fucking able to play your own songs :) Listen to other stuff, learn to arrange, train your ears! You don't have any influence on anything else what might happen, so this is the only thing I can suggest.
Well, thank you again very much for your interview in Metalfields and I wish to you and to the band the best. Is there anything last you would like to add or to send a message to the fans of the band?
This is always the last question and in the meantime I'm afraid of this question because I tend to repeat myself :D Thanx for your interest, check us out and be true to yourself!
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