By Morgan Y. Evans
“Good Man” is probably my favorite song. It really shows how versatile Caliban is now and pulls the listener in from the moment the intro starts. Can you talk about writing that one?
Andy (vocals): First of all: Thank you very much!!!
I would love to tell you everything about the writing process for “Good Man”, but I was not really involved in the process, because Marc is doing all the music together with our producer Benny Richter. But i can tell you about the lyrics of course ; )
We were looking for a strong issue for this one, because of the dark and emotional mood in the song/ music. So we thought about a man who is facing death, lying on his deathbed while he’s reflecting his life…he is all alone and understands that he did everything wrong in his life and specially in his relationship, that he was never a “good man” and in the end he dies alone!!!
How was it getting Matt from Trivium to drop guest vocals on the ltd. bonus track “Falling Downwards’? Heafy has been doing so much cool stuff lately from working to both David Draiman and Ihsahn and now this!!!
Marc (Guitar): We are very proud that Matt joined one of our songs. We know him since the shadow hearts album, he is an huge Caliban fan and we met him first time in the states many years ago. He told us, he was standing in the first row when we played the new England metal fest. So before we recorded ghost empire, we were on tour with trivium and we were really impressed how good these guys are nowadays.
When it came to, who could do guest vocals on our album, Matt was the first person who came up into my mind. During the writing process, we played with them on an festival in hamburg, so I asked Matt if he would join one of our songs, and he said immediately yes. After a short time, he arranged an full song with his vocals. We were really impressed and very glad that he joined us.
2013 was a great year for underground crossover music from All Pig Must Die and Dead In The Dirt to even bands like Impending Doom or Leaders, from a different religious viewpoint still crushing it. But it seems even if bands disagree spiritually that a lot of idea exchange and camraderie still takes place in the “better” part of the scene. It is cool to see Devil Wears Prada tour with bands who aren’t Christian, for example. I was thinking about this because your record name Ghost Empire reminds me that most things, Rome, society, civilization through history tend to fall apart when different groups can’t agree and go to war. Do you think the metal scene is strong or weak? More open or closed minded?
Andy: I think the metal scene is strong and open minded, at least in the last couple years. The progress of the scene in the last years was mostly positive i think. The kids show more tolerance for each other and accept more different styles and not just their own…it’s not always like that, but it’s on a good way. And iIthink that the people in Germany don’t really care it a band is Christian or not, it’s not like in the US. The Germans care more about the sound and music instead of the religious point of view.
German Metalcore is some of the best in the world, wouldn’t you agree? It is in your interest to agree, haha. But really, why do you think yourselves and some of the bands from your country are up their with the greats of the New England/east Coast Metalcore scene? There is so much passion in what you do and it really comes out in both the songs and live setting.
Marc: Actually I do not listen to a lot of Metalcore music, so if you say German Metalcore is the best, I will agree with you, haha. Puh, I don ́t know, we are playing this kind of music for so many years now, the sound changed a bit, it turned out more modern, but we still love this kind of music, especially this combination of aggressive and melodic parts. I think this is a good method to process emotions.
What was the hardest part about tracking Ghost Empire and did you accomplish your goals?
Andy: One of our goals was to bring our sound on a new level and create something more powerful like the previous album “I am Nemesis”. We’ve got very good reviews and responding for “I am Nemesis”, so it was hard for us to top that one…but I think we did it!!! The sound is improved and even more aggressive, rough and brutal then before. And one new part is of course the fact, that I do some of the clean vocals on “Ghost Empire”. That was the first time for me doing this and it felt really strange doing it in the beginning, but after a little while I liked it and I’m really happy with the result!!! I hope the people will like it too!? So the main goal was simply to take the next step!
How do you feel about Slayer still going on without Jeff(R.I.P.) or Dave? I think that if it isn’t the original line-up tha Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph are really the only other acceptable version and are both awesome dudes.
Marc: I must confess, I never was a big Slayer fan. The only album I really liked was reign in blood, I even got this one on picture vinyl. If you ask me, they should stop playing live. Sometimes it ́s better to keep something in good remembrance. It ́s always difficult, to replace band members who are in a band for so many years. People are used to them and they don ́t want to see another person doing his job. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Good example, Iron Maiden without bruce does not work for me. But if people are still doing the slayer choirs in concerts, I doubt that they will quit their musical career.
“Wolves and Rats” is another standout. What is that one about? Pretty bad ass track.
Andy: “Wolves and Rats” is a perception of an “apocalypse” or a world after a nuclear blast where everything is dead and gone. It’s a nightmare of a man who tries to survive in a fucked up world.
When you are on stage and a fan is screaming all the words or going apeshit to a particular great riff from your past, how does it feel knowing people care about your music so much? I think fans will love “Your Song” live!
Andy: It’s always a great feeling of course. I don’t care if it’s an old song or a new one, I just want everyone to be happy during our set. It’s all about having fun, having a good time, forgetting sorrows for a while…I really hope that the people will like the song, because we just wrote this one for them. “yOUR Song” is made for our fans to say thank you for all the years and all their support, blood and sweat!!! We wouldn’t be there where we are without YOU guys, so THANKS and “here’s to YOU”!!!
Lastly, is there any band who you have toured with where you thought it might be weird but it turned out great?
Marc: So far we were lucky, almost every band we were on tour with turned out pretty great. The only thing that comes into my mind was in Australia. We were on that short giant tour with Megadeth. We heard some weird things about Dave Mustaine, so we didn ́t now what to expect. So the first day, we were in front of the stage while Megadeth did their soundcheck, and Dave told
us to leave the hall. So we left it and went to our dressing room. When they were done, Dave came to our dressing room, said “hi, i ́m Dave, cool to have you guys on board.Sorry that you guys had to leave the hall, but I was uncertain, because we were practicing new songs and I wanted to focus on them.” So this one turned out pretty great as well, the first impression was wrong.
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Caliban Tour Dates:
20.03.14 ISTANBUL – Jolly Joker
21.03.14 BUCHAREST – Fabrica Club
22.03.14 ATHENS – Seven Sins Club
23.03.14 THESSALONIKI – Eightball Club
04.05.2014 Frankfurt, Batschkapp
06.05.2014 Köln, Live Music Hall
07.05.2014 Hamburg, Grosse Freiheit 36
08.05.2014 Berlin, Huxleys Neue Welt
09.05.2014 Leipzig, Werk 2
10.05.2014 Münster, Skaters Palace
11.05.2014 Stuttgart, LKA Longhorn
13.05.2014 Nürnberg, Löwensaal
14.05.2014 Wien (AT), Arena
15.05.2014 Roncade (IT), New Age Club
16.05.2014 Milano (IT), Factory Club
17.05.2014 Zürich (CH), Komplex 457
18.05.2014 München, Theaterfabrik
20.05.2014 Amsterdam (NL), Melkweg
21.05.2014 Southampton (UK), Mo Club
22.05.2014 Plymouth (UK), The White Rabbit
23.05.2014 Preston (UK), 54 Degrees