DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER - Volk-man

\r\nDie Apokalyptischen Reiter is one of the\r\nmost successful bands in Germany. In this interview Volk-man (guitarist) talks\r\nabout the last album "Riders On The Storm", the new DVD that will be out in\r\nJanuary and for many things concerning the band in general. If you are a\r\n"Reitermaniac" the only thing you have to do is to scroll down your mouse...\r\n

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\r\nHello Volk-man! This is Vassilis of the\r\nGreek Metalzone. How are you? Well, there are many questions that haunts my\r\nmind for I am a Reitermaniac too, but in this interview you will find the most\r\n"important". First of all tell me if you are satisfied with Riders On The Storm\r\nso far and if you think that this album likes to the listeners as much as the\r\nothers.\r\n

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\r\nHello Vassilis. I’m fine, thank you. Just came back from a short trip to Croatia, now\r\nwe are looking forward to play the last shows this year on our autumn tour here\r\nin Germany. As you know, we had a little disaster on the spring tour, which was\r\norganized by metallysee agency. They fucked the tour up, so we had to cancel\r\nlots of shows, therefore we are now again on the road to play all the shows,\r\nthat were cancelled and a few more. About "riders..." we love the album\r\nvery much, now after over one year one stage with this album in the backhand I\r\ncan assure you, that it was damn right to do it this way. The songs rock live\r\nwithout end. We got so far the best moshpit and crowdsurfers ever. The new\r\ntunes really really work on a show. I think, the album is a bit more straight\r\nand easier to understand compared to "samurai". It is hard to judge\r\nabout my own works, but, "riders..." is probably more easy listening\r\nand that is always a key for success...\r\n

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\r\nWhich album of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter you think that it’s\r\nthe most successful? In my opinion Have A Nice Trip is the album that made the\r\nband popular...\r\n

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\r\n If it comes\r\nto sales, "riders on the storm" is the best selling album of the band\r\never. Despite the fact of high downloads and illegal copying, we are a band,\r\nthat still grows. Even the record company was surprised, as all bands, no\r\nmatter if in flames or dimmu borgir have sold less units of the actual albums.\r\nBut these days, the sellings are not the only point that counts. With myspace\r\nand other web platforms its pretty easy to promote yourself and I think, the\r\nday will come, when a band does not need a record company anymore. We are in\r\nthe lucky position, to have a huge fanbase, so we are independent enough to\r\ndecide, what to do in the next years. The breakthrough album in my opition was\r\n" all you need is love" if it comes to music and "have a nice\r\ntrip", if it comes to promotion. With both albums, we developed a lot. \r\n

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\r\nDie Apokalyptischen Reiter is not an ordinary band. They are\r\nvery unique and they have something different to offer to the listeners. How\r\ncan you be so unique? How difficult or easy is for a band to create its own\r\nsound?\r\n

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\r\nHard to\r\nsay, what is different. You know, its always hard to speak about the things,\r\nyou do every day. Maybe it the keen combination of characters within the band,\r\nas I told you many times, we all love so different styles of music, we all had\r\nso different ways of learning music. Dr. Pest is a studied Pianist, I’m a self\r\nlearning Grindcore fanatic, you see, we discovered music from different point\r\nand we feel and discuss about our songs really open minded. We are not 5\r\nCannibal Corpse fans, that wear all the time shirts with skulls and take\r\npictures in from of destroyed houses and ruins. That’s the point. We love life,\r\nwe love travelling, we love kids and we enjoy to write songs about all this. So\r\nthe songs come directly from our hearts, there is no artificial barrier, no\r\n"you have to do this way!"-rules. We are open minded artists, that\r\nwant to express inner feelings and emotions as pure as possible.\r\n

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\r\nLet’s go back to Soft And Stronger. Do\r\nyou think that back then you were just metal fans that create an album and now\r\nyou are professionals? Could you please tell us the differences between those\r\neras(then and now)?\r\n

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\r\nLot of\r\nthings have changed. Back that time, we were young, angry teenagers, now we are\r\nold, fat and lazy housemen with wife, children, house and car, haha!! The good\r\nthing, when you are young, you don’t think too long about anything, you just do\r\nit. The older you get, the more you tend to think and think and think before\r\nyou act. That can be good, that can be clever, but sometimes its far away from\r\nbeing spontaneous. So it’s a good thing, to keep the kid and the teenager alive\r\ninside the old man! Beers and drugs may be useful sometime for this! No, just\r\nkidding. In the last 13 years, the band transformed from a young teenage garage\r\nband into a successful band. We are full time musicians, we are the heads of\r\nour own company, we have to deal with tax office, with local authorities, we\r\nhave employees. We have a lot of responsibility!\r\n

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\r\nIs there a "high light" at the histoty of\r\nthe band? Is there anything that you would change if you had the chance?\r\n

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\r\n The whole\r\ndevelopment of the band is a highlight. I never ever thought, that someday my\r\nmusic will bring enough money for a decent living. Of course, there are tons of\r\nstrange parties, events, shows with its small, unforgettable stories, but in\r\nthe end, to sum it up, only the whole thing counts. I used to work as insurance\r\nsalesman, I used to work as a software programmer, so I know, what working\r\nreally means. Sometimes, musicians tend to complain about their hard lifes.\r\nBullshit. The only hard thing, being a musician is, that you are very often far\r\naway from home. But never forget, that it is a big privilege to play on a stage\r\non front of lots of people, that get nuts, when they see you. If I could chance\r\none thing in my life, I would NEVER again sign a contract with those rip off\r\nbastards Hammerheart from Holland.\r\n

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\r\nHave you ever thought the fact to release\r\nan album just in English? As a Greek, its impossible for me to understand most\r\nof your songs but I listen to them because the music is a part of my heart.\r\nApart from this, it’s a fact that We Will Never Die is the song that its well\r\nknown outside Germany. You think that the reason for this are the English\r\nlyrics or because it is just a cool song?\r\n

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\r\nYou have to\r\nface the fact, that we are a German band with German bandname and German\r\nlyrics. In the past, we tried to find an ideal way to combine English and\r\nGerman lyrics, but we often felt, that it was not authentic. Of course, for you\r\nall, that not speak German, this fact must be hard, but I don’t think, we will\r\never quit to sing in our mother language. Also Rammstein would never quit\r\nsinging in German. Its our country, our home, our language and we feel, that’s\r\nour way we have to go. We work with a translator, so we will publish\r\ntranslations of our lyrics on our homepage in near future.\r\n

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\r\nSomeone can say that you don’t care about\r\nyour foreign fans. Only Germans can understand what you say and for us there\r\nare not many things left to mention except "Feel how it feels to shine", "We\r\nwill never die" etc. What can you say about it?\r\n

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\r\nAs answered\r\nearlier, D.A.R is pretty much focused on the German speaking market. Of course,\r\nif you start a band, you want to explore the whole world. But to be honest, you\r\nnever got that much feedback from other countries. It seems, without the\r\nknowledge of the lyrics, the music alone confuses many people. They can’t\r\nunderstand, why we sound so different. We got a lot of great reviews in foreign\r\nmagazines, but the club owners and booking agencies never gave us a real\r\nchange. Of course we’d love to play in Athens, but we never ever got invited,\r\nnot a single request. Without the right contacts, it is always hard to play. I\r\ndo believe, that we would kick ass in Greece too, cause we are unique, have a\r\npowerful show that nobody can ever forget. We played in Czech and Slovenia this\r\nsummer on big open airs. That turned out really good. We had the chance to play\r\nin front of many people, that probably only know our name. Right after the show\r\nwe got asked by a booking agency if we can come back in 2008 for some club\r\nshows. That is the way, it could work in all other countries too. First a big\r\nopen air, then, a year later some club shows. At the moment, the amount of fan\r\nrequests for shows outside Germany is increasing rapidly. So my hope is, that\r\nwe can continue in 2008 our way on European stages.\r\n

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\r\nI’ve\r\nseen you live 2 times. The first one was at With Full Force Festival 2005 and\r\nthe last one was at Summer Breeze Festival 2007. I can say that the live shows\r\nof DAR are a kind of "party" with a lot of energy, passion, good mood, etc. You\r\nthink that it is important for a band to be "energetic" on stage and come\r\ncloser with the fans? At Summer Breeze there were about 30 persons on stage and\r\none of them, was nude!!! Hahaha!!\r\n

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\r\nI saw the\r\nnude guy too. Too bad he was a boy. Our show at Summerbreeze was really really\r\namazing. As you could see, we love to interact with the fans a lot. I think,\r\nit’ boring just to go on stage and play just the songs. Its not so different\r\nfrom putting a cd into the player. The music is only one element of a live\r\nshow. But to have a real killer show, that the people remember long time, it\r\nmust have some special ingredients. Stage acting, good light show, a crowd that\r\nget nuts. Passion, good mood, energy, that all you can get, when you go to one\r\nof our shows. Leave your daily life, all your problems outside the club or put\r\nit to the wardrobe, just enjoy and have a good time.\r\n

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\r\nAll those\r\nyears you have done many tours and live shows. Although there is not an\r\nofficial DVD release. Any plans for the future? I think its very nice to have\r\nan official DVD with a lot of Die Apokalyptischen R eiter’s stuff...\r\n

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\r\nWe will\r\nrelease our first official DVD in January 2008. Named "TOBSUCHT -\r\nReitermania Over Wacken & Party.San". We recorded this years shows in\r\nWacken and Party.San Open Air, we played 2 special shows, one old school show\r\n(only the first 3 records) and a so called new school show, featuring songs\r\nfrom the last three albums. So you will have 120 minutes of superb live action,\r\nhuge sound, fantastic pictures quality. We waited long, until we got the right\r\nbudget from the record company to make it REAL. Nobody needs all those shitty\r\ndvds, that you can find everywhere. Weak cameras, bad sound, just this typical\r\nDVDs you just watch one time. Beside this two shows there will be 2 movies\r\n(every about 25 minutes length), one a about our railway trip to Russia and\r\nUkraine this winter (we played shows in Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg), the\r\nother movie is a kind of a bands portrait, but a very unusual one. It is named\r\n"On weekend with Reitermania". We had a camera team with us, that\r\nfilmed us during one weekend, when we were on the way to a show. So all the\r\nimpressions, you can imagine. Interviews, backstage filming, landscapes, road\r\nimpression. Don’t worry, it will contain English subtitles ;-). It will be\r\nreleased as DVD, as Audio double CD (only Wacken and Party.San shows) and a\r\nlimited deluxe edition, that will contain the DVD & the audio CDs. So fans\r\ncan choose, which format they prefer.\r\n

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\r\nAs I\r\nknow, there are many fans in Greece who wants to see you live. Which is the\r\nreason that you have never been here? Are you interested in a live shown in\r\nAthens?\r\n

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\r\nI think, I\r\nalready answered this. If you know clubs in Athens, if you know organizers,\r\npromoters, booking agencies, clubs - just tell them, they should contact us. We\r\nare willing to play (of course), but of course, we need somebody, who really\r\nwants to do the show with us in your country (or town).\r\n

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\r\nDie Apokalyptischen Reiter is a\r\nband to express your feelings and have a good time when you play and compose\r\nmusic or it’s a job to aim profits? The members of the band have their own jobs\r\napart from the band?\r\n

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\r\nIt’s far\r\naway from being a job. It is the best thing in life, we are really happy, that\r\nwe can live from our music. Of course, everybody in the band loves to do things\r\nbeside the band. Our singer is a painter, I write as a freelance journalist for\r\nsome magazines. As we are independent, of course, you have to think a lot, you\r\nhave to make decisions. As we manage the band ourselves, we also have to deal\r\nwith partners, make contracts about everything, as you can imagine. But I love\r\nthat selfmade style, cause we love to have the things under our control. Too\r\nmany bands sign bullshit contracts with Rip Offs and get frustrated and\r\nbankrupt sooner or later. If you want to survive in the business, you can’t\r\nplay guitar 24 hours a day. So you have to take care a lot about thousands of\r\nthings. Being self responsible is not always the easiest way, but the most\r\nfulfilling, that’s for sure.\r\n

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\r\nAre we\r\ngoing to have a new album of DAR soon? If not, when are we going to?\r\n

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\r\nThere are\r\n10 new songs ready. More or less. We had a lot to do with preparing the shows\r\nfor the DVD, with all the editing, the layouts, as I told you, everything is on\r\nour hands. But since spring this year, we are also in the writing process for\r\nthe new album. We will record it in spring 2008 and it will be out end of\r\nAugust 2008. I really have no opinion at the moment about the whole album.\r\nSongs change very often, sometimes 2 times a week. We have tons of riffs and I\r\nhave a good feeling about the album. Great ideas, unique stuff, but as I told\r\nyou, we are in the middle of a marathon. Much is possible. You will get a wide\r\nspectrum. Harsh stuff, intense stuff, chilled moods, airy compositions, tragic\r\nmoments. But definitely Reiter style. If you look at our back catalogue, you\r\ncan easily see, that we are not a band, that is too limited on a certain style.\r\n

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\r\nAre you\r\nsatisfied with the contract with Nuclear Blast so far? For how many albums is\r\nit?\r\n

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\r\n The new\r\nalbum will be the last (probably) we record for them. Everything is possible.\r\nI’d love to prolong the contract with them (I think, they want us to stay), but\r\nsince 2003, when we signed with them, many things have changed and of course,\r\ndue to the huge success of the band here in Germany, also other labels seem to\r\nbe interested in signing us. I can’t and won’t speak more, because this is\r\nsomething, that is not related to the music. We are very happy with Nuclear\r\nBlast right now, they did good jobs in the past. We will decide after the next\r\nalbum, what will be the best for the band. As you know, the whole market, as we\r\nknow it from the last 20 years, seems to explode sooner or later. I don’t know,\r\nwhat will happen to record labels, if the development of self-promotion\r\nplatforms like Myspace will take the next steps. I’m sure, in the near future,\r\neverything, you might to know about the music business, could be totally wrong.\r\nThere are only two things, that really count: The Music and the listener.\r\nEverything between (record label, distribution, managers) are just things, that\r\nCOST. In a standard record contract, a band usually gets 2 EUR for every sold\r\ncd. But what costs a cd in the shops? 16 EUR, 18 EUR, 20 EUR. So if I refuse to be a part of the OLD business, that could mean for a\r\nband: why signing a record deal? Just turn you webpage on, promote it yourself,\r\noffer downloads of the COMPLETE album for 2 EUR in best quality! With cover,\r\nwith booklet. Where is the difference? It’s the industry between bands and\r\nfans, that makes the most of the profit, that makes prices high. So therefore,\r\nit is quite hard, to answer your question. We are thinking a lot, what comes\r\nnext and what is the best for the band!\r\n

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\r\nOK, Thank\r\nyou so much for you time and for the interview!! I hope to see you in Greece\r\none day and ... Keep the faith, you know where you belong!!! Haha! The last words\r\nbelongs to you mate...\r\n

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\r\nThanks for the\r\ninterview. Hopefully, Greece will be on our agenda very soon. We heard, there\r\nare some great metal summer open airs. If you know addresses, let us know. Or\r\nbetter. Ask your local promoter, if he can invite the hottest German band,\r\nthat’s around these days. We are ready to bring the madness to Greece. Stay tuned\r\nfor our DVD, it comes in\r\nJanuary 2008. More infos, a trailer, online shop you can find on\r\nwww.myspace.com/reitermania. Ride on!\r\n

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\r\nVassilis Mazaris \r\n

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