An Interview With Mondstille
Austrian band, Mondstille, was brought to my perception almost two years ago, by a good friend of mine, zedalone, who recommented them to me. Since then, their music has been a really good company to me, because I was allured by their combination of extreme metal and acoustic tunes. Thus, but also, on the occasion of their majestic second full length, Seelenwund, I decided to ask zedalone, who had established a good liaison with them, if he can arrange an interview with the band. That was it, the band accepted and David, it's guitarist, answered the questions that together, me and zedalone, prepared.
You were formed as a duo writing mostly acoustic tunes but soon more members joined the band and your approach to music became more extreme. Would you please tell us a bit about those early days of the band and it's evolution?
We always wanted to do just the music we wanted to listen to. After some jam sessions we founded "Mondstille" and found us some great additional musicians. After some up's and down's, loosing and winning band members, we are now at that point where we intended "Mondstille" to be, and that feels great. We define our music as "Emotional Black Metal" and it has always been 100% honest.
In your debut, Am Ende, you combined this two different directions by making an album half electric and half acoustic. In Seelenwund you have acoustic breaks within the songs. To be honest I miss your acoustic side. I was wondering if you still write pure acoustic stuff and if we are going to hear such a release from you in the future.
At first, we wanted to do the same on "Seelenwund" as we did on "Am Ende Ι", half acoustic and half metal songs. But as we started writing the new songs we decided not to repeat that but instead, developing our style of metal songs with acoustic parts. There are some acoustic songs left and maybe we'll write an acoustic album in the future but if we'd record one, it'd definitely be different from the acoustic stuff on "Am Ende Ι". But at the moment I really can't tell if we'd ever do this.
I've noticed that you've never had a steady drummer in your line up so far and also, the ones that helped you in studio and/or in concerts were not the same persons every time. Why's that?
After playing together for about 2 years we parted ways with our first drummer Phil. Krimh (Decapitated) played the drums on "Am Ende Ι", Abayer (Horns of Hattin) and Marthyn (Belphegor) played some shows and the drums on "Seelenwund" were programmed. All these years since the split we were searching for a new drummer but it didn't work out. I don't know why but it seems like we're not the kind of style drummers in Vienna like to play. It really sucks, to be honest.
What are your main musical influences? And what are your favorite artists/bands?
There are many kinds of music or artists that influence our own work and for everyone of us, they're different. In our early days we were mainly inspired by bands like Dornenreich, Nagelfar (the germans), Tenhi, Empyrium and similar stuff. It was like "that music is so great, we have to do the same in our way", but today we're just writing stuff without thinking about other bands. As we started "Mondstille" I was totally into everything that's metal but today I'm very open minded in a musically way and I get inspired by lots of non-metal stuff.
How would you describe your music to somebody that has never heard not even a single tune of yours?
I think I'd describe it as very emotional music. Fully honest and from the deep of our souls. But I'm afraid you have to like metal, haha
Would you be kind enough to provide us with some info about the writing process of your music? How does the magic occurs?
All of our songs start with guitars. We're just sitting around, jamming on our own and suddenly a great riff appears. If it's possible we're recording it immediately and based on that one riff, the song grows. Usually we then write the rest of the guitars, do the drum programming and think about the parts where the violin should get it's moments. After that, bass and vocals follow. A very unspectacular process because except Ludwig, we actually don't know what we're doing on our instruments, so it's just about the feeling, haha.
What are your main lyrical influences? And why are all of them written in your native language?
I read a lot of german poetry like Storm, Goethe or Heine and because of that my lyrics are influenced by their style of writting. I'm not a genius but it just feels right this way. They're written in German because that's my mother tongue and it's the best way to express that special kind of feelings and thoughts. I could write English lyrics as well but it wouldn't work with "Mondstille".
The presence of death and nature is really intense in your lyrics. Is there any specific concept in them?
My lyrics always were kind of a therapy for myself and they reflect different periods of my life. So there is no real concept or great idea in my lyrics but I think they all point in the same direction. "Am Ende Ι" was a very depressing and negative album because as I wrote the lyrics I was very down and had to get over some things. "Seelenwund" otherwise is still melancholic because that's my disposition, but it's melancholic in a positive way. It's about longing and searching for freedom, independence, strength and self-discoveryΙ But I had to use 1-2 older lyrics on this album, so there's still some death, haha
Moving on to Seelenwund, would you please inform us about the recordings and the production of it? Are you satisfied with the final result?
We're totally satisfied with the final result. The recordings were very simple, in my opinion. We recorded every idea that came to our mind and started the pre-production at the same point. After all the tracks were finished, we re-recorded all tracks at home and sent the final stuff to Norbert Leitner (Udio Media). He then mixed and mastered the whole album and sent it back to us. Despite some technical issues we had a very good workflow and everything turned out great.
Your second album, in my opinion, is magnificent, and I've noticed that the great majority of feedback about it is really positive. Did you expect this success and how do you feel about it?
Honestly, we didn't expect "Seelenwund" to be that popular amongst our fans and some underground webzines. We're totally overwhelmed by the success and feedback we're getting from our fans and friends. It feels really great and it's like kind of a reward to all the hours of pain and suffering, haha We spoke with so many people and all of them told us how much they'd love "Seelenwund".
The album was self-released and without any record company involved. Is this some kind of the band's policy or it just happened to be this way?
We decided to release "Seelenwund" this way because of the very disappointing experiences we had with "White Bird" and "Am Ende ...". This time we wanted to retain full control about the whole production and shipping process. So if things get fucked up, it's just our fault. The second reason we released "Seelenwund" on ourselves, is because we wanted no one to interfere in our creative process and the way we're handling the whole thing. If you're signed to any record label there'll always be someone expecting you writing new stuff constantly and that's not the way of "Mondstille". We need our time to compose our music and write the lyrics.
Not long after the pre-orders for the album begun, it was leaked, and you made a statement regarding this. I think that your approach was really kind and I can't resist to ask you about this incident and also your opinion about piracy in general. What's your point of view?
That's right, we made a statement on our Facebook page about that piracy thing. We're not mad about that fact, because for us it's like free promotion and it's great to see, that people are regarding the hard work we put into "Seelenwund", writing us they've downloaded our new album and now want to buy it because they like it that much. Therefore we're totally ok with this. If there's a new album of a band I like, I'll "check it out" too. But if I really like the music on it, I'll buy it. Immediately.
While checking out your website, I found out that your live shows are not as many as I thought and I was wondering why you guys don't do concerts more often?
Because we don't have a regular drummer it's very hard to prepare ourselves for a show to play. We're all working people and have to arrange our hobby "Mondstille" with that situation. It's very hard to find dates where all of us can practice for upcoming live events. Therefore we played most of our shows in Vienna.
As you said, almost all of your shows were played at your native Vienna. How come you've never played live abroad?
First of all, it's because of the reasons I've already mentioned. We had some offers to play in other european countries, but we weren't able to manage that because of our working situation. We would've been really glad to play in different cities and countries but now we decided to stop playing gigs for a while until we'll find a new drummer.
Recently, you've shared the stage with two well-known french bands, Alcest and Les Discrets. What was the vibe of this concert and maybe you have any good stories to share with us from that night?
That night was great, because the whole band setting kicked ass. The location was almost sold out and every band played a great show. Speaking of me, I couldn't enjoy that evening as the others did , because I was too busy managing all that merchandise and band business. But that's ok and it definitely has been a night to be remembered.
Just before the closure of this interview, I think it would be interesting to share with us your wildest dream about the band and also, to let us know what's your highest ambition regarding Mondstille?
My wildest dream? I think it would be a world tour with Lantl™s, haha To be honest, we don't have any high ambition regarding Mondstille. We just do what we have to, we write music for our personal purpose, enjoying that people like our stuff. Nothing more ...
Thank you very much for this interview guys. Feel free to add anything you want, since the epilogue belongs to you.
Thank you very much!
P.S. Many thanks to zedalone