] Chaos Mag [
// Christoph Jaeger vs. Sascha Ehrich
First of all, you have the chance to introduce the band to the readers. Choose your words wisely, otherwise they might skip this interview and you're loosing the chance to sell millions of records. So why were you born? Why have you sold your soul to Rock 'n' Roll? Why did you start playing an instrument and writing songs? Why did you quit MORTIFIED and found FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING? Why do you have to answer the same questions in every interview over and over again?
Thank you Jagger for starting this interview "slighty" different. In my opinion, I have to answer always the same questions, because we are very unknown up to date and I have the impression that some editors often have the same style to ask questions, namely without variing the topics and the main themes!
To answer the whole bunch of questions it would be the easiest way to begin with the foundation of "Fragments Of Unbecoming". Once upon a time.....one week after the annual wacken open air in 2000, Stefan of "Veneral Disease" and me (Mortified) decided to establish a side project, simply to play more swedish styled and melodic death metal in addition to our more brutal and US-orientated death metal bands "Mortified" and "Veneral Disease". At that time it was just for the fun of it and we began to practise and rehearse some riffs and finished song structures with the support of Ingo (drummer of Veneral Disease) and Thomas (bassist of Mortified). This was the first complete line-up of the, at that time, nameless band. After rehearsing some month we recognized that our enthusiasm in writing songs grew up and it was, to our view, obvious to embody a stable individual band which should not longer be merely a side-project! Thomas left the band because of his lack of desire for this style of death metal and we completed the line-up with Wolle of "Tombthroat" and created the band "Fragments Of Unbecoming". After due consideration and because of musical differences I left Mortified in spring 2001 to direct my entire concentration to the new challenge........
I really don´t think that I sold my soul to "Rock `n`Roll", rather to the hard side of metal (I came to metal by bands like Metallica, Blind Guardian, Running Wild, Testament, etc..). I was just fascinated and in a way changed in my opinion towards quality and brutality in music as I got in contact for the first time with death metal. At that time it was Edge Of Sanity´s "The Spectral Sorrows" and I was blown away by this masterpiece of swedish old school death metal art. Certainly, this fascination finally was one of the main reasons that forced me to study an instrument and write my own metal songs. In 1998 I bought my first E-guitar and participated in the more hardcore orientated metal band "Acrid" which was the first time I played guitar in a band. After some month I left again this band and took part in "Mortified"...and the story went on.
When you were searching for a drummer you had to chose Ingo, because he was the only guy hailing from your region that could play that fast… Holy shit, is that really true? Is your local scene really sooo bad?
We did not really search for a drummer in our local scene. It was obvious to choose him, because Ingo fits the best in our concept and we could also use the session room of Veneral Disease. He participates enthusiastically in our song writing process and in addition to that it is a second opportunity for him to practise constantly his drumming. In our local scene there are nevertheless for example also very good drummers in Mortified/ Legacy and not to forget in Necrophagist.
Your self financed debut “Bloodred Tales” contains only seven songs, which were almost two years old when they were recorded. Why does it take so long for you, writing song? Are you on the search for the perfect one?
At first, I have to confess that I needed some time to learn this different new style in playing guitar, because Mortified has a totally different method in playing guitar and writing songs or riff structures. At the beginning it was a real challenge to play riffs that Stefan created but after I overcame this little obstacle it went very satisfying. Within one year we composed and finished seven songs, whose riffs were written to some extents before any idea of "Fragments Of Unbecoming" came up. We decided to choose four of them for our first output which should be a kind of first sign of life of the "Fragments Of Unbecoming". On "Bloodred Tales" we added a short introduction, an instrumental interlude in the middle and an instrumental outroduction in order to fullfill this demonstration release. As you can see it took almost one year from the real beginning of "Fragments Of Unbecoming" to the first studio date in the end of 2001/spring 2002. Without doubt there were songs that took a long time until they were finished, others were created within a few weeks.
Since you are and were attending many concerts as a fan and / or musician, did you already have the chance to meet any well known musicians and how did the meeting turn out? Is there anybody you really want to meet, either he's an interesting person and / or someone who's inspired you for your musical and / or private life?
Although there often was the chance for, I can´t remember that I ever met a well known musician in a more private atmosphere. At Wacken Open Air I had a little less conversation with Erik Rutan and the new guitarist of Monstrosity and at the first european tour of Cryptopsy (with Nile, Vader, etc.) I had a smalltalk with Eric Langlois but this is actually not worth mentioning. Concerning my musical development and inspiration I would appreciate to meet for example Mikael Akerfeldt or Dan Swano, because their comprehension and skill in composing music, their lyrical expositions, their versatility and their naturalness reinforce my impression that there are individuals outside whom it could be very interesting to talk to. In general, there are some other rather unknown individuals I´m interested to meet (beyond any musical border), but this is not of that great importance or weight that it would be worth mentioning.
What do you think about the German death metal underground scene? What's good, what sucks in your opinion and why? What should change?
This question is not the easiest one to answer because although I´m attending many underground concerts, there often are not many bands which can be considered to an upgrowing hopeful. In general, I´m not that familiar with the whole german underground scene that it would be legitimate to pronounce a judgement towards every german underground act. In comparison to for example France I´ve got more and more the impression, that especially in Germany at concerts, some (visitors or bands) radiate an unjustified arrogance and I don´t understand the need for this. This is one of the main points that really sucks. In addition to all, I sometimes wish, german bands could be a bit more independent. There´s really no more need for any Suffocation-copies!
Having your local scene as well in mind as the whole German one: Which bands would you think have the potential to grow and get bigger (besides you fuckers)? Who are the new hopefuls and can they compete with international bands in your opinion?
There are a couple of upgrowing and present acts that deserve it to pay attention to. Especially the bands like Sinners Bleed, Profanity, Necrophagist, Symbiontic, Disillusion or Veneral Disease are in my opinion the strongest representatives of the german death metal scene. They don´t have to stand for that international competition. It seems to be a short commercial break within this interview but I can doubtless recommend their actual and forthcoming releases, which are killer!!!! Nowadays it is not that simple to create (as a band) a very unique style, but there are some bands out there that work very hard and enthusiastically like possessed ones on their articulation of brutal and also well-considered death metal that it is a pleasure to attend to.
Since you are also producing cult death metal shirts now and then, how came that up? How do you judge the bands you're going to produce a shirt from and why haven't you produced any FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING (black and white, which is of course veeery metal) shirts so far?
For my first band Mortified I produced two editions of Shirts before any demo tape was released and nowadays I think it would be the better way to release at first an output and then produce some merchandising stuff as soon there is a request for it. Releasing a CD is a very expensive affair and perhaps we concentrate the more on economizing the money for the forthcoming "Fragments of Unbecoming"-release. Nevertheless I can promise that there will be a "Fragments of Unbecoming"-Shirt in the near future, so watch out. Concerning the production of so called cult death metal shirts, I just made two editions of shirts in a very small number of 10 to 15 issues exclusive for those who confess to be a real fanatic of the band. There was no commercial purpose in realising them and the prints were self -created and not just reproduced. Certainly these two bands play on the one hand a very special role in my musical development and on the other hand I never saw any shirt of them anywhere. In addition to my attitude towards the commercial metal sell-out, it really sucks to watch the traders especially at festivals dealing with reproduced cult death metal shirts in a variation of almost one hundred issues only for their personal commercial purpose.
It seems that the press reactions on “Bloodred Tales” are very positive. Aren't those positive reactions overwhelming and have there been any negative critics and if yes, in which way?
In short, there were not any negative reactions concerning our first release. We are very glad and proud that the audience, the editors or labels really like our stuff. Certainly there are some who opine that the album is much too short, althought it is a mini-cd and is sold as one, others don´t like the drum sound, especially the untypical snaresound in comparison with a typical swedish drum sound. In any case the critics sometimes seem to overwhelme in pronouncing the "Fragments of Unbecoming" to be the official follower of cult bands like At The Gates or Unanimated. On the one hand we are a bit proud to be leveled to the same range of quality like these bands spread, but on the other hand we concentrate more on our own style and really refuse to be a copy or simply an upstart of a passed away cult act. In sure the new songs will underline our musical development and our own direction in writing riffs and song structures. Our composing won´t be something completely new, but we will try to show what is important for us to create in a "Fragments of Unbecoming"-song.
Do you think that those positive reactions will help you in getting a deal as well as a lot of attention from the scene / fans? I mean there are plenty of bands out there that receive highest marks in mags and sell shit…
Certainly you´re right and it is often untrustworthy to read critics especially in more commercial orientated so-called fanzines. Sometimes it seems that there are only perfect bands in the world.... Nowadays, it is important for a band to present constantly high quality music. The hype or positive critics in general only help the band to get more popular and sell records but in any case the band has to work very hard for their upgrowing and labels which are only looking for bands with positive critics have failed their purpose of existence! To be honest, we´re writing music without thinking of how anybody would criticize or categorize us, we are just what we are, the "Fragments of Unbecoming".
With all those positive feedback, are you afraid of getting hyped or that the fans think that you are getting hyped by the press (remember: it's a thin line between positive reactions and a hype…)?
Everybody of us has got enough self-criticism to judge if a hype and a feedback is unjusified and we refuse to get hyped for what we never were, are and will never be: a band that sells itself for the purpose of success and financial aspects. This is why I mean that we don´t want to be considered as the follower of passed away cult bands. We want to be treated with honesty and accepted as an individual band that will grow up only because of our ability in writing good songs and not because of any imposed image. A very good example to mention is the new Satyricon-album. For my part, it is not understandable why this band and their album is hyped that way and is also nominated for diverse grammy-awards in norway. For sure, there are over thousand other metal albums which deserve it to get on this throne because of their desire for writing monuments in metal, there is only a lack of financial support!! In short, it is much to early to talk about a hype of the "Fragments of Unbecoming", time will tell if we can hold this level we´ve been pushed on.
Before you've released “Bloodred Tales”, you spread a (untitled?) two- or three-song cardboard CD. Why, I mean the “Bloodred Tales” followed right away… Is that CD still available and therefore interesting for collectors?
We spread this promotion-CD on our last gig before the release of "Bloodred Tales" simply for the purpose that the audience could have an impression about how our CD will be like. At this time the release was not completely finished and we were not busy to present the CD this evening. The promotion copy only contains the "Introduction", "Fragments Of Unbecoming" and the song "Reborn" in a more or less rough mix version. We sold it only this evening and we don´t have any copy left, but I don´t think that this can be considered as a collectors item.
The term 'old school' often pops up in my mind when I think of FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING' music. Why didn't you release a simple demo-cassette with a hellish drawn black and white artwork first, which is old school, of course, hehe…
We decided to record the tracks in a professional studio so it was our pretension to release a completely professional CD-release with a slightly attractive layout and a professional sound and not a simple self-copied tape with a more or less rough sound. As we´re not playing oldschool death metal exclusively, there was no need for this kind of traditionell layout. In addition to that I have to mention that in general old school bands are not obliged to use only a black/white cover. Look at the great artworks of such great old school albums of Entombed, Carnage, Disember,etc....I cannot imagine their music without thinking of their great artwork exposition. Nevertheless, b/w cover are a more trendy aspect in so called true black metal releases, but who cares.
Another fact that differs your first release from the debuts of millions of other youngsters is, that your CD comes along with postcards, an extra sleeve and a brilliant design. Everything's designed by yourself which is obvious, because you are working as a graphic designer. Please tell us a little bit about your visions, your business / own company and is the design/packaging that important for you, because you're working in exactly this business?
First , thank you for this complement! You´ve pointed out the right and very important aspect. The demonstration release should be different from the debuts of others. We wanted to offer the customer at least something more for his money, something which could perhaps be a bit more precious than a "normal" wrapping in. According to my experience the customers appreciate this, and so I do. Concerning my private company: "Precious Art" exists since around 1995/1996 and it was founded at first in order to create band logotypes which has been successfull until today. It is more or less something like my passion to create a far-reaching repertoire of different logotypes based on very different stylish elements. Some years ago I started to create some layouts, not for any bands, merely for the fun of it. It is a hobby and not a profession. Our debut is more or less the first real presentation of what my vision in creating layouts looks like. I love it to mix some painting and older hand-made elements together with modern digital stuff, always without missing the topic of what the artwork should be about. An artwork should not be an entangled bunch of all existing colours or a digital composion made with thousands of plugins made by a graphic suite. Like in music, there is a wide space where creativity gets bundled up to various forms, always based on your personal typical note. As I´m working as a graphic designer (more responsable for modern and trendy stuff) and preprint-coordinator, it was obvious, that it would not be that expensive for us to add the cardboardbox and the postcards in comparison to what it would cost to order it anywhere else.
Do you also judge other releases by their designs/artworks or would you give my toilet recorded fart record a chance, if my six year old kid would have been responsible for the artwork and packaging, like 'never judge a book by it's cover'?
The artwork and layout of an album is always "only" a completion to the main topic of a release, namely the music itself. This is why I´m always interested in the music at first. There are thousands of albums with an average cover although the music is brilliant and certainly vice-versa. So, don´t judge any band because of their visual presentation. It is sometimes very interessant how everybody can categorize an artwork concerning the musical style the band plays. So far, I think that an artwork can also be of high quality although the music is more or less unspectacular.
Another stupid question, I bet you've been asked a thousand times: “Bloodred Tales Chapter I, The Crimson Season”: This sounds like a concept story. Please explain and will you continue with the story on your forthcoming full length album?
The lyrics were not basically written in order to fit in special conceptional story, on the contrary the fragmental passages within our lyrical concept have a certain red line and sojourn the tidal tantrum in the life of our passenger in the crimson season, a fictive upper level in a certain time. Everybody is invited to interprete the story to his own satisfaction or mood. To make the whole story short, the "concept" won´t continue on our upcoming full length album and the lyrics are in general not of that great importance as for example the music is.
Since you had eight own songs written and played during your live shows, what happened to the rest of the songs? Why didn't you put all the material you got on your debut?
At the time we entered the studio, we decided to produce at first a mini-cd in order to give everybody a short impression of what the music of the "Fragments Of Unbecoming" looks like. We also had three other songs, so this was not enough material for a full length album, or it would be much too shoort. These songs will certainly take place on the forthcoming album, so nothing got lost.
Are you sure that the moniker FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING was a wise decision? You can keep the story short while explaining it, because I know everybody's asking you questions about the moniker (and so do I, hähä..)…
As it came to the decision of our moniker we had a choice between several names and we finally chose "Fragments Of Unbecoming" because of its unique phrase and its independence. It doesn´t matter if this was a wise decision, we feel very satisfied with this moniker and there´s nothing more to tell. In addition to that, there are already cool and different pronouncations like "Fraggles Of Upstairs Running" or "Fragment so fun Becoming",etc....hope the story will continue....
When I tried to promote your CD and was talking to several labels, the one or other A&R was shaking his head regarding your moniker… Did you already have any other problems like that?
Thanx for your great support and promotion man!!!! I wouldn´t call it a problem that most of all have a certain difficulty to perceive our moniker, although I sometimes really don´t understand it. I mean, there are bands like Children of Bodom or Sins of Omission (and thousands of others) which have this three-word-moniker and there seems to be no problem in perceiving it. More or less, it is just a question how often the name appears in zines, interviews, advertisings,etc. and how often it is spoken about.
Since you're existing for almost three years now, you haven't played that many shows so far, although there's the one or other appearance to be expected in the future (eg: at the godly Party.San fest). How come? Is it a matter of the live scene or time, or are you simply not interested in playing that much live?
Our first live appearance was back in the end of 2001 and this was the first time we had enough material to be able to play live. We always try to get live gigs but we have to coordinate it with "Veneral Disease", because Stefan and Ingo are also permanent members in this death metal act and they´re also playing constantly live. In addition to that, it´s not our self-declared aim to play live on every weekend, thus we think that it is enough to play one or at least two times a month and not more. After releasing the forthcoming album "Skywards" we´ll try to get more chances to play live in order to promote the new material, hopefully this works out to our satisfaction. Time will tell......
Musicwise you´re of course pretty influenced by Swedish death metal. What makes this music so interesting for you? What's so special about it and would you say you would prefer grabbing one Swedish death metal record instead of ten us death metal CDs?
My first contact with Death Metal was a real swedish one and that was very influencing for me until nowadays. In my opinion, swedish death metal is a genius and very unique form in music. I´ve never heard again bands like Edge Of Sanity, At The Gates, Unanimated, Carcass, Dissection, Opeth, Katatonia, and plenty of others that perform a unique style in death metal filled with brutality/aggression and calmness, harmony and disharmony, deathlike melancholy and liveliness, or especially fullfilled with these unforgetable acoustic and instrumental songs. It is just a pleasure to listen to downtuned guitars playing twin-melodies and harsh voices screaming out like their souls are slaughtered. Add a magnificent and unmistakable sound of swedish studios like Sunlight, Unisound or Fredman and the perfect release is ready to conquer! I mean, I heard "Darkday" of Edge of Sanity´s album "The spectral sorrows" for the first time in 1994 or 1995 and still admire this piece of art. Today there also is a great potential in swedish death metal, for example with bands like Defleshed, Kaamos, Non Exist, Soilwork, etc. Don´t misunderstand my point of view, I´m also a fanatic in buying US Death Metal records and sometimes I prefer rather an american one. Especially the first Hate Eternal album is one of my absolute all time fave albums, ´cause this is definitely one of this monuments in death metal art! I also recommend the new Malevolent Creation-album!
You are often (always?) compared to mighty AT THE GATES and also UNANIMATED. Can you live with those comparisons, do they really fit and did those bands really fascinate/influence you as a musician?
As I already mentioned it some questions earlier we are often considered to be the official followers to these bands. Very often I´ve got the impression that nearly every band that sounds only a little bit swedish like is promoted with the sentence:"......sounds like At The Gates on their "Slaughter Of The Soul" album..."In fact this is neither honest nor obvious and it´s just a confirmed method to gain higher rates of selling records - really embarrassing. Certainly, these bands influenced us here and there, explicit their ability to create power in their riffs, but at least we´re writing our own material without listening several times to "Ancient Go Of Evil" before, as some obviously do. On our promotion flyer I wrote that there is no need for boring comparisons to describe our music and I intended to get beyond these typical commercial based descriptions. The only thing I wish for our upcoming album is that any consumer doesn´t expect "Skywards" to be a follow-up album of these established bands, it is our own style and maybe you out there will recognize that we live this kind of music!
If you look at the development of the 'established' bands like EDGE OF SANITY, ENTOMBED, MORBID ANGEL and combos like that. What comes in your mind? What do you thing about their musical development over the years, was it positive or negative in your opinion?
Edge Of Sanity: They released one great masterpiece after the other except the Cryptic-album (I just like the 2nd song "Uncontroll me"). I love them all and would never sell them. In my opinion they splitted up a bit too late. With the lack of Dan Swanö there was no more this kind of freshness and breathe or unmistakable power within their songs. To my part, they lost their spirit after the "Infernal"-album. May they rest in peace, I´ll carry forever their music in my heart.
Entombed: Their modern and more rock ´n´roll orientated style is in my opinion very boring and interchangeable. I rather would appreciate it to see Entombed performing their unique old school death metal style, ´cause "Left hand path" or "Clandestine" are milestones in traditional swedish death metal. But, who cares, they decided to go this more or less commercial way, may they reach their aim......
Morbid Angel: They released one killer album after the other and I prefer "Damnation" and "Formulas...". This band is an absolute professional live-act and their skill in writing music is very characteristic. Thus many bands were influenced by their style(especially "Soul Reaper" really try to cover them). One thing is for sure: They´re a monument in american death metal and anyone can´t imagine them to be absent in the scene as they mark the path of time from the real beginning of death metal until these days. Concerning their development I only have to admit that I´m bored by the actual output "Gateways", because it´s a bit to weak in comparison to the predecessor-albums.
The death metal scene changed a lot during the last few years. There's this movement getting bigger and bigger, which is the combination of Hardcore and death metal, which is very popular for American bands. What do you think about this movement / kind of death metal?
Do you like it? I really don´t know many hardcore/death metal mixtures except bands like Dying Fetus and those who play this special "Dying Fetus"-style. Dying Fetus or Misery Index are very cool death metal representatives and concerning an upgrowing scene I´m not that familiar with it to talk well-founded. Nevertheless I´ve got the impression that there´s an upgrowing scene of bands in Germany that mix swedish mid tempo death metal (like Amon Amarth) with many hardcore influences and this is really unwonted. There´s one german highly recommended act which is very successfull in playing that style, namely "Heaven ShallBurn". Others are more or less very strange and I prefer the genuine swedish death metal.
What do you think: How far will the musical development of FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING be going? Do you think you'll go like in the development direction of IN FLAMES or DARK TRANQUILLITY or what's your musical vision for the future of your band? What do you expect I will confess now?
This is very difficult to answer! Nobody knows what time will offer us, maybe we will always be an underground act or maybe we will rise with the support of a label doing a very good job. One thing is for sure, we will concentrate on our style and this will be our main direction in the near and far future. The aim is not to gain very fast success, rather we appreciate it to offer quality in our music. A band like In Flames constantly writes very good songs and although I prefer their "Subterranean"-times, the actual album "Reroute To Remain" is a great one and they deserve it to harvest success. Dark Tranquillity also is a very good act but they changed their style a bit too much, get more and more boring and can´t hold the quality level of "Mind´s I". In my opinion it´s not the wrong way to experiment within your songwriting but you always should concentrate on what makes your style unique and unmistakable. In short, our vision is to have always our fire burning while writing songs, otherwise the "Fragments Of Unbecoming" are unable to continue this honest way.
Coming back to the artwork and design of your debut, website, flyers, postcards and so on: What really inspires you? Any situations in life, movies, other artists? Where do you get the ideas for those great designs for?
There are a couple of important factors that influence my work of art. Sometimes I experience something like mind snapshots, special pictures in my daily life or for example a television pick-up, it´s always different from time to time. I´m interested in nearly everything concerning art or design, thus I´m very lucky with my job in a print industry, where I was and still are able to learn many techniques and skills concerning the development of a layout. Certainly, there are so many things I still have to learn, but it´s very important to concentrate on building the personal style. In addition to that I´m a hobby photograph and this is often very helpful in creating a design out of a wide-ranged picture or mind-archive. Concerning the chose of colours I often prefer basic monochromatic artworks, because they have a special mood in contradiction to "rainbow"-coloured artworks. As for the "Bloodred Tales"-Design I like it to work with black and silver, because this combination is for my part very noble, precious and also simple and tranquil. It should also be mentioned that there were and are very talented and impressive artists like Bosch, Dürer, Valentini, Jaeger (not Jagger!!!!) or van Eyck (and so many others) that influenced me more or less in my vision and opinion towards what is precious in painting. Currently there are great artists like Sundin, Wahlin, Seagrave, Smith and Benscoter that can not be imagined to be absent in the past and present death metal scene. Some of my absolute favorite artworks are for example the "Wildhoney"-layout of Tiamat, the "In The Nightside Eclipse"-cover of Emperor, "The Spectral Sorrows"-cover of Edge Of Sanity, "The Godly Work Of Art"-layout of Arise and the "Resurrection through carnage"-layout of Bloodbath. In general the charm or attraction in creating an artwork is to build an effigy out of an imagination or out of a main theme that marches like a red line through the whole composition. As I mentioned it before I like to mix traditional themes with modern techniques and this will be again one of the basics for the upcoming "Fragments Of Unbecoming"-"Skywards"-layout.
I lately surfed on your website again and came across an award you received. First of all congrats, what this award all about and was it like a contest to participated?
In general this is an award for the design of a homepage. You just have to announce your website to this internet jury, then wait up to 14 days and they pronounce if you have won this web award. On the one hand this sounds at first of great promise but in reality this is just a commercial act and is certainly based on an american idea. From the day on you´ve won this award, you constantly receive emails where they offer you to buy shirts, cappies, goblets and documents with the proof that your site is a winner of the highly recommended web award. What shall I say, this is just a fucking commercial trick and I guess everybody who announces a homepage will win this award. Thus, I´ll replace this statement on our homepage and feel sorry for myself for having been that naive.
Some German bands often moan about that they don't get the same attention as foreign bands. Is this a typical German problem and did you make the same experience in any way? Do you think it is harder to catch the fans attention in for example the States or France, just because you're from Germany and not, let's say Sweden or Britain?
We did not make this experience yet, mainly because we´re very very unknown, so let´s talk about that sometimes in the far future. In a way, I´m sure that especially swedish customers or musicians are not interested in our music, because they have thousands of bands in their own country which perform this style in death metal. In addition to that, I have got the impression, that german bands are often not on that high quality level like for example bands form the US or Scandinavia. Certainly, there are exceptions that proof the contrary but it´s not of that great ammount in comparison to the US or Scandinavia. If you are searching for the roots in death metal you´ll finally end your search in these countries. Obviously, this fact also plays a special role. Nevertheless, In my opinion there are some very professional bands in Germany but it will always be a difference if you read "....the band comes from Germany or the band comes from the US/Scandinavia..." in a review. Some years ago especially Black Metal had to come from Scandinavia or it was just a kind of fake ,although I never could understand this, because there were and are excellent bands from for example Austria or Greece.
How are the responses from fans and press outside of Germany?
There are not that many international responses so far. We got some orders especially from Austria or Swiss on the one hand, from USA or Japan on the other hand. I´m still in contact with some of these customers and all of them are enthusiastic in listening to our album.
It seems that you're not only into the brutal side of death metal but also love the more melodic and acoustic stuff. How come and how important are melodies for you?
For the songwriting of a "Fragments Of Unbecoming"-album it is very important to hold an equilibrium that is to say an equivalence between powerful, aggressive, more old-school orientated and melodic, twin-harmonic, tranquil and catchy riffs. The use of instrumental and acoustic interludes finally fullfills this concept. While writing riffs we try to pick up different ingredients of the upper collection to create a song. Melodies are the basic and most important ingredient in creating a catchy riff or in order to express or create a very special mood for us and the listener. I opine that it is very important to have unmistakeble remarks in every song in order to identify a song. This is of great importance for the whole identity of a band and its style! We do not intend to write hits, rather it is important to make a clear structure within one song. Finally, melodies, either harmonic or disharmonic ones, are the key to our satisfaction within the process of writing new material.
What about instrumentals? Why writing songs without any vocals?
The use of instrumentals without any vocals supplies this kind of variation within one album we want to offer the listeners. Take for example an Opeth- or an In Flames-album and reduce them to the non-acoustic songs, they wouldn´t have this charm, at least for my part of view. Certainly we thought about to use clean vocals for some parts of the acoustics, but on the one hand we don´t have any professional clean singers in the band and on the other hand, we think that the songs have more charm without any vocals. In any case it is an additional opportunity to reinforce the style of the "Fragments Of Unbecoming".
Is there any image, lane or trademark you want to build up, follow, show with your music and the whole layout altogether?
It is definitely not our aim to create a questionable image out of our fundamental idea, namely to make music. One basic point of recognition and this is maybe what you call to build up or to show is, that we try to present our creations as professional as we are able to.
Perhaps, one can call it a trademark, if its meaning stands for the passion within our musical exposures. To be honest, I´m really tired of bands who are advertising or levelling their more or less weak compositions through a doubtful and synthetic image. For my personal part, there´s a large lack of understatement for this kind of business.
Lets change the sides for a moment: How would you describe your music without comparing it to other bands?
First, to reduce it to only one sentence, we are performing a mixture of melodic, old.school and partial modern swedish styled death metal with the addition of slightly emotional and more tranquil orientated instrumental interludes. Got the idea? To take a more detailed view, we try to mix very different elements of classical and straight death metal with twin guitar harmonics and disharmonics, build up above a constantly driving drumming.
Please name the (for you) most important elements of your music and explain what makes a good FRAGMENTS song good enough to be accepted as an album track?
First of all, there were about two songs in the past we decided to reject, simply because we realized after playing them many times, that they were filled with standard and more or less boring riff structures and therefore not worth to be recorded for an album. Nevertheless, we picked out the cool riffs and placed it in our newer songs. Nowadays, we concentrate on every simple riff in order to prevent a repetition of this case. It´s of great importance for us that every song sounds a bit different from the other and contents at least one special unmistakeble remark. For my personal view, I think, that there will be never a "Fragments Of Unbecoming"-song without any melody and harmonics, otherwise it would be a passionless and tired song.
Please cover all the details that are connected with the production / Songwriting process of your forthcoming lull length album “Skywards”? What's it all about, where is it gonna be recorded and so on…
These days, we booked the "Stellwerk Studio" (also the studio location where we recorded "Bloodred Tales") near our session room for the time of april (& may?) 2003. We chose again this studio, because we were very satisfied with our first recording, although there are naturally some points which should be arranged and mixed different this time. The last time, we experience a very positive atmosphere to work. The primary claim we have is to create a more powerful and impulsive sound with an expanded surface, for sure not overproduced, rather sounding natural and full of life. Hopefully, we´ll catch this light at the end of the tunnel! Concerning the songwriting we will continue where we once ended the "Bloodred Tales". Definitely, "Skywards" won´t be a continued story to the last one, much more we will start again with a new chapter in the evolution of the "Fragments Of Unbecoming". The songs on the album will be of a wide variation, hopefully in order to never become boring or forseeable. Perhaps, we added some more modern orientated parts, but in whole there will be the same mixture of old-school, melodic, tranquil and impulsive parts as some of you already experienced on the first demonstration release. Besides, I´m constantly thinking over the layout and the wrapping in but nothing is already resolved to be worth mentioning. Perhaps, we´ll find a label in the meantime, who knows.....In any case we hope to get "Skywards" released in summer.
Is there a special way you're working in the studio and if yes, why?I really don´t think that we´re working very different from other bands in the studio. The main difference could be that we don´t record our album within a fixed time for about some weeks. Our recording sessions take place by stages, mainly at weekends, because everyone in the band is working during the week. The "Stellwerk Studio" is not that far away from our home towns, thus it´s the easiest way for us to produce our songs. Certainly, it takes a bit longer to finish the whole recording sessions but we don´t care about this. Taking a view to the recording we use a general arrangement. At first, we record the drums, then the guitars followed by the bass guitars and finally we add the solo guitars and vocals. In my opinion this is not unusual.
Looking at the internal activities in FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING it's obvious that you are responsible for almost everything: Layout, website, interviews, booking… How come?
We made this decision right up from the beginning of the foundation of the "Fragments Of Unbecoming". Because of Stefan and Ingo are also members in Veneral Disease, I decided to be responsible for the entire publicity work. Dependant on my profession it was obvious that I would be the one who is also responsible for the medial work, like the website or the layout, etc. In my opinion, it is a real advantage that one member in the band is responsible for promotional things, because it is easier to control and overlook the development of the band.
It is obvious that you like the colours silver, black and red. Do these colours have a special meaning for you? In which way do they help you express something that would not be possible with other colours?
As far as I can go back to my childhood I can remember that I have always liked the combination of black and sombre red (call it crimson, scarlet, or carmine red). The use of this basic colours creates a very unique mood, which can be directed to different emotional topics. Red is not always the representative colour for "blood", although the affiliation to the socalled source of life sometimes seems to be inseperable. More or less, especially in combination with black it can be a very tranquil and sober but also an expressive and set off colour. The addition of silver makes the whole artwork in a way precious and more interesting, because silver has a special discoloration according to how it is enlighted. Thus, for my part, silver is a very important suplement to the at least brilliant chromatic spectrum. In general I like monochromatic artworks where you find the combination of black/white and one additional sombre colour. I appreciate for example the booklet of the first Arch Enemy album, because it is based on the combination of a very sombre blue, black and additional copper.
I learned that you do not care too much about the lyrics. Don't you think many fans do? Don't you think an album should be an all inclusive state of the art product?
Certainly, you´re right and we always try to write engaging lyrics, although this process in completing a song in whole is always the last one we pay attention to. During the last year, I made the experience that some of the consumers of "Bloodred Tales" want to have the complete lyrics in order to translate it or just to to get more into the vision and meaning of every song. This is why we will print the lyrics of the forthcoming songs in their complete version in the booklet. Concerning my statement, that lyrics are not of that great importance for me, I have to mention, that I´m not often very interested in lyrics, because at first the music is the basic thing why I´m buying an album. Although there are many very good lyric poets, I only dive into a lyrical concept, if for my personal part I have this kind of impression that I don´t really understand the song or there is a lack of complete understatement without the lyrical component. I especially appreciate the lyrics of eg Opeth or In The Woods.
Attending at a death or black metal show is sometimes like a pain in the ass, because of the bad sounding performances. How do you avoid that you sound like shit when you're playing live?
This is definitely one of the worst experience I constantly make while attending a show. In general I think there are many factors which are the reason for the disturbance of a transparent sound. At first, the shows are definitely much to loud according to the particular size of the location, the result is that the sound always becomes blurred. The next point is the loudness of every instrument in proportion to the other, thus the mixer has to find the best relation. Finally, the last point is, that the basic sound of the guitars and the drums should be as much as possible transparent and understandable for the audience. Especially, if you tune down your guitar several steps you have to find the best mixture of your equalizer and distortion, that you can produce on the one hand a very powerful but not blurred and overdistorted sound and on the other hand a clean and not overmodulated sound. In any case, we try to offer the mixer a transparent sound to work with. In the past I often experienced, that bands like eg Morbid Angel or Emperor have their own tour mixers and this is a great advantage for the sound of these bands, because these mixers exactly know which sound they have to produce that the band sounds as much as possible like on their albums.
Coming back to the underground movement once again: Sometimes I have the feeling that there are many bigmouths in the scene, that talk and promise much, but don't act like that… Would you agree?
In general I would agree. There are often these kind of bigmouths who promise to organize concerts for you or want to invite you to several concerts, always promising you endless support. Finally, you never hear again anything from these pompous persons. That´s really embarrassing. Especially concerning musicians, I sometimes have the impression that those who are very talented and skilled often are not that presumptuous and arrogant in relation to those who prefer a self-maked-up image instead of quality in the music they make. Certainly, this is not representative for the whole scene, it´s simply my personal impression.
Weren't you afraid of the financial risk you were going to take when you decided to record the album and release 1.000 CDs?
There is no need to talk about something like a financial risk. The production of this album was not that expensive and we decided to release an edition of 1000 CD simply because the production of only 500 CD´s would not be that profitable in relation to what one CD has to cost taking a view to the studio and pressing costs. In addition to that, making music is our hobby and the only financial aim we´d like to reach is to cover our expenditure. In short we´ll invest this received money into the forthcoming recording session and thus the circle goes on.
How far would you go for gaining success?
Naturally we would dance completely naked on the stage while performing. Therefore it´s important to mention that we are the first band which is covered with orange and pink corpsepaint from up above to down below. Besides, our background choir, consisting of Stefan "The incredible trumpet of Jericho" Mross and Heribert "Nabend allerseits" Fassbender constantly performs the third act of "The neverending civil war between euroymaniacs and börzömaniacs" and finally we destroy all our xylophons with black leggings larded with silver painted hats from the phenomenal hat-game. Currently we try to get more popular while walking through deep dark woods with torches / the blaze of glory in our hands and raising our fists again and again and again up to the sky to absorb the mighty power of the almighty black and white old-school painted sparrow, whereever he will be.......You may foresaw this answer, didn´t you?
Honestly, there is only one thing I could imagine that could push the "Fragments Of Unbecoming" in the near or far future, namely we´ll sign a record deal with a honest and satisfying record label. There is nothing more to add. We neither won´t make up a self-created image only to get more popular nor won´t we change our style in order to attract a more wide-ranged auditory.
What would you say, why should people give your band a try? Why should they listen exactly to your releases rather than to the ones of other bands? What would you say makes you special or better that other combos?
It is not my privilege to judge if the "Fragments Of Unbecoming" are a better combo than others. We live for our music and have fun in creating songs, although we´re taking our job very serious. Quotating some of our fans, we can mention that this is listenable. According to this we try to offer the customer or listener a wide range of variation in swedish styled death metal, in general more orientated to the early days. Thus, our musical path is not strictly directed to one fixed way! Nowadays, there are not many bands, which play this kind of music and this could be a point why people could give us a try. Finally, our release comes in a precious wrapping in with post cards which is rather unusual for a demo-band......
You're trying to write more and more independent songs. How do you want to achieve this and do you really think it is possible, especially in this musical direction you are playing? Though plan, to reinvent music…
It is definitely not our aim to reinvent any form in swedish styled death metal, this would be more or less impossible. At least, we don´t want to copy any band or riff that was remarkable in the past. Our song writing is based on developing our own style while using present stylish elements, that means for example to use a known harmonic system and place it in a very different song structure. Concerning independence we have a clear statement, namely that we refuse to be seen as a follow up of splitted up cult acts.
People especially in the metal scene love to draw things black and white. Means: there's only good and bad, black and white, cool and uncool in the scene? Is this a must for this kinda music or is it simply because metal fans are very conservative in their views?
It is very difficult to talk in general about the metal fans and their views, thus it´s hard to assess if metal fans are very conservative in their views. I think, the phenomenon you´re mentioning is not basically only a part of the metal scene, rather it can be considered to the entire music scene. To make the whole story short, I refuse to think that this phenomenon is a must for the metal scene, we could live easier without it, that´s for sure. Nobody needs any kind of narrow-minded ones. Maybe it´s a modern kind of a selection within the metal business and one of the main reasons, why metal is not that popular as for example pop music, who knows.....
What are your future plans with the band? What are you going to do with your own label Sylpony Creations and your art department Precious Art?
Fragments Of Unbecoming: At first, we will record our full length album "Skywards - A Sylphe´s Ascension" in march/april. According to that, we are constantly looking for a record label to get a professional support and to spread the name that is to say to reach perhaps more listeners. Some live-gigs are already fixed for the near future and we´re still looking for more chances to perform our material live.
Sylphony Creations: Under this banner I´ll try to promote as much as possible underground bands. A friend of mine and me are currently programming the website portal in order present and promote the upcoming "Sylphony"-bands online. Some releases are planned for 2003 but the only one which is already fixed is the upcoming album of "Veneral Disease" which will be a killer release in summer/early autumn! Maybe, there will be some liscensed vinyl-releases, but nothing is already worth mentioning. If anybody is interested in working together with "Sylphony Creations", write or send your material to the band contact address down below.
Precious Art: Certainly, I´ll make some layouts this year in order to establish a bit this department, but in any case the number of layouts is strictly limited according to my work besides. It always was a hobby and it will be one in the near or far future, this is for sure.
Did we forget anything to cover? If yes, you can kick my arse here…
Oh, yes Jagger, you forget to ask my all time favorite and number one question ´til purgatory afterglow ,namely what the meaning of our lyrics is!!!!! It´s a pity (hehe)! In addition to that, I would like to answer another bunch of about fourty questions.....
Ok, to be honest, I´ll thank you and Schenk for this opportunity to present the readers the "Fragments Of Unbecoming" and in general to get some pages in your fucking cool mag!!!!!!!!!! Hopfully, there will be more essays in the future again.