Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hannes Grossman Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on since the release of the solo album?
Well, I have been sending out a lot of CDs, haha. You know, I'm doing the distribution myself, so I sign and send out every copy by hand. Besides that there is a lot of stuff I'm working on simuntaneously, like writing new stuff for Obscura, and I work a lot in general. So business as usual.

2.Recently you have released a solo album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical sound that is present on the recording and what are some of the things you where able to do on this release, not you are not able to do with your other bands?
I'm in the very priviledged situation to play exactly the music I like.
So yes, why doing a solo album at all? The music on it might be even a bit similar to the bands I play in. But still, in every band you have to make copromises. You need to make compromises on the parts that the other musicians play, as well as on the songwriting and on the production.. This time I didn't have to do any compromises with anybody else. It was a project where I was able to do exactly what I want all the way, even considering lyrics and vocal lines.

  3.The lyrics on the album cover esoteric topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
It's not so much esoterical, it's rather philosophical. I'm very interested in this topic. The album is a concept album and I had the initial idea for it when I was in Rome two years ago. You can see a lot of Christian culture there, but if you dig a little deeper you can find pre-Christian temples. One big pre-Christian cult was the Mithra cult, which had a lot of similarities with Christianity. But Christianity paved its way into the modern age - Mithra cult didn't. The main reason for this is because Christianity had something to offer that other religion's weren't offering, like absolution, monotheism and the abbandoning of human sacrifices. My main idea was: what if it's just a 
coincidence? Could it be that in a parallel universe there are Mithra temples instead of churches? This led me to the thought, that if today someone started a totally new religion (like Sientology), how would this religion have to be like to make it become the main religion in 2000 years?
There are 5 songs on my album which build the basis for a imaginary new religion called "Aeon cult", which takes place in a multiverse/ another dimension. The first song AEON ILLUMINATE is about god and describes his character. God here is simply time itself, which is a multidimensional being. Humans can just feel time in a linear way, but Einstein proved that time is relative and a dimension in space, like length, width. So it's quite logical to see time as a god that decides over live and death. The song "Alien Utopia" discusses the role of non-godly beings, aka humans (among other creatures). "The Sorcerer" builds the prophet of this religion, like Mohammet or Jesus. The song says, that men themselves are prophets to this religion and can decide over life and death. So my 'religion' offers something that most modern people are seeking for: pure individualism and narcism, while "Solar Fire Cells" is just a poem about the cosmos itself. The title track deals with the most important topic to any religion: life after death. In this case men are reborn in an endless repeating cycle of time travelling through different universes. So after all my imaginary religion offers endless life and pure individualism. That could be a good common ground for a new cult to come.

I could go on and talk for hours about this concept, but time is too short, haha.

4.Who are the quest musicians that have participated on your album?
All musicians that play on the album are friends of mine and I'm proud to have them on the album. Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura) plays bass, Morean and V.Santura (both Dark Fortress) handle the vocals. Jimmy Pitts plays some incredible keyboards, while I could get an impressive list of guitar players:

- Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore)
- Christian Muenzner (Obscura, Spawn of Possession, ex-Necrophagist)
- Danny Tunker (Aborted)
- Tom Geldschlager (Fountainhead)
- Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry)
- Ron Jarzombek

5.You are more known as a drummer but you also play guitar on the album, are you open to playing guitar with your other musical projects in the future?
Yes, of course! But I just play drums way better than guitars, so I don't really see it happening.

6.Can you tell us a little bit more about your dvd and book for drummers that you have released in the last few years?
I released a DVD called "Progressive Concepts for the modern metal drummer" which shows mainly my playing technique, but also I play a lot of songs on it. I self-produced and self-released the DVD. The book however was published by HalLeonard, which is the world's largest sheet music publisher. It's a follow up of Alex Webster's (Cannibal Corpse) bass book "Extreme Metal Bass", so I called my book "Extreme Metal Drumming". Hal Leonard were searching for a metal drummer who has a name in the metal community but who can also write notation and work like an
author. I'm very proud of both the DVD and the book and of course you can get them on my website.

7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your solo album by fans of death metal?
It's been overwhealming so far, from all over the world. I even sold 40 CDs to Taiwan, haha. So the response is great and it displays in the record sales, which is great. I hope I will be able to bring the project on stage some day!

8.What is going on with your other musical projects these days?
We're in the songwriting mode with Obscura, a new album is in the works. 
But I think it will take until early next year until it's finally released. I'm also working on a new drum project with Sebastian Lanser  (Panzerballett), imo by far the best drummer in the German drum scene. 
We're writing songs for two drum sets, in a way it has never been done before. So we split up and orchestrate both drum sets following different instruments at the same time. Thus we can create songs which one drummer couldn't play at all, but which are still good songs to listen to.

I'm also working on a completely new band featuring some people who have played on my solo album. I can't tell any details yet, but we want to break the boudraries between (prog) rock, classical music and extreme metal. So very ambitious. Most parts of an album is written and I think it's by far the best I've ever done.

9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
As most diversely as possible. I want to do new things and get better as a writer and as a performer. So a lot of work to do, I better start right now...

10.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your solo album and also what are you listening to nowadays?
The stuff I listen to doesn't necessarily influence me. I have some sort of "musical DNA" which is a sum of my influences. By influences I don't only mean bands I've listened to, but also the music I grew up with, and mostly the musicians I played with. Those people influenced me more than any CD I ever heard. I don't write music like this: listening to a band I like and then trying to write something that sounds similar. Many people try to write like this but imo it's totally pointless. I try to be myself when I create music and sound like no other. If it does sound like something else, it happend unconciously.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
I love to cook and I'm very much interested in other countries and cultures.

12.Before we we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thank you for your time and giving me the possibility to talk about my stuff. You can get my CD at bandcamp.com or on my own website 

Thank you!

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