Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. I assume by the time you get to this I Am Nemesis has dropped here in North America [as well as everywhere else], so how’s everything on your end since it hit shelves?
Hey, my pleasure! We just finished up our European tour and during the tour (second date) our album dropped. The feedback we got from the fans and the European press has been overwhelming! We thought it would be good, because we think we did a very good new album, but it has been far over our expectations! Almost all the shows were sold out, some of them several weeks before and we almost doubled the sellings of our previous album in two weeks! So we are more than happy!
I know a lot of people have been rather sketchy with the band since The Awakening. Have you seen a much warmer response to I Am Nemesis so far in comparison?
Yes, like I said, all the European reviews have been awesome. I didn’t get the reviews yet from USA for example, because the album dropped a month later there. but here even the average rating is above 80%.
I know you released a video for the song “Memorial.” What was it like shooting for that song? Were there any complications or anything interesting going on?
Mainly it was extremely cold and took forever! We left home for the shooting in the morning at nine and were home the next morning at ten or eleven *laughs*. We shot the band performance part mostly after it was dark, six or seven pm until seven am. During the night the temperature dropped to negative two or negative four degrees (I don’t know how much it is in fahrenheit) so it was freezing and we had this [wet] paint over our cloth and face, etc. In the end our bass player was standing there like a wet freezing dog unable to move anymore *laughs*!
Caliban just wrapped up the Get Infected 2012 tour with Winds of Plague, We Butter the Bread with Butter, Eyes Set to Kill and Atilla. How did that tour go for you and the others in the band?
It was over way too fast. We had an amazing time, on stage and also backstage. All the other bands were really nice and the shows have been very good for everybody! We couldn’t wait to finally play some new songs live to see the reactions on the new material, that was really interesting and fun!
Did you come back with any interesting stories you wouldn’t mind telling for your fans or just anyone reading this interview?
Hmmm. not really, it was just a fun time. but no drama worth telling on this run *laughs*. I mean there are always things like “the bus broke and had to get fixed” or “someone got left behind at a gas-station-stop without [their] cellphone” *laughs* but these are not so interesting stories I guess.
It’s very rare I find an album with a high end production quality to sound anywhere nearly as good as it does on I Am Nemesis. I see that the production was handled by you and Benny Richter. What was it like working with Benny?
Wow, thank you, that’s a great compliment! Benny and I are long time friends and we work together really closely, the producing took like three to four months this time, because we wanted to make everything perfect. Usually the whole writing and producing process is only three months. I write some basic song ideas and then we meet up and sort out which songs are worth for further producing. He is a great musician and always has very good ideas, we have some kind of blind understanding. When I write something, I always know which part he will probably like a lot!
Did Caliban originally intend to have such a top notch audio quality to the recording, or did you guys want to go a different route?
Actually both *laughs*. We were going for someone else mixing the album, who usually doesn’t do metal really and also someone else for the mastering. We wanted to sound different, because the songs on the new album are a little different too. So, we sent out some stuff for testmixings, without telling the guys what we are looking for, we wanted their own ideas how they think the sound should be. And we were blown away by Klaus who mixed the album in the end, what he sent wasn’t really how the album sounds in the end, but the way he made the instruments sound was amazing, especially the vocals, but actually everything else too. It was really surprising to us, because like I said, he is usually not mixing metal music.
There were a few moments that came off more like a Progressive Rock influence with what sounds like keyboards, or guitar chords trying to emulate that kind of sound, like with “We Are the Many” and the solo that hits around the two-minute thirty second mark. Was this sound something you and the others strived to have on the album, or a concept that came later in the studio? Also, are you happy with how it sounds?
That was intended! I had a vision of how our new album should be, so I tried many things and experimented with guitar pedals, other kinds of melodies, etc. After like seven or eight songs I found what I was looking for, so I trashed what I had until then and started over. It was a little inspired by the guitar player/singer of Muse, I know it must sound odd, but the way he uses his guitar and effects is just amazing and I wanted to add some of the feeling to our music too, just in a heavy way. So for you it might not sound Muse influenced, but it was pushing me into the direction how I wrote the new songs and I think they sound pretty unique now. The chorus of “We Are The Many” is a good example for the influences I just mentioned.
Is there a chance that Caliban may take that kind of sound and push it even further in future recordings considering how well it worked on that song, “Memorial,” and the many others that have a similar sound?
Yes definitely, it was a big step for us in a new direction without forgetting our roots! And we wanna push this further on next releases! Funny [thing] is, that even fans from the past, who liked albums like “Vent” or “Shadow Hearts” like the new album as well.
While on that general subject, the end of I Am Nemesis really sounds like the band tried to experiment with the sound a bit. Songs like “Deadly Dream” and “This Oath” are just so different. Were these intended to just be regular songs for the album or, in the case of “This Oath,” maybe have special meaning to someone? Or perhaps these are to test the waters for a future sound?
We wanted a really varied album, without loosing the red line between the song. These two songs just reach out mostly to both sides of the extreme, “Deadly Dream” is the most heavy I would say, but fits as well into the album, especially because of the chorus. And “This Oath” is the softest song but without any clean vocals, that was the intention at this song, to create a song which is softer but works with screams, to not be a cliche ballad song if you know what I mean. Its adding a different mood to the album. It will for sure be on the new album too!
Are there any plans to shoot another video for this album? If so, or even if not, would it be for one of those songs, or perhaps any other track on the record? It didn’t shock me “Memorial” got the video, but it would really be a shame if “We Are the Many” didn’t get one at some point.
We actually already started to “shoot” a video for “We Are The Many,” just a couple weeks and we are gonna release it, but it’s taking a bit of time because it’s gonna be a pretty different way of video, so much I can tell already *laughs*.
I’ll wrap this up real quick by asking if there are any other tour plans in the works for Caliban. I know you’re playing the Durbuy festival April 20th, and then there’s the Xoundforc China Tour 2012 on August 4th, but is there any information you can let slip to your fans/readers about dates for the near or distant future? Maybe word on a possible North America outting at some point?
Yes, we are working on several things at the moment and we wanna come to North America for sure this year too! We just don’t know when exactly for now.
Before I let you go, is there anything else you’d like to mention I didn’t get to touch on?
Just thank you for the interview! And to our fans, check out our new album and watch out for a North america tour! *winks*
Interview conducted thanks to Century Media Records.