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EXCLUSIVE: WE HAD A DEAL interview

WE HAD A DEAL are a four-piece from Germany combining post hardcore / screamo with melodic hardcore. We recently talked to them to gather some insight on their new album, how they’ve changed and their future plans.

Hey. Thanks for taking time with us, guys. What’s up? Can you briefly introduce yourself and the band?

WE HAD A DEAL is a four-piece from southern Germany. We’re Serkan on the bass, Uli on the guitar, Sascha on the drums and me, Micha doing the vocals. Normally we just describe the music we play as “whatever-core”. Than being a somehow useless band-description, maybe we could rather say we try to mix hardcore with 90ies-screamo, some melodies and a bit of punk-rock.

So you’re a blend of different hardcore-orientated styles. How did you end up with this certain style? How does it compare to your favorite bands and music you listen to?

97% of our songs are written by the whole band altogether in our rehearsal room. Most of them are a product of our different opinions, taste of music and ideas compromised in a three-minutes-song-structure. Doing it this way kind of guarantees that all four of us like the result. Maybe that’s where the different styles come from.

What other projects have you been taking part in? Are you currently members of other bands, as well?

I’m afraid there’re no side-projects I could make fuzz about. But maybe I should sneak in a little self-promotion: Besides WE HAD A DEAL I’m drawing artworks for whoever asks for one and there’s this “art-zine-thing” I sometimes do together with Thomas of THE TIDAL SLEEP. The whole “operation” is called schwarzer.rand. You can check out some of the artworks by downloading this.
So if you’re in the need of anything, just ask: [email protected]

Going back to WE HAD A DEAL, your new album, “Dialectics”, gets awesome reviews and I must say it’s a fair criticism. I love the sound you developed. How did you make it to this point in your music?

Thanks for your kind words. We’re really amazed by the reactions to the record. The reviews on “Dialectics” are really positive so far and we’re grateful that people spend time listening to what we recorded and invest even more time in writing something about it. We came to this sound clearly by selling our souls and by whispering black magic spells. Also Daniel Wied (who recorded and mixed the album) and Daniel Steinwedel (who mastered it) literally worked their asses off to make this record what it is.

How do you distribute the outing? Any labels are you working with?

Yes, there are four great labels involved in this record: Farblos Records, Middle-Man Records, Heads-Down Records, Walking Is Still Honest Records. They help us a lot to distribute the record, a thing we have no experience with. Pressing, artwork, printing and packaging we did on our own and they helped us to make “Dialectics” available. That’s a pretty fair deal to us and we really appreciate the hard work and the enthusiasm all of them put into this record. If you’re reading this: You earned yourselves a thousand hugs!
 There’s also digital.kunstrasen.net involved, a platform for free music-downloads. They made a stable free download for “Dialectics”. So besides from our bandcamp-page you can also download the record for free here.

This is actually your fourth release. How do you think has your music changed over the years? How’s “Dialectics” different?

For “Dialectics” we had the idea of a record that should sound as a whole piece since the lyrics are tied together. Also we tried to work on melodies and song-structures that might stick with you after listening to the album. I don’t know for sure if we achieved that with these recordings but hopefully they’re pretty close. From our perspective this development made perfect sense and we didn’t force it or anything. It’s just great to come up with new ideas and to try different things. Apart from that it took some time to write this album. So we don’t really recognize the basic changes since they evolved over a longer period of time. It’s like revisiting people you haven’t seen in several years and realizing how they changed. But at the same time you’re mistakenly convinced that you didn’t change a bit since their last visit.

Right [smiles]. Tell us about the lyrics and the concept story of the record – the chapters you decided to create.

The main idea behind the concept is based on the dialectical idea of a hypothesis and an antithesis in everything and that truth lays in between them, in the synthesis, the product of both sides of the coin. It might sound a bit overdone and I’m not a studied philosopher or sort of but this concept of being wrong and right at the same time and truth being neither of both but an amalgam of both seems very appealing to me if you have a look at how we choose to live our life, how most post-industrial societies work and how the individual tries to find its place in them.
The lyrics are divided into Chapters to get some overview. Each chapter is a further step in the story. Even though there’s a common theme in all of them each chapter lyrically also works as a single song without the whole complex to back its meaning.
I started off with “Setting Fire To The Town-Hall For Very Different Reasons” which has some characters involved and after that it seemed necessary to write something about what happened before that. Then came the idea to describe what happened after it and so on. From there on the whole story evolved itself. So the record wasn’t planned to be a concept album at first.

So what’s coming up next? Are you readying your 2013 release? Please reveal some secrets for us [smiles].

Yes, we’re readying some songs for a future release in 2013. But there’s no release-date or anything yet, we’ll do it the same way we always do it: slowly. For now we’re happy with “Dialectics” and enjoy writing new songs. On the matters of songwriting you could say, WE HAD A DEAL is a bit like a debating club with black magic involved. Not in an egomaniacal way, just talking much about the songs.

You were recently featured on Real Screamo Compilation Vol. 3. Tell us about this project.

The Real Screamo Compilation Vol. 3 is an international compilation featuring a truckload of amazing bands like COMA REGALIA, RAVACHOL, CARRION SPRING, BOOK OF CAVERNS, CAPACITIES, TODOS CAERAN, CAVALCADES, and a lot more. We’re really proud to be on board. The Real Screamo-site is a great blog. Some of my favorite bands I came to know from sites like this. To be honest, we hadn’t thought about asking Real Screamo to feature a track of WE HAD A DEAL on their compilation because we never thought they’d actually do it. But Middle-Man Records contacted them without us knowing. After their positive response Shawn mailed us and asked if it was fine for us to be a part of their compilation. Looks like we had been wrong. Thanks, Shawn!

Nice. A bunch of amazing bands.

How do you feel like you’ve developed as a band since you first started playing? How does it feel playing the older material now?

All in all, it feels more “normal”, I guess. When the band started playing we weren’t sure if we’d ever have more than three songs or if we’d ever play a show anywhere and then it just happened, I suppose. We wrote more material than our first three songs, recorded it, realized that it was crap and tried it again. Until now we’ve succeeded in keeping this first demo under lock and key. I sincerely hope no one gets to hear it in the future. We normally don’t play older songs live because they don’t work out using only one guitar. So the Three-Songs-EP was only recorded to have some new material in store because it felt kind of lame playing only new songs but having a record with only older songs on it.

Which places would you love to visit next as a band?

There are many European countries we’d love to visit and also a lot of places in Germany we’d love to see. They’re too many to name them here. It always makes me humble to be able to go somewhere and play there for the simple reason that people put effort in setting up a show because they seem to like the songs we’ve written. That’s amazing if you think about it, it’s something we’re really thankful for. So it doesn’t really matter exactly where this happens as long as it happens. Unfortunately we can’t do lots of touring and stuff, the “real life” gets in the way too often and wants its share.
 One dream/goal of mine was to play the “Rote Flora” in Hamburg someday. WE HAD A DEAL played there last summer and it was one of the best shows on the tour. So that’s not a show on another continent or a gig playing live heads-down on a skyscraper and stuff, but it’s something I can scrap from my list and it was a perfect evening.

What was the best screamo / post –hardcore band you’ve seen live?

Well, I frankly couldn’t decide on one and would forget lots of others. It’s like when you’re in front of a whole shelf of DVDs. All of the films you had in mind are suddenly gone once you ought to decide on which one to watch. So let’s put it this way, I’ll just occupy the space of this question to do some advertising for some bands you should check out: THE TIDAL SLEEP, COME REGALIA, SILENCIO, AHORA, SILENCIO!, CONTINENTS, I REFUSE, WILLY FOG, CANNON FOR CORDOBA, MNMNTS, AN EARLY CASCADE,  ENDE/AUS, PATSY O’HARA, HELL&BACK, REZNIK SYNDROM, MAHLSTROM, TROPHIES.

Thanks so much! Any last words?

Thanks for the interview; we’d also like to thank (again) the people who helped to make “Dialectics” possible and everyone who helped us in any way…. Contact us via [email protected], Bandcamp and Facebook.

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