With tasteful inspiration of emotional hardcore bands like More Than Life, Modern Life Is War, Life Long Tragedy or Landscapes, Mannheim, Germany based ACHES have crafted a new, impressive EP of 7 darkly melodic and very powerful tracks. Imbued with honesty and passion, the record hit hards with a lot of punchy moments and it seems that Germany’s roster of noteworthy hardcore bands is about to get one name longer. We caught up with the ACHES’ singer and lyricist Dave to give you a broader scope of their story, break down this new offering and give us some insights about their local scene.
“Dead Youth” was recorded with Christian Bethge (The Tidal Sleep, Spirit Crusher, Criminal Body and many more) and consists of recorded 7 tracks with an overall playing time of 18 minutes at the Rama Recording Studio Mannheim. The Record was mixed and mastered by Lewis Johns (Canvas, Giver, Grieved, Svalbard, More Than Life and more) at The Ranch Production House in Southampton.
Aches was started in 2018 by Berkant D., Marcel R., Riccardo R., Santiago A. and David S. after we decided to lay our former band clipwings to rest which basically consisted of the same members. We came to the conclusion that it would be best to start under a new name, sort of like starting this project on a blank piece of paper.
We then played a few shows here and there but we wanted to make a name for ourselves in the scene so we figured we’d do that by releasing our first EP. We then went to the studio with Christian Bethge at Rama Recording Studios in Mannheim to record ”A Quiet Reminder Of What We Could Have Been” which actually didn’t turn out as expected due to poor planning by us.
After we released that EP our then lead guitarist Berkant left the band. We then shot a music video for our song ”Realisation” with our good friend Lars Köppl, who actually plays in 2 bands called ”Worth” and ”WILDIVE”.
After releasing that music video on our youtube channel, we played a few shows until our drummer Riccardo and Santiago told us they’d be leaving the band because of a change in interests. So only the bands bassist Marcel and I (David), the singer, were left.
We felt lost, since we didn’t know if we’d find new members again and that uncertainty weighed heavy on our minds.
We also wanted to change our sound as a band from a more modern style of melodic hardcore to a more traditional one which we found has become rare over the past few years. While being on the look out for new members Marcel and I wrote this EP in my bedroom in front of my computer, so the guitars, bass drums and lyrics are completely written by Marcel and me. After playing a few shows with our then fill in guitarist Markus (who also plays in a band called ”Guidelines”) and fill in drummer Oliver we asked them to become full time members of the band and they instantly said yes.
We then agreed to go into the studio to record our second EP but this time we wanted to make a few things different from the past release. We teamed up with our good friend Florian Kliemke, the drummer of the metalcore band ‘Bury My Regrets‘, to have him record the drums this time since we wanted a more modern drum sound on this EP. We also had him track the Guitar and Bass DI’s so we could go to Rama Recording Studios to do some Reamping. After we had tracked the DI’s we went to Rama again with our producer Christhian Bethge where we then did the Reamping. For the rythm guitars we’ve used a Sunn Model T and a JCM 800 with an overdrive in front of the amp and for the clean guitars we’ve used a clean setting on the JCM 800. The bass amps we’ve used were a Peavey Mace Head and a Traynor Ts25b. We also for the first ever recorded acoustic guitar and Harmonium which can be heard on the last song of the EP (”Asleep”). We then sent the files over to Lewis Johns at the Ranch House Production Studios to have him mix and master the record. The art of the EP was done by our very good friend and excellent photographer Daniel Schäfer who used a prism lens to shoot the photo on the cover.
On dead youth my main focus was to highlight the struggles and worries many young people have to deal with while growing.
I talk briefly about depression, substance abuse, physical and psychological abuse and the feeling of not fitting in anywhere.
On ”Pills” I highlight how the abuse of prescription medication (antidepressants) can sometimes make the problem even worse and how one can become dependent on something that really just masquerades your reality. One can become addicted to this false sense of security and I think that’s very dangerous as I have experienced it first hand.
“Cleanse my soul, help let it all go. I’m rotten to the core, the pain sticks to my bones.”
A monologue the lyrical narrator has with himself and how he hopes the medication will just make his worries go away.
“Blood rushing to your head,
While you’re feeling underfed,
Having needles under your skin,
Something to numb me from within”
In this verse I talk about how the medication will make you feel hungry and lethargic, how it raises your blood pressure and so on.
Stuck: On this Song our good friend Sebastian Klepzig (who plays in a band called ”Shattered Lions”) sings along with Marcel and me.
The lyrics are about the feeling of being stuck somewhere in life. It’s about those times you have the feeling of not being able to move forward in life and how no one is there to accompany you. You have the feeling how people you love will leave you behind after a certain period of time but nonetheless, you are aware of your own strength and fight your way through it („But i know i can make it / I show you that I´ll make you proud of me“).
”Lethargy”: This actually the darkest song on the EP lyrically since it deals with a very hard period of my life.
It was the summer of 2018 where I felt absolutely crushed by the weight of my mind. My head was constantly telling me no matter what I do and no matter how hard I try that I will never be good enough. The song also heavily deals with physical and psychological abuse (especially in the last verse) done by family members and how it can impact the character development of someone growing up.
”I’m a projection of my aches, of everything that leaves me feeling not okay.” This means that we’re all a product of our struggles and hardships and how it will shape us into the person we are today.
“Prescribed medication as a way to cope, extending the time till I meet the rope.” Once again I’m talking about how one can become dependent on antidepressants and how it will only make the problem disappear for a short period of time until it comes back.
“Youth is like a noose hanging from my neck” This means that someone’s youth can heavily impact their character development and social abilities.
”Sedated”: A few months ago I was browsing youtube and I came across an interview of a psychiatrist and his patient from the 1950s, where they talk about the topic of a failed suicide attempt and about the abuse of prescription medication.
I related to a lot of things the patient said in that interview, how she’d go out of her way to get her mothers attention and how she put on this mask to hide her pain and her real feelings. I felt like it fitted the vibe of this song I wrote so I layed the interview over the song and I think it came out pretty good.
On “Dead Youth“, the title track of the EP, I reflected on my younger years and how depression often times made it hard to speak openly about my worries since I felt like it was a topic that still wasn’t accepted in society.
I also really wanted to bring to light how adolescents often seek validation of friends, family or even society in general and how they will go out of their way to fulfill that image that society tells them to be.
“I tried my best to fake a smile just so you can’t see what I hide,
and with the cancer blooming inside that will someday end my fucking life”
I used cancer as a symbol for depression, since there hasn’t been found a real cure for the disease yet and how it will continue to “bloom” in your head.
”And I’m just so scared that I might never be content with myself, because all I do is try to please everyone that pushes me away.”- in this verse I once again touch on the topic of me seeking validation by family members of friends while I was growing up and how I felt like no matter what I’d do I’d never be enough.
Plans for 2020:
To be honest with this whole pandemic going on we really don’t have any specific plans other than playing some shows as soon as we will be able to and continuing to write a full length album. We’d love to maybe shoot another music video later this year and maybe even releasing a new song but we’ll have to wait and see.
I think I can speak for the other guys when I say that this whole pandemic has totally changed the way we look at making music and playing shows. I think it taught us to be more grateful for getting the opportunity to play in band and even in general to cherish life a little more.
Mannheim local hardcore scene
I’m sure many people are already aware of this but Mannheim actually has one of the biggest straight edge hardcore scenes in all of germany with bands like Spirit Crusher, Spark, Domain (RIP), Night Force, Exposure and Persecution Mania. But other than the huge straight edge hardcore scene I feel like the metalcore and melodic/post hardcore scene over here has died over the past few years which I find pretty sad actually, but we’re hoping to change that in the future, haha.
Our good friends in Liotta Seoul who just released their new album ”Hopper”, our buddies in Bury my regrets who will hopefully release their new album soon and our bavarian friends in We too will fade.