From the first moment I knew that I was in the presence of an exceptional band. One month after the premiere of their debut music video, LLNN are back with another exciting project, which would be a split 12″ inch with German sludge hardcore, downtempo outfit GRIM VAN DOOM! My recent interview with both bands turned out to be an insightful discussion and interesting discourse with honest contributions from inspired musicians.
Catch both bands live at their record release show in Wuppertal, Germany on October 31st! Both acts will be having their 12″ split there along with a huge distro of records, merch and stuff like that.
Hey guys! Thanks for agreeing on doing this double interview! How are you this fine summer? :)
Lansky: Hey there Karol, first let me thank you for doing this interview! To answer your question in one word: BUSY. It has been a very productive summer so far!
Christian: Hey! Rasmus and I have been busy with playing festivals with our other band THE PSYKE PROJECT and taking some much needed vacation time. Besides that, I’ve been researching and formulating ideas to the next batch of LLNN songs.
Lansky: (humming & whispering diabolical psyke project song parts).
Ok, so let’s get the boring stuff over with and drop some essentials for our readers. Can you provide some background information about both bands? Obviously, these bands are not your debut musical projects. Can you share your stories of previous bands and current endevors you’re still involved in?
Lansky: GvD are around for a while now. We diy-released our 3-track demo in early 2012. From then on we started to play shows & hang out a lot. It all started at a local show in our hometown. Leo was playing drums in this garage band with a female singer. All of them had costumes on, in Leos case it was a pink tutu…I mean, really this xs size fucking pink ballet sorta dress! It was hilarious and the band was heavy grooving too…Leo is just a bad ass drummer no matter in what outfit he plays…musically & fashion wise I guess. After the show he came up to me & asked me to start a band as he knew I was a singer. We figured out it had to be heavy & slow and got drunk. I knew Niles & Dennis for years by then as we were friends and already played together in a band called people thrower. We got together to jam & this line up didn’t change ever since. It’s a very simple formula: friendship & capturing the spirit of it through the music. Sure it’s dark & all, but that’s the concept not the band. We love to work on our own terms & always had great people around us, helping us out with printing shirts, organising shows, spreading the word & supporting us. But the body of work is and always will be 100% GvD.
Christian: LLNN formed on the basis of a phone call from me to Rasmus around fall last year, where I basically asked him if he wanted to make some music together with me that wasn’t THE PSYKE PROJECT. We quickly decided to book time in a studio and then Rasmus suggested that we added Ketil (Rasmus little brother) to get a fresh spin/view on the music by adding electronics, since we’re pretty much veterans that have our own particular set of habits in our way of composing. Ketil and the electronic aspect acted as a wildcard, shaking things up. This was pretty exciting and a new way for us to compose. We rehearsed one time before entering the studio and just sort of wrote the songs on the fly while in the studio. I had a bunch of riffs ready and we composed the songs together in a period of 3 days in the studio. Pretty great and inspirational way to go about it and we’re all really happy with how it turned out.
Rasmus and I play together in THE PSYKE PROJECT besides LLNN, which we recently decided to disband. Rasmus has played in the band for about 15 years, while i have been in it for about 6/7 years. They picked me up in the Danish hardcore scene back in 2008 and I haven’t looked back since. Besides LLNN, Rasmus and Ketil are making electronic trip-hop under the moniker “Planet Tyler” and they are making great progress with some cool plans and I like what I’ve heard of it so far. Besides LLNN I also play in a grind/chaotic hardcore band called PISS VORTEX, which we’re in the middle of releasing (hopefully around November).
Lansky: GvD is the only band for me but all the others are engaged in other bands & projects. It’s a hive really. Our rehearsal space is occuppied every day of the week basically. Me personally I’m super excited about Dennis other band CELESTIAL MEISTERS who are working on an ep as we speak. It’s pretty heavy stuff with japanese lyrics & two drummers. Niles is also the bass player for URBAN DARK & GOODNIGHT WORLDWIDE both who have albums in the making…URBAN DARK has a female singer & reminds me of older PORTISHEAD kinda stuff, while GNWW are a instrumental trio making some classy postrock. Leo is the worst, at one point he played in like..I dunno 5 bands? Now he focusses on GvD & THE.SPINES which are a legendary HC-act in our hometown. I’m sure I forgot something haha
GRIM VAN DOOM live
What initially brought you together to arrange this split record?
Lansky: must’ve been in early june…I came across LLNNs music somewhere on the internet & they immediatley left a mark on me! I researched a bit & kept listening to their whole ep….eventually I decided to ask them to play at a small diy-fest I was planning & we started emailing with Rasmus. It seems like forever away to me now cause we kept in touch ever since …but if I’m correct it started as some kind of misunderstanding haha I was like “man I love marks when are you guys bringing it out on vinyl?” then I told him about our own plans of releasing an album in winter 14/15 & he asked me if we wanna do a split before that. Maybe Rasmus can elaborate some more on that one…anyway, the idea grew on me, even if it was kinda crazy in the middle of album pre-production & yeah, the intial plan to invite them to play a show became a weekender tour with 3 venues & the split a reality….
Christian: Well we’ve been noticing Lansky for some time, since he’s always been a vocal supporter of our other band. When he decided to contact us regarding some shows, it just seemed like the right thing to do a split, since we really enjoy Grim Van Dooms tunes. I like how music can bring together people and acquaintances like that, I think that’s what makes this scene so amazing.
Test presses for the split record
Inspiration-wise, do you have some mental advisers or coaches? How important are mentors for you?
Christian: I don’t know if it’s obvious, but I can’t touch a guitar without being inspired by the Swedish hardcore band BREACH. Mainly it’s their chord progressions that really inspire me. The whole electronic side of our sound was inspired in part by VANGELIS, Michael McCann and stuff like that. Vocally I’m a hardcore kid, through and through, but instead of inspiring change and overcoming struggles that’s usually the subject of the genre, the lyrical theme is more of defeat, helplessness and self-hatred in the context of being a creative person in a society that discourages you from being so. It’s like the death rattle of a persona acknowledging that he’s being selfish in the pursuit of art, at the expense of others around him and should just “grow up”, get a stable job and stop pursuing ambitions. Something I really relate to and will look at more in our coming songs. Obviously it’s not that grim, since I love playing music and live for it, but it’s thoughts I have. The rest is pretty much me and Rasmus getting in a room together and doing our thing. It just sort of end up sounding like that.
Lansky: We see the split as the perfect playground for trying out stuff. For instance it was a deliberate decision to put our slowest & longest song before our fastest & shortest to see how it works out. Ketil from LLNN even came up to us after he listened to ropes & immediately suggested to do one of his fantastic soundscapes at the end of the track which just left us stoked! Other than that we listen to so much stuff from punk to slow ass doom that I really can’t tell what the source for a GvD song is. It’s not other bands…it’s more of sorting out what’s fun to do. Niles wrote most of the songs for the split & the forth coming album. We just rehearse the shit out of it until we feel it’s done. Lyrically the split is pure chaos. It starts with the story of a female arsonist, ropes is a very intimate insight into the world of BDSM & the ripper is a trash talk homage to sing along to. I’m really looking forward to the reactions to the split as a whole.
What do you expect from your audience that comes to hear your new work for the first time?
Christian: I don’t think we expect anything of our audience other that they should expect us to do our best. Some moshing or some shit would be cool though.
Lansky: As for the audience, they can expect to attend some furious live shows & we hope they like our latest output as it’s unfiltered & straight from the heart.
GRIM VAN DOOM live
Have you ever wondered what music means to you and what purpose you believe it serves?
Christian: Well, music for me is essential to my well-being. It’s pretty much guaranteed that if I spend some time playing music in the rehearsal space or wherever, that I’m going to have a good week. I thrive when I’m creating music together with my bands and friends. It’s also a great relief to play this kind of music. While I do have a career outside of music, it’s pretty much in service to my music, so I can earn money to keep the ball rolling. I don’t think that I would ever want to do music for a living – I really enjoy having it as an escape and I really think that doing it for a living would put an end to that joy. There’s a lot of stress and hurry in this world, so it’s also a nice way to get to know other people in a very intimate way. The way people compose and all the small idiosyncrasies of their songwriting/playing and riffs opens them up like a book to me. Which is why I play in bands with people I really enjoy the company off and want to get to know better.
Lansky: That’s a very interesting question. It screams for some monumental answer, but instead I’ll go with something I read on ANDREW WK’s blog on the internet the other day haha…it went something like this: in music there ain’t no good & bad. Precisely no good or bad feelings can be conveyed through music. Music IS feeling. Like in the purest form. That was basically an explanation I really liked. I’ll add: it’s a man made feeling catched on a medium so other people can listen to it & interpret it in like 6 billion ways. It serves no purpose I think, it’s in our nature. It’s not only melodies & grooves… it can be anything & I believe that every human being reacts to that. Even those people who say they don’t really listen to music or are not interested in it as they care about other things. They can’t deny the feeling it brings. For me personally music is as strong as love. It heals my soul.
It’s may be quite frustrating to think that heavy music no longer has any technical limits and more or less everything has been already invented. Do you agree with this thesis? How do you deal with this global limitation? How does the composing process work or you guys?
Christian: The way I see it is that while most genres might be outlined and played before, that doesn’t discourage me from wanting to create and think a little bit out of the box – I don’t see myself as an innovative musician in any way, but subjectively I have certain inspirations and a way of writing that I feel like is a natural extension of myself. If that makes sense? The same goes for other musicians. In terms of composing we never actively stop ourselves because “band a already did this” – It’s more what feels right to do/what’s logical. Adopting that kind of thinking would stop us in our tracks and is really a can of worms I don’t want to open. My advice is to stop overthinking it, you might just stumble on something uniquely you. Other than that, I still feel that metal in many ways have some uncharted territory compared to other genres.
Lansky: Ahhh yeah…I went through this question a lot of times when I was younger… basically every time I felt “omg this shit is so extreme…this is it, this is the maximum of the do-able!” Those “stations” were PANTERA / SLIPKNOT in ’99, MESHUGGAH & DEP in ’02…CEPHALIC CARNAGE & CARBOMB in ’05 & so on….technically it’s always impressive when you hear the latest outrage of the extrme. But it doesn’t work like this to me anymore. Dennis our guitar player is like the coolest dude I know coming up with the idea of truely relaxing to grindcore tunes! That’s a beautiful thought if you ask me! You know I just eased down a lot and focussed on what happens in the particular mood you are in when you’re listening to a song. There are some things you can rely on though: having some beers before you go out to a electro party: TRENTMOELLER is the man for me then. A punk rock show happing later the evening? Get warm with doomsisters from france or some nice mantar songs more recently. And I stopped to compare shit. But I will say the two most brutal songs I ever listened to are probably raining blood covered by Tori Amos & Pluto by Björk. That’s my example for individual perception. In GvD we don’t compose what might be the heaviest thing out there or the most technically brilliant stuff. We compose what we believe IS heavy by doing so in our musical spectrum. You also have to master a song really. Sure you write it in the most refined way, but you also have to relax & reflect afterwards…you learn from your own output & then really live up to it with all the passion you have. It happens often with my lyrics too. The meaning sometimes overwhelms me ’cause it brings something up, something back & you find yourself somewhere else for the next five minutes while performing. I’m telling you..this is heavy enough for me haha.
Haha, alright. It would be marvellous to have an opportunity to see you guys live. Are you planning on booking some shows to promote the split? What other shows do you have lined up for the coming months?
Christian: As far as I know, we are. Right now we got 3 dates in the end of October/start November together. I hope there’s going to be more in the future. We have some shows lined up with LLNN, but half of it isn’t announced yet, so I have to be tight lipped
Lansky: Yeah, as mentioned before we will play this weekender from 31.10. – 02.11. together in germany. It was stressful but fun alike to find the perfect venues for the shows. That’s why I decided to do it under a brand name from then on. I call it Hannya booking. Just recently I organized a show with Adrift from Spain in my hometown. Went out incredibly well & everybody was really happy with the result. Had some great helpers too. Grim-van-wise we’ll have a pretty active Winter ’14 / 15′ that’s all I can say now.
Where does live performance fit in with your creative practice? How important is music as a live experience?
Christian: Live performance is key for me to really express the music, which is really important. But I’m not the kind of guy, who weighs playing live above composing, I’ve always found composing and recording more fun. When performing live, it tends to get a bit abstract for the listener/attendee, because it’s a lot of impressions in a short amount of time, especially when it’s in the more extreme category of music, where it’s pretty much a bombardment of the senses. Typically, we don’t remember the songs after a concert or the smaller details if it’s your first time seeing a band. But we remember the feel and the overall impression the band left on us and that’s what I think is most important to focus on when playing live. And of course good musicianship. Be intense, be pissed, be dreamy, be whatever – I don’t know why recorded material works better on people to make a more lasting impression, actually, I don’t know if that’s the case at all, it’s just how it works on me, so i guess I’m just assuming that’s how it is, haha. Watching bands live though, is one of the most important things in my life. I’ve never been the kind of musician that could just sit down and figure out what my favorite musicians are playing. I need to be in front of them, checking out what they are doing. I still remember going to a Young Widows gig as a teen and spending most of the concert looking at the guitarist and his management of pedals and effects, because I wanted to learn more about it, and because his way of using them and loop pedals really fascinated me. I haven’t really changed that much in that regard, but recently I’ve gotten a bit lazy and just look that kind of shit up on youtube. A sign of the times I think. Haha.
Lansky: I completly agree on Christian, playing live is key. It’s also like a test whether you really mastered a new song for example. And as a whole I love it! But you know, my singing…it hurts…the heat, the tension, blurry vision don’t help much. Then I suddenly hate it & that’s a good thing because I really get high from that. Nobodies home [up in my head] when I perform live…then you overcome, fight the pain back & do your fucking best. I stick to my lyrics & fight through the set. I do it for my brothers. Creation is exhausting not fun hahaha…
How do you split your time as musicians, band members and day job workers?
Christian: The way I split my time is working a full time job and taking time off when I have to. if I need to go out for a week or two or more, it’s pretty manageable. I have a pretty flexible job in that regard. But that also means that I haven’t been able to take a proper holiday for myself since I was 21 years old, because all the vacation time I have, I usually spend on music-related stuff, be it recording albums, touring or whatever. I usually rehearse once or twice a week and meet up with the guys in other social ways during the week.
Lansky : I run a video game store. It totally co-exsists with my band so I’m really happy with it. I go to work, then to rehearsal & then we play playstation or listen to music or whatever. That’s pretty typical.
Ok, what else, buddies? Are there some exciting secret stuff you’ve been hiding in your vaults? Anything else you’d like to share here?
Christian: Not really. Just working on new songs and really digging what’s been coming out so far.
Lansky : We will record our not-so-secret-full lenght in october. It’s the king size discipline of being in a band in my eyes. Album recording will take everything from us so I really look forward to it as I’m a bit frightened….or to be more precise: respectful towards it. On the other hand I imagine it to feel like four friends taming & fighting a giant monster boss on insane difficulty settings hahaha…
GRIM VAN DOOM live
Naah, I can’t let you go this fast. Let’s do a quick round of randon questions, deal? ;)
Lansky: Random questions? Go ahead!
Do you believe in reincarnation? Why?
Christian: I like the thought of it, but no. I take solace in the thought that when I breathe my last breath, the madness(face it, the world is a crazy place, and it will probably only get worse) will end.
Lansky: Reincarnation? You know what…? I want to believe there’s something…like an afterlife maybe. But here’s the deal: I believe in science & I am tied to the human spirit & an aging human body. I think everyone should fully understand himself & herself first. One day you will have a better understanding on life & what matters and what doesn’t. I’m 32 & still searching.
Are you interested in a mystery of science and the universe? Do you also think sometimes what is up there in the sky and what’s the genesis of the Earth? :)
Christian: Not really. The way I see it, is that my time on this planet is pretty limited and meaningless, so I’d rather go out and do things that interest me, instead of contemplating things that probably won’t get solved in my lifetime. I have been watching a lot of Cosmos lately though. Fascinating stuff.
Lansky: I’m fascinated by the skies. Once as a kid I had a skiing accident & when I was finished carambolating I just lay there in the snow, felt my body burning and felt really overwhelmed & alive. I watched the sky for minutes which I realised it to be the vastest ‘entity’ out there. Our atmosphere is the limitation of our exsistance right now. And I like it that way. More science less fiction haha
GRIM VAN DOOM
Have your ambitions changed since you started creating your own art?
Christian: When I started playing music the main ambition was to impress girls, dumb as that may seem. I think that’s pretty common for teenage boys. At some point I realized that they really weren’t that impressed at all, so I figured that I might as well get good at it. But sure, being creative has changed my life and ambitions in many ways – When I first picked up my guitar and started making music on my own, my life just sort of started to make more sense to me, like I found a purpose that was for me and I’d like to think that being introduced to the world of music has been instrumental in expanding my views and me not going the way of a desk-job, like I sort of was destined to.
Lansky: Ambitions are ambitions & change is constant, achievements matter to me. When I will look back at my bands body of work one day I wanna have memories of good times, some of our vinyls in shelfs all around the world, photos, videos & all those things we put all our effort into right now!
With all honesty, which of these two do you spend most of your time on while being on the road: composing and practicing or drinking and partying? ;)
Christian: Drinking and partying.
Lansky: Drinking and partying.
Ok. Thanks a lot for your time, buds! It’s been a pleasure. Take care!
Christian: Thank you for all of these interesting questions and thanks for the interest. It really means a lot to us.
Lansky: Karol thank you very much for interviewing us! Keep up your great work with IDIOTEQ!
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