Right in time for the premiere of ‘Altruist’ on Visions Magazin, IDIOTEQ is paying homage to one of the most astonishing blackened post metal acts from Germany, RED APOLLO! The band proves that they are able to craft memorable and distinctive compositions that will crawl deeper and deeper under your skin with every listen. Dive into the breathtaking interior of “Altruist” and scroll down to read my interview with RED APOLLO!
With a short but eventful history which traces back to the band’s formation in Dortmund at the end of 2011, RED APOLLO are about to release their second full-length entitled “Altruist”. The debut “Marche Funebre” (2012 – released on CD and LP) and the following “Transgression” split series (2013 – containing each a Split 7” with GOTTESMORDER, SUNDOWNING, WITHERS) have already favored the band to shape a distinctive sense for bright melodies embedded in a massive and crushing whirlwind of guitars and pounding drums. These artistic improvements on the one side and the rich touring background including numerous shows in Germany and its surrounding countries on the other side increased the band’s reputation of both fans and critics throughout the scene. On March 27th RED APOLLO will finally release “Altruist” on the german labels MOMENT OF COLLAPSE RECORDS and ALERTA ANTIFASCISTA RECORDS. Made up of almost 60 minutes of brand new material, RED APOLLO are once again pushing the limits of extreme music on their new record into a unique evolving artistic vision. Yet not just on a musical level but also lyrically, the band consistently explores the depths of hurtful aspiration and interpersonal devotion to guide the listener on this melancholic and crushing ten song trip. With contributions of guest-musicians such as Amanda Rogers, the album set sails to new frontiers in the bands history. Built on several influences like Hardcore, Metal, Punk, Black Metal as well as ambient music, the quartet created a rough gem that gets more in shape with every listen.
The band is supporting “Altruist” on tour:
27.03.15 GER Essen Emo Saal
28.03.15 GER Bremen BDP Haus
29.03.15 GER Hamburg Rote Flora
30.03.15 SWE Gothenburg Fängelset’s Kafé
31.03.15 SWE Jönköping Insikten
01.04.15 DK Kopenhagen Underwerket
02.04.15 GER Greifswald JUZ Klex
03.04.15 GER Berlin Tiefgrund
04.04.15 GER Weimar Gerber 3
05.04.15 GER Halle, Reil78
13.05.2015 – JZ Hängematte, Sulzbach-Rosenberg (Germany)
14.05.2015 – Kapu, Linz (Austria) + WITHERS
15.05.2015 – DasBach, Vienna (Austria) + WITHERS
16.05.2015 – Zone 11, Hallein (Austria) + WITHERS
17.05.2015 – AK44, Gießen (Germany)
Full album stream:
Premiered at Visions.
Hi Christoph! How does it feel to be on the verge of the premiere of your new grand project, a brand new era for RED APOLLO?
Hey Karol! First of all, thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about our recent album!
We as a band are really excited to release our new record next month. In fact, we have written the very first tunes for it almost two years ago right after the recordings for our split trilogy so it is definitely about time to let everyone hear the results. We think that “Altruist” is our best output so far but I guess that is always the deal when you are releasing a new record haha. So for now I could imagine positive as well as negative reactions from the people but we will see at the end of March.
Great! You have already unveiled a new song and a video supporting the
record. Are you pleased with the reception it gets so far?
Yes, definitely! Compared to the release of our first album and the video for “A Sea of Trees” we have reached a bigger audience with “Remnants of a blazing Sun” and pre-orders are also selling pretty well. Sky’s always the limit but for now we are pretty satisfied with the outcome.
Could you tell us a little about the process of how Altruist came to be?
As I said, we wrote the very first song for the album back in April 2013 and we are finally releasing it at the end of March 2015. So it has taken us two years from the first sketches to the final record. However, taking the time and writing the record without feeling stressed or hurried was essential for us. We basically wrote all our previous songs more or less under pressure and always felt that this kind of workflow kept us from showing our full potential. Yet now we even had enough time to do a full pre-production. Ironically it still became stressful at some points haha but all in all we were pretty satisfied with the workflow and it felt way more natural than ever before!
Musically-wise, could you elaborate on the experience you wanted to bring across to the listener this time?
During the songwriting we listened to a lot of shoegaze bands and thought of how we could improve our sound and songwriting. “Altruist” is still far away from being anything like a shoegaze album but we wanted to adapt the dreamy and transcendental touch of these bands which is definitely audible on the record. Though, we did not want to lose any rawness or those elements for which many people put us into the black metal genre. We also tried to enlarge the post-rock parts to have a homogenous climax in certain parts of the songs.
I was wondering if these songs abide to a common theme. Can you expound more on the metaphors and messages you tried to use in this record?
I have never written a real concept-album and so “Altruist” is neither one but I always like to have a rough and comprehensive topic. Thus the whole album lyrically underlies the concept of altruistic love. I really wanted to elaborate on this specific transcendental and overwhelming emotional state which emerges within unhindered and hedonistic love. This particular pure feeling which causes altruistic behaviour towards one’s partner.
On the downside, “Altruist” also deals with the absurdity of love describing it as a phenomena which just fulfills biological necessities and consists of an interaction of body fluits, synapses and other bodily functions. “We ended at room temperature like everything surrounding me” in “Heaven’s Street” for example refers to Tom Stoppard’s witty play “Arcadia”. One of the actors equates the process of a relationship with the physical incident when several objects in one room adapt their warmth to each other. So correspondingly a relationship inevitably loses its heat and excitement over time.
How does it relate to the artwork? Tell us more about the physical side of this release.
The woman on the cover appears to be very pure, innocent and somehow angelic due to the white dress and the heiligenschein which then represents the transcendental and heavenly aspects of love. In contrast, the ravens on the cover symbolize the distress and disaster which love involves. There is often the metaphor or image of a woman guided by ravens implying the mysogynist approach of a harm bringing woman. However, in this case the attacking ravens represent the omnipresence of harm and do not refer to a specific aggressor.
What underlying message do you hope that people take home from the album?
I think the lyrics are pretty impartial. This record is neither meant to be a work where I drowned myself in self-pity and feelings of guilt, nor is it meant to be some mysogynist bullshit where I blame women for causing my views on love and relationships. Acting altruistically in a relationship as well as seeing no deeper sense in love apart from biological factors are both extreme views and oppositions. Both have their benefits and downsides but in the end the listener has to decide for him- or herself.
Ok Chris, so how abot taking these thoughts and your new tunes on the rosad? You’ll be doing a string od shows in late March. 70% of the shows will take place in Germany. How come?
It basically relies on the length of the tour. We are all either working or studying, so we are not able to tour like 6 months a year although we would totally love to do so. Personally I would love to play more shows in Sweden or even in Norway but that would not work out without ridiculously long drives which we wanted to avoid as far as possible.
Are there more touring plans already in the works?
Yeah definitely! So people in other countries do not have to worry! We are playing three dates with WITHERS in Austria in May as well as another tour in June and July which we have not announced yet but I promise that we will cover some more European countries on that trip. Still we are not able to tour as much as we would actually love to do. There are pretty rough plans for playing outside of Europe in 2016 but apart from our will to do so, there are no further plans. South/East Asia, Japan or the U.S. would be nice but we will see what’s happening in the end.
Awesome! Ok. Christoph. What’s next for the band in terms of recording and other projects?
We are not planning anything right now apart from playing as many shows as possible. I think it is just too early to make plans for another release. We have worked on Altruist for almost two years now and I think in some ways I am just happy to be done with all the hassle that a writing and recording process may cause. From my point of view it is important to take these breaks between records to gain new creativity. I am working on some non-music-related things but on a musical level we are all pretty busy with RED APOLLO and that is fine.
Do you think RED APOLLO could become your full time job? Considering the current state of music business and its relation with more underground and alternative forms, is it even possible?
I actually wish it would become a full-time-job. Not in any monetary terms but to get the opportunity to fully focus on the band, play extensive tours and have more time to work on the music. It is great to see that there are a lot of underground bands who are still able to quit their jobs and focus on their bands. However, I think this should happen as a side effect, you know? Our main aim is writing decent records which primarily satisfy us. If other people are digging it, it is pretty cool. If enough people were digging it so that we could do this band full-time, sure this would be fantastic. Yet writing music just to become famous enough alters the outcome too much and makes it boring, so we do not really think of any monetary success.
Ok guys. Thanks a lot for your update and taking some more time with IDIOTEQ readers. Would you like to add anything you like before we wrap it up?
Thank you for supporting us constantly and thanks to the people who made “Altruist” possible. A lot of people worked with us not for the sake of making any money out of it but because they like it and we definitely do not take this for granted!