German down-tempo post-hardcore sludgers from SUNDOWNING have recently released their new album called “Seizures of the World” (Moment of Collapse Records). Six songs full of desperation, perishing cold and a dragging pace, and cold atmosphere deserves to be called an “atmospheric blackened post-hardcore”.
We sat down with the band to discuss the band, their new outing and sum up this year. Press the play button and have a good read below.
Hello, guys! How have you been doing lately? [smiles]
Everything’s great so far! We’ve recently released our first LP “Seizures of the World” via Moment of Collapse Records on the 28th of September and played a bunch of nice shows right before the release. We are getting great feedback for the new material and another short trip that consists of five shows is planned for the last week of 2012. Beside that we already have great things for 2013 in mind!
Great! Are you still looking for some shows in December? I remember you posted about it about 2 weeks ago.
Yeah we are currently booking a small trip to Vienna and back during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
12/26/2012 tba, tba
12/27/2012 tba, tba
2012/12/28 vienna (AU), venster99
2012/12/29 sulzbach, juz haengematte
2012/12/30 kassel, h**s
2013/01/06 aachen, az
2013/01/18 recklinghausen, akz
So we are still looking for one or two shows on our way to Vienna, as well as for shows in 2013. We haven’t played any show since our last tour but we would love to play live more regularly again.
Ok. About those plans for 2013 you mentioned. What do you have in mind. Are you writing for another album already?
Well I don’t want to go too much into detail because some things are still a bit unsafe but we are planning to play some places and countries where we haven’t been before. We are also rehearsing at the moment and are close to finish a new song which will be released on a split 7” with RED APOLLO. We are going to record it with another song at the beginning of 2013. The other song is supposed to be on another split which will be released later during 2013.
Nice [smiles]. Is it a struggle to rehearse and run the band when you’re based in 3 different cities?
Well, Pascal and I always have to drive around 50km to the rehearsal which usually takes place once a week. Luckily I do own a car so it’s not that stressful but the rehearsal has to be worth it, you know? It doesn’t make much sense for us to drive that long way for just rehearsing the live set once but we often try to find good compromises like rehearsing right before we drive to a show but all in all it was never a big deal for us and let’s be honest: There are a couple of bands which are separated by way greater distances [smiles] so I can’t complain about anything!!
Good point. I’m asking, because personally I believe that the key to kick a butt live is to rehearse a LOT! [smiles]
Yeah definitely! I think it’s not that hard to be a good band but the step from a good band to a great band is quite huge! Regular rehearsals are so important but due to other activities which are big parts in our lives it’s not always possible but as I said before we’re always trying to find solutions!
Do you play a lot of cover songs when you rehearse? Do you find current things that inspire you? Or are you more inspired by the past artists and their releases?
We actually just play our own songs while we rehearse. We have thought of covering some songs during the past years but we have never made a clear decision. I think it’s pretty hard to find a song which fits to your style and then to cover it adequately. I’d really like to cover “New Dawn Fades” by Joy Division but otherwise I’m just too daunted to cover a band like JOY DIVISION [laughs]!
I think any music/band you’re listening to has more or less an impact on you, so I would say that I’m inspired by old music as well as current music. I believe that even when I’m listening to rap music that it has impact on me although it’s so much different to our music, you know?
Good to hear that, man. Speaking of other bands, how do you feel about ARKTIKA calling it quits?
I think it’s kinda sad! We’ve met them for the first time back in 2010 when they invited us to play their release show for “At Zero” and they are not just good musicians but great people as well! Even when we played the two shows with them in September I liked them more and more! We shared the same van and sleeping place and it was a pretty cool to spend time with those guys aside from shows and we all would have loved to play some shows with them in the future as well. On the other hand all of them became older and their bass player just became father so it’s understandable to quit.
Ok, so let’s go back to the “Seizures Of The The World” LP. This is actually the first proper release from you guys. How are the reactions to the new record so far?
The reactions are really solid and overwhelming! I think it’s important to mention that the whole process from the beginning of the writing process over recording it and finally releasing it took as roughly 1 1/2 years and personally I often questioned everything or had big doubts but yeah, many people told us that they really like what they hear and that we’ve moved further into the right direction with our style!
What’s the leitmotiv of the album?
„Seizures of the World“ is about oppression and exploitation in a rather general way than the 7”. We are all part of a system where laws and greater institutions force us to live life in a certain way and we are not able to escape from that. Probably in some parts but not completely.
Some also might have noticed that “Heartless” and “Salvations” are kinda different to the rest in their lyrical themes because they have been written way before we started the songwriting for “Seizures of the World” so it can be seen as a frame.
How does the artwork reflect the message?
The artwork consists of a pattern or mandala where every little part is urgent to keep the whole thing together and more important everything is connected to each other and can’t exist on its own. That pattern stands in some ways for the system or society where we live in and where as I mentioned no one can completely get rid of because everything is connected and so involuted!
Who’s done it?
It’s done by our good friend Victor from Sweden – we contacted him first at the beginning of 2010 when we found out that he did all the DOWNFALL OF GAIA artworks. He made a shirt design for us back then and while we were discussing the layout for the LP and everything it was no big decision to ask Victor again! Beside that we became good friends over the time which is really great and it is so nice to work with him! Support his bands REKA and IN THE HEART OF EMPERORS! Solid dude!
Wow! REKA dude! [smiles] What a nice surprise.
What about Moment of Collapse Records? What’s the story of your cooperation?
I’ve met the guys around Moments of Collapse back in 2011 right after our 7” release for the first time. We traded some records and talked about our 7” release but didn’t make any further plans or something. Then right after the recording session for “Seizures of the World”, I’ve sent Basti the new material and at first he told me that they would like to release.
Any favorite records they’ve released?
I’m totally into BEAU NAVIRE. I’ve seen them on the Cry me a River Fest 2011 and was blown away by the energy! I also like REPUBLIC OF DREAMS and both “IN THE HEARTS OF EMPERORS Releases”. I even released the split with REKA on tape with my own label. The DOWNFALL OF GAIA split is solid as well! From my opinion the two best songs they’ve released so far!
Damn, I’d really like to attend the Cry me a River Fest. What other festivals are you usually stoked about?
To be honest, I’m not the typical festival attender. I’ve been to “Cry me a River Fest” twice but haven’t attended any other bigger festivals. I’d love to drive to Czech Republic for Fluff Fest next year but I have to sort that out! I think there aren’t many good festivals in Europe. The Roadburn Festival seems to be great as well but the tickets are so expensive and always sold out within a couple of hours.
OK. As we’re slowly approaching to the end, let’s change the subject [smiles].
Have you already bought presents for Christmas?
I’m not really creative when it comes to gifts. I’m rather into the classics such as vinyl records or guitar gear [laughs]! Mixtapes are a great thing as well when you really want to make something special! I always like to get mixtapes and discover new bands but better put the songs on a real tape and no CDr!
Can you recommend some of the newest findings?
Well, I’m sifting through blogs daily and listen to the recommendations of friends but I think my best findings during the last weeks have been three quite different bands. First of all the rapper MACKLEMORE who just dropped his record “The Heist”. This record contains so much positivity without being pathetic or ridiculous and encouraged me to think about many things in life. Secondly I would recommend the synth-wave-duo TROPIC OF CANCER. A friend of mine gave me their records and said that I would like it since I love that 80s-snyth sound and bands such as COLD CAVE and the likes. He was totally right! The third recommendation is EXPIRE which have recently released their record “Pendulum Swings” via Bridge9. Normally I’m not really into that kind of hardcore but this record keeps so much energy and every single riff blows my mind!
Yeah, they’re amazing. They are hitting European roads in February and March. Don’t miss them!
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
Yeah, I’m really looking forward to see them in Berlin!
Oh, I think 2012 was a really great year when it comes to records. Honestly too many great records to mention them all but I try to name some. First of all the MACKLEMORE album and the EXPIRE LP for the reasons I’ve already talked about. The new BIRDS IN ROW record is a blast as well! Some of the most friendly dudes who totally deserve what they are getting right now! BASEMENT and CODE ORANGE KIDS delivered great records as well and last but not least the new CONVERGE record! I’m a huge fan for years and this record blows my mind once again! I’m actually rather a fan of the old records but even the newer ones are way better and more innovative than most of the other current bands! I’ve seen them live two weeks ago and even that show made it to my “favorite shows in 2012” list [laughs].
Tell me more about the other list then [smiles].
[laughs] Alright! I’ve seen SOAP & SKIN in the Philharmonie in Cologne which was quite impressive! I’ve never been to such a location before since I normally go to shows/concerts in squats, clubs and so on. Thus it was really special and the sound was perfect! TRAINWRECK at the Cry me a River Fest was crazy as well! I love that band and I think that their debut is one of the best hardcore releases from Germany! Thou in June was also fun! I saw them once before and their live sound is always so thick!
I’m going to see AMENRA in Brussels next week with some friends! I haven’t seen them live since 2008 and I’m so excited about that show and I think they might join my list.
How do you like their new outing?
I’m a huge AMENRA just a NEUROSIS fan for years and enjoyed them live as well as on vinyl but I’m a bit disappointed of the new Mass V. Honestly this record is record with different vocals. I just expected something that is more unique and fresh after 4 years since Mass IIII. The new record is still okay but behind my expectations. Nevertheless I’m really looking forward to see them live by the end of the week!
And the new NEUROSIS?
Actually I haven’t listened to it yet! I haven’t even listened so much to NEUROSIS in general yet [laughs]! A friend of mine showed me some songs when that AMENRA relation struck my mind. What do you think of the new NEUROSIS? Shall I give it a listen?
Definitely. “Honor Found in Decay” makes you want to play it again and again. They’ve scheduled only handful of shows and changed the formula of performing live, but I’m dying to see them live.
OK, my friend. So let’s sum it up a little – what’s next for SUNDOWNING in the coming months?
Well, we have just booked some days in the studio. We will record two new songs around Eastern whereas one will be on a 7inch split with RED APOLLO and the second song on another split. There are no further information about the second split yet but people will get to know about it as early as possible!
We will play three shows in Vienna in Austria and Kassel and Sulzbach in Germany next week and we would like to play more shows in 2013 than in 2012. Some ideas are in our minds but I think it is nothing that is sure enough to talk about yet!
Thanks for the interview, guys! Feel free to add anything you want.
Thank you as well and it might sound pathetic but, thanks to everyone who has made 2012 special for us!
Pathetic? Not at all, mate. It’s people around us who make it all special, I totally agree. Thanks, again!