After three albums and over seven years of band history, avant-garde pagan metallers Slartibartfass released last year their gloomiest, but also hardest album “Schwarz Verhüllt“. The band seems to be in its most mature phase ever, so it was the perfect time to ask them everything about their music so far and about their future plans. Let’s see what Philipp (vocals, guitars) has to say about his band.
- Hello Philipp. First of all I’d like to congratulate you for your last album. A very good and different work. Now it’s almost one year after its release. What is the feedback you got about it?
Thanks. We got very much positive feedback. Almost every review was good. Also when we play the songs live, the crowd is absolutely enthusiastic. It’s good to see, that the people like our new stuff.
- What is the current state in Slartibartfass? Are you still promoting “Schwarz Verhüllt”, or do you prepare its follow-up? Are there any line-up changes?
Yes, we had some line-up changes. Our drummer Juan left the band shortly before the release of “Schwarz Verhüllt”. At the last live-shows Wombo from Finsterforst played the drums. Very cool guy and a fantastic drummer. At the moment, we haven’t many gigs, so we’re working on new songs. But that’s not definite yet.
- Let’s take you a little back in time. Slartibartfass was formed back in 2005. What are your memories from these times?
These were very cool times. Thomas, Nicolas and I went to school together at that time. So we saw each other every day. We drank lots of beer and listened to heavy metal. Some day, we decided play music ourselves. Today, we don’t go to school anymore, but we still play music and drink lots of beer.
- What made you all begin this band? Any influences and ambitions back then? How did you come up with this name?
As I said before, we’ve listened to metal a lot and everyone of us played an instrument. So we decided to found a band. Our influences at that time were mainly Scandinavian and German pagan- and viking metal bands.
We have to answer the question concerning our band name in every fucking interview, so I won’t explain it anymore. That has been said many times before.
- How do you see your debut album “Nordwind” now? It was quite different from your current style.
Of course it was different, it’s almost seven years old. We’ve all changed ourselves during that time. We’ve improved our musical skills and also our taste of music has changed. We’re still the same guys, but we’re more mature than seven years ago. “Nordwind” represents Slartibartfass in 2005/2006, while “Schwarz Verhüllt” represents Slartibartfass today. Everything at the proper time.
- “Nebelheim” was your second album, released back in 2007, released again by Trollzorn Records. What changed in this album?
Slartibartfass was our first band, so we didn’t have much experience in music business. When we went to the studio to record “Nordwind” everything was totally chaotic. “Nebelheim” was recorded over one year later. During that year we’ve played lots of live shows and thus we’ve learned a lot. We’ve also recorded “Nebelheim” in another studio.
- After that you moved to Ketzer Records, releasing a very different album “Funkenfeuer” in 2009. Do you see it this way, or is it just my impression that this album began a new “era” in Slartibartfass’ music?
Yes, your absolutely right. “Funkenfeuer” was a huge step for Slartibartfass. The songs are way more complex than those on “Nebelheim”. But nevertheless, we were still searching for our own unique style at that time. So “Funkenfeuer” can be seen as a bridge between “Nebelheim” and “Schwarz Verhüllt”.
- What do you feel now about these 3 albums? Do you listen to them anymore?
Every single album was important for the development of Slartibartfass. Of course, I like the new stuff much more than for example “Nordwind“. But nevertheless, I’m proud of all of them, since every album represents a chapter of my life. I do not listen to our own music very often, I prefer focusing on new ideas.
- In the end of 2011 your fourth album “Schwarz Verhüllt” was out, this time via Twilight Vertrieb. How would you describe your music to someone who has never listened to you?
Fast thrash metal riffs combined with hardest black metal blastbeats, as well as folky bagpipe melodies, which finally meet spacy synthesizer sounds.
- “Schwarz Verhüllt” is a concept album with a theatrical approach. Since all lyrics are in German can you tell us a few words about the concept?
There’s a protagonist that represents a human being. He has to experience different emotions like solitude (chapter 1), love (chapter 2), sorrow (chapter 3), fear (chapter 4), dignity (chapter 5) and melancholia (chapter 6). Every emotion is represented by a character, that wants to ensnare the protagonist. Furthermore, there’s a black covered figure, that also wants to seduce the protagonist. This figure is the name-giver of the album – “schwarz verhüllt” means “covered in black”. Moreover, every song or chapter represents a daytime. Chapter 1 represents dusk and chapter 6 represents the sunrise. The other songs lay in between.
- How did you compose the music? Was the lyrics that gave you the basic directions for the songs, or did you had some separate song ideas and decided to fit them in a single concept?
It’s a mixture of both. I wrote the lyrics independent from the music. Then we took the lyrics and tried to combine them with the music. Some parts had to be rearranged to fit the emotions of the lyrics better. Finally we’ve added several sound effects to support the atmosphere of the song.
- I find your vocals have improved a lot since the beginning. Are there any thoughts of adding clean vocals in the future, or will you remain in the ”brutal” side?
The vocals on “Nordwind” and “Nebelheim” are from our former singer Daniel. I do the vocals only since “Funkenfeuer“. I’m sure you remember that there already were clean vocals on “Funkenfeuer“.
- How is Slartibartfass on stage? What should your fans expect from your live shows? Are there any tours planned?
Slartibartfass is on stage as great as on CD. At the moment we play only a few selected shows in Germany, but I guess that more shows will be announced soon. Stay tuned!
- Does any Slartibarfass member also participate on other bands? If yes, could you give us some information about them?
Yes, we do. Thomas, Nicolas and Vlad play in the blackened thrash metal band Spellsworn. Pretty cool and pretty old school. As far as I know, they’re recording some new songs at the moment. Jessica doesn’t play metal besides Slartibartfass, but she’s in a Scottish bagpipe band. I myself play in the stoner rock band Soleil Gris together with ex-Helfahrt vocalist Max Marquardt. We’re also recording a demo album right now, that will be available for free soon.
- Do you follow your country’s stage? Any new bands you’d like to recommend?
Uh… To be honest, I don’t know new bands that are cool enough to name them here. I mainly listen to German black metal bands like Helrunar, Nagelfar, Grabnebelfürsten or Lunar Aurora.
- What are Slartibartfass future plans? Are you preparing your next album? Will we get any more surprises from you, or any redirection in your music?
We’ll have more electronic parts in future, more Schranz. Just kidding. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re working on new songs at the moment. Maybe there will be a new album by the end of next year. We’ll see. But it will definitely be metal.
- How do you see your band’s music “career” so far? Has it fulfilled your ambitions and expectations, or do you have still much more to achieve?
We didn’t expect anything when we’ve founded Slartibartfass. So we’ve achieved much more that we ever thought we would. That’s also our attitude today: Don’t expect anything. Let’s see where time will lead us.
- Thank you very much for your time. Wish you all the best. Last words are yours.
Thanks for the interview. Check out our music, if you don’t know us. Rock ‘n’ Roll.