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donderdag 09 februari 2012
KAMBRIUM: Far Beyond Epic Melodic Death Metal

Interview with keyboardist Jan Hein from Kambrium by Vera in February 2012

Recently we were blown away by a debut album of five youngsters, hailing from Helmstedt in Germany. ‘Shadowpath’ from Kambrium will please every melodic death metal fan, but these guys go way beyond that putting in a pigeonhole. Influences of black, doom, power and progressive metal, even classical music or an ultimate catchy song can be found on the record. Yet it all sounds fluent and coherent. We were eager to find out a bit more about Kambrium and main composer/keyboardist Jan Hein friendly answered all our questions. Follow us on the ‘Shadowpath’!

Since your whole website happens to be in German, I hope you don’t mind doing this interview in English, do you? Are there plans to create an English version of the website or is it more important to focus on things like Facebook and Twitter?
Hi! There's no problem doing interviews in English, haha. Well, there will be a new website soon. And there will be an English version for our non-German friends. I think that it is important to focus on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. So we can talk with people who like or hate us, haha.

‘Shadowpath’ is your debut full length, but the band was founded in 2005. By who and please tell us a bit more about those early days…
The band was founded by Julian Schenke, Martin Simon and me, Jan Hein during a party when we were drunk. We didn't play in a band before, so we couldn't even play any instrument. First we covered bands like Amon Amarth and Sentenced. Later I decided to compose songs on my own because we didn't want to be a copy of anyone.

You recorded a demo in 2008 and later an EP. What about the style of the music on those early recordings? How do you look back on these?
These demos were very important for us. They were the first steps in our musical direction. Maybe we will re-record one or two songs someday because they still fit into the style of music that we are doing. In that time many people said: “Kambrium?! Oh yeah, the band with the pharaoh.” The music was, and still is, inspired by ancient Egyptian tales, so the music sounds like that.

It took a while, not only line-up changes, but many instrument switches as well. It is up to you to tell the story and the reasons for those changing of instruments…
You are right. It took us a while to find the best Kambrium line-up. We had two former singers who didn't really like the idea of what Kambrium is about, so Martin, our bass player decided to sing. Later when I switched from guitar to keyboard, Karsten came into the band to play the guitar and to sing all clean lyrics. After that, our former drummer left Kambrium due to musical differences. A friend of us told us about Fabien who came into the band.

What about Kambrium on stage? I think you have quite a lot experience in playing live. Please tell a bit more about these adventures. What were the highlights until now?
We played a lot of shows, and yeah we got a lot of experience. Every gig is an adventure for us because every concert can't be compared to the one that we played before. There are some songs which we really love to play, and where the people freak out like hell. ‘Among The Lost’ or ‘Thanatos’ are two of them. One of our highlights were the shows at the Waldbrand Festival 2010 and 2011. The energy exchange between us and the people was a blast!

You are the main composer these days. Can you tell a bit about the writing process of ‘Shadowpath’ and the cooperation with and input of the rest of the band?
Well, first I write the songs on my own. Afterwards I present them to the rest of the band.
Mostly they like it, so that we can learn it like that. But I am not a guitarist so that some riffs have to be changed so that it sounds a bit cooler, haha.

We can hear many cinematic/orchestral arrangements on ‘Shadowpath’. Who is in charge of that?
Well, many film composers inspired me to write this epic stuff. Howard Shore is just one of them. Orchestral arrangements aren't just impressive, they also carry feelings and emotions much better. With them you can express yourself on a much higher “level”.

Who writes the lyrics and can you go deeper into the lyrical contents of ‘Shadowpath’. Are there specific subjects that inspire you?
The lyrics on ‘Shadowpath’ were mainly written by Julian and me. Julian is inspired by the great J.R.R. Tolkien. For me, the word ‘Shadowpath’ leads you into a great adventure. You must follow that path till the end, and it is the same with our music. You have to listen to all songs on ‘Shadowpath’ because they all sound different.

Indeed, Kambrium is presented as epic death metal and generally seen that fits, but I hear elements of black, doom, power, even progressive metal. Do you agree on that? I guess you all listen to diverse kinds of music?
I agree! It was our aim to combine different styles of music. So you are right when you say that you can here death or power metal in it. We all listen to different styles of music. But we have all the same background: metal and rock. These are nearly the only styles in which the bands can play the instruments on their own.

There is even a mix of metal and classical music, mainly in ‘A Sinner’s Remorse’. Is one of you classical trained or all autodidact?
It's a mix. We had musical lessons years and years ago but we are also autodidacts, haha. I think it is a great way to do it like that, so you don't see music just from one perspective.
I think it is a nice way to combine both styles of musical knowledge.

You just played the band battle for Rock Harz 2012. What about this event? What’s up for Kabrium?
Yes, we played there and we won a gig on another festival called “Walpurgis Rock Festival”. We are very happy about that, and we will shake the earth there! Furthermore we are already planning our next live shows to bring the Shadowpath to each and everybody!

You went to the Metalsound-Studio in Osterode with producer Torsten Sauerbrey. As it must have been your first experience with professional recording, I want to hear about your view on this recording process…
It was our first experience with professional recordings. We worked all night long to create the Shadowpath. Torsten did a great job, although it was a hard time for him, haha. Many songs on the album are very long, so we had to work very hard. Luckily there were many shops where we got pizza and stuff like that (laughs).

‘Hollow Heart’ should be released on single, it should storm the charts! Do you agree it is diverse from the other tracks and far out the catchiest song? What are the reactions on it?
It is one of the catchiest songs. It has a lovely little melody which doesn't want to go out of your ears. The reactions are positive. I didn't expect that because I didn't know how the people would handle a power ballad by a death metal band. Somehow the gothic scene likes this song.

And as a matter of fact… how are the reactions on the whole album so far?
The reactions are positive too. We are very happy about that. This gives us the strength to create a next album which will blow your mind!!

If I am allowed to have only one small point of criticism… I think clean vocals can be improved in future… what are your thoughts on that?
Haha, yes we noticed that too, and we will improve that. Karsten will have singing-lessons so he will be able to show a much bigger variety of emotions.

Furthermore, ‘Shadowpath’ is an amazing debut (as you can read in my review). So, what are the plans for the near future?
In the near future we will present our album to many people, so that they will notice us. We are already writing new stuff for the next album, and it sounds like every other band, but it will sound awesome! Watch out!!

To round off, if you want to add something I forgot to cover or just final words, feel free to go ahead…
Hey there! We hope you all (will) like our album. We are looking forward to see you guys on one of our next shows, and have a drink with you. Furthermore I want to thank you Vera for the interview. It is still something special to talk about what we are doing. Many beers to you all!!

Cheers to the ‘Shadowpath’ and Kambrium!

Geplaatst door Vera op donderdag 09 februari 2012 - 23:02:49
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