I was quite busy with all the necessary stuff that has to be dealt with when releasing an album. The music video for the song „Kronzeuge“ was a huge project that ate up a lot of time, but since I'm happy with the result, the time was well spent and it was worth the trouble. Now I'm knee-deep in the process of sketching out and writing the material of the next release. There will be some changes again, in terms of sound and compositions and I know what has to be different this time. It is a very adventurous time when you don't yet know what's going to happen on the next record.
2.In June you have a new album coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
I see myself moving away from what most people associate with black metal more and more, which is an important step towards musical independence. This is not a planned decision, but a natural progression, that ultimately ends up in “just” music, if you know what I mean. Sound-wise “Zeitzeuge” is still a typical metal record with a very clear sounding production, which is a step away from “Zur späten Stunde | Zeiträume”. But this time the songs needed to have that clarity, otherwise the whole album wouldn't have worked.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
Basically everything I write about is based upon the very wide topic of death in general. Learning to cope with your own mortality and the fear of dying. I usually wrap everything up in a little more abstract but coherent concept for every album. On “Zeitzeuge” the storytelling is much more present than before and everything is related to a very concrete vision of a man who I present as a “Zeitzeuge”, which is German for “contemporary witness”.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Total Negation'?
The name dates back to 2007. Back then I thought that would be a good name for what I had in mind with this project musically. And it certainly was the right and fitting decision during that period. Over the years the words “total negation” somehow lost their literal meaning and formed a pure graphic identity. Now the name is just a name to me. It's really not important. It's the music that counts.
5.On the albums you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians on the recordings or do you prefer to work solo?
Some years ago I would have said that Total Negation should always be a solo project, but since I play live shows with the support of session musicians, that attitude has shifted somehow. It is not that important to play everything yourself. So I'm getting rid of the ego-driven decision to be the sole performer on a Total Negation record. The importance lies in the artistic control and vision. If there are people who can improve the overall product, why not use these possibilities? It is about the band, the music and not about showing-off my skills as a musician. Of course, this only works if you have the right people around you.
6.What are some of the best shows that you have played with this musical project and also how would you describe your stage performance?
I only played four shows until now and I'm still in the process of refining all the details of a TN performance. So the best show was the most recent one on 8th May 2015 in Münster, Germany. Theatrical elements, props and costumes are important parts of the show. I don't see myself as an entertainer on stage and I don't care if people are headbanging. My experience is, that people just stand there and keep watching, which I find very honoring. The whole show is staged as a constant reminder of your own mortality and a direct confrontation with death.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
Booking a full tour is very difficult, so there are only single shows planned. The only confirmed one is in Cologne on Friday 31th July.
8.The new album is coming out on Temple Of Torturous, can you tell us alittle bit more about this label?
Fu, the man behind ToT, is a very ambitious and independent guy with a good taste in music and the right sense for picking out bands with a unique character. That ensures a constant output of high quality releases. Above all I have to mention ToT bands like Valborg and Fyrnask. It is incredible to be a part of this family.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and doom metal?
Honestly, I don't really know. People who dislike TN don't often verbalize it, they just ignore the band and skip through to another one. It's the same way I handle music I don't like. People who like it tend to verbalize that on the internet. They simply like it and for me, that's nice to hear and it is nice to be heard. Regarding “Zeitzeuge”: Some people don't like what I did with the vocals this time, so that might be a dealbreaker for some.
10.Are you also involved with any other musical projects these days?
Yes, I am. Once in a while I do some session work in the studio. The latest example is the current Vargnatt record, on which I played drums. My other project called “Nachts” is still in existence, but I'm not actively working on new material right now, because TN is my priority. Otherwise I'm always involved in different projects, writing and recording stuff, playing live.
11.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
Less metal, more sound. My goal is to get the focus right and to keep a healthy distance to metal in general. Although my music will be part of the metal world, I would like to avoid thinking and composing like a metal musician. It's becoming more of a dead end to me.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
In general I like music that has some air between the notes, so to say. Something that leaves room to breathe. You can find these characteristics in almost every good piece of music. Many years ago, I was told to listen to the album “Wave” by Antonio Carlos Jobim. This is when I started to develop an open mind music-wise. I cannot pin down what exactly influenced the music on “Zeitzeuge”. Maybe it was something between Frank Zappa and Darkthrone. But these influences are not audible, but more like a guideline on how to develop and to further handle your own musical output during the process of songwriting. Currently I'm listening to early Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson records and female artists such as Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Emiliana Torrini and Laura Gibson.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
One last wise-ass comment on top of all that: Stop listening to genres. Listen to music. Everything will be much easier If people start thinking that way. Thank you.