Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hermann Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
disart brut: mausoleum first came out on vinyl in August through Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions, so we have been in talks with other labels to arrange for other formats as well. We can already confirm that we came to an agreement about a CD release and global digital distribution deal with Zanshin Music. An official release date will be announced shortly. Other than that, we're focusing on spreading the new music live right now. We did a bunch of club shows and festival appearances with more to come.

2. Recently you have released a new album, what are some of the things you have done different musically with this recording that you were not able to do on previous releases?
We actually haven't changed the procedure much at all, as we are quite conceptual with what Hermann represents both lyrically and musically. The main difference was maybe that for this album, we could already try out and refine some of the songs live for a while, so it all feels a bit more organic and allowed us to pay more attention to details. For example we experimented a bit in the studio with arrangements, different voices, and even guest musicians, which resulted in the appearance of a broken-down accordion for one song. 

3. This is the first album since 2015, can you tell us a little bit more about what was going on during that time frame?
The first album prinzhorn kolloquium was actually still recorded as a three-piece, so the line-up was first completed with a permanent bass player for that release. Then most of the time in between was naturally spent rehearsing, playing shows and writing the second album. 

4. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored on both of the releases?
The title disart brut: mausoleum is a play on words employing "art brut" as a continuation of the Naïve art of the Prinzhorn collection from the debut. The "dis" is a reference to the crust core influence. "Mausoleum" relates to the lyrics of the song "zitzenwald". The lyrics of the individual songs describe rather somber images of the past, the present and the visionary. With "die pauke vier mal" we also interpreted outside lyrics for one song; namely, a dirge that used to be celebrated in the East-European Germanic language area.

5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Hermann'?
The real life inspiration behind the band name was the main sidekick of Jennerjahn, a marvelous Great Dane who unfortunately had to leave us by now. The etymological roots lie in old High German’s "Hariman", later "Heermann", which literally means "army man", a warrior, which also seemed fitting for the project.

6. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
All pictures from the art work were taken at a graveyard in Berlin, where we were able to explore our ideas almost undisturbedly over the course of two nights. The front cover is the entrance to a
crypt, and another reference in the framework of the title and the lyrics to "zitzenwald". To achieve the light effect we had in mind, somebody had to crawl around inside the whole time to adjust the spotlight. This is the source of the human femur pictured over the gatefold. And since we had exclusive access to the chapel, it could be desecrated in more ways than one …

7. What are some of the best shows that the band has done over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Stage performance is an important part of Hermann. We try to create a very particular atmosphere live, with some trademark elements that make Hermann concerts an intense and memorable experience. As on the album, we incorporate our own industrial/drone/noise ambiance into the show to grab the audience from start to finish, suppressing any verbal interaction detracting from the mood. Once we hit the stage we don't cut you any breaks. This is further enhanced by heavy use of fog. We're just coming off a festival show, which probably came close to our ideal performance so far. At night, removed from modern urbanity, framed by a fire show, good stage, good crowd. Last weekend's show at Berlin Swamp Fest was very good as well, and you always have some club shows that stick out more than others, but I wouldn't know what to single out here. It feels like we're more and more hitting our stride with every performance, so the best is definitely yet to come!

8. Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
We only have a few individual concerts lined up at the moment, but we are looking at potential touring opportunities right now. Hopefully we can hit the road a bit longer in the new year. We definitely want to play more outside Germany soon as well. 

9. On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal, crust and doom?
Very positive across the board, as far as crossing scene lines goes. We draw people from all three styles who can find some common ground with Hermann, which is very satisfying to see. As mentioned before, we haven't been able to present ourselves on a worldwide scale much yet, but we're looking to branch out.

10. What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Essenz, Korff's main side gig, just released a new album too and they're about to tour on that. He is also involved with the international black/thrash project Early Death and an ambient/noise outfit called Void Beyond Destruction. Donnermann has a new album coming up with 100000 Tonnen Kruppstahl, as well as his solo noise rock project Brackwasser Knipp. Ithymia is currently in the studio recording the second album of his black/speed metal band Sunshine & Lollipops. So it's always quite a busy schedule within the Hermann camp.

11. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
There's already some songs in the works again, but we're not speculating about style changes and things like that. Hermann will freely roam the realms of extreme music whenever the time is right, while remaining 100% recognizable and true to itself for sure.   

12. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Everybody in the band has a long history with all kinds of metal, so influences come from all the usual classics, for example it would be silly to deny the obvious inspiration from a band like Darkthrone. But also completely different sources of music, electronic, classical, folk, you name it. We are as open-minded as we are stuck on our roots. 

13. What are some of your non musical interests?
Alcohol, nature, literature, drawing, photography, travel... generally there's lots of time individually spent on creative, artsy nonsense between the members of Hermann. 

14. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Trust no one! 

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