Neill Devin (vocals), Neno Knuckle (guitar) and Niklas Kahl (drums) from Erdling
On March 17th, ERDLING’s new album ‘Supernova’ has been released and entered the German album charts a mere week later on #56. And of course the quartet didn’t miss taking their new songs on the road, supporting HÄMATOM on their “Wir sind Gott” tour through Germany. We met Neill, Neno and Niklas in Aschaffenburg on March 18th to have a little chit-chat!
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Album title ‘Supernova’ - why, wherefore, how come?
Neill Devin [ND]: Boom. (everyone laughs) It’s the first thing you hear when you put the record on, ‘Absolutus Rex‘ begins, the big bang. If you want to unravel it a bit, it’s like this: a supernova is a star dying with a big bang and afterwards it’s another star, or a neutron star, whatever. And basically that’s what this record is, breaking with traditions we had on our first album and inventing something new, all with a big bang. And that’s it!
RoD: Almost a perfect transition to the second question! Let’s assume we treat ‘Supernova‘ and your first album ‘Aus den Tiefen‘ as siblings with just a small difference in age - what do they have in common, what is completely different about them?
Niklas Kahl: [NiK] Hair color! And gender.
ND: We have a lot of similarities in melody. We’ve been trying to keep the melodic depth that the first album had and at the same time we wanted to build on it. There are similarities in the vocals as well, ‘Supernova‘ is occasionally more brutal maybe, but then we have songs like ’Frei wie der Wind‘ which remind strongly of the first album because they kind of have the same structure - you need songs to bridge after all.
RoD: What was it like to work with Chris Harms (LORD OF THE LOST) again, since he has already produced ‘Aus den Tiefen‘, and is there any producer you would just love to do an album with?
Neno Knuckle [NK]: Andy Brings.
NiK: Working with Chris is always very pleasant. We know each other for quite a while and it’s a very familiar thing, it’s always very nice.
ND: Especially because you don’t have to supervise the production like in many other studios, he does it exactly like we’ve imagined it to turn out and sometimes adds own ideas for mixing. It was a very pleasant production again in which we could relax. As a singer it’s always a little tricky, you have to go to the studio and are supposed to sing, and if there’s some guy who’s annoying or nasty… but with Chris I do not have any problem to open up. And a producer we’d love to do an album with…
NiK: I don’t think so. But on the other hand, I don’t know a lot about that. (laughs)
ND: He isn’t in the music business for so long.
RoD: And do you produce anything for other bands right now?
ND: No, not right now. I’ve written songs for other bands here and there, for STONEMAN for example, ‘Eiskalt‘ was from me, but right now there’s nothing in the making.
RoD: Do you have guest musicians on ‘Supernova‘ who you can actively hear, or just remixes like the one from Andy Brings?
NK: There’s a whole remix-CD. On the first album we had those typical song-remixes, like, there’s a song and then there’s the electro-version of that song. This time it was pretty cool, we have a version from ‘Es gibt dich nicht‘ from CALIBRE, they’ve really made their own CALIBRE song out of it, or Andy Brings who turned ‘Angst‘ into a SODOM-song. I think this is a lot cooler than those typical electro remixes.
ND: TO THE RATS AND WOLVES did the only electro mix on the whole album but in their own style, that’s pretty cool too. It was kind of an experiment to break out of the genre as we didn’t ask all of our colleagues to do remixes but people we personally really like.
RoD: So is there someone else you would like to do a version of one of your songs?
NiK: I can’t think of anyone now.
ND: Well, I’m always open to new things but I’d have to think about it now, because those little dreams have already come true with ‘Supernova‘.
RoD: The whole German Gothic and Dark Rock scene has a lot of nameable bands, and many of them know each other - do you sense some kind of rivalry or is it more like teamwork, helping each other and so on?
ND: There’s rivalry everywhere, but it doesn’t come from us. (everyone laughs) We surround ourselves with people who are easygoing. With LORD OF THE LOST for example we don’t have any problems, we rather complement each other. And with the bands we’re on tour, for example MEGAHERZ, there are new links and new friendships. So, I’d say it’s more cooperative than rivaling. And if we notice that there’s rivalry, we quickly leave and keep out of it.
NK: Everything negative has to go.
RoD: Which of your own songs if your favorite one to play live?
ND: Right now it’s a little difficult to say…
NK: We’ve got a completely new set since yesterday, so…
ND: We’re playing the new songs live since yesterday, so we have to sort that out. There are always songs you totally love playing in the rehearsing room and are like “Oh man this is going to be so great live!“, and then you play it and the crowd hates it. They don’t work at all and then you kick them out of the set, add another song, and I think we’ll have to play some shows to decide which ones from ‘Supernova‘ work with the audience and which don’t. But one song we always like to play is ’Blitz und Donner’ because it just works very well. That’s why we’ve got it in every set.
RoD: Why did you choose the German language as your language to sing in?
ND: It’s our mother’s tongue, we can handle it best.
NiK: It’s also a very nice language with many facets. You can say so many things in German that are impossible to express in any other language.
ND: It’s more figurative, and I always have problems… I mean, sure, I speak English, but if I sang in English I would not feel it as intense as when I sing in German. It’s a completely different level and that’s why I prefer my mother’s tongue.
RoD: Which topic would you never write about?
NiK: Or no… or, yeah, maybe politics.
ND: Point-blank political topics aren’t our thing. We neither want to take sides nor make music that has the intention of making a political difference. We want to affect emotionally and maybe socially, but otherwise… I wouldn’t write a song about communism (NK laughs), that just wouldn’t match ERDLING.
RoD: And which genre would be a no-go? Or which one would you like to try out, even though it’s not your style at all?
NK: (takes a deep breath) 90s.
NiK: Hard techno.
ND: I have a real problem with Salsa. I have to run when I hear it somewhere.
NiK: But salsa tastes very good! (everyone laughs)
ND: And a genre I would really like to try… I actually did a lot already. But one I’d like to try but have to say that I’m just too bad for it is Jazz.
NiK: I just wanted to say “But you’re too bad for that.“ (laughs)
NiK: But Jazz is very challenging after all.
RoD: Are there songs on ‘Supernova‘ or ’Aus den Tiefen’ which had a topic before they had even been written? Because you thought that you just had to do a song about a certain topic? And on the other hand, are there songs that were super spontaneous?
ND: Both. The songs that had a topic before being written, or THE song I can think of, is ‘Mein Element’. I knew that I wanted to make a song about that exact subject. Spontaneous ones were ’Frei wie der Wind’ or ‘Es gibt dich nicht’, those are songs from the heat of the moment, from a situation.
NK: It’s always hard to plan a song anyway.
ND: Right. You can’t safely say. There are songs that are sure to have a certain topic, but most of the time you can’t plan it.
RoD: Do you have hobbies that are completely different from making music? Something that no one would even think about when they see you?
ND: (very emotional) Tractor driving! ((laughs) (everyone laughs)
NiK: No. Watching TV. (laughs) Just… lying around.
ND: One hobby I totally love is doing man training with my dog. I do that a lot too.
NiK: What is that?
ND: That’s when you lay trails, or let lay trails, and then go out with a group of other dog owners and let the dogs sniff them. It’s great for the dogs and keeps them occupied, and you yourself are totally exhausted afterwards. It’s a lot of fun because you explore new places and walk down paths you haven’t been before.
NK: Like walking home drunk! (everyone laughs)
ND: Yeah, that’s actually another hobby of mine, walking home drunk! You get to see a lot like that! (laughs)
RoD: Did you ever censor yourself or would you do that if there was something critical in a song of yours?
ND: No. Never. Every song we’ve released so far is the same as when it has been written. Sure you change things in the studio, but you can’t speak of censorship. To be fair, we aren’t the band that sings about topics that need to be censored anyway, because I said “cunt“ too often or something like that.
RoD: What’s your favorite Disney movie? You all look like you’re totally into Disney.
NiK: You can see the enthusiasm in my face.
RoD: Yeah, that’s why I’m asking!
NiK: Is Star Trek from Disney?
NK: I have no idea.
RoD: It’s Star Wars.
NK: I’ve got Arielle on VHS! (laughs)
NiK: We went shopping earlier and sang the songs from Arielle because we couldn’t get it out of our heads! And we didn’t know where it came from! But I hate it. No. There’s no Disney movie I like.
NK: I’ve got an excuse, I have a sister! (laughs)
ND: I never was a Disney fan either, when I watched Disney I always fast forwarded when they started to sing cause I couldn’t stand it.
RoD: Could you imagine doing a complete concept album that tells a whole story?
NiK, ND: Yes.
ND: I always wanted to do that but there always was something holding me back, like a bad timing for the band to make one and so one, but I’d really like to do one because you work on it completely different than on a normal album for which you’re just collecting songs. So, yes, someday!
RoD: What’s your most embarrassing stage experience?
NK: (laughs) Memmingen. I slipped because our nice bass player poured water over his head and I very elegantly fell right across the whole stage.
ND: I didn’t have any with ERDLING I think…
NiK: I manage to fail when I want to be very cool while throwing my drumsticks in the air. It works fine when we rehearse and at the gig I realize too late that I don’t wear my glasses.(everyone laughs)
ND: Or he throws up his sticks and the stage isn’t so far from the ceiling, and the sticks get stuck up there. We’ve had that before.
RoD: With which location, gig or festival do you associate something special?
NK: As a band?
ND: M’era Luna last year. It was our baptism of fire, we’ve learned a lot about how this whole thing works. We could really measure things on this because we’ve been playing at noon on the main stage, when normally people are still drunk in their tents, and the band playing before our gig there weren’t too many people in the audience. But then we went on stage and suddenly there were 12.000 people, just like that, because of us. That was pretty incisive.(laughs)
RoD: Could you imagine doing an online diary, like ‘TV Of The Lost’ from LORD OF THE LOST or ’Gothic Internat’ from UNZUCHT?
ND: We’ve talked about this more than once and decided to not do it.
NK: Because everyone does it.
NiK: And when we do it, nah. But we will think about something, and we’re bit by bit posting things, telling stories and so on. But we don’t want to establish a TV program, cause we’re a band, we want to make music.
RoD: Firsts: What was the first CD you bought, the first gig you visited and the first gig with ERDLING, seen on an emotional base!
NiK: DIE ÄRZTE - ‘Goldenes Handwerk', the single. TOTO 2014, and our first concert 2014 in Brühl! TOTO was the first rock concert, the first concert ever was with three or five years or something.
ND: My first CD was ‘As long as you love me’ from the BACKSTREET BOYS, it was a purple maxi CD.
NK: That explains a lot.
ND: The first concert I visited was in 2005, KORN in Cologne, E-Werk. And the first ERDLING show… yeah, Brühl.
NK: I think the first CD I bought was CAPTAIN JACK. (laughs) Concert was DIE ÄRZTE 1998, and the gig, yeah, Brühl was pretty cool. First ERDLING show and we were headliner. Good evening.
RoD: Is there a ritual before every gig?
NK: Yes. We’re singing weird songs and drink sparkling wine. But it’s a secret what we’re singing. Maybe it’s going to be revealed someday.
NiK: Beware, they are going to leave their recorder here…
RoD: Sure! We’re going to find it out.
ND: Yeah we really can’t tell, it’d cost GEMA. (laughs)
RoD: Who of you would survive the longest in prison?
NiK: I’ve never heard that question before.
NK: That’s a genius one.
NiK: Neno, he’s got the most skills. (everyone laughs)
NiK: He has connections to our Jugo-mafia.
ND: I think he’s just brazen enough, after two months of imprisonment he’s probably the boss.
NK: (still laughing) See, I would’ve said Nate.
NiK: No way, they would put him right into isolation when he’d sit around like this. (points at Nate Pearson who’s sitting in the back of the room as well). With a mask, like Hannibal!
Nate Pearson [NP]: … (looks at the others in silence, then shakes his head) (everyone laughs)
RoD: What do you absolutely have no talent for?
NiK: Math. I mean, me. (laughs)
NK: Soccer! I’d love to play soccer, but I’m just so bad at it.
ND: I’m all but a sporting ace as well.
RoD: With which person, male or female, would you like to be trapped in an elevator?
NK: Male Nik, female Neill. (everyone laughs)
ND: I don’t know. Andy Brings.
RoD: I totally knew that you’d say that.
ND: (laughs) Yeah, well. But yes, Andy Brings.
RoD: He counts as male and female.
ND: Yeah, depending on which direction you turn him, front or back.
RoD: What are your favorite misheard lyrics?
ND: Yeah, fishmaster! Hamster, a dentist, hard porn, Steven Seagal!
RoD: A classic!
RoD: And the last one - some words to our readers!
NiK: Buy the record!
ND: Yeah, buy the record, like that you’re helping us the most!
RoD: Well, thanks for your time then guys, and see you on stage later!
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