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Interview with

Alexander “Asp” Spreng from ASP

ASP just released their new album ‘Astoria 1: Verfallen’ which was promoted on tour in October. Before we could experience the show in Memmingen, we had some time to talk with Asp about the new album, his cooperation with Kai Meyer and already about the upcoming second part of ‘Astoria’.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Thank you that we managed to make this interview spontaneously. So let’s start directly! Due to the newsletter series of aspswelten.de there are many questions answered and many interesting information about the new album reported. So we can focus today on the deeper things and skip the general questions everyone would ask.
Asp: Oh that’s a nice variety because I had enough of those standard questions.

RoD: ‘Astoria: Verfallen’ is, in comparison with all the other ASP CDs something different. The question is: Is that a try to put music and lyric together in another way or is it a tendency and a new direction where the genre gothic novel rock will develop?
Asp: Actually I see that a bit different. And the fans will see this in even another way than I do. I see what people are writing about this album in the internet (yeah I do read it sometimes) and many people say that this CD is exactly what they have expected and that ‘Astoria: Verfallen’ is a kind of reward they have been waiting for. And others just say that it is something completely different then they are used to. I can just say that I haven’t done something different with this album. Of course we changed the style of music in a certain way but we always tried new things and tested new ways. It always depends on how we can bring out the emotion of a song. This variety allows us to do new stuff but that is nothing new. We always did this.

A song has to transfer special emotions and a message and therefore sometimes new musical directions are needed. I think that this is the reason why ASP music is so hard to consume because many songs sound unusual and different. You can experience this at our live performances, when we sing so many different songs. What we did with the ‘Zwischentöne’ on the new album is nothing new. We tried this in a similar way on the ‘Zaubererbruder’ CD, or ‘Requiembryo’. That was another style of music, okay, but it was the same idea. I feared that the fans will say “we already know that… That’s nothing new…“. And because of that I just do what is necessary to emphasize the emotion and the message of a song, especially the musical aspect. If it sound good or bad is a decision of the listeners.


RoD: Okay, so you just answered a bunch of questions. Great! But still: You announced the release date of the second part of ‘Astoria’ just a couple of days ago. It came a bit surprising for the fans that the second part will come out at the 1st April 2016. It’s not much time till then.
Asp: Yeah, it sounded like a good idea und of course we are already in the production. We had no break between the first part of ‘Astoria’ and the work for the second part and there will be no break. The tour feels like an unauthorized interruption and when I come home I will just wash my clothes and continue the work. That will be my plan for the rest of the year. We want that the second part will be as thrilling as the first one and maybe even more! Especially the horror aspect should be emphasized. In the moment we are working on it and I was never as disciplined when I was working at a new album. This chronicle narrating is different than how I usually work. Sometimes it’s really hard to stay in line and keep the structure. I know that I have only one album left to finish the story and you have to control yourself at some points of the story not to add some things or you will have enough material to make two more albums. I hope that there will be no problems at this tour and I don't get ill or something because it was a big gamble to say the release date so early like we did. But we have the whole concept and a plan so we can work in a straight timeline.

RoD: We will wait eagerly! How will the second part look like? Is Kai Meyer again involved or will you write a little story? Maybe in the style of ‘Der Fluch’?
Asp: Even if I want to write something I have absolutely no time for it unfortunately. I have enough to do with the songs and it will take enough time, because I have to do something where I am not good at - keeping it short. I have many lyrics ready but they have to be changed in their length, or in their structure to fit with the musical idea that we have. I have to try to get faster to the point, to the core message of the song or the story and because of that it can be that some lyrics have to be shortened. Writing songs is different than writing books. You have to keep a certain rhyming scheme and sometimes it’s necessary to put lyrics into one song that have nothing to do with the story but keep the structure of the song. I try to keep it as short as possible.

RoD: Phew okay - But as I said, what is the role of Kai Meyer in this project?
Asp: Oh Kai! Actually his work is done. The story he wrote was the initial situation for everything. So his job is technically done - but only technically. I think that he really, really enjoyed what we have done. Some parts are completely different than that what we planned in the beginning when he wrote the story ‘Das Fleisch der vielen’. He is very open minded in his way how he works and was fascinated what aspects I brought in this story he never thought of. I guess that he is very curious in which direction the ‘Astoria’ series will go… We will surely make a little special for the whole ‘Astoria’ topic but unfortunately I cannot reveal what this special is about. But you can expect something like a reading with musical support before the next tour starts.

RoD: That would be my next question. But I guess that you will surprise us in the next time!
Asp: We are in the middle of the planning phase and really have to see where we can put this idea in. Everything what has to do with the band goes onto my desk and so I am forced to plan everything in a very detailed way. We really have to see if it’s possible to put this “we want to do this sometime“ idea in our plans. I guess that I have enough ideas and work for the next seven years so it won't be boring in future. But such a reading seems to be very interesting. We saw at the M’era Luna how good it worked and it would be really sad if we can’t to at least a little reading tour.

RoD: So the fans can expect - IF the tour takes place - that the story of Kai Mayer will be produced as a separate book then?
Asp: That is not planned, to be honest. And there are still enough CDs available where the story is included (ASP blinks). We want to keep this story for the next time but we will see what will come in the future and how everything develops. Everything can happen. I know that Kai has enough Work to do. In this moment he is at the end of his third part of ‘Seiten der Welt’ and I guess that he will directly start a new book when this project is done. He is just like me, regarding the work and coming projects.

RoD: So we stay curious und can hope that there will come many new things! So let’s come to the last question. It’s about a song of the new album. It’s ‘Fortsetzung folgt’. There are many hints to other songs like ‘Werben’, ‘Fremd’, ‘Maskenhaft’ or ‘Schwarzes Blut’. Is this a kind of recap of your band story? Is it a self-laudation to you and of course to the fans what we all managed in the last years? Or is it a flashback and the beginning of a new direction?
Asp: You are right that there are many things hidden in this song. And yes this should be seen as a self-laudation, for us and the fans. We want to emphasize the We-Feeling. The song is created when I was deep inside the ‘Astoria’ topic and got the feeling that it would be too dark and too heavy to leave the listener at this point. I knew that one part would not be enough to tell the whole story. So I needed end credits. Just as in TV shows. I wanted some credits that have nothing to do with the original topic, to let the album fade away in a different way.

RoD: A song that pulls the listener out of a hole.
Asp: Right. Like stairs that lead out of the darkness of ‘Astoria’ that brings the listener back with a positive and fast song. So you won’t be left alone. I like the thought of having own credits and I guess it is quiet nice and transfers the message “Don’t panic, we will hear us again and we will hear the old songs as well“. ‘Verfallen’ is not the end of the road. There is the ‘Fremd’ and the ‘Schmetterling’ story. Everyone feels different with the songs and albums. The old songs aren’t bad or broken just because there comes out a new album or we developed in another direction. To be honest you can’t take it serious. At the ‘Weltunter’ CD the people said “There are too many guitars in the songs, that’s not ASP“. At the ‘Zaubererbruder’ CD many open left us because they thought we completely changed. It’s the same with every album that came out. Me as Asp have some issues to understand that the things that I do aren’t the things that the band ASP does or have done in the past. Every second person uses the word mainstream. I don’t think that anything that we represent is Mainstream. Or our live shows. It will never happen.

After the ‘Astoria’ series I will work on the ‘Fremd’ story and it can be that there will be some new musical aspects, so be prepared. When people don’t like anything they are always looking for a reason. Mainstream is one of their favourite words in that context… On this CD are some of the most unusual and hardest songs we ever made. No Mainstream at all. The other definition of mainstream can be, when I want to be safe and only make music that the fans are used to. But in that case there will be people who say that the band stands still and there won’t come any new stuff. No matter how, you cannot satisfy everyone. Sure, songs like ‘Zwischentöne: Lift’ with its sound of the 20’s are far away from ‘Ich bin ein wahrer Satan’ and even songs like ‘Teach me war’ are very different. But we just did them. What do I wanted to say… Ah, yeah! The song ‘Fortsetzung folgt’. Actually it’s only a song to lead out of the darkness of ‘Astoria’ where Loreley just has been killed. If there will ever be a complete edition of the ‘Astoria’ series the song won’t fit there anymore and has to be replaced. But at this point it works perfectly as credit.


RoD: So ASP will not develop itself in another direction and the song is an exit of the dark hotel ‘Astoria’.
Asp: Yeah I thought that it sounds good at this place of the CD.

RoD: Yes, the song was refreshing. After the murder of Loreley in a song that was really dark, the song motivated and the listener knows that the story is over so far. Everything is okay again.
Asp: It seems that you will be released in the ordinary world again. Dark is a nice keyword. I am satisfied when songs of ASP are dark. That is exactly what I wanted.

All Pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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