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amnistia2022 01 byAndreasDymkeInterview with

Stefan Schötz (music, production) from Amnistia

With the release of ‘We All Bleed Red’ AMNISTIA achieved quite a new level in the field of electronic music. Dark, thought-provoking, and still hard-hitting and energetic, the release offers a great dose of sonic variety not only those fond of EBM will enjoy. I used the opportunity to ask Stefan Schötz some questions about the creative process, the philosophy behind the artistic creations and the general approach to music making.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Since this is our first conversation, could you tell me about the beginnings of AMNISTIA, how did you guys meet?
Stefan: Well, in 2001 we both were at a party from a mutual friend. He introduced us and said that we should talk, because we have some similarities in regards of our taste in music. We met irregularly afterwards to listen to CDs together (it was not that time when you send just a link over via the internet) and to explore new music. Based on that musical friendship we started AMNISTIA in autumn 2003. I had first experiences with electronic music from my school-time (I worked on a tracker with a friend) and wanted to start a new project. Tino was interested too. I bought a soundcard that enabled me to run Cubase on my PC. Because we sat in my room I usually moved the mouse and someday Tino grabbed the microphone that we had lent from a friend and the journey started.

RoD: AMNISTIA may stand for “amnesty”. What is your very own understanding of the word when it comes to your artistic output?
Stefan: The time we started AMNISTIA we were very bored about the music that came out that time. The current music just didn’t satisfy us. Someday we came to the conclusion that grouching isn’t a solution. We wanted to try how difficult it is to write songs and create music that we would like to listen to. The name of our band became both the program and a philosophy. In many languages it means amnesty. AMNISTIA releases us from inactivity, provides freedom for creativity, it is an outlet, and our work is a verdict that we have transformed into sound. When we were at the lookout for a name for the project we set that we did not want an English name. We went through a Russian dictionary and found AMNISTIA. Later we found out that AMNISTIA is multilingual what we liked.

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RoD: ‘We all bleed red’ may suggest that we are actually very similar, that we are connected in a way, or even that we are equal when facing pain, sorrow, joy etc. Is that the train of thought you had in mind when selecting the title?
Stefan: I had the idea and wrote the words “we all bleed red” down some years ago. While working on the songs I stumbled about that note and wrote lyrics and sent it to Tino. He rearranged the words to make them “singable” and we had the lyrics. We wanted to make a statement with this, that everyone is equal, no matter how you look, what you believe, who you love, if you are disabled or not, what you eat and so on. Mankind is too busy fighting themselves that we are not able to see what matters. Our planet is dying and humanity focuses on finding differences to argue about. That makes us sick.

RoD: Tell me more about ‘We All Bleed Red’. It was released in June 2022. What are the new areas you decided to explore on it? What is the album about?
Stefan: Writing ‘We All Bleed Red’ was not easy. We got fantastic feedback about the preceding album ‘Black Halo’ and one of our goals is that we don’t want to repeat ourselves. We still want to make the music that we would like to listen to. That was the main terms when we started with the album. Until now we haven’t made a concept album, we usually write songs about what touches us. After the release of ‘Black Halo’ the long-term relationship to the mother of my son broke and for some time I was very lost in the dark. Tino and I spoke a lot about it and I believe you can hear that on the record. My overall mood was in grief and songs like ‘truth/hurts/lie’ and ‘e.y.s.i.d.’ - which means “everything you see is distorted”, reflect this darkness in me from this time. I mean Tino wrote the lyrics but I am pretty sure he reflected a lot what I told him about my situation. You see, nothing planned, just life brought us this record.

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RoD: I have a feeling that the new release is much darker and reflexive than, for example, ‘Black Halo’. Would you agree?
Stefan: Could be. As I stated in the answer above, I went through a tough time and you can hear this in the music. And while I fought my inner demons and tried to arrange with guilt there began a pandemic and wars and more and more news about the collapsing earth arose. It had to be darker if you ask me, anything else would have surprised me.

RoD: AMNISTIA music is very complex; it fuses profundity, fragility, and strong dark energy. Could you tell me more about your own philosophy or the way you see the world, the things you decide to write about, that matter to you? How do all these elements resonate in your music?
Stefan: We have a critical view on the world and try to reflex the issues and problems we see. Most probably we have individual problems and fears that resonate in the music and lyrics too. The band is kind of a therapy for both of us. And of course, in the music you hear our own bias regarding music. I love complex multi-layered music and I am not keen to work hard to get into an album if something triggered me initially. Tino is - besides the shared liking of the end 80s and mid 90s electro / industrial music - more into pop-formula based songs and I believe the mix of this leads to how AMNISTIA is.

RoD: I’m wondering, when you sit to write new music what is the usual process you approach the tools you use? Do you have a clear vision of the effect you want to achieve, or it comes during the creative process?
Stefan: There is no clear approach. We both write songs, Tinos focus is more to embed the vocals, mine is more on the sound. We learned that we can’t plan too much, it just doesn’t work. The songs simply appear based on a vocal idea, a sound, a sample or a rhythm. We have several synths and drum-machines and sometimes a song arises from the machines. We use Cubase Pro and work very much in the box. We both have the ability to work on music at home but we also have a small project-studio, where we can work together and listen to our songs a bit louder than home.

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RoD: You cooperate with many artists when it comes to remixes, e.g. G.O.L.E.M, PYRROLINE, FIX8:SED8, MILDREDA, PLACEBO EFFECT - what determines the choice of artists you feel like cooperating with?
Stefan: We are very happy to meet like-minded people when we play live. When we have a good feeling with the people we connect, we interact, we share ideas and we help each other. It makes us proud to work with that talented musicians and call them our friends.

RoD: You’ll play on 1 September 2022 at Nocturnal Culture Night in Deutzen. Are there any other live shows planned for this or the next year?
Stefan: Yes, there are some already booked shows, fingers crossed it can all happen:
15 Oct 2022 Kassel/Germany
26 Nov 2022 Rüsselsheim/Germany
07 Jan 2023 Hanover/Germany
We are happy to add more dates, feel free to send a booking-request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RoD: Have you already started working on the new thing or still focus on promotion of ‘We All Bleed Red’ at this point? What can we expect from AMNISTIA in the upcoming months?
Stefan: At the moment we prepare the live-shows, we had only two shows with the new songs yet and other concerts seem to be ages ago, which means we need to practise. We made a remix (to be announced soon) and plan to rearrange our studio. And slowly some new ideas are cooking in my head!

RoD: Thank you very much for you time.
Stefan: My pleasure!

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Pictures by Falk Scheuring an Andreas Dymke

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