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novaspes2021 04Interview with

Matthias Hübner (vocals) from Nova-Spes

Should music be political or explore the topics that many people find “uncomfortable” with? Can music be treated as cure? About the most recent, very touching video ‘Back Home’, but also about the individual triggers that release music creativity and also some concert experience with Matthias Hübner from NOVA-SPES.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: You recently released an incredibly moving video, ‘Back Home’. Please tell me more about the idea, the production, the concept behind it.
Matthias: First of all, thank you for your kind words about our video ‘Back Home’. I am very happy that you feel moved by the song and the video. At the moment, I am experimenting with some oriental sounds and instruments. I always loved it but didn’t feel ready to work with it. I love this special melodies and atmosphere for example an Armenian Duduk produces. The culture of the Arabic World is very interesting and if we are open minded to it we have to recognize that we wouldn’t have many important things we see as an important part of our western world today. It’s so cruel what happens now in some countries but I am sure nobody is without blame. We all must bear responsibility that’s its necessary for families to leave their homes they loved, to leave their social network that grew for years, to leave their lives into an unknown future cause all they are knowing about the future at home is they definitely would die. I was a soldier in the Balkan war in the nineties and had to see so many unbelievable pain that nobody can tell me this hero fairy-tale of men who must stay in a war to build up her land anytime when war is over. Who can be sure they will alive?

Unfortunately I have to recognize this stupid opinions from more and more Germans. It seems normal that football players with a foreign background were insulted with racist words. Racism seems to reach the middle of society cause the stupid Nazis are louder than the mass. It’s easy for losers to make foreigners responsible for their own fail but it’s wrong. And smart people know it. Today in a train in Bavaria a Syrian man committed a stabbing. Just some minutes later the social networks were full of racist comments. But no comments from the same people when the criminal was a German. Fact is: both are assholes, doesn’t matter where they come from. I needed only two weeks to write and produce the song. So maybe you can see how important it was for me. For the video I used material from Saint Petersburg company Cottonpro. I already used their stuff for the video of ‘U R The One’. It’s great and professional. Thanks to Russia!

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RoD: Would you say art should be ideologically involved? Speak about essential matters? Or rather stay aside, do not take sides, stick to a purely aesthetic or entertainment dimension that art carries?
Matthias: It’s not possible to tell for every artist or band. I think today it’s easier to reach people with sweet stories about the dramatic of love. It’s not necessary that you care for the songs especially. You just can dance and forget. Unfortunately world seems changing to a stadium of “irrelevant arts”. So as a painter you will find a lot more who would buy a painting of flowers than of destroyed cities. I can understand but music seems to go the same way at the moment. People by expensive tickets for a DEPECHE MODE-copy while they are not interesting in new art. Please tell me the last famous “World conflict” project like Life Aid of the eighties. No one cares anymore. So every artist must define it’s art by him or herself. That’s okay. And if you are the champion in writing love songs - why not? Do it! It’s easy to reach the audience. But that’s not NOVA-SPES. We were political and we are political. Maybe that’s the reason we don’t have many chances playing concerts in Germany. People - even friends - seem to ignore us. Are we too uncomfortable? By the way I am sure entertainment and aesthetic is very important too.

RoD: What topics are close to you as Artists? What is it that you want to achieve as a band through your art?
Matthias: Oh, that’s hard to describe. I think there are many but the last 20 years some topics are important for us. Religion, psychology, hate, love, war, peace... But every time you have this influence called “life” too. So in 2020 I had a hard accident and of course that took a big part of the album ‘2020’. We could say “we want reach a lot of people” because many bands are telling it and we told it too as we began. But it isn’t. If that would be correct we had to stop making music years ago. Music turns into a kind of psychological treatment for each of us. For example in 2012 I was in a deep depression but no psychologist was able to help me because I wasn’t able to open my mind. I tried a lot but then I wrote the album ‘Leben ist Krieg’. Today I must say: that was my way to recovery. As artists we don’t want to be predictable. We want to surprise and want to have the freedom to do what we wanna do. But of course we want to play concerts, we want to learn to know new people and bands. All that is Nova-Spes!

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RoD: Do you think art - music in your case - has the power to influence people? Make them change their minds, opinions about things, be the eye-opener?
Matthias: Yes and no. Art has the power to unite and separate people. I am sure you can unite people who understand you and who have the same opinions about different things. But I am sure it’s impossible to change the mind of a stupid racist to a humanist. Maybe sometimes our songs can be an eye-opener but I think our songs are more a definition of our own attitudes and point of views. Some will find pendants some not but I don’t believe in that “power of lyrics”.

RoD: Do you have close contact with your fan base? How would you describe your fans?
Matthias: In Germany we haven´t! We are rather unknown. If you watch some of our videos you will see most of them are without us as actors. We don’t have that network to music businesses you need to be heard and I don’t believe in that “big music-family fairy-tale” anymore. I am a little bit shy except on stage. But we haven’t much chances to perform life. Although we love to perform on stage but - like I already told- we don’t have any contacts who wants to help us. Since 2018 we played some concerts in Russia. It’s so unbelievable there, it’s great, its overwhelming! We love playing concerts there, we love the fans. They are open to new music and curious. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our tour in 2020 caused by Covid. But we hope to catch it up as soon as possible.

RoD: And what about your music? Since this is the first time we have had a chance to talk, could you tell me more about the origins of NOVA SPES - how did it all start, and how have you progressed as a band since 1999?
Matthias: Oh that’s interesting. A couple of years before Reflection Of Darkness releases some critics about early releases written by a Russian girl and normally she tried to “destroy us”. So no problem: NOVA-SPES was founded in 1999 during a scientific research project of the university of applied science in Koethen. At the beginning we made some albums you really can’t show anyone. But in 2011 we were signed by Danse Macabre and Bruno mastered all our albums from ‘Pripyat - home of Lilith’ until ‘A Dog and His Boy’. In 2016 I felt ready for a change and I signed a contract with the little Russian label ScentAir Records. It was the right decision cause that was the door opener to Russia.

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RoD: You had quite a few changes in your line-up. Do you think changes are necessary or natural for the band to move on?
Matthias: We had some changes in the line-up. I am sure every single change was necessary to grow. First our band member Andre R. had to leave the band. He wanted to start his own music career. I never heard anything of him after he quit. Peter came into the band. As Steffen left the band the situation was different. His goal in life changed and I completely understood it was time to “set him free”. Until now we have relaxed contacts from time to time. We tried some guys but nothing works until I travelled with Guido to the first concert in Russia. After that I was sure NOVA-SPES needs him. I think it could be normal for a band to have some changes in the line-up but I hope the actual line-up will work for the next decades!

RoD: What is your very personal trigger to make new songs?
Matthias: Its easy: It is one way to express myself.

RoD: You played concerts in many cities... do you have a particular concert experience that is exceptional for you? If yes - what was it and why?
Matthias: Like I already told a concert is a rare event - unfortunately cause we feel very comfortable on stage and we know how to catch the audience. We already played different concerts and festivals, and every concert has its own atmosphere. So we played a festival in Leipzig on the famous “Festwiese” where we were the only Electro band between Rock bands - believe me that wasn’t our audience. We played in Villa Leipzig with ASSEMBLAGE 23 it was more than sold out. I left the stage jumped into the audience and nearly fell down caused be the slippery floor. The reason was the sweat that condensed and dripped from the ceiling. Or the concert we played in an underground cave near Magdeburg. Maybe it was the only concert I really froze on stage. But it could be more - much more!

RoD: What can we expect of you in the upcoming months?
Matthias: I hope that we will release a new album next year. Now it’s November so that would be in a couple of months.

photos copyright NOVA SPES

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