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Interview with

Norri of Tanzwut

The band had just arrived so there were a lot of people walking in and out of the Melkweg, it was very busy. Norri and I went to a more quiet room in the dressing room department.

I have just received your album.
As I look at the front of the album and some of the songs, is there a theme, pirates or something? Schattenreiter?

"The cover and the title are not working together. We had an idea for the art work. We wanted the style to be a bit darker.
Schattenreiter (shadowrider) means that when you have lost friends or they are somewhere else but they are still with you."

Like when you are on tour you still think of your friends and family?
"Yes indeed"

Why then the octopus?
"Because we love it. It is like an alien who is living on earth but it is so different to us, it has no bones and 8 legs but it is a very intelligent animal. It is like a raven or other intelligent animal. They are tricky; you can give them a glass with something to eat in it and close it and the octopus will look at it, think about it and open it."

You used classical music again, this time it was Bach, last time it was Mozart, what makes you want to use classical music and why different composers?
"We love a lot of music styles that is the idea of Tanzwut to mix instruments like bagpipes and other medieval stuff and mix it with industrial, metal, electronic, punk and also classic. There is no reason for us not to use it. In the past we had on every, or nearly every record one classic theme. We have changed a little bit (laughs) and it’s funny for us to do that, to take this old music and bring it to young people with a new style but the base of it is still classical music."

It is recognisable
"Yes it is"

Why have you made it a double album?
"Because there are a lot of songs to digest at once. We could release it as a normal album, take all songs and put it one cd. But before we released it we had 3 or 4 more songs but during the mixing session we decided not to do that. But we had this 40 minute video track from Moscow so we thought it was a good idea to add that and make it a double album."

Did you tape that yourself?
"Yes we did"

We are shortly disturbed for a talk with one of the crew members.

"Our concerts are minimal 1.5 hour but often 2 hour. The support band starts at 9. So if they play an hour we only have one hour and we have to stop at 11 and that is not possible."

So you play with another band, that wasn’t announced, what band is it?
"We play with Red Ink. They are more metal style, German lyrics."

Your new album is heavier
"That is why the support band is more metal now. Because in the past years we had gothic rock bands but we don’t really like those bands because most of the time it is really boring. And with this new idea there was not enough power on stage so that is why we asked red ink to show the people that we want to rock."

Why did you actually make the music heavier?
"Because we want to, no special reason... we have our own studio and no producer or management or anything, so we can do what we want. And we have our own record company so there is no one who will try to tell us that it is not a good idea to change our style. We were at our own studio and started to write new songs and it is heavier now."

Who writes the songs, everybody comes with different songs or do you write them all together?
"We make them together. You need a melody so one of us has the idea and we make the song together but for the next song someone else has the idea or the lyrics or whatever so it is like a community we are working together, there is not a master mind."

Do you jam in the studio and then ideas come or everybody comes to the studio with an idea?
"It is different, we don’t have a special way to write songs. It is possible that one of us has a complete idea or it is only a rhythm or a lyric or whatever and we start to make the song form these basic ideas. There are a lot of versions on our computer we cancelled. We try something and we notice if the rhythm is ok, if it is to fast or to slow or the refrain is not working and then we cancel it and make a new version."

During your concerts there is always some choreography, and usually it is symmetrical, so the same thing on each side of the stage, who thinks of that?
"It is our idea. We do everything on our own. We love to make a party at the concert. It is a show, people pay a lot of money to go to our concert and we think the people have the right to get a good show. So of course we could go on stage wearing our street clothes and make a show and we don’t need light and the sound is not so important because we only want to make money, that is not the way. And of course we love to go on stage with strange clothes and make a strange show."

Do you make the clothes yourself?
"Yes, sometimes our new style some of us have bought some clothes but we change everything so we cut something or put something on it. Mostly we work with leather and metal. You need not so much material to work with it.  You need a knife a scissors and a hammer and a special instrument to make holes in leather. The rest is only manyfactury."

With the Cantus Buranus you all had the same coat but it was different for everyone, everybody had his own style.
"With Cantus Buranus because it was really special, we didn’t make it on our own we were looking for the material and we had our ideas, the look for it. But we had a friend of us who can really work with machines and so."

The instruments, do you make those yourself as well or do you have special people where you can go to?
"A lot of instruments we build ourselves, the bagpipes and sorts. Wim one of our bagpipe players, in Tanzuwut he is the bagpipe player he makes all the medieval instruments. The bass and guitars are self made too. But we work with Sandberg, is a famous bass guitar builder, he is a friend of us so Patrick and Wim can use his workstation and he is helping them. The guitars, you can light them, and that is all made for us. And some of our drums are made by ourselves."

For this album you worked with Schandmaul.
"Yes it is one track. We’ve know them for a long time because when they started as musicians we met them at Kaltenberg, a big medieval market. We were in the pub, definitely drunk (laughs) and had the idea to make one track together for the new album and the important thing was that we could remember this idea the next morning (laughs), so it was not so difficult."

Are there other bands you’d love to work with, if you could pick any band?
"Would be great to work with some musicians of this planet but mostly there are too many people like a wall, there is the management, there is a promoter, the record company and most of the time a lot of reasons that you can’t do it. So we are free we can do what we want but most bands are not free, they are slaves to the industries and most of the time they can’t do what they really want. But of course there are a lot of great musicians and strange people. Busta Rhymes would be cool. Not a metal or gothic band but strange stuff, Busta rhymes is really cool. Maybe in the future."

There is a song called 'das zweites Gesicht', do you have a second face?
"Yes we all have. It are lyrics from Teufel, he writes the lyrics because he has to sing it and it is better to sing your own lyrics. I think two faces are not enough, I have more. Everyone has two things in his head, talking to yourself one side saying “do it’” the other saying “no it is not allowed” a lot of  moments you can see or hear these two faces. But it is normal to have it. It is not a problem."

Do you have jobs?
"No, only music. That was the idea from the beginning for everyone of us, we don’t want to work we want to make what we want and music is the best way that you can do what you want and have some money to live."

And how did you learn to play these instruments?
"Some of us, most of us had some kind of musical education, like the choir at school. Wim has played the trumpet in an orchestra so some of us had an education but the instruments we are playing now I think everyone of us has learned it himself, it is an autodidactic thing. I bought my first drum when I was 17 or so and I started to play and it was no problem. And after playing for 6 or 7 years  I was for I think 3 weeks at drum school but I only learned things that didn’t make sense for me because I had my own style. And there they tried to show me a completely different style and didn’t make sense to me."

Is there a different between the Dutch and the German audience?
"There is a different between every town we play, in Germany too.  In some places the audience is like monuments you know. Other places you can go on stage and they are screaming. I know that in the Netherlands the concerts are always funny, the people come to make a party not to stand around and look at the band so it is good to play here."

On the video is the Moscow audience they were…

Have you played in any more of these far away places?
"No, it was the first concert in Moscow last year. It was a problem with the money because we have to pay the flights and all that stuff but it is working. We didn’t know how many people know us so we thought there will be maybe 200 people but when we went on stage there were more than a thousand people so it was incredible. Totally insane. The Russian fans were constantly singing all our German lyrics that were strange."

Do you have any wishes for the band for the future?
"Not special wishes. We are successful enough that we can live from the music for the next 20 years and we can do what we want because we have money, if you don’t you can’t do what you want. We want to be free and ok if we can play on big stages for a lot of people who never knew us before it is great but we’ll see. Nobody is pushing us to big stages or the tv, most of these doors are closed for us."

At Wacken you played on the big stage.
"Wacken was really special. We told him what we wanted to do but the cd was not finished and the show was not existing but he believed in it. When do you want to play? Well it would be good when the sun is not shining…"

"Something special about the Amsterdam audience... Last time we played with Corvus Corax here. You know there is no guitar and so. There was one big heavy metal fan with really long hair and such but he was head banging all the time. This is not so strange but he was playing the air guitar all the time. That was really funny, I never saw that before."

When will you come back to the Netherlands?
"We ask the promoters here all the time. If they can bring us to the place. I think with Corvus Corax will be here in autumn or winter again, I’m sure."


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