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seadrake2015 introInterview with

Hilton Theissen (lead vocals & guitar), Rickard Gunnarsson (backing vocals, bass guitar & keyboard) and Mathias Thürk (synthesizer & machines) of Seadrake

Some days ago, SEADRAKE and their video for the single ‘On the Run’ was presented. The band itself consists of Hilton Theissen, active for AKANOID, Rickard Gunnarson, whom some may know from LOWE or STATEMACHINE and Mathias Thürk who was active for MINERVE until 2012. Already the enumeration of the names of the members of the trio sounds literally like many different musical ideas and influences. We didn't only choose one member of the band for our interview corner but instantly all three declared themselves ready to justify themselves.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello everybody. I hope you're doing well. Thanks to Mathias once again for the kind mail. I get mails far too rarely. How are you doing, specifically?
Mathias: Hello Josie, I am almost well since I am just coming straight from a tattoo session and you know, men are sensitive when it comes to small injuries (laughs). No, but seriously, everything's going well for me.

RoD: Don't expect me to feel sorry (laughs). Tell me, why aren't you with MINERVE anymore? I mean it's already two years ago but I would still like to know.
Mathias: That was actually a spontaneous decision because I thought and still think that we had achieved everything after participating in the really very successful tour with AND ONE, CAMOUFLAGE and DE/VISION. When Daniel and I started out in 2002 none of us would have believed that we would release as many records and singles in so many countries, play so many big stages and present our music in front of so many people. We had a great time but after 10 years I simply felt that it was time to go.

RoD: I can comprehend that a bit. Is there a chance for you to go back to MINERVE or are you focusing on your new baby SEADRAKE?
Mathias: We didn't diverge in conflict. Everything's cool between us but currently my whole focus is set on SEADRAKE. I simply like to work on new songs and ideas with Hilton and Rickard and I think we will be doing that for quite a while.

RoD: How did it come to this new formation and how did you get the idea of bringing Rickard and Hilton on board?
seadrake2015 01Mathias: That was actually quite simple. I've known Hilton and Rickard for some time and at some point, I had the idea of launching a new project. I asked Hilton at first whether he could imagine to be singer and guitarist for this project. He was up for it and together, we started working on our songs with Olaf Wollschläger. When the question arose how to present the songs live, Rickard came into my mind and he was also up for participating in our project. Thus, we took him as our bassist aboard. And by this, the original project turned bit by bit into the band SEADRAKE.

RoD: I think it's time for Hilton and Rickard to speak up now (laughs). Tell me, Hilton, how would you describe your single ‘On the Run’? It reminds me of a mix of HURTS and a rather soft 80s song.
Hilton: The song idea had a very atmospheric, a bit fragile and also very personal note from the very beginning. Such a result was to be expected by an Olaf Wollschläger production since he is known for his 80s influences.

RoD: We already introduced your video for ‘On the Run’. Who was the director of it and who came up with the storyline?
Hilton: I am responsible for that because since the text is very personal dealing with an inner escape the band propagated to put me into the spotlight in this case.

RoD: You have very beautiful making-of pictures on your Facebook page which were taken by Chris Ruiz. I only know him as a musician. How is he like as a photographer and how was the cooperation with him?
Mathias: Chris has become a good friend of us and working with him was very relaxed and uncomplicated every time. He is a great photographer and has a great eye when it comes to cool band pictures. He knows what we want and we know that he knows how to implement it. A band couldn't be better off.

RoD: The lovely Mathias interrupts his band colleagues and steals the answer away from them (laughs). Before he leaps at the next question, this one goes directly to Rickard now: Imagine your life to be a photo book. What would be on the first and last page?
Rickard: Oh, I think the first picture would be a Swedish landscape picture in summer, a certain bitter sweetness. The last page hasn't been written yet, though.

RoD: Would the pictures be black/ white or in colour?
Rickard: It would be Polaroids (laughs).

RoD: I would like to know from full-time musician Hilton what isn't in any way related to pictures or Polaroid (laughs). If you hadn't become a musician, what would you have become?
Hilton: I think I'd be a chief since I do that with a passion. And I couldn't imagine a life with non-creative activity which other people can also participate in!

RoD: You are hereby kindly invited to cook for the whole staff of (laughs). But back to the music topic and “being a musician”: Are you also one of those bands who are disillusioned by the music scene or is everything fine with you in that regard?
seadrake2015 04Hilton: Of course all of us made experiences in our bands which had a sobering and disillusioning effect and which let us mature besides. But the core of our passion is the music itself and not a fictional rock star life some musicians used to aspire to oftentimes. It's still wonderful to provide music lovers, no matter from which country, with beautiful moments in life and communication between people with our work, since that will always remain necessary.

RoD: What is more fun, after all: Writing songs or playing them later live?
Hilton: Both of it has its appeal which is incomparable because the fire that burns within oneself while looking for a solution of how to transpose an idea emerges again when passing the message in form of a live performance on to the audience, presenting it to them with conviction and both are an unreplaceable feeling!

RoD: Are you getting on each other's nerves as a band at some point when you are together with each other in the studio for too long?
Hilton: Of course, but from time to time one looks for a silent corner in order to enjoy one's privacy but I have to say that I was lucky because my SEADRAKE colleagues are quite decent and convenient characters. When it comes to studio work, there I am a bit fierier and more exhausting during the creation process.
Rickard: Of course it can get quite heated in the studio. When that happens I simply go out for a walk.

RoD: Are musicians who write melancholic music immediately latently melancholic? Are they that at times or always actually?
Hilton: Some yes, but only partly concerning us, otherwise we wouldn't have met and gotten along.
Rickard: Writing and playing music is very therapeutic to me. I am a very sensitive person und sometimes I play the piano when I cannot express myself and all that comes out of that is written in moll.

RoD: What is more important to you: text or melody?
Hilton: I think it is music for all of us because even as a singer the music is the most important and the text rather personal. I am happy when people reflect on that but I rather see that as a bonus since we get the most responses through the feeling which music transmits.

RoD: What do you actually think about casting bands? Would that be an option for you or rather not?
Hilton: I participated in such a show on RTL in 2000 successfully. The music colleagues belonged to the greatest talents I had worked with by then. It's the media itself which can be accused without question of exploitation and scamming of fans because talents are burnt here on a highly economic level.

RoD: That doesn't really sound all that great now. The better it is that you can be creative now beyond talent shows. Tell me, guys, do you have personal heroes? If yes, who and why?
Hilton: Darth Vader, Trent Reznor and my grandfather, the greatest gentleman of all times (laughs).
Rickard: Hm, not really. I admire strong women who believe in themselves like Edith Piaf, the Parkurst Sisters or my grandmother.
Mathias: Since I was small, DEPECHE MODE were musical heroes. My cousin Thomas who was a big fan of the band already back in GDR times can be blamed for that and he infected me with the virus sometime in 1986. Besides that, everyone who has lived a life that makes them look back with happiness and content is a hero to me.

RoD: SEADRAKE don't really make political music but what is your stand on the “politics and music” topic? How political is music allowed to be?
seadrake2015 02Hilton: Music and art in general can and occasionally have to be political because it is and was always a voice against oppression, nuisances and political movements. Culture often simply has political aspects.

RoD: While we're at politics: legalisation of drugs – yes or no?
Hilton: The term “drugs” is debatable and partly wrongly defined. Alcohol is the worst and it is taxed and already legal.
Rickard: I don't like governments who tell you what to do. It's up to you whether you get involved with drugs or not.
Mathias: It is duplicitous by politics to condemn the legalisation of drugs when it's possible to buy alcohol, tobacco and pills everywhere at the same time. If one then considers that many of those products are even subsidised by the EU it becomes almost ridiculous to condemn the legalisation of drugs. And to be honest: every human who wants to get stoned will find ways of doing so. Nevertheless, drugs don't mean anything to me and I would wish that other people wouldn't need them either.

RoD: Why are Synth musicians always such nice people? I have never experienced anyone from the genre who was really bitchy.
Rickard: Hahahaha, I know some real assholes in the synth genre but the most of them are really nice but this is probably because of that musical genre having a therapeutic effect.

RoD: Which musical colleagues do you treasure specifically and why?
Hilton: Trent Reznor, because he created an atmosphere and vision with his own means early on which directed my work into a different direction and the Beatles who founded my musical harmony understanding unconsciously (grins).
Rickard: I like those who are dead and who don't really gain centre stage too much.

RoD: Everyone has a vice. May it be chocolate, pizza, cigarettes... which one do you have?
Hilton: Marvel films, decadently delicious food and sex.
Rickard: Good question. I spend a lot of money on good wine, women and music but I also like bubble baths and night trips on empty streets with my old VW Beetle.

RoD: We're going from vices to quirks now. Let's be honest: What is your worst quirk?
Hilton: I am pedantic at times, not as neurotic as Sheldon Cooper but still palpable (laughs).
Rickard: Noisy people.
Mathias: Wanting people to quit smoking (laughs).

RoD: How do you handle stressful situations and what do you do to escape everyday stress?
Hilton: I enjoy nature, especially forests or I escape in films whose stories grip me and abduct me from routine.
Rickard: I take a bath or go to the training. I tried it with alcohol and pills once but that didn't help in the long run.

RoD: What shouldn't be missing at a concert and needs to be there at all times?
Hilton: The front singer!
seadrake2015 03Rickard: I am mostly a simple guy and don't need much. But a heater backstage and a rock shot before going on stage are a must!
Mathias: Apart from electricity and the equipment? Ice-cold still water, gummy bears, towels and a clean shower would be grand.

RoD: It was obvious that front singer Hilton would give exactly this answer (laughs). Where would you like to travel to one day?
Hilton: To my old homelands South Africa and New Zealand... Nature!
Rickard: Space!!!
Mathias: I would like to see Tokyo someday. I have heard that there are vending machines were you can get worn underwear for cash, not that I am turned on by that but I would like to have a picture in front of such a vending machine. (laughs)

RoD: Imagine you'd have to sing for a metal band overnight but you could choose yourselves which one. Which one would that be?
Hilton: My own because I am an old metal head (laughs).
Mathias: STRAPPING YOUNG LAD or FEAR FACTORY – I like both bands.

RoD: There are some artists who have aliases. Do you still need one nowadays or is that vain?
Mathias: The music doesn't get better or worse by having or not having an alias.

RoD: Hmm, that's probably true. Let's move from aliases to the absolute horror scenario in the life of a musician. Scenario one: All electricity malfunctions, nothing is working on stage. What do you do?
Hilton: Unplugged in the audience!
Rickard: That actually already really happened and when you are an electronic band that normally means “Good night, see you next time!”. I remember a festival in Istanbul where we played with LOWE. It was very windy and the keyboard stand with synths, computer and everything was blown off stage. Thank god it was the last song of the show. We bowed down and pretended that this was part of the show.

RoD: Horror scenario 2: Someone steals your newly mastered songs and uploads them on a dubious Russian site for download. How do you react?
Hilton: Hahaha, this happens with EVERY official record release!
Rickard: Shit happens.

RoD: Which band should be dusted and put into the CD player? I can spontaneously think of COLONY 5 and ASSEMBLAGE 23.
Hilton: Johann Sebastian Bach and TOWER OF POWER.
Rickard: ‘Caustic Grip’ by FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY! I like the funky bass on it!
Mathias: 4tune8 ‘We are 4tune8, you are not’ or BROS with ‘Push’.

RoD: Before being able to nominate someone new for an interview you can send out some greetings. Here you go!
Hilton: I am greeting everyone who knows me from the times of my old band AKANOID and those who have stumbled upon us because of this interview. Give us a chance, it's worth it!
Rickard: Nominating someone for an interview? I would say AUTOMELODY from Canada.
You can find further information about the band on Facebook. Those who'd rather listen to something can look up Soundcloud.

Written by Fee Wundersee, translation by Alex Ultra Riot

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