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wisborg2022 promo01 byJuliKraeheInterview with

Konstantin Michaely and Nikolas Eckstein from Wisborg

WISBORG, one of the most talented and promising bands of the Dark Wave scene, are winning new audiences like a thunderstorm. After many great European shows and the well-received album ‘Into the Void’, they continue their journey with great success. About song writing process, inspirations, and live shows being like sex… with Konstantin Michaely and Nikolas Eckstein.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: You continue your triumphant concert march through Europe - what are your impressions so far? How do you feel about the concerts, the reception, and the general ambiance of the ones you played?
: A good live show never lives from the musicians themselves, but the relationship in between the band and the crowd. We are all the more grateful that people join us and make pretty much each show we play a remarkable experience. You can find us at the merch table regularly after shows and in general, when people come and talk to us their reception is very positive. The ambiance depends on which songs we play, the spatial characteristics, and the mood of both the audience and us.

RoD: I had the pleasure of seeing you play live twice - in Prague and Berlin and I must say that you have your very own way of establishing fantastic contact with the audience. What are the live shows for you, and what is your approach to your audience?
: Being on stage is always an intimate moment for me. I would say I’m more of an introvert, but being on stage offers me an instance to express my feelings to the outside world. Which can sometimes feel like a catharsis, but makes me fragile at the same time. Sharing this side of me on stage is one important aspect of the connection to the audience, I guess. Besides that, I’ll always try to give 100% when it comes to performing on stage. If I’m not totally exhausted after a set, I didn’t do it right.
Konstantin: Playing for an audience is an interactive and very intuitive form of communication for me. It’s kinda like sex: The more all people involved let loose and get rid of their inhibitions, the better it gets.

RoD: Still, about the live shows - you usually chat and joke around with your fans during the concerts - do you feel the stage is your natural habitat? Do you ever experience stage fright at this point?
Nikolas: Every time, but over the years it has become less. I remember the first show we played in 2017 where I needed to take a walk around the block 2 times because I was too nervous. But as soon as we start the show, I’m normally so much in the moment that everything else fades away. I don’t know what it is, but something pulls me onto stage every time again, so I guess you could say that it’s something like a natural habitat.
Konstantin: I used to before the first couple of shows we played but I don’t really experience stage fright anymore. Quite the opposite, I get more and more impatient to finally play the closer stage time comes. Nothing beats being on stage for me!

RoD: How did your journey with music start? Do you both come from similar musical backgrounds?
Nikolas: Before WISBORG I mostly played bass guitar in different bands in a wide variety of metal. Playing guitar and piano/synthesizers on stage only started with WISBORG. I’d say we share many bands that both influenced us independently, but regarding e.g., on songwriting it had a different impact individually.
Konstantin: We share many musical influences that serve as a basis for our sound, but there are also major differences in terms of bands that shaped us. In addition, we approach songwriting very differently and set different impulses for each other to work with.

RoD: Your recent release, ‘Into the Void’, is the most excellent combination of rock metal and electronic. The power of bass and vocal - you seem to complement each other sonically in a perfect way. How do you feel about the album? What is the story behind it? What were your major inspirations while working on it?
: To be honest my main inspiration when it comes to writing songs has always been Konstantin. He has a huge output of ideas which I can work with, or he adds things to stuff I wrote, which pushes me in another direction of thinking about a potential track. The main difference in comparison to ‘The Tragedy Of Seconds Gone’ or ‘From The Cradle To The Coffin’ is that we worked a lot remotely. We lived at different places and started working more independently. In addition, we had the experience of two finished albums to draw from, which made us more aware of what works and what doesn’t - without losing the playfulness to experiment and try out new things of course. For me it’s the perfect addition after the first two albums.
Konstantin: As already said, songwriting for WISBORG is a collective effort that profits from our very different approaches to making music - on ‘Into The Void’ more than ever. Nikolas inspires me just as much as the other way round and the longer we’re creating music together, the more intuitive and easier it gets. The results keep getting better as well in my opinion.

wisborg2022 promo02 byJuliKraehe

RoD: Your music is a crossover of the most hard-hitting, energetic, subtle, romantic, and gentle - a true rollercoaster. For example, e.g., the change of tone between ‘Fall from Grace’ and ‘Perfume & Cigarettes’ is impressive. What is the effect you want to achieve with your music?
: Writing songs for me is somewhat like creative writing; you start with a blank paper and fill it with things that comes to mind right at this moment. So, there’s nothing particular I want to achieve, it’s often a result of an unconscious process that led to a song.
Konstantin: I want to capture and share emotions. Sometimes when I listen to older WISBORG tracks I recall how I felt when we wrote them, and to know that other people connect their own individual experiences and emotions to those songs is just wonderful!

RoD: What is the creative process like in your case? Is it the melody or the lyrics that come first? Do you recollect any particular image, person or situation that would inspire a specific song that is the most outstanding, and personal for you?
: I can’t really say what leads me to a specific approach for a song; sometimes it’s a guitar riff, sometimes the result of experimenting with sounds. The link to a particular person or situation mostly emerges after the song is done, because of the personal circumstances.
Konstantin: I keep a collection of loose words, ideas and phrases to draw from for lyric writing, but I never write a complete song text before the music is roughly finished. I think words should accompany the sound, not the other way round - at least for WISBORG.

RoD: In 2018 you released ‘The Tragedy of Seconds Gone’, then in 2019 ‘From the Cradle to Coffin’ and then, as we already discussed, ‘Into the Void’ in 2021. How would you say these albums differ? How do you, as artists, progress with every new release? Are you tempted to experiment with the sounds or general approach to your music on your new albums?
: In hindsight, the first album has a rather rough character for me, since we were still experimenting and finding our sound in a way. ‘From The Cradle To The Coffin’ feels like our darkest album to me, maybe also because we wrote it during a rather dark time in my life. The progress of every new release is a natural thing, like it’s natural to grow older. You experience new things, circumstances change, you develop new perspectives, listen to new music; all of this flows into the creation of a new album. I guess and hope that we’ll always stay experimental. Repetition is a slow death when it comes to passion in my opinion, and you need passion to write good music.

RoD: Konstantin, your vocal is one of the most impressive within the scene. Could you tell me a bit more about how you achieve that fantastic effect that hypnotizes your audience - also on stage? Did you have any classic training when it comes to voice emission?
Konstantin: Thank you! I’m not classically trained; I just have a lot of experience because I’ve always been singing my entire life. What you hear today roots in over two decades of learning by doing and exploring what I can and can’t do with my voice.

RoD: I saw the video to ‘Fall From Grace’ - it’s both very sensual and powerful. Could you tell me more about the concept and the making of it? Are you planning any new videos to go with the album?
: The concept for ‘Fall From Grace’ was to contrast the closeness of the intimate performance scenes with the wideness of the snowy landscape. We just released a lyric video for ‘Perfume & Cigarettes’, now the promotion cycle for ‘Into The Void’ is done. Our next videos are gonna be for future releases.

RoD: I’m wondering what we can expect from you in the upcoming months. New music, new concerts?
Konstantin: We are working on a new album. In the meantime, there will be a special release in early 2023 which will be announced soonish - follow us on social media, we’ll keep you up to date!

RoD: Thank you very much for your time guys!

Pictures by Juli Krähe

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