Judging from their strong music and entertaining presence, it is very easy to see why FEUERSCHWANZ have become one of the hottest bands in folk rock. They are due to release Das elfte Gebot (The Eleventh Commandment) this Friday that takes a heavier approach than their previous material. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham speaks to Hauptmann Feuerschwanz about this new album, how he is coping with lockdown and who he would have join him on a quest.
Hello, Hauptmann thanks for for joining me today. You will be releasing Das Elfte Gebot very soon. First thing, I noticed with this album is that it’s heavier than your previous material. Would you agree with that?
Yes. We decided before releasing Methämmer that we would go a heavier direction with a harder sound. We have much more experience with the sound, voice, guitars and the songwriting. Our sound has developed a lot since Methämmer.
I noticed that the sound was tighter this time round too in terms of production and the album artwork is stronger.
For the artwork, we say the dragon is an adult now and our band is fifteen years old. Now the dragon is grown up and needs more than milk, it needs a heavy sound [laughs].
You announced a release party for your new album, can you tell us more about that?
After the Corona shutdown, most concerts got cancelled so we decided to put on our own concert with a camera. We decided to have it in an open-air space because we are missing that open air feeling. We know that fans miss it too. It is a little more dangerous to make it open air without a tent. We set up a crowdfunding project for it.
This open space, is that the same place you film your music videos?
We filmed the videos in other places, there is a LARP village in Germany. We filmed the Ding video there.
You will be releasing a bonus disk with covers of songs with the album. What made you to decide the songs you picked to cover?
We have different tastes in music. It was very interesting to come to a solution. We have to try new ways so there is a mix. So Ding is a reggae style song so there is a mixture of medieval reggae and hard rock with some growling from Melissa Bonny. It’s very interesting. We were very proud to have her as part of the song and I think she will have a great future.
When it came to making these covers, how did you and Hode [Prinz R. Hodenherz III] decide which parts you were singing in the songs?
We often decide together what ideas we are going to put together. The way we approach the songs is democratic and a bit weird [laughs]. Hode is a power metal fan, he wants to include power metal screams and powerful singing, so it was important to have a Powerwolf and Sabaton cover. I am a Rammstein fan so it came together step by step. Some ideas were not on the CD, there were some very bad ideas that have gone away [laughs].
Funny you mention Power Metal and Sabaton since the song Malleus Maleficarum reminded me of the Sabaton song Attero Dominatus.
The roots of that song are Power Metal and the roots for the idea come from a Power Metal theme. It’s a new style and mixture for Feuerschwanz that we are very happy with. We are very happy with Power Metal.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
To sing, for me personally, the hardest challenge for me was Das Elfte Gebot. It’s a powerful song with a deep message, it’s that moment before die where you think about if you have lived a good life. We want to say to people to live your life because death is coming and you don’t need so many unnecessary things. For us, it’s a very deep thing. We’ve grown over the past fifteen years and we are now adults, we’re now more aware of death. We want to share this message with our fans, it’s a deep song to sing.
A very cool song for me to sing is Im Bauch des Wals. In English it means ‘in the stomach of a whale’. It comes from a little bit of the bible, it’s the story of Jonah And The Whale. The impact of this song comes from destroying nature and it’s a deep song. We made a video for that song on a damaged ship on the coast of Cornwall. We will be releasing this video after the album is released. We are happy it’s coming soon.
I would love to see that, Cornwall is one of my favourite places. So, we’re currently in lockdown. How is lockdown in Germany?
I live in a small village with a university. The people have a good discipline, we’re very calm and cool with it but for us musicians it’s a disaster. So, we hope that our January concerts can go ahead.
Once we get out of lockdown, which countries and venues are you looking forward to playing when you can tour again?
With this album, it’s our first chance to explore more of Europe and it’s very exciting what feedback we have been getting. It could be a plan for the future to play in different countries. For us, Germany is our main focus as thousands of people come to our concerts and this is very important. It is also important to have an international fan base too.
How have you been personally coping with lockdown?
First we have a lot of Skype calls within the band, we decide to make more videos and the release concert. We have made music, we hoped that our concert will take place but it was very hard to organise.
This crisis has had an effect on people’s mental health so is there any advice you can give to those who aren’t dealing with lockdown?
It’s very good to have a social community during this time. The band are like a family so it was important to us to have the social contact. This is my message: keep in contact to other people during this time.
For my day job, I am a psychologist. The thing is Corona creates a trauma in the nervous system, it’s very hard to deal with it when you are depressed and it’s hard to live with it. So my message comes from a psychologist’s point of view and I say: keep in social contact with your friends and family.
To round things up, which five people would you take on a quest with you?
OK, I would go with Johanna Von Orlean [Joan Of Arc] and Salvador Dali. For the next person, I need some muscle power so Till Lindemann from Rammstein and then I need a good singer so Ronnie James Dio. Now I need a Russian guy so Ivan The Terrible.
Thank you very much for speaking to us at Rock Out Stand today and best of luck with the album.