ORDEN OGAN have taken on many personas and this time they are space warriors for their upcoming album Final Days. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham spoke to band’s vocalist Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann about Final Days, their creative process and what universe from across their albums he would like to live/visit. Here’s what happened.
Hello Seeb, thanks for joining us today. Across your albums you have been many different characters. you’ve been cowboys, monks, post apocalyptic warriors and now space warriors. How do you decide on album themes?
When we did the Gunman record in 2017, we were writing the first songs and we realised they had these western sounding harmonies and melodies in them. So I guessed this was going to be our dark wild west album. We’re a band that’s close to our audiences. After our shows we like to go to the merch booth to sign autographs, take photos and talk to our fans. We love this as these are people who love our music, why shouldn’t we talk to them? This is really rewarding, you get to hear amazing stories.
We have gotten the same question as yours a lot of times asking what’s coming next. They have asked if we’re going to space. When you get asked this time and time again, it’s like a self fulfilling prophecy to do a space record.
It’s no secret that 2020 is a year we would like to forget, given COVID-19. The release date for Final Days was postponed to this year from last year.
That wasn’t COVID related in our case. I don’t believe in these sorts of things but you could come to the conclusion that evil forces were at play or there was somebody who didn’t want us to get our record finished. COVID-19 was the cherry on top. When we started working on this record, everything that could have gone wrong did. I mean literally everything went wrong. So it was really crazy, by the time COVID hit we were already laughing at it.
It started with the drum recordings. Normally, everything goes smoothly; Dirk [Meyer-Berhorn] is a phenomenal drummer, normally this takes two or three days as we are heavily focused on every little detail. This time round, I visited the music store every day for the first five days as everything broke. A lot of other things went wrong, we started recording guitars but there was a humming noise because there was something wrong with the power grid. So I had to go into a different studio to record the guitars and I could only record in there at night as it was booked during the day. I finished the guitar recordings at my home studio where the power grid was fine.
When COVID 19 hit, it was the cherry on top. Everything went down the drain, we had to change locations and couldn’t get the actress we wanted for our music videos. We didn’t get permissions, places were shut down. I am so glad this record is done now, despite all this stuff going on I think it’s a great record.
Across your albums you have had guest musicians, how do you go about choosing who you’re going to have on your record? On this one, you had Gus G and Ylva Eriksson.
In the case with Orden Ogan, it was never about name dropping. Orden Ogan runs well, I make my living from it but I do it because I love it and when I make this kind of music, I do it for myself. I don’t get pushed by anyone, the record label are very understanding. I consider it a piece of art and it’s important to me that everything fits well.
So when we wrote Alone In The Dark, it was clear to me that there it needed a female voice and there were a lot of names thrown around. When AFM Records suggested Ylva, I listened to some Brothers Of Metal and I thought she has a beautiful voice. I was picturing in my head how it would sound if she did that more fragile and melancholic technique. She did that and she nailed it.
With Gus, our guitar player Nils [Löffler] has known him for quite a while and he suggested we ask him. From the idea to finished solo, it took three days. We love Gus’ guitar playing and he’s a great guy, it’s also a great honour to have the former Ozzy Osbourne guitar player on our record. I knew what to expect from him, I almost laughed when I heard the solo as it was exactly how I imagined it.
Did you manage to get everything recorded before places shut down for lockdown?
Like I said, the biggest problems we had were with the video shoots because we couldn’t go to certain locations and couldn’t get the crews together. It was not such a big deal with the recording because we had the choirs and drums done very early on. Since I am the main song writer and I am recording guitars in my studio anyway, those were done as well. I also recorded all the vocals in my home studio too.
Which songs from Final Days are you looking forward to playing live once bands can tour again?
The songs we have put out as singles so In The Dawn Of The AI, Heart Of The Android and Inferno. There will be another single coming up called Let The Fire Rain which is basically my favourite track. I am sure these will make it into our live set.
This record will be great in helping feel empowered and better, especially during these times when mental health is low.
This is why we made the video for Inferno a little bit funnier than we usually do. There’s actually a serious topic in the song because I have the impression that not just in Germany but in a lot of countries, people are getting more radical and choosing sides. Some don’t know how to talk to each other any more and discuss things. As soon as someone has a different opinion, you will be labelled as an idiot or you are shut down. I find this really concerning.
I had the idea to write about this and that’s what Inferno is about. It talks about a group of people become more radical and not accepting other people’s opinions. So the solution in the song is ‘we got to burn it down’ which is the funny thing in itself because if you were to react like that, you would do the same thing from the other side. We were thinking about how to do the video and we thought if the hook line is ‘we gotta burn it down’, it would be funny to see a UFO hovering over the earth.
Do you think social media and the internet amplifies this divide?
Yes totally. I have given up discussing with people on Facebook. If you have someone who has a different opinion and you can have conversation with them then that’s great. You also find when you have these discussions, you come across people who don’t accept different opinions and it’s not worth your energy.
I think the important thing these days is to see or to get to the conclusion that you can’t have an opinion on everything. You can barely know all the facts. Take something like 9/11 for example, there are people who say it was a terrorist attack and there are others who say it was a controlled detonation. How would you have an opinion on that? Are you an expert on controlled denotations with access to all the materials? No you don’t so the intelligent thing to say is ‘I don’t know’.
I also think people have opinions on things way too fast and once they that opinion, they will keep that opinion. That’s a big problem. I consider myself not to have too many opinions on things if that makes any sense.
You have albums from different universes, which one would you live in or visit and why?
Final Days for sure. I have always been a big tech fan, everything that was more high tech than anything that was there before. I am really looking forward to what the future will bring because I think it sucks that I am already pretty old, if I was younger I would experience more of the things that are coming. Who knows? Maybe I will make it onto one of Elon’s ships to Mars, I would love to do that but I think that’s still a few years away.
Do you have a message for your fans?
First and foremost, stay healthy guys. This is the most important thing right now, it might not be the most deadly virus on earth but it’s still serious so please don’t get sick.
One other thing is, the situation may suck right now but it’s not the end of the world. It will all get better again.
For those people who listen to Orden Ogan on Spotify, buy our boxsets, vinyls and CDs, thank you so much. Thank you so much for all your support, you keep metal alive.
Thank you so much Seeb for talking with Rock Out Stand Out and best of luck with album release.