There are three things that can make me happy in the day-to -day life. One is having sex, two is crapping and the third, the excitement I feel when I discover a new band. My first contact with SNAKEBITE was through some great reviews I read on the net, then I downloaded their album, then I shat my pants while listening to it, then I ordered their album, then, when it arrived, I shat my pants one again and finally, I contacted them for an interview. On the other end was the bands drummer, Mr Julian Fischer, who was kind enough to answer my questions and shed some light on the bands past, present and future.
‘Princess Of Pain’ is an amazing heavy metal album. Don’t miss it for anything in the world.
The interview was taken sometime in late 2015 and since then the band has been into some line-up changes. Check out their web space for their newest info.
Interview by ~manoc~
Guys, my congrats on your debut, the damn thing is the first thing I listen to in the morning and the last thing in the evening.
Julian Fischer: Hey Manos, thank you very much! This means a lot to us. Feedback like yours encourages us to keep on going. It’s the first time we get some credits from your country by the way. Very cool!
So, what’s your story? How you all got together, previous bands etc?
Julian Fischer: Well, the three core members, Nikki, Alex and I, met at a party in 2012. At that time my progressive-deathmetal band Pictura began to break apart and I was looking for a brand new start, this time to pursue my other passion – kick-ass hardrock. They already had a band, which I joined briefly. But it soon became clear, the fourth member of the band was that kind of guy who didn’t walk it like he talked it, you know, so we decided to disband and founded Snakebite.
And we have become good friends. These guys really have it all – songwriting talents, a strong will and endurance and you can get along with them on tour, when you’re stuck in one car for hours, haha.
By the way… we just announced our new guitarist Chris “Funcock” Van Kough. This guy fits like a glove and I’m happy to have him on board.
Let’s talk about your sound. It’s obvious that you have been listening to a lot of hard rock and heavy metal stuff from the eighties. The good thing is that as much as I try I can’t bring a specific band that you remind me of. So, it would be unfair for you to just label you as a sleazy-hard rock act ‘cause obviously, you are more than that. What’s the deal?
Julian Fischer: That’s nice! We heard that before and it’s indeed what we wanted to achieve. As far as it comes to the production… we really tried to sound like we’d be time travelers from the 80’s. It’s like Desmond Child himself lent a hand. So yeah, we are big fans of the music from the 70’s and 80’s but not so much of the, let’s say, artificiality of the music industry of that time. I don’t need quick success, based on fickle teen-girls that actually don’t know what we’re really doing and forget you in a heartbeat. We stay true and aren’t afraid to walk the hard way. And we are not an 80’s tribute band that copies its heroes and lives in the past.
Why this kind of music? Why not something more modern? Was this the music you all grew up at home? Was this the music your folks used to hear?
Julian Fischer: Well, I got in touch with handmade music in general through my family, so they set the parameters for sure. To us this kind of music is timeless and not a relic from the past. I don’t like most modern productions with its plastic sound and quantization and I’m not affected by musical trends for sure, but I think the label “modern” itself is just a category nowadays. Just look around… todays musical landscape is so diversified. We got deathmetal, progrock, traditional 70’s rock… all that stuff at the same time. They all coexist. The internet makes it possible to check out everything and create your own musical profile. So the time when big trends have come and gone are over and true rock ‘n roll is relevant again.
How long did it take you to record ‘Princess of Pain’? Who does what in the band? What’s your process concerning song synthesis, lyrics and stuff like that?
Julian Fischer: I’m not sure how long it took… nothing special here. We recorded our parts separately in two studios, except for the choirs for sure. Tom Kornis of Klang-Etage-Studios recorded all vocals, guitars and bass and Dennis Koehne, who engineered albums for Sodom, Lacuna Coil and others, did an awesome job with the drumrecording, mix and mastering. We will definitely work with them again! The recording fell in a time where our bassist left and Alex switched from guitar to bass. The three of us wrote and recorded the whole record, except for the songs “Cry for Rock” and “We Rise”, for which our ex bassist has co-writing credits.
About the songwriting-process… usually Alex, Nikki and I come up with first ideas for a song, may it be a vocal-line, a guitar riff or something else. Then we work it out together and record a first demo in the rehearsal room to have a first listen. And then we go in detail and finish the song.
I read dozens of reviews about ‘Princess of Pain’ and every single one of them was ecstatic to say the least. How is that make you feel?
Julian Fischer: Well, almost every one, haha. The only bad review we got for “Princess” was indeed the first one. I don’t have a problem with well-grounded criticism, but this guy really had no clue. He described us as similar to Steel Panther and the current sleaze wave – come on, haha! But yeah, it’s really cool and it makes me happy. It seems like we managed to realize our vision. But it’s not only the reviews… it’s the feedback from our fans that encourages us to stay the course.
You posted on your facebook page that you started the songwriting for your second album. Already? Share some info about it with us. Sound wise, is it going to be similar to your debut?
Julian Fischer: Yes. This has different reasons. First, we are hungry as fuck. We imagined how it would be to make an album every year like in the good old days. It may be true that you don’t make much money from record sales nowadays, especially as a newcomer like us, but it’s doing well and we can afford it.
Then we have at least three songwriters in the band. Of course, it just gets quicker. And finally we want to show everyone what we are capable of. You know, the next step for us would be to get in touch with a strong partner to help us with everything. We already got some interesting perspectives and these depend on a new record.
Sound wise, from what I can say at the moment… there won’t be a massive departure from what we did on the debut. We keep the hooklines, the variety of the songs and stuff. But the material seems to be a little more detailed. There’s a little more musical decoration wrapped around the catchy hooks, you know. That’s all I can say at the moment. Man, I can’t wait to present it to you!
Maniac Attack Records mostly focuses on more punky stuff, how come they were interested in you? Is the second album going to be released through them also?
Julian Fischer: The Maniac guys are just friends of us who helped us with the fabrication, the online shop and stuff like that. In fact we didn’t sign any contracts. It had all the advantages of a small label deal, but without all the negative stuff we did not want to get in touch with at that point. But no, our next partner will be someone else with more possibilities and stuff. Let’s see, I’m really confident!
The album cover for ‘Princess of Pain’ is awfully beautiful. Captures that eighties era when bands didn’t afford to make a stunning album cover and ended up with something….. more, culty. Couldn’t help noticing the Greek mythology style Medusa on your cover. Is she your
‘Princess of Pain’? Is there a deadly lady, who broke somebody’s heart involved?
Julian Fischer: Haha, exactly. That was the plan – what you see is what you get. It was made by Oliver Eschrich, a friend of Nikki. Talented guy. I’m a fan of the Greek and Romanian mythology but also of german poetry like Wieland, Goethe and Schiller. As you may know, the literary classicism from the 18th and 19th century is heavily influenced by the ancient greek culture. Of course you’re right, it’s a modern a variation of it. It’s just not the whole body of the gazers of her face that turn to stone, it’s their hearts. She makes men incapable of love for the rest of their lives.
I read that you have a scheduled live show in Switzerland next year, supporting Air Raid. What’s next for SNAKEBITE concerning live shows? Are you approached to appear on any summer festival? Are you ready for an outside Germany tour if the opportunity appears? What would the ideal plan be?
Julian Fischer: Yeah, we are looking forward to that. At the moment we are booking a club tour through Germany and we sent our stuff to many festivals, but most of them will be here in Germany. But yeah, sure we’d like to tour outside of Germany! It would be the next step and I’d like to visit as many different countries as possible with the band. But I have the feeling that it all depends on the possibilities to partner with a booker and promotion agency and stuff. But yeah, making a new record and tour everywhere we can – that’s the plan and we are ready for that.
As a member of band and as an individual, what’s your opinion concerning the unfortunate events that occurred in the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris, costing the lives of many innocent people?
Julian Fischer: Let me say this first: We as a band agreed to never do any political statements. I believe that music and art in general has to end in itself. Sure, true hard rock music has to rebel against conformity, as an expression of freedom against any pressure from outside of yourself and that is a main theme in our lyrics. But music should be something were people of different opinions, cultures or whatever can lay aside their disagreements to taste the idea of complete freedom and solidarity, which in reality seems to be nothing more than a dream. And by the way: I don’t have any respect for bands that write songs based on the daily news to make money out of the pain of the victims and the grief of the bereaved.
But one thing is absolutely clear. The people who did this are nothing more than a bunch of faithless cowards and murderers with a distorted world view. They are against everything we stand for as a rock band and as human beings. And we will never give in to them for sure.
What’s your wish concerning SNAKEBITE? What would have been the greatest scenario for the band and what kind of sacrifices are you willing to make in order to succeed?
Julian Fischer: The main goal for Snakebite is to make a living out of it. We are completely working for free at the moment and have to do jobs to finance our music. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be a rockstar with millions of dollars. We don’t need much to survive. But in that case we could focus 100% on the music. When there would be nothing to keep us away from making music… that would be great. So we give everything we got for it and that’s all we can do. But one thing is clear: we would never sell our ideals and do anything that we don’t consider as true.
Closing, what albums are you currently listening to? Old and new?
Julian Fischer: I’m a complete freak… a day without at least two hours of my favorite music is a bad day. Dokken, Purple, Priest… at the moment I’m listening to a lot Enuff Z’nuff, one of my favorite bands. They suffered really bad from the wrong business partners in my opinion… that cheesy image, picking the wrong singles and stuff. But man, just have a listen to “Animals with Human Intelligence”, “Strength”, “Dissonance” or even to their more pop-orientated records. Pure gems!
I’m also listening to a german 80’s band called Roko which Alex introduced me to – not bad. And then there is still progmetal on my turntables. Leprous is a young and promising band of that genre. Very groove-orientated and they are getting more famous with every new record.
Guys, thank you very much for your time. Once again congrats on your debut album. Can’t wait for your second and wish I’ll catch you someday on the road.
Julian Fischer: Thank you very much, Manos! This interview was a lot of fun and it really makes me happy to get in touch with people who enjoy what we’re doing. It would be a pleasure to visit your country someday. Let’s keep in touch. Thank you!