Imagine…a cocktail of “Pantera, Lamb of God and a dash of Amon Amarth mixed with a voice like Lee Aaron or Leather Leone” having music that is “brutal and unrelenting but with the fine edge of big melodies and hooklines”. It might sound too good to be true and yet it’s quite an accurate framing of Souldrinker’s music. I was intrigued enough to want to know more about this German combo. So I e-mailed Souldrinker a set of questions and after a while the band came back with this...
Could you introduce the band members to readers who are just discovering Souldrinker?
Souldrinker was actually “born” when the “Watch Me Bleed” members: Markus Pohl (git. Mystic Prophecy), Steffen Theurer (ex Symphorce), Chris Rodens and Alex Gindu decided to add melodic metal vocals to their sound and found Iris Boanta (voc. The Mystery) who definitely fit the profile.
How has the first year together been?
We’ll be able to tell when it's done J. We're still surviving the very first Souldrinker year for the time being but when we realize what happened in that short time, it seems like we’ve been together for at least one year. We had a tour, got an EP and we are right now in the next level of writing songs. To be honest, that proves how much we care about our baby and how hard we work to push it constantly. And still, these first months of Souldrinker are not only full of creativity but of course also crazy moments and lots of fun and excitement.
I’m guessing ‘Semper Fidelis’ means ‘always loyal’…..how is this title related to the band and to the EP?
There is a big spirit in the band. In all these years before Chris, Steffen and Markus worked together, there were no gifts at all. Everything we've done is a result of our own hard work, as nobody reached us any helping hand. It was now recently Georg [Neuhauser], the Serenity singer, who gave us the chance to play a tour and that’s for sure something we’ll never forget! We know that this band is definitely loyal to itself, no rip off between the members, a band of good friends and their music.
Souldrinker has almost the same line-up as Watch Me Bleed. So what spurred the Watch Me Bleed band members to form Souldrinker?
There were all these discussions and jokes in the band about adding melodic vocals to their sound. They never did and there was no singer to fit the profile. Until they met Iris Boanta (The Mystery) and her raw but melodic voice. The crazy idea came up to form a new band...a new singer, but the music taken from Watch Me Bleeds album 'Kingdom'.
Is Watch Me Bleed still active?
Yes it is, although for the time being, all the work for Souldrinker’s debut album is dominating.
How did Iris Boanta become part of Souldrinker? What bands did she grow up listening to and how did her involvement as a singer first come about?
Iris knew already our drummer Steffen since few years as they rocked together in a cover band, that’s why the first contact to Souldrinker came up through him. Before she joined The Mystery, she was the front lady of an all-female AC/DC tribute band, but she grew up with a lot of influences covering lots of styles from rock to power metal.
Is Iris still involved with The Mystery?
Yes, she is.
Chris Rodens switched to bass guitar when Souldrinker was formed by the members of Watch Me Bleed. Do you think he had any difficulty in getting to grips with the instrument?
Bass is an instrument and of course you've got to learn how to play it, but Chris already played bass and guitar since years so it was not a big deal. The first thing we thought was: a new bass player means the chance to realize some musical changes. Now we can say, we did everything right.
I concentrated on working with Chris on new bass lines. More open, with more room and tons of power. I don't need “two million notes in a row bass”. I need a drum'n'bass fundament which kicks ass big time. Chris totally agreed and was able to fulfil everything we required.
It was already at our first rehearsal when we realized that we sound different. Guess we were never that good before. Steffen and Chris deliver an awesome groove and flow.
I don't know if he's got some problems playing or learning our songs. I just can see the result which rules as hell.
There’s quite a difference, musically speaking, from Watch Me Bleed to Souldrinker. So why was the band named after Watch Me Bleed’s first album?
I've got this idea right after we have chosen the name of the WMB album. I told the guys if we ever do another band we call it Souldrinker. And this is how it happened.
In your opinion, how essential are the Death Metal grunts to the music of Souldrinker?
Grunts are not essential to our music. There are parts where they fit quite well, otherwise we have also songs without any grunts at all which doesn’t make these ones sound less heavy... Grunts are just sometimes used to spice up little parts.
Are you writing songs for Souldrinker’s debut full-length? (If yes…..) How would you describe the new songs?
Even if we are not forced to record a complete album we're working on new songs and ideas. Nobody knows what will happen the next time, everything is so new and runs fantastic. But this means that we have to keep working and developing our music.
The Souldrinker sound will remain as it is, we won’t shift to other styles but will always be loyal to ourselves. However, we think that we learn more and more how to use all the assets of our members, which means, we’ll stick to our heavy, groovy, powerful and raw but melodic style.
The new songs will be addressed to all those who listen to modern power metal with progressive influences but still always keeping to melodies that stay in your mind. I’m not quite sure if there is another metal band out there that sounds like we do...
“Semper Fidelis” was self-released. Are you prepared to go the same way with Souldrinker’s debut full-length?
It’s definitely not yet sure, we are checking several options for the time being. If we'll have a chance to find a partner we're open to release an album with him together. Partner means someone who is not interested in his own salary by ripping off the bands. We're looking for somebody who helps band and musicians to create a good high value product for the fans.
Nowadays there are millions of possibilities. All the information is spread over the internet. Why should a band not use all this. We can do our own distribution, our own promotion. Even if we'd like to book some commercials in a magazine we can do it on our own...depending on the price and the necessity.
In my opinion, the lyrics of The Mystery focus on the conflict between good and evil, Mystic Prophecy’s songs tended to be about anger, introspection and darkness while the lyrics of Watch Me Bleed generally focused on individual persons lying within a wider conflict. How would you summarise the themes of Souldrinker’s songs?
Our lyrics are often born through the situations they are created. They can for example focus on what we get to see and read in the news or maybe on the situation a song is written J ...it might happen that our favourite whiskey Glenmorangie leads to a song like “16 men of Tain”...
Earlier this year, Souldrinker went on the road for the first time (with Serenity and Visions Of Atlantis). Can you share your experiences of that tour?
We were just blown away from everything that happened through and during the tour, incl. our work and now we started realizing which gift we got by having “Souldrinker”.
We've been on tour with two fantastic bands which play completely different styles. On this tour, Souldrinker could have been kind of “Exodus” supporting “Sonata Arctica” when you try to compare us with the tour headliners.
We were so positively surprised about fans all over Europe, they totally grew above our expectations. Although we were totally new and unknown, there were fans driving more than 200 km just to see us a second time... we still are deeply impressed and so thankful from the bottom of our hearts!
We can summarize all these great experiences by saying that: We went out on tour as a band - and we came back as a family!!!
I’ve heard the band is planning more live dates – can you give some more information on this?
Well, of course we are planning more shows and we’re planning to go on tour again... however, informations and details will be posted on our websites as soon as new dates are definitely confirmed – stay tuned and visit our pages from time to time, it’ll be worth it J .
What is the most important for Souldrinker: having good songs, great musicianship or giving flamboyant live shows?
The mixture between an overwhelming live show and great songs is the best you can create and reach. Musicianship is nice to have, but there are no “best-of-musicians”... some of them are technically playing perfect like hell, others can create a wall of sound and groove and so on ...It's always a matter of taste and personal preference.
For us, it is essential to always bring over our flame and the unity we feel in the band to the crowd and stay alive and kicking with them! Doing this and mixing our feeling with great songs and a show that kicks ass makes us being “Souldrinker”
What are your ambitions for Souldrinker in the short and long term?
In the short term: We want to go out and play many many shows, having a good time with the fans and create metal as it should be.
In the long term? We'd like to do exactly the same and never stop! We would love to see as many people as possible when we come around to rock and therefore please check our website and the other networks like facebook to follow us. Thanks so much for your support!!!
© 2013 (Chris Galea)