Interview with Jonas & Benjamin, Hokum (March 29th, 2006)

Peter: - Hi, first off all I just want to congratulate you with “No Escape”.
Jonas: Thanks a lot! We want to thank for the great review and the possibility to give this interview!  

Peter: - Your first output was “First Blood” (2005). Are you satisfied with “No Escape”?
Benjamin: Compared to the first CD, YES! To us, it’s impossible to listen to “First Blood”; we were just horrible on that record! “No Escape” turned out to be a really listenable album, even for us!

(Both laugh)

Peter: - Hokum is a very special name… how did you get that name?
Jonas: I came up with the name; I read it in a book about helicopters. Really, we did NOT name the band after the helicopter, it just sounded cool, and at first I thought “Hokum” means werewolf, no idea why. But then we found out the real meaning of the word, which we think fits even better.

Peter: - In what words would you describe the music and moods of Hokum for someone that has not heard you yet?
Jonas: Hokum is like a giant creature to me. It tramples down everything in its way, not caring about trends or fucking mainstream. We don’t have a special “dark” or something mood, we’re neither Satanists nor war enthusiastic; we’re just musicians trying to go our way the best we can.

Benjamin: For me it’s just ass-kicking metal with balls and cool solos.

(Both laugh) 

Peter: - You triumphed over mainstream oriented bands at the Kulturalarm Band Contest 2005 in Freising…
Tell us a little more about that, please?

Jonas: We participated at that contest without really thinking that it’s possible to win at such a usually mainstream influenced event. But it turned out that we were evidently the best band on that evening. Surely the fastest and noisiest we were, though.


Benjamin: The Kulturalarm Contest is a stage for young musicians in the area of Freising, the opportunity to play in front of a bigger audience than the usual concerts.

Peter: - “No Escape” was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Yogi Lang, right?
Jonas: Yes, and we think he did a really great job! He is a really experienced, talented and patient producer, who brings up a lot of good ideas. It was a hard time recording this EP, but now it’s even better to listen to the result, knowing how much heart blood and sweat it contains.

Peter: - How is the writing process in the band?
Benjamin: The main song writing work is done by Michael Vogl, our lead guitarist. He just comes up with all these riffs tabbed out and passes them on to us, then we modify it when it’s necessary and after a long, long time rehearsing it without lyrics, I write the fitting words. Most of the time I finish the lyrics the night or even just a few hours before we perform it live for the first time.

Peter: - “No Escape” is both “catchy” and aggressive. What, in your opinion, separates a good Thrash or Death Metal band from a bad one?
Benjamin: Self irony. Maybe combined with the ability to play instruments. It’s all about having fun in a weird, aggressive way.

Jonas: I have to agree, a band that just makes music “to get famous” will always fail. Music has to come from the heart. Then it’s good music. Something very important is also a wide musical horizon. A healthy interest in “foreign” styles can positively change your perspective on the music you’re making. 

Peter: - Do you feel that your sound will evolve in some different direction, in the future, or you will still follow the same path?
Jonas: Our sound always varies. Every song has a different soul and vibe, and this will hopefully always be this way. Of course, we always will have that heavy foundation in our music: Metal!

Peter: - The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?
Jonas: We’re all born in the mid 80s; we can only judge it retrospectively. But there has indeed been a huge development in hard music during that time. Our first encounter with Heavy Metal was around the millennium, shortly after that we founded our band in 2000. In the beginning we covered a lot of Metallica, of course.

Peter: - Any plans to go on tour? If so, when and where?
Benjamin: Perhaps later this year, but there are no concrete plans yet. But would be great, though.

Peter: - Who designs your CD artwork and who has the final word on what actually goes on the album cover?
Jonas: I did the artwork, but the whole band decided whether it was ready and suitable or whether it had to be improved.

Peter: - Let's speculate - you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice - who would be your ideal touring partners?
Benjamin: Sadly Pantera doesn’t exist anymore.

Jonas: Due to the different musical interests and influences within the band, everybody would choose a different band, I think. Peter, our drummer, would probably favour Machine Head, our guitarist Voge would kill to tour with Dream Theater and I, personally, would love to support Atheist or Mastodon.

Benjamin: Give me Maiden.

Peter: - What are you doing besides Hokum, job wise as well as hobbies?
Benjamin: Jonas and I didn’t want to join the army, thus we’re currently doing our civilian service instead. Peter is a student and Voge is currently playing guitar all the time.

Jonas: During our free time we do the same shit everybody at our age does: partying, drinking, having fun etc. You know it.

Peter: - What albums or bands do you believe have had the greatest impact on the history of metal?
Benjamin: Metallica - "…and Justice for all", and Slayer – "Reign in Blood".

Jonas: I think it all started with Black Sabbath. They’re the masters. The following bands added speed and brutality, there are really too many bands that influenced the way of metal to name them. “Metal” is a too general sentence to be able to root it to a few bands. 

Peter: - Thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you…
Jonas: Again, we want to thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts. Thanks to the fans and supporters of metal. You know who you are. You rock! Metalheads, unite!

Benjamin: If we ever have a video shoot, I want the guy who plays Harald in “In China they eat Dogs” to appear in it. Danish movies in general kick ass!

Hokum - No Escape

Check out their self-produced album here: