Interview by Pete Mutant
Martin Hofbauer – Guitars
You’re a recent band and only began early last year. How did your recent lineup all meet?
Martin: The formation of the band was more or less a natural process as at first, it was just me wanting to record my ideas I had collected and written over the years that did not fit into my other bands. Our vocalist and bassist Sebastian helped me out in his studio and when it came to the point who should do the drumming he suggested Julian (Osterried), which already had done a lot of recording sessions at Sebastian’s studio. He instantly agreed as he really liked the material. This was around the end of 2018, beginning of 2019.
Sebastian: Yes, natural is the right term, I think. Because every member has a more or less long connection to one of the others. And as we met for the first time all together, it was as if a bunch of longtime friends was meeting. I would say, that the most important part with this band is that we don’t have any stress or egoism problem – we do what everyone is comfortable with and this leads to a very easygoing time and feeling within the band.
Is there a story as to how the band’s name came about? Have you been in bands previously?
Martin: The name has a strong meaning to me personally. Most people believe in love as the strongest emotion and bond between one another. But I think that sorrow and pain unites us even more and can push you to grow beyond your own limits. I believe in this out of own personal experiences. Sorrow is more honest than treacherous love, stronger than fragile valor and more divine than hypocritical forgiveness. But with the acceptance of pain as one of the most important parts of life, you can really reflect on your own self and see through other people’s actions. Sorrow is our leader through life and our band is deeply inspired by this emotion. Concerning my previous experiences in bands – I was the longtime guitar player in a Bavarian Death Metal band called Dead Alone with which I released a handful of albums and did a lot of concerts as well. Our drummer Julian is also playing for a band called Meister Ehder and for the Post Black Metal project V/Haze Miasma. And he also played together with our second guitar player Markus in a band called Trepidation (also Death Metal).
Sebastian: I began my career as a musician at the age of 16 with the bass guitar and since then was in a certain amount of different bands. Be it Stoner Rock, Thrash Metal, Heavy Rock or Death Metal. For around seven years I was playing with the Heavy Rockers from Gloomball, signed to German label SPV and had a bunch of tours with bands like Motorjesus or Hämatom. With one of my bands, called Arsirius, I also had the chance to play at the Summer Breeze Open Air in front of over a thousand Metal freaks.
When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to join a band?
Martin: As a Metal fan you always feel the energy and power coming from this music and many times it drives people to also wanting to make music. That’s the way it was with every one of us in the band. We felt the inspiration coming from the music we were listening to and quite naturally tried to do something artistic as well.
Sebastian: That’s right, so you try to achieve something similar to the bands you admire at first and as you grow as an artist you – hopefully – develop your own style.
You’re about to release your debut release. What is the concept behind the album?
Martin: The concept behind the album is manifested in the album’s name PRÆY; it is – like the cover artwork – a symbol for the black and white thinking of a lot of mankind. A symbol for the pain, fears, and division of humanity. The artwork of „PRÆY“ is also a perverted adaption of the Vitruvian Man drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci – the destruction of the ideal of the perfect human being. It is the logical visual interpretation of our lyrical topics on this record and of our view on today’s society acting like a human swarm, blindly following and consuming the feces of the overpresent (social) media.
Sebastian: That’s easy – it’s Melodic Death Metal with stirring groove, energetic riffing and catchy lyrics that instantly will make you bang your head. Bands from the Swedish Death Metal scene like At The Gates, In Flames or Dark Tranquillity are our main influences. Be it obvious or more subliminal. The main factor that these bands achieved is this great combination of aggression and melody. It’s always “songs” they have written. Songs that you can remember and relate to, with memorable lyrics and melody lines. That’s something we really look up to and try to achieve as well.
Who does your artwork? Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with, be it an artist/photographer or producer? Etc
Have you enjoyed the process of producing an album? Did you have a set way of doing things?
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Martin: They are all hits – just hits!
Sebastian: You get a good impression if you listen to our singles “Quiet Depression” and “Source Of (In)Humanity” at first – that’s the essence of EMPYREAL SORROW!
Has the craziness of this year provided you with a lot of inspiration?
Martin: The craziness of this world is a constant inspiration …
Sebastian: I agree – this planet and humankind is a constant mess. It does not even need a new virus to realize that.
Martin: We have a very vital scene especially the Metal scene. A lot of bands from different genres but mainly Death Metal is very strong here in the Bavarian region. Bands like HAILSTONE or PEQUOD are long-serving members of the Munich Metal scene.
You’ve mentioned before that you draw a lot of influence from the Swedish scene, are there any local bands that you have looked up to and admired?
Sebastian: The German metal scene is really fantastic, there are so many good and awesome bands throughout many genres. Take a listen to bands like BLACKEVIL (Blackened Thrash Metal), STILLERS TOD (Black Metal), EISENHAUER (Heavy Metal), WOLVES DEN (Black Metal), or V/HAZE MIASMA (Post Black Metal). All of those bands have something really unique and are creating music on a professional level even though you can still count them as Underground.
How have bands been surviving in your area since the start of the pandemic?
Sebastian: A lot of the local bands just really do nothing … There are some that adapted to the new reality and also tried experimenting with things like Livestreams or “From-Home-Concerts”. But most of them seem really dependent on the live situation and are not that much into the Online world. So you do not get to see that much from the local bands right now even on their Social Media channels.
Would local collaborations help the scene out and would you be willing participants?
Sebastian: I think that is a perfect approach. Right now we are stuck in a situation where no one knows when we will be back on a stage again. So you have to rethink your role as an entertainer – your fans want to be entertained, that’s our job, I think. So we have to look into new ways of creating content and also find new ways of challenging ourselves artistically throughout this whole situation. Collaborations with artists from every possible segment are good ways to do keep the excitement alive.
Martin: Right now we are already working on such collaborations, so stay tuned 😉
Do you think image is important when being in a band?
Martin: Simple answer – yes. But to the point where it feels natural. Putting on masks just because Slipknot are selling records this way is not an option. You have to find something that feels good for you as an artist. Then it will also feel and look natural and appealing to your audience.
Are you guys looking to tour next year and if so, what are you most looking forward to?
Have you been able to play together live since the inception of your band?
Any new bands that have caught your attention recently?
Sebastian: I am constantly flooding my ears with new stuff, I could list so many bands. But one that caught my attention enormously is KAUNIS KUOLEMATON from Finland. They are also playing Melodic Death Metal and their stuff is just majestic. And I also would like to recommend every one of the bands I mentioned above like V/HAZE MIASMA, BLACKEVIL or STILLERS TOD.
What do you like to do outside of music? Any hobbies?
What are your plans for next year?
Martin: We already have a massive stock of new material for the next album. So next year we will invest a lot of time in arranging and recording new songs. And we also have laid out plans for an EP that will be released in the first half of 2021.
Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Sebastian: Drink beer and turn up the volume! Enjoy life and stay healthy!