FM: Please tell me about your new album,’Funkenfeuer’…I enjoyed the variety of sounds and emotions that it related…
Thomas: ‘Funkenfeuer’ is an album which is full of different aspects of music. It’s a very personal album for us, so some people will probably have difficulties to get into it. Due to the fact that the songs were written over a long period of time, we handled many different experiences and feelings in them. We really want give people the advice not only to take one or two listens to it. Try it and I’m sure you won’t regret!
FM: Is all the material brand new, written just before the album came out?
T: Yes, every single song was especially written for this album. The oldest song on ‘Funkenfeuer’ is ‘Der letzte Winter’. It was immediately written after the release of ‘Nebelheim’. This song is like a bridge between ‘Funkenfeuer’ and ‘Nebelheim’ and that’s why it’s the first real song on ‘Funkenfeuer’
FM: Tell me what the title track means…’Funkenfeuer’…your words are better than my online translator…
T: A ‘Funkenfeuer’ is a big bonfire with a witch of straw on the top. In early times, those fires where inflamed to cast out the winter. The rite was celebrated by our heathen ancestors in honor of the sun-god Balder and the earth-goddess Holle. It survived until today and it’s celebrated in Southern Germany and Switzerland in spring every year.
FM: Would you say this album is departure from your previous releases or a continuation of similar themes/sounds? I have only heard a few of your previous songs…
T: Both are right. We definitely dissociate ourselves from standard-pagan-themes that are played by many bands all night long. But when you hear our previous songs you will recognize that ‘Funkenfeuer’ is a more modern sound without forgetting the roots of our music.
T: That’s right, since Slartibartfass exists for about 5 years now, there were few changes in line-up yet. We had a change at the drums after our first release, and our former singer Daniel left due to musical differences after the debut ‘Nebelheim’. But we found out that our guitarist Philipp is able to take the vocals too, so it wasn’t necessary to integrate a new singer. Also our bagpipe player Jessica joined the band not until ‘Nebelheim’. The thing that keeps Slartibartfass strong is the fact that we had known each other for a long time before forming Slartibartfass, so it’s not only business but also a long friendship.
FM: Was the intention for the album ‘Funkenfeuer’ to break any stereotypes about your genre…? Do you feel you fit into a genre or classification? I was impressed to hear the sequencer sounds in the titled track…
T: As I mentioned before, we see our music as a way of personal development, and on this way there are no more borders to keep in mind. The fact that goes hand-in-hand with this personal way is to get more and more separated from a very specific genre. One of the messages we want to give with ‘Funkenfeuer’ is, that we can play every sound we like. We don’t care about what people think of us.
FM: How long was the recording process? Do you have any special insight about the recording that you want to share? How was the experience?
T: The recording process was very hard; since it took us more than half a year after all music was written. There were a lot of unforeseen problems, but also ideas that came out while we were in studio. On the other hand, this was the only way for us to meet our own requirements, and in the end we’re very happy with the sound and the compositions. It’s by far the best stuff we’ve released.
FM: What is the best part, for you, about doing Slartibartfass? Writing? Recording? Live Shows?
T: It is all together. The spirit of Slartibartfass has become a part of our lives, whose absence we could not imagine today. It’s more than music to us.
FM: Speaking of Live Shows, you have some festivals this month, yes? Tell about your summer concerts!
T: Yes, it was a lot of fun to perform some small festivals in the last few months and we are really looking forward to perform on Ragnarok Festival in Germany at the end of April. For the summer period there are not so many concerts planned yet, which will give us time to start working on the next album. In autumn we’ll play again some festival shows in Germany.
FM: Why was Slartibartfass formed? Did you have a specific goal in mind?
T: To be honest, it was a very spontaneous idea that took Philipp and me to form Slartibartfass. At this moment we had no goal, we just wanted to play the music we liked. We didn’t plan to play live or even to record a CD.
FM: The first two tracks on ‘Funkenfeuer’ are instrumental; there are a lot of different sounds, different song styles, and different emotions…what is the one common thread? I was confused at first but I can now see the big picture. What is the big picture to you with ‘Funkenfeuer’?
T: The first track of the album was the original intro, we wanted to have on ‘Funkenfeuer’ before we entered studio. The second instrumental track was born in studio, connecting all musical themes from the other songs on ‘Funkenfeuer’. If you ask me for the big picture of ‘Funkenfeuer’, I have to tell you that I will not answer this question. But you already mentioned that you can see a big picture. And if you can identify yourself with your picture, you should keep it. That’s the reason why art exists, isn’t it?
FM: What bands or artists influenced you then compared to now?
T: The list of influences would be to long to be listed here. In the early days we were influenced by the common pagan metal bands. By the years, our music taste changed and today we listen to very different styles of music. From underground black metal, over sixties music to electronic stuff.
FM: Deutschland has long had a reputation for releasing great metal music and having the best fans…is it easier for you to get your music heard in such a metal oriented area or more difficult?
T: In fact, we perform a very cultural bordered message with our music, I think it will be more easy to people who have their roots here to identify with it. But I think foreign people will still see emotions printed in notes, as I do with other great foreign music, without the need to understand the lyrics word by word. Music is still one of the best options to tell emotions.
FM: What is next for Slartibartfass? What does the rest of 2010 hold for you? 2011?
T: We have some concerts planned for autumn, and of course there will be a new album that has to be worked on and to be finally recorded. I don’t think we will run out of work.
FM: What did I forget? Your last words?