In-person interview with Sebastian Hintz of Suidakra
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
March 19th 2010, Ultra Violet Social Club, Los Angeles CA
Andrew: What's the reasoning behind this short US tour?
Sebastian: The main difference from last year is that it was not a headlining tour. We were supporting Tyr and Alestorm, touring around for one month. This year we just selected some shows to just come over again to the Canada and the US, because last year was so awesome that we expected quite the same this year and even more. That's exactly what happened. So we are very happy to play some shows. Its only two weeks and we want to play more, but that's the outcome, you know. This is how the schedule has worked out. But we're very glad to be here, specially back again in Los Angeles! We had a blast last year and we are really looking forward to this concert tonight.
Andrew: The latest album 'Crogacht' has a greater Celtic sound to it than ever before. What are your thoughts on that?
Sebastian: Every album we've made has Celtic influence but this time we decided to make a concept album. We asked our designer for the artwork Kris Verwimp to write the lyrics. So he came with the lyrics and a great concept for the story behind the first song to the last song. So that's what we decided to write songs on. It was a totally new concept for us, we tried it out and that's where the Celtic influence come from, from the text that Kris wrote and from our musical ability to play Celtic metal.
Andrew: You incorporate different kinds of instruments like banjo, bagpipe, tin whistle and the likes. How do people react to it when they hear that in a metal band?
Sebastian: Pretty good, actually! For the first album we only recorded guitars and may be a little bit of keyboards behind it but later on we tried out a lot of different instruments, like the ones you said. We asked the Berlin orchestra to sing some lyrics on the latest album and everything we heard about it was positive. So we might try out even more on the next album! In live shows, most of the time unfortunately we have to use those sounds for those instruments from the computer. But sometimes we do have Axel Romer with us who plays bagpipes.
Andrew: The band has had quite a few line-up changes over the years. Do you think its finally stable and everybody is happy together?
Sebastian: Yeah! I think you asked the right person because I'm the new guy. There were a lot of line-up changes and I saw that over the years, as I was a fan of the band for many years. So I'm glad to be in the band. The current constellation is working out pretty good. I'm doing great and it's a lot of fun. So I hope and think that this line-up will be the same for the next many years.
Andrew: You played a couple of shows before this one with the band Orphaned Land from Israel. What did you think of them?
Sebastian: To be honest, I had never heard of them before. I was listening to some songs just one of two days before we went on tour. It actually sounded very strange but also very interesting to me. It was new and I had never heard something like that before, metal with Oriental influences. The whole potential came out playing live gigs. It was a lot of fun touring with them and I got a chance to see the guys play on stage. They were doing a great job and they have some great songs. It was a pleasure being with them on tour. I hope we can do this again soon!
Andrew: Your music is strongly based on the lyrics. Do you think it's the most important aspect?
Sebastian: Many parts make a song work out good, but this time we tried out making music from lyrics. It came from Kris and the lyrics he brought up. He gave us a story and we had to write songs on that. It was the first time we actually wrote songs based on lyrics and I think it worked out pretty good. So yeah, the lyrics make a very important part of Suidakra's sound.
Andrew: As you said, you called in a 16-member Berlin choir for the new album. So you guys like to experiment a lot, isn't it?
Sebastian: That's true! As you said, we use banjo and orchestra. And now Arkadius [guitar, vocals] actually bought himself some kind of equipment for his recording at home with orchestra stuff. He's currently experimenting with lot of orchestra at home, doing it on the keyboards! It sounds amazing. So he's trying out something new and I try to play different instruments and we'll see if we can get even more new ideas for the next album. So I guess we do experiment, and it's a lot of fun!
Andrew: What do you have coming up after this short tour?
Photo credit: Jaime Meza
Sebastian: We decided this year that we're not playing as many shows as last year because we are currently writing for the new album. We're done with two songs already and we want to continue when we go back to Germany. Besides that we are playing in France, and Switzerland with Orphaned Land. When we come back in April or May, we have one show in Dusseldorf. So not as many shows and we want to concentrate on the new album which is going to be hopefully recorded by the end of this year.
Check out the band's official website.