Voices Of Destiny
guitarist and band leader Chris Gutjahr
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Tom Hack at Massacre Records for setting up this interview
Thanks to Massacre Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Here is a brand new interview with Chris Gutjahr the guitarist and band leader in the German act Voices Of Destiny. Their debut album FROM THE ASHES was recently released and is quite amazing. Gutjahr and I hooked up in order to talk about the band, their music and the future for Voices Of Destiny. This is a treat for all dark goth metal fans, read and enjoy.
Hi Chris, thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview with me and metal-rules.com.
No problem, I’m happy to do this!
I thought we could begin talking about you and the band Voices Of Destiny’s debut album FROM THE ASHES. How long did it take you to write and record the album?
That’s hard to say because there are some songs that we’ve played earlier so I can’t tell you something about the writing process. Anyway the actual recordings took place between august and November 2009.
Are all of the songs written only for this album or did you feature any older songs from your previous EP?
As I said before, there are some songs from our previous EP, so they weren’t written only for FROM THE ASHES.
Did you write many songs to the album and were there man songs that wasn’t featured on the final edition of the disc?
We just wrote the songs featured on the album. Of course we also have older songs but they weren’t written particularly for this album and we decided to not have them on the album.
Who writes music and lyrics in Voices Of Destiny?
It’s Lukas our keyboarder. He comes with the basic structure of the songs and then everybody figures the details for his instrument out and we discuss it while rehearsing.
Do you think that the bands music have developed musicwise through the years? If so in what way?
Definitely ! I think every band or musician develops through the years. I think our music has on the one hand become more complex but on the other hand more catchy, too. Everybody in the band has improved on his instrument.
Personally I think you sound a little like the Finish act Nightwish, what do you think?
Actually that’s a comparison I rather hate. Not because I don’t like Nightwish but because I think we are, like every band, individual! Of course it’s an honour to be compared with a band like Nightwish, in case of your abilities, because it shows you’ve reached some kind of level. But if someone just thinks we are like Nightwish because of our line-up or especially because we are female fronted that just sucks and isn’t right!
(I don’t mean you, by “someone”)
How would you like to describe what kind of music Voices Of Destiny plays?
That’s always quite hard to say. I think it’s a good mixture between heavy riffs, catchy melodies and symphonic elements!
What did the fans think of the songs “Return From The Ashes”, “Icecold” and “Not The One” that you put up on MySpace before the album was out?
We didn’t get that kind of feedback. But of course there were some comments that were really positive on Myspace. That’s something we really appreciate.
Does your studio blog that you have on MySpace got many readers?
Actually it was not on MySpace but an extra word-press blog. Due to the fact that we are a newcomer band there weren’t thousands of readers but I think and hope there were enough people who enjoyed reading it. We also did some video reports which can be watched on you tube!
What does the title FROM THE ASHES mean to the members in the band?
The title FROM THE ASHES and the complete album itself is a request and an encouragement to consider the results of past happenings and to start all over again. Additionally we just found it ironic to give our first album a title that sounds like a second chance or a rebirth although there was nothing before.
What do you think of the cover art-work made by the Swedish Mattias Norén?
We just love it! He’s such a great artist and a very nice guy. We all liked his artwork he did for bands such as Kamelot and so on! So he was our first choice for making the artwork and it was kind of a dream come true.
I know you threw a release party at Four Runners Club in Ludwigsburg to celebrate the album how was the party? Did you perform any of the new songs live?
The party was great! There were a lot of people, great fans, good friends and of course the guys from Massacre. We played the complete album live and it was great.
Have you read any reviews of FROM THE ASHES in the media yet? What does the critics think of it?
Of course we read some reviews. Some critics really like it, some think it’s ok and some of them just hate it and write very unprofessional without any constructive criticism. But I think that’s the way it is so we concentrate on the reviews with constructive criticism and of course on our feelings because we have to like what we do.
What does your fans think of the new album?
From what I heard they all really like it and that’s great to hear!
Your music have been described as a combination of epic metal, goth and classic metal with growls. Is that a fair description and a true description of your music do you think?
I think that’s a true description even if I think the description I made earlier this interview fits a little bit more.
Are there any plans to make a video to any of the songs at the moment?
We’d love to do a video but unfortunately there’s no budget for shooting a video. And just filming us in the rehearsal room wasn’t at issue at any time because that’s something we don’t like. If we make a video it has to be creative and at least a little bit professional.
Are you happy with the out come of the FROM THE ASHES now that the album is out in the open?
Definitely, yes! We all like the final result and are proud to have recorded such a debut album. Everything worked out very well. The cover is great, the sound is great, the promotional pictures taken by Alex Kuehr are great so we all have a damn good feeling.
Do you have any favourite tracks on the disc?
For me personally it’s very hard to say because everytime I listen to a song I think “that’s one of the best” but then the next track begins and I just think the same. So I can’t really say I have any favourite tracks.
Andy Horn was your choice of producer and he is not a new acquaintance to the band. Have you worked with him earlier?
No, we didn’t. He was suggested by Massacre Records but as we met him it was clear that we wanted to work with him!
How come you chose to work with Horn once again?
As I already said this was our first time working with Andy.
What do you think is Horn’s strongest feature as producer?
He is a cool guy who has great ideas. You don’t feel any pressure and it’s just a comfy atmosphere while working with him.
Where did you record the album?
All the instruments were recorded at our own home studio, the “Krabbesackduschder Studios”, except for the acoustic guitars.
The acoustic guitars and all the vocals were recorded at Andy’s “Red Room”.
Horn did also mix and master the disc but was any of the band members part of that process?
Andy made all the mixes but of course we as a band listened to it and had some change requests that Andy executed right away.
Do you think that you’re gonna work with Horn in the future again?
If it’s possible of course! He is our first choice!
How was it to work with Horn?
As I said he’s a really cool guy and the atmosphere during the recording process was great!
Were you without a record deal a long time before you signed on for Massacre Records?
We started in 2004 in a different line-up. Since then we were without a record deal.
Was M.R your first choice of label?
It was kind of a fluke that we got the deal with Massacre. But it’s a really great label especially for a young band like us. So I would say it was our first choice.
Are you happy with the work that M.R have put into the album and promotion of it so far?
Yeah, they really do a great job. We are very happy with their work.
For how many album have you signed on for?
That’s open until now.
Is FROM THE ASHES released world wide?
We have a world wide record deal and I think in most of the countries it will be released.
Do you have a distribution label that’s gonna release the album in Asia or in North America?
For Japan we have “bit organization”. For North America I unfortunately don’t know at the moment.
Are you gonna try to conquer the North American market soon?
Of course we gonna try an I hope it’s gonna work!
Who is the founder of the band and when was the band founded? Was it hard to find members to the band?
The band was founded by me and Jens. It wasn’t quite hard to find members. Erik joined quite quick and after a while Lukas completed the instrumental line-up.
How was the process when the search of members began? I mean did you host auditions or such?
Jens knew Erik and Lukas from school and I knew our former singer from school. So we didn’t need auditions!
Were any of the members friends to you?
Yes, they all were at least to Jens or to me and of course we all were big friends after a short time.
Was it given from the start what kind of music Voices Of Destiny should play?
Not really. At the beginning we were experimenting and to be honest not really good because we were quite young. But when Lukas and Riegraf joined it slowly began to develop in this direction.
Late during 2005 did your singer Riegraf leave the band. What happened?
We just had different claims so we decided it would be the best to separate.
Was it hard to replace her? Who came in to replace her?
Luckily it wasn’t hard. Our actual singer Maike saw us playing live and liked it. After that gig Riegraf left and Maike heard we were looking for a new singer. So she contacted us and joined a rehearsal. It just clicked and everything was great. Since then Maike is our singer.
What’s the main difference between the two singers do you think?
They have completely different voices and of course Maike had more the same ambitions like we guys had or have.
Are you still friends with the former singer Riegraf?
Yes we are. Especially I see her more often because we made Abitur together and have the same circle of friends.
Voices Of Destiny was formed 2004 but when did you do your first live gig?
I think it was in summer 2005. A really embarrassing gig at school.
How was it to play live back then?
We were quite insecure and shy so it wasn’t that good.
Have you toured world wide or mostly in Europe?
Unfortunately we didn’t tour yet. It hope we will find a good booking agency soon so that we can go on tour!
Does the members have any common musical idol or role model that you look up to in the band?
I think everybody has his own musician or band he or she likes and gets inspiration from but we don’t have any role models in particular.
Does the members still live in Ludwigsburg Germany?
At the moment I’m living in Karlsruhe because of my studies. But on weekends I’m mostly in Ludwigsburg. The others still live in Ludwigsburg.
I know that you entered the studio in 2007 to record a few demo songs what happened with them? Did you release a demo?
The plan was to send the demo to record labels but the guy from the studio was an a**…. (by the way it was NOT Andy ) so it took quite long to finish a few songs. And as the demo was finished we didn’t like the songs anymore neither the sound of the demo. We just developed too much and got much better. At least it was a good lesson for us.
Can you tell us a little bit about the EP the band recorded last year. Is it avaliable in stores?
On the “Dare to Reach” EP there are six tracks that are also featured on “From the Ashes”. The EP was also more conceived as a demo and something we can give our friends and fans. This EP and a live gig, where the Massacre guys saw us, brought us also the record deal. “Dare to Reach” was produced and recorded by ourselves at our “Krabbesackduschder Studios”. The mixing and mastering was done by Achim Koehler (Edguy, Sonic Syndicate, Amon Amarth) who is also a great guy to work with. “Dare to Reach” was also available on our homepage and will be perhaps in our new online store. But it’s not available in stores.
Where in the world does Voices Of Destiny have its biggest fanbase?
At the moment I think it is in Ludwigsburg and the region. But the great thing is we more and more get compliments and attention from South America, Europe and all over Germany. So I hope there will be much more people all around the world who like our music.
Your website haven’t been updated for a while how come?
At the moment everybody has to deal with his studies or with his work so there’s nothing new to tell. As I already said we haven’t got a booking agency at the moment so it’s hard to find live gigs. I hope we will find one soon. Then there will be more updates I promise .
The band is also active on Facebook and twitter as well as MySpace. Do you think it’s important to be avaliable online?
I think so. Everybody who reads, sees or hears something about a band wants to listen to their music and wants to know how they sound like, so do I. And the fastest way to do this, is to go to the band’s MySpace site and check out their songs. I personally also like to communicate with the bands or with the fans. And the best way to interact with people from all around the world is online.
Do you have any plans on heading out on a European tour this summer or in the near future?
Would be great but as I said we first need a booking agency to do a real tour.
Do you have any festival shows booked so far?
Again unfortunately not.
Is Voices Of Destiny big in Germany?
Due to the fact that we are a newcomer band we are rather unknown yet but we are pleased with what is going on so far. But I hope and think this will be different in the future.
When can we expect to find the next album with Voices Of Destiny out in stores?
Hard to say but if things work out we want them to I think spring 2011 is realistic. But we will see.
What do you and the band have planned for 2010?
We hope to do some live gigs and in summer we will head for the “Krabbesackduschder Studios” and do pre-production in the “Voices of Destiny summercamp” To be able to have our new album out like I said before.
Could you give the readers three reasons why the should buy the brilliant album FROM THE ASHES?
First of all thank you for the “brilliant”. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but we worked hard and with passion on our debut album “From the Ashes” and I think we did quite a good job.
The second reason is that the album isn’t just another goth metal CD but there are a lot of catchy lines, heavy riffs and nice and sometimes a little bit hidden details that make us stand out.
And last but not least we love to share our music with people all over the world. So get your copy, listen to it, enjoy and comment if you like!
Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with the readers and fans?
In the name of Voices of Destiny I’d like to thank all of you who supported us and we really hope to see you all live soon!
And don’t forget: Enjoy music, stay true to yourself and live every day like it was your last! Cheers!
Well, that was all for me. I wish you and the band all the best in the future and I hope to see you live on stage soon.
Thank you very much, it was a pleasure.
More info about the band
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