Freddy- lead singer and guitarist of Necronomicon
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Tom Hack at Massacre Records for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Massacre Records for providing promotional pictures of the band.
Freddy is the only remaining original member in the German thrash metal act Necronomicon who released their debut album back in 1985. Freddy and I talked about the bands seventh album that came out at the beginning of the year called INVICTUS. Besides the new album we also talked about guest appearances on the new album and about the bands past, present, and future. Be sure to check out Necronomicon if you’re into thrash metal the slightest.
Let’s talk about the current album with Necronomicon called INVICTUS that came at the beginning of the year. How long took it to get the album ready?
Well first of all thanks for your interest in NECRONOMICON. It’s an honour for me to answer your questions.
I wrote the songs in spring of this year. After a very successful year across Europe I finally found the time to write it and produce it simultaneously. That was a new experience for us because we didn’t got the time to practice each song for a long time. I have decided purely on instinct how to realize each song. This was really cool so I could create a very authentic atmospere.It sounds simple round together and coherent without losing their thrash roots. In addition to the outstanding work by soundmaster Achim Köhler the album is kicking ass.
What have you been up to since the release of your previous album REVENGE OF THE BEAST from 2008?
After publication of the CONSTRUCTION OF EVIL we played three small tours throughout Europe and Eastern Europe. Unfortunately it all went down to the album REVENGE OF THE BEAST because we were once again struggling with personal issues … and again it was the bass player. Somehow it’s like a curse. I hope that has now finally come to an end.
Who writes the material and what are the lyrics about?
I do it all. I am referring to the current time events personal fates or political events. But I like to give it back sometimes in fantasy images. I got my inspiration in movie sounds. Sounds strange but it’s true. I’m trying NECRONOMICON remain faithful to it’s own style.
Do you think that the band have developed music-wise? If so in what way?
Yes absolutely but I think the difference from the past albums is predominantly in the “natural maturation process” of a band. What’s not to say that it has now become commercially or soft. No, I believe everyone of us has made â€‹â€‹a development which must be regarded positively.
You put out a song teaser of one song on your Myspace site, what song was it and what did the fans think of it?
It’s a mix of all the songs who are the album REVENGE OF THE BEST so everyone could make a quick overview of the entire songs. That was really cool.
Why did you name the album INVICTUS? Does the title have any special meaning to you and the rest of the band?
Oh guys we got so many setbacks and got up again and again. For me it’s the perfect album title. This is a recurring theme throughout the album, Unconquered, unbeatable and never give up…..before the curtain falls!
Who has done the cover art-work? Are you happy with it?
Jan Yrlund designed the art-work. He is working for Massacre Records and it was a decision of Massacre Records too to take this for the new album. Well I did not get involved because you lose the objectivity very quickly. I’m happy yes.
Did you experience any pressure to deliver anything out of the extraordinary from label or management when it came to record this album?
No I did not have any pressure. I’m lucky to be working for the possibility of complete independence.
Did you throw any release party for the album when it was done? If so when and where and did you perform live?
We have operated for the last two albums a huge effort after that I was tired to do it again. In russia we played five release shows that was all.
I know that you have featured some guest appearances on INVICTUS who are the guests?
Randy Black from Primal Fear (EX- Annihilator) and Ben Krahl ( Final Kings). Great guys. It has made a lot of fun to work with these men. Very pleasant and very professional. Randy has set purely down in 4 days.
A great guy and one of the best drummer in the world. I’m proud of it to got an opportunity to work with him.
Besides a “normal” version of the album is it also available in a digipack version that includes 4 bonus tracks, what can you tell us about those songs?
We recorded this songs in Russia. Well we got an amazing fan base there and so we decided to make the live recordings in Moscow and some other big cities. So we would just like to say “Thank you” to all our fans around the world
You featured an unplugged version of your song “Possessed Again” how come you wanted to do that song again?
We got this idea during our tour through Russia. During an autograph session we decided to play some songs in acoustic. That was awesome. We were totally blown away by the response. So we recorded 6 tracks on a acoustic version and decided for “Possessed again” on the new album “Invictus”.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Necronomicon plays?
I started making music if I was 12years old. But I only learned things by my teacher I don’t interested in. So I got an second hand guitar and learned to play rock ‘n’ roll by myself with all limited in the beginning to 3 or 4 chords. Two years later Axel, Lala and me formed the Hardcore Punkband “Total Rejection”. The first gig ever we got in a small music club full of alternative students which were not very amused about the things we played. Hardcore and absolutely fucking load. Within 10 minutes the room was empty so we realised, we did rock and roll.
Let me describe it that way: I’m a great fan of KISS and Motörhead and before I even made â€‹â€‹music I never missed an opportunity to go to every metal concert. So we got our roots in Metal and Punk music especially me. Bands like Exploited, GBH or Discharge influenced me as much. So always two hearts beating in my chest and then the band has created as NECRONOMICON. This may sound a little confusing, but it’s true. Therefore we are certainly difficult to compare with other bands
The album is really long with its 70 minutes of music, was it intended to do such a long album?
I want to give the fans something just for her money. This is the respect of fans. I think it’s just fair, and a Thank You for the years of support
Have you read any reviews of the album and do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
We got amazing reviews. Throughout nearly a perfect score. Fantastic!!!
I’ve been expected consistently positive responses, but that causes of response… wow, it’s amazing. I’m really happy about it. It goes down like oil and is the best confirmation of my work that I can get at all. Many thanks to all!
Many artists thinks that their latest album is their best one so far is that the case with you and INVICTUS?
I’m proud of it yes but whether to judge it is the best album of NECRONOMICON this need to asses by the fans and the press.
Where was the album recorded and how has produced it?
In Berlin and Breisach (Freiburg).
The production was made by Timo Weis/Arsen Music and the mix and mastering was made by Achim Köhler.
Was any of the band members part of that process?
I was in production with it. Achim has made â€‹â€‹the mix alone.
How was it to work with Kohler?
Achim is a very good friend of mine. I’ve known him for over 15 years. For me one of the best in Germany. A great guy, absolutely.
Do you think that you’re going to work with Kohler in the future?
For me there is no alternative. Yes definitely.
The band have been signed to a lot of labels and the previous album was released by Xtreem Music, why did you leave them?
We benefited by the collaboration with X-treem especially in the SouthEuropean region. Dave got a lot of connection and and we got a cool time with him but it was agreed that we only work for 1 year. That means the rights go back again to us and we are free. Really fair and for us a big advantage because we have benefited very much about the financial situation.
Were you without a record deal for a long time and how come you chose to ink a deal with Massacre Records?
Well at first it was so important for me to go back to a German label. So I’ll send a promo cd to Massacre Rec. The rest was a formality and all happened very quickly. Massacre was also on my favourite list and so I’m really happy that the deal worked out.
Are you happy with the work the label have put into INVICTUS and the band so far?
It is too early to say more accurate but so far I am impressed by the label.
Are you currently working with any management or booking agency?
Yes, we got an management (Artistevolution) and 3 booking agencies in Germany-Europe and Russia. You can find it on our website (www.necronomicon.eu)
Is it possible to legally download your older albums?
I can not tell you and i don’t know it. I’ll just check all sales by a lawyer as there are still some illegal sell of our first 3 albums. It’s so tedious and time-consuming and cost you so many nerves ´cause the past is catching up to us again and again
Are there any plans on re-releasing any of your older albums?
Maybe but right now I’m currently fully occupied with INVICTUS. It is possible that Massacre Records got interest in. We’ll see.
When and where was and by who was the band founded?
Well, NECRONOMICON in the 80’s consisted of the founding members Jogi, Axel, Lala and me. We hung out together every day all made in common…..We were one. It means all our experience we made together. The good things and the bad things. We create our own style what concerns the music in Thrash metal and we were all just together in private
Where does the band name come from?
We wanted a name with a background. A name that tells his own story. At that time there was no bands with this name. We never thought that it would be gonna so popular for other bands. I am not happy about it. Unfortunately I cannot protect the name. The name is Axel brought into play.
What did the media and fans think of the debut album NECRONOMICON that came 1985?
The first album hit like a bomb only then we realized that we have arrived in the music scene. We got a lot of fans in all over the world in the shortest time. That was absolutely amazing and a sensational feeling.
Was it given from the start that you was going to play thrash metal?
As I told you Hardcore Punk and Thrash Metal, yes.
By the time of your third release I know that you experienced problems with your label GAMA Records what was the problem?
GAMA REC. was the most horrible could happen to us. This label ripped off all the bands who signed there. We never got our money and lost our song-& name-rights for over 15 years. Only with a lot of money and legal fees I was able to got the rights back.
We had should wait for an other offer surely but afterwards you are always smarter. But we were young naive and believed the people of this fucking label. We only wanted one thing: making music. Only fucking Thrash Metal music.
Did you ever think of putting the band to rest during that time that the band also lost all its members?
No, never give up. That’s the reason while I called it INVICTUS. So I’ve handled my past.
What do the old members to say about you carrying on with the band?
They will be a part of NECRONOMICON ever. We stay in regular contact and the guys are proud of all what happened. Especially the current success.
Was it easy to find a new line-up?
Oh my god, no!!! The human must fit particularly well. This is the biggest problem. I’m so happy with this line-up, now. Great guys.
Have the new members been in any other bands before they joined Necronomicon?
Not in prestigious bands. That’s a huge challenge for the guys.
I know that more shit happened to the band in 1994 what was that?
That was a terrible time. Yes sometimes we were about to give up. But we did not want to be beaten so easily. So we made the Lucky Strike demo and got an new contract. But that was born under an unlucky star. The producer disappeared again and we got no money too. Then our rehearsal room burned down and destroyed everything. This is like a hammer in your face. The SCREAM album is not getting anymore.
And then we have to keep it slow because we had no choice We never had a reunion. As I told you we got a lot of set backs in this era. And then we got the personal problems. Jogi got tinnitus Mac earned health problems too etc……so I formed the band new. Nowadays I got fantastic guys who help me to bring NECRONOMICON to where it belongs.
Have the band done a lot of touring throughout the years and where in the world do you have your strongest fanbase?
We toured a lot. What should we make another if you lose your rights to the name.
Today Necronomicon has got a legendary/cult status within the extreme metal community how does that feel?
As a confirmation of good work and much gratitude.
Do you think it’s important to stay active on internet and the various social forums that’s available today? Why are your website so poorly updated? Like members bio,live shows etc.
I do not like cluttered homepages. You should know the most important news we otherwise communicate through facebook or myspace.
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question they ask you?
Oh yes a lot. This is one of them if you stand in public. And for that I take whatever time you must bear the responsibility.
Are there any plans on heading out on a European tour now that the album is out?
We ware gonna to promote the album worldwide. We are currently planning a tour in South America and South Africa and some big festivals in Europe.
Do you have any festival shows booked for the summer so far?
Unfortunately, the publication of INVICTUS was inFebruary, so we are very late this year for the billing of the big festivals. But I hope we are still below where one or other major festival. For next year it looks all right.
It’s said on your website that guitarist Andi Gern has left the band, could you comment that?
Our expectations diverged widely. I live for the music and the band and invest all my time in our success. I also expect from the other guys. I wish him all the best.
Who’s replacing him?
It is Andre “Bones“ from Montreal Canada.
Do you see any problems in the fact that he lives in Canada and the rest of the band in Germany?
Andre is living in Germany not far away from my hometown. So it’s gonna be easy.
In what way do you think that the music industry have changed during the years you have been involved in it? Is it for the greater or for the worse?
Well the Internet has already had an enormous influence. In the positive and negative.
I do not even know that has changed or developed a lot in the Thrash Metal scene. You can’t even re-invent the wheel. What has changed, of course, is the more modern sound. But Thrash Metal is a kind of what you’re standing for. As in everything everything is repeating every couple of years back. It’s the same in music.
Are you happy with what Necronomicon have achieved so far?
Absolutely yes, even though I’m curious as to what might have been if we had not had the problems and misfortunes in the past.
What have you got to say to the unlucky ones who haven’t discovered Necronomicon yet?
This is not always so easy. I’m trying, NECRONOMICON remain faithful to it’s own style. I do not want to give current trends. Otherwise there is some risk to drift there. For me "the old school style" is still the measure of all things. I don’t try to let myself be inspired by other bands. Although you can not completely avoid I know but I got my inspiration of movie sounds. Sounds strange but its true. Like everything in life it’s all a matter of taste. And no one should argue about it.
Could you give them three great reasons why they should buy INVICTUS?
I do not want to give praise or praise yourself. Just read our reviews from all over the world. Here you got an example of one of the most important metal magazines:
„I am just getting destroyed by all these killer releases and here is another I am going to add to the list. I have a few of this band âÂ€s releases and this one does noÂ€t disappoint. Just balls to the wall godly thrash metal with riffs that had me ready to destroy my house. God my neck is getting quite the workout with all these killer releases that is for sure. Oh man as tune after tune played I was just thrashing in my chair and head banging to the music. Singer has a great thrash metal voice and he fits the music perfectly. Another unholy slab of pure thrash metal done the right way by these guys. WOW.“
Well, that was all I had for now. Thanks a lot for taking the time to make this interview possible. I wish you and the band all the best in the future. Do you have any words of wisdom to the fans and readers?
Thrash Metal is my personal way of life. I can’t suggest to make any other kind of music style. Metal especially Thrash Metal is what we are standing for. We got more than 25 years dedicate thru this kind of music we got heaven and we got hell in this area believe me, but only this fucking noise of this music let us be alive. Perhaps not for the next comming 30 years live on stage (grins)…..but still for a long long time.
Thanxx a lot for this questions.
With Thrashy Greets.
More info about the band