Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Masscare Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Promo pictures of the band taken by: Michael Colella at www.michaelcolella.de
When it was time to interview the German goth/metal act Voices Of Destiny, I turned to guitarist/bandleader Chris Gutjahr and the new singer Ada Flechtner to hear what they had to say about their latest album CRISIS CULT. The album is a theme album, so obviously we talked about the story behind the album and how it was for Ada to join the band. The band once again worked with German producer Andy Horn in his Redd Room Studio. So naturally I had to ask them about that co-operation. I also took the opportunity to ask Ada what’s it like to be the only female in the band as well as a bit about her past. If you want to read more about Voices Of Destiny, check out the metal-rules.com archives.
Hi Chris and Ada. It’s nice to talk to you guys today. Are you ready to kick off the interview?
Chris: Of course, let’s go!
Regarding the brand new album CRISIS CULT, how long did it take for you to write and record it?
Chris: That’s always hard to tell, since sometimes Lukas or I have an idea for a song, although we didn’t really start to think about a new album. But I would say most of the writing started in 2013. We also took a more “band approach” to writing this time. This means Lukas and I had the basic structures or sometimes more detailed ideas but we all sat down together and improved the songs or even wrote parts together. Pre-production took place in late summer 2013. The final recordings started in October 2013.
What has the band been up to in between the release of the previous album, from 2012 POWER DIVE, and CRISIS CULT?
Chris: We are all studying or working, so we aren’t able to have the band as a full time job. So we did that. But band-related, we were touring Europe together with Xandria and Epica in May 2012 and of course writing and pre-production + recordings for Crisis Cult.
CRISIS CULT is a conceptual album. Could you tell us the essence of the album?
Ada: Crisis Cult is about a group of people dealing with a crisis. It’s about how each individual is trying to deal with the fact, that something bad happened to one of them. And each song tells a story of how they react to it.
Voices of Destiny – Crisis Cult (OFFICIAL TRAILER)
Were there any songs that didn’t make it on to the final edition of the album?
Chris: No, since it’s a concept album we already knew how many songs we wanted and needed to tell the story.
Do you think that the band has gone through any musical development if you compare POWER DIVE and CRISIS CULT?
Chris: I think we got more experimental and concerning the sound even more mature.
Ada: Having me as a singer changed our sound, I think we came away a bit from classic gothic metal.
In December of 2013, the bands singer Maike Holzmann left the band. Was her departure expected or did it come as a shock for the rest of the band?
Chris: It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t a shock either. At some point we just realized that we guys had another approach to the band.
Why did she leave, and are you and Holzmann friends today?
Chris: As said before, we guys had another approach to the band and also another vision we had for the future of the band. That’s when we decided to part ways.
What did your fans think of the video-trailer you released on youtube and facebook?
Chris: As you can see on the comments and ratings on youtube and facebook we got a really positive feedback.
Where does the title CRISIS CULT come from? Who came up with the title?
Ada: Lukas came up with the title as he is the creator of the main subject the songs convey. And the Crisis Cult is the group of people undergoing a development throughout the story.
Are you happy with the cover artwork to the album made by Sua Balac?
Ada: We are more than happy with it! We all liked it at first sight.
The band used to work with photographer Alex Kuhr but the photos are now taken by Michael Colella. Why didn’t Kuhr shoot the band this time?
Chris: Every photographer has his own style and we wanted to have something different this time. Also, Michael is a very good friend of us who really supports us and as you can see is super talented.
The video to the song “Wolfpack” was released earlier, what can you tell us about the video and the song?
Chris: We wanted to share a nice video with our fans and thought it would be nice to shoot some studio footage to also capture the making of the album. For me, Wolfpack is a great opener with an awesome chorus.
Ada: Wolfpack is kicking off the story told throughout the album so it was an obvious choice for us.
VOICES OF DESTINY – Wolfpack Videoclip
Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs on the album?
Ada: There are plans but so far we have not been able to realize them. Wolfpack will for sure not be our last video.
On facebook, everyone in the band has made a comment on each song from CRISIS CULT. What response have you got from fans on that?
Ada: It fulfilled its purpose as it made our fans curious about the album. They finally wanted to hear what we were writing about.
Manuela Kraller made a guest appearance on the song “At the Edge” how did she end up singing on your album? Are you happy with her effort?
Ada: The guys met Manuela while touring and developed a friendship. So when we thought about a duet with another female metal singer, it was clear we’d chose no one but her. And yes, we are still super happy with her work!
How come you chose “At The Edge” to be a duet and how was it for you Ada to sing a duet?
Ada: At the edge is the song when our protagonist slides from the world of the living into the world of the dead. And we wanted to hear both sides: her, who is trying to stay alive and the dark side who finally wins the fight over live and death. It was not the first time for me, but it was a real honour to work with Manuela.
CRISIS CULT is a pretty long album and clocks in at about 50 minutes. Was it your intention to make a long album or did it just turn out that way?
Ada: It just turned out that way. We never write songs to reach a certain length on an album. Each song has the length it needs. But we’d never try to stretch for the sake of filling up the album.
The longest song on the disc is “The Great Hunt” which is almost 7.5 minutes. What is the song about?
Ada: The song is the outcome of the storyline when the group, that suffered from a loss, so to speak the hunted, become the hunters themselves. The song is about revenge and in the end we are faced with the question of how we would have reacted.
In my opinion, Voices Of Destiny plays dark symphonic metal, but how would you like to describe the kind of music you play?
Ada: I would like to not give it any label at all. Because there are so many facets in every kind of music that can’t be described by that.
Chris: Couldn’t agree more. I don’t get why everybody needs to label music. I really liked what Floor (Nightwish) said about all that labeling of bands.
It sounds like Lukas Palme, the other singer, is given more space to growl is that correct?
Ada: He actually gave some of the parts that were supposed to become is parts to me. I would say it is comparable to our previous albums.
I have only read positive reviews of the album, does the band care about what the critics have to say?
Ada: Yes, we do, but we gave up on being upset about bad reviews. Of course it always feels good to be rewarded for the hard work.
Chris: I have to admit that I just sometimes read them. Especially in the beginning, because I’m curious. But in the end a lot of reviews aren’t written properly. Of course there can be critics, but most of the time it’s only hating and bashing without a real will to tell what we could have done better. I don’t get upset about bad reviews anymore but I also don’t really read any reviews anymore. I’m more interested what the fans and people actually listening to the music, have to say.
The album is available as a CD-limited digipack which features one bonus track with “Your Creation”. What can you tell us about that song? Are there any more bonus things featured except from that song like more photos or so?
Ada: The song is the only bonus we have on the special edition. It’s the only song I have written for the album and it’s a ballad featuring only me and the piano.
Are there any plans on releasing the album on vinyl?
Ada: No, we do not know about releasing it on vinyl.
On your facebook you wrote a diary during the recordings. What reactions did you get from the diary? Were there many fans that followed the process?
Ada: There always are! I think it’s always a good thing to let out fans take part in the process of creating a new album. And it’s always exciting to trace back the way of production by looking at the diary again when the work is completed.
Do you think older hardcore fans are going to like CRISIS CULT?
Ada: I can only hope so. We have always been sticking to our roots, so I’m positive about that.
In the bio it can be read that the band, with CRISIS CULT, shows courage to experiment and reinvent yourself. What’s your comment on that?
Ada: I think we totally achieved that. Crisis Cult sounds like the best progression we could have made.
Did you throw a release party to celebrate the album? If so when and where was it held?
Ada: Unfortunately we were a little late in trying to book a club for the release party. In fact we caught up on it first in the beginning of April.
Chris: This time it was especially hard to plan upfront, since the release date was move 2 times. But to do a release party you have to plan far ahead and it actually should take place around the release. So unfortunately it wasn’t possible.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album?
Ada: Absolutely! And every time I listen to it a little more proud to be a part of it.
Chris: Hell yeah! I love it and still like to listen to it.
Studio and production
You once again worked with producer Andy Horn in his studio Red Room. What makes Horn so special as producer? What’s his strongest feature?
Chris: We got introduced to him by our label for our first album. He was really helpful, funny and supportive. The good teamwork continued with Power Dive so he was our obviouse choice also for Crisis Cult. He gives us a lot of freedom during the process but also give great support and input. Also I really like that he does a lot of other music like pop, country etc. I think that give more variety to his input.
Ada: We worked so well together that no one could replace him for us. He’s been doing a great job on from the very beginning and his strongest feature is, that he knows exactly what he want. Above that it is always a lot of fun working with him, he is cool and relaxed.
Do you think that the band is going to continue working with Horn in the future?
Ada: I hope we will. If he’s up to we, so are we!
Is it correct that the band entered the studio back in 2013?
Ada: For Crisis Cult we entered studio with Andy in January 2014 to start with the vocal recordings. But the instruments were recorded already back in 2013.
Chris: Yeah, we always like to take our time in the studio. We like it relaxed and also it’s not our main job, so we have to fit the studio time into our normal day-to-day calendar.
Was everything recorded in Red Room or did you use any other studio too?
Ada: We use to record most of the instruments in our own studio, we call it the „Krabbesackduschder Studio“. It’s next to the room where we rehearse and gives us a lot more flexibility in recording.
Chris: It’s great to have your own studio. Since we started out I was really interested in all that stuff. We can record there with a perfect result. That’s also the great thing about Andy, that I mentioned before. He gives us the freedom to do so and supports us, where needed. So Vocals and Drums were recorded at the Red Room, everything else at our studio.
Has Horn mixed and mastered the album?
Ada: Yes, he did. And he did a great job!
How does it work when you record in the studio; is the entire band gathered and records everything together or do you come in one by one and record each separate piece?
Ada: That depends on what is recorded. As far as I know bass and guitar have been recorded by Chris and Jens only by themselves. But when drums, part of the keys and vocals were recorded the whole band used to be around.
Chris: Yeah usually for Drums as the first step and basis for everybody else, the whole band is present. For Jens and I recorded most of the parts alone, since it also gives us a more flexible time management. Of course we check the final recordings of the instruments together. For the arrangements it’s mostly Lukas and me sitting together, but on Crisis Cult the others were there more often as well.
Label and management
The band is signed to label Massacre Records. Are you happy with the work the label has put into the band and albums so far?
Ada: Let’s put it like this: there is always more that could be done as promoting, and looking out for concerts, and tours, is a never ending story.
Did you feel any pressure from the label to create something extra ordinary when you began to work on CRISIS CULT?
Ada: No, that was rather a pressure be put ourselves under. We always try to develop.
What did the label think of the change of singer?
Ada: I think they were fine with it. At least we didn’t hear anything to the contrary.
Have you any idea on how many copies your debut album FROM THE ASHES and the follow up POWER DIVE have sold in?
Ada: Yes, we have. But we do not want to bore you with mere numbers 😉
Is it possible to purchase your old albums today and it is possible to download the albums legally anywhere?
Ada: all our albums are available via online stores and can be downloaded legally (at cost of course), for example on amazon, iTunes, the download store of Massacre Records (for a great value) or you can check us out on Spotify.
How have the North American and Asian markets responded to FROM THE ASHES and POWER DIVE?
Ada: We have no numbers on that unfortunately.
Is CRISIS CULT released world wide?
Ada: It is not world wide but has been released among wide parts of Europe, Asia and North America so far.
According to your facebook site the launch of the album was postponed one week, why?
Ada: Yes, it had to be postponed. That was due to problems in the final CD production at the factory.
Is the band currently working with any booking agency?
Ada: No, so far we are our own booking agency.
Chris: It’s really hard to find one these days. Especially if you’re not available all the time and you’re not selling 100,000’s of copies.
Personal with Ada Flechtner
How did you come to join forces with Voices Of Destiny? Did you know any of the other band members before you joined?
Ada: I’ve been friends to the band for years so I hoped they would ask me, when I heard that they were looking for a new singer. And I was happy when they finally did.
Besides Coronatus, have you been a part of other bands or projects before you joined Voices Of Destiny?
Ada: Yes, I have been working on projects like „Deus Ex Vagina“ and singing in the choir of „Voices of Destiny“ and „We Are Legend“. Apart from that I’m a singer in a cover band.
Ada: No, I have left the band shortly after I joined Voices Of Destiny.
How long have you been singing for, and who inspired you to sing in the first place?
Ada: I’ve been singing since I can remember, but started it seriously when I was 14. I was inspired by many singers but I think for the biggest part it was Amy Lee who did.
Can you also play any instruments?
Ada: Yes, I’m playing piano.
Are you involved in writing the lyrics in the band?
Ada: So far I have only been involved in writing the lyrics for the bonus track „Your Creation“. The rest has been up to Lukas.
What’s it like to be a woman in an all-male band? Do you feel the guys treat you different because you’re a woman?
Ada: I really have to say it’s the most normal thing I’ve ever done. They never treated me any different and always made me feel comfortable.
What’s it like to share lead vocals with keyboardplayer Lukas Palme?
Ada: Awesome! And I still wish I could shout the way he does 🙂
Are you also from Ludwigsburg as the rest of the band?
Ada: Orgininally, yes. Meanwhile I live a couple of kilometers away from them.
How did the bands’ fans treat you when you joined? Were they nice to you?
Ada: Yes, they always were! Of course some of them missed Maike, but they never made me feel sorry for my decision to join.
What do you think of singing the bands’ older songs that Maike Holzmann originally sang?
Ada: It is a challenge for me. As I sing different in technique I have to find my way through it but so far it worked out for all the songs.
Is it a lot of work to be fronting Voices Of Destiny?
Ada: On stage? Yes, but it always is. And I love doing it.
Past present and future
After the release of POWER DIVE did the band tour a lot?
Chris: Unfortunately not. It’s allways a time problem and also a problem to find gigs.
The band supported Epica during their eastern European tour back in 2012 how was that?
Chris: It was simply amazing, a dream come true! One of the best experiences in my life. The whole touring party was great, helpful and nice. Also it was great to meet the fans from other countries, meet new people and also make new friends and fans.
Chris: Yes, they did. It was a really nice response =)
Right before you were headed out on the Epica tour, your drummer Eric Seitz left. Did his departure come as a surprise for the band?
Chris: When Erik left we didn’t have the tour planned. It was no surprise, since we decided to part ways, since his focus and intrests were more in the technical area, like mixing bands instead of playing himself. But it was not a bad split, we all thought it was best.
How did you solve the problem of replacing him just before a tour?
Chris: Jan, who we invited for a tryout, joined us and helped us out on the drums.
Is the members friends with Seitz today?
Have you been out on other tours besides the one with Epica?
Chris: Unfortunately not. I hope we can add one for Crisis Cult and our new Line-Up as well. Would be great
Would you have liked to play more live than you did until today?
Chris: Definitely. It’s just so hard to book gigs these days and I also have to admit that I/we are lacking experience in how to book gigs the best way.
Did the band do any live performances last year?
Ada: No, we concentrated on recording our album.
The bands website isn’t all that informative, why? Isn’t it important to have a website or you rely on connecting with fans on other ways on the internet?
Chris: That is true. But a lot of fans like facebook, which is also easy for us to manage.
The band is active on Facebook but who manage your facebook site?
Chris: It’s mostly me and Jens who are updating our facebook.
Are you as active on Instagram and Twitter as you are on Facebook?
Chris: On twitter a little bit. But we don’t have an instagram account.
What’s the most common question the band gets from fans?
Chris: No common question comes to my mind right now.
Has CRISIS CULT raised interest for the band in the American and the Asian market?
Chris: The release was just in the end of January, so I don’t know. But I hope so.
Which is the main priority for the band with CRISIS CULT, the German/European market or the rest of the world?
Chris: Actually we don’t have any preferences or special focus.
Has the bands popularity increased with the release of CRISIS CULT?
Chris: I have to admit again…I don’t know, but I hope so.
Where in the world does the band has its biggest fanbase?
Chris: I think it is South America, followed by Germany.
CRISIS CULT was released at the end of the last year, are you eager to hit the roads and meet the fans now?
Chris: Oh yeah! I really hope we will be able to do so!
Do you have any festival shows booked for the summer?
Chris: Unfortunately not.
Are you happy with what Voices Of Destiny have come so far?
Chris: All in all yes =) Of course it allways can be better, but I think we’ve come a long way. I experienced a lot of great things because of the band and it’s fun. That’s the most important part for me.
When can we expect to find the next Voices Of Destiny album out in stores?
Chris: We’ll see 😉
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard and discovered the music of Voice of Destiny yet?
Chris: We put a lot of work, fun and creativity in our songs. We love what we’re doing and you definitely have to check us out! You won’t regret it. Cheers!
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy CRISIS CULT?
1) It’s varied
2) Has great melodies, riffs and a killer sound
3) Ada rocks
Well, that was all I had for this time. Thanks a lot for taking the time for this interview. I wish you and the band all the best in the future. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with readers and fans?
Chris: Thank you! Always be open for something new, treat people with respect and enjoy every second!
Hope to see you on the road! Cheers!!!