Within Silence: Guitarist and founder Richard Germanus
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Ulterium Records for setting up the interview and for the promo pictures of the band. Additional promotional photos taken by: YD Photography, Shorty Profo.sk, 3Media Prodction
Within Silence is a new power metal band from Slovakia led by guitarist and founder Richard Germanus. I had the pleasure to have a chat with Richard and I thought it was suitable to dig into the past of the band and also talk about their debut album GALLERY OF LIFE. That album was just released in Europe and the USA in May of this year. If you’re into bands like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarious, Hammerfall and Gamma Ray, then I’m pretty sure you’re going to like what you hear when you push play on GALLERY OF LIFE.
Hi Richard how are you today, are you ready to begin the interview?
Hi Anders. I’m fine and looking forward for this interview. I’ve just drank a small but strong coffee and we can start.
Lets begin with talk about your new album called GALLERY OF LIFE. When did you begin to work on material for the album?
Some songs were written from the very beginning of our band in 2009, like first versions of Judgment Day and Silent Desire for example. Others was written later when we reached a higher level of musicianship.
Are all of the songs newly written or have you re-used any older songs?
All songs are from “Rightdoor” era. We just changed our band name to Within Silence and announced it with Ulterium Records signing earlier this year. The songs have been in the making for some years now.
Who in the band writes the material?
Martin Klein is the main composer of music and lyrics but also I came with some nice themes and I also wrote the whole song Anger and Sorrow for example.
What are the lyrics about, and where do you find inspiration to write lyrics?
Regarding the lyrics the main influences is life, everything what we’ve experienced and what is around us, relationships, faith etc…
Gallery of Life [OFFICIAL ALBUM TEASER]
You featured an album teaser on Youtube, what did fans think of it?
It seems they love it:) Fans from abroad didn’t know who we are and they were curious.
Where does the title GALLERY OF LIFE come from?
It comes from Martin. Life consists from gallery of different situations, our feelings and decisions. Simply said, it’s “Gallery of Life”
The artwork to the album was made by Jan Yrlund at Darkgrove Design, what do you think of the cover, does it symbolize the music?
You can visualize the “Gallery of Life” by pictures on the wall or with statues like on our artwork. We are absolutely happy with this work. Really perfectly done by Jan and better than the ideas we had in our minds…
The album clocks in on about 50 minutes and contains 11 songs, was it your intention to make a long album?
I’m not sure if we can consider Intro and Outro songs so we can say that we have 9 songs. Our plan was to have an album which will be longer than 45 minutes but there was no pressure of course. At the beginning we had 11 songs and then we reduced it to 9 songs.
Road To The Paradise [OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO]
How come you chose to feature both an intro and an outro?
It was made spontaneously with our producer Jan Cvercko and I think it’s perfectly done from his side because it’s really suitable for atmosphere of our album and it’s sounds like an entity with it.
You released a lyric video to the song “Road To Paradise”, what did fans and the media think of it?
We discussed with our executive producer Emil Westerdahl from Ulterium Records which song could be the best as single for our debut album. I’m really glad that we chose Road to the Paradise. We have really positive feedback for this track from fans and media too.
The longest songs are “The Last Drop Of Blood” and “Road To Paradise” thats over 7 min; what are they about?
The Last drop of blood is about war conflicts which are still repeated again and again… just look to Ukraine, religious conflicts and many others which we can see nowadays. Mankind do same mistakes as before and do not learn from the past. So it is about some kind of waiting for the last drop of blood after which will mankind realize that there was enough suffering and innocent victims and try to solve problem in different way.
Road to the Paradise is more optimistic song as it has positive message which brings hope and power to our lives. It is simply about our path through life on which each of us meet different troubles and problems but even we are on the bottom we have to stand and continue again.
And the shortest song “Judgement Day”, what is it about?
This song should make listeners start think not only about life on this earth but that there is something more after we will finish our path here and be always prepared for it because no one knows when his end come.
I’ve read a description of your music as melodic metal but how would you like to describe what kind of music you play? I will say that it is melodic power metal that you play.
Yes, you are absolutely right. Melodic power metal is good description for our music.
Silent Desire [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]
There are some growling on some of the songs, how did you come up with featuring that?
I had an era when I listened a lot to Amon Amarth and tried to growl their songs. Just for fun of course. Later we agreed with Martin that I have really good predisposition for doing it more seriously so I started to practice growl technique..
Is growling something that you will keep in your music?
There is no pressure for the future, but if there will be songs which needs growl parts we will do it. And it will be, I think J All growls which we have in our songs was embedded spontaneously without any pressure.
According to the bio, fans of bands like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Theocracy going to like your music, can you agree with that?
Yes I agree. It’s possible that people will find some similarity between us and them but it’s nothing bad since we play the same genre I think.
Have you read any reviews in the media regarding the album? What did the media and press think of it?
Yes, of course. We check it permanently, haha 😀 I must say that I register more good reviews than bad. On the other hand I appreciate reviewers who didn’t give as 80% or 90% but wrote that no many bands have so good debut album like we have. It’s really heartsome.
Is it any difference in how the album has been ranked by native and foreign press?
It´s hard to compare it today because we know only about one review published here in Slovakia now. We are waiting for review from printed magazine Rock Hard Slovakia and hope it will be with good ranking and overview.
The singer, Klein, you, and drummer Gacik, really impresses on the album, are you happy with your band mates efforts?
Thanks ! Yes I’m happy with their efforts. I’m proud of guys because all of them are an important part of band but especially of Martin Klein because I think his voice and composition skills are our gemstone.
The bio states that the band has the ability to write interesting songs and that the band is to be reckoned with. What do you think of those words? Is Within Silence a force to be reckoned with?
Everything what we do is coming from our hearts and spirit. A lot of energy which we put into band for that years is now coming back to us. We will try to do our best and hope we will reach as much fans as possible.
Studio and production
Is it correct that the band recorded the album without any back up from a record label?
I think it’s no problem when production is good. Now we have some plans with our label for future recordings. But yes, the first album was recorded before we signed with Ulterium Records.
And is it correct that the album was ready to release at the end of 2014?
I think it’s OK because our album was ready for release in 2015.
When did you begin to record the disc?
Recording process with postproduction took about a year, so you can say that we started early 2014.
Was all of the members gathered in the studio recording each part or did you use separate studios?
Each part of our album was recorded in the same studio with our producer Jan Cvercko.
You used Jan Cvercko as producer, who is that and has he worked with any well known bands prior Within Silence?
He worked with some slovak bands and projects which aren’t well known. Jan recorded our promo song “Rightdoor” released in 2012. We were really satisfied with his work so we decided to cooperate with him on our debut album too. He is really talented producer and I think he made really good quality despite of fact he has not so expensive equipment like big studios have…
He has also mixed and mastered the album, was any of the members part of those processes?
Yes we were part of those processes, especially Martin Klein and me since we are the main composers of music.
How long did it take to record GALLERY OF LIFE?
We recorded it within weekends. It’s hard to say how long but as I said… Whole process with postproduction took ca one year with some pauses.
Do you think that you and the band are going to work with Cvercko in the future?
Yes we want to cooperate with him in the future for sure in recording and mixing process again. For mastering we have some other options which we will discuss with our label.
Label and management
The band inked a deal with Swedish Ulterium Records this year, how come you chose to sign on with them?
Theocracy played on show called “Call for Eternity” as headliner in 2013. This concert was in our hometown Kosice, Slovakia, and we played there with them. The organizer of this show, Laci Bitto, sent our promo song to Emil Westerdahl (Ulterium Records) and he said that he liked it. It was the first step and good sign but everything was opened since he heard only one song from us. At the end of 2014 we sent our debut to Ulterium Records and response was great ! Early 2015 we signed with them J So now we are the part of Ulterium family and we are proud of it ! Communication with Emil is really great and we feel strong support from him.
Was it hard to get a record deal? Were there many labels that showed interest in signing you?
We didn’t try other labels because our aim was signing with Ulterium Records.
Are you happy with the work UR have put into the band and the album so far?
Totally yes! Communication and cooperation with Emil Westerdahl who is responsible person for UR is great and we feel strong support from him. I cannot imagine more suitable label for us, really.
UR is co-working with the promotion agency Connecting Music, how’s it going? Are you happy with them?
We don’t know the specifics on how they work, but we have nothing to complain about.
UR releases the album in Europe and US but what about the rest of the world? Who distributes the album there?
The album is available digitally [iTunes, Spotify etc.] worldwide and also in specialized record shops/online stores outside of North America and Europe.
Is the album available at Spotify or for downloading legal anywhere?
Yes, at iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, Spotify and many more places.
Do you see any problems in the fact that UR is based in Sweden and the band in Slovakia?
For us it’s advantage because UR helps us with expansion of our music to the whole world. I don’t know about Slovak labels which sign with heavy metal bands…
Is the band currently working with any booking agency?
We are in contact with slovak agency EPG which organize shows of well-known metal bands in Slovakia (Nightwish, Accept, Unisonic, Sabaton, Stratovarius,…) so we hope it will bring something in the near future.
You and Martin Klein formed the band back in 2008, why did you start a band in the first place?
We met with Martin in 2007 when I started my stadium at the University. We shared one room for 5 years on the hostel. Haha, it sounds like a love story 😀 But seriously, I’ve never played on guitar before I tried it on Martins guitar at first. He teached me the first chords and songs and then I felt in love with guitar… In May 2008 we agreed to found the band. Martin was little bit sceptic as he had some experiences and thought that it’s not so easy as it seems. But thankfully, for me it was first band and my fire burn my simmering spark too and after 6 months of rehearsals we started thinking about do music more seriously. Many times it was complicated and hard but we never gave up with Martin and now we are here. Our debut album is out worldwide and it’s great feeling after everything what why sacrificed for our band J
Are you and Klein long time friends?
Yes of course. We are not only bandmates but very good friends too. For me is Martin the best friend! He helped me many times and there aren’t many people around me who is so honest and trustworthy like he is. I believe that his opinion about my person is the same, haha 😀
Back then the band was called Rightdoor, why did you change the name and did you play the kind of music you do today?
We changed our band name because we felt that we need stronger band name which will represent our music all over the world. Music is the same like before this change.
Does the name Within Silence have any special meaning to you and Klein?
“Within Silence you can find the true and true is the “Right door”
Was it hard to find a solid line-up from the beginning?
Really, really hard. I think it’s hard to find people who want the same things like you in the band.
The band recorded a single back in 2012 did it sell a lot? How many songs were featured on the single?
It was just one song “Rightdoor(now Silent Desire)”released in digital form. We didn’t sell it but it was played in web-radios in Norway, Switzerland, USA or Thailand. I think we reached really good results with this song since it helped us to play shows with Theocracy, Dark Moor or Blaze Bayley.
What did media think of the single?
It’s question for them, not for me, haha 😀 But I think the response from them is positive.
The band got a new line-up in 2013, what happened with the old one? Was it hard to find members to the new line-up?
Yes, it was hard to find suitable members but finally we found them. Our line-up wasn’t full before 2013.
Regarding the former members. Simply said, our opinions were different…
Did the music change when the new line-up joined forces with you? If so in what way?
No, we keep the music like before the new members joined. Our plan was to find the members who will like the genre we play.
Do all of the members come from the same city or are you scattered across the land?
All of us except Martin Klein live in the same city, Kosice. Martin lives in Spiska Nova Ves which is cca 75km from Kosice but it’s no problem for us.
Is it correct that the band started to play live first during 2013-14?
We didn’t have stable line-up so it was impossible to play live. I think it’s correct.
Why didn’t you play anything live before that?
As I said in previous question… 🙂
You played with acts like Dark Moor, Theocracy and Blaze Bayley, how was that? Has it been as support on single shows or on tour?
It was on single shows but great experience for us. The show with Theocracy was really succesfull. There was a really good attendance despite of fact that concert was organized on Monday. We met there guys from Sleeping Romance who are our label mates now. They are funny and nice people, especially Federico J
Have you played or toured with other acts besides the ones above?
No, but upcoming summer we will play on festivals with headliners like Gamma Ray, Epica, Within Temptation or Stratovarius.
Have you played outside Slovakia yet or only there?
Our first concert in a foreign country will be this summer at Czech festival “Made of Metal”. We hope that more offers from abroad will come soon.
Was it before or after you landed the record deal you changed the band name?
We changed it after discussion with our label but thought about it before record deal too. Our new band name came from Martin Klein.
Are there many active metal bands in Slovakia at the moment?
There are a lot of extreme metal bands and few melodic metal bands like Signum Regis, Sinners Moon, Anthology or Ravenclaw…
Here we can see some progress because in comparison to the past where abscent such a bands… So it is looks more optimistic now in melodic side as these bands are relatively active and produce really good stuff
Is metal music big in Slovakia? Are there a lot of clubs to play at?
I think we have some good clubs for concerts but even people organize good concert with good line up people ignore it. I think mainly it is caused because people are simply lazy to go for a concert and look over local bands and instead of it they decide to spend money only when some big band like Stratovarius or Hammerfall come…So at this point I hope it will become better in the future…and it will be growth with growing of some bands name which I already mentioned
Are there any special metal genres that are especially popular in Slovakia?
I think death metal is the most popular metalgenre here.
Do the members have any special artist/band as common idol or that have inspired you in particular?
It’s hard to say but all of us likes german and scandinavian power metal school and this is the one of reasons why we cooperate so good in the band.
Does the band have a big fanbase in Slovakia?
I think we have quite good fan base and it’s growing after the release of our debut album.
Who runs the band facebook page? Are you active on any of the other social forums besides Facebook?
Our label and me. We are active on bandzone portal which is similar to myspace, just it’s for Czech and Slovak fans.
Why doesn’t the band have a website?
Our new website is available now www.within-silence.com
I see that you’re currently shooting a video to the song “Silent Desire” could you tell us a bit about it?
Our music video was recorded in one historical building in Kosice. Side story is about girl who tries to find the right way (right door) on the journey through her life. At the end of story after the suffering she finds the doll from her childhood. In this moment she recognize important thing. The honest and clear way how children see the world is the right way…
Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs?
Maybe. Let’s see.
Do you have any festival shows booked for the summer so far?
We are confirmed for big summer festivals in Slovakia and Czech Republic. Namely Rock pod Kamenom, Topfest and Made of Metal. Headliners for these festivals are Gamma Ray, Epica, Within Temptation, Gotthard or Stratovarius. Now we are working on some other shows too…
Are there any plans on heading out on the road now that the album is out?
We are planning some shows as I said. We want to play some concerts on autumn this year.
Are there any interest shown for the band in the US or Asia?
We have some positive feedbacks from fans who live in mentioned countries.
Are you currently working on material to the next album?
We are in the process of selecting some new ideas and hopefully we will be able to hit studio again in near time.
Do you have any idea on when fans can find the next Within Silence album out in stores?
I hope within upcoming 1-2 years. We will see.
What are the plans for the band during the rest of 2015?
We want to play shows as much as possible and work on our songs for second album.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy GALLERY OF LIFE?
Memorable melodies + fresh and young band + beautiful lead vocals.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Within Silence yet?
If you like melodic music and it doesn’t matter what kind of genre then our music is suitable for you 🙂
Well, thanks for taking the time making the interview. I wish you and the band all the best! Do you have any words of wisdom to share with readers and fans?
Thank you for your interview and your wishes. We wish you and your readers all the best and hope they will enjoy our debut album.