Guitarist Richard Germanus and lead vocalist Martin Klein – Within Silence
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Ulterium Records for setting up the interview
Thanks to Ulterium Records for the promo pictures of the band
Additonla live pictuers of the band taken by: www.facebook.com/sichr Nate Summer-Cook and Tomas Danco
In 2017, the Slovakian power metal band Within Silence unveiled their second album, RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS, which includes 9 hard-hitting power metal tunes. I got to exchange words with guitarist Richard Germanus and lead vocalist Martin Klein, who are also the main writers in the band. I heard what they had to say about the brand new album, talked about how they’ve matured as song writers, and the work they did with Roland Grapow, who mixed and mastered the album. I also inserted a segment with Klein where he talked about his voice and his similarities with Blaze Bayley. Besides that we also handled the change of bass player and if they thought that had any impact on the band’s sound. If you want to read more about the band, check out the first interview I did with the guys in the Metal-Rules archives.
Hi Richard and Martin, how are you doing today? Ready to dig into the interview?
RICHARD: Hey. Yeah sure lets go for it man! 😊
Let’s begin where we left off last time. What did media and critics think of the bands debut album GALLERY OF LIFE from 2015?
RICHARD: Well we both think that our debut album was success. I mean, we got signed to Ulterium Records because of it and we did our first tours abroad. We even got to play a tour with Theocracy. We are both very proud of our first album.
Are there any differences in how foreign and native media writes about the band and your music?
MARTIN: It is really hard to say if there is a particular difference. I think it depends on the reviewer, if he likes our music or not. There might be small differences. Foreign media tend to give us more coverage and space in their articles than maybe our native media.
In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of GALLERY OF LIFE?
MARTIN Yeah, we are really proud of it. It was a long and bumpy road to create and record the album, but it turned out great 😊.
The band played a lot of shows on the debut album, was it fun? Do you have any fun touring memories to share with us?
RICHARD: There were a ton of them but it’s really hard to remember them all. They were mostly situational. We tend to get lost on the road, because of GPS or whatever reason. So there is always fun when we suddenly don’t have a clue where we are.
What does the band enjoy the most, performing at festivals or shows on your own?
RICHARD: It really depends on the festival or club. We played some amazing shows that were clubs and festivals. It can always be an opposite experience. We feel fortunate, because our producer from our label books us on really great shows. So that is a really great help for us.
In 2016 the band did single shows and festival shows in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Scandinavia; was it fun to tour through Europe and how was it to meet the European fans?
MARTIN: It was a great experience. We did a lot of great shows, we met people that turned to be our fans after hearing our songs. We would like to thank everyone that came to the shows and had a great time with us.
How was it to be support to Theocracy on their 7 date tour in Europe?
MARTIN: Well it was a really good feeling to be that band which was able to go on such a tour with Theocracy. It was great fun but we also felt a big responsibility to be on time so every show could be a success. We practiced really hard for the shows and we hope that if Theocracy will come to Europe next time, we could do this again.
Why was the tour so short and what did the Theocracy fans think of your music?
MARTIN: Well from our point of view the tour wasn’t short at all. We played some great shows together. The clubs were always packed so we think it was a successful tour. Their fans were great, we think we gathered some fans during the tour, so everything’s cool there 😊
Did the Theocracy guys treat you nice and would you like to tour more with them in the future?
MARTIN: Yeah, they were really cool. We swapped CDs and T-shirts. It was a great honour to be able to do that tour with them. We hope that we will do a second one if they come to Europe again.
You released a tour diary from that tour, who’s idea was it and what did fans think of seeing you out on tour?
RICHARD: It was our decision right before the tour to document it as much as we could. The video turned out to be good so we were happy about that. But to be honest I think it was Richard’s idea at first.
Did you film any live shows?
RICHARD: Yeah, we have some live shows, even from the above mentioned tour on YouTube.
Would you have liked to tour and perform more during 2015-16 than you did?
RICHARD: If we consider that we needed to spend some time to write new songs and record them then we can say that we are satisfied with the number of shows and also countries we played.
Your music contains a lot of keyboards, who takes care of that part when you perform live?
RICHARD: The keyboards were recorded in the studio and they are played on our shows as backing tracks from a sampler.
With all the touring under 2015/16 do you think the band gained a lot of fans in Slovakia?
RICHARD: Yes, we think it mainly showed on our last show in our hometown Košice, where our fans came to the show. The club was pretty crowded.
In 2016 bass player Filip Andel left the band due to different perspectives and opinions in music, what happened?
MARTIN: We decided to part ways with Filip, because we had some disagreements with the direction he tried to take the new songs. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right choice for the band.
Are you guys friends with Andel today?
MARTIN: Yes, we are still friends with Filip and he took it really professionally.
Was his departure expected and has it had any effect on your music-writing?
RICHARD: Well it wasn’t so clear if we were going for it at that time. It simply felt like a good and rational step, for the band. It wasn’t easy, because we liked Filip as friend. No, the music writing process is the same, but Viktor’s approach to the songs is radically different and more suitable.
How did new bass player Viktor Varga end up in the band and according to your website he wasn’t a solid member from the start, why?
RICHARD: Well Viktor is a friend of our drummer Peter, so he was the number one choice from the beginning as we started to look for a new bass player. He wasn’t a solid member, because he simply didn’t know about the band as it was forming in the beginning.
Is it correct he became a member in June 2016? Has he been a part of any other bands prior to Within Silence?
RICHARD: Yes, that’s correct. In fact, just a few months after he became a member of the band we went for our first mini tour in Europe. He did really well on the tour, so he proved himself quickly.
What’s the difference between Varga and Andel when it comes to executing your music?
RICHARD: Viktor has a more natural feel for our music. There are some technical differences between them as players but the main reason is the feeling for the songs.
Has his arrival in the band changed your music style/writing in any way?
RICHARD: Not in major way. There are some differences, but the direction of the band didn’t change.
Album RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS
When did the work on the album begin?
RICHARD: We started to work on the album at the end of 2015, and we entered the studio in summer. So the songs were finished in beginning of summer 2016.
When I spoke to you Richard, you said that there were already ideas on how the album would sound. How far had you come in the writing process then?
RICHARD: Well, it’s not easy to define the exact time period of the writing process as some of the ideas were ready right after release of the first album and some of them came later. We were collecting ideas continuously and we can say that at the beginning of 2016 we had rough structures of all songs ready.
How does it work when you write material? Do you sit down and write from 9-5 or do you write down ideas as they come to you?
MARTIN: I normally collect ideas anytime they come to my mind. I record all of them to my phone and then later I decide which one is interesting for me and on which one I want to continue to work. It mainly goes about vocal melodies and choruses. Afterwards I work on the instrumental side of things with guitars and drums to prepare a rough structure of the song. Then we start to play and make adjustments with all members in the band.
So the way of writing the music is very natural. The difference is with writing of lyrics where it is required for me to sit and think about what I want to tell with them.
From what I understand is it you, Martin and Richard, write the material, but do the rest of the members have any say when you present your material?
RICHARD: Yes, they do add up some things. We consult with them on the music and then we tend to make some changes. It is really helpful to have their input so we can have some constructive feedback.
Do you write together or separate?
RICHARD: For the first album we composed some songs together, like “World of Slavery” for example. For the second album we wrote songs separately but it’s quite interesting that songs fits together maybe better than those for the first album. Probably there is some unearthly connection between us, haha.
Are all of the songs newly written or have you used any older material from when the band was named Rightdoor?
MARTIN: Most of the songs are newly written but some of them had rough structure ready also from the Rightdoor era. It means they changed during the time.
Did you use all of the songs you wrote or were some left behind?
MARTIN: We had more ideas but picked the best ones and most suitable for the album.
As on the debut, you used Daniel Millard to check the lyrics; what has he contributed with?
MARTIN: His contribution was mainly about consulting if our texts correspond with the right expression of the ideas that we have. So we changed a phrase here and there, used a better word so it can be more precise.
Do you think the band has matured or changed anything musically since the release of the debut album?
RICHARD: Yes, we think all of us matured quite a bit. The song writing process is still evolving and pretty much everybody in the band is still trying to figure out how to do things better. It is a never ending process 😊.
Who came up with the title to the album and does the title have any special meaning to you in the band?
MARTIN: I came up with the title of our new album. It is about the return from places where we were stuck, or we didn’t want or couldn’t leave in our lives, because we think that there is nothing more which can show us new horizons and bring us real happiness. It doesn’t matter what we have done or what we have experienced there is still another way to go and find the truth. So, the main message is hope for something unearthly which can completely fill our hearts. When I compare it to the first album, which was focused on different situations in life in general, the second one is much more personal and mainly brings listeners to think about purposes of life and targets of our inner desires. And of course, the cover is linked with this idea.
Once again you let Jan Yrlund do the cover art-work, are you happy with his achievements?
RICHARD: Yes, Jan proved himself to have a special feeling for our music and his artwork was the right fit for our music. We are happy that we can work with him 😊
Besides bass player, you also changed keyboardists. On this album it’s Maros Zakutansky playing instead of Jan Cvercko; why did you switch?
RICHARD: We wanted to experiment a bit on this album. The keyboard did change the feeling the new album, but you can still hear that it is us.
Why didn’t you feature any growling on this album?
RICHARD: The structure of the songs didn’t need growling, so we didn’t feature it on this album. Maybe we will use some more extreme elements on the next one 😊.
How would you like to describe what kind of music you play on RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS?
MARTIN: It is a mix of melodic and heavy metal with some symphonic and even progressive elements. Some songs are more straight forward, and some are longer.
Even though I really liked the debut album a lot I think you have refined your music and matured as a band on the new release, what are your thoughts on that?
MARTIN: Yes, we think that as well and we are happy that you can see it as well 😊. Let´s hope our next album will be a greater step forward for the band.
With “Children of Light”, “In the Darkness” and “Return From the Shadows” I think you’re flirting a bit with Iron Maiden’s sound; are you guys fans of Iron Maiden or have they in any way influenced your music?
MARTIN: Yes, we are all fans of the legendary Iron Maiden. I think it is fair to say that our music writing is influenced by them. There are also different influences like Stratovarius, Sonata Artica, Edguy and Helloween.
Who came up with the idea of using orchestral programming and female vocals?
MARTIN: It was my idea. I had this idea of orchestrations mainly for the song “In the Darkness” and I think final result is very cool.
I think you both, as well as guitarist Cico, impresses a great deal on the album. Are you happy with the outcome and everybody’s efforts?
RICHARD: Everyone in the band did their best to make this album. I think there are and will be always some areas when we can improve, but at the time of recording, we gave it all we had 😊.
The bio contains some really nice statements regarding RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS like – “The impressive songwriting and melodies are still there and together with heavy riffs, symphonic arrangement and epic parts the result is a very impressive album”. What do you think of that?
RICHARD: We think that this bio captures the essence of what we wanted to achieve with this album. We hope we did 😊.
At the end of September the video to the first single “Heroes Must Return” came out. Was it fun to shoot the video and where was it shot?
RICHARD: It was shot in Poland, which is a neighbouring country with Slovakia. Yes, it was fun, even despite the weather that wasn’t nice and we were forced to shoot everything indoors. We planned to shoot the “Children of the Light” outdoors, but we are happy with the outcome anyway. The guys did a great job with both videos 😊.
Heroes Must Return [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]
The video has over 170,000 hits, congrats! Are there going to be videos shot to any of the other songs as well?
RICHARD: We feel honoured that so many people watched “Heroes”. We really hope that we fulfilled all the expectations our fans had about the second album.
We think that for this album two music videos are enough. But let’s see what the future has in store for us 😊.
What does the media think about the new album? Do you care about what the press is writing about your work?
RICHARD: Sure, all of us is curious what the reactions will be, but we try to keep our distance from the reviews, even if it is a really positive one or a negative one. It is natural that some will like our work and some don’t 😊.
How have fans responded on the new album?
RICHARD: Well, we think that the fans liked it 😊. So, so far so good. We try to listen to our fans about what should we change in the next one. It is a great feedback for us 😊.
The bio states that fans of Theocracy, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica may like Within Silence, do you agree with that Richard, what do you think Martin?
RICHARD: Yes, we both agree.
EncyclopdiaMetallum refers to your music as lyric theme religion, is that correct?
MARTIN: Yes, we have a substantial part of lyrics that are dedicated to religion. There are also other themes, mainly in our debut album that refers to life and the situations that affects us on daily basis.
Studio, production and mixing
When did you first began to record the new album?
RICHARD: In the summer of 2016.
Which studio did you use this time?
RICHARD: We used a small studio in our hometown of Košice. The equipment there is great and also the people that recorded us were a great help. They pushed us on the edge of what is possible for us to record 😊.
You chose to produce the album on your own, why?
RICHARD: Well we still have an input from our Swedish producer Mr. Westerdahl. But we tend to make our music alone and consult some difficult bits with him. That’s the way we were operating for some time now.
How come you didn’t work with Jan Cvercko that produced the previous album again?
RICHARD: Working with Jan was a great experience. We just wanted to try new things and see where we can push ourselves. Also we wanted to change the feeling of the album, because of the songs. We will definitely consider working with Jan again in the future.
The album was recorded by Miroslav Felber and Jan Terpak, have they worked with any well known bands before?
RICHARD: Not that I know of, but they are both really skilled guys.
Where did Zakutansky record his keyboard parts?
RICHARD: He recorded them at home on his own.
The well known & legendary Roland Grapow did the mixing and mastering in his Grapow Studio. Were any of the band members part of those processes?
MARTIN: Yes, we were visiting him over the progress of the mix and master. He lives in Slovakia so the journey wasn’t a problem. He was doing everything by himself, we were just discussing the details that we wanted to change.
Was it easy to get Grapow aboard the project?
MARTIN: Well, we had to line up our schedules, but besides that it wasn’t a problem at all. Mr. Grapow is a great guy and he took everything really professionally.
Has Grapow and his work in Helloween and Masterplan ever influenced Within Silence?
MARTIN: Of course it has. His work and legacy will influence bands for decades. In fact, his work was the main reason why we decided to go for him.
Personal with Martin Klein
For how long have you been singing and are you classically trained or self taught?
MARTIN: I started to focus mainly on singing in 2009. I also took lessons of classical singing for my first 3 years of practicing. Since then I continue as self-taught, mainly using videos on YouTube etc. Thankfully, nowadays it is not a problem to find a lot of good tips for learning and progression. This really helps to develop my skills and find different areas of my voice.
Do you have a particular singer that inspired you through the years?
MARTIN: I have a lot of singers who’s inspired me, but I would mention mainly Bruce Dickinson, Tobias Sammet, Michael Kiske, Ronnie James Dio, Timo Kotipelto, Matt Smith, Tony Kakko and Daniel Heiman. These singers are my long time favourites and I guess it is not going to change in the future.
Since English isn’t your first language I think you sing and handle it very well, have you worked a lot on the language?
MARTIN: Thank you ! Yes, I have worked really hard on English language and for sure I want to continue because there is still a lot of place to develop and upgrade it.
Do you play any instruments as well?
MARTIN: Yes, I play guitar, drums and also can play little on the piano.
What was the name of the first band you joined?
MARTIN: The first band I was in, at age 15, was called Silent Moon. I played guitar and time to time also drums (depending which position was required). We played mainly cover songs of our favourite bands. Later we also tried our own stuff but it was nothing serious.
I read about a band called Sakrament that you were a part of before Rightdoor and Within Silence, tell us about that first band?
MARTIN: Yes, It was also in my home town Spisska Nova Ves one or two years after Silent Moon and with this band we played our own songs and also played few shows. I would compare Sakrament’s songs to a mixture of Children of Bodom and Hammerfall. We had quite a good local fan base but then after two years the band broke up due to members leaving to the different cities and a lack of time to continue.
Anyway it was very good experience for me and it was my first band where I was only singing and not playing an instrument.
Where do you find inspiration to write lyrics? Do you write about things you have experienced?
MARTIN: My main inspirations are things I have experienced and of course life situations around me. I also write about social issues how I see and feel it personally. This is area for writing where I feel naturally and honestly.
From time to time I think you have a lot in common vocally with Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden), is that something you heard before?
MARTIN: Actually yes. I am a Maiden fan, including the stuff with Blaze. I remember when I first heard the X FACTOR album, I really did not like it at all and could not believe that this is Iron Maiden. After some time I came back to it and fell in love with its dark sound and great melodies.
Then, with my first band we played “Como Estais Amigo” from VIRTUAL XI and I remember the other guys from the band said that it sounded exactly like Blaze. So I know about this similarity and especially in some lower voice position it is really very close to his voice.
Label and management
The band is signed to the Swedish label Ulterium Records, are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the album so far?
RICHARD: Yes, we feel honoured that the label decided to work with us. They are a great support for us and the cooperation between the band and the label is great. We feel almost like a family 😊.
How did they take the news about changes in the line-up?
RICHARD: They were really supportive and they tried to make everything they could to execute this decision as fast as possible.
Is the label satisfied with the number of copies your debut album sold?
RICHARD: Yes they are. But it is our job to make it even better 😊.
Why wasn’t the debut released on vinyl?
RICHARD: It isn’t something we feel is right for us now. Maybe we will do it later, when we all come up to a conclusion that it is time for a vinyl release 😊.
Is RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS going to be released on vinyl?
RICHARD: Not for now.
Is the band fans off vinyl?
RICHARD: Yes, we are. The feeling of a vinyl record is different to a CD. You have to treasure it 😊.
Ulterium Records distributes the new album in Europe and North America but what about the rest of the world? Is it going to be released in Asia.
RICHARD: The album was released in Japan in January 31st via Rubicon Music.
Richard, the last we spoke you said that your debut album wasn’t available in Asia and South America, how is it today?
RICHARD: Well the album was additionally released by Rubicon Music in Japan. We are no releasing it officially in South America but I guess some distributors connected with our label are there. Fortunately our fans from all over the world can stream our music via Spotify or buy them via digital distribution like iTunes .
As a new band what’s your opinion regarding bands have to turn outside the music industry to make money, like selling alcohol, writing biographies etc?
RICHARD: I don’t have any specific opinion on this so it’s hard to tell. I don’t have any problem with it if it’s part of their marketing and people buy it. For example we bought “Iron Maiden beer” and it was really tasty.
And what’s your opinion regarding bands charging fans for meet and greets? Some bands charges crazy amounts of money from fans just for taking a picture.
RICHARD: Well, it is their way of approach to their fans.
Are you still working with the booking agency EPG in Slovakia and with Desert Rose Agency in The Netherlands?
RICHARD: Yes, we are working with Desert Rose Agency in Netherlands. They did a great job last year with our mini tour. A little bird told me that something is happening over there, so keep your eyes and ears open later this year.
Any plans in finding a booking agency that covers the entire Europe?
RICHARD: Actually we have our label and Desert Rose Agency and we think they do really good job for us.
Do you have any plans on trying to conquer the North American market?
RICHARD: Actually we are focusing mainly on Western Europe and about the North America…it’s maybe more question addressed to our label.
Past present and future
The band’s got a really nice website but it hasn’t been updated for a while; who runs it?
RICHARD: Thanks a lot, together with bass player Viktor and his fiancée Monika we were working on the design of the site. Really big thanks goes to Monika for this! As to the updates, it’s my job and I’m lazy to update it, haha. No, but seriously, we keep the page updated with the most important updates. All the small news etc are available at facebook page.
Is the band active on a lot of different social media forums? Do you think it’s important to be active on the net today?
RICHARD: Yes, we try to be active on Facebook. This is the main social media that we try to communicate with our fans. We also have an Instagram page. Yes, it is really important to use social media, because it is the new way how to communicate with your fans.
The band only did two shows during 2017 in Slovakia, why not more shows?
RICHARD: The main reason was recording of our second album. We wanted to focus only for this activity.
Any plans on touring and performing more during 2018?
RICHARD: Keep your eyes and ears open 😉
There’s already shows booked, one in Slovakia and one in Germany where you’re supporting Brainstorm and Signum Regis, are you excited?
RICHARD: Both shows were great. Our hometown show was very special as always. The gig with SR and Brainstorm was absolutely amazing as there was a great crowd, perfect organization, everything more than good!
Would you like to support to any bigger band and travel and tour more in Europe?
RICHARD: Sure, it would be a great experience. We supported Theocracy on their European tour and that was a superb experience. We will see what lies ahead.
Any festival shows booked so far for the summer?
RICHARD: We are in touch with some of the festivals so we will inform our fans as soon as there will be some output.
What can you tell us about the video to “Children of Light”? It was released in the beginning of October 2017 and has already got 88,000 hits!
RICHARD: The video turned out really great. We were going to shoot it outside, but the weather was bad so we needed a plan B. In the end we are satisfied with the result and it’s great that fans appreciate the video and the song 😊. Thank you all for so many views! 😊
Within Silence – Children of Light [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]
What’s your favorite part of doing when it comes to shooting videos?
RICHARD: The whole experience. I mean from the moment you wake up and know you will be shooting something that will go public. It s a great feeling but also a responsibility. But my favourite part of them all is seeing the end result.
Where in the world does the band have its biggest fan base?
RICHARD: Hard to say but fans from South America tend to comment our videos and posts on facebook the most 😊.
Are you happy with what you have accomplished with the band so far and what are the plans for the band during 2018?
RICHARD: Yes, we are. It’s a great honour for us to be able to even do this interview with you 😊. There are some but we will announce it later.
RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS got 4,5 out of 5 on Metal-Rules.com, how does that feel?
RICHARD: Rewarding 😊. It gives us passion to work even harder on our future albums 😊.
When can the fans expect to find the next album by Within Silence out in stores?
RICHARD: That is a good question. The plan is to keep up the work, so we will be gathering and writing the new material soon.
What would you like to say to the ones that haven’t heard the music of Within Silence yet? Could you give them three reasons why they should buy your albums?
RICHARD: If you like power metal, melodies, guitars and a strong voice. You should give us a chance 😊. Hope you will like our music.
Thanks again for making an interview with Metal-Rules.com and congrats to the killer album RETURN FROM THE SHADOWS!! I wish you all the best in the future and I really hope to see you come to Scandinavia soon. Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
RICHARD: We would like to thank our fans for supporting us with the new album. Hopefully we would meet at some of our planned concerts.
Facebook / Twitter /