Interview by Demitri Levantis
German group Lacrimas Profundere have just released their twelfth studio album: “Bleeding the Stars” and recently celebrated 25 years on the road perfecting a Gothic and Doom influenced sound. I caught up with the band to discuss the new album, the band’s evolution, and the current Gothic Metal/Rock scene.
Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. Let’s start with the new album: what inspired the name: ‘Bleeding the Stars’ and what does it mean?
Hello. nice to meet you. Yeah, you know, we read up on the big bang theory a bit. When something huge is created, there is always blood involved somewhere in the process. So we thought that as the universe was created the stars have to bleed also. And voilà: the album’s title was born!” Bleeding the Stars deals primarily with the theme of destiny, how it is fulfilled or how it is forced to fulfil it. For example, they say “it’s in your blood” or “it’s in the stars”, which in the end makes up the album title, which is composed of fate analogies.
You’ve released videos for the songs ‘Father of Fate’ and ‘Like Screams in Empty Halls’, what do these tracks focus on, the inspiration/meaning behind them and why did you choose to release music videos for these ones in particular?
It’s super difficult for a musician to select the first songs out of an album, so, we simply trusted our management and the record label, regarding the first two and let them selected it. The other one called THE KINGDOM SOLICITUDE we choose, cause during the recording process I saw a video clip by Solstafir and I was blown away by the landscapes of Iceland and know that this song is made for look like Solstafir use. So we flew over and only sent the invoice to the record company, laughs.
Is there an overarching concept to ‘Bleeding the Stars’ and has it changed in any way?
No, you know the Album “Hope Is Here” we released in 2016 was a concept album and I think that if a musician, no matter what genre, dares to go to a concept album, it subconsciously gets kinda progressive. Do not get me wrong, I’m a big friend when bands leave their trodden paths, but nowadays I would do it differently. There are some wonderful tracks and moments on the album, but also some things I would not do anymore. Commercially “Hope” was a great success and with Top 30 our highest chart entry in Germany so far. But I had in my mind to compose a doom dark record again without concept story behind, only the questions: Why did I become a musician, which bands influenced me and why nobody told me that my moustache looks so stupid. Laughs.
You recently changed your line-up, what made you choose the musicians you now have? What is the process of finding a new band member?
OK, it was not that easy like in the movies “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “The Dirt” where the band only has to play a gig and a genius like Freddie Mercury went backstage and says “Hey, here I am”, or like Tommy Lee who went to school with Vince Neil. To be honest, nobody in my school was a really good singer or performer, if someone of my former school mates read this, “Sorry bro’s” and no single day in my life a guy like Freddie walked into our backstage are…so, I had, again, choose the hard way and watched about 2 weeks of material on youtube. How I can describe it in a friendly way: not everybody who calls himself a singer, is really a singer. But it was worth it, cause Julian was outstanding and being in the band now, he can sing anything, so you don’t have to worry about throwing something in front of him and going, ‘Oh, man. I hope he can hit that note,’ or whatever — there’s not a worry about that. So you’re able to just sit there and go as far as you wanna go.
On the other hand, Dominik on drums was always a good friend of mine and also lacrimas drummer in the past, so I called him, he likes the new demo stuff and that’s it. Everything started getting better and better. Julian brought this excitement to the band that we haven’t had for quite some time. And Dominik and me we just can’t wait to get out on stage every night. If we’re off for a couple of days, it’s, like, “Ahhh… When do we get back out there? It’s so much fun.”
Looking at the album’s artwork, some people might think it has a theme of space or sci-fi, would you say this is true and was it deliberate?
No, I really adore sci-fi stuff, but the album deals not with it. We only took a mix of Iceland nature pictures and combine it with satellites and cover it all in blood red colour. Why in blood red? Cause I’ll never forget that my guitar endorser ESP guitars did a limited edition model for Gary Holt (Slayer, Exodus) and for the paintwork of his guitar he sent his own blood to mix in. Really like that idea, but my blood would not be enough for every item of the Digipaks and Vinyls, so I decided to not follow his way! laughs!
Are you going on tour or playing any festivals to promote the new album?
Yeah, we’re confirmed for many festivals this year in Germany and Spain and confirmed for some dates in Russia. We are hungry again, everyone has this fire and we definitely have fun playing the music that means so much to us!
Over the years your sound has changed from Doom to a more of a Gothic sound, what inspired this evolution and which bands would you call your greatest influences?
Twenty years ago my three favourite bands were Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride! Today my three favourite bands are Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema… So I did not change much, except that I mess up the order with increasing age, laughs. Take a piece of Primordial and Dark Tranquillity into the fertilizer a bit the 69 eyes and you got the root of the Lacrimas tree. Some season it grows more into goth, next time more dark, it depends on the weather. laughs
What do you make of the Gothic Metal scene today, how do you think it has changed over the years and how did you first get into it?
We kind of always think of the best period of our life, the best period musically in my life was as I discover old Paradise Lost stuff, that was my first touch with the scene. It changes but not for me, I still wear black.
Would you say your homeland, Germany is a good haven for the kind of music you play?
I hope so. But we play everywhere people wanna hear us. So we toured thirty countries so far like China, Japan, Russia, Finland, UK. Germany is a cool country to start a Metal band I think.
What would you say to people who disapprove of the sound your band is playing nowadays to what you were playing at the start of your career? Did your fans support your music change?
Yeah, most of them understand our transformation. I only tried to write the best music I could in that period in my life. This time I wanted the perfect dark doom album. And do not get me wrong, when I say perfect, I mean, “perfect for me”. I wanted to combine the riffing of Primordial with the vibe of Anathema and the tunes of Paradise Lost, or Dark Tranquillity. I wanted to combine all my influences and make the album I always wanted to hear.
Do you have a particular favourite song or album to play
We have our classics you know, like Ave End, Again it’s over or My Release In Pain, but for sure, it’s always the coolest thing on earth to play the new stuff, so I would say FATHER OF FATE at the moment. This is the song I like the most to play live.
What are the tracks on your new album you feel most proud of, or have the most meaning?
I would say THE KINGDOM SOLICITUDE is one of the best songs my brother Christopher and me ever did.
Are there any bands or anywhere you would love to tour and haven’t yet?
You recently celebrated 25 years on the road, as a band, how do you think the world of Metal has changed in that time? Do you still enjoy being in the music industry compared to when you first started?
Hmmm, I would not say it changed, I would say it’s different. The music is consumed differently than in the past and there were not that many bands in 1993 compared to 2019 and the recording techniques were completely different. Probably that’s why there were not that many bands, laugh!
I’m still running a cold shiver down the back, I think of the recording tapes, where you had to play again half the song, of you, made a mistake but that was also a damn good exercise. Nowadays you can also record good sounding stuff by yourself at home. So I would not say, in the past, everything was better, today everything is bad. I’m just glad that there are really many collectors in the metal field who are still getting vinyls and/or digipacks because a development entirely based on digital and streams would be really a pity.
We and many others are always trying to bring something new, valuable, unique to the market, which you just can not stream. So I like to sit down for a whole Sunday together with my father and cut our disused giant stage banner in the same parts, or pack exactly the song “Breathing Souls” I wrote together with Chris Harms (Lord of the Lost) and Tobias Schönemann (The Vision Bleak) onto the bonus CD that you can not stream. I still like listening to my favourite records on my stereo system and not with headphones on the handy. If you wanna enjoy music, order our new album on vinyl, dust your system, turn it on and when you hear the neighbour ringing, it was too quiet, yours, Joey deMaio.
Are there any personal things that have inspired your work over the years, like personal issues or things that have happened in the world around you?
A year ago, every tune I played gives me pain, cause I have got the diagnosis that I have arthritis in my fingers. If every riff you play pains you, you think twice about playing shit or something that touches you and you stopped to think in genres, only in music, is it good or is it bad.
As I started the songwriting my fingers hurt, especially my index finger of the right hand and I went to some hospitals and everybody told me that’s arthrosis in my fingers and progress, you can not stop, unfortunately. So, I thought twice before I played some crap, because every riff I played hurts, good or bad. During that period I sat down, was quiet and listened if the music finds me. The only thing that counts: does it swallow my heart, touches my soul and stays in my head. This time I think I´ve found some of those that are important enough to play even if it hurts.
Could you describe a typical “day in the life” of Lacrimas Profundere? What goes on in a typical day in the studio or on the road, do you any set ways of doing things?
Wake up very early, hoping you don’t have a headache from last night, pick up Julian at the airport in Munich cause he lives in Helsinki. After that, drive many miles to the next concert. drink some beers and have fun again and wake up hoping no headache from yesterday. Only “travel time” I count about 4 years and 2 days, since our start, Headache time 2 weeks, laughs.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
I simply love every piece of this job. But playing live is the best, doesn’t matter if its a big festival or the small club in the backyard. The risk is what throws it over the top. To stand on that stage and know that there’s a possibility of failure. Will people like it or not? Sometimes you are successful, sometimes not. You win and you lose, but fuck, we’re almost there.
What do you like doing outside of music? Do you have any other hobbies?
Nope. I have a family and three kids, no time for other stuff, OK, I tried to ride my bike as often as possible to be in a good shape, but it doesn’t work out, as you can see on many pictures that show me from the belly side of my body, laughs
Is there anything else you’d like to add or say to our readers?
Would be cool if some of your readers come to see us playing on stage, and hoping that you are enough interested now to buy the CD. CU on the other side.
Thank you so much again for this interview and best of luck for the rest of the year.
Thanx a lot for the interview. Best Oliver