This year is the 10th anniversary of MIRROR OF DECEPTION, one of the first Doom Metal bands here in Germany. Over the last ten years, the band has build a solid following in Doom Metal circles worldwide. So it was absolutely necessary to get in contact with guitarist Jochen Fopp, one of the co-founders of the band. Here is the result of my investigations...
In the beginning, the history of MIRROR OF DECEPTION started in 1990. Please, give us some details about the band the early days and years and the discography of the band.
Michael (guitar) and me (same) started the band in September 1990 under the influence of CANDLEMASS and SANCTUARY. We wanted to create something really dark, heavy yet melodic with a lot of feeling. It took us some time to get a full line-up together and the one we have now (since '95) with Baumi (vocals), Klaus (bass) and Gunnar (drums) seems to be the ultimate one. Our former bassplayer Rainer is now in END OF GREEN and happy there, the old drummer quit playing in bands. We have released 3 offical demos, 'Mirror of Deception' (1993), 'Words unspoken' (1994), 'Veil of Lead' (1996) plus two inofficial studio rehearsals entitled 'Cease' and 'The Float Sessions'. The mini-CD 'Veil of Lead (not to be confused with the demo) came out in 1997 and the same year we’ve started recording our album 'Mirrorsoil' which has yet officially to see the light of day.
What are your personal reasons for playing Doom and what does this music means to you?
When I first heard 'Solitude' by CANDLEMASS in 1988 I felt instantly that this was the music I've been always searching for. Then I've started to look for other bands and discovered SAINT VITUS, COUNT RAVEN, PENTAGRAM, REVELATION, TROUBLE, BLACK SABBATH and many more and found out that it's so much more than just simple music. And I've been a dedicated doom disciple ever since. Nothing else fits my personality and my wild mood swings better. Mirror of Deception is our very own interpretation of doom metal – the way we feel and like to hear it.
In December 1997 the band recorded 'Mirrorsoil', the excellent "new" album. Have you find a label for a release yet? Have you thought about a self-financed release, like PENANCE did it with their last album 'Proving Ground'?
'Mirrorsoil' was orginally recorded for a small label but it went bankrupt. We went through some problems (we started recording in December '97 and finished the recordings and mix in August '99) but managed to get the album finished and now we’re looking for some labels. We thought about a self-financed release for a while but we've decided to get in touch with some labels instead. A label can offer you a better distribution (at least some labels) and can hopefully take a bit of promotional work off our shoulders. We're in touch with some labels now and I guess it's just a matter of time until we can sort something out. If we don't find anyone we’ ll release it ourselves but that would be the final option.
On 'Mirrorsoil' you have the track 'Weiss' with German lyrics. Was it only some kind of experiment or can we expect more songs with German lyrics in the future?
We’ve actually had a German poem as an intro and outro on our mini-cd as well. When we had the music finished for 'Weiss' it felt natural to write something in our mother tongue for it. We haven't written any new German lyrics yet but it's pretty much possible that we'll get back to that in the future again. The response towards 'Weiss' has been really good so far, so I guess we did the right thing. It’s sort of a local "hit" among the metalheads down here in our area…
Sometimes I think that we could have more festivals here in Germany, where a lot of heavy Doom Rock acts could play . The 'Stoner Hands of Doom' festival in the USA in 1999 was a great idea. Do you think we have a "Doom-Scene" here in Germany? How is the relationship between MIRROR OF DECEPTION and other German or international bands?
We had about 4 or 5 smaller doom festivals down here in Southern Germany a few years ago in a small town called Bietigheim not too far away from Stuttgart. Uwe Groebel (ex-NAEVUS, now ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN) organized them. It was really great! Bands like DREAMING, SUBVERSION, GRIEF OF GOD, DAWN OF WINTER, ASTRAL RISING (France, R.I.P.), JACK FROST (Austria), WINDFALL (Switzerland, R.I.P.) and ourselves played there. But it didn't draw that much attention – the last time it where more band members than actual audience. Maybe we can get something organized again next year. And of course there is a doom scene in Germany. Maybe Germany's best kept secret but it definitely exists. Just watch out for bands like DREAMING, SUBVERSION, WELL OF SOULS, DAWN OF WINTER, GRIEF OF GOD, TWILIGHT PICTURES, NAEVUS (R.I.P.), ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN and ourselves. We're in touch with most of these bands and have a great relationship.
MIRROR OF DECEPTION playing Doom Metal since ten years. What has changed within this period? Do you think younger people, who discover this music for themselves, are aware of the history of Doom?
There are not that many younger doom kids out there – at least I don't see them. Most youngsters confuse doom these days with all this hyped Gothic metal stuff I suppose but that’s something completely different. Doom went back underground. Of course it's always been underground and will always be. But in the early - mid 90s I had the feeling that it got a bit more attention with all the brilliant Hellhound releases and bands like SAINT VITUS, COUNT RAVEN and THE OBSESSED touring over here frequently. Doom Metal is the most uncommerical metal/rock music style you'll find out there and these days. It's more like digging for a needle in a haystack.
You have to search for a while or surf the web plus you hardly find anything in the big music mags about those bands. On the other hand I like it that way and I don't want doom metal to be the flavour of the day. At least you know that those who play and listen to this music are really into it and believe in what they’re doing/supporting and not just following the latest trend. Sometimes it feels more like a secret brotherhood or a mysterious cult. But we do what we can and that's what we're here for – spreading the word and keep the flame of doom alive – even though it's a small flame. But it's going to last! For me personal KYUSS are a good, but a total overrated band. Today, too much younger bands follow blindley their path, without an own identity.
Maybe "Stoner" will be the next hype, who knows and who cares. What is your point of view about it?
I like KYUSS as well and I totally agree on what you said. I don't bother too much though. They're doing their thing - we do our thing. For most of these copycats KYUSS probably invented heavy music. They have no clue where it all came from. Too bad for them…
You are part of the 'I Am Vengeance' soundtrack on Meteor City Rec., together with LAS CRUCES, PENTAGRAM, GRIEF, CHURCH OF MISERY, LOWRIDER etc. Have you written an excklusive track and how did you get the chance to appear on this soundtrack?
Once again I have to thank my buddy Uwe Groebel for this. He told me that Meteor City were still searching for bands. I e-mailed them, sent a CD-R to them and one to the editor of the movie and we were on it. They decided to take 'Asylum', the opening track of our 'Mirrorsoil' album. The editor really seems to like us – he even wanted another track, but there was no more time for it. Unfortunately we had no chance to contribute an exclusive track – but as 'Mirrorsoil' is yet unreleased it doesn't matter anyway. It's a damn cool thing and a great honour for us to be part of this soundtrack – along with the bands you mentioned and COUNT RAVEN (they contributed their final song).
Have you seen the movie 'I Am Vengeance'?
As far as I'm concerned it’s not finished yet. It's going to be a weird psychedelic horror/splatter movie and the entire soundtrack will be contributed by great bands. The soundtrack should be out in Summer/Autumn though. It will be released by Meteor City and distributed by Century Media here in Germany/Europe. That's at least what I've heard. I strongly doubt that the movie will ever make it to the European cinemas. Maybe they'll show it at some small underground film festivals or something.
MIRROR OF DECEPTION will tour in the late summer of 2000 and play some shows together with SOLSTICE. How are the preparation plans for it ? Are there also other bands involved, beside SOLSTICE?
The only show we'll play on this tour will be Stuttgart - I'm afraid. We can't do any more gigs due to working commitments and SOLSTICE and SLOUGH FEG really need the few bucks they’ll get themselves. The other main band involved is THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG from San Francisco and they play a great and unique brand of Epic Celtic metal. There will be different local bands involved as openers though: us and END OF GREEN in Stuttgart, DREAMING in Zöblitz, SEVENTH GATE in Oberhausen and most likely DECEMBER DAWN and TWISTED TOWER DIRE (USA) in Bremen. All dates will take place between July 28th and August 3rd.. Some more dates have yet to be confirmed.
You will also appear on the 'At The Mountains Of Madness Vol.2' compilation, released by Miskatonic Foundations, the label of SOLSTICE/SORE THROAT guitar player Rich Walker. I think, you and SOLSTICE have a good relationship.What about releasing 'Mirrorsoil' through his label? Have you thought about it?
Rich Walker from SOLSTICE is one of my best buddies around. He's been a big inspiration (both musically and mentally) and he went through even more shit with his band than we did and still kept SOLSTICE alive. We feel honoured to participate in 'A.T.M.O.M. Vol.2' but we’ve never really spoken about putting 'Mirrorsoil' out on his label.
What are the future plans of MIRROR OF DECEPTION?
We have some things on mind, like playing shows outside Germany but I guess it's too early to talk about it here in detail. The primary plan is of course to get 'Mirrorsoil' officially released as soon as possible and play as much live as possible. There should finally be t-shirts available in a few months. That's about it.
Thank you very much for the answers. I hope 'Mirrorsoil' will soon see the light of day. We see us on tour!
Thanks a lot for this great interview, Klaus. Keep the spirit alive! Check our homepage for the latest news and get in touch!