March 2002 - THE SOUL INVADERS
The record-release party of the debut album "Weight Of The World" of this Hagen-based band, was reason enough to do an interview with these guys. THE SOUL INVADERS are influenced from old 70's and 80's Punk Rock mixed up with some 60's stuff. So, it's not the kind of music the Cosmic Lava is about, but Hedl is a good friend of mine and beside my love for heavy stuff I'm also into this kind of music (a little bit). We've done this interview in the toilet of the "Louvre" in Hagen and the result is something that you shouldn't take too serious.
Nice to welcome you in the Cosmic Lava e-zine. Please, introduce yourself to readers!
SOUL INVADERS: Ok, here we have Jense on drums, Hedl on bass, Stachel is playing the guitar and Kaktus on vocals.
When have you formed the band?
KAKTUS: Back in 1997 and we've played our first gig in the same year. I can't forget it, because my son was born that year
And you're still in the same line-up?
As far as I know, two or three of you have played before in a band named Hemmungslose Erotik. Is it true?
KAKTUS: Yes, Stachel and I have played in Hemmungslose Erotik, Skorbut, Dr. Doom. Cave Of Doom. You know, these kind of unimportant stuff ha, ha, ha!
How would you describe the musical direction of these bands?
KAKTUS: Hemmungslose Erotik was Skateboard SE-HC and Skorbut was SE-HC or maybe 60's Skateboard Rock ha, ha, ha!
Hemmungslose Erotik have released one EP in the past!?
KAKTUS: No, it were two EP's and one compilation track.
Why have you formed THE SOUL INVADERS?
JENSE: Because we don't want to rust.
KAKTUS: It's something like an institution, comparable with people, that are going into a bowling or chess-club.
HEDL: To stay in contact with the old buddies.
You've played several gigs in the past, and today is the record release party for the debut album "Weight Of The World" so, let's talk about it. Where have you recorded it and how long did the whole recording process last. Have you recorded all songs in one take etc.?
KAKTUS: We have stayed one week in a studio, that's owned by a friend of mine and it's located in Elsterberg/Sachsen-Anhalt in East-Germany. We've recorded everything on a 32-track machine. That machine formerly belongs to Ernst Mosch. The basic tracks has been recorded within two or three days. Then we've done a few guitar overdubs and later the vocals. After one week everything was done. The mixing-process took nearly over half a year, because the first results were total crap and so we've needed more time to get involved in it.
HEDL: The end-mix had been done in Iserlohn.
Do you still like the result, or is there something that you want to change about it?
HEDL: Yes, I'm totally satisfied with it.
STACHEL: We don't want to sound like The Offspring. We wanted to have this old 70's sound and due to the reason, that we've used old recording equipment we've reached our goal.
JENSE: I think, it's great!
KAKTUS: I think it's shit! I wish we could have done a record like old Black Sabbath but it hadn't worked. But the other guys don't take it so serious. (Everyone laughs!)
HEDL: The sound should be close to our live-performence.It had to be an authentic album.
Before the new album, you've released one single and a demo-tape. Have you recorded the single in the same studio?
KAKTUS: A friend of us has been done an instruction as a sound-technician and the place where she worked, had intergrated a studio.During her training hours she had have the possibility to work together with a band in the studio. So we recorded the single at one weekend. It was more meant as a "fun-project" or maybe a fan-club edition for all the people, that are coming regular to our shows. They got the chance to put something on their player at home.
Is it true that all of you are huge vinyl freaks?
KAKTUS: Except our drummer! He's visiting second-hand markets, collecting mini-discs but he don't knows what's on them. I think Stachel has bought his last LP in 1986 as a birthday present and he doesn't even know that records were still manufactured today. Hedl knows what's going on. Normally he's listening to Blink 182 (everyone laughs!), but you only can get it on CD. I prefer...
KAKTUS: Yes, whale-singing and esoteric books (more laughter!).
You've started to talk about your faves so what's your musical background? I think it's very diverse so here's the typical question. Which bands or musicians have inspired you?
JENSE: Hmm, I don't know any drummers. Years ago, I've seen "Super Drumming" in the television. I liked it
It was with Pete York...
JENSE: And Niki Noya, the small percussionist. He was great! I would love to play percussion. Things like a triangel, it's more relaxed and fun but the others don't like it. I think it's to quiet for our music, but I'm not quite sure.
What about you Kaktus? You're one of the biggest Misfits-collectors here in Germany. I think, this had influenced your style of singing.
KAKTUS: Yes, I'm a huge Misfits-collector...ehm, more a Glen Danzig-collector. Maybe you hear this influence, but our music is different from Danzig. We're more oriented into all Rock directions. Ok, and if there's a song, that sounds a little bit like Danzig it isn't something we try to focus on. Our music comes out naturally and mostly it's straight-forward Rock. When I try to imagine the music in my head, it sounded very "broken", too. I think, the others will agree with me. I and the guitarist, we have been played together in the past and of course, the early experiences were definitly an influence. In the end, it's how you try to imagine the music in your mind and what comes out of it. When you're writing a song, you've got a picture of it in your head a that's still Punk Rock. Don't know how to describe it...like back in 1974...it's 70's Rock.
What are your influences, Stachel?
STACHEL: It's very easy to say. American and English 70's and 80's Punk Rock. Of course, my old faves of the teenager days, Sweet and other Glam-Rock stuff. Today I don't like most of the actual bands, except the Scandinavian Rock bands like Gluecifer etc. But mostly we aren't interested in newer bands.
What about you, Hedl?
HEDL: I like the Ramones and I'm into late-70's Punk stuff like Cockney Rejects etc. There are also some 60's bands like The Animals, that I like. It had to rock and simply kick-ass! When it comes to newer bands I listen to Fu Manchu or Gluecifer, you know ...this kind of stuff
KAKTUS: We try to get a deeper view about it. For us, music doesn't mean: That's Punk Rock and this or that...
HEDL: And I'm really not sure what this label Punk Rock means. It's a description, which is open up to a lot of different styles. For me,a lot of music fits to this label. Others would may say, that it's Hardrock or Industrial or whatsoever...
And that's important. You just can't really categorize music.
KAKTUS: It seems as if it's important for the consumers. When I take a look at the reviews, the way people are describing us, ranges from Garage Punk to Doom Metal...
HEDL: ...or Oi-Music ha,ha,ha! Very strange! Everybody is picking out the part of the music the listener prefers or what you want to hear.
KAKTUS: Back in 1980 the SPK single on Industrial Records was labled as Punk Rock. The same goes for Throbbing Gristle. You have seen such bands together with Slaughter And The Dogs or The Damned.
HEDL: In the 70`s AC/DC was sold as an Australian Punk band. Ok, for me these guys were Punks!
KAKTUS: It's a performance, and you've get inspired through it or not.I think, it's boring to figure out if a guitarist of a band was part of Pur in his earlier live and due to this it's shit-music. Don't know...!Music is just music, it turns you on or it turns you off! This music I prefer and the next band I don't care about. It's simple.
What I like about you is that your band is far away from all this boring cliches like flames, tits and fat cars. So, let's talk about the lyrics, that are very good. Who's responsible for the songwriting and the lyrics?
KAKTUS: I write the songs and the lyrics. But there are bands, who got style in doing those cliches. I've seen the cover of the new Fu Manchu album. Ok, they have presented us this before but I still think, it's a genius cover artwork. One photo-shooting was enough for the whole album, a printed inner-sleeve and so on.It's got more class, when I compare it with other bands playing in the same vein. They are original.
You've mentioned the new Fu Manchu cover. I don't like them really, though I must admit that they are authentic. One of the two women on the front is the girlfriend of the guitar-player and he owns the car and the surf-board.
KAKTUS: Hey these guys are funny. They haven't paid anything for it.That's cool.
But I think you're more interested in the darker side of life? Ok, fun is important and it's nothing bad but...
KAKTUS: There isn't only a dark and a bright side. You've got agreeable and unagreeable feelings in your life. It seems as if I've got problems when I'm confronted with my unagrreeable feelings and so I've got the necessity to write songs and lyrics about it. What I really like is, when you are able to spread a positive energy with the songs. That are the real classics. Look at the Ramones! They've got the huge talent, to turn negative stuff into something positive. When you put something positive lyrically into an aggressive song and you'll make the people dance in front of the stage you've changed it into something positive.
So, you don't see yourself as a negative band? You want to give an up-lifting vibe to the people...
Don't lose the fun, no matter how hard life can be to you. Not meant in a silly stupid way. Fun can also be full of depth.
KAKTUS: Everyone is having frustrating and joyful moments in life. And as an artist, things are going on inside your head and than it bursts out! And then you've got to wait for the result. I've got no idea.There are always two sides. You can't always feeling dark or bright. One needs the other to exsist.
And I think, that that the name SOUL INVADERS is connected with the idea of reaching the people.Not in the sense of crawling into ones ass, but to bring something over from your world.
KAKTUS: It shall symbolize the spiritual character of the whole thing. You should see and take the music as a spiritual expression. As a REAL feeling! It should be more than just entering the stage and doing simple collage-work or only playing some riffs. If you're a performer, maybe it'll give you something but you won't reach the listener. There must be soul in it, and maybe it will touch your soul. That's important. It's a spiritual thing.
Can you connect your statements with the album cover-artwork (it's black with a chain and an iron hook on it) . Is it only part of an cool image or does it symbolize something more for you?
KAKTUS: "Weight Of The World" was always the best title for the LP...mhm, don't know. One day I've closed my eyes and I was thinking about the artwork and then I've got the idea in a second and it was exactly this cover. And then we all looked for the best design.
You've played a lot of gigs in the past with different bands.What were your best/worst concerts, any nice stories etc. ?
STACHEL: Our best gigs were in East-Germany! Cool people there
HEDL: Yes, there's a a stronger scene with more creativity and bigger unity. They know how to appreciate things and they've got more enthusiasm.
KAKTUS: They don't go to gigs, because it's more hip than watching television. When they like a band, they really ROCK! That's cool!
It reminds me to European bands, that have been done tours in Japan. The people there are always very enthusiastic about Rock/Metal bands. Here it's sometimes as if people were only using concerts to present their new shirts and things like that. I miss the passion about the live-music. When we talk about gigs what are your plans for this year? Have you ever thought about a longer tour?
KAKTUS: Everyone of us is having a daily job and two of us are having family. I've got a small son and our guitarist is father of a little daughter...
HEDL: ...and he's got a firm!
KAKTUS: But today's the offical release date of our album and we've got a guy, who's been organising the sales and distribution and he will taking care about gigs.
It seems as if it's very important for you to keep control about the band and buisness. It starts with the artwork and ends with the distribution. You are your own boss!
STACHEL: I think it depends on the Independant/Punk ideology.
HEDL: Back to the roots!
STACHEL: You sign up with a bullshit label, then you're losing control over your music. That's still today's standard.No, we don't need to have it.
Is there any special bigger band you would like to tour with?
KAKTUS: No, it's more fun to play in small bars and clubs as headliner than to support a greater band. We've done support for The Damned and it sucked! Not because of The Damned, but the booking agent was shit and the club.The Damned were pretty cool! We've got a fantastic show , somewhere in the suburbs of Münster with World Downfall, a Slayer rip-off but the guys had a lot of fun and we've got a big party together. There were only seven people in the audience, but it was a great evening. We played together with other bands in front of much more people, but when we've have finished...
HEDL:...we go out of it, and we were feeling worser than before, because the whole situation was uncomfortable. Things that were going on behind the stage and so on.
When we talk about live-gigs, what do you expect from a concert or from the audience?
JENSE: No, we don't expect anything.
HEDL: I think it's great when someone comes to me after the show and tells me that they have liked the music. You know, when people are asking for our releases or they want to get in contact with the band. When there's only one person out of twenty who likes our music I'm glad. We want to have a good time to forget the daily shit everyone is involved in.
KAKTUS: Just to get the shit out. Ah, I remember that we've got one of the most miserable gigs in the fucked-up AK 47. We will NEVER return to that place. Never! It sucked and was total negative.
HEDL: It was very dark!
STACHEL: The people over there got no style and no respect for other bands. A shit audience, a shit booker...
JENSE: They really don't care about you, when you not a well-known band...
STACHEL: I've never expected something like this, but it's true.
It sounds to me, like a curious "class" war. If you're still an underground act, they treat you like shit!?
KAKTUS: Let me say it in this way. It's a superficial thing, that's going on over there. I know a lot of people in Düsseldorf and I've toured with a genuine Düsseldorf-based female band named The Bonaraas (?). They were awesome.
HEDL: But as far as I know, they are a Solingen based band, ha,ha...
KAKTUS: Ok, but there are other nice people. But when you think about the Toten Hosen song "Modestadt Düsseldorf" and I remember our own case I must say, that this song is saying the truth (everybody laughs!)
Is it important for you to have an image on stage or are you just trying to be yourself?
HEDL: Yes, I'm trying to be myself. Maybe not everytime, ha,ha...but I try hard!
STACHEL: Our image is, that we don't have any.
HEDL: Yes, we don't want to hide behind something. It depends on our feelings.
And you're trying to be authentic...
HEDL: Sometimes we've got a good day on stage and then a worse day.
STACHEL: In some clubs, there are a few people that are confused about our outfit. We don't have coloured hair or leather jackets with rivets on it...
...and no "flame"-tattoos.
STACHEL: We're just looking very "normal" and sometimes it's very curious, how people are talking with us.
STACHEL: And I remember a situation, when someone had asked us if we were parents, that were looking for their kids after a gig or something like that...ha, ha. The problem is,mh..don't know...
JENSE: On stage we are the same as in our rehearsel room. There's no difference.
KAKTUS: And how will you create an image on stage without drugs? If you've got a bad day on stage, you'll need to use coke for a better form? We don't go drunken on stage, except our drummer. We're drinking our water, except the drummer ha,ha,ha...But he doesn't take coke. We're doing our thing without drugs. Don't know. Our main inspiration is the music.
STACHEL: We've got our "show", but it's not meant in a negative way. You know, we don't want to pose. And we don't want to pretend something, what we aren't. We know other "canidates" , who change their clothes before a gig...
HEDL:...or they spend three hours in the backstage area for cosmetics. Or they were taking stuff on stage as a toilet dish...!
Maybe it's a to early to ask for it, but what will be your next releases in 2002? Have you anything planned?
KAKTUS: Yes, we have planned a single for this year!
Will you release it on your own label Ektoplasma?
KAKTUS: Yes. As far as there isn't any interest from a label in releasing our music, we will do it by ourselves. But we would be glad, if we could put out some stuff from another band on our label. But that's nothing concrete. Maybe in the future. Now we've working together with someone who's responsible for the distribution. The single will include a track, that was recorded during the album sessions and we will find an equal song for the A-Side.
That's new for me, that you're looking for other bands...
KAKTUS: Ah, no! The problem is that we don't have enough money. It's nearly enough for our productions, but we can't afford other releases.
Ok, guys. We've reached the end of this interview.At least, is there anything you like to add?
HEDL: I like garlic. Pizza with garlic and black olivs.
KAKTUS: All the best for this world.
STACHEL: I hope that my daughter will like our music when she becomes a teenager!
JENSE: World peace is fine!
Thanks a lot! Have a nice show!