May 2003 - VOODOOSHOCK
During the last years the German heavy Doom scene has grown much stronger than ever before. VOODOOSHOCK are the next bright star, although they aren't exactely a German band, because the rythm-section is coming out of Switzerland. Fronted by ex-Naevus member Uwe Groebel, the band plays very emotional 70's-oriented heavy Doom rock and with their self-titled debut, they've not only received a very good review in the Cosmic Lava. At first, I thought to to this interview at the DSR-festival, but we talked about so much other things, that I've deceided to do the interview a few weeks later. So dear reader, here it is and I hope you'll enjoy it.
Hello Uwe! It's been nearly two months ago since the DSR-Festival happened. What's your personal point of view about this festival? Which bands were your personal faves and what do you think about the whole atmosphere of it?
Uwe: It's been a big event, all kinds of doom fans meeting at their most important festival (in germany). My personal faves were REVELATION, WEED IN THE HEAD, SUBVERSION, DREAMING - and TOLLWUET (!!!!!).
Michi: About the same for me: REVELATION, DREAMING, SUBVERSION etc. and Reverend Bizzare's Albert's explanation for his new haircut.
You played with VOODOO SHOCK at the second day of the DSR. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed of your show, due to the weak sound and I remember that you weren't really satisfied, too. How would you review your show and what went wrong?
Uwe: You were? Sorry to say. Michi and Specki both had to cope with the flu and had fever. So we actually missed some points of tempos and maybe also because of both playing in TOLLWUET before, at the beginnign of the day. But we had excellent reactions from the crowd. For the sound I cannot say anything, I only listened to the bad monitor sound on stage.
Michi: Funny enough, many people said that we had one of the best live sounds from the festival. Honestly, I think the PA system and the mixer, who nearly pissed his pants when the bass was sounding like a bass, were the weak points of the festival. I didn't have the flu, but I was that goddamn hungry that I nearly fell apart, my own fault hihi. Should have had one more beer or so...
On the other side, the audience really liked the show and I think, you've sold a lot of your same titled debut album at Márk's Psychedelic stall after the show. Was it a small success for the band and were you satisfied with the sales?
Uwe: Don't know how many units we've sold.
Michi: As far as I know Mark sold about thirty CDs and a couple of T-Shirts. But I have no idea, how many CDs other bands sold...and in the end, there was so many people who liked the show, so it was a good occasion to leave a little mark from VoodooShock.
I've mentioned your debut album, which has been released last year on Psychedoomelic. As I've written in the review, it's a very strong album, full of variations and emotions and I think, you've made a huge step forward since your days with Naevus. What do you think?
Uwe: I think the same. The songs are sometimes 2 or 3 years old. As I've never played the songs with a band before, I took the chance to vary the songs. Took new parts and exchanged old ones. So the songs are in a way I really love.
Have you done everything by yourself (production, mixing, cover-artwork), and how much time did you need for the whole process?
Uwe: We recorded in a studio were we've recorded the demo. Ecki recorded and mixed with us. We've chosen this studio because we wanted to record the songs over some period of time, and not in one week. So we all made our minds about sounds and how we could improve on this or that track. I tried various guitar sounds so the guitars are all different on the trax - maybe not too much but you can hear it. All in all we recorded on 5 or 6 days, and mixed on two or three days. After the first mix we decided to use some new guitar sound in some of the trax.
Michi: As for the artwork, Roger from Tollwuet dug up the picture, and we had the photos done and came up with some rough idea. Those we passed on to an old friend of mine, who runs her own graphics business. We all liked a lot what she came up with, the first version she did, is the booklet you now know.
Was Psychedoomelic your first choice and were there any other label offers?
Uwe: We haven't searched for another one. We hope to get an offer for the next album.
Will you release more on PSY in the future?
Uwe: As said before.
Michi: I'd say to start with PSY was good for us, as Mark has all those connections all over the world. And he does an excellent job in selling the CD, so I guess we gained some attention everywhere.
It was a surprise for me, that you've chosen the Moody Blues classic "Nights In White Satin" for a cover-song and you've turned it into a real Doom song? Who got the idea for it and are you a fan of the 60's?
Uwe: At first we did it for fun. The it turned out really good and we took it for the album. The song is an all-time classic and I had in the ear for a long time. That we did the cover-version was a quick idea on the weekend we recorded the basic trax.
Michi: "Nights" is probably the only sixties songs Uwe likes, hihi. Whenever I play some cool old shit to him, heavy psychedelic and stuff, he just says: Hmmm, I don't get this music.
Why haven't you re-recorded the excellent cover-version of St. Vitus "Patra" for the album?
Uwe: Because we wanted to use it for the maybe never released Vitus tribute only.
I wonder, that you haven't done any kind of touring to promote the new album. Shepherd have taken their chance and they've played with Sunn O))) in March 2003, so what about you? Can we expect a VOODOO SHOCK tour in 2003?
Uwe: There's no touring planned, except for some shows with WALL OF SLEEP, maybe in June. But we can't afford touring because of lack of money and we all have full-time jobs.
Michi: I did a lot of touring with my old band PHASED. If you don't have a label backing you with the minimal required support, it just doesn't make any sense these days to tour as an unsigned band. I mean it's great fun, but the money you get as a rock band isn't even enough to buy toilet paper to wipe your ass. Thanks to overpaid DJs and shitty nu-hype bands that don't even know which town they're playing for destroying the underground...
Sometimes it seems to me, as if VOODOOSHOCK is more like the 'Uwe Groebel-Band'? Has everyone equal rights in the band or are you something like the chief?
Uwe: The original idea was to play the songs and enter studio for recording, to release the album. The songs were almost done before Voodoo Shock was created. So on this album it maybe is an Uwe Groebel band thing. But without this excellent groove machines in the back I would be nothing. They definitely put their own style in it! As for new songs, ther's gonna be achange as Michi also does some for Voodoo Shock. But the way we do it will be the same. We don't rehearse and when we get back together we play the songs we already sent on tapes to each other. For us it's the best way to play energetic and focus on a defitive thing. At least for this time.
Michi: Klaus, you're completely right. Uwe treats us like slaves. We can't raise an opinion without tasting the whip. And he doesn't stop until our fingers and ears bleed.
Apart of the sound, what's the main difference between Naevus and VOODOOSHOCK? How would you compare both bands?
Uwe: NAEVUS was definitely more Metal and not too slow. I this three-piece we can vary a lot and it's a lot heavier than in NAEVUS. That's what I think.
What does the term 'Doom' means to you and why do you play this kind of music? What do you think about the current German heavy-scene (if there's one)? Any bands around, that you like?
Uwe: Hard question bro'. Wheter you call it 'doom' or not. It's definitely that kind of music to express my personal feelings, negative and postive. Lyrically I'd like to spread some positive feelings, for hope, love and passion. As we've seen on the DSR festival, there are a lot new bands around. But I have definitely too less time to listen most of the time to any underground stuff. But what I like from germany is SUBVERSION and DREAMING as they both transport the rock feeling.
Michi: To be honest, I was better in checking underground bands some years ago, but on the other hand...there haven't been too many new bands - not especially German, but European bands - that really convinced me. Either they're too metal-sounding for my personal taste, and - even worse - now that it's become so easy to record a demo CD for not too high a price, many bands release stuff too early instead of practising for a couple of months longer.
What are your plans with VOODOOSHOCK for this year, apart of the split-7" with Iron Kind?
Uwe: We gonna appear on a canadian sampler as maybe the 7" never happens due to IRON KIND problems. As soon our schedules allows we do a jam weekend in summer and decide how we continue, and we'll see how far we are with the song-writing. Maybe we use some old NAEVUS songs as well. Of course some of them were never officially released.
Thanks a lot for your time? Any last words before we close?
Uwe: Tanks a lot for you support, and thanks for your critical words. It's been a pleasure to met you on the festival. For those who haven't heard us, go to www.voodooshock.de and listen to MP3 files. If you know us, buy our CDs and shirts. We still have copies of the demo. Doom on!
Michi: Praise the doom, look out for things to come - whenever they come, and also check out my other band Tollwuet.