February 2011 - MIRROR OF DECEPTION
MIRROR OF DECEPTION is one of Europe's longest running Doom Metal bands. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in early December 2010 and released another great album that once again refined and expanded their very own sound. This are just two good reasons why we at Cosmic Lava should find out what 's going on in the Swabistan Doom camp. Funnily enough Cosmic Lava did the first interview with Jochen Fopp when the band celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2000. Apart from that guitarist Jochen (who's also one of the organizers of the Doom Shall Rise Festival) is a hell of a guy, so it is always a nice idea to bother him with a couple of questions.
Hi Jochen. First of all let me congratulate you twice. First to the new album and second to 20th anniversary of Mirror Of Deception. Would you seriously have thought that band would run that long, when you started?
Thank you. When we first started, the aim was to become a band, to write our own songs and to play live at some point. We didn't think any further.
Let us speak about the album first. At the beginning I had a little problems getting into it. But you seldom click with me at first listen. I remember that it took me about a year to get into the 'Mirrorsoil' album. And I think I already said in my review that is was not my fave MoD album though I really dig it.. I remember you told me a couple of weeks ago, when we met at Dawn of Doom, that other people within our scene had the same issues. Any idea why?
I have no idea really. To us the songs are perfectly clear and catchy. Maybe because we have already played and listened to them a hundred and more times until they get released. Maybe we offer too much variety to make it an instant easy listening experience. I have the impression that many listeners expect a constant mood and pace throughout an entire Doom album these days and that's not what we're about. We can only hope people will give our albums the time to grow and click at some point. It's interesting that there is more positive feedback now (five months after the release) and I've seen us appear in fave 2010 album polls after some time has passed.
I think this time the production is a little strange on the vocals, compared to the last two albums. Did you do anything differently this time when the album got mixed?
Not really and not on purpose.
Okay, enough of that. Let us talk about the songs. Some of them are definitely another step forward to a more traditional metal approach here and there. Does that just shine through a little more these days or do you guys listen more to Heavy Metal in these days?
I don't think the stuff we listen to in private has really changed that much. But I do think the obvious influences have shifted from the big names in Doom to bands which are closer to us personally. We pay homage to bands like Dreaming, Jack Frost, Primordial, Lord Vicar and Warning here and there on the new album. And traditional Heavy Metal has always been a big part of our sound. It's called Doom METAL, isn't it?
I was surprised by these nice instrumental parts you included this time. Whose Idea was that? Bringing back some instrumentals seems to be coming back as of late.
We've had instrumental pieces on previous albums, too. Like 'Where the Juniper grows' (on 'Foregone') and 'Enigma' (on 'Shards'). So it's nothing new really. This time we had three of them and decided to use them all.
As I have no info about it, how did the lyric writing process go this time? Long gone are the days when you wrote most of the lyrics. It seems that there's less personal stuff and more story-telling as well if I got that right.
That's right. Everyone in the band is contributing lyrics since the 'Foregone' days. 'Sojourner' and 'Lauernder Schmerz' are very personal but the rest is indeed mostly story telling. Stories we came up with ourselves or which were inspired by books and newspaper reports.
Let's talk about the bonus CD (Unfortunately, I didn't receive it). Was that the idea of the label or your idea to celebrate your 20th anniversary?
We came up with the idea together with our label Cyclone Empire. People without record players were constantly asking for 'Der Student von Ulm' on CD and there was enough other material. So we thought it would make a nice package to celebrate our anniversary.
You've re-recorded some old demo songs for the enhanced edition? What was that like?
It was fun to revisit those old tunes.We've made some changes here and there. Our first song ever written, now entitled '(We are) Mirror of Deception' received new lyrics which take a tongue in cheek look back on our history as a band.
In addition, you also included some songs from older split releases as well. How did those split releases sell?
I think the split album with Garden of Worm is almost sold out by now. The split 7" with Tefra is still available.
The concert for your 20th anniversary is a couple of weeks ago. How did it turn out? I noticed that you played together with Dreaming, but who was the special guest? I could not find much about that in the internet.
That's because we've kept it a secret. End of Green were the special guests. They are pretty popular in our area and sell out big venues with ease. At a recent local show they had 1200 people. We wanted that people expect the right thing and come for us.
Before that gig you played at the Hammer Of Doom fest as well. As you are organizing the other big Doom Fest in Germany did you took the opportunity to find out more about their way of planning a festival? Did it inspire you?
Sure, I take every opportunity to learn. There are some things others do better and some things that work fine as they are for us.
The Doom Shall Rise takes a well deserved break next year due to the pregnancy of Frank's wife. Have you already thought of DSR 2012 or don't you waste any thought about it this year?
Of course we'll keep our eyes and ears open. The actual booking will start sometime in summer 2011 and the first announcements can be expected around October this year.
Let's go back to the band. Within 20 years there must have happened quite few things worth sharing with our readers. Maybe you can give us a few anecdotes about the early years or something that was pretty worth mentioning, that happened more recently but did not get covered in interviews.
I remember a show in the mid 90s. It was a festival in the sportshall of a small village. We were supposed to sleep there after the show. Around 2am we ran out of beer but everyone was craving for more. So Gunnar and Baumi, our drummer and singer at the time packed in what was left of the catering, some pieces of cake and other stuff which wasn't looking all that fresh and delicious anymore. Their plan was to trade it in for a crate of beer at one of the local pubs as no one had any money left. I don't know how they got through with it or what they had to do for it but they returned with a crate and were everyone's heroes That show was also the first and last we travelled to with our own band van. On our way home we had to cross a high mountain. On the way down we suddenly realized the brakes weren't working properly. Fortunately no one was injured. We later found out it would have demanded a lot of work and money to fix everything the van would have needed to make it a safe and comfortable vehicle. So we got rid of it - for two crates of beer. Those were the days...
After twenty years in the scene, how did you perceive the changes it underwent during that time?
It became more of everything. More bands, more subgenres, more gigs and festivals, more audience and attention. More to choose from. What is still missing is more venues willing to book Doom shows.
Where is Mirror Of Deception heading? Any plans for another tour maybe or something else? Where would you like to see Mirror Of Deception in 20 years?
As I answer this we're still working on our tour with 40 WATT SUN and SEMLAH which will be in March 2011. We've been invited to the Malta Doom festival in November and look very much forward to that. We'll see what else materializes. Meanwhile we have started to work on new songs. I would like to see us still being active in the years to come.
Okay, I think that is all for now. Thanks for your time.