Caliban - 18/02/2012

CALIBAN are a five-piece metalcore band from Germany. They have released eight studio albums to-date, and two split albums with the band Heaven Shall Burn. The band was formed in Hattingen, Germany in 1997 under the name Never Again. After six months of playing together, the band recorded their first two songs for a demo, which was never released. The songs were sent to several record labels, and Lifeforce Records was the first to offer the band a record deal. The band's first self-titled EP came out in the summer of 1998. To promote the EP, Caliban played many shows all over Europe and a number of support shows for bands including Morning Again, Earth Crisis and Cro-Mags.

 

After their European tour in 1999 CALIBAN entered the studio to record their first full-length album entitled ‘A Small Boy and a Grey Heaven’. The CD received positive reviews in many magazines and hardcore and metal ezines.

 

CALIBAN's eighth studio album, ‘I Am Nemesis’, was recently released via Century Media Records. The album features guest appearances by Marcus Bischoff (Heaven Shall Burn) and Mitch Lucker (Suicide Silence). After spending 10 months writing new material, the band is very excited to get the record out to  the fans. "It was important to us to have an elaborate album without any fillers," says lead guitarist Marc Görtz. "Additionally, the sound of the album is the best we've ever had by far: it is heavy and brutal without being chaotic." Lyrically, "I Am Nemesis" is a continuation of the band's last record, ‘Say Hello To Tragedy’, and it focuses on controversial and often overlooked world  issues. Musically, Görtz says, "The album breaks new soil without forgetting our roots. There are new influences such as shimmering guitar melodies and technical grooves with Meshuggah-like heaviness."

 

A European tour with Winds Of Plague, We Butter The Bread With Butter, Eyes Set To Kill and Attila kicked off on February 2 in Karlsruhe, Germany.

 

 

In order to get to know all about their latest album, we tracked down Marc Görtz (Lead guitar) to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com.

 

First of all, how are you doing? And congratulations on your new album ‘I Am Nemesis’. Of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it.

 

Marc: I’m great, thanks for asking!! Now since the album is out and the tour has started I can just relax and play shows! After so long it was about time! Glad you like the album! Thanks!

 

Which approach did you choose to create ‘I Am Nemesis’, did you go for a more raw exposition, something more reminiscent of your previous other works, or something altogether different?

 

Marc: I actually can’t tell really, because I don't really know. I just had an idea in mind how I wanted the next album to sound, I tried many things until I found what I was looking for! But since you’ve said this now, a couple of people actually said that they can hear influences from previous works like ‘Shadow Hearts’ which is actually cool, because I still love that album!

 

What was the songwriting process like for ‘I Am Nemesis’? For instance, did someone come in with just a riff, or complete songs?

 

Marc: I write most of the stuff or at least the basic song ideas at home. I programme rough drums to show the other guys my ideas. Then we decide, together with the producer (it’s always good to have an outside of the band opinion) which ideas are good enough to get finalized, then we take it from there! First we finalize the guitar riffs after the drums, then the lyrics. Because we want to know the vibe of the song before we put lyrics on it, that the mood fits too etc if you know what I mean….

 

What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘I Am Nemesis’, any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?

 

Marc: Yeah I wanted to really have riffs and not only create the heaviness through speed of riffs, a good example is the song "We Are The Many" it’s not so fast, but still really heavy. And I also wanted to create atmospheric and epic melodies, like Muse have, I know it sounds like a strange mix, but it worked out really good! Like the chorus in the song "Memorial" or parts in "This Oath" etc…

 

 

Could you describe the implications of the title ‘I Am Nemesis’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

 

Marc: yes, we see it as a soundtrack for the "downfall of mankind" if you want to see it that way… because we wanted to show that things need to change!

 

Can you tell me a little more about the lyrics, did anything in particular inspire you?

 

Marc: like I said before, we wanted to show what’s not right and needs to be changed, like racism, the greediness of companies, corrupted politicians but also personal stuff like in memoriam, it’s about Andy’s dad who died of cancer last year!

 

How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?

 

Marc: To me it’s at least as important to have lyrics which actually have something to say, what the fans do with that is up to them, but I hope that some also pay attention and start to think about certain things!

 

Can you give us a little background information on the songs, are there any stories behind them?

 

Marc: Not a background story about the songs I guess, just the lyrics like I explained. The songs don't have a deep meaning musically, if that is what you mean… ?!

 

If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not listen to the music, what would you hope they would take from them?

 

Marc: Actually the same as they do with the music, start to think haha, but I don't know if they will come across the same way as they do with the music, because we try to match the mood of the songs to the subject of the lyrics.

 

How did the recording process proceed, did you work differently this time than you did with your previous work? How much time did you spend in the studio?

 

Marc: We spent much more time but were also more effective than ever! We also took a break between the instrumental and the vocal recordings, to finalize the lyrics, to make them fit even better to the final version of the songs. The instrumental part took like 3 weeks in a studio in Essen and the vocals actually took 4 weeks, because even in the studio we worked more on the lyrics, I think in the end we had like 400 pages of lyrics to choose from. It was hard to not lose the focus, but we managed it in the end! So you can say we spent around 2 months on recording and after that it got mixed in like 2 weeks in Berlin.

 

 

You’ve released eight full length albums, including the new one so far. What do you think are the main differences between your debut album ‘A Small Boy and a Grey Heaven’ and the new one?

 

Marc: Better musicianship, better songwriting. More variety in the songs and actually I think also that the songs are more heavy, even with more clean vocals on this album!

 

With several albums under your belt, how far has Caliban surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in the band?

 

Marc: We never thought we would get as far as we actually did, or even got 4 years ago already. Seeing the world and also playing our songs to people who want to hear them on the other side of the planet, which still amazes me! I never thought that we might do that one day!

 

Which song is your favorite one to play live? Which song do you find the most challenging one to play live?

 

Marc: Since we started to play songs off the new album, I really enjoy playing "Davy Jones" and "Bogeyman" and challenging but also fun is "Memorial"….

 

What have been the highlights and low points throughout your career?

 

Marc: That’s a hard question, because everybody in the band may have a different point of view. one highlight for sure was a tour with In Flames and Machine Head and the first USA tour, because we never thought to get this far from home with the band haha and the lowest is hard to say, because we are actually pretty lucky, I mean of course there are always things which go wrong, but we don't make a huge deal out of it.

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into?

 

Marc: I can just speak for my part, the music and a tiny bit of lyrics. It’s hard to describe, I have to be in the right mood, kind of in the mood of the songs I am about to write. It may sound strange but for example, I can’t sit down and just start writing… one situation could be where I’m sitting with my wife watching a movie, and in the middle I jump up, run to the computer (she hates that by the way ;) ) because I have an idea, the reason can be the mood of the movie we are watching. but that’s only one example… it can be many personal circumstances…

 

 

Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence?

 

Metal: I grew up with it, my dad gave me a Metallic cassette when I was really, really young.

Underground: Where we are coming from, which supported us a lot!!

Internet: Maybe too important these days…

Religion: None

Politics: Too much to complain about to put in only one sentence or word

The Netherlands: My first festival (Dynamo) and the best mayonnaise in the world ;)

Germany: Always wins in football against Netherlands: P no, just kidding!! I actually hate football!! HAHAAHAH

 

What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think of the overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?

 

Marc: I actually think that the overload is already over and not too many bands remain! Sometimes I miss the time and how the scene was when we started out, the bands were more helpful towards each other, like Heaven Shall Burn and us for example… these days there seems to be more competition.

 

 What makes Caliban different from the other metalcore bands?

 

Marc: That’s actually for you or the readers to decide! haha. I can just tell you that we write music we love and don't try to do something different only to have more people like us! I think that would be dishonest and the fans would hear that in our music, because it would sound kind of fake…

 

Which goals did you have when the band started out and how do these goals stand now?

 

Marc: We didn't really have a real focused goal, we were just friends who wanted to play music. One goal was maybe to get a small record deal to be able to distribute our music better, to be able to play in more countries and see the world, to share our music.

 

What does the future hold for Caliban?

 

Marc: Well who knows, who knows… we don't aim for anything really, I just usually focus on what I am doing at the moment! That works best for me!  But I know that some tours are coming up this year, which will take us to places we haven't been for a while now, so I’m excited about that, that’s for sure!

 

Anything you want to say to our readers?

 

Marc: Thanks for your interest and reading what I had to say! Check out our new album, there is a ton of work in it and I’m sure you will not regret taking time to listen to it, and thanks to you for the interview!

 

 

Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver

 

 

Members:

Andreas Dörner – Screamed vocals

Denis Schmidt – Rhythm guitar, clean vocals

Marc Görtz – Lead guitar

Marco Schaller – Bass, backup vocals

Patrick Grün – Drums & flute

 

Former Members:

Engin Güres – Bass

Boris Pracht – Bass (Currently on Deadsoil)

Robert Krämer – Drums

Claus Wilgenbusch - Guitar

 

Studio albums: 

(1999) A Small Boy and a Grey Heaven

(2001) Vent

(2003) Shadow Hearts

(2004) The Opposite from Within

(2006) The Undying Darkness

(2007) The Awakening

(2009) Say Hello to Tragedy

(2012) I Am Nemesis

 

EP’s:

(1998) Caliban

(2011) Coverfield