EMQ’s with FUNERAL PILE
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Rosenheim, Germany based Blackened Death/Doom band, Funeral Pile. Huge thanks to bassist/producer, Martin, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi. My name is Martin. I am the bass player of Funeral Pile. You could also say that I am the producer. The band was originally founded in 2008. I wasn’t part of the band at that time. I was already involved in other bands, but we already knew each other. All in the band were friends and still very young. They were all metal fans with long hair who just wanted to see if they could make some heavy music. The style was already similar to today, but the goals were not very high in the beginning. It was more about meeting for a few beers and banging the shit out of their heads. After not even two years the band broke up because all of them moved to different cities for their studies. But the contact never completely broke off. Ten years later, all of them had started families and had jobs, Annike, Ralf and Matthias, the guitarists and the singer of the original line up, met to celebrate New Year’s Eve together. After a few drinks they decided it was time to revive Funeral Pile. The very next day Annike and Ralf met to write new riffs. Because they didn’t have a rehearsal room, they soon asked me if they could record in my home studio, so that they wouldn’t forget the riffs, and that Matthias could already work on getting his voice back in shape. So, they recorded the riffs that would become the song ‘Nameless City’ at my place. Once I heard the single riffs I thought that sounded great. They already had enough material for a whole song. I arranged the material into a song, played the bass and added the drums, and wow! Matthias worked out his vocal line very quickly and it was done. We all thought it was great. We kept working in that mode. Annike and Ralf had many riff ideas. I picked out the best ones to form songs out of them. And sometimes, when I was missing something, I recorded something myself. It was very pleasant and creative and also great fun and soon we had enough material for the first album.
How did you come up with your band name?
Ralf came up with the name already in the first period of the band. He was fascinated by Nordic rites and sagas. Funeral Pile should refer to the burial of Viking kings. But we also used it in our song in connection with the witch burnings during the inquisition, after we had read in some book that the name can be associated with both.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Rosenheim, a not very big town in the south east of Germany, in the countryside at the foot of the Alps. The metal scene there is small but nice. We met because we always hung out in the same dark and smoky heavy metal club. It’s been closed in the meantime but since we all have kids in the band, we don’t have time to hang out anyway. There are always small concerts of local metal bands. Munich and Salzburg are less than an hour drive away, where all the big bands play shows on their tours. And, of course, there are still many great metal festivals in Germany and the neighbouring countries. Wacken of course, but also dozens of others.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We just released our first full album “Evoked In Flames” as stream and download. After we got good reactions to it, it will also come as a CD and LP. But the release date is not fixed yet.
“Evoked In Flames” (Full Album)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Since the songwriting is teamwork, there are a lot of influences. Ralf likes Iron Maiden and other old school Heavy Metal bands, but also Post and Stoner Rock. Annike is more into stuff like Bolt Thrower or Paradise Lost. Matthias is the Black Metal guy in the band. I like all that stuff. For me it is very inspiring when listening to bands like Belakor, Dödsrit or Panopticon.
What first got you into music?
Haha, good question. I’ve wanted to play in a band ever since I can remember. But my family is completely non-musical. I didn’t start playing an instrument until I was a teenager, but then I started playing in a band right away. That’s also the reason why I’m a bass player. I also play guitar and drums, but there is always someone who can do it better than me. *laughs*
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Our singer Matthias would now say Franzl Lang the yodel king *laughs*…just kidding. In past projects I already had the chance to work with musicians like Winterherz from Waldgeflüster, Austin Lunn from Panopticon or Fitty Wienhold from U.D.O. I was able to get many strong impressions of their passion for music and with which energy they approach the music. There are so many great musicians that if I had a wish, I wouldn’t be able to decide right away. Maybe Tuomas Saukkonen. He is so creative; it would definitely be very impressive to see him at work.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Fire in the Mountains. I saw a live video of Panopticon playing there. It was just magic. And, of course, Wacken. Because it is the biggest festival with the best sound. My personal favourite festival is the PartSan.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be kind to each other. And think a little bit more about your social responsibility than only about yourselves.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, so maybe we could enjoy seeing Bolt Thrower live again.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love everything directly related to music. Writing songs, recording in the studio, meeting with the others to rehearse…I even love rehearsing, many people don’t like that…playing gigs, sitting on the bus for hours, continuing to sit in the backstage room for hours and chatting with other bands. All that is great. Sometimes it pisses me off that music ends up being a business. Sometimes I’m even quite happy that I only make music for my own pleasure and don’t have to earn my living with it. There are so many bands out there that are commercially quite successful, but have done the same thing for years/decades, only to serve their customers. From a commercial point of view, it is unfortunately much more important to be a brand, visually as well as musically, than to be creative. So, unfortunately, metal too often looks like its own caricature.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
To continue the theme: A little more courage and openness to try something new wouldn’t hurt. There are these many sub-genres who’s clichés the bands have to fulfil, otherwise they will be torn apart by critics and fans. It’s all so stuck that no innovation can come out of it.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
For Ralf it’s Iron Maiden – “Powerslave”, for Matthias it’s Dark Tranquility – “Damage Done”, for Annike it is Vader – “Litany”, and for me it’s Paradise Lost – “Draconian Times”.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
First of all, I can’t understand this current hype about cassettes. I’m so old, I still recorded mixtapes myself from record to listen to it in the car. There you hang hours in front of the HiFi system to record the tape. Just to listen to the noise of the record and cassette together later. And when the sun hits the car, the cassettes are fucked and you start all over again. Fuck cassettes, really. I was so proud of my first CD-changer in my old Honda Civic. To be honest, meanwhile I stream my music almost 99% of the time. If I like an album, I buy it on vinyl. Preferably at the concert of the band. But I rarely get to listen to music from vinyl. Most of my records are still shrink-wrapped on the record shelf.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
We haven’t played any gigs with Funeral Pile yet. Since each of us has small children and we had little time, we focused only on songwriting and working in the studio. We are currently getting ready for live shows, but in the near future there will be only occasional weekend gigs. Our kids are still too small to go on tour. They still need their moms and dads. I myself have been playing in bands for more than twenty years and have played many many gigs. The best gigs are always the ones where something unexpected happens. I remember a show with a previous band when our guitarist came up with a request from a friend of his. We just had the info to play a show in a region called Allgäu. We had a five hour drive to get there in an old bus without air conditioning. When we got there we had to drive several kilometres up a mountain in the Alps on a narrow dirt road. I just thought “What the fuck?…Do they want us to play in front of some cows?…Who is going to walk up this steep mountain to see a gig?” But then we reached a huge mountain meadow with an open air festival, surrounded by high, rocky mountain peaks, with a view of the city down in the valley. The audience was more than one thousand people and we were very well received there. The people really went wild. I will definitely never forget this show.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I know a guy from Norway who does tourist safaris to the musk oxen on Dovrefjell. When it’s not tourist season, he hunts moose and reindeer. He also brews his own beer, which is really good by the way. Sometimes I would like to live that life too. But I know myself, instead of going hunting I would set up a home studio and make music.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Besides my band? Maybe Karl Willets, Nick Holmes, Ozzy Osbourne, Hulk Hogan and Sponge Bob.
What’s next for the band?
We will release “Evoked in Flames” on CD and vinyl soon. We haven’t got the release date yet, so stay tuned. And we already started songwriting for album number two. I don’t want to give too much away yet. But as with the first album, we will again not strictly stick to just one sub-genre. Maybe there will be a few guest appearances. Besides that, we are preparing to play live. As I said before, there won’t be many shows. But maybe one or the other readers will have the chance to see us somewhere soon.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
No matter what you call it, I love Jaffa Cake.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Be kind, respect each other and think about your social responsibility.
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