Monday, April 11, 2016

interview: Septagon

Septagon (Germany) is a new name, but the musicians involved are known for their work with their more established bands Lanfear and Atlantean Kodex. The 2016 debut album is “Deadhead Syndicate” and it’s classic-style thrash with a technical/progressive side, in the way that certain 80s bands played music. The band has in mind the sounds of Watchtower and Realm and other bands known not only for skills but for songs, too. This interview was answered by Stef (guitars).
Greetings, Septagon! What can you tell us to introduce the band?
SEPTAGON is the creature of LANFEAR's mastermind and guitarist Markus “Ulle” Ullrich, who joined forces with ATLANTEAN KODEX’ vocalist Markus Becker in 2013 to form an old-school band that blends the aggression of Exodus, Slayer and Testament with the melodic and technical appeal of bands like Forbidden, Heathen, Realm or Watchtower.
The line-up was completed shortly after with Jürgen Schrank (LANFEAR) on drums and Alexander Palma on bass. Though Ulle is used to play all guitars on LANFEAR, he was determined to find a second guitarist for SEPTAGON in order to make band’s sound tighter, and the choice finally fell on Stef Binnig-Gollub (I am also answering this interview)
With such skilled members, “Deadhead Syndicate” results thus an extremely versatile album with an amazing creative edge; constantly supported by a precise and dynamic rhythm section, the guitars draw fantastic patterns at a furious pace and the vocals sound convincing in these intense and torrid sounds as well as in the more-paced moments. In the end, as described by the band itself, “Deadhead Syndicate” is a METAL ALBUM with lots of riffs & melody. Fast, technical tracks, mid paced stuff and good hooklines.
You all live in Germany. How is life for Septagon in Germany? How is your music received?
We live spread out in Southern Germany, not in the same city. So we meet for rehearsals to prepare live shows from time to time w/o our singer, because he lives too far away to join in person. Generally we practice and write songs remotely in our home recording studios and share ideas and files via Dropbox.
We love the technical speed /thrash metal of the 80s where you really need the physical capability to play the songs like the bands mentioned above. We do not like the djent or whatever you would like to call the new stuff. We love technical playing challenges without losing the sense for melody.
Generally our music is received very well, as you can see in the already published reviews on our Facebook page and of course the German Metal magazines. (e.g. we were nominated Newcomer of the Month in Rockhard in February)
Is there an audience for your music? What happened after the release of the album and what are your plans?
We will look what will happen, the idea was to start a real band and not to treat it as a project. Markus U. and Jürgen will also release a new Lanfear CD this spring, but to my knowledge there’s no new release planned for Atlantean Kodex currently. And yes, both bands do have an audience here in Europe.
Nevertheless everyone is really pumped to drive Septagon. But of course we are all old and experienced enough to know that we won’t become rockstars and will earn thousands of euros and make a living out of Septagon, we all have families and regular jobs and luckily do not depend on the commercial success of Deadhead Syndicate. But of course, you never know.
I think we have generated some interest, because of the other band members playing in Lanfear and Atlantean Kodex, so the industry was keen on getting more details when it was clear that both Markus’ will record an album together. Initially they met at the Keep it True Festival in 2013 and agreed to write some songs together and eventually record them.
When it came to the point to record the album and actually rehearse for live gigs Markus U. (Ulle) was looking for another guitarist to support him, that’s how I got involved. We know each other for more than 20 years.
How would you describe the music you play?
Like I described above, we love bands like Realm, Heathen, Forbidden, Testament, Exodus and so on, Bay Area Thrash with melody and we always wanted to do a record in that kind of style. We grew up with those bands and it was a lot of fun making this record as a kind of tribute to continue their heritage. These days no one does this kind of music anymore and we hope to generate some interest again, as we know there’s a community out there still loving this kind of style. That’s also the reason why we wanted to release the album on vinyl.
Time and money are necessary for a band to function. How do you feel about the time and money that you put into the band? In what ways does the approval of an audience affect your desire to continue making music?
To be honest the music itself is what matters. If you start calculating profit and loss in advance you shouldn’t even start. This starts with equipment, where the investment never pays off. But as stated before, it doesn’t matter. Because we create something, that’s the purpose of writing original songs, otherwise we would just play cover music. And creating your own stuff gives so much back emotionally that you don’t count time.
Of course, if the feedback on our record or on live performances is good, this boosts your self-esteem, but primarily we don’t do that for anyone else to please, but for us. If in the end the costs are covered, or if we make profit, we love it, but we are not disappointed, if it doesn’t.
What is your point of view on social media for your band?
Social media is very important, as it provides a platform to do self-marketing and we are not depending on anyone else. The possibility of reaching thousands of people compared to the old days where only word to mouth was possible is awesome and it’s definitely not a waste of time. Of course, also here you need to invest time, because you are not relevant, if you don’t. Our record company of course supports us with promoting the albums in magazines, etc. But there’s a major part where we are responsible ourselves in terms of marketing and creating awareness.
What type of lyrics seem to be prevalent in your songs? What is a "Septagon Conspiracy" or "Revolt against the Revolution" in your songs? Recently, in Europe, terrorist violence has been making the news. Is Septagon as a band affected by such things, such as in the lyrics for future songs?
We have some critical lyrics about politics (Revolt Against The Revolution) and over surveillance and central control (Unwanted Company), but also other fictional stuff. We talk about aliens (Septagon Conspiracy) and a mafia structures (Deadhead Syndicate). We have an anti-war song (Exit Gunfire), one song about Jack the (Ripper) and of course the Secret Silver Panorama Machine.
Markus B. writes all of the lyrics and he has a good sense for different topics. As he lived in the states for almost 5 years (San Francisco & New York) his English is awesome that we don’t need any professional copy edit or the like.
For future songs I am pretty sure it will be a good mixture of latest happenings and fictional topics, pretty much the same you already find on Deadhead Syndicate. Maybe even as a concept album, who knows. Just a month ago he came up with a rough story board and already a song framework for the next album, we are really looking forward to write the corresponding music to his ideas.
Your debut is called "Deadhead Syndicate." How was the experience of making that album? Is it worth it to make albums nowadays, since many people do not buy music anymore? How do you feel about getting many "likes" on Facebook, but not many people want to spend any money?
The experience was phenomenal, as compared to other bands we walk the talk, meaning we actually did an album while many others only talk about it and you never see a release. See above, we definitely are working on new songs already and are looking forward to release it.
Sure, there’s the risk that people illegally download the album instead of buying it, but we still have hope in the metal community. We buy music from our favorite bands still ourselves and think that a lot of people appreciate our work and support us when they buy it. There will always be a portion of people who don’t, but you cannot help. These guys won’t change their mind.
You are right, we received roughly 700 likes since the Facebook page is online, but I doubt that all of them have already bought the album. But they come to shows, we played 2 concerts end of January where the response was awesome, so we are confident that there will always be people who like to support us and other fellow metal bands by buying our albums. So I think, not all is lost. And btw Vinyl kills the mp3 industry.
Lastly, Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
Besides the news that we already work on our next album, we hope to play some more gigs and festivals during the summer and the rest of the year. Please like our Facebook page to stay up to date on the latest info. Thanks for the opportunity to have this interview. It was a pleasure to answer your questions.

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