Michael (Mel) Roeder and Peter Kirchmeyer set up A Spell Inside in 1989! The German electro-pop duo this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. While ‘Mel’ reveals in this interview how the band will celebrate this event, A Spell Inside recently released their newest full length album “Masterplan”. The work has been again released by Scanner (Dark Dimensions) revealing one of the band’s most accomplished and mature productions to date. I talked about it all with Michael (Mel) Roeder.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I noticed A Spell Inside this year celebrates its 30th anniversary! What does that evoke to you and what does the band stands for today compared to the early years and releases?
Mel: Indeed, we are actually celebrating our 30th anniversary, while other bands can’t manage to stay alive 10 years at least … haha. But honestly, it fills us with pride that we have been able to stay in the music business for such a long time without being distraught or broken down on other things. On the other hand we are also shocked how fast time has passed since we’ve started in the 90ies. Of course we would have wished for a bigger success in the meantime, but in the end it´s just fine as it is. We are still independent, can make our own music when and how we want it to sound and we do not have to be attached to major events. Thus we live the ideal of an independent band. We can lean back and relax, because we have seen many other bands come and go, but we are still there and hopefully will stay there for quite a while!
Q: I would have expect a ‘best of’-album to celebrate this happening, but A Spell Inside simply strikes back with a new work! Tell us a bit more about the background, ideas, composition of “Masterplan”?
Mel: Everybody would do exactly this, right? That’s the reason why we haven’t. Of course a ‘best of album‘ would have been an option, but with the possibilities that the internet offers today, in our view such releases don’t make much sense anymore. Everybody puts together his own playlists, so that’s why we did not promote this idea. In fact it is true that this year we will come up with a peculiarity that has not existed yet in our looooong history. It’s about time to reveal it now, exclusively for you. There will be a very, very special release with remixes and partly unpublished songs, but furthermore there will be a strictly limited vinyl release on top. For this we let design each front cover by the famous artist Emil Schult, so that each record will become a unique masterpiece of its own. If everything runs well the release is going to happen in December this year.
Q: When did you start the writing of “Masterplan” and was there something like a ‘structure’ or ‘plan’ you followed? What have been the main difficulties you encountered when composing this album?
Mel: It might sound unbelievable, but we start working on a new album immediately after the last one hoping to be faster than every time before. But after each album the batteries are low and need to be refilled with new impressions. We always have a focus on the quality of our work; quantity is not our way of working. But you can say the ‘main’ work on this album started one year before that we had a 12 months production process including the full recordings/mixing not to forget the mastering in the end.
Q: “Masterplan” is probably not my favorite A Spell Inside-work in history, but at the other side I’ve to admit the songs reflect ‘maturity’ and impressive production skills. Where do you place this album in the band’s discography and do you’ve personal references and/or criteria when it comes to song writing and production?
Mel: How can “Masterplan” not be your favorite album? We love it a lot and think it´s one of our most consistent ones. It seamlessly follows our previous composition while exhausting all of today´s production possibilities. We think it’s some kind of a ‘back to the root’ thing we have done, but in a more skillful and modern way. And we think that English fits a little bit better to A Spell Inside, to get that certain mood, to let the lyrics more flow with the music.
Q: Since the “Vitalizer”-album you don’t really release new work at regular basis. I can imagine you now have other priorities in life and not only just making music, but what are you doing in between two albums and what means music to you today?
Mel: Well, you have already noticed we have been there for a very long time. And it feels like the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. For this reason, even these distances are not so incredibly long for us. But, in fact to stay independent in the way we understand independence we naturally have to make a living from other things which costs much time. We both had to face personal strokes of fate in the meantime, that also costs time and energy. It´s definitely not that we’re running out of ideas. More that we have to handle several things that are also important in our lives.
Q: When it comes to music and the entire ‘business’ around I can imagine you’ve seen a lot of things evolving and/or changing over the years. According to you, what have been the main changes and are there some aspects from the past you’re missing? And how do you see things evolving?
Mel: Of course we think a lot of things have changed in the music business. First it has become much easier to produce and publish stuff because of the affordable computers and software. Not to forget these publishing platforms where you don’t need a record-company neither. According to this the transition from analog to digital has made things a lot easier too; unfortunately we can’t say that thereby necessarily the quality of music generally improved. There is so much crap outside and it’s hard to break through the clutter. That makes it more stressful and also annoying from time to time.
Then the so called ‘independent music scene’ has developed and split into a lot of diverse subgenres. Funny enough, but you still see the same ‘old’ bands (like us) appearing on a flood of festivals over and over again. This is a development we can’t understand. Probably the consequent result of a general advancing commercialization, also in the independent area. But luckily we’ve got our personal ‘Masterplan’ to deal with that…lol