Heimataerde remains without a shadow of a doubt one of the most particular and original bands active at the wider fields of electronic underground music. The originality comes from the medieval-like tunes and the band’s concept, but throughout the years they started to mix electronics with metal influences. For their new album entitled “Eigengrab” the band set up their own label (Fully Packed Records) and strike back with a great opus, revealing a truly harmony between electronics and guitar with the unavoidable medieval tunes on top. I asked a few questions to the band’s creator Ashlar von Megalon who got some assistance from InHocSigno.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: “Eigengrab” is already the eighth Heimataerde album. What have been the main ideas (lyrical- and sound wise) to compose this album and how did the writing- and production process happened?
Ash: It has been almost 4 years since our last album. That is a long time in which a lot of things have happened. We did not feel like just picking up where we left things and so we started with some demo ideas. These were gradually developed into songs, which we discussed over and over. I then had a base to build on the rest of the album. We wanted it to turn out more electronic and structured, with ample room for melodies. Apart from that we had no limits or restraints when it comes to music genre or any kind of preconceptions.
Q: I experienced this new work as one of the most accomplished productions in the band’s discography; there’s a great harmony between guitar parts and electronics! Power and melody have been never that close, but what’s your own perception? And was there any particular focus when starting the composition of this new work?
Ash: Thank you! I actually cleared my head of expectations and went back to my creative sources. It just came out like this, with the other band members critically listening in and suggesting changes. Henry of Kent drumming beat alterations on leather armchairs. Jacques flatly refusing to play what I wrote, and everybody suggesting new lines of lyrics… that’s how we worked, how the power came in at least. Along with that came the first moods that further directed the way things were musically going. I was focused, yes, but not in a programmatic sense.
Q: The lyrical content of your work has been always important while you also like to release audio-books. What do you try to express throughout the lyrics and tell us a bit more about the concept of the audiobooks and the reactions you got so far?
Ash:The audiobooks have always been about the undead Templar order and their quest for the Heimataerde. This was originally set in the middle ages, but with the “Eigengrab”-album we wanted to shift gears a bit; we move on to 1966, when our heroine Ophelia is part of an archeological team in Israel, excavating an old and obscure templar kept in the desert. So up to you to see if you like the idea.
InHocSigno: It is not just a change in style. We have always been a ‘contemporary’ band, lyric-wise. The 20th Century was as crazy and war torn as the Middle Ages. Moving Heimataerde into the 60s was not exactly about the Summer of love, but rather the beginning of our very own New Dark Age, or -if you want to talk memes, some sort of Apocalypse Now.
The new story got very positive reactions from our fans and we also had very much fun ourselves being in the Sixties for a while -mentally speaking. Big part of the success is owed to Michael Marrak, who wrote the story with us and Holly Loose, who read it in German. In order to include our friends abroad, we won over Candia McKormack (Inkubus/Sukkubus) who did the English narration.
Q: Your previous albums have been released on Infacted Recordings, Golden Core and Out Of Line while “Eigengrab” has been released on FullyPackedRecords, which I think is your own label. How did this evolution happened and is there any kind of strategy/philosophy when it comes to promotion, distribution, contacts etc??
Ash: Our former labels are run by fine people and we had been treated very, very well. Like I said, we have had a long break and naturally you think about different things -including your position with the label, distribution, the way you want to develop, etc.
InHocSigno: We considered everything, but since we were rebooting, we decided to go for FullyPackedRecords. It is not strictly the Heimataerde label, but is doing independent business. We have a very simple strategy -to answer your question: We try to conceive our content as honest and good as we can and then let it go through our channels. It has become a lot easier. We have met wonderful people -artists, photographers, creative distributors, festival makers, bookers and our supporting friends and audience -we know who to turn to. We are no longer shoving stuff down pipelines but instead see what we are doing.
Q: I noticed you already got very positive reactions and even reached the Top 50 of the German charts. What does that mean to you and what’s the real impact of reaching national charts? Does it mean that commercial- and underground music are getting closer and closer?
Ash:Well, the positive feedback is a nice acknowledgement of the two years of work we put into the album. It is a confirmation that we are going our own way.
Being in the Top 50 of the German album charts was the icing on the cake and gives the whole thing a more official facet. Under- and overground are maybe getting closer in sales figures. Who knows?
InHocSigno:We might find ourselves doing commercial stuff one day? God forbid.
Q: When you’re a successful band that has released numerous EP’s and eight albums, do you still find new challenges? Do you still have some dreams you want to realize? And what have been the main disappointments?
InHocSigno: We want to surprise and delight people. We strive to do this with our upcoming work, our future shows. Apart from the pandemic happening right now, we feel that this band is ready to plot the big things it was founded for.
Ash:We always have found new goals. Of course as a band we want to develop further and give many people a good time with our music and our concept.
For me there is nothing more beautiful than to let new things arise from our own imagination. The biggest disappointment was probably the development of this Corona pandemic. If things go well, we will see you people in January 2021 on the “Eigengrab”-tour. Like InHocSigno said: To surprise and delight you!