Click Interview with Still Patient?: ‘We Will Always Listen To Our Gateway Drugs, No Matter How Old We Are’

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Still Patient? was originally set up in 1988 by Andy Koa. The German formation which went through different line-up changes released their official debut album “Salamand” in 1992 on the legendary and unfortunately defunct Hyperium Records. They moved on releasing new Goth-Rock/Dark-Wave inspired works on Hyperium and Alice In… till the band split up in 1999. But Still Patient? came back alive in 2012 and started writing new songs. New albums were released on Alice In… and Schwarzrock (both subdivisions from Dark Dimensions). “Love And Rites Of Rage” released in 2023 deals with love, pain and melancholy. Andy Koa (vocals & programming), Guido Holzmann (bass), Bec Kes (guitar), Pogue-O (guitar) and Wolfgang Tëffner (keyboards) achieved a great Dark-Wave-production which is maybe the band’s best work ever. I got in touch with core member and front man Andy Koa.   (Picture credits by Dan Rawkt / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: There’re two significant periods in the band’s history. You’ve been active in between 1988 and 1999 and after a break you reactivated Still Patient? in 2012. How do you perceive both periods in the band’s history considering aspects like line-up changes, influences, spirit, way of working etc?

Andy: When we split up in 1999, we were no longer able to work together musically. Many new influences and ideas had come in and we had moved too far away from our original roots. We could no longer see a future together. After 11 years of changing line-ups, we had achieved a lot and built up a certain fan base. But we were often too dogged and frustrated and weren’t satisfied with most of our productions, as we often had the misfortune to work with the wrong people who didn’t produce our music the way we wanted. We simply lacked the know-how and the possibilities. Working in the studio was often very exhausting and disappointing because we had always prepared our songs well at home. Of course, according to the possibilities at that time, which are much greater today.      

When I had the idea to revive the band in 2012, after some musical projects and excursions, I had already gained a lot more skills and was now able to produce music in a way that wasn’t possible for us back then. Originally, I just wanted to re-record a handful of songs that I thought could be done better. The re-recording of “Mascara Osiris” was the result. After this experience I felt that it would be sensible and right to get the band back together. We started working on new songs with some old and some new musicians. The new members added different influences to our previous ones and we didn’t necessarily want to continue where we left off in 1999.

When the request came from WGT to play a reunion show in 2013, the pace changed abruptly and we worked hard on both new and old material. It really helped us to find each other as a band and to this day we are a close-knit group who work well together. There’s also a certain calmness that wasn’t there in the 90s. The songwriting has become very efficient because of course we can’t spend as much time on it as we did in the 90s. We have released 2 EPs and 3 albums so far, which also reflects a certain development. With the last album “Love And Rites Of Rage” we went back to our roots and put a lot of heart and soul into it. I think you can hear that very clearly. It’s an album we would have liked to have made in the 90s.

Q: You last year released the EP “Leitbild Angst” featuring 4 exclusive, new, songs. Tell us a bit more about this work and the possible connection to the new album “Love And Rites Of Rage”?

Andy: After the release of the album “Zeiteist Weltschmerz” in 2018, we immediately started writing songs for the follow-up album. Initially we had the idea of writing a quieter and more atmospheric album. However, as we can rarely plan what will come out in the end, the new songs were very different. The first two songs were “Sacrfice In Paradise” and “Heart Shaped Box”. Then followed songs that were very similar to the style of the last album and at some point, also due to Corona, we had a lot of songs that wouldn’t have worked and fit on a more homogeneous album. For this reason we decided to release the songs digitally in advance as the “Leitbild Angst”-EP and stylistically assign the songs more to the “Zeitgeist Weltschmerz”-album. This gave us the opportunity to put together the album “Love And Rites Of Rages” in such a way that all the songs fit together.

Q: You already mentioned the new album is a kind of  ‘going back to the roots of the band’. What has been the  modus operandi to achieve the work? And does it really sound that different to you as previous albums “Shape Shifters” (2015) and “Zeitgeist Weltschmerz” (2018)?

Andy: “Love And Rites Of Rage” is very different from its predecessors in many ways. We worked a lot more on the songs and wanted to reflect a very specific atmosphere. We also took a lot more time and wanted to get everything right. We also channeled a lot more emotion from everyone involved and that really shaped the basic mood. Where “Shape Shifters” was more Electronic, “Zeitgeist Weltschmerz” was more Rock. But basically it’s not always the way you hear it as a musician. Often everybody hears it differently and that’s absolutely fine.

Q: Still Patient? remain connected to the dark sound of 80s Dark-Wave/Post-Punk music. What makes this period that special to you but also to most of the younger bands dealing with this kind of music?

Andy: 80s Dark-Wave/Post-Punk music was our gateway drug, like for a lot of people from our age. We will always listen to our gateway drugs, no matter how old we are. And I, in particular, realized at some point that it’s important to be true to yourself. It doesn’t mean that you have to keep repeating yourself. You have to stay true to your roots and above all stay authentic. The music back then was also something new and exciting. It shaped a massive subculture. And as with all subcultures, there are always revivals. Young people discover the music of the older generation and learn to love it. This also immortalizes the type of music and brings us new audiences.

Q: What did you keep in mind from the entire composing and production process of “Love And Rites Of Rage”? What have been the main points of satisfaction, challenges and eventually deceptions?

Andy: There were a lot of ideas and emotions we wanted to express. A lot had happened, there was a pandemic that forced us to slow down our songwriting for a few months, but also gave us time to reflect more on our writing. We wanted to sound more like the 90s again, but we didn’t want to compromise on today’s quality standards. We also changed our sound engineer because we felt that our new man had a better understanding of where we wanted to go musically and atmospherically. We had already worked with him for the “Leitbild Angst”-EP and were very satisfied with the result. We also worked with a lot more ambience and atmospheric sounds again, with lots of choirs and percussion elements. If you listen to the first track from the album, “The Beginning”, you’ll know exactly where the journey is going. The challenge was basically that we wanted to finish this album as best we could. We still see it as the most important album in our long band history.

Q: The album seems to reflects themes of ‘love, pain and melancholy’. What do these feelings evoke to you and why are they that inspiring?

Andy Koa: Love, pain and melancholy are the driving forces of our lives. Without love everything is dead and lifeless. Love is the most important thing a human being has to have. But it often brings pain and despair. But sometimes it dies in order to be reborn somewhere else and to give new strength. Sometimes something has to come to an end in order to start growing again. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. This accompanies us throughout our lives. That was our main thematic inspiration, mixed with personal experiences of recent years and some losses.

Q: How important are live performances? How do you prepare live shows? And do you’ve a favorite live song? 

Andy: Live shows are really important to us. Unfortunately a lot has changed since Corona and people prefer to go to bigger festivals rather than the smaller ones where bands play that need the support so much more.

As always, we will prepare ourselves very well for the upcoming shows this year. Maybe we’ll include one or more songs from the current album in the set list. Be curious. We’ve often been told that you can tell we have fun while performing. Also, the direct contact with the fans is also very important and essential for us. Talking to the people after the show has become very important to us.

I think we have different favorite songs on stage within the band. Our closing song is usually “Anavryn”, I think we all really enjoy playing that one.

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Inferno Sound Diaries

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