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23/05/2007 – Interview with ABANDONED

Last week, on Wednesday the 23rd, I had an interview with three of the four members of the German Thrash band ABANDONED (official website): Eric/Kalli, Holg and Konrad. Last year I had to send my questions again (apparently something went wrong the first time) like six months later, but this time I thought it would be great to talk to them over the phone and this way being more certain of the interview. Last year they released a good album, but there was still lots of room for improvement. The follow-up will soon come out and you can read my findings on the gem called "Thrash You!" at this location. Prepare for a true Thrash assault here.

Right from the start it was clear we were going to have a nice chat about the new album and more. The guys have a great sense of humour and enjoy playing music more than a lot, which you can clearly hear on the new record.

Abandoned logo

Hi, Eric. Congratulations with your new album. You've probably read it in the review too how thrilled I am about "Thrash You!". I listened to it again today and it just doesn't bore. DESTRUCTION released a great album earlier this year, but I think you guys slayed it.

Eric: Woah, thanks! :-)

Abandoned bandLast year you had some troubles during the recording process and the sound wasn't that good. Did you now work differently, paying attention to the errors of last year?

Eric: What we did is choose a completely different studio. We had to get there for 3-4 weeks, take days off from work or school. It was also our first time in a big studio. This time was completely different, as we went into a studio here in the Frankfurt area. It's 20 minutes from home and work, so we could do recordings on the flow, without taking holidays. For the Hammer Music Studios it was also the first Thrash record that was recorded there (note: Eric speaks about the "Thrash Notes" album). We wanted an engineer who knew what to do with our music. We're much happier now with "Thrash You!". The result is amazing.

The album is again to the point and it starts with the title. For "Thrash Notes" it was imperative that the music was the center of it all. Is this again the case or is there a sort of message behind it?

Eric: When we had the idea for "Thrash Notes", we thought it would be cool to have Thrash in the title. We wanted to focus on that again. If you know the band, you expect Thrash. That's what we stand for.

Thrash You coverOn the cover there's this woman in SM-clothing, been beaten and abandoned. What's the story here?

Eric: There's no great story behind it. We wanted to have an artwork that is provoking.

You certainly scared my mum, hahaha. :-)

(Eric, Holg and Konrad bursting out in laughter)

But then again, anything with skulls and stuff is not of her likings.

Eric: "Thrash Notes" had the skulls, like many other records. But now we wanted to focus on other things, obtain a darker quality. If you look at the title, you'll see the cover reflects it.

On the cover you've got those 4 skeletons again, like before. Do they repesent the band or is it sme sort of icon, like Eddie and IRON MAIDEN?

Eric: These are the 4 dudes that also figured on the cover of the demo in 2003. So, yes, you could see them as an icon for ABANDONED. We wanted them on any following artwork.

Holg: The skeletons will be on the sleeve, at the back. They also represent the band.

What are the songs about this time? For instance, "We Are In Hell" could be about the war in Iraq, the killings in schools, ...

Eric: The songs are about all kinds of stuff. The first thing we do is the music. When that is done, it's my turn to write lyrics. I have 3-4 months. This time I had 3 months for 12 songs. First you have a topic, like "We Are In Hell" and then you develop something behind it.

Are there real life stories?

Eric: That was more on "Thrash Notes". On "Thrash You!" the lyrics are more general.

You've worked hard to promote the band and "Thrash Notes" and obviously played quite some gigs. Did it positively affect your popularity?

Eric: I think so. The reaction for our live performances was positive. Lots of people didn't know us and then they came to us and started giving compliments. I think a lot of people that buy CDs first know a band live.

Any tour plans this year? The only dates I know of are the release parties and the Against The Silence festival.

Eric: Those are also the only confirmed dates for this year. At the end of this year we'll do a tour with TANKARD. They invited us.

And for the rest it's wait and see?

Eric: We're waiting for the impact of "Thrash You!". Afterwards the offers will come in - hopefully. Two weeks ago, we were playing with LEGION OF THE DAMNED and the response was also positive. Playing live is what we like.

Konrad: That's what we do it for.

Do you have any live footage of your performances?

Holg: We recorded some gigs last year, yes, but there were some problems with the tapes and afterwards cutting and editing the sound and stuff would take too much time. We do have Bang Your Heads recordings that are on that DVD. A film crew filmed all the bands and we're on it with one song.

I guess I'll have to buy that DVD then...

Holg: Good. :-)

There probably won't be any extras on the new album? Live songs, video material?

Eric: Nope, no extras. Everything is on our MySpace page and website, like the studio diaries, video footage, ... Like Günt doing shopping. *laughs* It has to be perfect in the studio. Music is fun for us. Do you know the demo?

No. :(

Eric: There's a cover of ABANDONED by ABANDONED on it and this was very popular with dj's from certain clubs, where they played that song and apparently there were people who headbanged to it, hahaha. :-) The song's called "I Am The Sun (Zipped version)".

Abandoned bandSpeaking of videos: is there footage of the recordings? The only video I know of is where you go Flamenco-style. "Wir sitzen in die Studio, 13 Stunden lang, ...".

Eric: Oh that? Hahahaha. :-) Yeah, well, it was in the morning, warming up. But we do have some footage that we shot during the recordings. We also have plans for a video of "Too Blind To See". Konrad will do it.

Konrad: It's not a big budget thing. Just some footage we put together, like the stuff on MySpace and we put the song under it.

I see. I was in particular looking forward to some drum recordings.

Konrad: Oh? Well, there will be some in the video. For some time I pointed the camera at me, so...

When did you start writing the new material?

Konrad: Kalli and Holger started putting stuff together and brought it to the rehearsal room. We can work there without stres and it's close to the studio.

Do DESTRUCTION, KREATOR and SODOM have to fear for their place on the throne? And what's their opinion about you and your music?

Konrad: We had some gigs with DESTRUCTION and they loved it. Schmier, the singer/bassist, loved it. We love each other's music. We haven't met KREATOR yet, but SODOM likes us too. But it's a different game we're playing. They are the heroes, the leaders.

The last track on the album, "V.O.D. Reprise", kind of gives the album a concept feel. It started with "Visions Of Death" and that's how it ends.

Konrad: We had this accoustic piece from "Visions Of Death". We liked it, but couldn't fit it into the song. That's when we thought it might be nice to close the circle. The first times you don't know where it comes from, but when you listen carefully you'll hear the connection. It's just a nice little thing.

Let's talk about your instruments... I saw on some pictures that you play with ESP guitars, right?

Eric: I do. Sometimes. Hahaha. :-) I have some ESP Explorers, the old Gibson shaping and they're pretty cool. Just a little relation with James Hetfield, who I think is a crappy guitarist. ;-) No, he was one of my major influences. The one and only at that time. I'm speaking of the '80s. There was one dream I had when I was a little boy: owning a Gibson Flying V and I bought it 3 years ago. Holger bought one first and I had to have one too. It had such a great sound, like old METALLICA and ACCEPT.

What does Holger's equipment look like?

Eric: Holg uses B.C. Rich Warlock 1989 NJ Series. Our amps are from Engel. That's what we use. The sound is much better for our ears. Next to that, some Rocktron guitar effects stuff, Engel and Kitty Hawk cabinets. They were cheap, but good, hahaha. :-) We still play with them.

How about Konrad?

Eric: Konrad doesn't play guitar, hahaha. :-)

Konrad: At the studio I used a Yamaha Studio Custom kit. At home I have a Sonor Force 2000, which is quite shaggy. For the recording I wanted a real kit. I hardly used my own stuff, except for my sticks and pedals. Rolf Köhler, who mixed the album, wouldn't let me use my own cymbals, because he found them sounding too loud.

What do you use live?

Konrad: Whatever's available. Usually we try not to bring our own stuff along, because we don't have a band's van. We arrive with our own cars and it's hard load the entire kit in there. It's too big for that. But it mostly works fine (using whatever's available).

Are you endorsed by anyone?

Eric: Not really, except for string guitar endorsements. Günt has an Ampeg endorsement and a Dean bass, a Flying V. Old, black and evil. We now all have the chance to go for Dean guitars. I have to choose mine from a bunch of models. There are a lot of bands that play with Dean, like Dimebag, even Dave Mustaine. A great thing would be being endorsed by Engel. But it's not such a big deal for us. There was one time, though, when we tried to get beer endorsements, but that didn't work out. Nobody wanted to support us, hahahahaha. :-)

Abandoned bandOne question for Holg: last year you mentioned Lee Aaron when I asked you about the reason for the name ABANDONED. What's your relationship with her? ;-)

Holg: That's when I was listening to an old record. "Powerline" was in the playlist on the old homepage. I was just kidding about it. She's got a big round ass, that's what matters. ;-)

Your website is down at the moment and undergoing a change. Will you add more features and info about the band, the releases and stuff like that? And when will it be ready?

Eric (shouting from the back): Some day 2010.

Konrad: I'm in charge of the website. No, really, we don't have anyone to do it, the technical prowace to do it. We're pushing the MySpace page. You can put everything there. Or you pay money for an own website.

Then who did the old website?

Konrad: A friend who doesn't have time anymore and has got a real job now, hahaha. :-) We don't know what to put on it. Everybody can get on MySpace, it's getting big. But we're not losing it, it's still on the table.

That's also one of the downsides of MySpace, I think. The more people in your Friends list, the less you know who's in it and you can't keep in touch with everyone.

Konrad: True, but we like to build a network. We use it more like a file deposit, so everyone can checkus out, who we are, what we look like, etc...

Well, I'm gonna leave you now, otherwise we could go on for another hour, hahaha. :-) I'm also out of questions, so... Thanks a million for the interview, good luck with the new album and I hope to see you in Belgium this or next year.

Konrad/Holg/Eric: No problem, thanks to you too. See you around.


We also talked about their cancelled gig with NEVERMORE last year, at the Biebob in Vosselaar, Belgium, and the balance of gigs between Biebob and Hof Ter Lo. The band is also quite dependant on their booking agency and they thus play if there's an opportunity. Overall, I had a great time with these guys. Lots of humour, lots of fun with Eric and his funny "I'm back." voice. and there seems to be naked footage of Kalli, "the full nine yards" as Konrad stated it. It was however not that easy to write it all down, since Eric and Konrad are fast talkers, especially Konrad. ;-)

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