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16/04/2009 – Interview with DOMAIN

The German Heavy/Power Metal formation DOMAIN (official website) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006 with "Stardawn" and added a bonus CD and DVD to it. Three years and a few line-up changes later the band around mastermind and guitarist Axel Ritt has returned with renewed power to bring you "The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow". You can read my comments on it at this location. The album is based on a book by the famous poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Regarding this new album and a few other things I sent Axel some questions, since the happenings in the past two years required asking for an update.

Domain logo

"The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow", your new album, is based on the epistolary novel "Die Leiden des jungen Werther" ("The Sorrows of Young Werther") by the famous German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. What made this novel worth making an album of?

It's one of the most famous works of the "storm and stress" period and all of us had more or less this kind of feelings when we were younger. So this decision was made pretty fast.

Domain bandHow did you start with this idea? Write a draft structure of the music and then add lyrics or first have rough lyrical ideas on paper and write music that fits them?

Our singer Nicolaj did a draft of the ten chapters, regarding what parts of the novel he would like to set the lyrics. After that, I had to check out what compositions of mine, that had already been finished, would fit to the chapters and what songs were still missing and had to be created for the chapters.

The replacements for Carsten (and Chity), Jochen and Stefan were easily found, it seems. Did you already know the new three members (Nicolaj Ruhnow, Jens Baar and Steven Wussow) or were they picked via auditions or ...? And what is their musical background?

I've known Nicolaj for some years and I invited him for an audition. In one sentence, he blew all of his rivals away. Steven was a recommendation of a colleague of mine and Jens has been brought to the band by Steven.

Are you still in touch with Carsten, Stefan and Jochen? I mean, did you part ways as friends?

Unfortunately, no contact at all since 2006.

Nicolaj may be a good addition to the band, but in several songs on the new album I had the impression his voice wasn't powerful enough and could use a bit of roughness. That also made me think that he maybe joined when the majority of the music was already written. Or am I seeing things differently? Or did you have to make some important changes before the final version of the songs was ready?

Sorry to disagree, but Nick's classically developed voice has got the perfect timbre for DOMAIN. He's a perfectionist, very ambitious and last but not least, a very nice guy, who's able to tell and who's able to listen.

For Nicolaj outdoor recordings were made. You even posted pictures on the band's MySpace blog. Did you really record outside or was this a joke? ;-)

Yes, we did some of the aggressive parts of the album out in the green. A great experience!

The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow coverWho made the cover art of "The Chronicles"? And did you instantly have such a "classic" image in mind? Or was it the artist's idea?

The famous Brazilian artist Gustavo Sazes did the cover art. We told him what we would like to get and he did a perfect job.

The production of "The Chronicles" sounds very 80s, as this is also part of what makes DOMAIN sound like DOMAIN. Yet this time it seems a bit more than before, especially compared to "Stardawn". Is there a special reason for that?

No, it's simply as it is. We are one of the acoustic blueprints regarding some typical sounds and arrangements and we are very lucky to get recognized by our typical DOMAIN style. We know what our fans appraise and we'll never change the style or the production.

"The Chronicles" will also be available as digipack. Is it just the packaging that's different or does the digipack contain any extras?

In addition to the packaging we got the bonustrack "Two Brothers & The Sinners Chess" and we got liner notes to the single songs.

How's the touring schedule made up so far? When are you hitting the road, with whom...?

We're working on some festival shows in summer and and a tour in autumn, but it's too early to name the dates.

Domain bandEver thought of making one or more songs with German lyrics? Or isn't German that good a language for the lyrical ideas you have?

Well, not for DOMAIN. We're an international band and none of our fans outside of Germany, Austria or Switzerland will be able to understand the lyrics. By the way, every time some colleagues of us tried to do so, it went into a financial fiasco.

Do you own all the rights to the music? And then license it to LMP?


Any plans to "reactivate" and have an own website again?

No, I don't think so. We're living in a time of MySpace, Facebook,, Eventim and Reverbnation, a regular website does not make sense anymore. As a fan, all you like to get can be done by web 2.0 a lot better, so we decided to do a forwarder to our MySpace site and set some links to all the other tools in the net.

How's business going for Humbucker Music? You seem to be working with a few bands (CIRCLE OF PAIN, JACKY, ZÜNDER, ...) as label or otherwise.

I changed my core compentency from the typical label work up to the music production and consulting for the bands. There's a lot going on at the moment, more than ever before and putting my energy in the production makes a lot more sense today.

Last but not least, you're also a great animal lover (kudos for that), considering the blogs on MySpace about, for example, the seals killing in Canada, the killing of animals for fur, etc... and the case of the Bolivian army killing dogs as training for.. for what exactly? It's just senseless and made me sick, to be honest. I can believe some soldiers weren't so keen on doing what that sergeant did,cutting out the heart and showing it to his troops. But all this cruelty aside, were you an animal lover as a kid as well? Or did it develop over the years?

It grew step by step during my childhood. I always had pets when I was a young kid, but my main step was becoming a vegetarian when I was 18. My former girl-friend, my dog and I went for a walk, when we saw a few mother sows at a farm. They all were full of mud up to the neck, lying in their muddy pool and one of them saw us standing at the fence. So the sow went curious and did a slow walk over the whole farmyard, followed by all of the other pigs. So all of them arrived at the fence and I, while fondling my dog, would have loved to fondle the pigs as well if they would not have been that dirty, because they were that friendly and benign. It was about supper time and I asked myself what would be on the table and then I got the final smash in my brain. Both animals, my dog and the sow are that cuddly, but I would never eat my dog because of the relation, so what is the difference to the pig apart from the dirt and the relation. They all feel the same mortal fear and endless pain when they are killed and there is no reason to bring that torture to helpless creatures to feed me. I went home, told my mother that I would never eat anymore dead animals in my life and that's it.

Many thanks for taking the time to answer, Axel. All the best with DOMAIN, Humbucker Music and other occupations and the battle for animal rights. Any last words you wish to add? Go right ahead.

Thanks a lot, Tim and all the best for you as well.

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