The young Band Infection from Hamburg, Germany, wants to show their ideas and their passion to the world - with concerts and a debut album which should be released in this year. We met with Emal (drums), Tümay (voice), Juled (guitar) and Mensur (bass) at the youth centre "Lass 1000 Steine Rollen" in the southern district office of Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg, where bands and young musicians can rent for very little money exercise studios. This place helps effectively since 30 years to support the youth culture and the music scene especially here, where more than 70 percent of the inhabitants are from foreign countries.
Hello, Infection! Please, tell me how everything with your band has started from the very first beginning! Mensur: Everything started with Emal, who wanted to play music together with us. We didn´t had at the beginning the plan to reach a special goal, we just wanted to exercise and to master our instruments. We discovered the studio here at 1000 Steine, and in October 2006 Tümay joined in and started to sing - since this time we exist as a band. Tümay: But we know each other already since a long time before. For instance, I know Mensur and Juled since the second class of the school. We met Emal in the seventh class.
Your music is a kind of hardrock and metal. Do you have idols or favourites in music? And are aspects of these to find inside your own music? Emal: Everybody of us has a different orientation. I personally like the Deftones. Generally I like more hard stuff, even black metal or grind core. Rather seldom our concepts how our music should sound meet the same point. Every one of us let his point of view melt into the whole project. Tümay: I love bands like Lamb of God; male heavy metal sound. Juled: Privately I listen now to a lot of hip hop, even to R`n´B. Formerly I listened to hard stuff, too, like Slipknot or Behemoth. Mensur: And I like to listen to electronic ambient, but also to rock like Breaking Benjamin or Emil Bulls. I like even pop music, especially if the bass is more in the foreground, because in metal music often the bass is hidden behind the guitar. Juled: We listen to everything except folk or Schlager music.
Folk music is a appropriate keyword. You originate - typical for this district - from foreign families; Turkish (Tümay), Afghan (Emal), Macedonian (Juled) and Serbian (Mensur)... Mensur: Yes, right... Nevertheless I am from the Sandzak (a region between Serbia and Montenegro), but this is no country, of course, just a province.
Emal Did you grew up under the influences of those cultures and do they play a role in your life? Keyword folk-music... Emal: Oh, yes! (laughing) Tümay: I personally abhor Turkish music. I like Oriental music, but especially this classical Turkish entertainment music is something I hate. Mensur: Well, I was always the black sheep. I was always completely different than everybody in my home. So I always was a small rebel and had my problem because of this. I went my own way, concerning music, too. Emal: Although, in our countries a lot has changed - if it goes about music. There is not only the traditional music, but new development in electronic sounds, too. Whereas I am interested in the very old Afghan sounds. They have real Bigbands and guitar bands with bass and drums. Of course, what runs today in the Afghan television is nothing than trash. Just made to get fast sold.
Do you like it here in Wilhelmsburg or would you prefer to live somewhere else? Emal: Well, yes, this is a difficult district and some strange things happen here. But we grew up here, it´s our daily life. In fact, I never have made bad experiences. Juled: The bad things happen in special scenes. People, who don´t have a graduation and do gangster-rap und fight against each other, have problems. But I think, after I was away in other districts or in the cities centre and come back to here, I feel very well and at home. Tümay: I feel here extremely well. May be, because everybody knows each other. Wilhelmsburg is so big with a lot of space. Perhaps, it´s easier for us, because we are foreigners. (laughing)
You call yourself Infection. On your website you show a slightly morbid, insane image. A couple of years ago you have said, you would be quite normal, but connected with the stage and the music you like to construct an image in the way of Visual Kei. Is this image an expression of your personality? The dark and morbid side... How normal do you are? How dark? Tümay: Privately we aren´t the same like on stage. It´s because on stage we can open our valve. Mensur: Possible to say, that in our private life everything dams up and waits to break through. Tümay: Yes, but we don´t run around as dark people, not in the everyday life. It makes so much fun to riot on stage. Emal: I always had the feeling that this styling and this appearance which we show on stage fits to us. That is how we are, it doesn´t feel strange.
Tümay I saw you first time last year, when you played the support to Lacrimosa. On this concert you donned white bandages like patients; similar like on Myspace. This year you haven´t use the hospital look. Are those visual elements not anymore that important to you? Tümay: This white look we use on special gigs. It is very intensive to prepare. Mensur: It depends from the possibilities. Mostly the backstage area is pretty small and dark. For this white styling we need a lot of place, time and silence. In clubs like Logo or Knust we use a simple, black style, it´s more easy. but in the Großen Freiheit we got a large backstage, where we could do what we wanted. Emal: But we are not afraight to try something new in our shows. Tümay: Except to show our genitals. Emal: No. But if, then you will show yours. (laughing) Mensur: We thought about a show which we could enter on wheelchairs. But we are limited, because all this is expensive. We could imagine much more, if we would have more financial possibilities.
Finally such an image and such a show should transport your music and support the acoustical qualities, right? What would you say - what are the acoustical qualities and what is special of your music? Mensur: The main speciality of our music is Tümay, because he has such a huge spectrum with his voice. He can sing very deep or very high, he can shout like hell. His voice is the power which pulls the audience on our side. Juled: In Hamburg especially are metal or Deutsch-rock most popular. In my opinion we always tried to create music which represents ourselves and which differs to those common styles in the city. We are on our way to develop our qualities. Did we reach the target? I would say... yes and no. Mensur: But we see our progress and continue. Emal: Like Tümay has his spectrum with his voice, we three have our instrumental spectrum. We try that each song differs from the other songs and becomes unique; so that we don´t repeat ourselves.
How do you work together? Do you create the songs as a team or is there somebody amongst you, who writes the songs or writes the lyrics? Mensur: We mostly try to develop our songs together in the exercise room. Emal writes at his home already a lot of ideas, and I write the lyrics. Tümay has the ideas for the vocal lines and melodies. Juled joins with his riffs. Tümay: And we try to inspirit each other. Our communication during the rehearsals is very spontaneous. We try that each of us develops his individual part, but in exchange with the others. Mensur: And we share the work. For example, in the way that Tümay, too, works at the lyrics or Juled presents melodies; so that we really complement each other. Juled: If I play riffs, they are in the beginning new and just coming out of my head. They melt together with the inspirations of the others. They say, try this or try to distort at that point or take this fret. This is the polish that my riffs become more and more perfect. Emal: In any case I feel very strong that we three instrumentalists - Juled, Mensur and me - have the same sense of what we play. With Tümay it´s slightly different, because he is the singer. When we jam or improvise, we three are like one instrument and absolutely close together in all details. Mensur: We feel very connected together. It comes from itself. Juled: We know exactly, what the others think or feel, because we are already so long time together.
Tümay, do you play any other instrument or is the voice your only one? Tümay: Well, in the band I am the singer. I learned long time ago from my father to play the oriental snare, tackta-di-tacka-di-tacka-di-bum. Emal: I try to learn playing guitar, for that I can better communicate with Juled. He hopefully understands me. (laughing) Juled: The melodies of a song mostly are created by the guitar. Bass and drums add the beat and fill the sound. Emal: But I have to say that Mensur comes with harmonies, too. Mensur: Well, first I play the fundament, and on this I build my tunes for a special sound. From my side I add - so to say - the pop-influences. Sometimes when a chorus starts I fall out of the line and the keynotes and try some changes which add something different. Emal: Often he has very good ideas. His way to play the bass is something what makes a significant difference to other bands.
Mensur In the last year you signed a management contract with Che!Music of Eduardo Garcia. How did this come and how does it develop? Mensur: At any rate, a lot of doors have opened already. Because we have a private life - school and study - this process needs time. But we now were able to produce highly qualitative demo tracks and to work with professionals together. This is a very valuable experience. During one session in the recording studio we learned as much as twenty times with rehearsals. Nowadays, that´s known, you need relationships and a network to make a career. We guys from Wilhelmsburg are absolutely in need of support. Alone by ourselves we would never stand, where we are. Che!Music watched us for a while and waited until the moment that we are ready to go. They mentioned that we stood together and that we continue our way.
It´s a difficult time - you´re leaving school now and start to study, isn´t it? Mensur: Yes, it is now a little bit more difficult, but we are able to keep our schedule under control. The good thing is that we study here in Hamburg. But, of course, we can´t rehearse five times the week. But we manage this time and carry on.
You just work now at a full length album which should be released at the end of the year. How is it going with this production? Mensur: We don´t want to promise anything now, because you never know, what can happen. But we work and polish our songs to make them ready for the album. We busy write new songs and we do our best that the release will be this year. The fans already wait so long - and we, of course, too. (laughing)
And Eduardo Garcia will take care about this production? Mensur: Yes, exactly! Our team is getting bigger - Eduardo Garcia, Rafael Ortega, Axel Mackenrott. Tümay: The band becomes larger than four people only. We don´t call them our managers, they are just another part of the band. That makes us strong.
You already published a single in the beginning of the year with three songs ("ASHES TO DUST", "DEVOUR FROM INSIDE","42 CORES") which are also on your Myspace side. Are these your hits? Tümay: They´re three songs the people like very much. Personally I would not call them my hits. Each of us would name different favourites. Emal: We made the experience - probably every band does it after a while - that there are some of our songs which we don´t like anymore that much. But our fans want to hear them. Mensur: Sure, because we always play them. If somebody would awake us from the sleep, we could immediately play them. Tümay: I think it´s weird that some fans can really sing our songs. We never published the lyrics, there are no CDs, but they can sing them.
How important are the lyrics? Do they contain a message? Mensur: The lyrics are like short stories. The final end can develop in the listeners fantasy. Also the texts let space for different interpretations. One can find bananas inside, the other deep elements which are connected with his life. We talk about themes which has to do with us. For example, the theme "madness". And metaphorically you can discover aspects of madness in the text. Mostly it´s going about negative feelings. Tümay: But we ain´t Emos! (laughing) Mensur: Yes, somebody called us the dark brothers of Tokio Hotel. Emal: Our lyrics differ very much. Mostly Mensur writes them, but sometimes it´s also me, who writes the text for a song. I like to talk about things which are taboo, perverted and dirty.
Juled How about the area beside Infection? Emal has two more other projects - a solo project called Malius and as a drummer for the band The Crystal Apes ; both much more electronic. How about the others? Tümay: Well, Infection is my only thing. Privately I train Taekwondo and like to go to the gym. Furthermore I love to gamble. I am a passionate gambler. Mensur: I write a lot of short stories. in fact, I try to write a complete novel. But I am little nerd. (laughing) Juled: I live a standard life of a youngster, playing in a band, working to finish my study and to enjoy the rest of my time. Yes, and I also love to go to the gym. Emal: Don´t you see the result that he like the gym? (laughing) Mensur: He is the hulk of our band. Juled: Somebody called me a commode.
Until now you visited the school. What follows now? What are your personal aims? Studies? Music? Tell me about your plans. Tümay: We want to show our music to the world. We want to show to the people our passion. We don´t run after money or fame, we want to live our dream. Juled: Well, but money rules, too. We talked earlier about stage-performance. If you have more success, you can earn more money - than you can buy better instruments, better sound, better effects; you simply can make a better show. Emal: I really would like to live from music. Then I would have reached my dream. Tümay: Our presentation as a live band bases on the show. We would like to make it better. Therefore we need, of course, more cash. We have so many ideas which we can´t show until now, because it´s a question of money.
Would you like to go on tour, perhaps as a support for a more known band? With which band could you imagine to tour? Mensur: We haven´t thought about this until now. Juled: I don´t know any band who play in a similar direction of music like we. We try to get different styles together to reach a wide range. Tümay: With the advantage that we are flexible. If we would tour together with a harder band, we could offer our hard songs. Once we had a concert in Copenhagen; our first gig abroad. The tour was great, we had that much fun in the bus. Yes, I really would do this again and for longer. We are really hot to tour. Emal: In the last time it is rather seldom that we meet privately and do things together. We rehearse and play together, of course, but each of us has his circles of friends. Sue, we are friends, but the group together privately is rather an exception. This was very cool on the trip to Copenhagen that we spent this time together.
Thank you very much for the interview. Any conclusion from your side? Mensur: Everybody, who like to play music should trust himself and should show that you can be an individual. Many people are stuck in known schemata and do copies instead to do something of their own. Try to be an individual, even sometimes you lose. Try to experiment and never give up. Emal: Everybody should try to realise his life and not to worry about anything. Author: Andreas Torneberg, Photos: Infection (Daniela Glunz) Date: 2010-08-01