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STALKERs Fresh Act June 2010

The Oldschool Thrash Revival doesn´t stop short of Berlin either and so Secretum are not only doing something right musically but also topically because with their new album Management sKills the band wants to rain on the parade of all those greedy, for-profit financial bosses. A band with a mission then and if that wasn’t already enough, tequila-drenched live shows. Whether the guys end up in a homeless shelter or on world tour with Slayer as their support, is up to you – so check out the new album! Guitarist double pack Jan and Thomas provide you with the facts.

Who are you? Please introduce the band! What´s your favorite food, your philosophy of life and your worst habit?
Jan: We are pretty much a motley crew. Everyone does music for many years, also in our daytime job we do, like everyone in Berlin, something with media. But before we start to talk about our eating habits and digestion rituals, let´s talk about music instead!

How did you get into music in the first place?
Thomas: When I was a child, I found my Dad´s guitar and destroyed it eagerly!
Jan: The main thing for me was always to become rich and famous. Now that we almost achieved that, I´ve started to think about stopping.

In what band, still active or broken up, would you like to play for one day, if you could?
Thomas: Grip Inc. Because Gus Chambers was the best singer in the world and had the most impressive dark circles around the eye that I´ve ever seen in my life.
Jan: If Slayer invited me to join them on their world tour I definitely wouldn´t answer no.

How´s the thrash scene in Germany in general and in Berlin in particular?
Thomas: The scene is getting bigger but with it also a bit more anonymous. But there are still bands you´re in close contact with over years or with whom you can exchange or borrow personnel.
Jan: I think it´s amazing that even 17 or 18 year olds go onstage now and play Oldschool Thrash which was already out of fashion before they were even born. And this is not only the case in Germany. When you look at the new releases from metal labels, there´s a deluge of new Oldschool Thrash bands. But it´s probably just a trivial observation that everything´s repeated over and over again in music history. And the people probably want to listen to some proper Thrash after all this neo-neo-neo thrash stuff. This could be the reason for the revival happening at the moment. However, in Berlin you don´t really notice it yet. The scene here is very small, most bands know each other for a long time, but in recent years some new blood has entered the scene as well and I´m very excited to see what´s still coming.

Not long ago you released your new record „Management sKills“, „sKills“ is obvious, but why „Management“?
Thomas: Management skills are qualities that are over and over again misinterpreted by many Heads in economy and politics. The idea is a bit older and arose already in 2007. You could almost say that we anticipated the current economical crisis.
Jan: Hehe, if you really had anticipated that we only had to put money on declining stocks and would be billionaires now. But the point is that we really loathe this whole greed for profit mentality. The management skills that investment bankers and financial sharks apply are only based on egoistic maximisation of their own interests; it´s only me, me, me and then nothing. No thinking about sustainability, responsibilty etc. We don´t want to act up like moralisers but with attitudes like they are exemplified in the free economy, sooner or later the whole world will go down the drain.

As far as I followed, the record got some pretty good reviews. Did you expect that?
Jan: We are of course happy about all positive feedback, after all we put a lot of work and heart´s blood into this album. But we didn´t expect it. When you devote yourself to something for a long time you lose distance at some point. But that distance is important to judge the quality of the product. All the nicer, of course, when fans and reviewers approve you in what you´re doing.
Thomas: When you play in a band, then you make the music that you like best. When other people like it too then it´s of course a very welcome feedback.

In my own review I said that you picked out only the best from Thrash, Hardcore and Death Metal – how did you manage to do that???
Thomas: Everyone of us listens to different kinds of music and brings his own inspiration to the table and this doesn´t end with the mentioned influences. In a Secretum record is maybe also a bit of Bob Marley or a trace of Deep Purple. In the end it´s about attentiveness to pick out interesting things and combine them to make something new.
Jan: We simply don´t bother too much about finding out which genre serves what riff. When the riff is good, which means it´s catchy, groovy or simply straight-forward, then we use it. Often it´s not clear where a song will go when we start writing it.

Most songs on „Management sKills“ are pretty much a frontal attack on the listener´s ears but there´s also one song which is rather quiet “Coffeeshock” with piano sounds. What´s behind that?
Thomas: We wanted that the listeners bring down their brains after listening to the record, to get back to normal, back to the hard work and dutifully rejoin the system.
Jan: Apart from that we were able to engage awesome guest musicians for this track (piano by Tom Geldschläger and bass by Ole, our producer) and we didn´t want to let that chance slip.

Is there one song that you would especially recommend for those who got curious by now?
Jan: I would start the record with the first song. You will get a pretty good impression of what is on offer. Those who want to start with something slow could check out “Gone”.

Your debut album was wonderfully entitled „Happy Happy Killing Time“, what did you do better/differently now with the second album?
Thomas: The line-up was reinforced which made us act a bit more versatile. A new album is always a progression for a band as well, musically but also on a personal level. When this doesn´t happen anymore, then you should leave it be and start something new.
Jan: There are certainly connections between these two albums, for example when you look at the thrash riffing. But you also notice that we try out a lot more things and have become more recognisable. Apart from that, the two guitars make for a lot more power.

Your first album was released on Metal Age, how´s the label situation with you at the moment? Or do you prefer DIY?
Thomas: When you take matters into your own hands, then no one meddles with your affairs and you can bag all the million Euros yourself! But, we´d still look forward to serious offers from competent labels.
Jan: Moneywise, there´s really no difference in our league, in case of doubt we are better off when we do everything ourselves. On the other hand, we don´t have as much time as we would need to put 100 per cent to everything like promotion, booking etc.

Kato, your singer is also busy with another band, Voltron. Is there collaboration between the bands or are those two different animals?
Thomas: Yes, those are two different animals… We dwell in the same rehearsal space, steal beer from each other and share the singer, that´s a certain form of solidarity.

On your MySpace page one can read about your live shows “kick ass” and “extreme stage appearance”, which sounds pretty exciting already, so what should people be prepared for when they want to come to your shows?
Thomas: A bonkers, Spanish singer who paces across the stage and drowns everything in tequila from the first row up to amplifiers and guitars. Otherwise there´s precise drumming and drunken guitarists who can always play the right notes no matter what.
Jan: Hahah, I´ve seen it in another way as well…

How did the band get together?
Jan: Phew, long story! Ives (the drummer) and I know each other still from school and already back then we did some music together. At some point we already had established ourselves in Berlin as Konfus with a mix of punk/hardcore but then we wanted to make progress musically and finally ended up doing metal with Secretum. I will leave out all the line up changes over the years so the readers won´t get bored even more. Fact is: the line up as it is now works perfectly and is ideal for our musical style.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Thomas: In the Royal Hall of Fame or the homeless shelter in the Neukölln district of Berlin!
Jan: ...or working our our third album, haha

Thanks for the interview :)

For more infos check out www.myspace.com/secretumberlin

Author: Kathleen Gransalke, photos: Secretum
Date: 2010-05-31

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