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After so many years of stability, everything goes topsy-turvy: Mely from Southern Austria, namely Andreas Mataln (Vox/Git), Peter Lengfeldner (Vox/Git), Martin Mataln (Vox/Keys), Daniel Huber (Bass) and Hannes Helmut Ganeider (Drums) indeed have something to talk about, for example what it means to have a family member in the band, line up changes, touring or the new album "Portrait of a Porcelain Doll". Letīs have front man Andi reveal it all...
June 19, 2009 - 10 year anniversary for Mely. How did the band develop, from your point of view - Mely now and back then?.
10 years dammit we became old farts, thatīs bad, isnīt it? HAHA we developed well Iīd say. Musically we are satisfied, we didnīt get stuck and from our viewpoint managed to put new influences, emotions and increased quality regarding musical skills and sound on every album. That was the most important thing back then when we founded the band, and it still is. We played some real cool supports, rocked several big stages and 2 tours. The fanbase is growing, reviews of CDs and live are basically good, so nothing to complain about that. The only thing - we got to admit that - we cannot live on making music, and this is still the essential goal of every musician. Therefore you could put a "failed" on our biography, but that would mean that Mely is over - which is not the case, the next 10 years have just started!
The usual topic band name (referring to "melancholy") - what was the most hilarious misunderstanding? Pronounced by Finns it always sounds like "Melüü", by the way ...
Melüü is new for me but sounds acceptable. Well, "Maili" is probably the worst case but whatever, as long as people can identify us itīs OK. And if not we open a post office.
This Promo CD doesnīt show lyrics and I cannot understand everything - but Bricks Against Porcelain Dolls seems to be pretty personal, reflecting on your youth (relationship with your father)...
Well, itīs rather a resume and seeking my role in the whole thing, you could say. The whole story is not limited to a single person, the content is like a role playing game, characters are merging all the time. I have to admit that in the studio I sometimes didnīt really realize what I am singing, but the emotions behind the words always told me "OK this is what you meant" or "right that was the incident". This is still the case, which makes it easier to perform those songs live in a convincing way (at least I hope so).
Can you tell us more about your lyrics - what why wherefrom?
Basically itīs about disease and addiction and how they affect the psyche, our families and children cause problems in everybodyīs lives. Thereīs this idiom about being the "chip off the old block", that might be the theme of the album. An adult looks back on his life and realizes that despite all his efforts he became his "role model". But I donīt want to explain it further to leave room for interpretation. So the fan has something to ponder about - in case it was legally purchased, otherwise there are no lyrics to be found...
What inspires your song/lyric writing? Is it mainly personal stuff you get off your chest, or are there also "fantasy" topics?
Until now we still had enough inspiration in our daily lives. It has always been a mix of getting things off the chest and puking something out, you never know whatīs coming. But no fantasy themes for us, I enjoy watching that on TV, but really getting into Dungeons and Dragons swinging a sword when playing a gig - thatīs nothing for us, or would you think otherwise? Well, Pete in a Manowar outfit would look cool, though (I just imagine that image - LOL)
Your lyrics seem also a bit more sarcastic and cynical than those from back then, you wrote a bit more aggressive and straight-forward - is this an effect of aging? :D
No idea, but youīre not the first person noticing that. Well, the topic of looking back implies cynism or even sarcasm, I think - Iīd better bury myself if Iīm no longer capable to laugh about those blunders I made in the past.
Which one of your lyrics you find the best, which one you would like to re-write?
All of them have their own charme. Surely there are songs from the early years that I cannot really agree with any longer, but none really sticks out. Perhaps itīs My Addiction that contains more of Andi - but you better work on the interpretation yourselves! Klaudia just tries to trick me into something - gotcha!
Maybe Yesterday - a cool Metal/Prog-Melo-Semi-ballad that unites everything of Mely in ONE song, whatīs the story behind that?
Thanks for the compliment, we appreciate that! Haha - this is the official Mely-Bee-Gees-Summer-Sunshine-Surfer ballad. This song was written last year at Sardinia. My girlfriend and I are - whenever there is time for it - VW-Bus-Campers, this is the most exciting sport anyway! You just hang out in the middle of nowhere with your guitar, drink a beer and enjoy being far away from all that fuzz. When you donīt like the place any more, you just drive on, it could not be more relaxed, and this is when riffs are popping up all the time. If I had the money it would be the perfect way for me for songwriting. Well, a dream... The song is about seeking refuge in yourself, which is sometimes the only place where you find some rest.
Whatīs your personal Mely-fave? And which song you cannot bear playing once again?
There is none as Iīm listening to Tool a lot now (-; At the moment when rehearsing and playing live I enjoy maybe yesterday the most, but thatīs constantly changing. Basically I donīt like to play any of the old stuff, itīs much more fun to write new songs and to listen how they develop - thatīs gives me more endorphins! This is probably the attitude in the band as such, so itīs bad that we have to rehearse with a new bass player and cannot scrimshank rehearsals...
Being with your brother in the band, and for such a long time - are there more arguments, and more about music? And is there a sort of competition, like who does the better show, who gets more chicks? :D
Thereīs no competition - how? I am the undisputed Mely-Adonis, the Alpha wolf, Don Juan de Melüü, LOL Ok seriously, I think it does not matter if a band member is also a sibling, as you spend your time with all the other band members, too, and it becomes a family, there is no other way. From that viewpoint we are 5 brothers who kill each other - or not. Certainly I have big respect for everything that Martin is doing, in music and in private life, and this is the relationship with all the others, too. The only difference between real sibling and the others is that Martin has me see red a minute earlier, if heīs up to that.
You had recent line up changes, two people left Mely in quite a short time, because of family reasons - do you see it rather as a chance or as setback?
In general we made the experience that every setback brought us forward a bit - a "standard" phrase but it is true. After Helmut left we were indeed close to split up, but this was not the reason, only the tip of the iceberg. Itīs a fact that his departure has not changed the fact that we enjoy playing music together, and this is why we continued. Then we found Hannes and he somewhat crossed over some of our frozen band structures. And somehow we needed that. Therefore looking back it was the best that could have happened to us. What will happen when Daniel is leaving? Mely will play music and enjoy it!
Have you found a new bass player already (as Daniel is becoming a dad in September). If yes, how did you find him/ her?
There are candidates but nothing is fixed yet, but until September we want to find somebody, thatīs for sure.
What about Helmut (ex-drummer), is he still active musically, and do you still have contact?
Sure we have contact, we are friends, we have been friends also before Mely so this is not going to change. At the moment he is finishing is Communication studies and enjoying his early Mely-retirement. Heīs also musically active, but he does not talk much about it - and well, my fault, too, I could have asked... but in summer thereīs a gig somewhere that I hope to be able to see. Iīm really curious how it feels to see that guy sweating from a distance, from the fan-perspective.
Your producer Mario Lochert - who is he, what did he do earlier, and how come that you worked together?
Mario is the heart and soul of Mely (or better, one of them), Iīd say. He discovered one of our CDs , found the band "supportable" and ended up producing us. Heīs not into giving up easily, he is a great engineer and organizer, and therefore he has been our producer since leave and enter empty rooms and later also our Manager.
What is the deal with Silverwolf Productions, how did you get in contact and what are they doing for Mely?
It was Mario who did that. He was their A&R and therefore it was clear that he also plays his productions to Silverwolf-Chef Wolfgang. Wolfgang liked it and so we got to talk. Silverwolf offer the opportunity to be our own label, they take care of getting the CD to the stores and that the PR is getting into motion, but what it all will look like is left to us. That was the deal with this album, for the following one everything is still open. For us thatīs great as we have learned from the past and rather enjoy our freedom.
Are you satisfied with the reviews of Portrait of a Porcelain Doll? Who did the cover artwork, were you involved?
Well, letīs assume we find reviews important even if itīs not the case... therefore we are very satisfied! It was mainly in the upper third of all ratings, we could compete with bigger releases, and we were pleased to see that they struggled to put us into a category. They compare with other bands and point at various genres, but finally they say something that "a rare band that puts itself skillfully between the chairs". This is what we like and this is how honest music should be! The artwork is by a certain Kurt Wörsdorfer of Headcrime Artwork, and as usual with Silverwolf we could decide on it ourselves, and even if not that cover would not have any different - we just liked it! haha
Tours with Xandria & Stonemen in the last year, now this year with Dornenreich - what happened? Where were you, were there any funny/horrible/weird incidents?
The Xandria tour was pretty much just going on in Germany, the Nachtreisentour covered the whole of mid-Europe. Both were great, we got along with the other bands, and also the clubs were filled. Mely could convince, too, I think, that means that fans were not disappointed. There were no real weird incidents, Iīd say that both tours were pretty relaxed with some small but nice parties, no scandals or something. Thatīs also not the point, the audience wants a good show and spends money on it, therefore you should be fit to present yourself at your best.
Martin What was your major audience abroad, rather the Goths or rather the Metalheads? Are there differences with different audiences?
Basically we had fun everywhere. The audience reacts in a different way in different places, even within the same country, but we donīt care so much about that. We donīt do Mosh-Pit-Sound therefore we are used to a rather calm atmosphere, but people are listening, thereīs pros and cons about that. Gigs are as different as people. thatīs the beauty of it!
How did you get to this video- to be seen here . Who made it, were you involved?
The video wasnīt my idea but the song is already telling the story, so it wasnīt that difficult to transform it. A good friend of ours did the filming, a very simple thing with 2 Digi-Cams and put together via editing according to their ideas.
The Austrian music scene was a topic last time - now internationally, about internet and downloads, your opinion about that? Andi: Ok, thatīs an annoying question because there is no real answer to it. Itīs a fact that internet is a great tool to distribute your music, but you better donīt ask any money for your CDs, thatīs really impertinent of all those bands... Martin: I share Andiīs opinion. I have to say that the internet is unfortuately a huge promo machine and that there is an audio visual promo overkill going on already. As long as the bands know about it and agree, there is nothing wrong with downloads (which means internet distribution), but eMule, LimeWire, BearShare is rather a thorn in the side of bands. pete: Naturally as a music fan I like the idea of plenty "free" music For musicians it has never been so easy to get their music out to the world. But that bands without a Major label have to chance to make it is a kind of censorship, based on the sum of the budget - thatīs the other side of the coin that nobody wants to see. Artists who want to make music will still do it (in whatever way) and perhaps also find audiences. Others might have no more chance, and thatīs a pity. Hannes: I have a similar opinion. Thanks to the internet it is possible for an unknown band to distribute music. On the other hand there are 2345432 Torrent pages that offer free music downloads. Newcomer- or Underground bands are hit the hardest!! Therefore the internet is the best friend and the worst enemy of a musician!!!
Hannes Recently a housewife in the US faced a million dollar compensation payment claim because of illegal downloads- Your comment? Andi: Well she is a scapegoat for all the others, subjectively thatīs bullshit, but should I find no more sleep because of that? Clearly no. That woman also doesnīt care that I put my money that I worked hard for in a 40h job ( that has nothing to do with music) in every CD production and therefore enable the song burglary. Illegal downloads are a theft, although itīs not that popular any more to have that opinion. Martin: Downloading is somehow seen as a minor offense, but still for me itīs weird to charge a house wife with a million dollar fine. pete: I agree, the whole thing seems out of proportion - crazy. Hannes: I think itīs about making an example , but surely they wonīt be successful with that!!!
A question for all of you Melys: what is the most embarrassing record / CD in you collection, and what is your most precious possession? Andi: Thereīs nothing embarrassing, itīs only that I donīt like them any longer. Martin: Ö3 Greatest hits Vol.3. but not that embarrassing because this was the first CD that I bought from my own money in 1994. Back then there wasnīt really anything about internet, and radio ( Ö3) had much more power over little Martin... pete: Many records had their time - and that time can be over pretty suddenly :D The most precious are those that are connected with a lot of memories. And I have some of those... Hannes: Music does not have to be embarrassing to anybody, but Bravo Hits perhaps cross that line :D.... No seriously, letīs be glad that not everybody likes the same kind of music, that everybody has a different taste is great!!! Iīm proud of my first record ever..Nirvana-Nevermind, I bought it when I was 11 and I still like it!!!
Future plans - near and more distant, Gigs, Festivals?
Basically we are focusing on finding a new Bass player, then weīll see. Some gigs are booked for the end of this year, some others will be added. Weīll see whatīs going to happen!
Author: Klaudia Weber, photos: Mely Date: 2009-07-03