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Hamburg, 19. May 19 h local time – no hairdo can sustain the damp weather. Just the right time to drag The Traceelords for a couple of pictures outside and to torture them with stupid questions. As I cannot quite decide who to do the interview with I have all four talking. Normally we mention when we laugh during interviews, but this would be too much in this case. Have fun with The Traceelords: Andy Brings (vocals & guitar), Christof Leim (guitar), Slick Prolidol (bass & vocals) and Haan Hartmann (drums).
How about introducing the band first – who is doing what and what are particular strenghts and flaws? Andy, let´s start with Christoph.
Whose idea was it to call the band The Traceelords and who is here the big porno-fan? Andy: Porno-fan, that´s Christoph! In the beginning the band was called „Andy and the Traceelords“. I heard about movies starring Traci Lords, like „Tommyknockers“ and „Cry Baby“. So I thought that Traceelords would be a good bandname.
If we talk about pornos, what do you think about groupies? Christoph: I was brought up as a Catholic. I don´t know anything about it. I refuse to answer! Slick: Yes, but... alright, but I don´t like the expression „groupie“. Andy: Hookers? Slick: Mother All: Yes exactly... mother! Haan: I think groupies are great, and they are also important. Yet I can´t say it like that... Andy: I am married and I know that all just by hearsay.
You have changed your label and signed with AFM. Why did you choose AFM and not for example Nuclear Blast?
Andy: Nuclear Blast have too much money. We make our music as amateurs and as for example a department store heir like me, a mechanic like Haan, a bakery-flowers-journalist like Slick and err... a physical scientist like Christoph, we don´t need that. So we took the label with the smallest budget.
Your new album is called „The Ali Of Rock“. Is that a tribute, or what´s behind that? Andy: It refers to the fact that the band wasn´t on a bed of roses in recent years.... Haan: But on Tulips! Tulips are also a synonym for beer bottles... well, it´s about standing up time and again, wiping off the dirt and continue to go further. We think we are the Mohammed Ali of Rock´n´Roll, you cannot destroy us. Haan: And you cannot grill us! Andy: And by god, they really tried.
The Songs on „The Ali Of Rock“ cross over and contain a bit of everything. A song got my special attention, „Everything Is Perfect“. Who reveals his private life here? Andy: Texts are not always 100% autobiographical, but sometimes you have some influences from your private life slip in. Serious artists like us of course are never influenced by good vibes, therefore you write about the fact that this woman again peed on the toilet seat. But that´s not true! The lyrics are very sarcastic and deal with all what life has to offer – eating, fucking and watching TV.
Slick, you sing two of the tracks. Did you also influence the songwriting? Slick: „Silver Line“ is completely my work, „Watch Me Run“ was written by Christoph. „Silver Line“ is a personal story, it´s aobut another person and a description of emotions, just like Andy does. Had a good day then. Christoph: That was a good day?? Slick: Yes, it was a good day and I quickly wrote down the song. For „Watch Me Run“ I have to hand over to Christoph. Christoph: The song deals with the fact that we haven´t got time for anything but still just don´t sit at home, watch TV and at some point around 40 start thinking that we haven´t achieved anything... Haan: Well... Christoph: Or around 50 then. We prefer to have a lot of stress and to feel like being pushed through your days.
Tell me something about the video to „My Evil Girlfriend“. Andy: That´s great, ecxept we shot it all day at minus three degrees in very light clothes in the Berlin´s Box Temple and never used a single scene from that. What we used was the stuff we shot backstage in like 35 minutes to have bonus material. We did the video from that. Haan: And just in six takes. Andy had three and the rest of us one each. Slick: We have to add that we all sing.
You play at our STALKER Anniversary Party. What do you remember of that? Andy: The most impressive we still enjoy talking about is the alcohol level of Finntroll. We all would have been dead and they just needed a cold shower to sort of recover. That was really interesting.The best thing was that we didn´t really fit into the billing but still rocked the Markthalle. Another proof that even the hardest like to have melodies sometimes. It was a great evening! Haan: Uh? Slick: For me, too, yeah, and I met a hot red-haired. Christoph: I enjoyed the same stuff, too, and Andy: You also had this red-haired?! Christoph: Damn, now it´s revealed, oh god! Mom? Mom, I didn´t mean that. Andy: Weird, he says mom and not the name of his girlfriend. Christoph: No really. People warned me „what do you want there with Anathema and Finntroll? That sucks, you´re too much like pussies“, and see, it was a great show, and it does work.
During your show Tom Angelripper entered stage. As you are very close with him, how is your relationship with Tom and Sodom? Andy: I played a few years in the band, and we didn´t communicate for a while, but only a few years ago we got closer and now everything is OK. (looks up) I´d like to paint the ceiling in a different way. Haan: I´d like to be a baker! Andy: Well, as mentioned before, now everything is great, and Haan and I produced the new Sodom record. It entered the charts as nr. 64, so we did a super job and the record sounds great. We are all happy and might also do the next Sodom record.
Finntroll features parts and instruments that make you wonder. It´s a bit like your new album. How come and what´s on the new record? Andy: I have to admit that bands like Finntroll, In Flames, Edguy and Running Wild indeed influenced our record. Our new album is our way to please the new Zeitgeist – it´s our „Reign In Blood“. Haan: What we did on this record again, as on every record, is not giving a shit and just doing stuff we like to do and we appreciate. Songs that we would like to hear and we enjoy writing. Slick: This time we also had songs that sounded totally different first and where we had our spontaneity decide.
Haan: Yes, for example „Sunflower“ that started as hard Rocksong and turned out as a cool disco track without electric guitars. Christoph: Exactly like „Mr. Marple“ which is a first rate swing song and, as we could see, works fine at Rock´n´Roll concerts. Then we have straight thrashy stuff like „Some People Are More Comfortable In Hell“. It works out because we all can... want to... listen to Slayer, Edguy and Abba Andy: We just listen to Abba, Slayer and Edguy at the same time, yet we put Abba louder in order to soften Edguy.
Is there a band that you find way too experimental, that goes too far? Haan: Traceelords Andy: All these bands that do that nowadays I just don´t know. I personally like Power Pop, Rock´n´Roll, Death Metal but I still like songs. If there´s just an instrumental self praise I cannot take it. What you cannot say in 2,4 minutes you should not say. Haan: Exactly. Slick: Same. Christoph: I don´t see it like this but there are limits. I was quite good at maths, but Meshuggah and Dillinger might be too much. Andy: „I was quite good at maths“??? That indeed qualifies zou for Rock´n´Roll, Christoph... are you sure you still want to make music with us? Christoph: I can pretend to be stupid.
What do you think about Lordi and their participation at the Grand Prix tomorrow? Haan: Tomorrow is the Grand Prix? Slick: Good Luck. Andy: I have to say that I don´t mind Ralf Siegel, and Dschingis Khan was my door to Heavy Metal. I think it´s OK that there is some new blood. They´ll get a lot of press with that. If the band gets better with that or if it´s good for them in the long run, let´s see. We would do the same but not put on costumes, instead we´d beat each other up until we really look like that and then do our PR. Slick: I think it´s normal that such a band plays there, because as I see it it´s for bands with their songs, therefore it´s about the music, and the best is chosen. How they lool like and what they do was never interesting for me.
Haan: It was just for country music in old days, right? Slick:Yes, now that it´s different and the music style doesn´t matter even Slayer could go there. They won´t be chosen then, but for the music it doesn´t matter. Haan:I would choose Slayer! ... Even if there was no Grand Prix. Christoph: If you turn on TV by mistake and there is Lordi, it´s better than anything else.
In this very moment Andy received Sms from his mother and ended the rumours about Traceelords from the STALKER Party.
Andy: Back then it was really my mother on the telephone when we played the song for her! That´s what I always wanted to make clear.
Which music cheers you up immediately when you listen to it? Haan: Motörhead! Slick: Mörtley Crue! Andy: Ramones
Do you listen to your own music often, besides rehearsals, concerts, soundchecks and recordings? Andy: We have to clear a prejudice. We don´t have a rehearsal room, and we are not rehearsing. Unfortunately... Haan: Unfortunately above all Andy: No, I think it´s cool. What I miss are those huge nose bugs you grow within two hours rehearsal in such damp rehearsal caves. So you had something to do driving home. But back to the question, I enjoy listening to ourselves. Sometimes after doing a record you feel like re-booting everything and mixing it all over again. Not this time. And I don´t think it will happen, because the album... Haan: is out by today! Andy: ... out by today and is the result of a long term development. We do not start at zero if we do a new record but use our development. We copy ourselves, and that´s also our style. We just try to be better and better, look a bit to the left and to the right and try things that we didn´t have on previous albums. Yet in terms of composition some of the songs could also have been on our first album, but now we have improved. We are more courageous and do songs the way we like. We were not, we are not and we will never be Metal press darlings, so we can shit on that beforehand. Haan: Actually we are on second last position in Metal Hammer Soundcheck, and that´s not that easy. Andy: I had preferred to be worse than Edenbridge. But there are of course limits... and you cannot ignore that. Slick: I enjoy listening to ourselves, but not that often. But when I´m driving a car our music dominates the player. Christoph: I don´t get paid extra for listening therefore I just do it sometimes for fun. Mostly out of curiosity, but now I´ve already listened to it very often. I wouldn´t mix it again like Andy. Andy: I wouldn´t. I wouldn´t change anything. Christoph:I dozed off while you were talking. Sorrz!
What do you enjoy most on tour? Andy: Pubic hair from bands who played the day before in the shower. That´s so cool to be there, covered to your knees in pubic hair... the best thing on tour is playing. And I don´t think anybody wants to add anything to that. Haan: Another fact is that Slick lives in the North of Germany and Christoph in the South, and also me and Andy live in a distance and hardly see each other. So I enjoy to meet again and have to claim that even after three weeks we still don´t annoy each other, and that´s my tourhighlight. Slick: The same thing Haan says, and Andy´s pubic hair. Christoph: For me playing is the best, and if you cannot see the town you´re having a concert it doesn´t matter. The show is the most important thing.
Are you involved in a certain project? Andy: I give guitar lessons for 150 Euro per hour. Does that count? Haan: We are active in rescuing Rock music. Andy: We do not cooperate with social institutions so that it looks cool on the cover. There are ideas we might realize one day, but still it´s not possible the way we want it. We have ideas like concert audiences take something with them, whatever it is, and then we give it to people who really need that. I personally appreciate to help people who are in need now and need help. But it should be something substancial.What we do is checking that our concert tickets don´t cost a fortune... Haan: Although that would be great! Andy: Yes although it would be great... merchandise is another problem. If you don´t sleep on your belly and sign something at four o´clock in the morning with a hangover, you might have effect on the prices for a t-shirt. Our shirts don´t cost much. Haan:I accomodate a bass player. Slick:I am the social case living with Haan. Christoph Perhaps the WWF membership doesn´t count, and I never played in a jail. Haan: I did that! But never again.
Last question bases on the fact I just saw „The DaVinci Code“ and wonder, what era you would pick and why if you could do time travel? Andy: 1976! Then I could watch how the Ramones started and the KISS tour. The New York in the mid 70s... that would be something.I would be interested also how the concerts back then sounded like. Or... Germany 1945 would be great, too. Slick: Great would be the beginning of history, perhaps I could stop it by stopping the crawling out of water. Christoph: Just out of curiosity back to the 80s, because Andy couldn´t mock my hairdo and I could join the complete „Master Of Puppets“-Tour – with a second liver in the fridge. But I´d like to return, too, because I like also 2006. Now being 26 like all of us... I can just enjoy life.
A review of the Album "The Ali Of Rock" you find here