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STALKERs Fresh Act – June 2009
Hot Newcomer-Metalband „Last CareZ“ from Cologne, Germany, prepare for their breakthrough. Their first CD is ready, half a dozen gigs were performed, the next Cd is in preparation. What they still need is a label. I meet the band in the early evening in a well-known beer garden in Cologne-Ehrenfeld area, in the middle of the week, therefore it´s still calm there, to chat with Thomas Wirtz (lead guitarist), Pierre van Endert (vocals, guitar, comp&lyrics), and bassist Lars Kaufmann .
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Who are Last CareZ?
Lars: I am Lars and this is CareZ. (laughter)
Pierre: That was to be expected. Lars is our bass player. The plus: foolish talk. The minus: foolish talk (laughter)
How would you describe your musical style?
Pierre: I don´t want to say it, but it´s "girlie metal".
Who are your musical idols, your most important musical influences?
Lars: Metallica, Megadeath, Motörhead, Pantera
Thomas: That´s difficult to define for me. There were many influences. I always liked Iron Maiden but also a lot of other Metalbands. And also classical music. Bach, Beethoven, all those old guys
So you see everything from the musical virtuoso perspective?
Thomas: For me music is either well-made or somehow otherwise attractive. This is the case when it´s expressed well or somebody put some good ideas into action. And it does not matter if it´s a Pop or a Punk Song, it depends on the mood.
Pierre: It´s difficult in my case ....
Come on, a favorite band?
... well, there is an artist, when I hear his soli I simply freak out: Slash! And Brian May is simply great. Singer? Freddy Mercury. He´s the best I think. Otherwise I don´t have real idols. My thinking works with sounds. Once I could not get a tune out of my head that came from the beeping sound of a cash machine, when somebody took out cash before me. And this is something my girlfriend cannot understand, unfortunately, when I imitate her. That drives her crazy, I think. Well, perhaps she is making fun of me, teasing me and laughs about it secretly, and i´m an idiot not realizing it, maybe... In fact she sometimes produces those nice sounds and I cannot help to imitate those!! (laughs) I listen to anything, from hardcore Metal to Hip Hop, pretty much everything. You can hardly ignore our Pop influences.
Your band name Last CareZ provokes questions. What does it mean and how did you come up with it?
Pierre: Ironically it is not our creation. Our former guitar player came up with it. We were 5 in the band back then, and Alex somehow came up with it. No idea how. No clue. Does not matter anyway.
But it refers to caressing?
Pierre: Yes, indeed.
Before death or before leaving?
Pierre: Could also refer to the end of a relationship. Whatever. It also refers to a contrast that is represented by us. On the one hand hard riffs, on the other hand soft piano tunes.
What is the topic of your songs? What is your inspiration?
Pierre: The main topics are my personal bullshit...
The big subject-matter love?
Pierre: That too, naturally. No, but also private things, self-discovery. Which way should I take. It could be also a pretty banal situation. A fight with somebody and the like. „Declaration of Love“, I think that one doesn´t need an explanation, it deals with the topic love.. „The chamber“ refers to a fight. „Freak“ is making fun of a certain kind of women (floozies).
Do you have problems translating it all to English?
Pierre: Meanwhile it´s getting better. I have to admit that the first texts I wrote really give me the creeps now...
How do you usually write your songs? Do you need a certain location, a guitar or the piano?
Pierre: It varies. There are songs that come up when I force myself to write songs, or they are created accidentally. The riff of „Down to fall“ e.g. is such a case, as well as „Vicious Circle“. Sometimes it happens that I just touch the strings of my guitar, and an idea comes up. I don´t know, it simply happens. „Declaration of love“ was created within 5 min, on the way from the internet cafe to my home. In my head, completely. I´m a little bit proud of that.
Lars: Divine inspiration.
Pierre: Something like that.
Are you recording it for the other band members to listen, or do they just join in when you play it?
Pierre: We always do it that way - I record the songs at home on my compyter and then I play it to the guys. Most of the songs they find OK, but sometimes there is one...
Lars: We still have a voice in that matter.
What is the most important thing a good song should have?
Thomas: I can only continue what I just said. A song can be interesting because it´s technically well-done or because of a good tune or a good riff.
Or how do they call it nowadays: A good hookline?
Thomas: In my ears it´s a nasty word, but I think this is what I mean. A good riff or a good tune or a good emotional expression, no matter if aggressive or soft. Could be rocking or just a beautiful song.
Pierre: I really appreciate a good hookline. Needed to say that.
Thomas: Best-case-scenario is to combine those three things. There are songs with a cool riff, a good hookline, and they are technically well-done. Pierre has e.g. a lot of songs that are complicated, technically virtuoso but still can grab somebody´s attention who isn´t a musician. Some songs are only interesting for musicians, others rather for amateurs. When you have something technically cool it´s still good that a non-musician can say: I like it.
How would you describe your sound with 3 adjectives?
Lars: Hard, soft, catchy.
Pierre: I like it. This is what I meant. Lars simply gets to the point. He was the one with this girlie-metal bullshit, too.
Lars: Hard, soft and smooth, that´s good, too.
Pierre: Hard, smooth and catchy, let´s take that one.
Thomas: Smooth is something that applies to girlie metal.
Pierre: Girlie Metal is now our trade mark.
How difficult is it for a band from Cologne to get into the scene?
Pierre: Very difficult!
Thomas: Especially Cologne is overflown with bands. I think just in this street there are 100 rehearsal rooms with bands who want to be successful. Especially here it is so difficult to stick out of the crowd.
Pierre: Take a trip here with the subway in the evening, and you´ll certainly see a group of 19-20 year olds with guitar cases.
Thomas: The competition is immense. There are many bands in Cologne and also audiences are over-saturated. World-class acts play here and you say "let´s check out this little concert here, it´s for free!" "Nooo I just live in a 100 m distance but I´m too lazy to move my ass." Everybody is sated. And it´s almost better to go outside the city because audiences there are more appreciative.
You have played some gigs already, so how was it??
Pierre: The gigs were good, from our part, but there were not so many people.
The concert at Bütze (see Stalker review here ) was very good, in my opinion.
Pierre: Oh, this Anti-Nazi show? We were extremely lucky. It was really well organized. You have to say that. The place was packed. 250 people.
Pierre, you are the singer, songwriter and now also second guitar player in the band. Which musical background do you have? Did you have vocal lessons?
Pierre: Yeah, some.
Pierre: No, not that bad. No, I had some vocal lessons with a lady in Fulda, my home town. Then another couple of lessons with another vocal coach. Let´s say that it took me further in a way. I think I grew just by singing my own lyrics. What took me further the most was to work at home with the computer and the microphone. Simply singing and trying things out myself.
How did you come up with that?
Pierre: Because we did not have a singer in my old band. And then I had fun with it, I put down my guitar and said, let´s find a fifth band member.
Thomas, you are the guitar player. You play melodic Hardrock. Which kind of effects do you use, which sound do you like most?
Thomas: O god, as I am dealing with it professionally, I just focus on guitar, cable and amplifier when I´m playing. Simply without effects, merely puristic.
Not even a nice Wha Wha-Sound?
Thomas: Yeah, that maybe, but in the band we have not used it yet.
Pierre: Hey I´m really into Wha Wha. Let´s do something with it.
Lars: I wanna have a Bass-Wha Wha.
Professional question for the bass player: can you play the bass so that it sounds like an E-guitar?
Lars: Yeah, sure, just listen to Motörhead.
Pierre: Lemmy distorted his bass in a way that it sounds like a crappy guitar. It works but sounds horrible, most of the time.
How do you deal with internal conflicts that surely occurred also in your band?
Pierre: We did not have those yet. Despite conflicts about my driving style (laughter)
Lars: We did not have big problems so far so that it would be worth discussing it here.
Pierre: We are reasonable human beings. And we are adults.
What can people expect when they come to see your gigs?
Pierre: A grinning Lars. A clumsy Pierre, a cool Thomas. Fun with music and passion.
What are your ambitions with the band. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Thomas: Lots of money.
Lars: World domination.
Pierre: Many women.
Which song would you pick, if you could get out a single on the big market?
Pierre: „Down to fall“
Lars: Would choose the same.
Thomas: I agree.
What are your plans for the near future?
Pierre: Gigs and finding a label
Lars: A CD will be there, too
Pierre: It is quite possible that we start producing it this year.
Lars: With some label money everything would be a bit faster.
Many thanks for the interview and good luck for the band!
Author: Gernot Hermenau, transl. K. Weber; photos: LastCarez, G.Hermenau
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