Interview with Ralf of Requiem

Interview with Ralf of the Swiss band Reqiuem.

Hell-o, for all the people that don´t know the swiss death machine Requiem, please tell us something about the beginnings of the band. And a short introduction of yourself?
Ralf: The band started in 1997 and released 4 full-length albums and an EP so far. Over the years we played far more than 500 shows and almost 10 European tours with bands like Vital Remains, Dismember, Vader, Belphegor, Lividity amongst others.For those interested in us just visit our official homepage or myspace site for more information, pictures, shows, tours and all the other updates. As far as I`m concerned I`m playing Bass and am responsible for the lyrics.

Are there any (unreleased) demos of Requiem before „Nameless Grave“?
Ralf: Yes, there is one. We recorded a few songs on a selfmade demo-cd called “Prophecies Of A Dark Millennium”, but that CD was only for close friends and was never released officially. All of these songs were never played since years - neither in rehearsals nor live on stage....

What was the turning point in bandhistory to release „Formed at Birth“ (March 2003) under „Revenge Productions“? How was the process of getting the deal?
Ralf: In my view “Formed At Birth” was the first step towards professional recording and towards the development of the bands unique sound and musical trade marks. Concerning the deal with German underground label “Revenge Productions” there is no big story behind that. He was interested in us and we were looking for a label to release “Formed At Birth” and that`s it. Thus, destiny took it`s course so to say.

In 2004 you were on tour with Benediction ,Master and Divine Empire through Middle Europe. What was the feeling for a (at this time) underdog to support those bands? Were there any problems with the „stars“? How was the relationship to the other bands, have you been accepted?
Ralf: What do mean by underdog back then… Just kidding but actually we are still underdogs today struggling in this so called business.On all past tours we never had problems with anyone of other bands. Actually Paul from Master is a good friend of us. We have been welcomed very friendly on that particular tour and made the best of that playing position. So the only thing that changed in comparison to now is that we play co-headliner positions almost at every show. We have always been accepted by other bands on a tour. Sometimes that lead to real friendships.

With „Goverment Denies Knowledge“ (2005) the band landed their first masterstroke and got a deal with well known „Massacre Records“. The Album was recorded in the „Dedx Studios“ Studios in Switzerland and mixed by Jean-François Dagenais at „JFD Studio“ in Quebec, Canada. ( For all people who don´t know this guy, check the members of Kataklysm... ) This new album sounds more adult and sophisticated. Were it only the professionals on the sound controllers, or has made the band a great step forward?
Ralf: In the seventh year of the band`s existence we began writing these songs for GDK. In retrospect I must admit that these songs and the whole album was the spark for what has become of the band nowadays. The style and the sound was really ours for the first time, we had a worldwide label and distribution deal, a significant cover and a strong line-up. So I guess we made it right back then and laid the foundation for the new album that is in stores since July, 31st.

After the release of „Goverment Denies Knowledge“ Requiem was on Tour with Dismember through Europe. I visited one of the shows (in Carinthia / Austria) and since that moment Requiem is one of my favorite bands. The show was in a small Metal-Bar called „Endorphin“ (R.I.P), but the band gave their best to animate the beer drinking visitors; and that with big success!Which of the concerts were the highspots and is there any difference for you, playing in a concert hall or in a small Metal-Bar?
Ralf: Really?! You have been at this show back then? Awesome `cause we thought that nobody was interested in us back then although that show in the Endophin club was a killer. A steamy, sweaty small place with a max. capacity for maybe 80 metalheads going crazy. Actually there is a difference between venues, clubs, bars and festivals. The feeling is always different. If you play for example in a tiny place eye to eye to the people it`s always more personal. People are staring at you and looking on your fretboard waiting for the next riff to come. Other musicians waiting for a mistake you might make and so on. It`s very one on one. Bigger venues and festivals are a totally different thing. You have enough space walking around and communicate with your own band. The people are just a faceless crowd very often except for those that dare to show up in the first row grinning at us. So actually we like both and of course it depends on what we get. We aren`t in the postion yet to control the size of he shows. On the Dismember Tour there were some special shows like Turock-Essen (GER) and a place in Italy, Reggio Emilia I think it was that were very special shows and in addition very professional venues `cause you never know what shows up for catering or the circumstances of the stage tech.

In late 2006 the Band entered Andy Classen´s „Stage One Studio“ in Germany to record their next warhammer „Premier Killing League“. With that album the band could top the previous album again and made the next step out of the underground. In which way do you got the contact to Andy Classen, how long does it take to record the album? How was the atmosphere in the studio?
Ralf: Recording with Andy Classen was the idea of our publisher back then but more like a proposal. Glad we checked it out. So two weeks were booked in Stage One Studio and destiny took it`s course once again. Usually we record all our albums within 14 to 16 days. The reason for that very short time is because of the pre-studio work and the effort that everyone of us makes for himself at home. We are always well prepared so the rest is mere details. Every now and then we save time that way to focus on tiny details and arrangements with Andy. Concerning the atmosphere I guess the fact that we already recorded two albums with him and that we already booked the time for the next record speaks for itself. Professional, funny, straight forward with the highest quality. That`s what recording with Andy Classen is all about and we don`t have in mind to change a winning horse.

Apparently very good, because in 2008 Requiem entered again Andy Classen´s Studio to record their newest masterpiece „Infiltrate... Obliberate... Dominate“. This time the Album was released under „Twilight“ and not as the two cd´s under „Massacre Records“.What was the reason for you to leave „Massacre“ and to alternate to „Twilight“?
Ralf: After Premier Killing League the label and we as well had the option for another record to be decided by reason of the preceding sales. We had discussions and decided to get into proceedings with different labels. Massacre wasn`t interested in releasing another album. So we took the risk and finally got into contact with Twilight which were also interested in us a couple of years before. Afterwards that was our best decision so far `cause Twilight supported us big time and did a fantastic promotion job for the new record. The communication is great and the fact that they are totally into our music.

What were the differences at the recording-, mixing- and mastering-process to „Premier Killing League“?
Ralf: Basically it was nearly the same as within the process of the last record. The only difference was that we spent more time on the vocal arrangements. Only the recording sessions for all instruments ranged over approx. 9 days and another 5 days for the post production process like mixing and mastering. And I guess Andy did an awesome job again.

How were the reactions from the media?
Ralf: Although the reviews and interview requests came slow the overall reactions where overwhelming. Our new record was “album of the month” in different print and online magazines and we also hit the top ten editorial soundcheck in big magazines like Rock Hard (GER) and Legacy (GER). Twilight did a brilliant promotion job so far providing promo kits to the media in whole Europe, the US and the rest of the world. So we hope this will pay off getting bigger tours and festival shows in the next couple of months.

Was it willful to change the sound on the new album back into a more raw and away from the „overproduced“ style?
Ralf: It was absolutely in our mind to get a more dynamic sound this time. I wouldn`t go to such lengths and say that “Premier Killing League” was “overproduced” but it has a more one-dimensional final mix. “Infiltrate…Obliterate…Dominate” is a very balanced record. The brutal fast parts are mixed very loud and raw and the slower and groovy parts are mixed even to that. A dynamic mix often sounds more natural and raw to the human ear. So we wanted it like that this time in comparison to PKL.

This year´s april you were on a co-headlining tour with Lividity through Europe. I have seen photos from the locations in East Europe, which one was the most fuck up location?
Ralf: If you believe it or not the most fucked up location regarding the technical circumstances, the overall look of the place and the cateringwasn`t in Eastern Europe. The winner of the club that sucked most on this tour was the Frontline in Gent/Belgium. What a horrible place. Everyone who attended a show in this club or even played there before knows what I am talking about.

Did a lot of people visit the shows and how was your concern to the complete tour crew?
Ralf: Fortunately we played the co-headlining position every night and had the opportunity to present our new songs to large crowd on the whole tour. This tour was like a festival on wheels. Seven bands in two nightliners starting the show from approx 6 pm to 1am. So the other bands had bad luck very often concerning the metalheads coming late. The complete crew and bands were very friendly and funny. Certainly we had more contact to the people in our bus than to the others but we got along and got a very intense support by all the other musicians. Dave of Lividity banged almost to very band every show before playing his own show what was some kind of amazing if you know what I mean.

How accures a song at the Requiem camp and who is responsible for songwriting?
Ralf: Usually Phil and Reto do all the songwriting. As soon as a new tune is finished I receive the notes and tablatures to develop all my bass lines and fill ins. Meanwhile I always start to write different concepts for new lyrics and adjust them to the final songs afterwards in cooperation with our singer. So you see that all the responsibilities are shared.

Do you have a really good equipped and engineered rehearsal-room or is it a sleazy garage?
Ralf: Our rehearsal room is situated inside an old factory building in the second floor. We just set up our whole backline, drumkit and a small P.A. So there`s no luxury just what we need to work on new songs or to rehearse the current set lists for new shows. Everything has to be convenient rather than good looking.

What are the plans for the future and what can we expect from Requiem the next months?
Ralf: Next on the schedule is a short headliner tour in the UK together with our mates from Desecration (Wales) and a dutch band called Nox. Currently we receive a lot of tour offers for the end of the year and 2010 as well. So you can expect a lot of new shows in the next couple of months and one or two full European tours in 2010 plus shows on bigger summer festivals in whole Europe. In addition we started to write new songs already that will be recorded in December 2010 with Andy Classen again.The Requiem-Train is in full speed and we don`t have in mind to slow down.

Are there some tours planned, or will you work on new material?
Ralf: Both. Like I said before we are in proceedings for festival and club shows and in addition for another European tour for 2010. Currently we already wrote 4 new songs for the next CD but I guess there will be small changes within the next months.

Last rites?
Ralf: Thanks for all the support and the interest in our band. If you`d like REQUIEM to play your city or town just tell your local promoters or get in contact with us And Paul I hope you show up at a future show of us again having a beer afterwards with us. Thanks for the interview, cheers and greetz!
Interviewer: Paul
Sep 12, 2009

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