Interview With Jochen From Mirror Of Deception   Leave a comment

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Mirror Of Deception got together back in 1990, making them one of the oldest, longest-surviving Doom Metal bands from Europe. Originally when started out, they were firmly stuck in the mold of classic Doom like Trouble and Candlemass but over time they developed a sound all of their own. It took a while and a lot of hard work to get the Mirror Of Deception name around the word, they had to wait over 10 years before the debut full length album “Mirrorsoil” finally saw the light of day but it has been a steady stream of releases ever since starting with “Foregone” in 2004, “Shards” in 2007, a great split album with Garden Of Worm in 2009. The new album “A Smoldering Fire” should be out soon and it promises to be their best album yet. This interview with guitarist Jochen was conducted just a couple of days ago by Aleks and can also be seen at metallibrary.ru.

-Well, Jochen, you started Mirror of Deception 20 years ago, am I right? So 2010 is an anniversary of the band. How do you feel knowing that such a long part of your life you spent being guitarist of one of the oldest traditional doom bands?
-It feels surreal that 2 decades have passed since we started this band. I would have never dared to expect that but as long as we enjoy it and have new music in us we will carry on. It makes me proud that we made it that far.

-And you never ever wanted to finish your career in Mirror of Deception?
-I’ve actually left the band once for a couple of months. That was back in 1999. I had some personal problems back then but I soon realized that I’m missing something important. Of course there are a lot of other things I spend my spare time on but the band and making music means a lot to me. If Mirror of Deception disbands one day I guess I will continue to play in a band in one way or another.

-Most of people tell about “good old days” when “grass was greener and sun was brighter”. What do you remember about days when you started Mirror of Deception? From which point did you start this band?
-I just wanted to play music in a real band and create our own interpretation of Doom. Me and Siffi were big Candlemass and Sanctuary fans back then so we started to write our first songs with just 2 guitars. A few months later we found our first drummer and in spring 1992 we finally had a full line-up together. Everything was fresh and exciting back then: the first gig, the first demo recordings, the first fan letter. We were young and naive but full of enthusiasm.

-There were not too many doom-metal bands in that time – do you remember those with whom you begun your exploration of doom realms? Your colleagues Dreaming said that they loved in doom-metal one thing (not only one indeed but now we talk about this one) – the feeling of brotherhood amongst bands.
-Gerrit from Dawn of Winter was and is a very good friend and he introduced me to many great bands. He taped me Revelation, Pentagram, Death Row and also Autopsy (I love their “Mental Funeral” album). The Dreaming guys are good friends too and they share the same spirit and love for Doom. And yes, the brotherhood thing is important to us too.

-Mirror of Deception plays doom or traditional doom if you wish but do you remember when death-doom appeared first? For example much newbie doom-heads think that doom is death-doom, that’s all.
-I bought the Paradise Lost debut album when it was released in 1990 and I loved it. But bands like Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Revelation and others made a much bigger and lasting impression on us. It was totally out of question we would go for death metal vocals. Too one dimensional for our taste. I’ve noticed that many younger folks think it all started with doom death. Well, historically it didn’t but for them personally it probably did. Maybe some of the newbies will start exploring other doom styles at some point.

-Why did you do only demos for a long period – from very beginning till 1997? Was a music just a hobby for you or Mirror of Deception was a “regular” band in that time?
-The band has always been a hobby and it will never become a full-time job. We did not search for a label in the early years as we thought it’s better not to rush things and to give the band time to develop. But since the release of the debut album in 2001 (which was originally planned for a 1997 release) everything has become a bit more focused and professional.

-With which bands did you communicate during earlier years of band’s existence? How did you do it? There was no internet, there were not mp3.
-Dawn of Winter (back then called Cemetery), Dreaming, Solitude Aeturnus and Revelation were amongst the first bands we got in touch with. Instead of emails and MP3s there were handwritten letters and cassette tapes. Getting an answer could take weeks or months and most of my money went into stamps but it was cool when you finally received a letter and a special tape. It had more value and a more personal touch than an email, a MP3 file or a CD-R. Of course modern day communication is easier, faster and more convenient.

-Hey! Do you keep these letters and tapes? 🙂 If it’s so you must have a huge collection of rare things!
-Sure, I’ve kept them all and it’s fun to go through them every once in a while and listen to some old tapes.

– Jochen, can you say that there was another relationship to underground music? Were magazines more active than now? How did you promote the band?
-When I discovered Doom that opened the doors to the underground scene for me. There were some cool fanzines around like Reflections of Doom, Psyhedelic, Endtime and others. It was a different atmosphere and mentality back then. People knew and appreciated how much work and dedication went into a demo tape or a fanzine and as a fan you had to become active to get your hands on these things. Today it doesn’t take much effort. Most things are just a few mouse clicks away and a lot of people seem to expect everything for free. We promoted the band by sending flyers and demo tapes around the world, doing interviews in fanzines. Airplay on radio shows and word of mouth propaganda helped too. I’m still in touch with some people who ordered our first demo back then.

-But now instead of this you have such good e-zines like “Deutschland’s Doomed”! I saw their on-line magazine and free mp3 compilation – they did really a great work!
-That’s a great magazine for sure and the sampler are a good thing, too. Of course you can’t like every band on there but it’s a great way to get a free and detailed overview over Doom scenes in different countries. After Germany and France I’m looking forward to what country comes next.

-What is Mirror of Deception for you nowadays? How can you assess your creative and concert activity now? What is relationship between band’s members? Markus Baumhauer left the band in 2002 because he had not enough of free time for it. Don’t you fear that you can find yourself in same situation?
-It helped me through rough times, sometimes it caused rough times but a lot of joy too. My life would have been much more boring without the band and all the experiences and encounters it brought along. It gets harder to find time for band activities besides our jobs and families as we get older but we do our best. We are friends (with the former band members too) but don’t meet each other very often apart from rehearsals and gigs.

-You played damned lot of shows all over Europe – which ones do you remember the most and why? Which countries would you like to visit again?
-The highlights so far were our trips to Finland and Ireland. We had great times there, met some cool people and had enough time for a bit of sightseeing too. There are so many places we would like to visit again or for the first time. Our friends in Mourning Beloveth told us very good things about the Moscow Doom Festival. It would be an honor to play there one day.

-Do you have now any measure of band’s success? What is it for you?
-Success for me is first of all that we are still an active and creative band. Success is also that we have been able to play shows in many different countries with a lot of excellent bands, that we get the chance to release new albums every few years and that there are some people out there who like what we do and support us.

-Are all of these years you played doom-metal based on such strong emotions as anger, sorrow and etc. But to sing such lyrics or play such songs mean you have to live through all of this, though it could be some sort of art – just some kind of fiction fiction. What is your variant, Jochen?
-If the lyrics are dealing with personal emotions and experiences it does sometimes bring back memories. But it’s good to bring these emotions to paper. Then it can be like a catharsis, it lifts the burden from you and make you feel better. On the other hand many lyrics are just entertaining stories – true or fictional – inspired by books, movies or newspaper reports.

-Even newspaper reports?! Though it’s understandable… And which certain reports did impress you so much to become a subject of your lyrics?
-Too many to mention. There is enough doom and misery out there in the real world.

-Can you trace back your development as guitarist? How did your skills change with the lapse of time and what drive you to improve these skills? When did you understand that you can make something that you couldn’t do before?
-I started playing guitar not long before we formed the band. The first real success was when I was finally able to bring ideas inside my head to guitar and they transformed into real songs. By playing together with other people for so many years you improve your own skills automatically but I don’t consider myself a technically skilled guitarist. Progression comes with what the songs demand.

-Which song of Mirror of Deception makes you be proud as it’s author? Dare I guess there is not just one song, so can you can name any of last ones…
-“Vanished” is a very special and personal song for me. I wrote it when a close person disappeared out of my sight but fortunately this person has returned into my life. “Der Student von Ulm” is a special one too. We had a lot of fun writing the lyrics and music. It was an experiment and it turned into our most epic song to date. Another important track is “Mirror of Deception”, the first song we wrote as a band and which defined our style. There are many more but these 3 stick out for me.

-Mirror of Deception sounds much stronger then before with the last full-length album “Shards”, what can you say about this CD? Was it some kind of evolution for the band? There are more different and strong vocal-lines, there are a lot of catchy melodies and whole album just sounds great!
-Thank you, I’m glad you like it. We learn from each album and try to make the next one better. With a bit of distance we realize what works well and what could have been better. It’s a simple and natural evolution. “Shards” was the next step after “Foregone” and the best we came up with in 2006. “A Smoldering Fire” will represent where we are in 2010.

-Most of musicians say that their “last album is the best one for this moment” but how must “A Smoldering Fire”, your next CD, sound to excel “Shards”?
-I’m sure we will think so too when the album is finished because then everything is fresh and new and the songs are still very close. Time will show it’s place amongst the other albums. The songs we are recording for the new album right now are the ones we believe are really strong. But an album is more than a collection of songs to me. The sound, atmosphere and flow are important factors too.

-You already entered Soundmann Studio to start record session of “A Smoldering Fire”, do you have some ideas about how new album will sound? What is your view of new Mirror of Deception?
-It’s hard to say as we are still recording and usually many details change in the studio especially in the vocal department. The sound itself will be related to our previous two albums. That’s why we’re recording in the same studio and with the same sound engineers for the third time. The musical style hasn’t changed that much. There are many typical Mirror of Deception trademarks and melodies as well as some new ingredients and influences which where already present but not so obvious in the past. Just wait and hear.

-You released split album with Garden of Worm in 2009 and it has very impressive songs – “Der Student von Ulm” and “The Falls”. I like both of them and I just would like to ask you to comment these songs.
-Thanks again. We were asked if we want to participate in a split album. We said yes and thought this is the right release for some experiments. We had songs with German lyrics in the past and people were constantly asking when will do it again. This time we wanted to do it in our own dialect which is called Swabian and even most Germans don’t understand it. The lyrics are based on a local legend, a tragic story about love, betrayal, death and insanity and it demanded an epic soundtrack. That’s how “Der Student von Ulm” was created. “The falls” is a song I wrote at home and it has a bit of a Katatonia touch but it’s still typical Mirror of Deception. We did also record a Bathory cover for that release, “Ode” from the “Destroyer of Worlds” album. We’re fans of Bathory and it was also meant as a tribute to Quorthon.

-Oh, I see not certain signs of Katatonia presence in “The falls”, it’s a good sign in itself 🙂 How did Garden of Worm appear on this split? This band is fresh enough if I do not err, so we can say that Mirror of Deception helped them a bit with this collaboration, can we?
-They’re a great and original band and nice guys. If it helped them to get more recognition that’s fine. We’ve both profited from this collaboration.

-Who is an author of songs’ lyrics? Do you usually discuss what will be a song’s text be about?
-We are all writing lyrics. Mostly it’s me or Andi, but Siffi (vocals & guitar) and Josef (drums & vocals) are contributing lyrics too. Whoever has the best idea for a song. Sometimes we discuss the lyrics but most of the time it simply fits.

-Will you include songs with German lyrics into “Smoldering Fire” LP? It sounds really expressive and doomy in “Der Student von Ulm”, so it would be bloody great to hear another one…
-Yes, there will be a song with German lyrics. Your wish has been heard.

-Mirror of Deception’s bass player Andy has started a new project – Mountain Throne, what is it? There are only 2 songs into their MySpace page, so we can not figure out any certain impressions.
-Andy had a lot of ideas which are more classic Heavy Metal but still with a doomy touch and he wanted to start a band with some of his friends and play guitar. I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from them in the future. All Mirror band members are involved in other projects like cover bands or bands with own material. Mirror of Deception is the main priority though.

-Jochen, thank you for patience. That’s all for this time! I hope to see “A Smoldering Fire” out soon, so let me grant my best wishes to your and the other men from Mirror of Deception! Do you have something to add?
-Thanks for the interview and support. Stay slow!

www.myspace.com/mirrorofdeception
www.mirrorofdeception.de

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Posted May 18, 2010 by doommantia in Mirror Of Deception

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