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The Doom Shall Rise Again – Interview With Mirror Of Deception   Leave a comment

This two-part interview is with Jochen Fopp from Mirror Of Deception and goes into detail about what the band has been up to lately. The second part is about the Doom Shall Rise Festival which Jochen is one of the organizers. The first festival took place in February 2003 in Crailsheim, Germany. Surprised and overwhelmed by the amazing responses from fans, bands and the media the organizers Frank Hellweg (Well of Souls) and Jochen Fopp (Mirror of Deception) had to move to a bigger location the year after. The Chapel, a former US military church in Göppingen has been the place since then. ( Doom Shall Rise Official Site )

Mirror of Deception – A Smouldering Fire

Q: Jochen, first of all let us start with the bonus CD of “A Smouldering Fire”, it’s dedicated to 20th anniversary of Mirror of Deception – so let me offer my congratulations with best wishes! Well, that huge bonus will be offered for those who get it in time and get the first edition of “A Smouldering Fire”, am I right?

-Thank you, Aleks. We’ve discussed with our label what can be offered as a present to the fans and to make this album something special. So we came up with the idea to add a bonus CD to the limited first edition.

Q: This disk includes rare songs which were only available for those who own vinyl releases but there are also three re-recorded demo tracks. Why did you choose these songs?

-“Mirrorsoil” is a song from our 2000 demo and it was never officially released but we still play it live every now and then. “Chapter MMX” is our favourite song from our second demo released in 1994. And finally “(We are) Mirror of Deception” is the first song we wrote as a band in 1990. All those songs hold a special place in our hearts.

Q: Oh, by the way your new CD has very impressive art-work which was created by Irish artist Elaine Cooney, what does the album’s title mean for you? Mirror of Deception is 20 year old band, it’s a good date but as we see it’s fire is higher than ever, is it?

-The title comes from the lyrics of the song “Unforeseen”. We think it represents very well the state of the band. The fire is still burning after all these years and we are still hungry for more.

Q: How long did spend recording the “A Smouldering Fire” album and which songs were most difficult for you?

-We’ve started in April 2010 and finished n July. But we were not constantly in the studio. The instrumental part was done in a week and then there were a lot of sessions for the vocals. A few hours here and a few hours there as we had to continue with our day jobs. Nothing was really hard to record but as always a lot of time was spent on experimenting with the vocals.

Q: Jochen, you recorded another song with Shwabian lyrics as you promised, it’s name is “Lauernder Schmerz” – what is it about? This song is one of the best on this album, therefore it is interesting which history hides behind these tunes.

-This time it’s just normal German, not our strange local dialect. But of course it makes no difference for people who don’t speak the language. The English title is “The lurking pain” and it’s about a man who lost his whole family. First his son due to a tragic accident and shortly after his wife committed suicide as she couldn’t handle the death of her son. It’s a true story.

Q: Surely we can say that there’s a pure English doom metal in the world metal scene, we can suppose that there’s Finnish doom too… But what do you think about German doom as an independent sub-genre? I’m asking that because of your new song “Bellwethers In Mist”, I sense some folk-tunes there but of course you can correct me if I’m wrong.

-There is a big, vivid and diverse doom scene here but I don’t think there is a particular common sound or shared characteristics which could be called “German Doom”. Regarding “Bellwethers”: our bass player Andi wrote that song and it’s sort of an homage to Primordial, a band we all like a lot. So yes, there’s a folky feel to it but rather an Irish than a German influence.

Q: You composed three brief instrumental interludes for “A Smouldering Fire” – “Heroes of the Atom Age”, “December” and “Leguano”. Can you comment them? What did drive you to place these short compositions into the album?i

-We’ve had short instrumentals on the previous albums, too. This time we had more. We liked all three of them and we think they give the album more atmosphere.

Q: Does Cyclone Empire have any plans to release some kind of vinyl edition of “A Smouldering Fire”?

-Not at the moment. The album is 57 minutes long. That would mean double vinyl and that’s an expensive affair. Maybe sometime later, we would like to see it.

Doom Shall Rise

Q: Okay, let’s talk about Doom Shall Rise festival! Why did you decide to start DSR? Were there in Europe and Germany any others doom-festivals before it?

-Our friend Uwe Groebel (singer and guitarist in the band Voodooshock) organized 2 festivals called “Doom in Bloom” in the mid 90s. But without the internet it was hard to promote back then and there wasn’t that much interest in Doom Metal. There were almost more musicians than actual audience. Mostly German bands played like Naevus (Uwe’s band before Voodooshock), Dawn of Winter, Grief of God, Dreaming, Dawn of Winter, Mirror of Deception, Suberversion, Windfall (Switzerland), Astral Rising (France) and Jack Frost (Austria).

Q: Jochen, from the beginning you and Frank Hellweg (Well of Souls) were the only organizers of all these gigs. Was it hard to do all this job by yourselves? Were there people who helped you in your work? Please tell us about process of preparation of first DSR.

-There were many things to consider and it was a lot of hard work. Of course we were still learning and everything became less stressful in the years after. Frank and me are a good team so we prefer to do all the work before on our own. For the festival weekend we have of course a much bigger crew. For the first festival we had to find a venue, then we contacted some bands. After we had the confirmations we printed flyers, spread them at the big summer festivals, informed the press about it and set up a website.

Q: 16 amazing bands took part in DSR – I! How did you gather together all of them? Where did you place guys from other countries? I know what there were Forsaken (Malta), Officium Triste (Netherlands), Reverend Bizarre (Finland), well, even guys from other cities of Deutschland had to find some places for them! And did you organize any gigs before it?

-We’ve booked a big hotel in town for all the bands. I’ve organized a tour for Revelation, Reverend Bizarre and Mirror of Deception which went for another week after the festival.

Q: It’s said that first DSR was very successful festival, how did it’s success show itself? How long did you think before making decision to do DSR – II?

-All tickets were sold out in 2 days and we had to move to a bigger venue. All bands and visitors enjoyed it a lot and we were able to cover our costs. Also many bands returned as visitors or want to play again so they obviously like Doom Shall Rise.

Q: Okay, Mirror of Deception and Well of Souls took participant in DSR – I, but why didn’t your bands play in DSR – II?

-DSR was never intended only to promote our own bands. And if you’re the organizer and have to take care of many things it means more stress to play with your own band as well.

Q: What’s about Frank’s band? Is Well of Souls active still? There were no releases from you since 2002!

-As Frank can’t answer this I will say for him that Well of Souls are still alive but there haven’t been much activities the past few years.

Q: In which venues do you organize DSH fest? Can you say after these years what choice of some clubs was unlucky for you and a place in itself was a problem in the end? You started to conduct your gigs in The Chapel, a former US military church in G?ppingen (near Stuttgart) – what is this place?

-After the U.S. army left my old hometown G?ppingen a few years ago many of the buildings found new owners. The Chapel is now owned by a local culture club. They organize and host all sorts of concerts, exhibitions, parties and Doom Shall Rise is just one of many events there. It’s the perfect location for us. Enough space, great sound and atmosphere and no neighbours which could be disturbed.

Q: How did you choose bands for the gig? There were 15 bands for that time… There was even Shepherd… Well, don’t you know why did the band split-up?

-I think there were personal problems in the band. Andreas Kohl, the singer of Shepherd has a label called South of Mainstream and he returned a few times with some of his acts (Wino, Place of Skulls, Voodooshock) to DSR.

Q: How did you catch Mar de Grises (Chile) and Place of Skulls (USA) for the next festival? And again there were 15 bands! Why did you stop with that number?

-The billing is always a mixture of bands that we want and bands which contact us. Those bands were on tour and approached us so we’ve invited them.

Q: When you pick out bands for the festival… Do you try to get bands which play in different doom sub-genres? It would be too boring if all bands play only funeral or traditional doom during one DSR!

-Yes, we always try an interesting mixture of styles. As you say it would be boring if all the bands would sound similar.

Q: As I see you tried to do not repeat yourselves and each line-up of DSR was new though some German bands (Dawn of Winter, Dreaming) or Swedish Isole and Officium Triste (Netherlands) played at least twice in DSR.

-Some bands return to our stage after a few years. But as we get more than 150 applications for each festival we can’t and don’t want to have the same bands year after year.

Q: DSR–IV (2006) greeted guests from USA – extreme Against Nature and doom-legends and old friends of Jochen as I understand Solitude Aeternus. There was strong newcomers Ahab and “old gloomy bastards” Jack Frost. It was one of the strongest line-up’s. Jochen as I remember you was in correspondence with Solitude Aeternus for a long time – how did you feel when you see them in flesh?

-It was a great honour to have Solitude Aeturnus at our festival. The problem was they had to come without their singer Robert Lowe who didn’t get his visa in time. So we had to improvise. Timmy from Doomshine, Gerrit from Dawn of Winter and Erico from Dantesco stepped in and each of them did some songs with the band. There was no time to rehearse and it was the best we could do in this situation. John Perez said he still owes us a gig with the full band so we will see when this will happen.

Q: I did an interview with Russian Sepulture Union promotional group who organize annual Moscow Doom Festival and they told that most of such fests were really unprofitable. Do you have same problem considering financial part of DSR organization?

-That’s absolutely true. But our aim is not making money for our own pockets. We want to do something for the Doom Metal scene and if the bands and audience enjoy it and we can cover the expenses of the festival everything is fine.

Q: How did all your experience help you through the years of DSR? Was it simple to make DSR-V in 2007? I wonder how you did it all these years with such zealous fanaticism!

-We’ve learned a lot from festival to festival and we have a great team. There’s more routine, we know what to do and as a result the organizational side has become more relaxed.

Q: By the way I see that it became tradition for you – to invite new bands on each festival, which discoveries were waiting doom-heads during DSR-V?

-I think Mael Mordha, My Shameful, Our Survival Depends On Us, Serpentcult, Low Man’s Tune and The Last Supper were pretty new to most visitors. We see it as our duty to introduce new bands at every festival.

Q: Finally you had a break in 2008 and didn’t organize DSR for the first time. What was a reason? Did you haven’t a time or was it because of lack of money?

-Private stuff. Frank had a lot of work with his new house back then and after 5 years we simply needed a break. We do this as a hobby not for a living and if something in our own lives demands a lot of time we take the freedom to take a year off.

Q: There were Holy Griftegard, righteous Lord Vicar, pagan and exotic Reino Ermita?o (Peru), extravagant gentlemen (and lady) of The Lamp of Thoth and even almighty Wino at DSH-VI. Great stuff… Isn’t only that too much for just one fest? How long one DSR does usually goes?

-We try our best to get an interesting billing every time. The Friday usually starts at 7 pm and is over around 1 or 2 am. Saturday usually starts at 3 pm and is finished around 1 or 2 am.

Q: How often do bands cancel their participation in DSR? Last DSR (pt.VII) had a few line-up changes, for example Grieving Age (Saudi Arabia) didn’t take part in festival… Orodruin and Argus canceled their shows too.

-It happens every now and then for various reasons. We plan a long time ahead and life can take many unexpected turns in 9 months time.

Q: Jochen, Garden of Worm isn’t pure doom band – why did you invite them to the show? Just because of split-album with them?

-They are a great band with a unique style and they fitted perfectly in. And by the way what is the definition of “pure” Doom?

Q: Jochen, you already said that you do not plan a DSR in 2011, why? Is a reason the same as in 2008?

-Frank has become father of twins in May 2010. As his wife is working and he has to look after the kids there’s no time to concentrate on organizing DSR for 9 months. And I wouldn’t do it without him and he not without me.

Q: Well, man, we have had a long talk, so let us finish our epic interview with a few brief questions. How do you promote each new festival? I saw a great review of last DSR in Doom Metal Front e-zine but it’s in German… oh… there is also an interview with some of you if I’m not mistaken.

-These days it’s mostly word of mouth propaganda. We don’t do any advertising anymore. Of course we are available for interviews and we are happy about reviews. The real Doom fans know about Doom Shall Rise, tell their friends about it and keep it alive. There are many familiar faces in the audience every year and it’s a bit like a big family meeting. We don’t want to attract thousands of people and that wouldn’t happen anyway with this sort of music. It’s perfect as it is now with around 700-800 visitors.

Q: Which Doom Shall Rise is most memorable for you?

-The first one as it was all new to us, exciting and adventurous and the second one when we did DSR in the Chapel for the first time. That felt like coming home or finding the perfect place. But every edition had its’ highlights so far.

Q: Do you drink with participants of DSR after the festival? 🙂 It would be great party indeed – no one would survive!

-Usually we are pretty done after 2 days of festival. We’re not that young anymore. But there are some hardcore fans and band members every year who continue to party after the bands have finished.

q: Hm… Did you ever offer participation in Doom Shall Rise to any Russian band? Which band do you want to see there?

-Not yet. Unfortunately we don’t know much about the current Russian scene. Scald is obviously impossible. Do you have any recommendations?

Q: Of course I have! Ekklesiast, Kamni, Without God to mention few! But is Doom raised enough now?

-Never. Besides DSR and other Doom festivals it’s still hard for Doom bands to find gigs and to play for larger audiences. There for we will carry on.

Q: Jochen, I hope you’re okay after that long discussion. Good luck comrade! You do a colossal work promoting Doom Cult over Europe and as all of us can see, you have real results of your labour. Though I never was there… I’m sure that there’s nothing impossible so I hope to visit one day DSR festival and get out of there alive! Good luck!
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov
Official Mirror of Deception Website
MoD at MySpace.com

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Posted December 16, 2010 by doommantia in Doom Shall Rise Festival, Mirror Of Deception