Drummer series: [ B O L T ]
In this drummer series we want to focus the attention to the musician who's always in the back, mostly in the dark and sometimes even the only one hidden in smoke for an entire set. However the drummer is the backbone of the band so we would like to have a chat with this part of the rhythm section and learn to know more about the band from their perspective. For this first episode we have Maik Erdas from [ B O L T ] talking about their latest album and more. Header picture by Lenscapes.
- You are the drummer in the band. That’s mostly not the frontman but here you are doing the interview instead of Andreas or Thomas (both bass guitars). The drummer is often a lot more involved in the entire writing process than one would think. Does that apply for [ B O L T ] as well? I would think so since the first 1:39 of ( 1 8 ) and again from 11:37 to the end are all yours. (Disclaimer: I am also a drummer and involved in the writing process.)
Hey fellow drummer. Yeah, true that. We try to share as much of the to do lists as possible and usually I take care of the interviews.
To most people it might seem to be strange, that a drummer would be involved in the writing process, since the drummer does not contribute to the melodic parts of a song or an album. But yes, I am involved indeed. So, the same procedure applies for [ B O L T ]. Thomas or Andi come up with an idea, we play along, try things out and so on. Sometimes I might come up as well with some rhythmic structures in order to develop new parts or elements for a song. I already have a pretty long list of ideas for our next album ( 0 5 ). Let’s see what the others think about them…haha
- Besides the explosion of blast beats (is that the name?) in ( 2 2 ) your silence and minor interventions (as a drummer) are also very powerfull (in the first half of ( 1 3 ) for example). There’s this dynamic range in the compositions creating a very dark and often dangerous ‘world'. Would you agree with the idea that you’re creating another world with your music? For some reason it makes me think of The Upside Down in Stranger Things. Your music resembles a copy of this world where all darkness is kept away from the real world. Does that make any sense?
Technically speaking I think it is a so called ‘traditional blast’. Not too sure about that though…
I agree, especially ( 1 3 ) derives from a specific atmosphere. It features a lot of small details from all of us which, at least to me, enrich the atmosphere within the song. I like the idea that you have certain parallels in mind when you hear the song. Unfortunately I’m not familiar with Stranger Things, but I like the score :) I think that one of the advantages of listening to an instrumental band is that albums are less predetermined and therefore leave more space for interpretation or imagination.
- Also your artwork aligns with my theory. It shows a blue sky with a beautiful sunset and the palm trees giving it an exotic vibe opposite to the dark sound of the album. It works really good for me. Was this your intention when choosing the artwork? Where was the picture taken? Have you ever been there? Who made the artwork?
Thanks! And yeah, it was intentional. We like the alleged disparity between album and artwork. Again, we wanted to have a specific atmosphere coming with the artwork that, to a certain extent, also carries the sound and ideas of the album. The photo was taken somewhere in Thailand by someone called Red Ivory who is a private photographer. I had the idea for many years and asked Thomas and Andi if they would be keen to have a palm/sunset/sunrise themed artwork. They agreed, so all three of us made suggestions. The tricky part was to find an image which had the right format/wideness for a gatefold pressing, the 'right' colour-scheme and looked on the front as nice as on the back, as well as tiny contents of urban aspects. Thomas won the bid, it immediately featured all relevant aspects.
- I’m sorry to involve a TV series again but this opposition of brightness at first sight and underlying darkness reminds me of Bloodline where a renowned family goes through hell in Florida, surrounded by white beaches with palm trees and endless sunshine.
Sorry again for not knowing the TV show, but I get the point. I like underlying details, innuendos or contrasts. It works for music in the same way as for movies or plays, it can create tension.
- The last song on the album could be seen as the grand finale of ( 0 4 ) with the last two minutes as a cliffhanger for the next season. Right? And what’s coming next for [ B O L T ]?
To stick to the theatrical area: we want to do a trilogy which in some degrees is in line with the artwork of ( 0 4 ). The idea on doing a trilogy goes back to the first three [ B O L T ] albums, which are all forest related, and also by discussing the artwork for ( 0 4 ). Means: the next two albums will somehow be related to ( 0 4 ) most likely within the broad theme of light. Soundwise the first ideas for ( 0 5 ) have post metal characteristics. But we are still in the very early stages of the album. In general I guess it would be nice to create atmosphere as well as emotions in the wider sense the listener can relate to. Which, at least to me, is the highest goal an instrumental band can achieve.
Apart from that we’ll play Destruktiva Festival in late August and a few dates in Oct./Nov. with our friends in Shipwrecks.
- By naming your tracks with numbers you extract any hints of what the music could be about and keep everything open for the listener to project their ideas. (So you can’t blame me it made me think of the above mentioned series.) On top of that the average song lenght on ( 0 4 ) is 14 minutes. You’re expecting a lot from the listener (which is a good thing). Are you aware of that?
haha, as I said. We are more than happy to offer our songs for everyone’s own interpretation.
I know what you mean, songs with that length are not easy to digest and they are certainly nothing for people who skip a song after 30 seconds if they couldn’t get the listener’s attention.
If someone is interested in music though, I’m not sure how much of a good idea a ’30 seconds test’ is. But I guess that depends on your approach towards music in general. As in…music only for the sake of having something in the background or music which is enjoyed in a more conscious way.
- Besides four full albums [ B O L T ] also released even more split albums and cooperations with other bands. It seems you are always looking to confront or mix your music with other artists. What is it that draws you towards these cooperations?
It’s always very exciting to work with other artists. You can learn from their ideas and creativity. It can enhance your own playing, music and push boundaries. I also like the process of writing itself. I found it always interesting to hear and share new ideas or thoughts with our split/collaboration partners.
More to come soon ;)
- You performed at dunk!festival 2018 (for the second time) a few months ago. How was that experience? What did you think of the forest stage as your setting? And what do you see as a good live setting to bring your music?
We all really enjoyed not only the show, but the whole festival in general. For me it was the first time being there and it was very nice to experience the friendly and intimate atmosphere a lot of people spoke about beforehand. The show itself was quite intimidating, haha. I could barely look up to the audience. I probably did twice!
Also, it was really lovely to get that much positive feedback from the audience and to meet other dunk!bands or crew members I only knew via e-mail.
With regard to the setting…the forest stage felt perfect. A bit too bright, since we played around 6 pm (we can work on that, haha).
Other than that it is very important to have a good working PA + stage sound and an even better sound technician. If she or he knows how to do her/his job that’s wonderful and helps tremendously to carry our performance.
- So that’s it. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat!
Thanks Wout, most appreciated!
[ B O L T ] • ( 0 4 ) [LP]
Comes on 180g colored vinyl in gatefold cover with spot UV logo