Interview with vocalist/guitarist Sebastian "Sibbi" Buhro, guitarist Tilmann Wederich and drummer Konstantin "Günni" Luick
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: January 28, 2017
In Germany Death Metal is really blooming these days. If that country's Metal scene has become known for its strong and vivid Thrash Metal bands of the eighties and Power Metal bands in the nineties (as well as today) it's the last 10 years of so that Germany has produced some of the best new Death Metal bands.
From Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg (geographically close to Stuttgart) comes a Death Metal outfit named Seeds of Agony that recently self-released their debut album, Morbid Reflections. The band is doing their best to get their name better known outside their home country so we here at The Metal Crypt thought we would give them a chance to speak about the band and their future plans.
Luxi: First off, could you tell us about the roots of Seeds of Agony? How did things get started and what led you to form this band?
Sibbi: Seeds of Agony started in the Summer of 2009. Tilmann, Günni and I used to play together in a melodic Death Metal band called Agony Remains. After splitting up, the three of us decided to form a new band. Quickly we realized that our music was heading in a different direction; more extreme, more old school. In 2010 our bass player Andreas joined the band.
Luxi: Who is responsible for what as far as Seeds of Agony's songwriting process is concerned or do each of you contribute equally?
Sibbi: Tilmann and I write the lyrics and contribute the main ideas for our songs but most of them are written by Tilmann.
Tilmann: In most cases it starts with a bunch of riffs brought in by Sibbi or me. The progress differs every time and every song has its progression.
Sibbi: In the other words, the final songwriting is done by the whole band.
Luxi: Seeds of Agony have been around for about seven years. How have these years treated you so far? Do you think you've been on the right track when it comes to the band's success, how people have found out about the band and so forth?
Sibbi: I think that we got along quite well with what we did. We've had some years of stagnation due to private and business reasons (that's why it took so long from our demo in 2011 to our first album in 2016). It's hard to measure success in our context up to now but since the release of our album we have gotten only positive feedback, which means quite a lot to us.
Luxi: Your debut album, Morbid Reflections, was released in November 2016. How happy and satisfied are you with the outcome? Do you think you got the sound you originally hoped for?
Tilmann: I think before recording we only had a raw vision of how the album should sound in the end. During the recording it became very clear early on that we made the best beast of an album we could!
Sibbi: And we're more than satisfied with the outcome! I think we never expected to reach such an awesome sound!
Luxi: You used the Iguana Studios for the recording of Morbid Reflections. Based on your initial experience with Iguana do you think you might do future Seeds of Agony records there and even use Christoph again for both mixing and mastering?
Sibbi: We've had a really good initial experience with Christoph and the Iguana Studios! He managed to give us an incredible guitar sound and the drums also really kick ass! Besides, he's a really relaxed and cool guy.
Tilmann: I think in some way we will surely work with him again. Today is way too early to plan the next recording session in detail.
Luxi: When listening to Morbid Reflections it is immediately obvious that you guys love the old-school Thrash/Death Metal sound. I am not going to start name dropping but it's clear that 80s/90s old school Thrash/Death Metal is very close to Seeds of Agony's inner soul. Please feel free to enlighten us more about your influences...
Sibbi: That's right, we have a lot of bands influencing us from that period.
Günni: We each have our own personal list of bands that have inspired us, so the whole list would be endless. Next to the usual groups like Morbid Angel, Exodus, Hypocrisy, Death and Carcass we could name Brutality, Monstrosity, (early) Gorguts and Amon as influences, too.
Luxi: You have put some crucial live experience behind you and undoubtedly playing gigs is one of the things that motivates you to keep the band alive and active, I assume?
Sibbi: That's right, playing live is a huge trigger to go on! In 2016 we didn't play that much live but we're looking forward to more gigs in 2017! We can't wait for the next gig in Stuttgart in January.
Luxi: Are you aiming to play some bigger festivals around the world (Party.San, Wacken, etc.) with Seeds of Agony or do you think as long as you can play live, it really doesn't matter where - be it club shows or small/big festivals?
Sibbi: Of course it'd be great playing bigger, open air shows and we're really looking forward to make such experiences happen but the most important thing is playing gigs, no matter how big the stage is.
Tilmann: Live requests are always welcome!
Luxi: I am curious to know what the response has been for your live shows? Have any of your shows gone beyond your expectations?
Sibbi: It differs by number but there are always people talking to us after a show and telling us that they really like our music. I have the impression that it's getting to be more and more people, hehe!
We just had our album release concert on the 11th of November at Eisbär, Esslingen. The show went beyond all our expectations! So many people showed up the place had to be closed because it was too crowded! Awesome experience, awesome atmosphere!
Luxi: As far as your set list is concerned do you play any cover songs? If so, which ones?
Sibbi: We already did that but it happens quite seldom now.
Günni: Back in the days with Agony Remains we did W.A.S.P.'s "Wild Child."
Sibbi: I think the last cover song we did with Seeds of Agony was "War Is My Shepherd" by Exodus.
Tilmann: Now and then we work on some cover songs but our own stuff is the main priority.
Luxi: Thinking of cover songs a bit further have you ever given any serious thought of recording an album full of your all-time favorite songs that you grew up with when you were a kid? Let's play with one wild thought; If you picked 10 of your most favorite songs for this cover album, what songs would they be?
Sibbi: Phew... let me think; Hypocrisy "Osculum Obscenum", Death "Misanthrope", Exodus "Bonded by Blood", Testament "Into the Pit" and At the Gates "Blinded by Fear."
Günni: Sepultura "Arise", Brutality "Septicemic Plague", Carcass "Pedigree Butchery", Black Sabbath "Electric Funeral", Primal Fear "Promised Land" and Andrea Berg "Ich Werde Lächeln Wenn Du Gehst."
Tilmann: Some of the songs already mentioned plus the following; Sepultura "Inner Self", Skid Row "Slave to the Grind", Metallica "Motorbreath", Iron Maiden "Revelations", Asphyx "Crushing the Cenotaph", Gorefest "Mental Misery", Morbid Angel "Opening of the Gates", Paradise Lost "Rotting Misery" and Cannibal Corpse "Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead."
Luxi: Alright, let's talk about the current songwriting process for Seeds of Agony. How are things going and have you got anything "in the oven" as far as new stuff is concerned?
Sibbi: Since the album release we've been working on two new songs. One of them we're already performing live. Songwriting happens during standard band rehearsal sessions. Someone has a new song idea, shows the rest the riff and then the others try to adapt. Lyrics are implemented as the final step in the songs.
Tilmann: As described in question 2 we all take part in a new song's progression, so it takes time until we are done with it. Our next album will not be released in 2017 but it will be again the essence of what Seeds of Agony stands for.
Luxi: 3/4 of you already have some experience behind you band-wise so I guess that fact certainly helps in this creative process, correct?
Günni: That's right, Tilmann played in Serpent's Tongue and is working on different projects. Sibbi has had the Metal/Punk band Endless Circle with his brother and sang in a Stoner Rock combo called Black Steam Machine. Next to Seeds of Agony he has his acoustic solo project called Sibbi. I play for Contamination; a technical Thrash/Death Combo, have fun in a depressive Black Metal Band and work for a young Thrash band as a session drummer. Andreas our bassist currently plays for a Stoner Rock band, too.
We are able to experience different styles of material, playing live or recording. Because our other projects aren't the same style of Metal, or metal at all, we are able to riot ourselves out but at the same time slip unusual stuff in.
Luxi: What are your expectations of this new Seeds of Agony material? Are you as excited about this new material as you were when you composing songs for Morbid Reflections or are you even more thrilled?
Günni: First of all, we are happy that we have finally released Morbid Reflections but yes, we always have a blast playing new songs once they are completed. We learned a lot over the past few years and we found our place and style of Death Metal.
Tilmann: And we still keep developing that style with every song we write. Pushing the limits is something I enjoy a lot in the songwriting process. We are not relying on anybody liking our music, so we are free to do what we like!
Luxi: What are some of the most important aspects of future material that you will surely keep in mind when writing?
Günni: We won't follow any written concept of making music and we won't let anybody from outside manipulate us. We will continue having fun making our own music and if a new song needs more time, that's fine. If a new song sounds like some new kind of "melancholic Hardcore Doom Thrash Metalcore with female vocals" then, GOD FORBID! It's fine, too.
I guess the only things we need, to be able to continue writing songs, are beer, boobs and time... Well, maybe some new instruments and a rehearsal room would not hurt us either...
Luxi: Seeds of Agony come from Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg. What is the environment for both gigs and living in general like there? Do you enjoy the area or do you feel like you should move out someday?
Günni: Esslingen isn't far away from Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg. There are lots of bars and clubs compared to other regions in Germany. Playing live isn't a big problem. The only thing you need is money and/or acquaintances. Because there is a lot going on, people can pick their favorites. Sometimes you play in front of 10, sometimes in front of 80 people. When we organize gigs ourselves we're aiming for the big zero. Our release gig was a great success, but in the end only 80 Euro plus was left.
Moving isn't an option because we have family, friends and work here. Besides, Esslingen is a fucking great town!
Sibbi: Indeed, Esslingen is a really beautiful medieval town. 3/4 of us grew up here, that's why we have a special connection to the place. I've already lived somewhere else, but it always draws me back here. Besides its beauty, it also has a rich cultural environment.
Luxi: What about Metal-loving people in your home city? Do you think that Seeds of Agony has gotten more acceptance and respect in Esslingen than you may have in some other areas of Germany?
Sibbi: As far as I can see there are a lot of people here listening to Metal. Esslingen itself has a Metal bar called Eisbär, which is a quite unique spot in the region of Stuttgart! It's like a living room for us, where we also play concerts and listen to other bands. The place to be if you wanna listen to good music, haha!
I'm sure that more people listen to Seeds of Agony here in Esslingen than in other parts of Germany. But I guess that's normal in the state our band is in right now.
Luxi: Obviously Seeds of Agony has lots of fans all around the world so ultimately trying to play outside Germany is undoubtedly one of your goals, correct?
Sibbi: Sure! As soon as there's a possibility of spreading our music over other parts of the world, we'll be glad to play outside of Germany! A friend already asked me if we want to play in his home town of East London, South Africa, haha!
Tilmann: A request from Russia just reached us the last week. We will see what happens.
Luxi: While we are at it, Germany seems to have a very strong Death Metal scene nowadays. Do you see any specific reasons for why so many quality Death Metal bands are coming from your home country these days?
Günni: Maybe because we are in the middle of countries where great Death Metal bands came from. Also, we have had access to all kinds of Metal from over the world since the first bigger mail order services started to spread the madness. At the moment Swedish Death Metal is having a revival here in Germany and occult Death Metal that has influences from Doom and Black Metal is strong, too.
Luxi: What about the global Metal scene today at the end of 2016 Anno Bastardi. Are you still making great discoveries from today's over-saturated underground Metal scene or are you basically the type of guys that look back in time to the classic releases?
Günni: In the case of Metal music we all still live in the past! Most of the bands we like had their time in the 80s to the mid 90s. There are some killer newer bands as well, but I think we just "don't get it." In the end we stay with what's already been done because it was done great.
Tilmann: Most of my new killer bands are non-Metal stuff, haha!
Luxi: Lastly, tell us three reasons why (Metal) people really should check out Seeds of Agony?
Sibbi: They should check us out because they won't regret it! I think that we play music that has parts for everyone who's into extreme Metal! Of course, not everybody will like everything, but there are parts in our music that most of you will like for sure. We have a broad range of musical influences and that gives us a specific sound.
Günni: And our music sounds great the whole day!
Luxi: My sincere congratz, guys. You crossed the chalk line finish of this interview. I want to sincerely thank you and hope you made it this far without any headaches and/or suicidal thoughts. It was a real pleasure to have this conversation with you. I want to wish long life and success for you and Seeds of Agony. If there's still something you'd like to either say to your fans, the last words of this conversation are reserved for you...
Tilmann: Check our new album out and get drawn to the morbid spirit of Seeds of Agony!
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