Interview with guitarist Markus "Ulle" Ullrich
Interview conducted by MetalMike
Date online: February 25, 2012
MetalMike: Congratulations on album #6, This Harmonic Consonance! When you were starting out, did you think you'd get the opportunity to release this many albums?
Ulle: To be honest. I didn't really think about that. To me even a demo seemed to be an almost unachievable aim :)
MetalMike: How did the band get started? What inspired you to pick up instruments and eventually start playing Heavy Metal?
Ulle: I think this is the same story as with every band. My buddy Gen and I were metal fans and we more or less grew up together. He started playing drums and I picked up the guitar. Everything started rolling.
MetalMike: How much of a help or a hindrance is it for a band to pick up a label like "Progressive Metal" or "Power Metal?"
Ulle: Difficult to answer, it depends on the fans, hehe. When I was in my teens, bands such as Armored Saint or Metal Church were "Power Metal" while nowadays they call the more melodic, mostly European stuff with sing-a-long melodies "Power Metal". Two totally different styles, if you ask me. It is another thing with Progressive Metal. There're lots of bands that are labeled as "progressive" but all they do is copy old Dream Theater riffs. I don't understand why people call that progressive. Complex - yes! Progressive - no! Back to your question. It maybe is a help to roughly know what it's all about but it's a hindrance if people mark you as "one of those typical bands"...
MetalMike: You released your first album, Towers, back in 1996. How have things changed for the band in the studio, live and in the Heavy Metal scene, in general?
Ulle: I would say live it's more or less the same, but of course we're much better musicians than back in the days. Studio is of course much easier and the metal scene itself....umhhhh....confusing :D More bands, less originality, sad to say... But of course we have a good thing, to be honest. :)
MetalMike: Where did the title This Harmonic Consonance come from?
Ulle: It's a little wordplay on the track "Disharmonic Consonance" which is the last track on the album. A bit ambivalent, we like that :)
MetalMike: How do Lanfear songs evolve? According to your website, Nuno (singer Nuno Miguel de Barros Fernandes) writes the lyrics and the music is provided by yourself and Richie (keyboardist Richie "Richer" Seibel). Are the songs fully formed when you hit the studio or are they ideas that the band, as a whole, whips in to shape?
Ulle: I wrote most of the basic tracks in 2009 and when we hit studio everything is completed. Of course it also helps that Richie as well as me have a little home studio so it's very easy and comfortable to record guitars, bass and keys. There maybe are some little changes in the vocal lines but I would say 99% is done when we start with the recording sessions.
MetalMike: Lyrically, relationships ("Words Not Spoken") and social issues ("By-product Nation," "I, Robo Sapiens") are touched upon. Are the lyrics inspired by real-world events or are they more introspective?
Ulle: You have to ask Nuno, hehe. I would say both. Nuno also had some serious health issues in the last few years so this is also something he had to deal with. "Idiopathic Discreation" is his way of coping with the past. Very intense lyrics if you know that fact.
MetalMike: Each album's artwork features contrasting images including the crumbling house and vibrant tree on the cover of This Harmonic Consonance. Has that theme been a conscious decision and does the artwork relate to a specific song? Who is responsible for choosing the covers?
Ulle: It's a band decision and of course always a fight! We were never really satisfied with our artworks but I have to say I really love the new one. We wanted a kind of confrontation of harmony and chaos. The man, the tree and the ruin. Very simple and thoughtful.
MetalMike: Do you find it difficult being a multi-national band? How has the internet changed how Lanfear makes music?
Ulle: We are not really multi-national. Nuno is Portuguese and was born in Lisbon but he grew up in Germany. He lives about 30 miles away from me.
MetalMike: What goes into a good live show, from Lanfear's perspective? Do you try to recreated songs note-for-note or do you go for a looser approach in the live setting?
Ulle: We try to do at least 95% (of what is on the album). I mean we can't sing all backing vocals but we also don't have many choirs on our albums. Sometimes there's a rhythm guitar under a solo which is of course not possible to play live with just one guitar player but that's it. What you hear on the album is more or less exactly what we play live.
MetalMike: What else should we know about Lanfear and the new album that we haven't covered?
Ulle: Listen to the album intensely and you'll discover it ;) I think we really don't sound like any other band though of course we also have our influences. We try to be catchy without getting boring and we work very hard on our arrangements. Every song sounds different than the others. Our fans love that but of course there're also people who don't want to make up their minds. Well, I can't change that and to be honest: I don't want to change it. What you see is what you get. We don't need an image or guest vocalists or something like that. We are what we are.
MetalMike: Congratulations again and good luck with This Harmonic Consonance!
Ulle: Thank you so much...and...thank you so much more :D
|Other information about Lanfear on this site|
|Review: aNother gOlden rAge|
|Review: X To The Power Of Ten|
|Review: This Harmonic Consonance|
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