Kadavar releases its fifth album “For The Dead Travel Fast”, a fusion of psychedelic rock with horror and occult themes. Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann reveals more details about the record in its interview with RockUrLife.
Last time we talked you said that for “Rough Times” (2017) you had the cover first, then you started composing. For “Berlin” (2015), everything was about the city ad its ambiance. Now it seems that your journey to Romania inspired “For The Dead Travel Fast“. Do you feel the need to set up a frame to start composing?
Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann (vocals/guitar): I think our process started some weeks before traveling to Romania. We were slowly putting ourselves in the mood for writing. We had some ideas but none of us knew in what direction it was going. It was good that we went to Romania, even if it was for a few days. There was nature and silence. We got rid of long days, we stayed in small hotels by ourselves. It was nice to have a break from normal life. We also took lots of photos and one photo matched what I had in mind for the album. So once again we had the cover before we started writing. So yes we had a frame and the castle on the picture had some story. So we went into the Transylvania stories, and we started shaping the album. Then it was quite easy to build around it. We knew where we were going and everybody was really focused.
Whose idea was it to go to Transylvania? Not a common destination!
Lupus: I had in mind this old record, where there was a castle in the back. And I thought about putting us back in the cover like we did for the first two records. We’re German with Tiger and we said that there are some castles in Germany. Then our photograph said that there more castles in England cause he’s from the UK and then everyone started showing off about castles. (laughs). At some point someone said that we should go to the Dracula castle and we thought: “yeah that’s cool”. Everyone had to go to another country and there was a story linked to the castle. So we started planning the trip, it worked and we did it.
Have you read “Dracula” and did you enjoy it?
Lupus: Oh yeah. I’ve read it many years ago. I did not have the time to read the whole book. I read it a bit while we were there because it made complete sense to read it while being in Romania. I enjoyed it of course. It’s a great story even though it was not the main inspiration for the album. Vampire stories maybe, but not this particular story. But I really liked it.
Did you do some research on demoniac literature, superstition or supernatural creatures?
Lupus: I did a little bit of that. I was really into the whole stuff. Then I got into what influenced the name of the album, the poem “Lenore” from Gottfried August Bürger. It’s the original vampire story, it has influenced all the English and American writers later on. When I found out about this, I started reading it. I knew about the author since we learned about him in school. “The Dead Travel Fast” appears in Dracula and Lenore stories. It was the link. It made sense to use it as a title for the record.
When we listened to the record, we were struck by the work you did with your voice. You use backing vocals and choir in a new way.
Lupus: When we started the band I did not want to be the singer to be honest. I was siding against it at the beginning. Since “Rough Times” I think I accepted it. I also thought to myself: “OK, if I’m going to be the singer and the guitar player then I want to use the vocals the best way I can”. I took lessons, I worked on my technique, I developed a wider range. We did not want to have limits with this album. I started to fuck around at home with my voice. I wanted each song to have a unique touch. I think all the vocals on this album are decent, I just tried to add a little bit of colour to make it interesting. I thought it would be such a shame to have so many good songs and to have somebody that comes to the studio and doesn’t know wat to do. That’s why I tried to use the backing vocals and the choir to support my voice. I think I came to the idea that I am the singer.
The result sounds good!
Lupus: Nice to hear that! (laughs)
You use synthetizer as well. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Lupus: I’ve always been listening to bands that use lots of synthe to create ambiance like Kraftwerk. I went into the technique, to see how synthetizers can add to the music. So I’ve been playing around with it for a long time. What triggered the use on the album was that the song were long and telling a story. I started listening to Goblin a lot and the soundtrack of horror movies from the 80’s. They were always using synthetizers. I started to think that this could be a good idea for the record to have more electronic sounds. My bandmate were not really pleased with the idea. In the end I was allowed to used them on several songs. But if it was only me I could have used them some more. (laughs) This is a band and we have some kind of a democracy so. (laughs) Now I’m working on my solo album, where I’m using only synthe. (laughs)
Now we’re just curious to see what new instrument you will play on the next record!
Lupus: I used to play accordion when I was younger. I think I started when I was 6 until I was 17. It was more the German way to play it, not the French way. I was from a small village and the only guy who could teach me any instrument was an accordionist. I always try to convince my bandmantes that it would be nice to have some accordion on the album. They say that I never come up with an idea but when I do they say: “no, let’s not try this”. So maybe, one day, we’ll have some accordion on the record. (laughs)
You’re going to surprise us all!
Lupus: Yes, exactly! (laughs)
Let’s talk about your connection with your bandmates. When you’re on stage it feels like the bound between you three is so strong that the public doesn’t exist anymore. Like you’re playing the music just between you.
Lupus: That’s true. When we started we were close to each other, with the drums in the forefront. Then the stages got bigger and bigger and we did not know how to occupy the stage. We lost the connection. I would be on the right, Simon on the other side and Tiger all the way to the back. We could not see or hear each other play. That’s why we decided to get closer and get the feeling back like we were in a studio. We got more and more together, we changed our set up. So if someone starts moving the others can follow. We are very much focused on Tiger since he’s the director for the songs. He’s the drummer, he gives the speed and the rhythm. We need to see each other to make the breaks. But it’s true, I’ve seen the videos on YouTube and sometimes its feels like the public is not there for me. I have to say that I kind of get in transe on set. Sometimes I get off stage and I cannot remember what happened on stage. My fingers do what they have to do, my voice does what it has to do and I’m not really there. We need this transe otherwise we would be very tiht, stiff and shy.
What’s the deal with the fan behind Tiger?
Lupus: I don’t know, I never really got it. (laughs) I think it started when we played in the States, in Texas. It was super hot. He wanted to try it cause it was too hot all the time. He came up with two fans and has been using them since then. I don’t need to understand it, I think it looks good and that’s enough. (laughs)
Could you tell us a bit about The Cosmic Riders Of The Black Sun Experience?
Lupus: I had this dream to play the old songs again. I wanted to hear how my songs sounded with a full band. With more guitars. It took us 10 months to put it together. We asked lots of people and the project got bigger and bigger. We played a show in Berlin. It was an experience to go though all our previous songs, all of our discography, to remember how we composed them. It helped us creating the new record as well. It’s the reason why we have more choir, more guitar.
To finish, as our website is called “RockUrLife”, so what rocks your life, Lupus?
Lupus: What rocks my life? The most difficult question in the end. I think it’s the security. The last 6 years have been chaotic and now everything seems to get in order. I have the security to do what I like, I play what I really like and not have to think too hard on how to pay my rent. It’s still there but less there. I just play freely and focus on the music I want to play.