Interview with Sturmfels vocals, all instruments for Garden Of Grief

Hails Sturmfels! How are things in Austria? Please tell the readers a little about yourself.
I'm currently on holiday, snow returned once more, so I don't want to miss the last chance to go snowboarding this year! Of course I'm still in Austria because that's best for this purpose ;) Something about myself...I'm 21 now, going to become a teacher next year. There is a lot to do as a student but even more time to do something else, you know. That's one reason why I can spend that much time on music. When not creating new stuff or recording I spend much time with my girlfriend, read something or do whatever there is to do...
When did you get the idea to form Garden Of Grief? For the readers who have not had the chance to listen to Garden Of Grief how would you describe your music?
The idea was born back in 2008 when I had already written too much songs that did not fit into the concept of my band. At that time I didn't think that I would be faster in producing albums than with my band because I were not able to play the guitar myself. A lot of my plans have changed when I got my guitar last year. The overall style of Garden Of Grief is a mixture of depressive black metal and dark ambient music. The first album was just raw black metal without all the ambient stuff. The other part of this project has developed while writing songs for the upcoming album.
You are the sole member of Garden Of Grief. When you started up this project did you plan to work alone? Are you currently looking for new musicians to join?
When I first had the idea to start this project I wanted session members for all stringed instruments because I were unable to play any of them. Finally I decided to learn playing the guitar myself which implied the desicion to work alone. I'm currently trying to built up a live crew which is still lacking someone responsible for the drums and maybe bass and synths. My songs do not contain any bass so far and also not much synths, but it would be good to have someone in addition to the probably three guitars know when someone gets ill or such things it's better to have someone in reserve.

If you had the opportunity to work with any musicians past or present who are some you would like to write with? What do you feel are the advantges and disadvantges to being in a one-man band?
I think I would not like to work with someone other than the people I currently work with. Firstly I do not write songs together with anyone because I think it's better to get an impression on the whole idea someone had even when working together. So someone should always make the whole song and only details be added by someone else - that preservees the unique style o the writer. Also in my band this wouldn't work out if everyone added everything to a song, because we all have some big diferences in style although it's always black metal everyone would write on his own. Secondly I could not name any person to work with that I don't know personally. I might not know how this person thinks, which approach to music that person has and so on...
The one major disadvantage of working alone is that you are strictly limited to your own skills on every instrument. In a band you have (hopefully) an expert for each instrument. In my case this would be just drums and vocals, but still I have to do all other instruments myself. I work hard on my guitar skills but I'm still not yet able to play all songs without trouble that I had written when thinking of session members playing all the guitars. The big advantage of a one-man-project is that you can easily use every spare minute to do something for your even can record spontaneously when you have some hours left, no matter what time it is. In a band you alsways have to organise so many things. Still the music will always be on a higher technical level in a band (if all members practise as much as possible for them).
I know Garden Of Grief's new CD "The Last Days of the Sun" will be released soon. Please give the readers some information on the upcoming release. How many songs will you have on the release? Will it be a self-released or have you found a label to work with?
As my 2nd album "Novembernebel" is already about to be released, the next full-length album will indeed be "The Last Days of the Sun". There is not much left to record for that release. Before I can finish that, I will have to record one more song for a Split with Nibelheim Moonlight from Spain. Last Days will then probably be released in late Summer or Autumn 2010, on CD. I have not yet decided on which label to release the album but for the time being I work together with Bleichmond Tonschmiede, a small label in Germany, which offers a good opportunity to release an album without selling the rights of all the songs on it.
The Last Days of the Sun will contain 5 tracks with a total playing time about 60 min. There are 4 ambient songs and one black metal song with I think 23 min or so. The vocals for that song have to be recorded yet but irst of all the lyrics have to be finished...recording won't take long, probably one day and then it's all done.
You come out of Austria's metal underground. What is your opinion of Austria's metal scene? Who are somme of your all-time favorite bands? Are their any new bands you feel the readers should watch out for?
I don't know much about the Austrian "scene" if you like to call it that way. maybe because there is not much of interest to me. For example I do not like any black metal with too much thrash influence, which is - as far as I know - popular in the underground. I also do care about some technical aspect in particular when it's about drumming - that's also rare among underground black metal bands. And when it's not of high quality it has to be at least creative...Austrian bands I can recommend are for example Astaroth, who play symphonic black metal on a high technical level and Asmodeus wich can be also set in the same genre. Austria lacks good dsbm bands in my opinion, at least I haven't heard of too many up to now. Yet I came across Nightforest recently, I can recommend that too.
My all time favourites are probably Peste Noire, Drowning the Light, Taake, Limbonic Art,
Nokturnal Mortum, Kroda, Nyktalgia, Forgotten Tomb, ... bands where I can listen to any song and I like it for sure. I'm also really into such outstanding bands as for example Darkspace, Panopticon or Graveland, who have a unique style that can't be mixed up with some other band.
Is Garden Of Grief the only band you are currently workin with? If no please tell the readers about your other bands/projects.
Garden Of Grief mostly exists because of songs that would not fit into my band Winterblast. We play symphonic black metal and I'm currently responisble for drums, vocals and synths. There are only two people left of the original members and that's me and one of the guitarists. We had always trouble finding musicians to fill the gaps but I think in the future we will not try too hard finding new members but instead recording the songs in the current line-up. We all could play bass if needed and I could probably learn the songs on the guitar even though they're still above my current level. next step will be recording the long planned album.
I'm also playing drums in Locus Neminis, a highly technical symphonic black metal band. The recording was already done when I joined the band, and now we are preparing for upcoming shows in 2010. I do really enjoin this because it's the only chance for me to play drums live. With Winterblast I do the vocals on stage and with Garden Of Grief it would probably be guitars and vocals if I played live someday.
Everyone has their own ideas/opinions on what "black metal" stands for. So I was interested in your thoughts what does black metal mean for you?
That is a tricky question, because it's probably already the answer. Almost everyone has different ideas of black metal, and I think that is what it's all about. To me it is a way of thinking. Thinking without limitations of social conventions or political ideologies. I think Black Metal is somehow close to anarchy, because it is all about thinking outside "normal" boundaries. Black Metal is exclusive by definition because within it's concept you could never say what the outcome for any individual person might be. After all I'd really say that Black Metal is mental anarchy. That's the best and shortest explanation I can come up with.
As mentioned earlier you are the only member of Garden Of Grief. So I was curious which instrument was the hardest one for you to learn to play? Which was the easiest to learn?
The hardest was the guitar because I did not understand the whole concept of the instrument before I was actually trying to play. It took long to make my fingers do what they were supposed to, but now after a year of training I can't understand how it could have been that hard.
The easiest to learn was obviously the drums for that was my first instrument to learn.
You also handle the vocals for the band. When did you become interested in singing? Do you do anything special to keep your throat/vocals healthy? Who are some of your favorite vocalist?
First of all we tried to find someone else to do the vocals but this was impossible. We then tried out who of was closest do do serious vocals and so I became intrested in practising more. I do nothing special other than drinking something shouldn't feel too much if you did it right. Just be sure you don't make the distortion of the screams too deep inside your throat because that will probably do some damage after a while - after the first time you will surely notice that it's not correct and change your technique...
my favourite vocalists, that's hard to say...I think most of the vocalists who can do some sort of high-pitched screaming such as Neige or the vocalist of Nyktalgia. I also admire Jari of Wintersun and Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian for their excellent clean vocals.
We have reached the end of the interview my friend. Thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview. Do you have any final comments for the readers?
Take care of yourselves and beware of molesting priests in your country. Thx for the interview, hails!


Interviewed by Patrick

April 2010