Totengeflüster is a German band that play Black Metal and sing in their mother tongue. They unleashed "IM NEBEL DER VERGÄNGLICHKEIT" last summer and are ready to take the world by storm… Narbengrund Nihilis and Tobleten had a nice chat with Pest Webzine and here it is…
"Totengeflüster" means Whisper Of The Dead. Why the name in German since it is so hard to pronounce?
Narbengrund Nihilis: We’re a German band, most of our lyrics are German and since we don’t have a commercial focus but focus on art itself, we didn’t think about if someone could pronounce the word “Totengeflüster” or not and honestly I don’t care about it.
Totengeflüster has been around for 10 years. What have you learned in this decade of existence?
NGN: People are people and when it comes to money, everyone seems to transform into a fucking asshole and the metal music business is by no means an exception… I think we’ve grown up and left our childish and naive ideas about this world behind. When it comes to music, I think that you have to be open minded. Of course, the first and most important thing about creating music or art generally, is that you can identify yourself with it but if you don’t like to end up as the thousandth copy of Darkthrone or Dimmu Borgir, you have to open your eyes and allow foreign influences to enter your creative spectrum. Kill your idols and create your own abominations out of their mortal remains…
Totleben: I can second that. Sure in the beginning you follow your own thoughts that "seem to fit" but then you end up doing nothing special. I think especially in the last two years this changed for me. I more and more follow my own individual path.
2018 is here and the band's 10th anniversary celebrations! Have you planned anything special to celebrate this occasion?
NGN: No, not yet…or at least I don’t know about anything.
Totleben: There is nothing exactly planned at the moment. I think when it’s about to do something special we will do it anyway. No need of celebrating something extra.
Symphonies of Death and Desolation are listed as the band’s influences. But which bands/musicians have influenced you?
NGN: Since our main-songwriter is Totleben, I will tell you about his influences. I think the essence can be reduced to (Symphonic) Black Metal bands of the mid-nineties but also to classical music. You won’t find surprises here: of course we all love Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Satyricon or Immortal. Are you sometimes reminded of a Tim Burton movie while listening to our orchestral parts or our instrumentals? Yes, Danny Elfman is also a huge influence of Totleben. When it comes to the vocals, I try to combine every style I love to hear for myself and somehow fits into the music.
How old were you when you decided to be a musician? What turned you into metal?
NGN: I’ve started listening to metal during my puberty, I’ve started with soft stuff, but soon I realised that I needed a higher dose to be satisfied. Metal was the kind of music that reflected myself back then, it was the music for misfits: ugly, aggressive and somehow melancholic. I tried to be normal but I failed over and over again. Starting to sing (haha) was a good chance to vomit the darkness that ate me up from the inside out.
Why have you opted to play Metal/black metal/symphonic? What attracted you to these genres?
NGN: We all have a strange but intense affinity to metal in general but when I met Totleben first, our favourite bands combined both the harshness and aggressiveness of metal and the beauty and atmosphere of classical music. We wanted to create that kind of music, that we wished to hear and Symphonic Black Metal was the most promising initial point…
The new album was released last year and has a German title. What does "IM NEBEL DER VERGÄNGLICHKEIT" mean?
NGN: Since we live in the era of mighty Google, I guess you don’t want to hear or better to read a simple translation, don’t you? “in the mist of transience” is metaphoric and describes “Life” itself: you are thrown into a mire, surrounded by thick fog, never knowing which is the right way through nor which is your last step in this nightmare.
What are "IM NEBEL DER VERGÄNGLICHKEIT" lyrical themes about? Who wrote them?
NGN: I wrote them ;-)
The lyrical themes are about transience, the meaning of life, social criticism, nihilism, “negative” feelings, individualism… and of course death and desolation.
If I am not mistaken, most of the band’s material is written in German. Why do you use German? Isn’t it more complicated to gain more fans?
NGN: Yes it is, but if we wished to earn enough money to live by this kind of music, we would play pop music (maybe containing a little bit of Hip Hop). You see, it isn’t our primary ambition to get as many fans as possible ;-)
Since German is my mother tongue I can express myself much better in this language than in English. In addition to this, I like the sound of German words and I think they work well for the typical Black Metal screams. If my French wouldn’t be so disastrous I maybe would write my lyrics in this language, because it sounds so damn ugly and fucked up if you listen to bands like Peste Noire.
How does the writing process happen? Do you write lyrics first and then riffs or the other way around? Do you meet often and write together or do you do demo versions and then share them with the others?
NGN: Until now, Totleben wrote songs and shared them with us, we gave our feedback and changed some things if needed. I wrote the lyrics upon the music, because when I write lyrics before the music is completed, I have a very fix idea about how the song should sound but it’s hard for me to explain it to Totleben and… yeah…
On the other hand, I think this is the most effective way according to the “writing-speed”.
On the next album we’ve planned to work much closer together like: I write a short story, he composes the soundtrack for this story and I write the final lyrics upon the soundtrack.
The cover looks very grim. Is Totleben responsible for it?
NGN: Yes, he is.
Both your full-lengths have been released by Pale Essence Music. How’s it going? Are you pleased with their promotion and attitude towards the band?
Totleben: Yes, we all are. Everything that is done is a "Do it yourself" thing so I’m quite proud of how far we came in the last time. You cannot do more than you are able to do and to fail is a normal thing from time to time. It’s important to go on and learn from your tasks. One thing of that is that I will never put any release to a summer date as we did with "Im Nebel der Vergänglichkeit". I think most of the people were too busy in this time. Magazines that report on Festivals, Fans that are on festivals or vacation as well, and the simple fact that it is a Black Metal Album. I think it fits better in the colder half of the year. But it still was right to release it in summer last year, cause it connected perfectly with our England Tour and other concerts.
Does the band have many concerts booked for 2018? How important is touring for Totengefluster?
Totleben: After our drummer Frostbitten had a serious hand injury we had to cancel all concerts for the second half of last year. We will repeat all those missed concerts and will play the Wolfszeit festival this year as well.
What’s the best place/venue you’ve played at? Why?
NGN: Beermageddon-festival. It is a small festival near Birmingham England and Jim Beerman, the boss of this festival is a friend of Totleben. The atmosphere was simply awesome, the sound on stage was excellent and I don’t know why but those crazy English bastards simply love Totengeflüster! We’ve played there two times, the first one was our debut show and if the journey wasn’t that long and expensive we would love play there every fucking year…
Totleben: Definetly Beermageddon!
What would be the perfect tour for Totengefluster? Where would you go? Which bands would go with you?
NGN: That’s a hard question, our “mini-tour” in England with Unlight 2017 was amazing and we had lots of fun (just a joke, Black Metal guys hate having fun) and drinks…
We only know Germany and England when it comes to shows, so we can’t tell, if Australia or Japan would be that great too. The second one is also a difficult question, I think that the most important point is, that the guys and/or girls are “cool”, that you can talk with them, you can party with them and you can rely on them, being true as fuck comes at best on the second place…
Questions by Sónia Fonseca