Interview with Bloodspot about the relentless new album “To The Marrow”
First of all, I'm happy that you guys have done another great job with the new album “To The Marrow”. I got goose-bumps in my body to the marrow with full of in-your-face punchy tracks. Why did you give the title for the new album like that?
Howdie: Pete was the one who came up with the idea for the title. The working title said “Seeking Marrow”. But gradually we transformed it into “To The Marrow”, which is a more handy title and finally fits better to the meaning behind it. At least as far as I understood, it's intended to be like an advancement of “By The Horns” at all points. With the last album the band took the mission to metaphorically take the bull by the horns, which meant to grow together again as a band, because of member-changes, as well as to approach individual problems. “To The Marrow” marks the next step, to leave the surface and go deeper to the core. Both, musically and personally. As you could imagine, it isn't always easy to be in complete agreement as a group, consisting of five different characters. Every single member has to learn more and more to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the others. Otherwise it's not possible to grow as a group. During this process it can get very painful to go deeper. But if you are able to get through it, it definitely makes you stronger, personally and collectively. It's the same with the musical development.
Pete: We also wanted to intensify the relation to our fans, too. As you might know, we used X-Rays of our fans for the artwork. We wanted to have them with us in the artwork, as we want them with us, when we are on stage. The idea with the X-Rays came before the title "to the marrow", so it fits even better!
I feel the album “To The Marrow” stands on the same line with “By The Horns”, straight, solid and aggressive. I feel your total confidence with your music through the established Bloodspot-sound. What do you feel about it?
Howdie: I think you are basically right. “To The Marrow” definitively sounds like Bloodspot and has the typical trademarks to it - Punch, Groove, Aggression and Dirt . But as I mentioned before, a lot changed within the band since “By The Horns”. And I think you can hear it on “To The Marrow”. Already the fact that our songwriting evolved during the process of creation had a lot of effect on "To The Marrow". On the one hand we decided to let more room for the one who comes up with an idea. To make sure that he is possible to play out his personal vision of the song, to leave an individual stamp on it. On the other hand every single band-member was included into the songwriting more deeply this time. It made sure that the songs will come out more colorful. What I want to say is that there's more variety between the songs than on “By The Horns”. We also put more little details into the material. But yeah, it's still brutal as hell for sure ;)
Marius: We couldn't make an album that isn't brutal at all, but like Howdy said, the variety is improved. For example, Björn suggested that he'd like a song with a clean guitar melody, that's how Average white came to life. Pete's Hardcore- background brought us a monster like A Vonder of Vows, as well as Feast of the Lending Needs stems from Jaros love for Death Metal. You could say there's a solid metallic fundament with different toppings. And we wrote more songs together than in the past - e.g. Pete asked me for a fast thrashy verse in Kein Mensch Ist Illegal, and Björn threw in some ideas for Embrace the end, all of which made the songs better and more varied. But you can always hear that it's Bloodspot- we're very happy with the songs and how they emerged.
I found an interesting fact that the total running time of “To The Marrow” is almost the same with “By The Hones” and since “To The Marrow” has 10 songs, it sounds more condensed than “By The Horns”. Did it become condensed naturally, or purposely?
Howdie: I would say both. In some way we tried to unmask needless parts and leave them out.
At least I did that fore sure. To speak for myself, I wanted some of my ideas to be as reduced and minimalist as possible this time. “Public Porn” is the best example for that. This song is definitively condensed purposely. But a lot of the other songs came out absolutely naturally, ”Average White” or “To The Marrow” for example are songs that just came out nearly the same as you can hear them on the album now. At this point I have to say a big “thank you!” to Kai from PARASITE INC. and Lukas from THE GREAT COLD, who both helped me to get along with home-recording. Without that some of the songs wouldn't sound like they do now.
“The Act of Fame” is a relentless opener with the jackrabbit start and killer guitar riffs.
It tells me like ‘Stay sharp!’. Actually, I always get goosebumps with your super shredding guitar riffs. Which is your favorite guitar part of the album?
Howdie: Puh, it's very hard to pic just one. I have to name some more. I absolutely love all the little "vampyric" and "black metalish" guitar-parts, like in the intro-theme of "Public Porn" or the chords in the middle-part of "Feast Of The Leading Needs". I also love all the guitar-parts in two voices, especially those in "A Wonder Of Vows" and "Average White: Running Caverns". When it comes to riffing, "Economic
Eradication" is a manifest of neck-breaking killer-riffs, and the first riff of "Lower The Cut" is my most favorite on the whole album. I just recognize that there is no single song without killer guitar riffs :D
Marius: I love the fast verse- riff of To the marrow, as well as the rhythm guitar- break towards the end of Economic Eradication. The guitar work in Average white and Feast of the leading needs is in an unusual manner for Bloodspot, I like that too. And I have great fun with the guitar-leads of this record.
I had to grin with the title of the second track “Embrace The End” but there’s no musical similarity between the song and your first full-length “Embrace The End”. Why did you use the title for the new song? It’s not a coincidence, right?
Pete: Most things are no coincidence on this album ;) To me it´s always important to have the feeling that "circles close". Even if there is an end doesn´t mean that you have to leave something or anyone without a reason. The point is to get the best out for yourself within every end you have to face! It might help not hold on too hard on things you´re better off letting them go! In case of the song, the circle closes and starts something new: We wanted to move a little bit more to the songwriting of "embrace the end" to have a mix of "by the horns" and "embrace the end".
Marius: Embrace the end of By the horns ^^ That was one of the first tracks we had finished.
Pete came up with this title, and somehow it felt right. Some parts had a more melodic feel to them, like our older stuff -Answer my fall comes to my mind- and for that it had a connection to that era, like Pete said there was a feeling of "circle-closing".
“To The Marrow”, “Kein Mensch Ist Illegal” and “Public Porn” are my most favorites in the album. Actually, there are many kickass gang-shouts in the album. Did you get conscious about your fans to shout that together at your shows when you recorded those shout parts?
Howdie: Absolutely! For me personally it was very important to get those gang-shout-parts more prominent on “To The Marrow”. Although i also like ambitious arrangements, I have always been a big fan of the simple and straight things. For me the best example from nowadays is Slayers “Relentless”. The Chorus catches you right from the start. “Live fast, on high, relentless, let it ride!”, it's just awesome! You feel instantly forced to lift your fist and yell it as loud as you can together with Tom. I love that!
Another reason for why I love the song “Kein Mensch Ist Illegal” (No One Is Illegal) is the lyrics. It’s dealing with a universal issue and I really empathize with it. Actually every single song in the album has strong messages. So, I’d love to hear your explanation about each of those lyrics, please?
track1: The Act of Fame
Pete: An important inspiration for me were situations when "business" tried to have too much influence on the band. In common, and that´s the more important point, it is a song about honesty and sincerity. About not running with every stream, being self-conscious and far-sighted to make the right decisions. There are too many people out there that just want to exploit others, it´s about being aware of that without being afraid of them!
track2: Embrace The End
Pete: I told you already about the song. "Death is the position to make it all count" is a central sentence in the song and nails it.
track3: To The Marrow
Pete: There are several songs on "to the marrow" that follow one topic- the imbalance of our world! In all its ugly faces of suppression, racism, economic abuse, exploitation and greed, just to name a few of them.
The lyrics are about the question, what we are willing to leave, to break these cycles of unjust habits and consumption. To go to your own marrow, to see what´s really necessary. "Confess! Avow what you really need!" We are all concerned!
track4: Kein Mensch Ist Illegal
Pete: You said it already, it means "no one is illegal". It´s about the refugee-situation in common and our position is clear with this statement! it´s just sad, that the situation stokes racism and facism so hard.
Marius: Originally the chorus was written in English language, and someday out of a sudden we changed it into German. You know, Refugees, political asylum and everything that comes with it are a very important thing in Germany nowadays, there’s a big movement from the right… often it becomes just nasty, and that was our way to say “fuck you” to all the Nazi-scum. We played the song at Kalkwerkfestival ’16, and there were many persons of many different cultures and countries and subcultures like ska, hip-hop, reggae and so on, and we made them shout altogether “Kein Mensch ist illegal”. That was fucking intense… just listen to the beginning of that song.
track5: Economic Eradication
Marius: One day Pete and I talked about lyrics and topics of songs. I told him how I feel about mighty companies making big money rebuilding countries that were destroyed by war, and that it's quite common practice to give away the award of contract even prior to war.
Pete: I believe that economy is the biggest and most dangerous part of the imbalance. The connection of politics and economy is much stronger than it should be! Politicians have too much economic interests and are steered by the finances of their countries. Society is hypnotized by the offers in the stores. The behavior in consumption of every single person and the methods of the corporations have to be changed. We can not keep this amount of prosperity without suppressing other countries and their economy!
track6: A Wonder of Vows
Pete: ...has the most emotional lyrics on the album. It´s a proclamation to the affluent society, to everyone who cannot see, that goods have a bigger lobby than people! Again economic values seem to have more appreciation than human beings! "every child that starves, is killed" is the strongest sentence of the album.
track7: Public Porn
Pete: The song is about being blinded by media abuse. The text is combined to the influence of commercials and the illusion of needing senseless stuff that keep us calm and relaxed. Focusing on their status people care less about others and more about themselves. fast satisfactions and status symbols instead of thinking about real necessity!
track8: The Feast of The Leading Needs
Pete: This is one of the most abstract lyrics on the record... "the leading needs" are motivations to gain respect from our society. Created by hate, lack of self-value or envy. This culminates in different problems like dog-eat-dog-mentality, greed, fashion and beauty craze. I like the abstract ending of the song "wrath counts praise".
track9: Average White: Running Caverns
Pete: Another title with quite abstract words. It´s about our actual political situation. Due to the refugee-debate we have a strong growth of right parties in Germany again.
They are "one-topic-parties" and have obsolete programs reminding of the Parties from Nazi-Deutschland. Needless to say at this point they have to be stopped.
track10: Lower The Cut
Pete: It matches that "lower the cut" are the last words on the album. It´s the call to cut back, to reduce and to slow down. Don´t follow the stream! Don't say what everyone says! Don't buy senseless shit and use your stuff ´til it´s broken! Don´t support the static growth! Don´t feed the hungry mouth of economy!
"Reduction of abundance. The first step is the one that sates!"
“Public Porn” I mentioned in the previous question is appeared as the first music video from the album, right? Could you tell us about the location, concept and any episode behind the scene during the shooting?
Pete: Yes, it´s the first video. We produced it all for ourselves. We filmed it at Björn´s home. He owns a house together with his brother and I live there too. I did all the technical stuff, filming, light, cutting, post-production... I had several ideas for the episodes each of us is playing in the video. There are also shown some of the X-Rays our fans sent us for the artwork. To me it´s quite funny, that the scenes we play seem to fit our characters a little bit. I just want to sit and be boring, Jaro is our occult preacher, Howdie needs the longest time in the bathroom, Marius is the mad guy and Björn is simply the best in BLOODSPOT! ;)
The video is about all the lyrics of the entire album. It´s not only about "public porn". The lyrics are not always straight focused on one topic. There are some escapes to other related topics, or maybe other songs. AND: I would prefer you make your own interpretation if that´s OK!? There are really plenty of symbols hidden in the video, I don´t want to explain them all at one time. I hope you will have fun to watch it over and over again to find them all...
Who is responsible for the album art?
Pete: We also did the Artwork together. It took a really long time to satisfy everyone in the band. I made several suggestions and prepared many prototypes. We all had different pictures of what our music sounds like at the moment. This is the reason why the artwork grew from different parts, that i wanted to put together to a homogeneous result. All in all, i think I worked more than 8 month on the artwork...
I need to tell you that you always make killer band shirts! I often wear each of them. Who did work on the newest shirt design?
Pete: Thanks. We try to have different styles. We don´t want our shirts to look all the same.
We created the actual shirt together, too... I created different designs during the recording-sessions. But in the end, we decided for this design, which took about 3 minutes to create :D
Bloodspot is the total live band, right? Do you have any plan for local or worldwide tour with To The Marrow already?
Howdie: Yeah, you are right. And it's absolutely necessary to get us back on the road again!
We would love to tour worldwide (especially Japan for sure!) with "To The Marrow", but unfortunately it's not that easy to organize a tour at such a big range. All of us need to do regular jobs, so we don't have enough time to book a big tour completely by ourselves. But quite recently we've got a new booking-partner, who will help us to organize shows throughout Germany and also here and there in Europe. Right now we are working very hard together to create a good tour-package.
Marius: You're definitely right about Bloodspot being a live band. As a band we grew up on the road you could say, there we found ourselves, and we found out what we want to do. With the five of us together it almost feels as we were meant to be on stage. It may sound a bit cheesy, but the pure energy that comes up at a gig keeps us going. And it is highly rewarding for all stresses and strains... if you listen to a Bloodspot record, you hear the songs. But the real Bloodspot is to be experienced live on stage. I get the chills just thinking of our upcoming 10th Anniversary Show... There's nothing that comes even close to the feeling when delivering a good show- the adrenaline, the sweat, the euphoria, the energetic exchange with the fans. Every time we want to give our absolut best, and we're enjoying ourselves very much. We're very happy and grateful for having that privilege.
Thank you so much for your time for my interview!
Howdie: Thank you Kumi for your boundless passion and support!
Marius: Yeah thank you, you're amazing!