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Crematory - Interview

Interview with: Markus Jüllich
Conducted by: T.V.

Crematory are back after four years! German leading gothic metal band doesn't really need any introduction as they achieved such a huge recognition and even reached the status of genre-defining band with their twelve studio albums and numerous EP's, singles, compilations, live albums,... The band developed their own style of gothic metal in those 23 years since their inception, yet they were never really trying to copy what they already did in the past. New album, Antiserum, is the ultimate proof for that as the band went one step further and combined what sometimes seems incompatible, electronic EBM elements with their trademark gothic metal and now they call it - EBM-metal. One reason for this is the great recognition value of their songs, along with the band’s characteristic style and their unconditional determination to continue to grow as artists. We talked with bands drummer and one of Crematory founders, Markus Jüllich, about the new album and many other interesting things. Markus was kind enough to take some time while he's busy with promoting Antiserum, and gave us some short but right to the point answers.

T.V. First of all congratulations for a new album, it's another great chapter in Crematory discography! So, how are you satified with it?
Markus: Thank you very much! When we started in 1991 it was a big dream from every band member what we reached with Crematory. We are Germany´s leading gothic metal band who plays concerts all over the world and have a lot of fans. We are very proud about this. We started as a melodic-death metal band and we were the first band in Germany which used some keyboards.
T.V.: It was quite silent around Crematory since the release of Infinity in 2010. What was going on for all this time in the Crematory camp beside the work on new album?
Markus: We played in the last 3 years a lot of shows with our Greatest Hits album Black Pearls. We started with songwriting two years ago. But we work at our practise room and in the studio only if we have some time beside our normal jobs and the familys. It was only possible for us to work at the weekends when we had no live concerts, and we had a lot of shows.
T.V.: Antiserum is released by Steamhammer/SPV. After being signed to Massacre Records, then to Nuclear Blast and again to Massacre you choose this label. Any words about this matter?
Markus: We choose SPV-Steamhammer because they had nothing to do with Crematory in the past and they were not influenced or burdened with our past, because we were looking for a new label with fresh ideas and which can bring Crematory forward. SPV-Steamhammer is a very professional label which exists since a long time and they do a very good job for us.
T.V.: How the recording and composing process on new album went?
Markus: At the beginning it was a little bit difficult, but we started as basis with EBM keyboards and put all the instruments on this base. At first we did all the keyboards and samples with our friend Elmar from the German EBM-band Centhron. After that Katrin did all the details for the keyboards with melodies and all the arrangements for her instrument. After that I was looking where we will insert drums, or where we´ll use just drum-loops or where we will use both. Then Matthias did his guitars and Harald the bass and after all Felix did his vocals together with Matthias. It took us two or three songs to get in to the groove, but from that point on it was an extremely exciting process to work on the new material.
T.V.: Crematory achived a characteristic sound of its own many years ago, but still we can't say that albums sound completely familiar. On each one you are toying with something different, this time there is much more emphasis on electronics...
Markus: We sit all together. Every band member brings in his own influence like in the past and now for us was time to do an electronic blast metal album which will be groundbreaking for the whole scene. The main idea behind Antiserum is to connect dark EBM keyboards and samples with hard metal guitars. It´ll be a development from our Revolution album where we used for the first time electronic stuff, but with sound from the dance/trance scene which we wanna do now is much more darker an that´s the reason why we use EBM sounds. We wanted the musical challenge. We don´t wanna play 30 years the same kind of music like AC/DC. We developed our music from album to album and we like it very much to check out our limits and influences.
T.V.: Yet on many aspects Antiserum is similar with Revolution from 2004. Both albums have beign released four years after its predecessor and in both you used more electronics than on other albums... any comments?
Markus: Antiserum is a development from our Revolution album, but it's much more modern, fresh and up to date with the technique from 2014. We showed all the fuckers what we are able to do when we want. Crematory was and is a trend-setting band. We developed our own style from album to album and we grow up with our own music. We started as a melodic-death metal band and grow up till now to an electronic blast gothic metal band.
T.V.: The covers of "Temple Of Love" (The Sisters Of Mercy) on Awake album, Depeche Mode's cover "Black Celebration" on Infinity and Metallica's "One" on Revolution were all huge hits. Why didn't you made any new cover song this time?
Markus: Our cover songs are very special for us and we won´t do that on every album, but it´s possible to do a complete cover album in the future.
T.V.: Beautiful and interesting cover artwork for Antiserum. Who made it?
Markus: We worked for the new Antiserum cover again with Peter Sallai from Hungary. He did also the Black Pearls cover artwork for us and he had the best idea for our title Antiserum.
T.V.: On what kind of editions will Antiserum be released?
Markus: We will release a normal Jewel-Case CD, a digipack with two bonustracks, gatefold double-LP and a poster inside and a special limited fanbox with Antiserum-digipack, Shadowmaker-single, poster, patch, sticker, flag an many specials inside.
T.V.: Any words about the lyrical concept for the new songs?
Markus: No, because this is the job from our singer Felix an I have no idea.
T.V.: You already did two video clips for two songs "Shadowmaker" and "Kommt Näher". Are you planning to make any other video for any of new songs?
Markus: We have chosen the two biggest hits from our new album. "Shadowmaker" and "Kommt Näher" are amazing songs. Possible will be a third clip to our song "Virus". Felix did the story for the videos. 

T.V.: There were a lot of comments regarding the girls in the video for "Kommt Näher" and how erotic they are! Who are they and who did the choreography?
Markus: This was done by our producer and I don´t know from where they are, they are separate artists.
T.V.: As you mentioned before you worked with Elmar Schmidt of EBM act Centhron on new album. How are you satisfied with the result?
Markus: It was amazing. He did a very good job for us. He is a good friend of Felix and a big Crematory fan.
T.V.: 23 years on the musical scene! How do you look back on those times when you started and which period in Crematory history was the most sucessful in your opinion?
Markus: When we started in 1991 it was a big dream from every bandmember what we reached with Crematory. We are now Germany´s leading gothic metal band, we play concerts all over the world and have a lot of devoted fans. We are very proud about this. The most successful period was our breakthrough with our Illusions album (released in 1995) especially the song "Tears Of Time".
T.V.: I remember that when you started also EverEve and Darkseed from Germany were both very promising and popular, but somehow both bands lost their pace.
Markus: Crematory was the first gothic metal band in Germany, and EverEve and Darkseed were formed some years later and worldwide were not so succesfull like we were.
T.V.: Many things have changed since then on the musical scene, how do you feel all this?
Markus: The desciption "gothic metal" changed totally. In the 90´s gothic metal was only with male singers. Bands like Paradise Lost, Tiamat and also Crematory were the leading gothic metal bands. The first big band with female vocals was The Gathering and later Theatre Of Tragedy where male growls were mixed with females vocals. At this time the description "gothic metal" is for bands like Nightwish, Within Temptaion, Epica and Leaves' Eyes. All bands only with female singers and more orchestral sounds. The old good bands from the 90´s changed all a little bit their style and developed their music – also Crematory.
T.V.: I wouldn't really count bands like Nightwish, Within Temptaion, Epica, Leaves' Eyes, etc... as gothic metal, but you are right, many people describe them as such. So, what's your description for real "gothic metal"?
Markus: Real gothic metal bands in the 90´s were Paradise Lost, Tiamat and Type O Negative, all with male vocalist. The only gothic metal band with female vocals were The Gathering from Holland. I think that the meaning behind gothic metal today is totally different as in the 90´s.
T.V.: Any plans for a tour and live shows in the near future?
Markus: We will do it like in the past. We only will play 25 shows every year, because we have all normal jobs and familys with children. We will only play shows at weekends all over Europe the next 2 years.
T.V.: But for now you announced only German live dates. Can we expect to see Crematory playing live also in other countries around Europe, or perhaps overseas anytime soon?
Markus: This year we do Germany and next year we will do the rest of the world.
T.V.: Which songs have you selected to play on forthcoming shows?
Markus: We'll play five new songs from our new Antiserum album and all the hits from our previous albums in two hours great liveshow. It'll be electronic blast metal and real rock´n roll shows. So we will go out and tour as much as possible again to give our fans the right antiserum against frustration and tedium.
T.V.: It's quite fascinating that Crematory line-up didn't change a lot since the very beginning. I believe that there must be a special atmosphere in the band between the members...
Markus: We are one family and everyone respect the other – this is our secret!
T.V.: Where do you see Crematory 10 or 20 years from now? Will you still be making music?
Markus: I hope so, but the fans are the people responsible who make this decision. Only if fans will still buy our CD´s and visit our concerts Crematory will exist.
T.V.: Beside music, what are your interests in life?
Markus: Family and football
T.V.: Thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. Anything that would you like to add at the end of it?
Markus: Thank you very much for your support!!!

Crematory links: Official website, Facebook