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Soulimage - Interview

German act Soulimage was created in 2005 by Robert Eberl, aka Rob E. Soul (composition, vocals, text). During the first live shows in 2006/07, the frontman and singer worked with Daniel Pinter alias DJ Dee Needle on electro-pop arrangements. After several line-up changes, it was initially quiet about Robert Eberl's band. During this time, he composed more songs for Soulimage and kept his project alive. The music developed more and more into synth-rock, and Soulimage mutated into a real rock band. Since autumn 2014, Soulimage has been rocking the stages again with new songs. The music gets influenced by 80s synth-pop, wave, blues rock, heavy metal and also classic. The sometimes hard though also melancholy songs arise from Rob's spontaneous emotions and sometimes have a radio-friendly character. The content of lyrics and musical elements combine to form an overall concept and are based on different subjective attitudes and general world events. With "Human Kind", "How To Live, How To Hope, How To Die", "Generator", "Animal Mind" or "Charity", the composer Robert Eberl's ingenuity succeeds in creating catchy tunes that resemble ballads rock songs range to harder metal songs. The individual musical influences of the band members create a unique style of music that has many facets and combines electronic sounds with hard guitars. Already on the debut album The Whole Universe (2016), the musicians from Soulimage offer their musical spectrum from more than 20 years of band and stage experience. At the end of 2018, however, Rob separated from the band members yet still worked on new songs and ideas that resulted in the sophomore album Human Kind - Animal Mind, for which Patty Juhasz (ex-Crystallion, ex-Dorsetshire) already recorded the guitars. "Human Kind”, the first single, climbed to number two in the German Alternative Charts, right behind Rammstein's "Deutschland". For the absolute icing on the album, Robert Eberl was able to win over violinist Shir Ran Yinon (New Model Army, Haggard, Eluveitie, etc.), who participated in five songs of the album. In the meantime, Patty J. became a member of Soulimage. He and the frontman Rob E. formed the band again and brought the bass player Torsten Sieg (ex Four Kings, Symmetris) into Soulimage. The drummer Stephan Straubinger (ex-Dying Gorgeous Lies) has been a permanent member of Soulimage since 2020 and gives the music the punch it needs. The band separated from Michael Popp, who played the keyboards for Soulimage for a few months, but with Martin Herzinger (Crystallion), a temporary drummer could be found...
The dark rockers are currently working on new ideas again and already released a new single called "Imperium" in February 2021, which also hit the German Alternative Charts. Patty J., who created the instrumental for the song, will continue to work as a composer alongside Rob E. After a long creative break, the four musicians will soon be working on the concept for the third album, already titled Pandemonium, which is to be released in 2022. If intrigued to find out some more about Soulimage, you can get it from the first hand - by reading this interview with Robert Eberl, Patty Juhasz, Stephan Straubinger and Torsten Sieg.

Interview with: Soulimage
Written/edited by: Jerneja
The interview was conducted in the German language by Stefan Eglmaier.

Terra Relicta: What is the meaning of the band name? What is it supposed to express?
Rob: The music and especially the lyrics are always created during times when I write experiences and events off my chest. That's how I musically picture my "soul image", which is why the name fits so well. However, this image of my soul is wrapped up in such a way that I still don't present my inner self in its entirety. In times of the pandemic, there are, of course, many things that move me, but unfortunately, also paralyse me to a certain degree at the moment. However, this is exactly from where a new creative and emotional structure will arise again in due course, which will be reflected energetically in the next long player. I have composed the songs of the past albums, but in the future, many instrumental ideas will also come from our guitarist Patty.
Patty: I can identify with the name very well because I can express myself best through music. From that point of view, it also reflects a part of my own soul. Especially live, it's important to me that I can play the music the way I am actually feeling at that moment.

Terra Relicta: How would you describe your music? Which genre and why this one in particular?
Rob: For us, there is no fixed music style and we don't want to be put into a pigeonhole. Of course, we are connected to the gothic and metal scene in a certain way, but we have our very own style that comes from the different influences of the band members. Sometimes it sounds a bit more like metal, then again darker and rock-like with more synth. But all in all, the songs always fit together and form the typical Soulimage sound. There is no decision made about the explicit musical direction of a song or an album, neither in general nor before a composition. That happens mainly out of emotion and can range from a rock ballad to a metal number/metal smasher ("Metalkracher"). What we can definitely say, however, is that we are all no "softies" but automatically put a certain hardness into our music.
Patty: I can also agree with you here. Basically, I almost don't care what genre it is or what you call this style. There are a lot of different influences from different directions, whether you listen to them or not. Melody and sound have always been very important to me. The acoustic colour is what makes a style.

Terra Relicta: How did you get to know each other?
Rob: Well, finding each other is often not that easy. Many bands can tell you a thing or two about how difficult it is to find the right people for a good band structure and know the constant ups and downs. In today's world, people find each other quickly through social media, and that's how it was for us.
Patty: Rob initially asked me to record Human Kind - Animal Mind. At that time there was no permanent band and then step by step, a new line-up was formed.

Terra Relicta: Since when does the band exist?
Rob: If you mean the current line-up, then it's been a good two years. However, Soulimage was already formed in 2006. At that time, it all started with a two-man synth project, until the way led us more and more in the direction of a rock band. In 2013, for the first time, we played in a classic line-up with guitar, drums and keys, although the bass still came from the sequencer at that time. It was only later that we improved the music with a real bass player who gave us the final band touch.

Terra Relicta: Everyone has their favourites in the studio and on stage... Do you have any favourite instruments? What are they, and why?
Rob: My favourite instrument on stage is the drum kit because that's how my musical life began in the 80s. Since 1994, however, I have only tormented the mic live and have left the "rhythm device" to other people. I think I have a good punch and groove on the drums, but technically there are much better drummers.
Patty: The guitar, of course. However, I love to experiment with sounds and synths, but I'm a disastrous keyboard player. That's why I programme everything.
Stephan: I'm actually in the lucky situation that drums are my actively played instrument, and also my favourite. I would have liked to be a good guitarist too, but I just didn't have the skills for that, and drums just got me much more hooked.
Torsten: As a bass player, it would be strange if I didn't say bass now, wouldn't it? It's simply the perfect symbiosis of rhythm, groove and melody, or rather their combination into one unit. Everyone always complains that I only play "drone" and "rumble", but dare you to leave out the bass! And no, I'm not too bad for playing the guitar, and therefore had to switch to bass instead.

Terra Relicta:  Where do you get your inspiration?
Rob: Actually, this is also what I ask myself from time to time. When an album or song is finished, I sometimes sit there and think about how it actually came up. Most of the time is normal everyday situations that suddenly give me an idea for a song. However, general world events are also often a source of inspiration.
Patty: I'm mostly influenced by other music. There are a lot of films with great soundscapes. Sometimes a song idea comes out of nowhere, and the first framework is built within a couple of hours. These moments inspire them.

Terra Relicta:  Do you have any musical role models, and who are they?
Rob: For me, role models are basically all musicians and artists who create emotions and goosebumps with their music, no matter how "famous" they are. There are many unknown artists who write incredible songs and touch me in a very special way. That's art. And that's why I take all those who have achieved that as a role model. That's why we make music. I certainly have idols, like Neil Peart, my favourite drummer, the incomparable Chris Cornell. Or the dark and deep voice of Jyrki Pekka, the singer of The 69 Eyes, is to die for.
Patty: There are a lot of role models that I have had since my childhood. Above all, of course, various guitarists from all times. I think it's very important to have idols, but you shouldn't copy them one-to-one, but rather learn from them. You should play their songs and see what you can do with them. I think that's how your own style is formed. I recently realised that idols and role models don't live forever. The sudden death of Eddie van Halen completely blew my mind.
Stephan: Basically, anyone who is truly passionate about what they do. I have an incredible amount of respect when someone gets me with their music, and you can feel that they have a passion for it. That can be on an emotional or technical level or just through the story behind the band or the song. It all has the potential to be an inspiration or a lesson for yourself and to grow from it.
Torsten: I find it difficult to define because many musicians and bands have influenced me or simply impressed me. Extraordinary bassists like Cliff Burton and Steve Harris, who were ahead of their time, still influence my style a lot today. Alex Webster and his incredible speed without a pick. Lemmy Kilmister's incomparable style. Fieldy's dry percussion sound with Korn. I could go on forever, but let's just say that I like to be inspired by different styles.

Terra Relicta:  Just out of curiosity... Do you have any side projects?
Rob: Well, there's a guitarist from Regensburg, with whom I'm going to record a song in the near future, but it would be an exaggeration to call that a side project. At least at the moment. Otherwise, I'm concentrating on Soulimage.
Torsten: A friend of mine is planning something with his modern metal project Symmetris, which combines parts of djent, metalcore and nu-metal. I'll be recording the bass for a few songs. Apart from this, I'm also concentrating on Soulimage.
Patty: I'm currently working on a project called Seekers Are Lovers with a male and a female singer. A video has just been finished, and the release of an EP is approaching. Basically, I'm very open about this.  

Terra Relicta:  How many releases have you already had, and since when and under which label?
Rob: I used to release several singles under Soulimage, but only digitally and just for fun. However, these songs are no longer on the net. We later released our first official single, "Generator", on our own in digital form and on CD in a very limited edition, which was quickly sold out.  Echozone then took notice of us. Since then, we have been working with the renowned label. So far, we have released several singles and two albums via Echozone.

Terra Relicta:  You have already entered the DAC (German alternative charts) a few times. How high did you get?
Rob: Thanks to Rammstein, we "only" reached second place in the DACs in 2019 with "Human Kind" because Till Lindemann and his boys had deservedly blocked the top position for many weeks with their hit "Deutschland". No, seriously - we were incredibly proud and happy to have achieved the second position behind Rammstein.

Terra Relicta:  Do you have anything in the planning stage? Can you reveal anything?
Rob: We are always in the planning! To what extent we will be able to realise everything is another story. But it's no secret that we're working on our third album, Pandemonium, even though things are going very slowly and with many obstacles at the moment, which is not least a result of the pandemic.  The album was actually planned for 2021, but due to the situation, it will be delayed, whether we like it or not. As soon as something takes shape, we will let you know via our homepage and social networks. You will hear from us!

Terra Relicta:  What were your biggest gigs or open airs?
Rob: Unfortunately, I have to say that whenever Soulimage had actually gained momentum, something slowed down the flow. That was the case again in 2020. This time it wasn't because of internal band issues but simply because of the pandemic. Otherwise, we would have played at the WGT (Wave:Gotik:Treffen – famous gothic festival in Leipzig, Saxony), among others. We regret this very much, of course, but we place our hopes in 2022. However, the only open-air I played with Soulimage was the Rocking-Hoot Festival near Nabburg. Together with the gig at The Wave Festival (airport in Regensburg), those were the hugest stages we've played on so far. I really hope that there will be more in the future.  

Terra Relicta:  Do you network with other bands?
Rob: Of course, that is only possible to a very limited extent in the current situation. I network on social media and try to keep the interactions going. We have not been allowed to get together for a long time, but I hope that we will soon be able to perform again together with friends and bands we know.
Patty: The contact with other musicians is very important to me. We all have the same problems, particularly during these times. Especially down here in Bavaria, everybody knows everybody. It's important to support each other regardless of genres. Actually, we all just want to play live and have a good time.

Terra Relicta:  With which celebrities of the scene have you already played together?
Rob: What a question to ask. Of course, you always want to be on stage with the big names of the scene. But as a more or less unknown act, it's extremely difficult to get in if you can't invest several hundred, not to say thousands of euros, so that they let you "play along". A lot of it is about buy-ins, and you have to consider the cost-benefit factor very carefully. But still, it's not completely out of the question for us. Back then, when The Bates experienced hype in the 90s, I played together with the punk rockers in a venue that was almost bursting at the seams with 1200 people. At that time, you didn't have to "buy-in" yourself. With Soulimage, we still had good gigs with, for example, Florian Grey, Pyogenesis, Crossplane, Angels And Agony, Der Fluch and Metallspürhunde, to name a few great bands.

Terra Relicta:  Do you also sing in your mother tongue?
Rob: To be honest, I don't know why no German song has made it onto a record yet, although I have written songs in my mother tongue. Maybe it's time to put at least one or two songs on an EP or even an album. Who knows?

Terra Relicta:  Do you have any good advice for the readers, or would you like to add anything else?
Rob: I would like to say one thing above all: "Hang on, take care of yourselves and stand together. We can only get through this crisis together and put at risk as few people as possible. We are very much looking forward to being able to rock the stages with you again, hopefully soon! Therefore, once again, our urgent reminder: together we are strong - with consideration and respect.

Terra Relicta:  And now, one non-serious final question; why don't you make Bavarian folk music?
Rob: Well, why don't we, anyway? Let me think about that! It's probably because none of us really knows how to play brass. And this genre is difficult for us for this reason alone, and our roots probably lie somewhere else. Nevertheless, I would like to say, even if the question is meant as a joke, that folk music can be very demanding, and as a true Bavarian, I can identify with it very well.
Stephan: Unfortunately, as a Franconian, I have been prevented from actively participating in the Bavarian way of life by birth.
Torsten: What should I say as an exiled Rhinelander in Franconia? I probably wouldn't understand a word, but a friend from my days in Cologne once founded a Cologne dialect death metal band. And you can't hear the dialect in the growls anyway, so... why not?!

Terra Relicta:  Thank you very much for the interview and good luck with the new album.

Soulimage links: Official website, Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube.

Soulimage line-up:
Rob E. Soul (vocals), Patty Juhasz (guitars), Torsten Sieg (bass), Stephan Straubinger (drums).

Soulimage discographay:
- Generator [EP] (2015)
- Can You Feel Me [Single] (2016)
- The Whole Universe (2016)
- The Whole Universe [Single] (2016)
- Human Kind [Single] (2019)
- Human Kind - Animal Mind (2019)
- Animal Mind [Single] (2019)
- Imperium [Single] (2019)