Orden Ogan

Interview date

26 Novembre 2012


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Seeb (by mailer)

Hi and thanks for answering the following questions for the French webzine www.auxportesdumetal.com. So, at last, “To The End” is finished. How has it been to record this new album and why such a delay?

It was a tough time. We lost three members: Ghnu (drums), Nils (keys) and Lars (bass), because you can't play one hundred shows in 1/2 year with a regular job anymore. We are all still good friends, but it just didn't work anymore. So we had to find new musicians that fit into the band musically and from their character. As soon as you missed a deadline you have got another problem: shows are booked for the time where you still have to be in the studio and also I had other bands booked for my studio, because we should have been finished by then and so on...

Can you tell us about the concept behind the album if there is one? The same character as usual, Alister Vale, is on the cover and it seems the whole thing has something to do with ice (“The Ice Kings”, “This World Of Ice”, the album cover…)

The record follows a loose concept about the time after the end of the world and the last people left, struggling for their survival. ORDEN OGAN's music is very melodic on the one hand but is not and will never be cheesy. Though we are all funny people we take ourselves serious as artists. Our lyrics also almost always are dark and sad, plays on thoughts, philosophical. There are no dragons, swords and unicorns. We immediately liked the idea of having the whole record play in that setting since its very dark and hopeless. It offered a lot of opportunities for metaphorical levels. the ice kings for example is not about some fantasy characters but political leadership and blindly following politics. It's about emotional coldness, about recklessly sacrificing peoples lives and so on.

Musically, what can fans expect from “To The End”? How has the sound/music of the band evolved since “Easton Hope”?

I think on "To The End" we finally found the real Orden Ogan sound as it was meant to be from the beginning. On our previous records like "Easton Hope" we arranged up to 160 tracks of orchestral arrangements and choirs and stuff. And a song could easily consist of 30 different parts. On "To The End" we threw every unneccessary thing aboard and focussed even more on the songs themselves instead of arranging them. We wanted to do a record that is really heavy, straight-forward, "in your face" and direct. I think we achieved that. This time we didn't think about which (orchestral) instrument should play the melody - if it was written on lead guitar - then it stayed on lead guitar. There is still enough to discover on that record but it is not as progressive and complex as the previous ones. I had a very crappy time in my private life the last two years and I somehow needed to deal with that by doing the songwriting stuff myself. That's why I think the record turned out the way it turned out. It was almost like a therapy. Like a collective "fuck you all" - that's why it is so heavy, hard, forward and straight in your face.

I remember seeing you opening for Grave Digger last year. What memories do you keep from this tour?

Just good ones. It was a nice tour for us that brought us a lot of new fans and also the Grave Digger crew and the guys were really nice people. We had a lot of fun. If you don't believe me look for the tour report on YouTube! Haha...

Talking about touring, you're in the middle of another tour, opening for Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. What can we expect from the shows? Do you know how long you’ll be able to play?

You can expect a big heavy metal party with good sound and lots of fun. We are playing forty-five minutes and so far almost every show was great.

Is there more touring planned for 2013? Headlining perhaps, or is too soon to tell?

We are planning on doing a small headlining tour in early 2013, but it is not clear yet if that is going to happen, because we also have other things to focus on. Of course we will play some festivals in summer 2013 and maybe another tour in autumn. If you wanna keep up with the band please "like" our official Facebook profile at www.facebook.com/ORDENOGAN

Back to the new album. There are bonus tracks and a DVD. Can you tell us a bit more about this extra-material? How is the quality of the live DVD?

It's great - what else can you expect!? Haha... It is the whole concert of ORDEN OGAN at Wacken 2010. We played a small stage, but at 10 in the evening on a Saturday - so basically the best time there is to play on the biggest metal festival in the world. The rider stated there is space for ten thousand people on that area and while the intro was running people already couldn't get on the area anymore because it was so packed. It was really great - the audience and everything. Just magic in the air. We captured that show with five cameras and released the concert on the digipak version of "To The End" on a bonus DVD, that is basically unedited. Of course we played some mistakes and so on but I don't like live recordings that have been rerecorded in the studio. That doesn't make sense to me. People should see and hear that it's live. It's about keeping the magic and bringing energy to the audience and not about playing perfectly.

After the successful reviews your previous albums had, did you feel any pressure while recording the new one?

To be honest: no. We never saw ORDEN OGAN as a commercial product and I never wanna come to the point where I have to do this or that with the band just to pay my bills... We are just doing what we love to do, so why feel any pressure ? ORDEN OGAN is not affected by anybody else's opinion on how our music should sound like, and it is good the way it is.

Some have praised your work, others have said or written that your music (especially on “Easton Hope”) lacked personality and reminded a bit too much of bands like Blind Guardian. How do you feel about this kind of comments and did you take them into account when you composed “To The End”?

You know, journalists on the one hand have to listen to probably fifty or a hundred releases each month. Nobody can focus on all bands and give a record the time that might be necessary to "discover" the music on it. On the other hand, journalists have to compare bands with other bands to give the readers impressions of what they are talking about since you can't expect that everybody knows ORDEN OGAN. I think it's a big compliment. We are often compared to Blind Guardian, because of the choirs and so on, but I think that is somehow like comparing EBM and techno. You know, both electronic music, but the approach is completely different. ORDEN OGAN is more riff oriented and the darker and harder band, while guardian are more focussing on licks and nowadays progressive arrangements and so on. Also ORDEN OGAN focus a lot more on philosophical lyrics and darker topics than Blind Guardian, who are a lot more in the fantasy genre.

On “Easton Hope”, the song “We Are Pirates” that you recorded with Majk Moti, was a sort of tribute to the band Running Wild. Do you know what Rock’n’Rolf thought of it? Did you have any feedback?

I didn't talk to Rolf in person unfortunately, but I heard from his manager Otti and Running Wild webmaster Jens Pohl that he really liked the song a lot and felt honoured.

Talking about Running Wild, what do you think of their come-back? Did you listen to Shadowmaker?

I listened to "Shadowmaker" and I think it sounds better than "Rogues En Vogue", but has some weaker songs. Since I have got my own studio, working as a producer I offered them to mix their new record, but Rolf was not interested. I think "Shadowmaker" would have been better with a better sound, but still is just an "ok"-record, since it has no real "hits" on it.

You’ve already released a video clip for a new song, “The Things We Believe In”, how was it to shoot this video? And what’s the story behind the song?

The whole record has got this loose concept about the time after the end of the world or lets say the civilization as we know it. We thought about how you might look when you are running around in that kind of setting to protect yourself from the cold and maybe wild or desperate people that will attack you. It was not inspired by a particular movie but by postapocalyptic scenarios in genereal, like the Mad Max movies or the Fallout Games. Luckily with director Rainer Zipp Fränzen we had a very talented guy at our side who is also a make up artist and costume designer, so basically everything that you see was somehow designed by him. Awesome job by a really talented guy. The message behind the song is "together we could have made it". But we didn't.

Would you like to shoot another video for another new song?

Yes, we shot a clip for "Land of the Dead", which is online already. And we just did a videoclip for the song "MASKS" with Andreas Marschall. I did the filmmusic for his new horror film "MASKS" and this ORDEN OGAN song is consisting of melodies of that filmmusic. So it was crystal clear that he also wanted to do that music video himself.

“To The End” is your fourth album. Don’t you think it would be a good time to record some shows on the next tour for a live album?

It's the third one. You can read various things about ORDEN OGAN in the internet, but not everything is true. I started making music with our former drummer Ghnu back in 1996, and also the name ORDEN OGAN was around back then, but for many years we have just been a pupil-band, hanging out at the rehearsing-room, playing some concerts in small pubs and stuff and recorded some demos that are luckily not available anymore, haha. We didn't take that seriously and also there was a time where we didn't do anything for two years or something. That first "album" you are reffering to is called "Testimonium a.d." and was a demo in CD form but without record company or distribution. We count the real history of ORDEN OGAN from 2008 when the "Vale" record was released - that was the first time other people started working for the band. And "Vale" was just released in Germany. The first international release was "Easton Hope" in 2010 via AFM Records - so if you want to say so, "To the End" is the second and a half record of ORDEN OGAN, haha. And that's the reason why we think it is too early for a live album. But maybe you will find some bonus live stuff on the next record.

Here is your chance to conclude the interview as you want to. Say whatever you want to say…

Without you guys going to concerts, still buying CDs and Merch - in one word - supporting the bands you like - there won't be any successful bands at all. So all I can say, and it comes from the heart, is: Thank you! And our facebook profile needs a lot more French fans, so please surf on www.facebook.com/ORDENOGAN and "like" us! ;-)

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