Suidakra is a metal band from Germany. Their music has many folk influences or, to be more specific, “Celtic folk” influences. This band has been around since 1994, when folk music and metal was not yet a popular mix. They have released 10 albums and have toured many countries across the globe. The band is now planning their next release and touring in new territories. Check out the chat that SOM had with the band on May 3rd when they played in Los Angeles with Overkill.

interview SuidakraYou are currently touring with Overkill, God Forbid and Diamond Plate in North America. How have the concerts been so far?
Arkadius: It has been cool; we are having a great time. The beginning was a bit chaotic because the first concert was stressful (like in every tour): we were stuck in traffic from New York to Philadelphia. The second show was actually a metal hardcore festival, we didn’t really fit in. It was a little strange to play at 12am. But, after the third show everything went fine.

The guys, no matter which band, are pretty nice. The only [bad, negative] thing is [that] driving is a little bit hard. Sometimes we have to drive 800 or 900 miles from one venue to the other.

You haven’t played here since beginning of 2010…
Arkadius: Yes, yes. There was a tour with Orphaned Land [mostly in the East Coast] and we just organized some shows in LA on our own.

Lars: There was the PaganFest tour.

Arkadius: Yeah. But, PaganFest was in 2008. In 2009 we came here with Alestorm and Tyr. So, yeah, it had been too long. We were just looking forward to coming back to California because we love to play here. We love the weather, the people… it’s pretty cool.

Some people say that bands have to constantly tour here in the US so the public don’t forget them and that if they stop coming they have to kind of start all over… Do you feel that? Do you see any big differences in the public when comparing your previous tour with this one?
Lars: We have so many friends from the last tour… they still come again [to see us].

Arkadius: It is kind of hard to compare it with the other tours because when we were here before with “pagan” bands, we fit well together. I kind of have this feeling that on this tour there are more Overkill fans that never saw us before so, it is cool for us to reach new fans. And, meanwhile, the die hard Suidakra fans and friends are still there.

You mentioned that you like playing here in California but do you have any other favorite cities to play concerts here in the US?
Arkadius: I love to play New York because the shows there are always cool and of course, I love the city. I was there for vacation last year. Chicago is pretty cool. It is special for us because our first American appearance was there, at the Power Fest.

Texas! We are really looking forward to play in Texas because we have a lot of friends there. We played there in every US tour. The people are also really into metal, there is a cool metal scene [there]. The other states are great as well but these are my favorites. You? Any favorite states? [Arkadius asks Lars]

Lars: The same as yours. And also Salt Lake City... good show!

Arkadius: You? [Arkadius asked Jussi]

Jussi: It’s my first time [here] so everything is exciting to me! (laughs)

Is the scene here really different than the German scene?
Arkadius: Yeah, it is kind of different, I would say. In Germany, this package (this tour), would not really work out. The people, the metal fans in Germany think too much in categories. So, one just listens to thrash metal so he doesn’t pay attention to Suidakra, you know? Sometimes I have the feeling that people here are much more open minded. So, this is kind of a cool thing for us.

You guys have released “Book of Dowth” around a year ago. What were the main results coming from this release?
Arkadius: Personally, it was a very important album. I mean, the expectations after Crogacht were very, very high. You know, I think this is a very well balanced album, a lot of different styles and we tried to keep it a
interview Suidakra little bit darker than epic.

I’m 100% satisfied: the feedback with the album itself, the way the production went and all the promotional stuff. That was actually the first album for AFM Records, the new label. We had the chance to release for the first time a vinyl version of it. So yeah…I’m totally satisfied. You too? [Arkadius asked Lars]

Lars: Yes, I’m really happy [with it] because the music and the lyrics worked really well together. So, I’m really proud of us!

You have received pretty good reviews for this album and Crogacht was also well reviewed at the time. Does this create a lot of pressure for the next album to come?
Arkadius: Not really… for me. That’s exactly the reason why we just wait a year before we start to write new material, because at that time we are just on tour and we have some sort of distance from the latest release. And for me, personally, when I start writing new material I kind of don’t go back. It feels for me that I’m writing the very first Suidakra album. So, no… I don’t feel this pressure because I don’t compare it to the last album. Do you feel pressure? [Arkadius asked Lars]

Lars: Yes! I put pressure on myself because like I said, I’m really proud of this album. When we start to write the next songs I need a few moths to get into the song writing. Me, personally, I have to create something new on the drums so I create pressure for myself.

You said that after releasing an album you wait a year to start working on a new one. Are you guys planning to start working on a new album soon?
Arkadius: We’ve already finished the third new song! (laughs) We just started to write the new material at the beginning of this year. At that time we didn’t play that many shows so we started to write new songs. Right before we came here to tour with Overkill we finished this third new song and when we go back [to Germany] we will move on with the song writing because the plan is to go to the studio in January [2013] to record a new album.

Do you have any ideas of the direction you will take with this new album?
Arkadius: I know the direction of the lyrics because the whole concept is already finished on Kris’ [Verwimp] mind. Kris is the guy who is doing the concept for us.

But musically, it is kind of hard to say because we have only 3 songs [so far] but if I had to make a statement right now I would say that it is kind of more epic, compared to Book of Dowth.

Lars: The lyrics will be not as dark as they were in the last album. The songs are getting hand to hand with the lyrics so, it won’t be as dark.

Arkadius: Much more epic. This is a very heroic story.

Lars: Much more in the Manowar style (laughs).

You will do this tour in North America then you will play at some festivals in Europe. What after that?
Arkadius: Yes, we will play in a couple of smaller festivals like RAR festival and Tuska. It will be our first appearance at a Finnish festival. We are looking forward to it.

Then, right after that we are going to Sao Paulo. It is going to be huge. First appearance in Brazil and we will be playing as headliners at the Thorhammerfest.

So yeah, just a couple of shows. We didn’t get our schedule fully packed because in that case you have to fight your way in to the song writing mood.

About your fan base: is your biggest one in your home country or is it scattered all over?
Arkadius: I think it is more like the second scenario you mentioned. There is not a main country, not even Germany. I mean, it is hard for a German band to be popular in Germany. There are all these guys who know you and
interview Suidakrasometimes they are a little bit envious, you know? …Because they have a band or stuff like that. So, I’ve just realized that we are much more famous in foreign countries: India was awesome, China, other European countries and US is treating us very well also.

You are going to South America: do you guys know how big your fan base is there?
Arkadius: It’s kind of hard to say but, when we started the band the Brazilian fans were always there, we have received feedback since 1998. We had a few Brazilian fans that went all the way to Europe just to see one Suidakra show. Also on Facebook and on Myspace, the Brazilian fans are very into our music and they have always supported us. So, we are really looking forward to go to Brazil for the first time.

Lots of folk metal bands are pretty popular right now. You guys have been doing music inspired by folk elements for 18 years. What is your vision of all this “folk metal frenzy”?
Arkadius: I’ve just realized a few years ago that there was a big pagan [folk] trend, you know? And with every trend you have tons of bands growing in within one or two months and they just get big. But, the thing is that these same bands just disappear when the trend is over. I don’t really give a shit about trends, you know?

We were doing this whole folk thing in 1997, nobody was talking about pagan stuff which was kind of odd because people had problems just to categorize us. They didn’t know how to “call” our music. We just finally compromised it and called our music Celtic metal and that’s it. I think it is kind of cheesy to call it melodic death or black. I don’t like these combined [terms].

So, I don’t really pay attention to this whole scene. I mean, I think there are a few cool bands like Ensiferum but, they have been [playing since] before this trend as well. But the other bands (like in every trend), they come and go.

You guys kind of got in the middle of this trend. Is this beneficial somehow?
Arkadius: Yeah, I mean, I have to be honest. Sometimes it was really helpful, you know? Because back in the days when we just started it was kind of hard to put us in a package where we would really fit in, because nobody was playing folk style. You had these extreme metal bands in one hand and power metal bands in the other.

So, it was kind of easier for us to go on tour with pagan bands. But, at the same time, it wouldn’t be satisfying for me to just play with pagan bands again, and again, and again. Sometimes I get really tired of it… these “funny melodies” “hump umpa” and stuff like this. It is funny…yes but, not to play with for 3, 4 or 5 tours. I like to play with old school bands.

So, what are the goals for next year besides the new album? Anything you would like to accomplish?
Arkadius: You know what? I used to plan when I was younger but right now I just realized that there are so many things that can affect your plans so, I don’t plan anymore.

So, the next big goal is of course the album and of course, we will try to play as much as we can live. There are some unfulfilled dreams like playing in Australia or Japan. But, as a band, the only thing you can do is give your best, 100% and the other things will happen, you know? So, let’s see what happens.

Any messages to the SOM readers?
Arkadius: Yes! First of all thanks to you for this interview. We want to say “hi” to everybody, thanks for the support. Check out our latest release, Book of Dowth, and watch out for the upcoming album. Maybe you can also check out our Facebook page which is maintained by us. We just love to be in contact with the fans!

interview réalisée par Deesse_de_la_nuit

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