Interview: DANIEL KREMSNER of PSYCHO VILLAGE on the process and meaningful messages behind new album UNSTOPPABLE.
“Unstoppable is about gaining strength and energy from any source of negativity, never giving up and asserting oneself.There is always a reason to keep fighting. Nothing should hold you back from what you try to accomplish.”
Dan, Psycho Village.
SICK AND SOUND presents to its readers an interview with PSYCHO VILLAGE post-grunge, alternative metal outfit hailing from Vienna, Austria and consisting of Daniel Kremsner at lead vocals and guitar, Maximilian Raps at backing vocals and bass and Johannes Sterk at drums.
Psycho Village have been knocking around since 2009, debuting with single It’s Okay back in 2013 off Selfmade Fairytale – Part 1 EP released in 2014. In the last bunch of years the guys have been embarking on more than 150 shows and sharing the stage with icons such as Nothing More, Puddle Of Mudd, Skindred, Sick Puppies, Otep, The Raven Age and Abel across Europe and UK.
The band unleashed their first full-length UNSTOPPABLE on September 27th, 2019 via Seven Us Media Group and Pavement Entertainment followed by a run of Fall shows next to Swedish act TAKIDA.
Our editor-in-chief Alex is catching up with DANIEL KREMSNER who took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the details of their new album, the creative and writing process, the lyrical inspiration and also discuss their extensive live experience.
- Hello Dan and welcome. So let’s start by talking about PSYCHO VILLAGE introducing the journey of the band since you founded the project back in 2009.
Hey man, thanks for having me! I formed Psycho Village back in 2009 when I was 15. In 2013 I started collaborating with producer Gwenael Damman which led to the release of our single “IT`S OKAY” which was a big radio and chart hit in Austria. In 2014 we released the EP “Selfmade Fairytale – part 1” which had two top10 hits (PERFECT & THROUGH MY EYES) in Austria and enabled us to tour all of Austria for 2 years until 2016 in Austria and Germany. In 2017 we started touring internationally in Europe and the UK with bigger bands from the US and UK and basically never stopped since. We played +200 shows with the likes of PUDDLE OF MUDD, NOTHING MORE and SICK PUPPIES and many more.
- What’s the mindset behind choosing “Psycho Village” as a name?
The band started and still rehearses in a small village about 10 minutes outside of Vienna. With a population of only 1000, you know basically everyone. Back then there were cars parking across the street no one knew. My grandma knocked on the car window and asked what this was about. Apparently it was the police that were observing a possible drug deal. In a small village like ours that was a big story and kind of weird and “psycho” if you will. That’s where the name came from.
- You belong to the post-grunge, alternative metal scenario. So what are you main influences in terms of bands, albums?
My favorite bands back when I started Psycho Village were bands like Shinedown, Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry, those kind of bands. I love Shinedown´s “Somewhere in the stratosphere” live album. Black Stone Cherry´s “Folklore and Superstition” album and Alter Bridge´s “Blackbird” will always belong to my top 10.
Today a lot of inspiration comes from our friends Nothing More and Sick Puppies. I also adore a lot of new music like Starset, Badwolves and Badflower. I really like the new stuff from Asking Alexandria, Sleeping With Sirens and Falling in Reverse.
- I had the pleasure to take part to your Italian show in Milan back in 2017 where you shared the stage with In Search Of Sun and Nothing More at Legend Club. This was just an episode of your extensive live experience. So let’s discuss a couple of memorable moments on stage along with Nothing More, Puddle Of Mudd, Skindred, Sick Puppies, Otep, The Raven Age, Abel and more.
The Nothing More tour was definitely one to remember. The guys took us out on our first ever big international tour through a lot of countries we had not been to at that point including the UK, Italy, Scandinavia to name few. Puddle of Mudd was a huge tour for us. Some of the biggest shows we had done at that point. Lots of fun stories with Wes! I’ll tell you when we meet next time! We can’t wait to go back out with them!
- Psycho Village are set to release their first full-length album UNSTOPPABLE on September 27th, 2019 via Seven Us Media Group and Pavement Entertainment. This is following up your debut EP Selfmade Fairytale – Part 1. What was different for this album as opposed to your previous materials and how has the sound progressed or changed?
I was able to generate the kind of sound and songwriting that I wanted to do from the beginning. Through the years one matures as a songwriter and finally I felt like I had the ability to do what I always wanted. Combine the energy and raw sound of a great live band and add all those new and modern sound elements. I did most of the production and sounds on the new record myself and I loved seeing it come all together. I feel like I wrote some of the best songs I have ever written and was able to make a very current album. I am extremely proud of songs like Unstoppable, What Was That and Shine on Us. We were able to play those songs a bit before the album was recorded and those songs already get the best audience reaction even before their release. I can just imagine how the reaction is going to be like live, when people know the songs by heart. It is going to be so much fun.
- What was the general writing and creative process when you guys sat down and worked on your new album?
I never really stop writing. There are always little ideas, melodies and concepts that I write down. At some point I listen to my memos on my phone and start to work around the ideas I initially recorded. I wrote the chorus for Broken Hearted when I was maybe 16 or 17. I was never able to finish the song and always thought what I came up with was not good enough for that chorus. Last year, I was finally able to finish the song and it turned out better than I had ever imagined! A song like Unstoppable for example was written relatively quick. One day, I just heard that melody and some of the lyrics from the chorus in my head. I had written that synth pattern you hear in the beginning and throughout the song maybe a month before that and went back to it, slowed the tempo down a bit and the song was half finished and produced. It took a while to find the right guitar and drum sounds for it, but the actual writing for that song when it comes to lyrics, melody and structure was very fast. Shine on Us was written quite a while back. I believe I wrote the intro for that song back in 2014 and finished the song in 2016 and played it live ever since. I am excited to have it on the new record. I think it is one of the strongest songs and will probably end up as a single.
- You’ve been coping with many challenges along your career, showing a strong resilient attitude that can be summed up as “unstoppable”. So let’s discuss the specific lyrical themes and inspiration behind the tracks of your upcoming record UNSTOPPABLE.
The album as well as the title song are very special to all of us, because they represent all the problems and hurdles we’ve had to overcome in the past few years. During breakfast a hotel’s housekeeper stole several 1000 British pounds from our room. Our tour bus was hit by a car on a highway, which caused the trailer to flip over and we had to pick up all the amplifiers, guitars and merch from the (then completely closed) highway. We still managed to play the show in Hamburg the same day. We were insulted, spit at and physically attacked and almost beat down by the singer of a band we were on tour with. To protect ourselves, we cancelled the rest of the tour. Furthermore our van caught fire several times. We’re still driving around with it.
We’ve never let ourselves be intimidated by these negative experiences and emotions, however we’ve always gained strength and energy from those. On an emotional basis, this has brought us together as a band more than we’d have ever imagined.
- What’s the main message and vision that Psycho Village are ultimately getting across with this record?
Unstoppable is about gaining strength and energy from any source of negativity (whether it’s in everyday life, mentally or in social life), about never giving up and in the end asserting oneself. There is always a reason to keep fighting and if you bite through it you can accomplish everything you want it just takes time and confidence. Nothing should hold you back from what you try to accomplish. Take strength from everyone that tries to break your back. Tell them “I am unstoppable”.
- What song do you consider to be the heaviest, the most melodic, the most personal and the most experimental on this record?
The heaviest songs are in my opinion probably Chasing The Sun and Half Caste Symphony as they are very riff based songs. Also the lyrical themes are very dark and “heavy” in that sense. The softest are definitely Broken Hearted and It´s Okay.
Unstoppable is the most personal one to us, as explained earlier. Shine on Us has a similar lyrical theme and therefore is also very personal to me. Half Caste Symphony talks about equality and how we just cannot understand and will not accept that people are bullied or surprised because they are “different”. It does not matter to us if you are black, white, European, Asian or African, what your sexual preferences are and so on. Be a good human being, don’t be a dick. Half Caste Symphony is a big FU*K YOU to everyone that tries to tell you differently.
- After releasing your new album, you’re embarking on a new tour next to Swedish act TAKIDA along their Fall tour 2019. How do you prepare for this tour and what gets you amped up?
We will start to tour with our good friends in THE CREEPSHOW throughout Germany and CZ and then another 2 weeks with tAKiDA. In November and December we will go out on our own tour through Germany and also play a show with our friends in Skindred. From January until March we are on the biggest club tour in EU/UK in 2020, which we are super excited about. We will play 50 shows across Europe, the UK and Ireland with Alex Band and The Calling.
- What’s in store for Psycho Village for the rest of the year and how are you guys going about the promotion of your new record?
We will basically be touring from Sept 26th until mid March in Europe and plan to release the new record in the US in spring 2020 and then start touring in the US.
Thank you so much for your time Dan and for sharing more details about your upcoming record with us. We are fully supporting PSYCHO VILLAGE into Europe and US!
Psycho Village – Unstoppable tracklisting:
1. Chasing The Sun
2. What Was That
3. Shine On Us
5. Broken Hearted
7. Half Caste Symphony
8. It’s Okay
9. Without You
10. Can’t You See
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