INTERVIEW: GERMAN METALCORE ACT “WHAT I CREATE” ON DEBUT ALBUM “HIRAETH” AND SELF-DISCOVERY FOCUS.
SICK AND SOUND presents to its readers an interview we had with WHAT I CREATE band, a brand new metalcore, atmospheric metalcore outfit from Germany who kicked off their journey with debut album HIRAETH released on September 7th, 2018.
We are catching up with the band of Sandro, Chris, Hauke and Arne after the recent video release for single Unloveable off their first record out at the end of March 2019. In this interview our editor-in-chief Alessandra had with the band, we got to know more about their lineup and sound, the lyrical themes and songwriting process behind HIRAETH, we discussed aspirations and future plans.
Our track by track review (Italian review) for Hiraeth is available at: www.sickandsound.it/what-i-create-debuttano-con-le-atmosfere-di-hiraeth-nel-progressive-metalcore-teutonico.
- Hello WHAT I CREATE and very welcome at SICK AND SOUND. Let’s give our readers a wider view on your outfit by talking about your lineup and your influences.
We are What I Create from Germany and we play atmospheric Metalcore. We get inspiration for our songs from our favourite bands, who are mostly in the metalcore scene. We are inspired by bands like Northlane, Architects, Erra, Wage War or Holding Absence. We actually listen to everything – as long as the music is well done. That’s what counts in the end. As long as a song is good we don’t care if it’s RnB, Death Metal, Pop or Metalcore. What I Create are Sandro (vocals), Chris (guitar), Hauke (bass) and Arne (drums).
- We would love to know you any better, who are Sandro, Chris, Hauke and Arne outside of their metalcore outfit?
Besides the band we are all very interested in music. For example, we go to concerts together or write music that has nothing to do with What I Create. Sandro for example has a side project called “Sokar” which goes in a completely different music direction. And also in the working life one or the other has to do with music. Chris, for example, works for an online shop for merchandise and Sandro is a media designer.
- Let’s talk about the unique sound you have crafted into metalcore/progressive metalcore with a massive presence of atmospheric elements. Describe your sound in your own words and its strongest assets.
We think that atmospheric Metalcore as a genre suits us best. We noticed at the beginning of the writing process that we like atmospheric parts pretty much. So we were always trying to find new sounds that we could use for the atmospheric parts. Sometimes we tried hundreds of sounds until we had the right settings. Sometimes you just need one note and the right sound settings and you can create an atmospheric part that sounds pretty unique.
At DNA Studio in Berlin, Amael and Nicolas helped us edit the atmospheric sounds again. These guys took the atmospheric part of What I Create to the next level.
In contrast to that there are of course the heavier parts, which are also an important part of us.
- HIRAETH is your debut album released independently on September 2018. What was the creative and songwriting process when you guys sat down and wrote the record?
The album features songs we wrote with our old band Inveterate. The oldest songs on Hiraeth should be from 2016. When Sandro joined the band as a singer at the end of 2016, we had finished about 5 songs. Since Sandro also uses clean vocals, we rewrote the finished songs. That was also the time when we decided that we wanted to focus on atmospheric parts.
The songwriting process is almost always the same for us. There are no songs that were written only in the rehearsal room.. Arne, Chris & Hauke write the basic structures on the PC with the software “Guitar Pro”. The three send each other revised versions until a demo is recorded. On this demo version Sandro records his first vocal lines. We usually collect different versions. When we have collected enough material, we usually meet at Chris’ and rework the songs together again. This can take a weekend or several weekends. The good thing is that we all work together on the instruments and vocals. We do not limit ourselves to our own instruments. Anyone can change something on any instrument. For example, our drummer Arne also writes guitar riffs. This has the advantage that we go back to the songs with a different way of thinking.
- I would love to discuss briefly the meaning of the name HIRAETH as this seems related to the German concept of “Sehnsucht” and coming from old Gaelic. After that we’ll explore the themes.
Hiraeth means something like homesickness for a place you can’t return to. But this does not always mean a certain place. Of course you can also be homesick for a certain time in your life. In German, Hiraeth, as you said, can best be described as “Sehnsucht”.
- So what specific lyrical themes were important for you to discuss in Hiraeth?
The album deals mainly with self-discovery. Each song describes a different kind of self-discovery. Negative experiences are processed for example in the song “Unloveable” and positive ones in the song “Herculean”. The title track “Hiraeth” is about homesickness for a person one cannot return to. And if you can return, nothing is the same as before. Good memories should sometimes just remain good memories. But all these experiences make us who we are. Whether a memory should only remain a memory or not, everybody has to find out for themselves.
- What were the most challenging aspects working on the record?
Time! We booked the studio about a year in advance. Two months before the studio eight songs were finished. In the remaining two months we had to write enough new material and practice the existing material. That was quite stressful but in the end the stress was worth it for us. At the next studio date we will plan more preparation time.
- Lead single The Odd One Out involved part of French metalcore band Novelists. So I would love you guys to share this amazing experience.
Amael and Nicolas from Novelists supported us not only with this single, but with the whole album. We recorded our album in the music studio of Nicolas and Amael in Berlin and they did a fantastic job. They both knew exactly how we wanted to sound and were able to support us in an optimal way. They just know what they are doing because they also record and mix Novelists albums themselves. All in all we recorded for one week in Berlin and it was one of the best experiences we had as a band so far.
- Let’s talk about your very last video release for single Unloveable out at the end of March 2019.
We wanted to shoot another video because we weren’t 100% satisfied with the last two videos. With the awesome people from the German music magazine Crowdsalat we shot the video for “UNLOVEABLE” and we are more than satisfied with the result. Crowdsalat not only shot and edited the video, but also took care of the location and the actors. The location was a photo studio, which consisted of several rooms, all of them furnished differently. So we only needed one location and the whole video shooting took just 6 hours.
- FUTURE PLANS. What else do you have in store in 2019? Any upcoming projects or shows you wish to share.
New Music! We have planned to release new music in 2019. Besides we want to play as many shows as possible which is unfortunately not that easy. But we are excited about what will happen in 2019.
- Let’s dream big. How do you see yourselves in 5 years’ time? Any goals and achievements you wish to fulfill.
First of all we would like to play at a summer open air festival. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. And speaking of live shows: we would love to play a tour. This is probably the dream of every small band. Preferably with befriended bands. Besides these bigger dreams we just want to be a band that continuously releases music and plays shows.
Thank you for your time WHAT I CREATE and all the best of luck with the promotion of your record. We are thrilled for more music to be dropped by you and keep on supporting you into Europe and US!
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