THULCANDRA Interview with Steffen Kummerer
XM: Would you be able to tell us a little bit about Thulcandra? The name, the music, and what it all means to you?
Steffen: Thulcandra was founded in 2003 by Steffen Kummerer & Juergen Zintz to write material in the vein of the early 90ies black and death metal scene. For example Unanimated, Dissection, Sacramentum & Eucharist where huge influences at that time. After a first demo recording Juergen committed suicide and the band was on held for a few years and I focused on my main band, Obscura. Within the year 2008 Sebastian & Tobias Ludwig joined the band and we recruited Seraph (Dark Fortress) as drummer to finally record our debut album which was released in 2010 via Napalm Records. After a full European tour we entered the Woodshed Studios (Obscura, Tryptikon, Pestilence) and tracked the second effort, "Under A Frozen Sun". The band is not a side project, we are a full time group that already did a whole European tour and is playing regulary on selected festivals and single shows.
XM: "Fallen Angel's Dominion" drew from the demos on "Perishness Around Us" when Juergen Zintz was still alive. Does his influence, either it be musicianship or the fact that he has past, affect the new material in any way?
Steffen: Juergen was pretty much influenced by the more melodic death metal bands such as Dark Tranquility, Eucharist, Armageddon just to name a few. The demos where done with a different vibe and if you compare the demo with the album version of a few songs you will recognize the huge difference.
XM: Thulcandra gets a lot of acknowledgement for the influences from bands like Dissection and Unanimated. Do you ever get tired of the comparison?
Steffen: We are a band that plays exactly this style, if somebody compares us with the mentioned groups we just acompleted our mission to bring this style back to life. Both, Dissection as well as Unanimated, are huge influences to our sound and to our group in general so it felt just natural to cover those songs. The songs are from fans for fans, nothing else. So I guess those recordings will move a few people back to the beginning of their metal life, to their first contact of the scene and the early days in general. This is what I want to achive, not to be the most innovative band on the planet.
XM: There has been a history of session drummers in the band, such as Seraph from Dark Fortress and Hannes Grossmann from Obscura. Is Thulcandra actively looking for a permanent drummer?
Steffen: No, absolutely not. Seraph is the right person with the perfect style for this band. He is not available every time we play and he lives in the Netherlands, so we work sometimes with Hannes Grossmann of Obscura to play shows.
XM: "Under a Frozen Sun" was released very recently. What are your thoughts on the feedback so far from the fans?
Steffen: We got many positive reviews and also live offers as well as a bunch of mails where people mentioned they where looking for ages for a new band that hold the flame of old school death black metal the Swedish way. I am glad to hear that, and the fact people are interested in Thulcandra pushed us immense to write Under A Frozen Sun.
XM: It hasn't been that long since the release of "Fallen Angel’s Dominion" and now with the release of "Under a Frozen Sun", what do you believe are the biggest differences between the two records?
Steffen: Well, most of the ideas you find on “Fallen Angel's Dominion” where a bit dated and a few are even taken from our early demo material where Juergen Zintz was still in the band. Only a few new songs where written together with Tobias and Sebastian Ludwig back then. Now, more than a year later we where able to combine all of our ideas to “Under A Frozen Sun”. I think the arrangements but especially the guitar work is way better than the previous one. Also the production is top notch and I guess the whole sound is more massive than the previous album. The lyrics, exept the title track, where written by Sebastian Ludwig, so I am not able to tell you his personal story behind them. It was anhonour to stay in the studio with all the involved musicians and produce this release.
XM: Can we expect any tours or shows to promote this new album? Possibly some North American dates in the future?
Steffen: This is a long story. Unfortunately it is almost impossible nowadays to play in the states as an almost unknown European band. If we aply for visas we have to pay a few thousand US$ just to enter the country besides the flights. Also the tax system changed by this year, so every foreign band has to pay 30% taxes on everything. This way you create a shortfall of at least 10K for a regular tour. Nooen can pay this anymore, so I guess a real US run is not possible for us up to this date. In Europe we got the opportunity to play a full tour alongsideAbigail Williams and Iskald besides a few festivals. For this year two more shows are scheduled, anything else is just a whisper of the future. Anyway, I would love to play some shows with this band in North America and meet our friends and fans over there.
XM: What, in your opinion, makes Thulcandra stand out from today's Black Metal scene?
Steffen: There is barely another band that plays this old school Swedish black death metal in this concequence. I can not find another band that plays this style in general anymore.
XM: Do the album covers have a huge significance with you and the rest of the band? With the similar colours and figures, is there a story or something that ties both artworks of the full length albums together?
Steffen: Yes, the visual mark o fthe band is based on the colors, the artwork and also the photos which are based on the wohle concept. We will keep on working with Kristian Wahlin also for the upcoming albums and want to keep the tradition of painted covers in this band.
XM: What does metal music mean to you?
Steffen: Personal expression.
XM: Would you have any advice to give to those getting started on their music careers? Do you have any specific advice to those who want to embrace their inner cold and darkness and express themselves with Black Metal?
Steffen: Don't record a demo after two weeks of playing guitar. Recruit a real lineup and write songs together, releases with drum computers are awkward and not necessary on this planet. Just write what you feel and exchange the ideas with the band and work together on compositions.
XM: Is there anything else you'd like to add for our readers to hear before we finish up here today?
Steffen: Thank you very much for your interest in Thulcandra and the interview. Thanks for your time!