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Daniel (Hailstone)

Interview with Daniel from Hailstone
by Manel Lilioth at 08 May 2013, 10:05 PM

Hailing from Germany, the future of Death Metal lies, in some part, by the hands of the band HAILSTONE with their debut album endeavor of “The Greater Counterfeit” as an independent release. Manel had a chance to discuss about the band’s status, and their new album with Daniel

​​​Greetings, how have you been? It is an honor for me to be able to have you for this interview for Metal Temple. At the beginning tell us more about your band to the readers that haven’t heard of you yet?​​​

Yeah I’m fine, thanks for asking. We are also very grateful to be asked for an interview by Metal Temple. It’s actually our first international one, so this is a premiere and we are pretty excited about it too. For people who haven’t heard of us yet, Hailstone is a Death Metal band from the city of Munich, Germany. If you like the extreme yet melodic style of old Swedish Death Metal you should definitely check out our music. The band was founded in 2009 and currently consists of five members. Up until now we have been steadily moving forward. We played many shows with smaller unknown bands but also shared the stage with Metal legends like Obituary. Also we released our debut album “The Greater Counterfeit” last year in April and it was received pretty well. And right now we are having an inspirational phase for working on new songs which hopefully will be at least be as good as our current songs or even better.

​​​How do you define your music and you genre? ​​​

That is really simple: It’s traditional melodic Death Metal. Unlike many other bands who try to be different and special we are not embarrassed to stick to our style and point it out. Actually if someone tells us that our music is really old school and that he or she can recognize our influences it makes us really proud.

​​​What were the media’s reactions toward your first album? Did you expect to be that successful? ​​​

All reviews up until now have been really good which indeed did surprise us a little. Of course we were sure, that our album was well-made and could at least get some good critique but the reactions solely ranged from good to incredible. And we would have never dreamt of being awarded Demo of the Month in the German Metal Hammer magazine. So to sum it up, the reactions were overwhelming and we are really proud that our music made it that far.

​​​Indeed, the greater Counterfeit, it’s an old school death metal project, would you develop? What are your main influences? ​​​

Well, that depends on what you mean with development. We will not change our style that is for sure. Although are a Swedish Death Metal band, that does not necessarily mean that we are not interested into other Death Metal bands. I think you can also recognize some Blackened Death Metal bands like Dissection or Naglfar or other Old School bands like Bolt Thrower or Asphyx in our sound. Perhaps we will focus on an even more traditional way of Death Metal while covering the whole range Old School Death Metal has to offer for our new songs, who knows? We will stay Old School, but we will not write straight or simple songs just to be “Old School”. Of course we will try to include a certain amount of variety in our next songs, but as long as it’s good Death Metal, we don’t care if we “develop” or not. For us it’s about the music you play and live for, not about being “different” from other bands. Surely a band should not stagnate and stop at some point but I think that we should show the listeners our growth on the next album by writing even more excellent Death Metal songs, not by “changing” our style. We want to preserve the musical style of our main influences, which are bands like Dismember, Evocation, At The Gates, Amon Amarth, old In Flames, Demonical or Entombed but still interpret them in a way which shall give the listeners an unique sound which is unmistakably recognized as Hailstone.

​​​It’s a self-released album with clear production, how you guys did it? ​​​

We recorded this album at the Dreamsound Studios in Munich and it was quite the experience since none of us had worked on professional studio recordings before that. In the end we ended up with a great result but we also learned lot about studio work and we will definitely avoid the mistakes we did this time for the next album (laughs). I guess if it’s your first time you are just too unsure about what you want and we were also lucky that we had some great guys at the studio working with us, who helped us to deliver a real fine piece of art. We recorded the whole album in just four days and spend most time with mixing and mastering. Although the recording went well the time we spent might have been a little bit too short. And for any underground bands out there here is some helpful advice: Prepare for your recording thoroughly! Visit the studio at least a month before your recording and talk to the producer about your visions. Also record guide tracks and program click tracks at home, because this is all time you can save in the studio and most importantly: Practice your songs and on click! This all may sound trivial but in the end it sucks big balls if you are not able to play perfectly on click and it is nothing you can achieve by just practicing it 2 days before the recording if you aren’t a genius. And even a genius can still suck balls if he or she is not fully prepared. And you surely don’t want to spend thousands of euros to just suck balls.

​​​What can you tell us about the lyrics? If there’s a message behind of it? And the cover design does fit perfectly the main theme? ​​​

Actually you already figured that out pretty good in your review (laughs). Yes, the lyrics are mostly focusing on religious stories but this is not the whole meaning behind the songs. To me religion is a really very good example on which I can describe blind enthusiasm to one’s own self-righteous beliefs. Everyone has their own beliefs and way of looking the things but how far would you got to defend or preserve them? Would you be able to reflect your own mistakes even if you have been blindly following them up until now or would you mentally shatter? Those are the some of the questions which guide the songs. Every song actually displays one possible scenario in this struggle against ignorance and authority. For example in Death Past Due the protagonists gets executed because he tries to stand up to the religious authorities and his very own people betray him out of fear of having their faith deprived. Unlike in Epiphany, where a follower of the very same leaders realizes in his last moments that he was nothing but an expendable pawn for them. I quite like this particular passage in Epiphany which is quite representative: “A tool grotesque you have become but thrown away to die, a pawn obsessed with empty thoughts, obedient sacrifice” I think that the album title “The Greater Counterfeit” sums up the message of the lyrics pretty well, although that song is the only songs about some Vietnam war-like topic. Which brings me to the cover. Although listeners would mostly think of religion criticism and some medieval relations when they see the cover and read the lyrics that is not the whole meaning behind the lyrics. You can blindly believe into anything you want, be it religion, political ideologies or other ethical motivations. The cover shows different ages of war and destruction while amidst it all there is a central figure who guides them. This figure, although definitely a religious hint, represents the perpetuator of all the suffering and war in any age, so this role should not be strictly limited to religion. Because of this you can match the lyrics into any time and setting you like. They can reflect your daily and inner struggle against the people around you who are ignorant to your views or they can also be transferred to any extremism you are facing in today’s world. The true meaning is left for the reader himself to discover, I guess. But I think the cover grasps the big story behind the lyrics really well.

​​​Unfortunately, your guitar player Thomas decided to leave the band, what’s next for HAILSTONE? ​​​

Well of course we are looking for a new guy to shred the six-strings and we already got some real promising applications. So I hope we will find a worthy replacement for Thomas. Besides that we have some pretty good things coming in the future. We will mainly focus on writing new songs and play some shows, but there are a few surprises left to be revealed to our fans and the rest of the world. So prepare yourself for some great news coming these days.

​​​Is that true that you’re preparing for a second album? Will be released through a label this time? Could be different from the first one? ​​​

Yes that is true. As I said the new songs are now in the process of being made. This time we are pretty picky about new song suggestions so it may take some time before we have enough material for a full album. But nevertheless we are making progress and I think this album will be both same and yet different from our first album. The style will be the same, but the songs will be more contemplative and more thoughtful, I guess. I think that will be the main difficulty: Too keep our straight-forward style but not to give in to pure simplicity. Of course we hope our second album will be enough to convince a label to release it, but I think we will know for sure latest when the album is finished. And if not we will still release it ourselves and keep moving forward.

​​​Again thank you for this opportunity and you want to say something to the readers? ​​​

Listen to our music, watch our videos and if you like it: Support us, buy our album, like us on Facebook, book us or do anything else which can be helpful to us. Without our fans and supporters we would not be at where we are right now. And also support your local underground scene. If you’re a metal fan don’t just go to the big concerts with famous bands, they all made it already. The underground scene is grateful for every single visitor and packed with talented bands. If you are a booker or promoter book some underground or local bands and help them to get some opportunities to present themselves. And stop that voting bullshit and just pick some band whose music convinces you and fit into the gig roster. It’s about the music and not about how many virtual or potential fans or ticket buyers a band can gather. If you want “likes” so much, just go and invent some new K-Pop dance moves. That’s all and thank you very very much for the review and the interview, Manel! I hope we will meet on a Hailstone concert someday!


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Edited 14 July 2020

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