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Interview – Ralf Nopper (VANISH)

Interview with Ralf Nopper from Vanish
by YngwieViking at 08 January 2015, 3:36 PM

Vanish is a Power Metal band that has recently released their 2nd album, "Come To Wither. Metal Temple's own YngwieViking had the opportunity to chat with Ralf Nopper, the band's drummer about an assortment of interesting things, including BEER, the nectar of the gods. So dear readers, I suggest you crack open a cold one and enjoy!!

Hi, Ralf  I’m glad to discuss with you about the unexpected artistic success of your second album “Come To Wither”…While keeping the tradition of European Power Metal, this album also reveal a new edge of Modernity with darkest ambiances and amazing songwriting demonstration. Congratulations, It was for me a real blast…What will be your words to describe it?

Hi YngwieViking! Thank you very much for the interview and the nice words about our new record. In your question I can see that you really see through our concept behind “Come to Wither”. We want to create music that is interesting, but not too complex. Our influences are very versatile, starting from old-school 80s power metal over darker, melancholic tunes to thrash.  We write and play a kind of music that we like ourselves. So there is not commercial plan behind it. We want to create a new form of power metal and keep it interesting for us to play and for the fans to listen at.

Can you first tell us about you, your background as a musician…Your past or actual involvement in other bands! I want to know everything…Go!

Since I was a little kid I always wanted to play the drums. So my very first drum kit was a mixture of pans, pots and old washing powder card boxes. I went every day down in our basement and jammed to the music of my Walkman. When I was 11 years old I bought my first crappy china drum kit. Very soon I added more drums, a second bass drum, several cymbals and I began to paint it with different colors. So I already was one of the greatest rock stars of my hometown at that time.

I then began to play some gigs with the jazz band of my father when I was 12. The band is still active and I am the drummer for nearly 10 years now. Besides that I play in some orchestra projects in school. When I got 17 years old I founded my first Ska/Punk band with some friends. This band is called Piracy. We are also still playing but not focused at the moment. With some metal-friends we started the death metal Band “Mercadia”. In this legendary project I played the rhythm guitar and wrote some songs. We very locally famous for being “Hirrlingens (village near my hometown) loudest death metal band of the World!” J
Parallel I joined a hard rock band called Heartaway. I now, pretty crappy name and the music sounds very old-school. This was my first contact to Tommy, the old and wise guitar player of Vanish. After some changes we decided to re-organize the band, we looked for a new singer. When Basti finally joined we changed the name into “Vanish” and began to write new and different music. Basti, Tommy and I are the remaining rest of the Vanish founders.

Now tell us why did we have to wait 8 long years to finally have a brand new album, what happened?  Your career spans over more than 14 years. What are you the most proud of? Do you have any regrets?

No regrets, we had some difficult times, some members left and some years. Vanish was more like a side project. To be honest in the first years we had no uniqueness and the quality of our music did not match with our own expectation and imagination. That’s why we did not publish the first songs. We all love playing music with each other because over the years we become very good friends.

I am proud that after such a long time, we are still together and we still love to play our own music. We are all heading into the same direction and being a member of Vanish is just fun.
We regard ourselves as newcomer right now because we had a major change in 2010. We completely re-launched everything. Beginning from the songs and style of music ending with the whole marketing and corporate identity.  In the last years we were going pretty straight and followed our targets. I can promise that our next release will come out way earlier that in 6 years.

The gap between your first CD and “Come To Wither” in term of musical evolution is giant, how do you explain this fact?

As I mentioned already this was a planned step. We decided not to go out in bigger range with our record “Separated From Today” because we wanted to turn our style I a different direction again. We did something like a restart from zero on because we had a “vision” that did not fit well into the style of the old record. I think the songs on “separated” are not bad and you can hear the potential. But there are some songs we cannot identify with anymore. Buy it and send us a feedback. If you listen to the CDs and compare both records with each other, you will understand what I mean.

Can you tell the inside story concerning your signing with legendary label Massacre Records?

It was not easy, Massacre is a tough partner with high requirements. In the first meeting they tied and blindfolded us. Then they drove us outside in the woods, only with leopard strings on and a machete in our hands we had to find the way back to the headquarters….finally we made it and got the record deal.

Just kidding, we send a CD to Massacre and got a positive feedback pretty fast. In general we were very lucky with the response. We sent out nearly 30 CDs to labels that we could imagine to work with and we got 6 positive feedbacks. So for us the situation was perfect to pick out the partner that goes perfectly conform with our plans and goals.

Please, could you tell us the tales behind the Ralf Scheepers vocal cameo in the closing track “The Grand Design”? Do you Think is necessarily a good marketing trick to be associated with PRIMAL FEAR or maybe it could be a cliché, for a German band?

It was really a big coincidence. We never planned to put a guest on our record. Ralf Scheepers visited Axel, our engineer, in the studio where we were currently recording. So Axel showed him some tracks and Ralf was pretty surprised. He never heard from us before, so far. So he offered us to lay some vocals tracks on the record as a favor. Of course we did that, because we are big fans of Ralf Scheepers and his bands from the beginning on. By the way I think his performance is great on “The Grand Design”, goose bump-feeling guaranteed!

I think that the vocals performance of Bastian Rose is by far the strongest asset of the new album, what his your view about this statement?
Yes, of course. I think Bastian is one of the best singers of our band. (Credits to Steel Panther for this joke!) But there has to be a good mixture of everything in your music. When your songs are crappy and you don´t know how to play your instrument – just a good singer will not bring you further. On the other hand there are many good bands with great musician with a poor singer. This also destroys the whole thing. At the end there has to be a concept where all pieces of the puzzle fit together. We are very confident with our puzzle.

In my review for the superb & adventurous release titled “Come To Wither” , I wrote that the album unleash some “Dark Power Metal mood with a new found down tuning method in the guitar riffage and a fresh approach concerning the keyboard implication…” What is your feelings about this quote?

Again, 100 points to you! That exactly the impression we want to transfer.

Do you think that the complexity of some song structures or the Progressive parts in your music can be a block for some listeners, do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just get the inspiration flows!

We take our time in the songwriting process. But first of all we have to be happy with our songs. I would say, the first versions of the songs are way more complex and we try the get it more fluent during the songwriting process. In my point of view many power metal bands write many songs without taking a look at the details. That´s not our approach, quality not quantity rocks.

As a musician, especially as drummer, can you tell me about your influences?

For me sound and groove are way more important than technic or speed. So I like drummers that are able to transport a feeling and let the whole thing rock. Balls, you need more balls – and more cowbell of course.

What do you feel about of the state of the market in 2014! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illegal?

I think what happened with the state of the market in the last years is a big pity for all professional musicians. Making music in not honored as it should be anymore.
Fortunately we don´t have to live from our band income. This would be impossible because we do not earn any money. The costs are high and we invest nearly any euro back in the band to be able to go a step forward. But if you look at the professional musician it is an effrontery how they are treated. It is more than hard for the guys to live because they earn nearly nothing from the records sales. If this will not change the musicians are forced to work in day jobs. As a conclusion they can´t go on tour and also will not be able to bring out new stuff frequently.

I am a CD collector. When I like a band I buy the CDs and rip my own MP3 files for my car. My bandmates act the same or buy Vinyl. I also buy the stuff directly at the bands merch booth or online store, so I can be sure that the money will go to the band directly.

Tell us what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

We are already working on new songs for the next album. We want to release it in early 2016. The direction from “Come to Wither” will stay but I think the newer songs are a little bit harder so far.

Do you plan on touring intensively to promote the new album?

On the live sector we will concentrate playing some festivals in 2015, a tour is not planned at the moment.

What is the last CD you have purchased?

The new Ghost Brigade Records IV One with the storm, great melancholic band!!!

Please let us know your German Metal TOP 5 album?

Uuuhhh…. German bands…. That´s not easy:
1. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
2. Blind Guardian – Tokyo Tales
3. Heaven Shall Burn - Veto
4. RAGE - Unity
5. Primal Fear – Chainbreaker

Please let us know your Alltime TOP 10 album?

1.      Ghost Brigade – all 4 records
2.      Dream Theater – Train of Thought
3.      Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime
4.      Opeth – Blackwater Park
5.      Opeth - Deliverance
6.      In Flames – Colony
7.      Iced Earth – Something wicked this way comes
8.      Threshold – March of Progress
9.      Dio – Holy Diver
10.  Lamb of God - Wrath

There are so many more, this is just what first came in mind.

Now it's time for the Chinese portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot , which is inspired by Marcel Proust but This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of  the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio."

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?

Beer is out

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?


What turns you off?

Bad music

What’s your favorite curse word?

Bachel (german dialect for idiot)

What’s sound or noise do you love?

Loud and honest

What’s sound or noise do you hate?

Overproduced musical songs

If not yourself, who would like to be?

A guy that is pretty near to me

What’s the profession would you not like to do?

Working as an employee of myself

Who would like to see on a new bank note?


If you reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be?

As a tiny little tree like Rob Ross painted them

If God exist, what you like to hear him say at the gates of Heaven?

There is no god, because of all my heretical words I would have been hit by a lightning already.

I wish you the best of luck with the new album and on your upcoming musical adventure. Anything else you want to share with the Metal-Temple’s readers out there?

Thank you very much!

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