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Markus "Makka" Freiwald (Sodom)

Interview with Markus "Makka" Freiwald from Sodom
by Harel Golstein at 31 August 2016, 9:22 AM

Given that legendary German Thrashers SODOM are about to drop their next album, "Decision Day", Harel picked Makka's brain about expectations for the new album, working with producer Cornelius Rambadt and his love of playing festivals.

What would you say Sodom’s fans should expect from Decision Day to sound like? Is there anything that makes it stand out differently if compared to the rest of Sodom’s catalogue?

Every new release is different from the others of course. It doesn't mean that the new record is the best we have ever done or whatever, no it's just different. Soundwise, we are a lot more heavy than before. It is a mixture between old and new sounds. For example: on the drums we used Roto Toms. Chris Witchhunter used them quite often on the older records. These are some small things which makes Decision day interesting, diversified and sounding like it is now. The Vocals are different to the other albums too. Tom's voice is awesome on decision day and will blow your mind for sure. The guitars are way more brutal than before. All in one, Decision day is very homogeneous soundwise.

Could you describe the writing and recording process for the Decision Day? Was there anything special behind the writing that really set the pace, in regards to ideas, experimentation etc?

The music was composed the old school way in our rehearsal room as we did before when we wrote songs for “Epitome of Torture”. We are a band, so we write songs as a band normally do. Tom is the one who writes the Lyrics and the composing is a thing where the whole band is involved. We try to rehearse as much as possible, because we never want to stop writing songs. You need to rehears the older songs too of course, but that's an easier an smaller part right now.

We had a lot more time to record the album than we had for Epitome Of Torture. We just took a lot of time to write new songs and we had the possibility to do a preproduction before we started to record the songs in the studio. We didn't have any pressure from the record label or anyone else. We only wanted to be concentrated on the new album as far as we can. Both albums are great in my opinion. The fact that we didn't work under pressure, we could listen carefully to our preproduction and we could decide if we want to change some things here and there. Comfortable situation I would say. Findings ideas and trying out some experimentation were quite easy then…

Are you still excited each time you enter a studio to start recording?

Yes, I am. It is always exciting when it comes to the point of recording. At teh end you can see if you have practiced enough or not. The result is not lying….

For the production you’ve worked with Cornelius Rambadt again. How are the dynamics working with him in the studio? Would you say he had enough freedom to add a special touch of his own to the album as a whole or is it more as him following through your requests and making the ideas sync?

We all know Corny very well. He did great job for us. Especially for the drum recordings Corny and I took as many time as needed to record the drums and that's one of the reasons the album is sounding like this. We didn't use any triggers or overdubbed sounds for it. The drum sound is Supernatural and fat as hell. To work with him was really relaxed and we had as much fun as possible. Of course Corny was involved in the complete process of songwriting and recordings to a certain point. I think it is very important to have someone neutral around who is listening to the music as a fan. Corny is also an old fan of the band Sodom and knows what the fans want to listen to. I would say we had and still have a special symbiotic relationship.

You chose the mighty Joe Petagno to do the artwork for Decision Day. How was working with him? Could you shed some light on the concept behind the cover artwork?

Joe was our first choice. As you might know Tom is a huge Motorhead fan as we all are huge fans of Motorhead, so the decision was quite easy. Tom and Joe were always in contact and discussed how the artwork should look like. Tom gave a rough description what the title decision day will be about and Joe started to paint the cover. The cover reflects the situation in the world about terrorism and war.

It seems you’re taking a very strong stand on contemporary politics with the American and Russian flags on the cover art.  Is there anything specific the artwork is trying to point out?

As I said before the artwork is pointing on the political situation in the world. Terrorism and war is everywhere around us. It neds to be changed and we as a band can only try to set a small point with a statement with our new album „Decision Day“

Sodom always had a very anti-war sentiment in your music and it resonates through your discography. Where do those sentiments come from? Is it vital for Sodom to be political?

Tom is the one who writes the lyrics. He is very interested in political themes and stuff like that. He wants to show how bad situations can be during war etc., and that's the reason why the lyrics are all about that.

Had there been no more wars, would Sodom write music about love?

The Earth without War? Forget it.We have too many sick people running around.. If it really would be like that, I think we would write songs about any other stuff what is going on in the world. You can write lyrics about everything. As soon as you have a message, start writing….

What are your feelings about the festival season? Is there still a personal hype for you doing those? Share with us an important experience for you from one of those please.

For us it is always a pleasure to play on all these festivals. To play a show in front of our fans is an amazing feeling we won't miss. Each festival is an important experience especially for me, because I mostly have to play on different drumkits, that's always a challenge. When we ply festivals in Germany I take my own drumkit with me, so that's fine. The WACKEN OPEN AIR is always a highlight and we are quite nervous about that every single time. This year so far the Rock Hard Festival was the one which made my day. The show went perfectly, sound and light was brilliant and the fans were awesome. It is all about the fans anyway. Without our fans, the band won't exist anymore, so like many other bands wouldn‘t.

Germany took in the largest numbers of refugees compared to all other countries. What’s your take on the subject? Should Germany take in even more, should it take a step back?

As long as it works, we need to help them, but one day it will collapse. We are not able to help all of them of course, but there are so many kids who are hungry and they are freezing. How can you send them back?

You’ll be performing in Israel (my homeland) for the first time this September. Are you still excited to go to new places for concerts? What’s your take on Israel these days?

I think the show is canceled.

What albums did you expect the most this year, which disappointed you and which did you like? Had you not been doing Metal, what would you be doing?

Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight is my favorite so far
Exumer – Raging Tides is also killer

Nothing is disappointing me. I am not in the position to point a finger on a band who is satisfied with their album. If I don't like an album, I simply don't listen to it. Many others will like… That's fine for me…..

Which non-metal artists would you like to work with?

I don't have a special one. Let's see what happens when we are too old to play thrash metal. Then I will decide…….. hahahahahaha

Read any good books lately? Something you’d like to recommend our readers?

I have not the time to read that many books… I need to practice man…. I still have an 8 hour job to do, so there won't be that much time to relax and read a book. When I am on holidays I read books… (in German language)

Thank you so much for this interview. I cant wait to listen to the new album, Decision Day, out on august 26th, And I cant wait seeing you guys live for the first time in Tel-Aviv!

Thank you.. and all teh best for you and all fans in Israel..



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