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Markus Jullich and Matthias Hechler (Crematory)

Interview with Markus Jullich and Matthias Hechler from Crematory
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 09 March 2009, 10:26 PM

Well, CREMATORY were not on tour but they did book one live date upon Greek soil. Markus Jullich and Matthias Hechler were more than friendly to have a nice talk with Metal Temple in a traditional tavern drinking ouzo!

Interview with: Markus Jullich and Matthias Hechler from CREMATORY

How did you book this show in Athens Greece? You have not been on tour since 2008.

\[Markus] Indeed, we did some shows in May 2008 in Germany. We had very good feedback and thus we booked some summer festivals. But we won't do any more since we want to concentrate on the new album. We started working on the new songs four weeks ago…

(interrupting) So, how did you schedule this show in Greece?

\[Markus] Well, the organizer contacted me since I am also the manager of the band and offered me a contract for a concert and we said yes!

So, now you are in a writing mode.

\[Markus] Now we are gathering ideas and then we will go to the studio to record them. We write the songs in the studio to use them later for the production…

\[Matthias] (interrupting) The studio is very close to our homes. I am getting there with my bike since I lost my driving license (laughs)… No seriously, Markus is also a very good guitarist and I can discuss with him all the ideas, although I am playing all the guitars (more laughs). We are not the typical Metal band where the two guitarists fight each other.

That's good! Do you have in mind the musical direction of the album before you enter the studio?

\[Markus] Actually this is my job as the manager of the band. I think about what can we do with the album and make the master plan. Then we all sit together and discuss about it. Actually, in this album we want to try something new; the headline for the new album -we always use headlines- is Gothic Thrash Metal.

 That's interesting…

\[Matthias] It sounds a little bit funny but actually it works!

\[Markus] Yeah, we have five new songs and it does work!

Can we expect more guitars?

\[Markus] Yes.

…less keyboards and electronics?

\[Markus] No electronic stuff. We will only use the Dark keyboard sounds like we did in the Pray album. We will have guitar oriented songs with Thrash Metal sound.

 (addressing to Matthias) Can this be difficult on stage when you want to play this Thrash oriented songs? Taking also into account that you are the only guitarist.

\[Matthias] No it won't. Actually this is a good question for the sound technician; you can have a very good sound with one guitar if you split it using a delay you can make it 'wide open.' It is just a question of mixing. Of course, we also have the keyboards and distorted bass guitar so it sounds great. If we had another guitarist I would earn less money (loud laughs)…

\[Markus] Well, I have to think about it….

\[Matthias] No way! So, if we had another guitarist it would be too much. Just like another band I know (points to my IRON MAIDEN t-shirt) who have three guitarists and you cannot listen to all of them!

Yeah, especially one of them is not actually playing….

\[Markus] Matthias is one of the best guitarists in Europe. There are a lot of bands that want him in their lineup. He is normally a Thrash Metal guitarist. When I asked with to join CREMATORY back in 1997 I told him: You can play with CREMATORY but play the half that you can. If you don't do that I will break your arms!

 (addressing to Matthias) Did he actually say that?

\[Matthias] Yeah! I just needed one week to learn all the songs for the tour that followed. The previous guitar player \[Lothar (Lotte) Forst] -who was also very good- did not play any complicated riffs. He was a Gothic Metal guitar player and Gothic Metal just goes dan dan dan. There is nothing in between. But I also learn more for playing less!

\[Markus] Less is more! We did one step forward in every album and now we think it is time to do the best for everyone. So, I said Matthias to play the best he can!

\[Matthias] I've recorded some riffs in my old eight-track -that works very well- and gave them to Markus and he said that's all? and I said that's more than enough.

\[Markus] And I said More!

 Can we expect Thrash shredding and stuff?

\[Matthias] Shredding? Nah? Let me put in this way; I am not a Hammet but a Hetfield. (laughs)

 That's nice. So, Markus is it easy for you to be also the manager of the band?

\[Markus] It is good and bad. You have less time for playing music. But I did it from the beginning since I was the only one who knew some things about the music business.

 Have you ever been the manager for other bands?

\[Markus] Yes. I also had a publishing and a record company. I was the manager for fifteen bands in the middle of the 90s until 2000. But I do not want to it anymore; it is too much work.

\[Matthias] Yeah, it is too much for him especially now with his two children. And this is a new life style!

 The change of life style was the reason for CREMATORY to stop existing?

\[Markus] (without thinking) No. We existed since 1991 and at the end of the 90s and the beginning of 2000 there were financial problems. We were living by the music and by that time the illegal downloading hit us hard. At that time we were selling 30% less. Actually now we are selling 50% less and it is not just CREMATORY; many bands have the same problems.

\[Matthias] I think that all this downloading and myspace stuff are good for all the new bands. They can promote themselves without cost but for the professional bands it is a big problem.

 This means that you cannot make money by playing music.

\[Markus] No, not really.

\[Matthias] No, we all have regular jobs to make a living.

\[Markus] Now we have CREMATORY as a professional hobby. We play live only in weekends and continue our 'normal' lives. When you don't have money to pay the rent then you have to think how to move on. And this was the reason why we were thinking of quitting CREMATORY.

 Was it hard to think yourself out of CREMATORY?

\[Matthias] It was really hard to sit and do nothing!

\[Markus] Yeah, indeed. But the hardest part was when we played the last show in Wacken. We could see the fans in the front lines with tears in their eyes. It was really hard. It was a decision that came from our mind and not our heart.

\[Matthias] We had to think of our lives because the band was not everything. It was for some time but as you grow up things change. But there was not stress between us and we were still in touch.

 Actually you have a pretty solid lineup all these years. Is there a golden recipe for this?

\[Markus] When you organize everything -as the manager- the way that everyone can say I can live with this then it is ok. Then you get the family feeling and I think this is the golden recipe.

\[Matthias] When Markus wants something to be done he asks first. He is not the typical manager.

\[Markus] When I say something as the manager I have also to follow it so I have to be careful! (laughs)

 This is a little bit schizophrenic. Well, what can we expect from CREMATORY? The new album will be released this year?

\[Markus] No. We will be in the studio for at least four weeks to write the new songs. Then we have to look for a new record contract…

 Are you searching for new record deal?

\[Markus] Yep, the one with Massacre Records has finished and we also have a new proposition from Nuclear Blast. You see with Pray we sold more albums than the previous and the record companies know that. So, we have a lot of propositions. We will see what is best for us. Apart from that we want to work on the new album and the Gothic Thrash sound. I believe we can have it ready on January or February of the next year.

 Ok, guys thank you very much for your time it was really a pleasure.

\[Matthias] You did not use your question man! \[points at my notes]

Yeah it was such a friendly discussion. You can say anything to close this interview.

\[Matthias] Yia mas! \[in Greek means cheers]

\[Markus] We hope that we will get the same support from the Greek fans like we did in the past. Greece is an amazing country and this is why we are here again. We hope that we will have a good time tonight!


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