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Ruediger (Clusterhead)

Interview with Ruediger from Clusterhead
by Grigoris Chronis at 18 September 2008, 7:33 PM

CLUSTERHEAD's first full-length CD, Time Of No Trust is a notable piece of how you can combine all the 'goodies' from Hard Rock and Metal music in some solid result worth your interest. Drummer Ruediger explains us why we should take into consideration this ambitious German quartet.

Hi Ruediger, thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview!

Thank you too, it's a big pleasure for us.

First of all, Times Of No Trust is the band's first full-length album. Still, it seems the band has already released three EPs in three years (2005, 2006, 2007)! Why didn't you release a 'full' CD from the start? Are these EP's promotional only?

Of course. The first 3 EPs were only for promotion. These EPs contained only 5 or 6 songs. They were recorded by the old lineup with another singer and drummer. The reason was that it takes not so much time to make an EP and to apply it for festivals and labels.

Did you include any - or all - songs from your EP's in Times Of No Trust?

We discussed a lot about this to take a few old songs and work them out again, but finally we decided to do only new song ideas because the old songs don't reflect the actual sound of CLUSTERHEAD. So only Prediction Of A Fight is finally an old idea with the actual CLUSTERHEAD sound.

To the new album itself: I was happy to see the band is not heading in one single path. You took elements from 'classic' Hard Rock, 'classic' European Metal, you have enriched your sound with some 'fresh' elements and - to cut a long story short - your album is rather interesting. How did you choose to follow this specific style? Or was it something that naturally happened when you started jamming in your early days?

We do not follow any specific style! We think it's a natural thing because we all have so many different influences and favorite bands in music. From SLAYER to KISS, from Thrash Metal to the ballads all styles of Rock music are involved in what we do.

Do you think a band should focus so much on the kind of music they should play or it's OK as long as it's coming straight from the heart?

We think Metal and Rock music should always come straight from the heart, because it's the best way to put out any feelings and cry out any grievance. We always tried to put the music together with the lyrics and the lyrics come always straight from our hearts. To sing about a whole world is the easiest way to write lyrics. We think music is a good tool to cry out problems.

Being Germans yourselves, you think your music sounds 'German' in general? Fans of which bands should pay attention to CLUSTERHEAD, you think?

Oh, wow, we never thought about this. Many people told us that we've got our own sound, we think people who like Rock and Metal will find something on this album.  

Out of curiosity, what does 'CLUSTERHEAD' mean anyway?

'CLUSTERHEAD' doesn't really mean anything particular. It was the idea from our bassman Andy, because this word only sounds good and powerful. So we decided to keep it up when the new lineup was born.

Ruediger, I confess the CDs cover artwork was somehow mystique, in order to reveal what's inside. I was expecting some kind of Euro Power/Prog music and I did eventually get much more. Who's idea was the cover anyway? Does the specific hour (11:55) relate to 'something' in the album?

Well, the idea for the cover artwork was born by Frank. He's the man who brings all influences together. The time on the clock means that there are so many problems where we are near to the end. Problems with wars, relationship, environmental pollution, mental disorders caused by the pace of life etc. That was finally the reason why we chosed this style and the theme of the clock.  

And what about the title? It may be true in most cases, but I'm afraid it is a little bit depressing. Does the title - and the lyrics of the songs - have to do with personal stories or social beliefs or something like that anyway? Do you focus much on the lyrics' writing?

Everyone of us has gone through hard times in his life and can project any feelings in one of our songs. We don't think it's too depressive, we just tried to describe what many people on this world have to go through day by day and what can happen to all of us if we don't look beyond one's own nose. We tried to see it trough the eyes of the victims who are caught in these situations. To be involved in these problems is surely much harder than to watch it from a safer difference.

How do you deal with the songwriting? Do you all participate in the writing? Do you reject ideas usually? Did you have something specific in mind for Times Of No Trust? Do you 'hear' the Hard/Heavy fans' wants today in music?

Basically, we all do the songwriting together. In the beginning there is an idea for a song, a guitar riff or a 'hook' line or a beat, when we think it's a good one we work it out. For example Frank comes into the reahearsal room and got an idea for a song. He always is recording the guitar completely and we try to sing something to his guitar work. When it sounds good we work the song out completely. When Rene, Andy and Ruediger have a song idea it's mostly centered around a vocal line to which we then add the instruments. We wrote about 16 songs for Times Of NO Trust in many different ways and finally 11 songs had the power and the quality for the album.

You recently shot a video for Made Of Stone. Why did you pick this specific song?

We think it's a straight powerful song with a real big groove. Many people told us it's the best song on the album. So we decided to make it. At the moment we working on our 2nd video, Ghosts. The first takes are filmed and we think it will be ready at the end of September. Links for watching will be set on our websites.

I think you recorded your CD in your own studio. Whose one is it? Was it a matter of budget or you - anyway - wanted to handle your own work yourselves?

Well, everyone of us got his own equipment. So the studio is owned by all four of us. Sure we all put a lot of money into this, but finally we got the time to arrange, record, produce and mix everything whenever we want, cause we don't have to pay any rent for music studios. That's a big edge when you can work without this pressure, so finally it's of course a matter of the budget.

To set things clear, do you have some kind of contract with Music  Buy Mail? I don't think it's a label contract, is it? If not, are you in search of a record deal? Any offers yet?

We got a distribution deal with MBM. For the beginning we thought it's enough to sign a distribution deal because the CD was already produced, mixed and mastered, the cover artwork was ready so all we needed was someone who tells the people that we exist. And that's what is done now by MBM and by the way, they do a GREAT job!

How's the distribution for the new album? Will it reach lots of areas worldwide? Do you have any feedback yet, from fans and the Media?

We got a lot of real good feedback from all over the world and we would like to thank all these people and magazines for this. Basically you can buy it everywhere or order it. At the moment reviews come in daily and it's pretty cool to read the different opinions from all around the planet. We always try to reach as many areas as possible.

Many people say it's not enough until you see a band playing live. Do you feel also the epitome of a band's music is when it's played onstage? What's your experience in this factor? I read you opened for US metallers CAGE in South Germany recently. How was it?

The gig with CAGE was great. It was a great honour for us to open for these guys and we think one day we will do it again in Germany.  We think for a Metal band the stage is very important, we all are looking forward for life shows and it's surely true, that a Metal band has got to show its sound on stage, it's the best way to promote yourself!

Have you lined up dates for summer gigs/fests? What's the reaction so far?

Well, we are planning gigs for autumn this year, some already have been confirmed and surely we will apply for as many summer festivals in and outside Germany as possible. Check our sites regularly and you surely will find some cool gig dates soon!

Ruediger, are you - as a drummer, but also as a band - fond of the help of digital technology in recording music? How much of help do you think technology provides? On the other hand, maybe this 'digital'/PC help does omit something of the 'rocking' feel of a Rock/Metal band?

It's surely true that digital technology omits always something. On stage we never would take any help from these things, but in the studio it's easier to record a good sound with the help of theses tools. I've always been recording my drums with a drum-sound. It's a good thing to mix the drum-sound in that way the character of the song needs it. It's very difficult to record a good analog drum-sound in a studio like ours. You need the right room, the right microphones etc. We record all of our songs in our rehearsal room.

We tried as we started the recording of Times Of No Trust to work with an analog drumset, but the sound difference to my drum set was to clear so the  decision to work with my ddrum-set was not really a hard one.

Things are really tough, I think, in music business these days. Tons of bands, tons of labels/managers, reduced CD sales…your prediction - in general - for Hard/Heavy music's future? You think fans hold the future in their hands, by supporting more their beloved bands (reduce downloading, start buying more CDs again, going to more gigs etc)? Or the bands, too, should focus more on some more impressive songwriting?

We think the fans hold always the future in their hands. It's a time of rethinking. It's always been light and shadow. We think when somebody wants to have the album and is a real fan, he will buy it. Of course the tons of downloads in the past have done a lot of damage to the labels and bands. But we can't stop this completely. We think it's better to think about how we can make legal downloads and CD sales a little bit more interesting for the fans, than to grouch about what's been in the past.

Ruediger, thanks a lot for your spare time. Anything you'd like to add? Form our behalf, we wish all the best for CLUSTERHEAD in the future!

We thank all people around the planet who are helping us in anyway to make our dreams come true. God bless you and we hope to see you on stage soon.


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