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Space Chaser's Leo Schacht: "When being annihilated, it obviously has to be by an enormously advanced alien civilization - or creepy creatures…"

Interview with Leo Schacht from Space Chaser
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 18 August 2021, 10:24 PM

The worlds beyond our system, the stars near our planet, the future and what it holds, are there life out there in the outers of space? Perhaps an empire that might be willing to pay us a visit and decide that we are worthy for conquest, or rather being allies? Sci-Fi has been full of predictions and assumptions, expectations and warnings. However, no one really knows or rather this form of knowledge is not open for the public to comprehend. The Thrash Metal marauders, Space Chaser, newly signed to Metal Blade Records, release “Give Us Life”, an imagery of the end of humanity and the life afterwards. Steinmetal talked with Leo Schacht, founder of the band, about the new record, aliens, the band's form of Thrash Metal and more…

Hello Leo it is a mighty great pleasure to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Hey dude! Thank you for having me - I had a great time in the last months releasing our new record, so exciting! It has been a great journey so far and I can honestly say, I am feeling great!

In today’s flowing market of album releases, which on a monthly basis is surely outstanding, you took your time in order to come up with the best that you possibly can, with quality being your chief guide. I would like to ask for your opinion in light of your trait, do you feel that there is a kind of rush going on nowadays for bands to release new material?

Yeah there are so many great bands around, releasing new music nearly every day! It's a tough business for sure and as a band, you probably have no other chance than writing the best music you can and unleash it onto the world. Normally there is a lot of pressure to release a new album every 2 years, yes.

The last five years appeared to be fruitful for you guys, as you released your third album, “Give Us Life”. I can only assume that your hard work paid off with your signing to Metal Blade Records, after for years being in the underground. How did this signing come to pass? What led to it exactly? How do you feel about it?

Oh yeah, the relationship with Metal Blade Records is really good. We had some first contact in June 2020 when a good friend of us, Kristin, forwarded a 4 song demo to Bart (Metal Blade Records) and then we had some good talks, in the end it worked out and we got a deal. What an opportunity. Very grateful to be companied with such a legendary Label.

Space Chaser has always been Sci-Fi fanatics, at least from what I could judge from your previous albums, along with “Give Us Life”. I wonder, that fear of being annihilated by something bigger and stronger than us, does that frighten you really? What makes this fear stronger than things happening in the world and the future potentials for inner world wars?

Well fear? Yeah of course haha, but it's probably more the fascination. Well the lyrics that Siggi writes deal with as good as all dark topics from the field of science fiction -  that’s totally his thing. I love it. Matze is also an astrophysics nerd, he came up with the idea of using a Carl Sagan Quote in "Dark Descent“.

But to speak about annihilation of humankind: When being annihilated, it obviously has to be by an enormously advanced alien civilization -  or creepy creatures like on the "Dead Sun Rising“ album cover haha.

“Give Us Life” is yet another collection of Sci-Fi stories that appeared to me as survival based, but not only, it serves the intrigue of what could happen next millennia, or perhaps even in the next decade. It is like a game of expecting the unexpected, you can never really know. In light of the record, I wonder what your gut tells you about the future? Any presumptions?

Siggis lyrics deal with stories with a lot of horror/dark sci-fi elements, based on movies, series, comics, scientific theories and so on.  There are a lot of ways how the future can shape for us (Humanity). But the rise of technology will be of course proceeding and gain more and more control of our everyday lives probably. As of today, we already see that there are always two sides of a coin (enhanced communication, digital services improving lives on different levels vs stress by being online all the time, possible digital dictatorships and so on…). There are many ways where this could lead.

We talked about fiction and the future, however, what are the connecting dots between “Give Us Life” and our current state of affairs, our reality, our present? Where do you stop drawing a line between fiction and reality?

Probably the ongoing rise of digital technology all over the world and the danger how it can be used for bad purposes… Pretty hard to draw a line sometimes, because you never know what global corporations have developed and not published yet haha? But I guess a Dyson Sphere is pure fiction, definitely when it's about our solar system haha!

With an outlook to the future, what “Give Us Life” tells about the fate of mankind in the far future? Personally, do you think that it would destroy itself even before it will reach the timeframes that you talk about on the record? Yes, I know that you are fictional but your perspective would be an amazing contribution

Look at the Kardashev scale: In our current state, we haven’t even reached Type 1 (using our planets energy efficiently without destroying it!). Maybe we will be a Type-1-Civilization in the year 2200? Maybe. I really hope so haha! With the challenges we will face in the next 100 years and more there is a lot of work to do. Type 2 is a some more centuries away, probably millennia. But I guess the chances are pretty high that we annihilate ourselves with atomic weapons before even reaching Type 1.

The artwork, which was made by Mario López, sure represents a view into the 80s, almost a Terminator driven picture, past and future can be horrific and ugly. What was the vision behind this artwork?

We worked with Mario already for our Split EP in 2018 with Distillator, he is a great artist. As we shaped our sound with more death metal elements and stuff like that, we also aimed for a dark dystopian artwork. The artwork of „Give Us Life“ leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but we implemented the robots from our Split EP again, humanity is wiped out (tree of corpses on the left…) ancient alien city in the background as well as a Dyson Sphere. Dark Future ahead haha!

Space Chaser is one of the few Thrash Metal bands in Germany that doesn’t really sound German, and that is something, there aren’t too many like that in the let’s call it revival stage of Thrash Metal. “Give Us Life” is like sailing between the decades, driving from coast to coast in the US. Nonetheless, the music is intelligent, nearly immaculate and in the same breath, crushing. Would you say that this record turned out to be a giant step forward for you musically?

Oh yeah we really pushed ourselves to the max with this one. We took the entire summer 2020 for writing this, with some last minute changes where being made in the studio, mostly vocals. We totally adore US Thrash and it was always our purpose to not sound like typical „Teutonic Thrash“.

Rarely do bands tend to plan how their songs are going to sound like, as openness, even within the spectrum of the genre, is important. What kind of influences were rooted in your veins while “Give Us Life” was in the making?

On the one hand, definitely the classic Thrash Sound that we already praised in the last 10 years - and on the other hand some death metal elements and some hardcore stuff. But it was mainly the death metal parts that we loved to bring in - classic Florida style stuff!

Did “Give Us Life” change your approach on how to form a song and your approach to Thrash Metal in overall?

Writing songs was sometimes easy - especially when you have a good flow and Matze and me are jamming and everything kind of falls into place. But some songs are just taking time. „Burn them all“ for example. The first version of this song was so different, we really had problems to bring this one to an end.  But you know, after trying out different riffs and shifting parts to another places with the song, it all worked out. But it was an intense process and I am glad that we kept it going!

After working on “Give Us Life”, would you say that you implemented into the songwriting lessons of the past? Perhaps elements that you wanted to become different on the record in contrast to the earlier material?

Matze and me always lay the instrumental foundation to the songs. A working habit that already worked pretty well on „Dead Sun Rising“. As I said, we showed our love to our old school death metal heroes, that was intentional and yeah, it's a nice contrast to our earlier material. We really pushed the classic heavy metal influences that you can hear on some songs of our previous record, into the background and brought more death metal riffing in!

What aspect, or aspects, of the music on the album that you felt that this, or these, are going to drive the album forward, make it beyond expectations?

We really found our sound and the songs are the best stuff that we wrote so far.

Were there stop signs in your way while “Give Us Life” was in process due to the pandemic, or you held your ground and were able to finish the work on the album in peace? If not, how did you overcome those obstacles and triumphed?

Well, of course there were some obstacles, but I wouldn’t call these stop signs. Of course we could only meet in groups of two in the rehearsal room and had to be careful in winter when recording the songs. But all these circumstances couldn’t stop us.

One of the album’s killer tracks is the slaughtering mania of “The Immortals”, sharing bumps and bruises of both Thrash and Death Metal, a real piece of scorcher of a track with amazing energies. How do you find this tune? What can you tell about its creation?

Yeah that’s a good example of how we mixed thrash and death metal in one song! I really like it! Siggi wrote the lyrics about a Type 3 civilization haha. We also had some struggles how to end the song, but after some rehearsals we found the arrangement you hear on the record. Definitely one of our best songs, yes!

The last track of the album, “Dark Descent” maintains a vibe that is not far from the previous mentioned track, nonetheless, it is the album’s most articulate tune, even if it shares a selection of influences and approaches, making it versatile. In your opinion, is this to be considered the oddity of the record? With a view forward, is this where the band is going on its next material?

I totally love how we mixed everything in this 6 minutes lasting track. My vision was to end the album with an epic outro and we achieved it. Also, the lyrics were originally on a totally different demo track, but they also fitted perfectly on this one, so we didn’t hesitate to use them haha.  This track totally shows the direction we are heading to yes. The whole album in general, I really like it

With 2021 appearing to be quite a surprising, and confusing year, for the live scene, as it is still not really certain what will eventually happen, do you plan on performing this year?

It's strange yeah, but this pandemic must not break our will or kill our motivation to hope for better days. We have two shows planned in September with one being our release concert with Schizophrenia from Belgium and Ambush from Sweden. It will be a great night I think!

Leo, many thanks for your time and effort on this interview, you created an interesting release that is not only rip and tear but it makes you think. I enjoyed it very much. All the best and cheers

Thank you very much dude! So cool, that you enjoy our music, it means a lot to us! See you on the road hopefully soon! Stay safe.



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