Released in August, ‘Void Estate’ proved to be a mesmerizing and melancholy journey from German band End of Green (check out our detailed review here). The album stands as one of the finest releases of 2017, a dark-hearted journey that somehow pervades the senses, and we were lucky enough to secure a short Q&A with Sad Sir, the band’s eloquent guitarist. Focusing on the writing of the album, we discussed the importance of flow, the evocative artwork and the nature of the band’s evolution. Read on and embrace End of Green.
This is your ninth album, I think. How do you feel the band has evolved musically in that time?
Naturally, I hope (laughs). We’ve always written songs about what’s happening in our lives or the lives of those around us. So there’s never been a significant change to that. We just got a little older, not necessarily wiser. I guess [that] we also found ourselves some freedom musically. I always think it’s strange when people complain about the fact that End of Green doesn’t sound like it used to 15 years ago. I can’t get behind that, seriously. VOID ESTATE would not have “happened” without INFINITY or any other record we’ve done after that. And there is no need to copy any of those fine records.
‘Void estate’ is an album that incorporates a lot of influences. How do you start the writing process for such a record, do you write songs and then place them together for the album or do you start with ideas for lyrics and atmosphere?
Music comes first. There’s a fine melody, some chords – and Michelle came up with a lot it. So we just work on that and see if it makes a song we all like. It really is that kind of simple. Sometimes there are some lyrics from the beginning, sometimes not. Usually we write songs and hope that they make sense; I mean, that make sense to put them together on a record. That they somehow roll with each other. If they do: the record takes shape.
Songs like ‘head down’ and ‘crossroads’ seem to have a kind of desolate, almost country vibe – is that something you were aiming for, or is that more something that comes from the atmosphere you were trying to create with the lyrics?
We recorded the songs in Michelle’s Home studio, so this was a very comfortable environment for us, since we kind of grew up in that house, too. But, I might add that ‘Crossroads’ is a cover song written by Calvin Russell – and this one’s definitely very “country”. “Head down” was written before our Acoustic Tour, that might well explain the laid-back, storytelling vibe.
How long did it take to write and record the album? Were there any challenges related to the recording process?
Seriously: I can’t tell. I guess some stuff was originally written two years ago, but took some time to shape up as songs. The recording was indeed a challenge for us. For the first time we did not work with a producer. VOID ESTATE was produced by Michelle in his home studio – like I mentioned before: a very comfortable place for all of us. We just had to make sure that we did not work on these songs for ever-ever-ever, since we were on no deadline and had no studio time pressuring us.
Listening to ‘void estate’, it’s an album that works best (I think) when listened to as a complete piece – how long did you spend working to sequence the tracks so that there would be a clear flow?
I think you’re perfectly right. We were talking about creating a real flow, but we’ve always done that. But it’s really hard when you’re trying to have a professional look on your own songs … I guess we’re too close to judge. With VOID ESTATE it really shaped up in a way that makes sense. I’m still kind of proud (laughs).
Is there any particular music, art or literature that has informed the development of the band?
Each one of us has a very different taste in art, literature and especially in music. We’re probably not able to find more than ten bands we all agree on. But that’s the fun part: each one of us is bringing personal influences to the table. I mean, we’re friends: if one of my friends recommends a record, a movie, a book or whatever I will always check it out.
Have your lyrics always been in English or has there ever been a temptation to write / sing in German? Are there any ideas that don’t translate well from one language to the other?
I’m probably romancing here, but I think English is the best language for rock music, especially since we’re cursed with a regional German accent that is widely known as being somehow funny in Germany (laughs). Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great bands singing in German, but we never thought about it.
Do you have any touring plans for the album? Can we expect any UK shows?
Unfortunately in 25 years we haven’t been invited to come to the UK. So if you know any promoters, please let them know, we’re fine folks and no big trouble at all (laughs).
Who developed the art for the record? Are the band, in general, interested in the physical presentation of the album and how involved are you in developing that side of things?
Our guitar player, Kerker, is responsible for everything happening in the “art” department. It’s great to have a member in the band that is able to translate music to visual art. Everything you see on that record was done by Kerker with the rest of us saying a lot of stupid things, since we’re not really good in translating a certain mood without instruments.
Any final words for your UK fans?
Thanks for having us. Really. We don’t take it for granted that people show interest in our music. And please ask your local promoters to invite us to the UK. Let’s have a couple of Ciders and some songs.