THE DEMO CORNER
Austria has been quietly producing metal bands with regularity, and certainly, having a record label like Napalm Records operate within the country is a big help. So, it should come as no surprise that the label looks within the country to find one of their latest signings in Kontrust. A band with an unusual name, their music is the definition of “crossover.” Thanks to their notoriety on YouTube, they have gained a fair following, and it didn’t take long for Napalm Records to sign them in time for the release of their latest album Second Hand Wonderland. Recently, Metal Psalter talked to vocalist Stefan Lichtenberger to talk about Kontrust and their long, strange journey.
Peter: For those unfamiliar with Kontrust, would you mind giving a brief history of the band?
Stefan: The band originally formed in 2001, released two EPs, and finally in 2005 after a massive line-up change, when Gregor (bass) and Agata (vox) joined in, our first Longplayer We!come Home and the single "Phono Sapiens" in that same year. That’s how it all started. We were a six-piece that started to rip up clubs and festivals and just wanted to be heard. We played many great shows and finally in 2009, we put out a new album Time to Tango and then “Bomba” happened. Something totally unexpected, something we didn't expect at all. It was our first big breakthrough, which included top-chart positions in the Netherlands. Then later in 2010, we received the AMADEUS Music Award in our home country of Austria. The release became a popular hit on the internet and received massive airplay on TV and radio. With all this strong feedback from the international music press and a constant growing international fan base, things were going really well. In 2011 we added our 7th member Mike (guitar) to the band. Lots and lots of touring and then Poland happened with our biggest show ever at the Prystanek Woodstock festival in front of over 300,000 crazy fans. Now, our new album Second Hand Wonderland is finally finished and released.
Peter: What are some of your influences?
Stefan: The styles and bands we listen to range from Sepultura to Depeche Mode, from Iron maiden to Bob Marley, and so on. There are also all kinds of musical styles from rock to jazz to electronic music, as well as experimental forms.
Peter: Recently, Kontrust signed with Napalm Records. How did that deal come about and why choose them over the other labels?
Stefan: It’s a great match! They like what we do and we like how they work with us. It was a great match from the beginning and it’s been working really well. I guess it was the right point in time, as well. We were looking for a supportive (a hard task) institution and they were looking for something new and fresh to take on board.
Peter: In accordance with the new label comes a new album in Second Hand Wonderland. What are some of the things you can say about it from a production and recording point of view?
Stefan: It was quite an experience. We nearly spent a year working on that album. We jam, we record, we re-write and so on, writing nearly 100 tracks and breaking it down to the final 12. We enjoy working with other songwriters as well in order to get a different approach. Working with so much passion, love, frustration and aggression all put into the music we do, we try many different approaches when it comes to writing the songs and leave all the musical barriers behind. When it came to the process of recording, we went up to Horus Sound in Hanover, Germany, where we actually recorded on a big analogue ADT console and tons of outboard equipment. Old mics, new gear, long forgotten amps, and synths...We did most of the recordings there, except for the ones (especially the bonus tracks) we did at melonFM in Vienna, Austria. We did the mixing in Germany and the mastering at LaSource in France. We were busy, busy, busy...
Peter: Who did the cover art for the album and how does it fit the music?
Stefan: The artwork was done by Florian Knogler and resembles a little glimpse of the wonderland we created on this album, colorful, crazy, and sometimes even dark. Yet, everybody can create their own wonderland.
Peter: To date, Kontrust has done two music videos for Second Hand Wonderland in “Sock ‘n’ Doll” and “The Butterfly Defect,” with the latter being a live video. First, how did the shoot for “Sock ‘n’ Doll” happen?
Stefan: We’ve had the idea for several years, but never the song to use it for. “Sock ’n’ Doll” just referrers to that inner madness of wanting to let go, like in a club when you’re out and partying, just a little crazier.
Peter: Where was the video for “The Butterfly Defect” shot and is there any special reason for shooting at the chosen show?
Stefan: Well, there was a good reason. We played Poland with our biggest show ever at the Prystanek Woodstock festival in front of over 300,000 crazy Kontrust fans.
Peter: Are there any other songs from the album that could have videos made for them?
Stefan: Oh yes, there will be a couple more to come, but I can’t tell you which song it’ll be; that would spoil the surprise.
Peter: Are there any shows planned in the near future?
Stefan: Well, we just wrapped up our club tour through Europe. Now, it’s a lot of festivals all over Europe. Festival season is always fun.
Peter: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Stefan: First of all, thank you for the interview. We know that the South and the Southwest regions of the United States really support harder rock music, so please keep that spirit alive!
Kontrust's Stefan Lichtenberger
June 28, 2012
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Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Experimental /
Agata Jarosz: Vocals
Stefan Lichtenberger: Vocals
Mike Wolf: Guitar
Robert Ehgartner: Guitar
Gregor Kutschera: Bass
Manuel Haglmüller: Percussion
Roman Gaisböck: Drums
Teamspirit 55 EP (2001)
Make Me Blind EP (2003)
We!come Home (2005)
Time To Tango (2009)
Second Hand Wonderland (2012)