Archive for Oceanid

Interview with Stefan Keller [Neaera]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , on 25th March 2013 by Freya

With the release Ours Is The Storm through Metal Blade earlier this month, which is Teutonic metal outfit Neaera’s sixth studio album, Freya Cherlet grabs hold of the band’s guitarist Stefan for a chat about all things Neaera and more.

Freya: What gave you the inspiration for your new album? Or people who inspire them?

Stefan: I think it is always the same thing that inspires you. To me it really doesn’t matter which record it is, I think the motivation and inspiration is always the same more or less. The question simply is, why are you a musician? I am playing guitar and writing music and lyrics because I use it as an extension of my soul – and that’s pretty much it! There is input and then there is output. We have a strong desire for output and that’s why we are putting out records quite frequently. To me this is the best part about playing in a band. To see it grow and evolve and being put together until finally a little, insignificant piece of art or expression has been put out into the world.

Freya: How does the song writing process go for the band?

Stefan: After the first record we decided to work together in a group of three, that is our drummer Sebastian and the other guitar player Tobias. Tobias and I create riffs and melodies at home, mostly without making songs of it. Then we present our ideas to the other two and write a song together. After we’re done with a few songs, we show them to the others and play them together. The lyrics are mainly written by myself as well as by our bass player Benjamin.

Freya: Are there any bands or artists you’d like to work with or go on tour with?

Stefan: I have been dreaming of a German US tour with Rammstein, Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban and us. I fear that will never happen though…

Freya: How does the rest of 2013 look for you?

Stefan: Well, we have been confirmed for a large number of great festivals, including Summer Breeze and Wacken, two of the most brilliant festivals in Germany. Apart from that we will do something special for our tenth anniversary in summer and will also play a tour again in Autumn. Maybe some songwriting as well.

Freya: Neaera is the name of multiple figures in Greek mythology, including an Oceanid and one of the Niobids. Why did you pick this to be the band’s name?

Stefan: I have never heard any of these names, to be quite frank. We found the name in John Milton’s book Paradise Lost. Neaera has been sexually enslaved and later in life freed herself from this burden by using courage and wit. It is a metaphor for oppression and freedom, which can be found in multiple ways and forms and variations on our planet everyday and everywhere… but often without the happy end.

Freya: Which is your favourite album out of the six albums have released so far?

Stefan: They all have something particular. I like to think back to the recording process of our first new records. Everything was so goddamn exciting and new! Today we have gained some more routine and professionalism – the flipside is that it is not that exciting anymore, I must admit. I pick our latest record because it really is our most focused, mature and most versatile effort.

Freya: Which do you enjoy more: Being in the studio or being on tour?

Stefan: We are not really a studio band. I, for my part, love trying out things and leaving the studio with something unplanned or unexpected, a solo or melody or something. But our singer Benjamin and Tobias don’t like studio work and wanna leave as soon as possible. I think we are more tour band, yeah.

Freya: If you weren’t in Neaera, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

Stefan: I have studied to be an English and Educational Science teacher during the band’s career and I have also just finished a two-year teacher training for high school. This was very time-consuming and led the fact that I had to be replaced by a very nice (though ugly) but unfortunately way better guitar student. So the answer is: I would teach kids. But of course, I will always write and play and listen to metal music.

Freya: What hobbies do have away from music?

Stefan: Well, I have been a hobby photographer since my early youth. I also like to swim and go the gym. I also go to classical symphony concerts and the theatre a lot. Does drinking count as a hobby?

Freya: How would you describe your fans? And what do they mean to you?

Stefan: Our fans are very committed and faithful. On the show in Munich a fan called Jochen brought us a cake which had our new album cover on it. He said it was his 63rd Neaera show. I think this is unbelievably great. We have gathered some very cool fans over the years who seem very interested in what we do and how we do it. That’s just fantastic! We are smart enough to know that it is these people who keep us as a band alive and active.

Freya: Anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Stefan: Finally, I wanna say thanks to everyone at Valkyrian Music who bought (or downloaded) our new record. We really hope we didn’t disappoint your expectations. We have become very god friends with Southampton-based metalcore powerhouse Bury Tomorrow and I hope we’ll tour the UK with them sometime soon.

Ours Is The Storm is now available via Metal Blade Records.

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