In Extremo interview: This interview was conducted w/ Micha in December of 2003 I think... More info on that later... Many thanx to In Extremo, though, this is a great interview done by Joe! Thanx Joe! :) 4/04
DML: What made you go from medieval albums like "Gold" and "Hameln" to more medieval metal albums like "7" and "SŁnde ohne ZŁgel"?
IE: "Hameln" and "Gold" are two acoustic albums; this is the roots of In Extremo. Before we played on the rock stage we played on the new age market. Thatís a long time. You gotta go back further. Before this time, in the 80s, I made rock/punk music. When the wall broke, everyone asked themselves "ok, what are we going to do now?" I didnít have a job anymore; I had worked as a waiter. At some point I met all the medieval people. I formed my own band, and at some point I thought this would be the perfect music to rock out.
DML: How do you acquire enough languages to be able to sing them?
IE: I learn it by heart, but I know what each word means. Otherwise I wouldnít do it. I want to know what I sing. Of course that belongs to the middle ages, old languages. A minstrel in the middle ages brought news. They went to France, and Italy, and Spain, and everywhere. And they brought the news from everywhere. They also did blah blah blah and couldnít do anything else sometimes, but it was just important to survive, and to get stories from the world. Also, many languages, itís a tradition and we want to preserve it. Itís important to us.
DML: What are your main instruments?
IE: I play bagpipe, I sing in In Extremo, I play strings. The, sistar, the predecessor of the lute.
DML: Did you record the show on October 12th in Berlin for just yourselves or will it eventually come to the fans?
IE: We will see. We have to examine the material. We havenít examined it yet. The drummer examined it and though the sound wasnít good. But, sound isnít a problem; you can work on it later. We made it also for ourselves. Weíll see what comes from it. Of course thereís the thought of releasing a DVD later with lots of material.
DML: The last DVD, the one you just came out with, Live 2002, is very good!
IE: Yeah, well, not really. The sound is not so good!
DML: Well, for us!
IE: Yeah, we played with Korn together in this. In the DVD you see Jonathan Davis from Korn and they said "We are fans". Heís a fan of In Extremo!
DML: He plays the bagpipes too.
IE: We played at Rock am Ring for a few years with Korn with the same backstage. We played the bagpipes while spinning and when we came back Jonathan Davis said "What is this, what is this?"
DML: How did you make the name "In Extremo", what should it mean?
IE: "In Extremo" means "in the end", "in completion", well finally, itís here! Itís Latin, I read it in a book and woke up in the morning and it was still in my head so I thought that must be it.
DML: Where do you find the medieval songs that you sing?
IE: Hard question! I played on the medieval markets for 12 years. You get a big library in your head. You hear songs from Ireland, from Scotland; you hear songs from who knows where. Today thereís the internet, but thatís not really my thing. Iíd rather go into the library, 3-4 hours, sometimes a whole day. Itís fun. I think the women know me already where I go. Itís a lot of work. More work than writing a new song.
DML: And then you have to understand it.
IE: I mean, Ave Maria, the lyrics are 20 pages. Essentially to sum it up, you have to translate it, and then translate it back. Itís work but itís fun.
DML: A question about track number 9 on the Gold album. On the CD case, itís listed as "Lelap/Como Poden" and on the official site, it says "Lelbap/Como Poden". Which is correct?
IE: Uh . . .
IE: This song, itís like a joke. "Lulap" . . ."Lulbap" . . . is "Ai vis Lo Lop". And "Como Poden" is a song from really old Spain, the language from the really old Spain. All medieval bands play these songs. We made a joke of making these together. This is like a joke. Not like, this IS a joke.
DML: In the short time that Iíve been here, it has occurred to me that there are many successful pop and rap bands. How to you rate the German music scene?
IE: The German music scene . . . Thereís a really good music scene in the rock-area. Many creative young people too. From Pop for example thereís the band Raymond. Pop, but I like them, they make hand-made pop. But you surely mean these casting shows.
DML: Yeah, like "Deutschland such den Superstar" (The German version of American Idol)!
IE: Iím ashamed to turn on the TV. Not just in Germany. I think itís a crime against children. But thatís money and money is filth.
DML: Where do you see In Extremo in 5 years?
IE: I donít know. No idea. We will keep working and weíll see what happens.
IE: We played in America too. It was nice. Once in Los Angeles. Really nice concert.
DML: You need to come back!
IE: Maybe sometime. I have a problem with the last years. We had a chance to play in the US. I say, when you have another president, then Iíll come to play. I mean this.
DML: Not a fan of Bush? Itís ok, me neither . . .
IE: Ok, then go kill him!
IE: No . . . the people canít do anything about it either. I know they donít know whoís governing. It just doesnít matter. Just like here and everywhere. But at the moment, we just made an album so weíll see. America is a hard market.
DML: Speaking of the new album, Iíd like to know a little more about the background of the song "Mein Kind". You said somewhere once somewhere that it was based on a personal experience. It itís too personal, we donít have to talk about it.
IE: Itís very personal and I donít want to say anything more. It was my own child.
DML: All right!
DML: Do you have preferences on what languages you use other than German or do you just use what sounds good?
IE: Whatís easiest for me. So, English, ok thatís another topic. Icelandic is almost German! Or Nordic . . . Swedish, Norwegian, Danish . . . There are many German words in them; dialects. For example, you couldnít understand my grandmotherís dialect when she spoke it.
DML: But when you write it down . . .
IE: Yeah, right. So, I like that too. We could also sing in English.
DML: Like "This Corrosion"?
IE: Yeah, we did that and that was ok, that was fun. Of course we wanted to do a cover version. We thought about it, we put a pot in the middle, and everyone threw in their favorite songs, and we stirred it up. Thatís what came out. I wanted AC/DC. "Itís a long way . . . to the top . . ." or whatever. Or Depeche Mode, you could put bagpipes in.
DML: Are you going to use other languages that you havenít used already? Like Russian or Japanese or something?
IE: Yeah!! Russian is really hard. I learned Russian in school instead of English. We are from East Germany. Russian is hard. Chinese or Japanese . . . pfff . . . you just canít even start with that. You guys probably canít either.
DML: What do you think of lossy audio distribution over the internet, like MP3s or bootleg videos?
IE: Yeah, thatís a hard question. I can understand that people who burn it because they donít have any money. I think itís shitty. But, the kids, I mean, look at the TV. They feed the kids with "Yeah, come, buy buy buy". Their heads are so full. And the society is just "have, have, have". So, yeah, if would of you burns it, I think itís shitty. But, I can also understand it. Itís a conflict.
DML: Say, Iíve never heard In Extremo and someone says "oh you have to hear them", where do I find it? Well, especially in the States. Itís a good way to hear it.
IE: Yeah, I know. This way is ok, but this other way isnít.
DML: Like if someone burns it and they never want to buy it or if they burn it just to try it, itís different.
IE: You can buy In Extremo records in the United States, from Metal Blade?
DML: Yeah, I have three of them!
DML: So, last question! Are there other German bands that you guys like or that you could recommend?
IE: German bands, there are lots of German bands. For example, OOMPH! is one of the best German bands for me that never got the success that they deserved. Thereís a great band, thatís half-American and half-German. Theyíre called Potthead; a band from Berlin. There are lots of German bands. There are so many tastes. But, I love an America band. For me there is nothing better: Filter! Fantastic! We played together last year. Nice band. There are American bands, English Bands . . . Dave Grohl, the drummer from Nirvana; Foo Fighters! Fantastic!