As you can see in my review to the latest MCD from Morning Before, I like this record a lot. I think people gradually recognize that there are great bands coming from Germany, but I also think that these bands should be supported even more. So here's an interview with Matthias, bass player in Morning Before...
Hi Matthias, welcome to the interview! How are you at the moment? Hopefully all is well? Anything to start this interview off with?
Hi Stefan, I am doing pretty good, except for having not enough time to do all the things I want to do. Go right ahead.
As one can see in my review, I like your latest release, the MCD "The new romantics" a lot. You recorded this MCD this spring, right? How long did the recording sessions take and what can you tell me about the time in the studio? Were all the songs already finished when you entered the studio?
Yes, we recorded the songs in winter/early spring and it took us about 5-6 days, but we came back later to do some additional mixing and mastering, because we wanted to have some time off and go at it with a clear mind and fresh ears again. We had a good time in the studio and we were much more focused and concentrated than the previous times, partly because we knew what we wanted and we had learned a lot over the years as far as recordings are concerned. We always hit the studio with almost all the songs completely finished. Of course, we arrange some things differently in the studio and try various versions, but the actual songs are all set before we go into the studio.
Your first record "Sunblind" was recorded in November of 1998, right? Why did it take so long to put out that new MCD? Did it take so long to write new songs or what was the reason for that?
It is correct that we recorded "Sunblind" late in 1998, but it took the label and us quite some time to put it out, due to a few misunderstandings. So the record wasn't out till September 1999. We know that we are kind of late with this release, but we had a lot of other things going on except the band, which slowed things down for us tremendously. It didn't actually take us very long to write the songs, but we had to look for a new label, too, since Pateline closed its doors.
Did you write more songs during this period and did you already record some of them (maybe during the "New romantics" sessions?)?
We already have about 5 new songs, but we didn't record them during the last sessions, because it is also a question of money that we and the label have to pay, so we only concentrated on the 6 songs which are on the record.
Do you consider the single members in Morning Before as the new romantics or what do you want to express with the title of that MCD?
We don't consider ourselves as "The New Romantics", we just thought that you can associate a lot of things with that title and we liked the aesthetics of it and it fit the album. I don't really want to explain what "The New Romantics" means to us, because there are so many things people can get out of it and that is cool. I don't want to say this is the only way you can look at it.
"Sunblind" was released on Pateline Industries, and "The new romantics" is out on Strange Fruit. What was the reason for that change? Are you still friends with the guys at Pateline?
Yes, we are still friends with Pateline, but as I mentioned earlier, Thorsten decided to shut the label down, due to various reasons. So we were forced to look for a new label and we soon got in touch with Achim and Tim from Strange Fruit and after a little while it became clear to us that we wanted to work together.
What do want to express with your lyrics? I think they are very important to you, right? Would you say that the "message" of the lyrics has changed over the years?
The lyrics are definitely important to me, as are the music and the artwork. Julia and I write almost all the lyrics, but I can only talk about my lyrics. They are usually drawn from personal experiences and thoughts and I try to keep my lyrics fairly vague, because I find it much more interesting to read lyrics where I don't understand everything immediately. It challenges me more to make up my own mind about things. You certainly won't find any bold statements or phrases in any of our lyrics. I just want to express my way of looking at things and the world around me. I think the approach towards our lyrics has not changed dramatically over the years.
The artwork of your releases is always very beautiful and it looks great. How important is the visual aspect of a record to you?
Thanks. The artwork is as important as everything else, because we consider a record an entire product of art, where everything has to fit together. I can't understand why people would write the greatest songs and record in the most expensive studios but then release a record with the worst artwork, which doesn't even make me want to touch it. It probably is all a question of aesthetics and how you approach a record. For many people it might be enough if the music is good, but we try to pay attention to everything including the lyrics and the artwork. It is all part of the deal.
Who comes up with the ideas for the cover artwork and who is responsible for the realization of the covers?
On the last album, my girlfriend and I almost did the entire layout conception ourselves, this time Holger and Stephan from Pale helped us out with the artwork and the realization of it. I think they did a great job and we are very happy with it.
Is the record label always satisfied with the artwork or is it sometimes too expensive for them?
Of course, we checked in advance with Strange Fruit how much we could spend for the artwork and they were always really supportive. Every time I called and asked if it was ok if it cost a bit more, they were really cool about it and gave us everything we needed. But it is true that labels often want to save on the artwork and not spend too much on it.
I read in your info sheet that you all have very different musical backgrounds. What are these influences? Please give me some bands/styles that were/are influential for Morning Before. Which record/band impressed you the most in the last few months and why?
It is just that we all listen to different music and have different influences. It is not that we all come out of the HC/Punk scene, but we all bring in our unique influences to form MORNING BEFORE. I can only speak for myself as far as bands go, that influenced me. In the last couple of months I was really impressed by the new Tortoise record, because they are simply amazing, so is everything by Radiohead, one of the best bands ever in my book. Other bands that influenced me were Fugazi, Sunny Day Real Estate, Black Sabbath, Weezer. The last HC records that really touched me were "After the Eulogy" by Boy sets Fire and the new Waterdown record....oh and forget Oasis, buy the new Travis, you will be glad you did.
Who came up with the name Morning Before and what does it mean (I know, this is a lame question, sorry)?
I don't really remember who came up with the name, but somebody mentioned the name during a rehearsal and we liked it and stuck with it. It doesn't bear any deep meaning, we just liked the sound of it and it didn't automatically put the band into a certain genre.
How old are you guys? What are you doing besides the band?
We are all about 22-23 years old. All of us except Julia, who is already working, are going to college. Of course, the band is not our only focus in life and we all do different things besides the band. I like to read and write in my spare time and enjoy a good movie or hang out with friends, which is not happening enough lately, because I am too busy with school and all the other stuff I am trying to do.
Matthias, you are doing all the promo stuff concerning Morning Before, right? Isn't that hard at times? When and how do you handle all this?
It is definitely very hard at times and actually I don't know how I handle it all. I guess I am just working my ass off sometimes trying to get everything done. People often don't see the workload that has to be done in order to get ahead of things. I am definitely really busy, more so than I should, but on the other hand I like having something to do as well. I am sure I wouldn't do it otherwise, but sometimes it is definitely too much. It might have something to do with me having problems getting my priorities straight at times.
Are you satisfied with the way things turned out for Morning Before over the years? What is your goal to achieve with the band?
Our only primary goal has always been to play good music and release decent records. Of course over the years, your goals change a bit and you start to pay attention to other things like how many records you sold etc. I think we could have done a lot more than we did to this point, but considering the people in the band, who do not all have the same goals, I am really content and happy where I am and what I have achieved with MORNING BEFORE right now.
Any tours or shows in the near future? With which band(s)? What was the best show/tour so far for Morning Before?
We have a couple of shows coming up, which you can check out on www.morningbefore.de.
I can't really say what the best show was, we all have differing opinions about that, too.
You came to the band in 1997, right? What did you do before, did you play in any other bands and if so, what kind of music did they play? What about the other members, have they been in any other bands before?
Before I joined the other guys I had lived a year in the US. Before that I had played in sort of an 80's metal band, which was actually my first band when I was 14 years old. After that I sang or rather screamed for a short lived old-school band. Nothing worth talking about, though:) I believe, the other guys have always played together except Stefan, our drummer, who also used to be in my first band.
Do you think that it is more difficult for German bands than let's say American ones? I mean Pale can be seen on VIVA 2, so it seems to get better. Would you agree?
Yes, people seem to be waking up at last and realize that there are many great German bands around. Yeah, I definitely think that it is a great thing to see Pale on TV, because hopefully some time people will be fed up with bands like Limp Bizkit and other brainless stuff.
What about the distribution of your albums in other countries? Any interested labels?
We haven't really put any effort into finding a foreign label to release our records yet. Most labels don't want to license or re-release a record anyway, since the market is already fairly small, so they usually all want unreleased material. We'd be happy to work with a foreign label, though.
Ok, I can't think of any more questions. Hopefully you liked this interview and do you have anything to say that I forgot to ask?
Stefan, thank you very much for the time and effort, we appreciate it! I definitely think the interview was a lot of fun, I hope you do, too.
Please check out our homepage at www.morningbefore.de
Thanks again. I'm out. Cheers.