To today, we recorded a demo, a self-released EP and now our first LP entitled “Leave No Trace”, which we want to release as soon as possible and therefore are applying for a label deal.
The bandmembers are:
Benjamin Reiter: Lead Vocals/Guitar, Main Songwriter
Wolfgang Schneider: Guitar/Backing Vocals
Peter Schnur: Keyboards/Backing Vocals
Maik Seckler: Bass/Backing Vocals
Felix Benz: Drums
Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up? You know, how the journey started, what the members were doing before…
Okay, this was, after all, a bigger self-discovery-process:
Four of the original band members (Felix, Maik, Cyril, Christoph) were playing in a coverband in highschool where they all had met. After exams, they found their second guitarist (Matthias) and started to write their first own material, basically rock/heavy metal stuff. In 2006, after Cyril quit for studies, Benjamin (who’s own bandproject had just broken up) joined the band on guitar and got involved in the composing-process. Everyone was listening to bands like Tool, Fates Warning, Wolverine, Porcupine Tree, Meshuggah, Nevermore… the musical orientation slowly went into a more alternative/progressive direction. We recorded a first demo in early 2007. It was then, the bandname was changed to “Awaiting Dawn”. In 2008, Christoph left and Benjamin took over lead vocals – we continued as a quartet, making things easier for us. The songs became a lot more complex and a first EP was recorded and self-released in 2009, entitled “Changing Days” – now clearly evolved to progressive metal.
A time of almost only live events passed and we more and more craved a keyboardist until we found Peter Schnur, luckily meeting each other at a common gig with another band Peter were playing in – hence a quintett again.
In late 2012, Matthias decided to leave the band due to health and job reasons and was shortly after followed by Wolfgang Schneider who originally was a bass player in the first place, but “converted” to guitar in Awaiting Dawn.
What your genre means to you?
Most fascinating about this genre is its diversity and, by directly negotiating the overall simplicity and endless repetitions of very few parts in one song (which you can see in most of the rock/metal/pop genres today), it gives the musicians endless possibilities.
We chose this genre because it provides us as much space for development as we want. We also are fascinated how different and unique all of the (in our eyes) good prog-artists sound, and we feel, that it’s a particular quality of progressive music to honestly express deep and melancholic emotions within certain musical atmospheres – something that touched us from the initial encounter with the genre.
After all we appreciate the fact that it’s so damn hard to describe what “progressive” actually means due to its enormous range of styles.
How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
The songwriting mostly took part either in the group of the two guitarists or alone, whereby everyone else had a listen to that outcome and could contribute their own ideas. However, for each song, someone would be “chief composer”.
There always used to be a big try-and-error-process: We would be improvising together on guitar until something remained worthy to continue, and from there developing the ideas. From the very beginning, we wrote everything down with a score program and thus were able to listen objectively. Very often, we had something in our minds that wasn’t quite clear yet, and we approached it further and further within that “trying out”-phase.
Mostly we came up with some riffs that were worked out to a theme, and all the other parts of a song were built around that theme; the arrangement for the complete band was – up to a certain percentage – worked out by then and we used to write the vocal parts on basis of that.
The remaining percentage was completed during our rehearsals by spontaneously changing and restructuring specific parts.
In the result, the oldest songs (we naturally don’t play anymore, haha!) had – in our opinion – too many completely different parts that were too weakly connected. The newer material is far more “economic” in terms of the number of actual ideas, but all these ideas are developed, varied, combined and restructured within one song. A little bit like the approach of classical pieces, e.g. a sonata.
This different approach has developed over years and has further changed with the availability of keyboard songs. Now that the main songwriting is done by Benjamin, the music ideas are mostly developed on the piano and from there brought into arrangements. Theoretical background is more important than before and thus, many parts emerge from ideas one has in mind to a practical realization and tryout.
Still, one of the biggest strengths lies in the point, where a temporary finished song is brought into rehearsal, where, through the reception of the other bandmates, awesome details and sometimes new ideas are added to a piece.
Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspect of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
We are actually very fond of the structuring of our songs and the dynamic ranges. We also think that we developed our very own sound instead of all those bands that “sound like …”.
Sometimes though, we consider it potentially problematic, that our arrangements are quite “full” – a lot of very nice details which are great, once you know the songs, but could be “a little bit too much” on the first listen. But isn’t that something typical of many prog bands? 😉
How has the overall reception been?
Very positive indeed!
On every gig we played, we were complimented for our ideas and performing ability. The videoclip we just released also gained a lot of nice feedback.
We are quite curious and looking forward to the reception of our upcoming album!
Is the band going to get more involved in performing live at some point? What’s next? Album? Touring? Any international tours?
We are at a point after invested lots of time in recording/producing: Our debut album, and our first music video. Now is the time to promote it since we hope to get more on stage and gain more popularity through that media. We’re just in search for a label to publish the album.
Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process?
The lyrics are written by Maik (Bass) and Benjamin (Vocals/Guitar).
We set a big value on lyrics that deliver some “poetic image”, it is a concept we already hint to with our bandname.
Thus, Maik is actually writing poems in the first place that we arrange to work as a songtext.
Our themes are mostly introverted and introspective looks on emotions and thoughts. Love, despair, confusion and the like (sometimes also a little social criticism) find their way to be expressed in our songs, actually everything with personal background. To today, most of the times we feel inspired and in the mood for composing is when we feel bad, which might be a little disturbing, but the writing-process and the results give us a really good feeling 😉
The lyrics define the atmosphere a song should “act in” and the emotions we want to convey. However, we’re approaching from two different directions: Naturally, it is a good way to set lyrics to music. But sometimes, music exists first – in this case, we’re writing lyrics that go along with the musical atmosphere.
Which is more exciting? being on the road or studio?
We think that this is something you cannot actually compare. In the studio, you often listen to your own ideas for the first time absolutely objective and you can watch your music grow together during the recording process.
Being on the road means: Deliver your music, perform it, reach the audience and get heard – this is the motivation out of which we all started to play for, isn’t it? 😉
So what bands do you guys draw your inspiration from?
Oh, there’s so much different influences. Directly connected to prog:
Pain Of Salvation, Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson, Wolverine, Haken, Riverside, Meshuggah, Leprous, Opeth, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple…
Besides that, we also have open ears for jazz and classical music!
What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
We believe that good music MUST touch the listener – if it doesn’t, it might also not be worth existing for its own sake, although many people of today seem to have forgotten what good music is, judging from the stuff that is mostly received today…
On the whole, we might be a little bit more on the “music” side, but at the same time, we are positive that the music will reach the audience (“may contain idealism” ;-))!