Mario Hann (vocals, guitar) and Mich “Thunder” Strock (guitar, vocals) answered our questions.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
Mario: We aren’t monetarily invested to any catastrophic degree, so no major damage here. In March, shortly before the lockdown started, Mich S and me started setting up our own recording studio, so we we had to pull the handbrake on that and refrain from buying tons of equipment and investing into that. Thankfully our friends and family support us in these tough times. Mental health wise… I’m not “ice cream and lollipops”, but I’ll live.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Mario: Since I live in the same household as Thunderstrock, we had plenty of time to practice, record and finish the new EP and create content around it. There’s been lots of video chats, planning and general creative restlessness. There are many unfinished new song ideas that we threw together while working on PARAKOSM. To keep us and our friends from going outside, we even started a gaming channel on Youtube where we play through some of our favourite games together.
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it mean to you, why did you choose this genre?
Mario: When I was a teen, I listened to a lot of grunge, punk and indie rock, but when I got into metal I instantly gravitated towards stuff like CANNIBAL CORPSE or SLIPKNOT because I loved the heavy guitar tones of those bands. The pompous vocal style of most melodic/power metal shit turned me off, even though I liked the melodic riffs. Soon I went to my first metal show: I was blown away! FEAR MY THOUGHTS playing the sickest melodic metal riffs I’d ever heard, but with heavy ass guitar tones and death growls. Melodeath! They even had brutal deathcore-style breakdowns, which was all the rage back in those days. After the gig I started discovering all those great bands I still listen to today: CARCASS, AT THE GATES, OPETH, DISILLUSION and more recently bands like BE’LAKOR, BRYMIR, MORS PRINCIPIUM EST or COUNTLESS SKIES.
LOMM: That’s an impressive list of bands. How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Mario: Most of the music for PARAKOSM was already written and demoed out before we started working on the EP as a project. We had tons of riffs left over from writing LEGION. The last song, HOST OF THE NIGHTMARE underwent multiple transformations before everyone was happy with it but the rest of the bunch came together very naturally. The themes on this EP were mostly inspired by Japanese films like TETSUO: THE IRON MAN, THE SEVEN SAMURAI and CREST OF BETRAYAL, but also video games like NOITA or BLOODBORNE. All these stories have one thing in common: unsolvable dilemmas in which every possible outcome is problematic or even catastrophic.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
Mario: I am really happy with the sound of the record. We tried going for a bigger, warmer but also much more raw and honest production. All in all I think we succeeded. We even got Jens Bogren – who did basically all our favourite metal records – to master and sign off on the mixes and he complimented the mixes, which still feels somewhat surreal. I’m confident that this record is as good as we could get it. I think in the future I’d love to do more mid-tempo stuff like HOST OF THE NIGHTMARE and groovy shit like the second half of TETSUO. We’ll see on the next one!
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Mich: At the time where this interview is written, we have but just a few reviews out for PARAKOSM, so we can’t tell yet. As for its predecessor LEGION, reviews from around the world were very good overall, often scoring 9/10 or more. We hope PARAKOSM can keep up with it but we believe it can.
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Mario: We started playing a lot more shows in the last years and were looking to grow our fanbase when Covid made everything impossible. To vent anger and frustration on stage was a big part of keeping myself happy, mentally fit and filled with purpose. Especially since I don’t really like going to gigs unless someone needs a musician, mixing engineer or merch guy. So yeah – Tough titty!
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Mario: Since the virus doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon we’re just going to keep on writing stuff for now. Maybe we’ll try our hands at making music videos again. We’re also in the process of revamping our Bandcamp page, since t-shirts sadly are a much bigger part of our revenue than music. Also we are about to do vinyl and tape releases for the first time, which I’m especially excited about.
LOMM: 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? Who is writing the lyrics?
Mario: The lyrics are mostly done by me, though usually the other Feradudes have some sort of suggestion for a better song title or to change something here or there. The lyrics usually come last, when all or most of the music has been written. Things I tend to focus on with FERADUR are all things that I see to bear emotional weight: Stuff that makes me grind my teeth like greed, selfishness, failure, self-doubt, paranoia, treachery and everything else that is wrong with people.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Mario: With 3 guitarists in the band it’s usually one of us putting down the foundation for a song. We play metal after all, so you gotta start with the riffs.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Mario: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of 70s/80s AOR like CHICAGO, WENDY WALDMAN or BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. I know it’s horribly cheesy most of the time but I can’t get enough of the high production values and beautiful string arrangements. On the metal side of things, I am usually inspired by horribly grating and noisy stuff like IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT, CAR BOMB or FRONTIERER. Inspiration for the more traditional comes from stuff like VISIGOTH or UNTO OTHERS (formerly known as IDLE HANDS).
Mich: As for PARAKOSM, major inspiration came from the latest albums by bands like CARCASS, JUDAS PRIEST, COUNTLESS SKIES, MORS PRINCIPIUM EST, UNTO OTHERS. I like their songwriting and their ability to combine the best musical elements metal has to offer. As for my leisure time listening, I became a big sucker for disco, funky and groovy stuff from all kinds: from BARRY WHITE, THE REAL THING to newer bands like L’IMPÉRATRICE or KHRUANGBIN. The new KYLIE MINOGUE album is a banger by the way. Also Stoner Rock always works and Stoner Rock never dies.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Mario: I’m an antisocial, introverted hermit so I love the studio. Being on the road is more exciting and you always make interesting experiences, but it’s very exhausting to me.
Mich: Being on the road is objectively more exciting because at the same time it is also more exhausting. That special moment during writing or mixing when you get it just right is another kind of thrill, but in a more controlled environment.
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Mario: My dad’s inability to listen to PINK FLOYD at volumes below 120dB SPL.
Lady Obscure: I lol’d at this.. That’s me also J
Mario: Yeah, thanks to him I must have heard THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER more times than I have hair on my head and probably even listened to it from my mother’s womb. He always supported me to pick up an instrument and paid for my lessons. I discovered guitar when I was still listening to a lot of grunge, which is informed by certain heavy metal aesthetics, so it was a natural progression towards “metal guitarist”.
Mich: My dad and random exposure to radio. Both weren’t always to my liking, which helped me to find my way to heavier stuff like metal but also everything else that strives off the mainstream.
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Mario: The moment of creation is the best part. Knowing you have created something with a life of its own. I don’t like the more tedious technical stuff that, however, has to be done to immortalize it.
Mich: Being free to do whatever I like is probably the best part about being a musician/artist. Being at the mercy of others is the harder part, especially if most people think you suck, which I hope is not the case for Feradur.
LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Mario: I’d probably still be pushing people from room to room in sickbeds in the hospital.
Mich: Something with theatre, maybe an actor since I once wanted to do that.
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Mario: Less “pay to play”, less bought success.
Mich: Mainstream music has deteriorated to a point where I can barely enjoy it. Popstars copy from each other shamelessly and no one seems to care about the emptiness and repetitiveness of their music. I think many people like easily digestible music, but they are missing out on a wide range of honest and passionate bands and musicians. Can I really change something here? Probably not, but it pisses me off when a person’s “taste” is just the top songs of the Billboard charts.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Mario: Definitely the latter. I want to have fun and others are free to join.
Mich: We always write for music’s sake and we hope that our fans appreciate it like we do, because we stand behind everything we put out there.
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
Mario: We played a weekender in Switzerland that I have fond memories of. The weather was great, the people were too and we played 2 great shows in the beautiful Swiss countryside. Especially the show in Naters sticks out where we supported CHILD OF PAIN on their release gig. They even had delicious raclette cheese for catering.
Mich: I can confirm Mario’s story, that was wild. Go check our Youtube channel for a mini tour diary we made about that weekend.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Mich: Planning and pulling off the LEGION release show, easy.
Mario: Doing my first album as a producer for FIRTAN who went on to play Summer Breeze on the back of the album. I am very proud of those guys.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Mario: With Yannick from KRÄHENFELD. We already have some concrete ideas. Next release maybe?
Mich: Gene “The Atomic Clock” Hoglan. He’s on so many records that I sometimes ask myself if he isn’t already on one of ours. I love our drummer D-Mich, but Gene is just a legend. Collab?
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Mario: Some rocking old farts who have wisdom to spare. Voivod, Melvins or Mastodon.
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Mario: Roadburn would be nice since half my music library has performed there at some point. I think we’d fit in.
Mich: Wacken. We already tried twice though Metal Battle, someday it will work one way or another, I’m sure.
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
Mario: Mastodon “Leviathan”, Helmet “Betty”, Acid Bath “Paegan Terrorism Tactics”, Talk Talk’s “Laughing Stock”. I still adore Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” despite Phil Anselmo being an edgy shit.
Mich: St. Anger by Metallica is quite enjoyable for me. All time faves include Agalloch “The Mantle”, Brand New “The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me”, Mansun “Attack of the Grey Lantern”, Judas Priest “Firepower”, Carcass “Surgical Steel”.
LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Mario: A mess describes it perfectly! There are SO many MP3’s scattered across multiple hard drives I have lost track of. I endeavoured in collecting some vinyls and CD’s and used to have cassettes when I was younger. I plan to start a 70’s heavy rock vinyl collection since you can easily grab those at bazars at a bargain.
Mich: Most stuff I like I also have on CD. However I am guilty of listening very much through streaming services nowadays, and I really should stock up on CDs or vinyls of bands I appreciate, in order to support them. I have a couple of cassettes, but had more as a child: no metal back then though.
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Mario: I grew up in the very Southwest of Germany and back then we had a very active Hardcore/Metal scene. The foundation for that came from the success of bands like DESTRUCTION in the 80s, birthing a proper metal scene. Many of the old guard started putting on shows themselves and have kept the scene alive and well. There is a yearly metal festival right on my doorstep called BADEN IN BLUT, which is hosted by a bunch of guys who call themselves the “Metal Maniacs”. The hardcore scene in Rheinfelden, where most of the shows happened, was more short-lived though and most new local hardcore bands try their hand at touring rather quickly now, since all the more hardcore-oriented clubs closed down. Local bands of note are: FIRTAN, PESSIMIST, THRON, FEAR MY THOUGHTS, SCHAMMASCH, ZATOKREV and more. Special shoutout to my boys at I CUT OUT YOUR NAME.
Mich: Unlike Mario, the rest of the bunch was raised in Luxembourg (a small country between Germany, Belgium and France). The metal scene, like everything else there, is very small. This has its ups and its downs: We know practically everyone active in the scene, but it’s not a lot of people. You always know what is currently going on, but it is always especially sad when a band breaks up which has a big impact on the scene as a whole. This doesn’t mean that Luxembourg hasn’t brought some great acts to the table like DESDEMONIA, FUSION BOMB, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, MILES TO PERDITION, SCARRED or more underground stuff like MINDPATROL, ARDUINNA’S DAWN, KRATON, INZEST, ASATHOR, PRAETOR and many more.
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
Mario: The other Feradudes and James, the butler from “Dinner for One”: he’d make sure we’d be fed and boozed up. Should be a great time. If this confuses you, see “Dinner for One” below so you can be even more confused.
Mich: Jesus, because he turns water into wine and can multiply bread and fish, that’s super useful! Lemmy, to get some advice on life and rockstardom. Doc Sportello (from “Inherent Vice”), to see his face when he realizes he has been transported to the 21st century. Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr Oizo) to discuss films, and his upcoming film depicting this very event. Hope Sandoval, so she can whisper sweet nothings into my ear all night with that beautiful voice of hers.
LOMM: What is your weirdest memory in your music career?
Mario: Getting the PA turned off for an entire song, because I replied “Shut up cunt!” to a guy in the audience who’d heckle me for the entire performance. Some unaddressed girl took it personally and started throwing a tantrum. We played the rest of the set just fine without other interferences but we all felt very awkward at the venue for the rest of the night.
Lady Obscure: That’s easily the most hilarious answer I got to this question. Ahahah, sowwy.. 😀
Mich: Me and my other band FROSTLAND planned an entire Norway trip to play a single show, only to discover, when walking into the club that the show wasn’t planned at all. The bartender had never heard of our contact. The guy responsible for this hosted us at his place, but didn’t seem to realize he had demanded great efforts and expenses from us in order to show up. We tried our best to find a replacement gig, but were turned down at every venue. The security guy at a festival (“Høstsabbat”) happening that weekend felt so sorry for us that he gave us free tickets for the rest of the night, but we couldn’t squeeze in on the roster anymore. Furthermore, one of our 2 cars broke down, maybe because of the solar storm happening at the time, messing up the modern and computerized but fragile car. So all that happened and we were mad at our host and contact guy, but finally let it blow over since it still was a nice holiday somehow. But also a really weird one.
LOMM: What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Mario: Does vintage pornography of moustached men from the 1940s count?
LO: OMG 😀
Mich: No fan gifts so far, I’m afraid.
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Mario: It’s okay to feel lost sometimes. Everything is going to be alright.
Mich: I accept gifts. Also non-pornographic ones.
LOMM: Lol.. Anything else you think your fans should know?
Mario: We put our heart and soul into PARAKOSM, we hope you enjoy it!
Mich: Listen to our album LEGION before PARAKOSM, it’ll all make sense once you do.
LOMM: It was a fun one guys. Thanks for taking the time.
Feradur: Thanks for having us!
Lady O: Pleasure 🙂