Revolution-music: Hallo. First of i would like to congratulate you on your new album “Rising Tide Of Oblivion” witch will be released the 21 th Martch.
Benjamin Donath: Hey, thanks, we are really excited about the upcoming release, we can´t wait!
Revolution-music: Could you start out by introducing your self and tell us what part in the band you have?
Benjamin Donath: My name is Benjamin Donath, I´m the bass player in Neaera.
Revolution-music: This questian is one you must get alot, how did the band originaly get to getter and how did you come up with the name “Neaera”? What does it mean?
Benjamin Donath: Stefan, Tobi and myself had been playing together before in a grindcore band called Malzan. Tobi originally formed Neaera together with Sebastian, whom he knew from another band they used to have, as a side project to Malzan. Back then we did not have a name for this side project yet. Tobi asked me if I wanted to play the bass in the newly formed side project, and I thought it might be fun so I agreed. Tobi then asked Benny, a friend of ours, to do the vocals. Benny had not been in any bands until then, he was very enthusiastic about singing in a band, so he said yes. Thus the first lineup of the band was completed. Stefan joined us after our very first show. Our then main band Malzan was disbanded about 2 months after we had founded our side project, so it became our only band. Shortly before our first show we were desperately looking for a name. At that time, because we were such a “young” band, we did not really have a concept as to how the band name should correspond to our lyrical message. We ended up choosing “The Ninth Gate” as our band name, but that was rather out of necessity, a kind of emergency solution. We never really felt comfortable with that name, also because it was the name of a movie. So shortly before we signed the contract with Metal Blade records, we decided to really stick our heads together and find a name that would fit better to our overall message. In the book “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, we came across the name Neaera, which comes from Greek mythology. Neaera was a woman who was mistreated and oppressed for most of her life, to put it shortly. We thought the whole story of Neaera´s life was very relatable to things that we think are going wrong in today´s world. Neaera for us stands as a reminder to stand up for oneself and try to influence things to make them change to the better.
Revolution-music: The album will be released through Metal Blade Records, how did the contract with Metal Blade get established, and how have they been treating you?
Benjamin Donath: In February 2004 we recorded a 7-track demo CD which we then cut short into a 3-track promo CD to send to labels. Metal Blade showed interest and so we sent them the rest of our material. After we had had some email contact with them, they offered us a record contract, which was a dream come true for us! Metal Blade sent us the contract, which of course was written in a very sophisticated way, which made it kind of hard for us to understand. We decided that it would probably the best thing if we discussed everything with them personally, so we ended up driving about 500 or so kilometers to the Metal Blade Europe residence. We had a really great talk with Michael, Andreas and Todde, they were really cool to us and explained all the details of the contract that we thought were important. We went back home and signed the contract the next day. Metal Blade have been treating us really great, they are always available to us if we have questions, and most importantly they are not putting any pressure on us whatsoever. They just let us make our music and write our songs, we just feel free to do as we like, artistically of course, hahahaha.
Revolution-music: In November last year you entered Stage One Studios in Bühne, Germany, with producer Andy Classen to record “Rising Tide Of Oblivion” how was it to work with him?
Benjamin Donath: Simply great. Andy is such a relaxed, experienced and professional guy, we always felt comfortable working with him. Of course we were really nervous because this was our debut album after all, but Andy took that nervousness from us completely. We are extremely satisfied with the record, it would definitely not be what it is if it weren´t for Andy.
Revolution-music: Could you tell us about you're process of making this album?
Benjamin Donath: We just wrote our songs whenever we thought we had enough ideas. Generally we just tried to write songs that we thought were both diverse and in your face. Some of the songs on the record were already on the demo, we re-recorded those for “The Rising Tide of Oblivion”, and some were also rearranged. Stefan recorded both acoustic tracks for the album in a studio in Münster together with two friends of his. When Neaera was founded Tobi was our only guitarist, of course getting Stefan to join the band as second guitar player brought a lot more ideas to the band. It just gives each guitar player the possibility to influence the other. Sometimes I will add a riff, bost most of the riffs come from Tobi and Stefan. We arrange the songs together. Every band member can just throw in their ideas, so there is something from everyone in the songs.
Revolution-music: Where do you get your inspirations from for this album, both on the musical part but also the lyrical part?
Benjamin Donath: Our main musical influences are bands such as At The Gates, Dismember, Bloodbath, Edge of Sanity, Dark Tranquility, Unanimated, Amon Amarth, Hatebreed, Heaven Shall Burn, Unearth and Born From Pain, to name only a few. Our lyrics basically deal with thing that we think are going wrong in our world. Unfortunately that seems to be a lot. Our lyrics deal with topics such as war, genocide, religion, such things. As you can see these are topics that deal with things on a global level, but we also have lyrics that deal with isolation of the individual, rape and such, which are topics that are on a more personal level.
Revolution-music: When you make an album, do you make it for yourselves or for your fans?
Benjamin Donath: Both. In terms of the music, I have to say we made the album for ourselves. Of course you always make music for your fans because you want people to hear and feel what is important to you. That comes with the lyrics we have. But when we write our music, the first thing we take care of is that we can identify with them and that they don´t become boring to us. We honestly don´t write songs thinking about whether this or that part might scare away this or that group of people or whether this or that riff is more attractive to this or that group of people. Being able to identify with our music is the most important thing to us. Of course it is just a great feeling to see that many people so far seem to be able to identify with our music as well. The fact that everything we do is really 100 % us makes this feeling much greater. If it weren´t that way, it just would not be honest.
Revolution-music: Does the album have any special massage to the fans?
Benjamin Donath: We just want to get out listeners to think about how to influence things around them instead of becoming numb because of all the shit that is happening all around. Our message is basically that self realization is always better than self isolation.
Revolution-music: The artwork for the album has be designed by art student Martin Grossmann from Steinfurt, why did you chose him to make the artwork, and why did you end up using this cover?
Benjamin Donath: We chose Martin to do the artwork mainly because he is a long time friend of ours. He is just a very creative person. He plays guitar in a local metal band called Steel Death, and he does a lot of their artwork as well, even videos and such. We were really confident that if we gave him some input from our side ( music, lyrics etc. ), he would be able to create something good out of it, and in our opinion he did. We are really satisfied with the whole concept he developed, and he was always open to our suggestions as well, so again there is a lot of our nput in the artwork. The whithering leaves he used in our opinion are great to show that something is fading away, decaying. That is Martin´s approach to “oblivion”, and we liked it, so we chose to use this cover.
Revolution-music: You wrote on your web site, that "The songs will consist mostly of (Swedish) death metal riffs, but they will also contain mosh parts and even some melodic black metal passages,” was it a nartrual move for you guys to play that style?
Benjamin Donath: It was a natural move for us to try to experiment with many different styles of metal, I think. As said, the band was originally formed as a side project, the aim being to be able to just go in all kinds of directions musically. I think the band has always kept this experimental “spirit”. The balance of parts in a song is very important to us, if one kind of mood overweighs, things can become boring very quickly. We wanted to avoid this by using the different musical measures mentioned above. We just have fun experimenting, and I think one can hear that. I guess you could call that a natural move, yes.
Revolution-music: Are you planing to record any other music videos for the album?
Benjamin Donath: Of course that would be great. We are always kind of playing around with ideas on how to adapt our music visually, but there are no actual plans for a video shoot yet.
Revolution-music: You only have a few concerts planted in March, April, and May all in Germany, are you planing a tour supporting “Rising Tide Of Oblivion”?
Benjamin Donath: Yes, that is currently in the works. We would definitely love to tour as soon as possible, but besides those you mentioned, we don´t have any confirmed dates yet, I´m afraid. But we are working constantly to get consecutive dates for a tour together. As soon as we have dates, we will definitely put them on our website, promise!
Revolution-music: Could we expect any shows in Denmark?
Benjamin Donath: Of course we will try to get as many countries as we possibly can for a tour. As I said, we don´t have any confirmed dates yet, so I don´t want to draw any conclusions. Personally, I love Denmark very much, I have come there every summer for about 15 years or so, except for last summer when I was in Greece. Denmark´s a great country, and the people are really relaxed. And of course playing a Scandinavian country would be awesome!
Revolution-music: How did you think the music scene is in Europe, compared to the scene in the US?
Benjamin Donath: The European scene still seems to be much more underground that the US scene. Hard to say why though.
Revolution-music: What would be the ultimate tour or show for you to play at?
Hellfest or Pressure Festival would work for me,hahahaha.
Revolution-music: The metal scene has recently had a huge loss, when “Dimebag" Darrell Abbott got shot on stage at a concert. What are your thoughts on that sad event?
Benjamin Donath: I could not believe this when I heard it. I personally think that Dimebag was one of the most talented guitarists music in general has ever seen, and for me he was the undisputed king of metal guitar. It´s already a tragedy to have some with so much talent and such a great personality taken away. But the way in which it happened is just perverse. It´s not like he died a normal death, quietly, peacefully. He got shot by some asshole whose name is not worth being mentioned. That just shows once again how insane the gun laws in the US are. If such a maniac can own a weapon, something is very wrong. The sad thing is that it always takes a tragedy like this before such issues are discussed. And what makes it even worse is that despite this sad event, the laws probably will remain the same. That is just very frustrating. I can only wish Dimebag eternal peace wherever he may be right now.
Revolution-music: When you think of a thing like that could happen, aren't you a bit frightened of going on stage and play?
Benjamin Donath: No.
Revolution-music: That's all we've get this time, do you have anything that you'd like to add or say?
Benjamin Donath: Thanks for the interview! We hope to come to Denmark as soon as possible to do some ass kicking! Skal, jeg elsker dig! ;)
Revolution-music: We would like to say thanks a lot for you're time. And wish your guys all the luck in the future. And also a big thanks to Target Distribution for setting up the interview.