Tuesday, 12 September 2017

An Interview with ECHOLOT

Echolot are a Progressive/Doom/Stoner Rock Band from Switzerland and who are about to release their new album – Volva on October 6th via Czar Of Revelations. I hadn't came across Volva before but their PR sheet intrigued me a great deal.

I listened to Volva right away and was blown away at the great music they created on the album. Expect 4 songs containing heavy spaced out doom/stoner riffs that may bring comparisons to the mighty ELDER. That is no bad thing as Echolot manage to create their own sound on their epic debut album.

You can read my review here. I was asked to conduct an interview with the band which I was more than happy to do. Here's my interview with ECHOLOT.

 

Can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today. Mainly for myself as well. As I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know that existed before I heard your excellent new album.

The band was founded in 2014. The bassist (Renato) and the drummer (Jonathan) were playing together since their teenage years and wanted to start more seriously again. They were looking for a bassist, since Renato was preliminarily playing guitar. So they met the guitarist (Lukas) at that very graceless night in a bar where people wearing soft pants and owning fighting dogs are regular guests. However, after Lukas joined for a jam or two, it turned out that Renato should play the bass, as he started with it and he really digs the low end. Lukas on the other hand was better on the guitar, so we had our setup. Guitar, Bass, Drum, classic.

Congrats on your excellent new album – Volva. That album really surprised me in a huge way. As I haven’t heard you guys before. What can people expect on this album. You’ve written four epic songs on the album. Was that your plan to write and record those type of songs that run past the ten minutes mark.

Thanks! Our first album 'I' is comprised of a song with the duration of 37 minutes, built from roughly 3 parts. This came natural for us, we were coming together from different genres and came up with a huge amount of fitting material. It was never our conscious intention to write long songs, it just subconsciously came about, we never had to talk about it.

The reaction of the people was funny. Most of them were never at a concert where the band would play 45 minutes straight. Some of them were in awe and had gone to different places, some of them liked what we were doing but missed the part where the audience can take part in the happenings, like for example they missed applauding.

So, for the second album we took the decision to write shorter songs. No sooner said than done! Anyway, we aim for the fourth album to consist of 3 minute radio songs. Or not.


What are the underlying themes of the album. The artwork is very striking and original indeed. Who designed the artwork and what does the album cover mean within the overall context of the album.

Volva is Latin and means 'shell', 'envelope', 'coating', 'cover' or 'layer'. The lyrics are in the manner of a heroic epos, in which the hero has to become aware of his social and corporal shell, realize that he melted with it, and try to gain some independence from it by growing bigger than his shell. Something we all have in common. It stands for everyone's struggle nowadays to fit in and come to terms with the disproportionate weight put on our persona, the outer layer of our social self.

The social and corporal outer layer of a person has a certain structure, which itself guarantees functional traits. The album cover shows this relationship. It is the foot of the diving water beetle with it's suction cups, enabling it to walk under water. It's just an example of how the structure of our shell leads to functional possibilities and freedoms. It was done by Igor Siwanowiczby.

He is a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and uses laser-scanning microscopy to artfully reveal the intricate details of lifeforms. Looks amazing.

I would class your sound as Progressive Doom/Stoner Rock. Is that a fair description to make of your music. Or do you have your own description of your music.

Yes! That's really accurate. Our last album was way too bluesy for us. We wanted to put in more 'pathos'. The suffering was missing. And we found the suffering in Doom.

Right now, we do have a nice combination going on of (in our view) the following proportions: Psychedelic > Doom > Rock > Stoner Rock. But everyone should judge by themselves. It was always hard to put us in a corner. It just comes naturally for us to let the juices flow wherever the song takes us.

After joking around with genre titles we would classify ourselves as Progressive Psychedoom.


What influenced you when recording the album and was it hard album to write and record for. Have you played any of the new songs live. What has the audience reaction been like to the new songs. What’s the song-writing dynamic within the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

We are influenced by a lot of things. Everyone has his own influences which defends the way he plays and composes. Our bassist is genius in combining interests and comes up with mutually interesting riffs. The guitarist fills the gaps and the drummer puts some backbone to it. That's it.

Everyone has a say, everyone uses this say extensively. We record the songs as a live recording. It is important to us to let the song live, not using a click or playing separately. Therefore, in order to record a song, we absolutely need to have played it since some time, also live. That way we can guarantee that we find the right spot in the studio.

The songs of the second album have been with us for some time now. The audience likes it, especially those who know us for some time. People that stumble into our shows not knowing us still are baffled. We can feel that since people are really listening instead of jumping around and trying to open up moshpits. This is beautifully rewarding. They like us for our music, as heavy and as delicate as it is.

Czar Of Revelations is releasing the album. How did you get signed to them and did you have any other record label offers to release the album.

Yiha! We have a label! I repeat: We, have, a label! Just joking. But yes, it feels nice to have the support of the most important label in Switzerland for our musical direction. We hold their opinion in high regards. Freddy, the head of the label, asked us after we released the first album to call him up when we would have another disk. So that's how it went. Ah, and you have to cook them a nice dinner that reminds them of their mothers and their youth. That's the fastest way into the heart of label guys.

You’re currently planning a European Tour later this year. Which places will you be visiting and what can people expect on this tour.

Yes! We are going on a vacation:-) We are brutally lucky to have met our current booker, tour manager, merch designer and printer, secretary and organizer, connector, rowdy and roadie, drinking buddy and flatmate. He fixed the last tour together with Cities of Mars and is currently working on this tour. By the way, check out Cities of Mars, they too are touring extensively this year. There are still some free dates. Write our go to guy Luca Piazzalonga if you wanna book us!

Tour dates until now:

ECHOLOT TOUR 2017

02.09. CH-Basel Jugendkulturfestival Basel (JKF)
26.09. CH-Basel Hirscheneck - Release party, w/ Mother Engine
27.09. CH-Luzern The Bruch Brothers, w/ Mother Engine
28.09. Looking for a Show
29.09. FR-Montpellier Cosmic Cactus Sessions, w/ Mother Engine
30.09. TBA
01.10. Looking for a Show
02.10. Looking for a Show
03.10. Looking for a Show
04.10. NL-Utrecht ACU, w/ Impuritan
05.10. Looking for a Show
06.10. Looking for a Show
07.10. DK-Helsingor Musikhuset Elværket Helsingør
08.10. Looking for a Show
09.10. Looking for a Show
10.10. Looking for a Show
11.10. CZ-Brno m13 klub , w/ Storyum
12.10. AT-Vienna Cafe Restaurant Derwisch, w/ Cities of Mars
13.10. Secret Show
14.10. Looking for a Show
15.10. FR-Altkirch TBA, w/ Powder for Pigeons

Have you performed extensive gigs and tours with Echolot previously.

On www.echolot.space, we have listed all concerts we ever played, including the tour last year.

What have been your high points and low points being with Echolot or your musical career in general.

Let's just focus on the bright side. There was this time when we could play this huge fucking stage, that every bandboy and bandgirl in Basel dreams of playing. This was cool. And leads us straight to best thing about playing in a stoner/doom/psychedelic/hard and blues rock band in Basel right now: The people. Some of those guys and girls are incredible.

For example, the ones that fixed this concert on this huge fucking stage. They are dedicated and fun.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans or potential news fans. All the best with your new album and forthcoming tour.

Thanks for this opportunity. Come to the shows, tell us what you think over a beer.

Words by Steve Howe and Echolot

Thanks to Frederyk at Czar Of Revelations for arranging this interview. Volva will be available to buy on CD/DD via Czar Of Revelations from October 06th 2017.

Links:

Official | Facebook | BandCamp

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