A talk with
(Questionnaire by Stefan)
One of the most striking bands on the second edition of “Baden Metal Compilation Vol. 2” album is Mission In Black from Germany. Along with their awesome song ‘Holy War’, these four longhaired, dressed up in denim and leather musicians immediately knew to draw my intention to itself. Breathtakingly beautiful blend of Power and Thrash Metal, unfortunately MIB released only one single demo called “Black Infact” which they have to brought out by themselves. Delivering such a great demo in hope to be noticed by a proper label, unfortunately they’re still unsigned to this present day. Not fair to be but I want to talk about that and more with drummer MIB’s drummer, Andy Flache.
Q: Hails Andy, what’s up at the moment brother - what does an average day look like to you, a daily job to fulfil?
A: Hi Stefan! First of all let me thank you for your interest and your support! Hmm, at the moment I have a good cup of tea (not very metal indeed - but it is 8 am, hahaha) and I answer your questions as good as I can but I think that’s not that, you wanna know.
In case of Mission In Black we are rehearsing a lot to get our new singer in the band and to adapt the songs and melody lines with him. That’s really a lot of work and as you mentioned: yes - we all have to fulfil our normal daily jobs what doesn´t make it easier. Normally I get up at 5 am, have a quick coffee and travel to a factory in South Germany which is producing games.
After this sometimes really boring daily job the rest of the day has to be METAL! This means practicing on drums, doing some work for my radio show in a local station in Ulm and listening to nearly all kinds of metal music....
Q: First I’d like to take you back to the very beginning of the band Mission In Black, regular question: by whom and when the band was formed?
A: Basically the band was formed in 2009 by Daniel, Hannes and myself - we played together in the German thrash band Spellbound before and after we split up, we started Mission In Black as a three-piece a few months later.
Q: MIB is resulting from the demise of a German Thrash Metal band Spellbound, what happened with this band?
A: After the split, I lost contact to Dave, the last remaining member of Spellbound and for some years, Spellbound were not active that much because of Dave played in a cover-band. But this year at the Bang-Your-Head festival in Balingen I met Dave again and we had some beers and most important for me, we could talk about the old-times and could move out some things that burdened our relationship over the last years. However: Spellbound are active again - Dave found some new musicians and is willing to record a new CD in the present future.
Q: So three ex-Spellbound members were able and willing to set up a new band. Introduce the players and tell me what the preconceived ambitions were those days?
A: First there is Daniel, he´s the guitar player and responsible for the song ideas together with Hannes. He is (or better: WAS) the bass player and lead singer of Mission In Black. Last, it´s me - Andy, I am the drummer and I try to keep the whole thing going by managing the business things, try to get contacts to labels or the press for example....
Our preconceived ambitions: first of all we want to record the best songs we can for our first complete album, then finding a possibility to release it and then playing shows together and having fun - nothing special you might think but: For us it is always important to do all the things as professional as we could manage, and to keep a band running beside our regular jobs is really hard sometimes.
Q: Still, you had to go find a second guitar player which was found in the name of Martin Grimm, the great shredder from Mystic Prophecy. How did he end up with the band?
A: That was quite simple: Martin is a good friend of mine and we know each other for years. So we were in contact and I knew that he left Mystic Prophecy. The split was no big thing - he just had too much work and private matters so he could not run the pace in M.P. anymore.
Q: Before he joined the ranks, are there certain requirements preceded?
A: You’re talking about the musical thing? No - definitely not: Martin is an outstanding lead-guitarist and is able to write really cool songs. But he had to improve his taste for beer a little...he loves Heineken in cans and that is a capital crime in South Germany, hahaha
Q: Is he still active in Mystic Prophecy or he has resolutely chosen for MIB?
A: No, he is not active in Mystic Prophecy since the day he left. They have two outstanding guitarists with Markus Pohl and Lucky, so Martin can absolutely focus his passion to Mission In Black. By the way - greetings to Lia, Markus and Lucky from here!
Q: So you were ready for a first step towards the world of Metal, how did the very first rehearsal look out? There was a certain musical attraction present right from the start or some things had to be adjusted?
A: The first rehearsals were really chaotic but also chilled at the same time - we met at our rehearsal room, switched on our amps and started jamming some riffs, Daniel and Martin had in stock. We just wanted to find the right "feeling" together at first. For Daniel, Hannes and me it was not the big thing. We knew each other from the Spellbound days - but having Martin in the band was new and what should I say?
It felt that we play together for years. So the musical thing was not a problem, for sure we had several discussions while writing the first songs. We all have a really wide range regarding our musical preferences and so it was not easy all the times with all the different opinions. In the beginning we collected all the ideas we had and if it felt good to us, we kept the song. Also we had to keep an eye to the voice of Hannes: He never was the lead singer of a band before and so his voice helped us to find the main direction in our songs.
Q: Was everyone in the band immediately agreed on the genre that you bring, Power/Thrash Metal?
A: Hmm, until now we have really no idea or perception what genre we play and also we did not spend many time to think about that.
If you take "Holy War" for example - it is almost thrash metal. "Legendary Drunk" is not... so if you’ll put us in the Power/Thrash Metal style I would agree. I think we are lying in between and that is ok for us. We really just want to play the music we love since our childhood days (...and in case of mine, it is long ago… I can tell you).
But to answer your question: I think we found a good combination of the preferences of all the band members. Martin loves the melodic thing and brings in all the melodies and Daniel is more the Death Metal influenced guy. The result is what you can listen to on "Black Infect". For sure there were ideas that some of us did not like. We tried and figured it out and if it was too far away from our musical direction, we sort them out... democracy could work sometimes!
Q: As I wrote in my review, you guys are definitely influenced by the forces of Bay Area Thrash Metal and that’s a very interesting fact to myself? In what way you would describe the style of MIB Andy?
A: For sure, IMUST agree with your opinion: i grew up with bands like OLD Metallica, Slayer (Rest in Peace Jeff!), Testament, Violence and Forbidden. But I think my influence behind the drums is comprehensible. Hannes for example did actually not know where the Bay Area is, hahaha. He is too young for the whole 80ies thing. And he is not really interested in. But this had also some benefits: nobody needs another "rip-off-80ies Bay Area Thrash Band" from Germany. Please do not misunderstand: I love most of the old stuff - but the 80ies are over. So it is not our goal to sound like one of those great bands. For sure we are influenced by listening to their music and also sometimes you will be reminded to a riff or a song. The way I would describe our style? I think this is one of the most difficult questions you can ask a musician... I think our slogan "Nothing else but METAL" is all about to say!
Q: Every band wants to show his own style of Metal to the outside world, you guys did it with the release of a four-song killer EP called “Black Infect”. I’m really under the impression about the songs, the production and stuff but I’d like to know what is the main reason Mission In Black still is still not approached by a proper record label? Completely unjustified to me – are you agree?
A: Thanks for your compliment man. Hmm, I’m not sure if unjustified is the right term. Look, there are so many bands around! Just think about the possibilities of the Internet for spreading demos, mp3s and videos! They´re endless. Also it is really easy to record your own song, you must not even play an instrument or be a good singer... so it is so easy to bring your music to the world. Who´s able to listen to all those bands and pick out the good ones?
I think you need a lot of luck to get discovered by the music industry and on the other side there are serious problems within the industry: no one can buy all the records the so called "big names" release every month - so the sold items are retreating since years. So they have to release that much music to make their money. And also look at all the different versions of one single release? With all those surplus, who has money left to buy a record of an unknown band? The companies are not signing unknown bands and help them to grow as in the past. You have to bring lots of fans by social media networks for example and then they calculate what a release can generate. They do not think in musical quality just in making quick money, but that’s their business… so I won’t blame. The only exception are some smaller labels - they have a different point of view, and maybe we’ll find one... who knows.
Q: How did the outside world react on the “Black Infact” demo?
A: We sent the demo to several fanzines, radio stations and magazines and everywhere we got good reviews and reactions. We had the opportunity to be a part of the CD sampler of the Germany based "HEAVY magazine for example. Unfortunately it was their last issue before they stopped the mag. I hope that was not because they took us into their mag, hahaha...
Q: On what basis the numbers are written – who’s the writer in the band actually?
A: We have the great luck to have more than one writer within the band: In the past Daniel, Martin and Hannes brought all their ideas together. Sometimes one of them brought already a complete song and we just had to bring a single verse or a solo and sometimes one of them had a single riff and we combined it with riffs and hooks from one of the other members. Since Hannes left the band (more a bit later) Daniel and Martin are doing the complete song writing.
Q: What do you like to say about MIB’s participation on Baden Metal Vol. 2 Compilation – Flight Of The Griffin”. Allow me to say that you guys were one of the highlights definitely. How did you get on this CD, who offered you this great opportunity? To me a grateful gesture from the brainchild of Baden Metal named Yucel Erol, right?
A: First of all let me say "thank you" for the support Yucel gives us! He is the guy who brought us to this sampler. Even as i told him, that we are not even from the Baden area he still didn´t let loose to bring us to the Baden Metal Compilation. Ok, Martin is a real "Baden-Guy", so it is ok for the reputation, hahaha. Without kidding - we are very proud to be a part of the CD with all the other great bands. We know Yucel from the Spellbound days and our participation of the "Baden In Blut" open air, so he got in contact with us and asked us to release a song for the sampler. I hope we can return the favour in the near future and doing a live show for him.
Q: Suppose that it is not immediately manage to grab a record deal, could this lead to the cessation of the band’s activities?
A: I don’t think so. Although it is hard to keep the flame burning - especially when you have to search for a new singer almost for a year! I think it is normal, that the motivation comes down when you can’t bring your band a step further and we were forced to interrupt for too long time. In the last months a record deal was one of our smallest problems I can tell you, haha.
Q: Is it true you guys are on the hunt for a new singer? Hannes Jager decided to call it quits, why?
A: Yes and no, hahaha... "yes". Hannes Jäger quit the band last year by personal reasons and "no", we aren´t forced to hunt because of we found a new singer last month! But let me tell you step by step: In the past, Hannes could not raise the time Mission In Black needs. He became a father and that didn´t make it easier. So he decided to quit before disturbing the work of the band and before generating disagreements. So at this point I want to thank him again for all the work he had done so far and i want to wish him all the best for the future!
Q: Well to me, he fit perfectly within the framework of Mission In Black… would it be the frontman in another band?
A: I agree - Hannes combined a very brutal voice with a very melodic side and so we had lots of possibilities in writing our songs. But Hannes didn’t leave the band to be singer in another one - he just wanted to pay his whole attention to his children and his family.
Q: You told me that meanwhile, a new singer has been founded and I’m dead curious man. Tell me everything we need to know from this new frontman.
A: Yes, we found a new singer meanwhile. I can tell you it was a very hard way and we rehearsed a lot and had really different singers - male and female, from real Death Metal-styled grunts up to high pitched clean female vocals in our songs - there were really lots of surprises to us in listening to our songs with such different vocal styles. However, we couldn´t unite our different personal preferences to one of them until this time. So, when Peter came up and sent us his version of one of our songs, we were totally happy: He combines a really powerful voice and a fine flair of melodies and hooklines. For sure we will sound different as in the past but I think we now can take Mission In Black to a higher level and can realize ideas and songs that won´t be possible with Hannes.
Peter comes from a band called Rapid Fire and to be honest i haven’t heard from this band ‘til the moment he told me. He lives nearby Frankfurt am Main and is a quite cool guy with a good sense of humour - and you need lots of humour to travel about 300 km´s to the rehearsal room! At the moment we have to rearrange all our songs with him and he has a lot of work to create all the vocal lines and write lyrics to the new songs.
But also let me mention that we already found a bass player as well: Rio joined forces to Mission In Black in the last weeks. He´s a good friend of Peter and they played together in Rapid Fire. As you might know, Hannes played also the bass-guitar in Mission In Black and since the days he quit, we also got loss of a bass player - and they are also really hard to find. So we really got lots of luck when Rio came along to jam with us - he is also a cool guy with the right metal vibes.
And let me tell you - it sounds totally great with these two guys in the band and we are "armed and ready to attack"!
Q: How the collaboration between him and Mission In Black came to be Andy?
A: I posted advertisements in all social media networks and lots of musicians channels and finally we did a short video clip on youtube to find a singer. As I told you there were some really interesting singers but also a lot of wannabes and posers... it was my job to sort them out and find those who are the right ones to meet.
It is not just about the voice - they also have to fit in the band by their personality. Peter and me were in mail contact and he wanted to know EVERYTHING about Mission In Black...he had a huge interest and recorded a cool demo and sent it to us before we met in our rehearsal room. So when we first met, we talked a lot, had a cool jam session and after this Daniel, Martin and me were sure that we found the right guy. Although he lives a bit far to us, we are in contact constantly and rehearse as often as we can. Fortunately we can also use the modern acquisitions like servers, mails and stuff to share our ideas.
Q: How were the live experience to date, unforgettable moments to announce?
A: For me personally that was the biggest problem the last months - not being able to get on stage and meet all the cool metalheads and having party with them - that really sucks man! For me that is what it´s all about: playing shows - doesn´t matter where...
But to be honest - we had not that much shows with Hannes but you can be sure all of them were unforgettable! With a guy like Hannes at the front position, you never know what happens next, hahaha. We had a cool show with our friends of Brainstorm (greetings to those guys, by the way!) and also we shared stage with Mystic Prophecy. I think every show we played is "unforgettable" in a different way to us because of the fans in front of the stage! I can tell you it is one of the best feelings you can have, if you got the acknowledgment and the appreciation for your work by them!
Q: How do you see the future for MIB - what do you want to realize with this band?
A: In the nearby future we will finish our songs with Peter and Rio and will finally start the recording to our debut album! Then we will release the album - ideally with a proper record label and will promote it with several live shows. Maybe we will shoot a new videoclip to introduce Peter and Rio to our fans.
By the way - do you know our clip to the song "legendary drunk" on youtube? Check it out - it is the last chance to see the "old" Mission In Black with Hannes on vocals. So we got lots of work and loss of time, hahaha.
Q: Thank you very much for your time doing this interview ! No matter what it takes, just let the good times roll and fire up a new album soon. Is there anything else you want to say? Spit it out by the grace of Metal, Cheers !
A: Stefan, first let me say a huge THANK YOU for your support and the chance to introduce Mission In Black to your readers! And then also a huge CHEERZ to all the Belgian Metalheads out there and to all Metalheads all over the world. We hope to see you soon somewhere out on stage - maybe in Belgium? You´ll never know! Take care - keep the spirit and never forget: the future is BLACK!