Müster seems to be a creative hub when it comes to music. Especially alternative rock has a solid foundation in the student city in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Next to bands like Eat The Gun and Zodiac, it is also the Black Space Riders that call Münster their homebase.
A few days ago the alternative rockers released their newest album "Refugeeum" which became another milestone in the bands discography. SEB and JE from the band were very glad to provide us with some more background information and other interesting fact regarding the Black Space Riders and more....
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Guys, what can you tell us about the new album?
JE: Our new record, number four, is named „Refugeeum“ and we are very happy the way it sounds. It is a multi-layered and sphereful album that stands like a rock by still having a certain flow. It feels like being on a journey. You can recognise how proud we are about the new longplayer.
MHMB: For me „Refugeeum“ is a logical successor following „D:REI“. I think you guys developed your sound to a next level and perfectionized your music. How do you see this?
SEB: Right, we see it the same way. After having released „D:REI“ we didn’t conciously want to change something – not when it comes to us, but also not when it comes to our sound. It was more the cooperation and making music together that brought us to a next level.
MHMB: In your words, what are the main differences to „D:REI“?
JE: We took the heaviness and the power from „D:REI“ and added a certain openess, clarity and fragility to our music. This starts with the songwriting and finds its continuation in production and sound. This width, the variety, you had between the different songs of the „D:REI: album comes back in each of the songs on „Refugeeum“. Also the lyrics are more tangible and down to earth – something that is very obvious considering the new overall theme of the album.
MHMB: You guys mix different styles in your music – psychedelic, doom, space and alternative rock. Are those styles also representing the different preferences of the band members?
SEB: I think it is more the enlarged common ground of various influences of each band member. This leads to how we want to sound as Black Space Riders. The different preferences of the band members are much broader than the sound of Black Space Riders.
MHMB: Which bands had the biggets impact on you guys?
JE: This is very diverse and covers metal, punk, wave, alternative, pop, indie, psychedelic, hip-hop, reggae, world-music, electronic, singer-songwriter and sometimes even hardcore, black metal and all the thrash-/death metal stuff. In one or another way you’ll find all this back in our music. The base is of course the mighty classic and pschedelic riffs, but the way how we do it is a grooving way that includes a relaxed trip-hop vibe. In addition, there is a lot of New Wave that impacts us. Common influencers for us as a bands are Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, The Chameleons, Faith No More, Motorpsycho, Monster Magnet, Massive Attack and some more.
MHMB: There are some pretty long tracks on the album, like e.g. „Run to the plains“. Are those long tracks happen by coinsidence or is it planned?
SEB: Those long tracks result out of the creative process. We don’t plan things in the beginning of a new session. Things need to sink in. Those recordings will be picked-up by C.RIP, our drummer, who has a look on the stuff through his eyes and starts to work on song structure and arrangements. Those are than the base for the next rehearsal and so on. That’s how it goes on and on. But sometimes, like with „Born a lion“ and „Letter to a young one“ from „D:REI“ we have those shorter and to the point songs too. There we build-up on a basic idea from JE, SLI or SAQ.
MHMB: Sometimes I got the feeling of jam sessions when I listen to some of the track.
JE: I think SEB decribed it perfectly. Some of the tunes like „Vortex su“ are the result of jam sessions while some other stuff like „Born a lion“ and „Universal bloodlines“ are already pre-arranged before we start. For those two songs I prepared a recording script at home which we used as a base to build on.
MHMB: „Refugeeum“ will be also released as vinyl. What is your opinion about the current vinyl boom?
SEB: If this means that music is not just an easy consumable good, but more something listeners take some time for, than it is something that is very welcome. Already the previous two records „Light ist he new black“ and „D:REI“ have been released on vinyl because we think that this is the best for our music. You have something real in hand and also the visual expression is much stronger than a small USB stick. And last but not least, vinyl has the better sound – in case you have a good sound system.
MHMB: „Refugeeum“ is a very up-to-date name for the record; considering all the riots and wars. Was this a reason why you have chosen this title?
JE: Definitely. We HAD TO do this album. If you think about the highly emotional and sad fate of refugees you can’t wink at this and see it only to an abstract political issue. We want and need more more empathy. This empathy would reveal the importance of helping others instead of shouting out stupdi slogans.
MHMB: How does your personal ‚refugeeum’ look like?
SEB: Living room, earphones and a great record; ccompanied by a 15 years old Laphroaig.
JE: Beyong the polar circle during the Indian Summer. Behind me a cabin and a fly rod in my hand: only the river and me!
MHMB: So far you guys have announced a few live shows. Are there pans for tour through Germany?
JE: Yes. More dates are supposed to come. Unfortunately we can’t be on the road all over the year but joining one of our shows is an experience. Therefore keep you eyes wide open.
MHMB: What are the bands you guys would love to join on tour?
SEB: Purely from a musical point of view I would love to open for Black Sabbath. JE and myself have seen Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats doing this and we spontaneuosly agreed that we want to do the same.
MHMB: Your focus is pretty much on Germany at the moment. How about other European countries?
JE: Right, we are best known in Germany and we play most of our shows there. But we also had shows in Austria, Switzerland and Norway. But thanks to digitalisation our fans are coming from all over the world and when the offers are OK – why not playing abroad.
MHMB: You gave yourself names liek JE, SLI, SAQ, CRIP and SEB. What ist he thought behind those names?
SEB: Our Black Space Riders names are the ones we are using in the parallel universe. And even the NSA failed so far with their algorithms to find out more.
MHMB: You guys are from Münster. It’s a student city which is also the homebase for bands like Mad Max, Eat The Gun and Zodiac. It seems there is a quite vital scene in Münster.
JE: Mad Max was already exisiting when I went to school. So, I guess Vossi and Juergen are even older than I am. I know Henrik and Peter from Eat The Gun very well and we are friends with the guys from Zodiac and Long Distance Calling. Muenster is more ‚indie’ and ‚electro’ than ‚metal’; still there are are metal bands coming from this area too, like Naera. There are good posibilities when it comes to rehearsal rooms which adds getting to know each other much better. There are around 150-200 bands doing rehearsals where have our homebase – at the Alter Güterbahnhof. And on the next floor there is a cool guitar shop called ‚Rare Guitar’ that also includes a pub. All this brings musicians closer together.
What are you doing in times when you’re not busy with the Black Space Riders?
SEB: Each of us has a job because we have to manage daily life. And from a musical point of view some of us have other activities besides Black Space Riders too. Oh yeah ... and family of course *smile*
MHMB: Guys, thanks for all those ineresting insights. Is there something more you want to share with the fans?
JE: Actually we can’t complain. Of course there isn’t everything great here either, but this is another story. There are people suffering much more than we do. This is something that shouldn’t get you down all day long, but it’s important to have it in mind. For the rest: Save the world! Listen to good music! Listen to Black Space Riders!