DATE OF INTERVIEW:
7th November 2016
MARGIE GERLITZ; SEBASTIAN REICHL; WERNER RIEDL
Deadlock have always been a metal band free from any obvious subgenre labelling, precisely because they borrow from, and crossover, a multitude of subgenres in their music. And their compelling metal hybrid was evidenced once again this summer, when they released their seventh full-length work, 'Hybris'. It was also their first album to showcase the talents of new vocalist Margie Gerlitz, who joined the band's ranks when their singer for the past twelve years, Sabine Scherer, decided to leave the fold. Metal Discovery quizzed the band about 'Hybris', new members and future plans...
METAL DISCOVERY: The new album’s been out there a few months now, so have you been pleased by how it’s been received, thus far? Have reviews been generally favourable?
MARGIE: Oh, yes! Especially I am very pleased how the fans accept me. It isn't easy to replace Sabine after such a long time. She's a really good singer and the fans love her. That's why it was also important for me how the critics evaluate ‘Hybris’.
(Margie Gerlitz on replacing Deadlock's longtime vocalist, Sabine Scherer)
"...I was insecure if the fans would accept me as the new frontwoman. Besides the singing, it's also important what kind of person you are. Sometimes you dislike someone and don't know why. It's human. The only thing I can do is to be myself. Some people like me, some don't."
Deadlock - promo shot, 2015
Interview by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2015 - Severin Schweiger
Deadlock Official Website:
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
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METAL DISCOVERY: Would you say this new one is your most expansive album to date, style-wise?
BASTI: Deadlock was always a band who crossed musical borders. On some albums you can find hip hop or techno mixed with metal. The only two things which are new on this album are the classical singing and the German lyrics on ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’. Besides that, it's a typical Deadlock album, harsh vs. sweet vocals accompanied by hard guitar riffs.
METAL DISCOVERY: Hybris’ has such a wonderfully realised fusion of elements, where everything gels so well, and with a very natural flow in the compositions. Were the songwriting and recording sessions a very natural process, or did you have to work hard to get everything to blend as well as it does?
MARGIE: As you may know, Basti is our main songwriter. That means he does the most of the musical part. Since Basti became a father last year, it wasn't easy for him to find enough time. But we tried to support him as much as we could. At the beginning, it was a little bit hard for me to find my role. In the end we all were a pretty good team. So for me it felt like a natural process.
METAL DISCOVERY: Half of Deadlock’s members are recent recruits during the past couple of years, yet the integrity and essence of the band remain intact. Presumably, the new musicians were recruited because they get just what Deadlock are all about, but have they also brought anything new into the band, either artistically or otherwise?
MARGIE: Everyone brought something into the band. Chris, for example, is also a very good photographer and has a big network in the media sector. That made the production of ‘The Longest Road’ much easier. John knows a lot about marketing and knows exactly what you need to do and when. I think I'm only good in singing. Wait! I can also bake and I think the boys like it ;)
METAL DISCOVERY: When bands lose a long-term vocalist, as you did when Sabine Scherer decided to leave earlier this year after twelve years fronting Deadlock, it can prove to be quite a tumultuous time. However, Margi has done such an amazing job on ‘Hybris’, so I presume she’s been accepted with wide open arms by your fanbase?
WERNER: For us, it hasn’t been a quite tumultuous time. The decision Sabine made was accepted by everybody in the band quite well. And with Margie, we found an equivalent substitute for Sabine! On the whole, Margie has been accepted with wide open arms by our fans. Sure, there are some critics, who miss Sabine, but when they see Margie perform live, all their doubts are dispelled!
METAL DISCOVERY: Was Margi in any small way apprehensive about stepping into the shoes of such a widely admired frontwoman, or was she always assured that her vocal abilities would win over the fans?
MARGIE: It's very important to know your abilities and I do. Even though, I was insecure if the fans would accept me as the new frontwoman. Besides the singing, it's also important what kind of person you are. Sometimes you dislike someone and don't know why. It's human. The only thing I can do is to be myself. Some people like me, some don't.
METAL DISCOVERY: You respectfully honour the memory of your previous drummer, Tobias Graf, who very sadly passed away in 2014, with a minute silence at the end of ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’. It’s such a beautiful idea and, as I said in my review, “It's a poignant moment, made more emphatic by the track's sudden conclusion and jarring transition into nothingness.” Was the idea there, right from the start, to honour his memory in this way?
BASTI: While ‘Hybris’ was born, it was already clear for me that we have to eternalize Tobi on this album. The idea of the minute of silence arose while we worked in the studio. We talked about the ending of ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’. I wanted to end this song with kind of collapse. And Eike (one of our producers) said: "Hey! What do you think about a minute silence?"
METAL DISCOVERY: Aside from ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’, some of the other songs, both lyrically and in the emotions conveyed through the vocals and instrumentations, come across as very personal pieces. What song, or songs, on the album do you have the most profound emotional connection with and why?
MARGIE: For me, ‘Backstory Wound’ is a very moving song. We have only one world and at the moment I see many people exploiting this world as if there's no tomorrow. They take and take, but never give something back. But I can also recognize a transition. There are also good people, who care for our planet. So… I still hope for a better world, or should I say, social intelligence of this mankind?
METAL DISCOVERY: A feature-length, 90 minute documentary, ‘The Longest Road’, accompanies the album’s release, so why did you decide now was the right time for such a film? Did you feel that during such a transitional period for Deadlock, it’d be a good way of heralding a new chapter for the band in this way?
BASTI: Frankly, this documentary wasn't really planned. We've only had the idea to introduce the new band members in a short film (15 minutes). But it got longer and longer and, in the end, we've had a lot of material with some personal, funny or thoughtful moments, which we've decided to share with our fans. And I think it's also a very honest way to say: “Hey! That's what Deadlock is now!”
METAL DISCOVERY: Now with a revitalised lineup for Deadlock, will you be planning a follow-up to ‘Hybris’ as soon as possible, while the momentum’s there? Are you constantly writing new material?
BASTI: First of all, we have to promote ‘Hybris’. I think there are still people who didn't give a closer look on Deadlock. There are also a few festivals left and some club gigs in this year. After that, we also wanna play a small tour. Then we can maybe talk about a new album, but not before ;)
METAL DISCOVERY: Finally, what are your plans now the summer festival season is over? Further touring planned in support of ‘Hybris’? Any interest expressed from UK promoters, wanting to get Deadlock over here?
WERNER: In 2017, we want to promote ‘Hybris’ on as many festivals as we can. A few festivals are already confirmed and perhaps there will be a tour in 2017.