Raymond Westland puts the questions to Jan Hofmann, bass player for German progressive metal instrumentalists Long Distance Calling. They talk about the new self-titled album, landing in the German charts and what the future holds for Long Distance Calling.
Hi there and thank you for doing this interview with ThisIsNotAScene. Your latest album received a lot of praise from the press. Are you (pleasantly) surprised by all this?
Hey, of course we are very pleased and still a little surprised even though we got good press from the very beginning of the band on. It´s always a little strange to wait for the first press feedback and of course you hope that it will be good.
I’ve even heard it entered the German charts. This is quite a feat for an instrumental prog band. Is this something you’ve anticipated?
It was a real surprise! We made it on # 36, which is really good and especially for an instrumental band. We really appreciate this, it shows that people are back for some real music and they are ready to support it, which is great. We are having a good time right now and hope we can follow this course.
The new album is named after the band. What’s the reason behind this?
Well, there are actually two reasons. The first one is that this is our third album, which is often described as the “most important one”. We wanted to have a kind of a statement with that, “hey, here we are and this is our third album”. The second reason is that it perfectly fits to the “concept” of the album, dealing with time, space and distance.
How does the creative process works within the band? Is it a very conscious and thought out process or do you guys use your feelings and emotions to create music?
I think it´s the second one. Most of the songs are/were created out of a jam session in the rehearsal room. We discuss a lot within the band but not that much about the music, we just let it happen, it´s more about feelings and emotions.
When listening to your music I hear influences from Tool/A Perfect Circle, Pink Floyd and even some Soundgarden. The main guitar riff of Arecibo reminds me even of Deftones. What are the band’s influences and do you consider a progressive rock/metal band?
Well you already named a lot of our main influences, congrats. Maybe some Porcupine Tree and Led Zeppelin on top and there you go. But we don´t think about this really, it´s just a matter of listening to music throughout the years so it comes naturally that those bands leave their traces in our personal taste and the songwriting. Of course you can hear that but we try to find our own mixture, balance and style.
The production of your new album is crystal clear. How did you manage to get such a sound?
Well, first of all we practiced a lot; to play tight is the most important thing. And we had a much better studio and equipment this time and on top of that a very good engineer. So this combination might be responsible for the good sound. We are VERY satisfied! We didn´t want to have a big blown “American” production, we wanted a very transparent but powerful production, we even didn´t double or copy anything.
John Bush (Armored Saint/ex Anthrax) does some guest vocals on Middleville. His vocals give the track a nice rough edge. He isn’t well known for doing guest vocals, so how did you get him to sing on your album?
We were on tour last year and listened to the “We´ve Come For You All” album from Anthrax and after that to the latest Amored Saint album. We felt that his voice would fir perfectly to the more rock oriented new album so we just asked him and he was into to which is great. He is a very nice and cool dude and a fantastic vocalist. We sent him a mail and he replied some days later saying “Yeah, let´s do it!”
Your previous albums contain guest spots from Peter Dolving (The Haunted) and Jonas Renske (Katatonia). Both singers have their own characteristic vocals style. Is this something you specifically look for and what other singers would you love to work with in the future?
We don´t think about that yet. We just want to have GOOD and charismatic singers, that´s the most important thing. But we want to keep the future wide open, so let´s see what happens.
Many bands use vocals in their music as their distinguishing feature. The music of Long Distance Calling is mainly instrumental. How do you manage to keep things fresh and interesting without using vocals?
For us it´s normal to have no singer, so it feels very natural to us. We just try to write interesting songs and have the melodies fill the space, on the new album we also concentrated on having more dynamics and rhythms and a lot more electronic sounds, so I guess there won´t be any space left for vocals, haha.
Germany is mainly known for the more traditional forms of metal. How come and is there a vibrant experimental/prog scene in your native country?
Not really I guess, those days are over. But Germany was also well known for it´s Krautrock bands, which made it to worldwide success, so there´s not only traditional metal. It just happened for us, we all played in (death) metal or hardcore bands before and we wanted to try something new and different. This band is very refreshing for all of us in the band.
Time for the final question. What’s in store for the band in the near future?
We hope to play more good tours and record more albums, which we can be proud of, that´s all from our side. Success is something that cannot be planned by the artist, it just happens or not. Let´s see what the future holds for us! We are ready to rumble!
Any final thoughts or remarks?
Thanks to everybody who supports and believes in us, we really appreciate this! Come to our shows and buy the album, you won´t be disappointed. We will come to the Netherlands sometime soon, so watch out for some ugly Germans, haha.