Equilibirum are currently doing a run through Europe with Heidevolk, Finsterfrost & Northgard. Prior to their show at London’s underworld on Monday, founding member and guitarist René very kindly gave me a call to answer a couple of questions.
Huge thanks to Claire at Nuclear Blast for organising and to René for his time.
Hello, how you doing?
Doing very well thanks, how you doing?
Doing good thanks, let me just move to somewhere quieter as it’s a bit loud here. *Few seconds pass* There we go! That’s better!
Excellent. Now you’re currently doing a little run through Europe with Heidevolk, Finsterfrost & Northgard. How have the shows been so far?
We’re halfway through the tour now and it’s been great so far. We’ve had a lot of sold out and almost sold out shows so far and it’s been really great.
That’s good to hear! Armageddon the most recent album came out in August. How do you think the response has been?
I think we reactions we’ve had so far have been really good. We are really happy with it. Of course it’s important to make music that we are happy with, but when people also like it then that makes us even happier.
We’ve also been having a lot of fun playing the new songs on tour. We’ve been playing 6/7 songs in our set and the reactions have been super positive. So yeah, I’d say we’re very happy with the results.
Also with this album, it was the first one you did without Andreas and Sandra. Did that affect the process in anyway?
We’ve had a lot of member changes, particularly during the start of the band. But since I write all the music in the band it didn’t really affect the writing.
I’ve just found a much quieter place now.
Oh excellent. I’ve been to the Underworld a few times and it can be quite loud.
Exactly! I mean the sun is shining and there is a lot of people outside today so it’s not been easy.
That’s very true! Now, I noticed with this album that a number of the songs were in English rather than German. What was the main reason behind this?
For one reason, we think that, for some songs, the English language fits better to the sound and the vibe of the music. So on the one hand it is for the music but it’s also because we had a lot of people wanting to understand the lyrics more. With this album in particular the lyrics are quite important so we chose to sing some of them in English. That way people don’t have to go to Google or use a translator to understand it.
Back around the time of Rekreatur you did a bonus version of the album that featured a couple of your songs being played acoustically. Do you maybe have any plans to something similar in the future as I quite enjoyed it!
There are not actual plans as of yet but I also had a lot of fun to write and play these acoustic versions. I’m sure that in the future we will do a couple of acoustic versions of some other songs.
Would you mind listing off some of the additional instruments that you use in the music?
In most of the songs we actually use sample libraries and virtual instruments. We also used some acoustic instruments that we used such as: Acoustic guitars, Flutes and Accordions. But most of the symphonic stuff does come from virtual instruments.
We get a lot of questions as to why we don’t record or play with an orchestra all the time. Of course on one side this is much more expensive as you can imagine, but also it’s a totally different approach. I would never write the same thing that I would for a real orchestra as I would for a virtual instruments. There’s completely different dynamics and things but it works for us.
Would you mind listing off what samples you use?
Yeah sure! It’s a mixed bag of both old and new sound libraries. We use a lot of EastWest, Vienna Symphonic, Synphobia, Spectra Sonic and Native Instruments stuff. My library has grown quite big over time!
In terms of mixing/mastering on your albums, do you do that in house or do you outsource it?
For Armageddon I did the mix on the album. For mastering we used Maor Applebaum who is based in Los Angeles. He has a really nice mastering studio and did a really good job with it.
Keeping with the gear theme, what sort of gear do you use to play live?
At the moment we’re trying out Kemper units. We really like the sound and they are much easier to handle than having massive rigs! ESP guitars have also recently endorsed me and both Dom and Makki also use ESP.
That reminds me, your Tour Manager recently joined you on Bass. What’s it been like playing with him?
We’ve known Makki for a long time and it’s always good to have friends on stage with you. He’s also a great bassist so he’s fitted in really well.
Coming to the end now, my final question for you is what advice would you give to a band that is just starting out?
Back when we started we had the benefit of Internet radio and things. That was 15 years ago though so I don’t think it works that way anymore sadly. Facebook has become really prominent now so that’s kind of replaced it. The most important thing though is that you need to work hard. There’s no pre-set or anything so you need to put the work in. You should also definitely do what your heart tells you. It doesn’t make sense if you think that “Oh I want to be famous and have a famous album”. It should be about the music and if people like it then continue in that direction. The standard for demos is so high now as well so you need to have a good demo. Either invest in getting the gear yourself or pay for a good studio and a good engineer. And play a lot of shows as well.
Thank you very much your time today René. I wish you the best for the rest of your tour!
Thank you very much man!