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22 2021

Interview with Lord of the Lost

Dont judge a book by its cover

The creation of the seventh "heavy" studio album by the German industrial-goth-metal band Lord of the Lost was shrouded in mystery and surrounded by riddles and hints. The musicians from Hamburg had been flirting with the public for a long time, offering to guess the theme and title of the new record. However, nobody could expect such specific theme as the person of Judas Iscariot and the fact that the album would be double sized, containing 24 songs and all possible bonuses and collaborations with musicians of different styles and directions. Judging from the materials available online, we are expecting a solemn and anxious pompous album, with choirs, variety of instruments and quite commercially verified sound, on which a huge team of professionals has worked. The band's mastermind and front man Chris "Lord" Harms and drummer Nik have kindly agreed to answer few of our questions prior to the records release which is planned to drop July 2.


Interview with Lord of the Lost


How much do you hate interviews?

CHRIS: I don’t hate them at all. Most of them are very interesting, some are repetitive and boring. In some rare cases some questions are disappointing. If one has understood that an interview is always about the answer and never about the question, even these question can make sense eventually. In any case, interviews are part of the job. And the sole fact that someone is asking ME for an interview, makes me a privileged person. So I will never complain.

How often do you lie?

CHRIS: Always. Even this was a lie.

There were are a lot of new albums released this year. Is it difficult to cope with such competition? Who do you think will get the first place in sales?

CHRIS: I mean in the most positive way when I say: I don’t know, I don’t care. We have produced an album without one single compromise, an album which makes us 100% happy, proud and gives us the deepest contentment. No competition or number in sales can change that. Thoughts of sales and competition have never been the engine in this vehicle here. It has always been pure passion for what we are doing. And this is the only way to keep being authentic and 100% true.

Your music has a retro feel to it. Are you going to get rid of it in future albums?

NIK: On JUDAS as well as on THORNSTAR we used a lot of 80s sounds; maybe that’s what you mean when you say „retro feel“. In general we write music in that way we just feel at the moment. No one can say how we will feel in future. We do what feels right to us, whatever it may be.

Some people say that bands today no longer write all-time great hits like Queen or Dio did. Do you have anything to say about that? Do you already have your "stadium song"?

NIK: We’re living in fast moving times. This also reflects in music industry. There are so many new artists releasing so much new stuff every year. That makes it even more difficult to land a hit today, as it was 30 years ago. But in our audience we definitely have some kinda „evergreens“ like „Dry The Rain“, „La Bomba“ or „Die Tomorrow“. A „stadium song“ would be „Credo“, I think.

CHRIS: I could not name one song of Dio, to be honest. That kind of answers it, I guess But I must say, that we never try to write hits. As said before, we just do, what feels right. If one of these songs is hit material, people will make it a hit. We do not overthink these things. We have marketing strategies, but not hit-making-strategies - we do not want to go this way. This way only leads to bands hating their own music.

The release of the new album was shrouded in mystery. Was it hard to keep it a secret? Who’s idea was it?

CHRIS: No. Me and Pi did come up with it, like we came up with most of the general concept and marketing strategies.

Some of your fans weren't very happy with the fact that your new album, in a way, touches on religious themes. But the album is not about religion at all, is it?

NIK: Of course „Judas“ is a religious theme per se. But you also can coin these songs about friendship, love, hate, betrayal and forgive to your daily life. For us it was more the interesting character of Judas, than the religious aspect to write an album about.

CHRIS: If people are not happy about religious themes in music, they should not listen to goth or metal music. These genres are overfilled with religion-based content. But as Nik said, this is not an album about religion or the bible. The main inspiration hails from the character of Judas Iscariot himself. One of the most misunderstood and one-sidedly seen characters in religious history. But: don’t judge a book by it’s cover! If you look further, think a bit, and start to re-interpret what might have happened, the part that Judas played here becomes something else. If you carry it to extremes Judas becomes the actual saviour. Without Judas, no crucifixion, no „saviour“, no cross as a symbol for Christianity, not even Christianity itself, no churches, nothing like that. This area of tension between being a victim, ascapegoat, a traitor, a saviour, a sinner, a saint? The keyword here is the so called “salvific treason”. And what was the intention here? God? Did God go to Judas to tell him to cause this chain reacion? Was it Judas' idea a the one pure friendly turn towards Jesus Christ? Did Jesus ask him?Did they switch places and Judas died on the cross? All these things are common interpretations. There are way more though. If you believe in all of that, “fact” is, that Judas went to hell for his deed, even if this was not treason without reason but absolute martyrdom! And Jesus went to heaven. Unbelievably interesting. The album JUDAS is not telling just one story though, that’d be super boring. It’s more about these different thoughts and emotions on Judas and how his character is being reflected in each single one of us. It’s neither an album against religion, nor is it a religious record, which would be weird for agnostics like us anyway.

How about presenting the album in a church? I just saw a couple of suitable churches in Germany.

CHRIS: No, for reasons stated above, I don’t see that. I’d like to do an acoustic stream show in a church though, maybe for Christmas. Churches have great acoustics and a quiet and peaceful vibe. And if we find a church that let’s us play our songs there, I’m happy to bring these worlds together. Tolerance is not a one-way-street. If I blame the whole world for not being tolerant, I cannot be most intolerant myself.

How did you come up with the idea of adding a chorus to your recordings?

CHRIS: We thought, if a song consisted only of verses, transitions, intros and outros, it might be a bit boring. I think more than 99 of 100 songs in non-classical music are using the concept of having a chorus.

Was there a discussion about splitting the "Judas" album into two parts instead of releasing so many songs at once? You could have made more money if you sold two records instead of one.

CHRIS: Yep, someone from the label brought that up. But we are not a band that puts money in first place. Our artistic vision was a grand piece of music, a double album concept, something huge and unforgettable for album #7. Not some smart plan to make as much money as possible for the least amount of work. We did not become artists to got the easy way.

How about a rock opera on the theater stage based on your "Judas" record? Can we draw parallels between the rock opera "Jesus Christ - superstar" and your record "Judas"?

NIK: First of all we’d be happy to be able to finally tour again in general. Of course well play many of the new ones live, but to deliver it as an opera like Ayreon or Tobias Sammet did was never a plan so far.

CHRIS: I didn’t even watch or listen to JC Superstar yet


Interview with Lord of the Lost

In the story of Christ and Judas, Jesus was trying to teach the apostles to think freely, regardless of dogma, but it was only Judas who learned this creative thinking. Are you too trying to teach your listeners to think for themselves?

CHRIS: JUDAS was - if we imagine for one moment, that this could be something historical - one step ahead here, yes. But we are not trying to teach people how to interpret, consume or perceive what we do. Everyone does that differently, individually. There’s no wrong interpretation. It was just wrong if someone assumed that the own interpretation is correlating with the artist’s initial idea.

In the story of Judas and Christ, only Judas had an opinion different from that of the majority of the disciples. ould Judas be a symbol of free-thinking? Or does this parable about Jesus, teaches us that in order to survive, we must not argue with authority and there will always be punishment for boldness and an opinion different from that of the majority?

CHRIS: There are SO MANY versions of this story, that it’s impossible to find a general answer here. And I am not interested in finding a general answer. For me, in this „Christian Mythology “, the character of Judas offers this huge variety of seeing him, in this boundless grey area of possibilities.

I saw that you have a couple of new guitars. Are these guitars that were created specifically for the new album, for a new sound and visual style?

CHRIS: Some of us just wanted to have a new instrument. No deeper meaning here.

What do you think of the current situation, where musicians not only write songs, but also have to be active on social media? Because today, without popularity on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, it's hard to break through all that digital noise and get noticed.

NIK: The business has changed. It’s become very fast moving and the internet is a great way to distribute the music for everyone. It’s so easy to present your art to so many people as it was never before. On the other hand the CD sales went down and you have to be as present as possible to as many people as possible. So all the social media stuff has definitely become a very important part of the work of a musician. But if some musicians do not want to do this themselves, music industry offers a sheer endless number of agencies, that do social media stuff for the bands

Is it hard to be a public person in a time when people (including people who are not always kind to you) are watching your every move, listening to your every word, and it's so easy to be accused of sexism, racism, or wrong political views?

NIK: Luckily we’re still able to keep our privacy, but of course we reach a lot of people out there when posting things in social media. The more important it is to declare a clear opinion.

CHRIS: „With great power comes great responsibility“ - but no matter how wise I choose my words, there will always be at least one person that is going to be offended. You can’t make it right for everyone. And I’m not trying to.

From time to time I ask different musicians what are 7 things that could make the world a better place. What are 7 things that could make the world a better place?

NIK: Tolerance, equality, tolerance, equality, tolerance, equality and love.

CHRIS: Seven things can never be enough. But on top of everything, one thing stands out to me: Empathy.

There is an opinion that in order to create, an artist must be miserable. All great art is based on sin and passion. Many musicians created their best hits when they had problems with drugs, alcohol and life in general. Do you not need such a catalyst for creativity anymore? Can you work in a state of happiness?

CHRIS: I do not agree with this opinion.

Some psychologists say that people who are not confident or do not like themselves are very fond of getting tattoos and various body modifications. Many musicians like to get tattoos and have a striking image. Do you believe that bright stage behavior and image is it an attempt to hide your inner problems and complexes from people and an attempt to prove something to yourself and the world?

CHRIS: Apart from these psychologists I truly believe that everyone is doing things for very different reasons. Some people pierce their dick because they must overcome whatever trauma. Others just really like it for whatever reason. That being said, I am not the right person to discuss some psychologist’s - frankly said - quite narrow-minded and one-sided opinion.


Interview with Lord of the Lost

You are often referred to as one of the most handsome men in the "dark scene". Are you afraid of getting old? Are you afraid that some of your fans will lose interest in your work, because you are no longer young and hot? Do you feel held hostage by the commercial formula "sex sells"? How about cosmetology and plastic surgery?

CHRIS: No, I’m not afraid. I am not young and hot anymore anyway. I’m 41. Of course, I work out, eat healthy, don’t do drugs, don’t drink, don’t smoke. But I mainly do this because I, MYSELF, want to feel fine. And I want to be a healthy father to my kids. Apart from that, I will never do plastic surgery. And having a girlfriend doing that, would be a reason to leave her. I know, this is super arrogant and mean to say, and I’m sure that eventually I could not leave someone I love for that reason, but: I do not support this at all! And I don’t know how to live with someone doing that, without having a SERIOUS healthwise reason for it.

How do you feel about tribute bands? For example, bands that copy Rammstein or AC/DC. How would you feel about idea the tribute band of Lord of the Lost?

NIK: On one hand it is a great recognition for an artist when someone pays tribute to a band, on the other hand for many people it’s the easier way to hear the music of a band live, for example if the tickets for a tour are sold out too fast as it would be possible to get one.

CHRIS: It would be funny to see a LOTL tribute once. But all in all: Kids, do your own stuff! Don’t be a worse copy of a better original!

Some people call your band "discount HIM" or "German HIM knock-off". How do you feel about that?

NIK: People do that? Okay. I don’t get it.

CHRIS: There will always be people saying these things. Trying to insult, trying to harm, trying to get attention. That’s okay, I guess, if venting this negativity helps them to feel better, fine.

Don't you think that in today's world the framework of censorship is becoming more and more rigid?

CHRIS: I don’t know.

I noticed that some people were disgruntled with the cover of your last album Swan songs III. Some fans saw in the image signs of violence, oppression of women and excessive sexualization. Do you have any concerns about your new album hurting religious people feelings?

CHRIS: As I said, some people will always be offended. If you produce art with extreme elements, you should not be offended by people being offended though.

You have quite a peculiar sense of humor. Have your jokes ever got you in trouble?

NIK: Yep.

In the good old days, musicians were rebels, they were not afraid to go against society or the law. And now many rock stars are just boys and girls from good families who get tattoos to appear dangerous and buy expensive guitars and fancy clothes. What do you think about this?

CHRIS: I think that anyone should be doing what makes her or him happy, as long as no one else is actively harmed or oppressed by it. And I also think that many of these „rebels from the good old days“ are breathing the spirit of a legend which consists of more than their actual biography.


Interview with Lord of the Lost

Are you afraid of not living up to someone else’s expectations? Or is not meeting your own expectations far worse of an option?

CHRIS: Neither nor. I am at peace with myself and thus I am not dependent on the expectations of people that I, in most cases, have never even met in real life. What kind of artist could I be, if my art would be dependent on these kinds of fears?

Have you considered leaving metal music in time and devote yourself to modern classical music? Maybe writing a piece in the style of modern classical music?

CHRIS: Are we actually 100% IN metal music so we can actually leave it?

Chris, many people characterize you as a very nice person. Maybe this a socially acceptable mask for a better reputation (image)? The mask behind which hides a cold and calculating person and manager?

CHRIS: This is one of these very disappointing questions I was talking about. But as I said, I won’t complain.

Does your inner compass often tell you that the idea is not good enough? Flattery or truth, which do you prefer?

CHRIS: Sometimes, of course. In this case I keep on working or re-think it entirely. If none of that helps, maybe the entire idea wasn’t good enough so I let go of it. Flattery does not help. There ore not more than a handful of people whose opinions matter to me, and these people, of course, confer the biggest honor on me: the truth.

From a producer's point of view, is it difficult to find a balance between what you want to do and what sells best?

CHRIS: No, I find that very easy. And it always depends a lot on who I am producing for. It depends on the artist’s focus. If the artists is LOTL, we do not have to find this balance anyway. We do what feels right.

Is it harder for you to sing about love and about the feeling being in love as you get older? Because the feelings and perceptions of a young man and an adult man with a family are different...

CHRIS: No, it’s not. You will understand when you get older yourself.

Do you sometimes feel that you are doing something ridiculous?

NIK: Yes. It’s important to do such things from time to time.

Chris, some of your fans say you have something similar with David Bowie. Would you agree to play the Goblin King in the second part of Labyrinth?

CHRIS: I am sure there are millions of actual actors out there that were so much better in playing that part than myself And first of all, I have not seen that movie yet, I only know the soundtrack.

You mentioned once that you're not very interested in people. But you do keep in close contact with your fans, you answer questions, you respond to comments from time to time. Do you show your gratitude to your fans this way, or is it just part of your job? Or do you occasionally hear some interesting topics or questions from other people?

CHRIS: I am not interested in being around people all the time. i’m not starting a talk in a bar. I wouldn’t even go to a bar if it wasn’t for someone asking me to join him or her. That does not mean that I do not like to communicate. Answering the other questions: „yes“ to everything. It’s all true, it’s not a neither/nor.

Are there any things, videos, songs, or photos that you are ashamed of and would like to remove from the Internet?

NIK: No.

Considering how popular in Russia you are, are there any plans to sing something in Russian language? Where did you get such love and interest in Russia?

CHRIS: Maybe one day, yes. So far I did not have the right initial spark for that. Time will tell. And risking to piss someone off: I am not more or less interested in Russia or russian fans as in the rest of the world and their fans. There are no class A or class B fans. I love playing in Russia and I love our fans. But that does not mean that I love others less.

And lastly, what will your message be to Russian fans?

NIK: Stay healthy, stay safe! We’ll meet again soon!

 


Jenet Bonishi

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Catharsis













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