Is This The End? Seeb Speaks Out.
German Symphonic Power Metal band 'Orden Ogan' release their new album form AFM Records titled 'To The End', which is a fantastic new album. The band have certainly come a long way since the early days 'Easton Hope' back in 2010 and their 'Testimonium A.D.' in 2004. The band have shared the stages of such festivals as Wacken, Rock hard Festival, Bang Your Head, and many festivals. Formed by Seeb Levermann (vocals & guitars), Tobin Kersting (guitars), Niels Loffler (bass), Dirk Mever- Berhorn (drums) these young guys play some impressive metal, like a young version of Blind Guardian meets Gamma Ray should certainly appeal to fans of that nature. I managed to chat with frontman Seeb about the new album and the formation of the band, here is what he had to say.
Well it's good to speak to you, how was your flight into London? Also where do you go from there?
"Yeah nice to speak to you too, my flight was not great as we had lots of turbulence so I was glad to have my feet on the ground (laughing). I'm here only for one day and then tomorrow I'm in Paris were I will stay there for 2 days."
As this is the 1st interview with your band, could you please tell me when the band was formed and how many line-up changes have you had?
"Well that is a very interesting question because in Wikepedia people keep writing different stuff about that because in 2008 we released our debut album 'Vale' on a small German label and it was re-released in 2010, so you could say the band was formed some time before that. Our demo CD 'Testimonium A.D.' in 2004 and if you go all the way back with my co founder and drummer we were like 14 yrs old and just jamming around. So we count our history from 2008 basically."
Were did you meet the rest of the band? Was it in school? at Clubs?
"Well my drummer and me we started playing together playing computer games at the age of about 12yrs old (laughing) and I started playing guitar at my grand mothers house and I told him to buy a drum kit and at that time he could not afford one so when he was 14yrs old his parents gave him one for his birthday so you could say that is when our career got started and in 98 was our 1st show we played in a really small club and the bands name 'Orden Ogan' was already named back then. We were not doing anything serious back then and in 2002 we split up and we didn't make any music for 2-3yrs ."
Why did you break up, what was the reason?
"Like I said before it was just a fun thing we were just kids playing music and our guitar player back then left the band for whatever reason and then I met our new guitar player Tobin who is still in the band and he is a pupil of Victor Smolski from Rage, so he studied with him for about 8yrs (Ed: Has your band ever supported Rage then?) No we haven't yet but we have played some festivals together but no tour as of yet. I remember Victor asking us that we should do a tour of Russia together in the future."
Growing up which bands have influenced or inspired you?
"Well when I started playing the guitar and learning to sing was the time when Blind Guardian 'Imagination from the other Side' & Gamma Ray released 'The land of the Free', and I would say I was really into that kind of music back then which has changed a lot now and I am now a producer as well as a musician. I listen too a lot of music now that is well produced and I am working with a band now called 'Winter Storm' a Power Metal band who have just released their debut album and many people seem to like it very much right now. At the moment I am listening too a lot of melodic Death Metal and there are bands out there who have done 1 or 2 really good albums and some that are just ok, and I think that Blind Guardian's 'Imaginations....' is an outstanding album and 'Death or Glory' from Running Wild is the best Heavy Metal album ever made. The new stuff from bands like this are not that appealing to me anymore. As for producers I like the works of Andy Sneap & Colin Richardson (Ed: I thought you might of said somebody like Tommy Hansen as a good producer) no not at all he is a great producer but like Is aid I am into Colin & Andy's work. If you listen to our new album it is close to that of Colin's work & Andy's too so I am very proud of the work I have achieved on this new album."
For those like me what does the bands name mean and what other names did you have?
(Laughing) "Every interview we had done has a different story for the bands name and our management and record label said you can't keep confusing peoples minds and we have to tell people what it really means. It is a little bit boring but 'Oden' is a German word for 'Order' & 'Ogan' is the word for 'fear' so basically it is the order of fear."
So each release you have done do they have different reflections, what I mean is how do you see each album as a progression?
"Well I think the debut 'Testimonium...' is more to be seen as a demo and I think we were closer to the sound that we have now back then. We started out as a really heavy Power Metal band and when we did the 1st CD we introduced some Folk music in our music. It is far away from our real sound these days and I think 'Vale' was what we are doing these days and the 'Easton Hope' album had even more orchestral elements in the album and I would say it is a prog monster because there is so much happening on that record. With the new album 'To the End' I really tried to scale all of these orchestral ideas back and when I do demos I like to write most of the melodies on the guitar and on 'Easton Hope' we but a lot of these into the record. So for the new album we had to sound like a Heavy Metal band and we had to fuck off the orchestral parts off the record and there are still keyboards on the album but the metal riffs were written on the guitars for a change."
Are you happy with your label AFM?
"I am very happy with AFM Records, it is not the biggest label but they look after the bands and they are doing a great job right now with promotion etc... and we are 1 of 2 priority acts right now so I feel really happy about that. I think the other priority is Kissing Dynamite and I have a really good relationship with AFM and we talk almost every other day so they are pushing the band really hard right now."
So let's talk about the new album 'To the End', why the title & what other titles did you have for the album?
"I think the album name came from the title track and it was one of the finished 1st songs on the album and it is about a girl who is dying for her beliefs and would be burnt at the stake and it is basically saying that I will stick to my beliefs and take it to the end. On one hand it is a very strong album title and it has helped us with our success and we have just kept going and going and the bands growth is growing."
So who did the artwork for the album? Was it Andreas Marschall who did early Blind Guardian and Running Wild albums? Also how does the album cover reflect in the music for this album?
"Yes you are correct it was Andreas and when we did the 1st album 'Vale' we had a digital album cover artists and we thought it was ok but not the same and our guitarist said why don't you contact Andreas about doing the new album cover and we just laughed as if it was a joke. So I called him and he doesn't do that much now and he wanted to do the artwork so we were so happy to have him do this album cover. So he did the artwork for 'Vale'. 'Easton Hope' and the new one and I hope the relationship will remain with the 2 of us now."
Which songs on the new album stand out for you and why?
"I really don't want to sound arrogant but I think they are all very strong songs on this album and we re-recorded 'Angels War' & 'Mystic Symphony' and the Angels War was on the Testimonium album & Mystic Symphony was from 98 and we both love to play them live so we just wanted to revamp them. I think the title track is one of the best songs and I somewhat limited myself in the writing process in the past and that songs for the band should not be that hard and I don't want to scare people off. I also like 'Take this Light' the ballad."
Are the songs wrote as a team effort or by yourself?
"On this record I wrote 98% of the record just because I had a really rough time in my private life over the last 2 yrs and the rest of the band just gave ideas and input to the songs and I just could not work with that, I need a record that was straight into your face and heavy and fast."
I have noticed that there is a lot of Blind Guardian music in this record do you agree with me?
"Yes I do in a way but I don't feel that it is the up to date influences of Gamma Ray or Blind Guardian as I don't listen too that sort of music anymore it is maybe because I grew up with that sort of stuff. I like bands like Charmira right now I like the modern stuff but mainly bands like Benediction, Bolt Thrower but the productions are not that good. We do have a lot of modern influences but it is still melodic Power Metal but I don't like the happy metal like Helloween you will never hear it on one of our records."
Have you ever consider doing a side project doing Death Metal?
"Yes I have some ideas of doing something like that in the near future, but I don't talk about that right now."
How long did it take to record the new album?
"I am happy with the end results of the album and it took and I did almost everything myself like playing the bass, guitars and keyboards as we lost 3 members of the band and we are still good friends but the band takes up a lot of time and they could not keep up with the pressure of touring.. so it took some time to record and master but I am happy with the overall sound."
Well Seeb, thanks for taking your time out and doing the interview, best of luck with the album sales and touring. Do you have anything to say before we finish the interview?
"Yes thanks to the fans for their support, wse hope you like the new album and please come and see us live if you can, till the end!!!