Chain D.L.K.: Thank you for making this interview. Please tell us who you are and your history, please.
Erdenstern: Andreas: Thank you for the invitation! We had already known each other foryears when we formed Erdenstern in 2005. Coming from different musicalbackgrounds – Per had been singer and songwriter in an art rock band, aftera period working on songs I was making some soundtracks for different mediaand movie projects, and Eva-Maria was writing lyrics and organizing crossmedia art projects – we found we had one thing in common: the passion forfantastic stories in combination with music. In a way, Erdenstern was thelogical consequence.
Per: When we began, thinking in compositions so complex was unfamiliar tome. Normally, a song stands for itself. In Erdenstern’s music, we deal withthe whole album and a large number of seperate instruments that have to bearranged. But it is worth the effort!
Andreas: And it is fun to be able to try and test different ways.
Per: Almost addictive at times…
Eva-Maria: Oh, yes… when we got together for a larger musical project in2004, we were surprised we had so many similar ideas, even though ourexperiences were so differently. We formed a project that lead to thefounding of Erdenstern early 2005 – and we didn’t stop until now…
Chain D.L.K.: You are not signed by a label but release your CDs by your own. Why is that? How many copies have you sold of each release?
Erdenstern: Per: That is a question labels ask us as well… (smiles) Releasing ourmusic under our own label has something to do with the history ofErdenstern. Initially, we didn’t think the whole project would become thatbig – we just wanted to independently make our own CD and then see whathappens.
Eva-Maria: Learning the whole process of releasing and promoting a CD on ourown was fun, too, so we actually never thought of signing with a label. Whenwe found ourselves in a situation where we would have thought of looking fora label, we already had distribution and promotional contacts to theimportant traders and magazines in Germany. So we had to turn some requestsdown, because we were already doing the things the labels had to offer…
Andreas: Internationally, that is a different story. 2007 will beErdensterns year of going beyond borders. Getting more solid ground inEurope and going over to the states is our next primary aim – and we areinterested in cooperations in that area. We are pretty blown away by theresponse we have got already – after we sold 1000 copies of our promotioneditions, we decided to double the initial number of copies for eachfollowing album – and this is only our second year…
Chain D.L.K.: What is the intent of your music?
Erdenstern: Andreas: We love telling stories, and we especially like the way musicsupports them – musically we don’t tell what exactly happens, but what thestory feels like. We create the atmosphere and add to the setting, but thestory unfolds in each listeners imagination very individually – that is whatwe call music for the adventure in your mind. We use the orchestra as abrush or a pen to paint or write the fantastic musical imagery.
Per: The kind of music we use is not bound to a specific style. That is whatmakes the whole thing so exciting; the decisions which mixture ofinstruments and rhythms to use for telling a certain story or to achieve acertain effect.
Eva-Maria: It is like writing the score for an invisible movie. When ourlisteners describe their perceptions and ideas, we are often surprised howwell they fit together with our intentions, or how they expand our ideas tosomething new.
Andreas: In the end, there will be something like a musical library.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you want your music to be called? In my mind it is Dark ambient with fantasy inspiration.
Erdenstern: Eva-Maria: Agreed. Fantastic storytelling is our main source of inspiration,and on each album we try a different “flavour”, symbolized by the CDs colour- “Into The Green” is our mystic album, inspired by forests, wilderness, andtravel. “Into The Red” deals with medieval or fantasy-set warfare, and “IntoThe Blue” is our setting out to the seven seas. More colours are planned,but our lips are sealed about the next one – yet.Andreas: We have a very classical way of working, almost as on a symphony.We add various musical styles, according to the theme. That also makes us akind of fantasy soundtrack or score.
Per: In the future, we will also travel to other genres, musically as wellas regarding the stories.
Chain D.L.K.: Is everything electronic music?
Erdenstern: Andreas: We mix, because not everything isn’t possible to achieveelectronically, or sounds the way we want it to sound. We also combine ownsamples with acoustic instruments.
Eva-Maria: Until we feel the sound is complete.
Chain D.L.K.: Who do what in the band?
Erdenstern: Per: All three of us develop the concepts for the CDs, discuss the musicalapproaches and the arrangement – you could say we do the producing together.Andreas is our composer, and plays large parts of the music – acousticpercussion and various sound effects are done by all of us. Our coverillustrations are also Andreas’ work. Eva-Maria is managing the project anddoes most of our graphic design, plays the flute and represents Erdensternon fairs and conventions. I sing and play the guitar, also maintain ourpublic relations, and I am Erdenstern’s webmaster.Andreas. Also, Per is the wonderful solo voice on the albums and a greatarranger, too.
Chain D.L.K.: Who is the most funny in Erdenstern?
Erdenstern: Andreas: I make funny faces, Eva-Maria can do funny voices, and Per smellsfunny.
Eva-Maria (talking with a funny voice): That depends on the situation. Butit is a good thing to have a relaxed atmosphere when you work on complexmusical projects like ours.
Chain D.L.K.: According to Radio Rivendell you will be on their compilation they willdo together with Waerloga Records. Is that true or just a rumour? If yes,please reveal with which song!
Erdenstern: Eva-Maria: Yes, it’s true. We are honoured to be among the chosen few forthis compilation. Anders is doing a great job with Radio Rivendell, andWaerloga Records is a good and experienced partner for a project like this.
Andreas: Our track on the compilation will be a remixed version of “Into TheGreen”, the title track of our first album. It is a suite that contains themain two themes of the album, the story’s theme and the heroes’ theme. “IntoThe Green – The Heroes Return” was our initial idea for the grand finale ofthe album, but that got changed as the work went on.
Per: So, the version included on the Rivendell compilation is hithertounreleased.
Chain D.L.K.: I saw you are nominated in the Radio Rivendells Fantasy awards. That’s good news. Please tell us something about it.
Erdenstern: Eva-Maria: We’re flattered. To be nominated for best Game fantasy composer,among such great colleagues as Jeremy Soule, Kai Rosenkranz and Leon Willet,is an honour for us.
Per: After only eight months of airplay on Radio Rivendell, we still feellike the “new guys”, and we’re blown away to be already nominated – and inanother category, too!
Andreas: We are especially happy for “Into The Red”. The title track of oursecond CD is nominated for best song from fantasy game or album! While notbeing fully representative for our music as a whole, we always felt that ifwe were to release a single, it would be “Into The Red”…
Eva-Maria: And Radio Rivendell’s listeners felt the same way, obviously! Itis a great thing to experience that people like our music! And again, we’rein exquisite company: Jeremy, Leon, and Kai.
Chain D.L.K.: What are your main inspirations? Bands, art, games, artists, books?
Erdenstern: Per: Musically, my inspirations are as varied as Michael Nyman, Mercury Revand Alanis Morissette. I like the painitings of Jan Vermeer and EdwardHopper, as well as the the books of George Perec and Kurt Vonnegut. I am notso much influenced by games but by movies – like Brazil, “Salute of theJugger” and “Lost in Translation”.
Eva-Maria: Games like Heroes Of Might And Magic, for instance, or Getaway. Ilove classical music like that of Gustav Holst, as well as the music ofBjork or HardFi. I read a lot by C.S. Lewis and Henning Mankell.
Andreas: My musical roots are mixed. I listen to everything that has its ownspirit and speaks to me, because music is often a way to send my mind out ona journey. Therefore, I rarely listen to music that can play while you doother things. So I love classical music and movie soundtracks, as well asrock, world music, or electronic music. Bands and musicians that impress andinspire me are Peter Gabriel as well as Prokovjev or Sigur Ros. Movies, butalso art and certainly books that impressed me in my younger days, forexample The Lord Of The Rings, and works by A T.C. Boyle, science fictionlike A Stanis‚ Aw Lem or the Strugazi brothers, and also a classic fantasticliterature like H.G. Wells.
Chain D.L.K.: Can you say something about the future of Erdenstern?
Erdenstern: Per: No questions – no lies… (smiles). But, speaking seriously, we have acouple of exciting ideas for this year and the next – but we only talk aboutthings that we are already sure of. We are working on a new album, though.
Andreas: We always try to evolve musically. We have traveled to a range ofwidely different places in our music and used different styles. That isgoing to intensify in the future.
Eva-Maria: We will continue in our Library of Fantastic Music – there arestill a lot of stories untold…
Chain D.L.K.: Something you like to add?
Erdenstern: Andreas: When we released our first CD, we were unaware that there were somany people out there who share our passion for our style offantasy-inspired ambient music. Especially among Role Playing Gamers, by nowthere are quite a number of people who like our music, and the feedback weget is very encouraging. We love to be the inspiration for so manyadventures in people’s minds, and the stories our listeners tell us abouttheir adventures are a great inspiration for us.
Per: Even after nearly two years now, we are still blown away by theattention we get on conventions, in the media and on the internet alike, andwe are thankful to be able to promote our music and spread our stories to somany people. We thank our audience for the ongoing support for nearly twoyears now, and we would like to thank Chain D.L.K. for this opportunity tospeak about our project. Thank you very much.
Visit Erdenstern on the web at:
[interviewed by Ivan Racheck] [proofreading by Donovan Tate]