German thrashers Running Death really shined last year, with their debut ‘Overdrive’ (you can read the review here). Metal Invader wanted to get to know them better and approached their drummer Jakob.
Hello from Greece and Metal Invader and congratulations for your amazing debut album ‘Overdrive’. Nice to have this discussion with you. How are things flowing?
Thank you so much dear Nikos and a friendly hello back from Germany! Things are going great. Hopefully you can say the same thing 😉
I believe that you are a bit unknown group for the people out there, especially in Greece. Give us some information about Running Death’s formation, past members, earlier releases, etc.
Back in 2004 Simon (Guitar), Max (Bass) and myself (Drums) made the decision to form a band and short after that we started writing music. But we never took it that serious until the year 2009. In this first phase from 2004 to 2008 we only recorded a 4 track demotape, but it never had been released.
The name of the group is a little bit simple and cliché. How did it come up?
When we came up with the name back then, no one of us put any special meaning in the name. For me for example the name just sounded very metal and that’s why I liked it back then. And until this day I think, that Running Death is a great and a memorable name for a metal band. As you said, a little bit simple and cliché.
So far what’s the fans’ and press’ reaction for ‘Overdrive’?
I think over all the reaction for ‘Overdrive’ is really good. Some of the early Running Death fans recognized, that the stuff on the album is more progy than the songs of the earlier releases. If you look at the reviews, you also can see that the reaction is really positive. The only thing some of the listeners don’t like are the vocals, which I personally cannot understand.
Through the various waves of the thrash revival and throughout the years, some bands (including Running Death) manage to create something unique and fresh. You do have your own identity. What is your secret?
If I would tell you that, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore! No seriously, I think it’s the combination of the musical influences of all band mates, which are flowing right into the songwriting. Besides of that I think it’s important, that you don’t listen to anybody, who wants to tell you, how your band has to sound.
What are your influences musically and lyrically speaking? Name a few bands that marked your sound.
I would say our main musical influences are bands like Megadeth, Annihilator, Rage or Testament for example. But each member of the band has his own influences. For me for example Pantera is really important, because the drumming of Vinnie Paul forced me to work on tightness and groove every time. The lyrics always have something to do with stuff that we want to sing about, so there are no lyrical influences.
Overdrive’s sound is pretty modern, but without exaggerations. In my opinion, it leans more towards to the heavy/N.W.O.B.H.M. sound. Who was responsible for this?
Our goal has been, to record and produce the album in a way, that it sounds kind of timeless. That meant for example no overproduction, no triggering and no clicktrack. On the other hand we used the benefits of modern studio equipment. So maybe this is an explanation for the sound, which Jan of Ghost City Recordings made happen!
If you had the chance to change something from the album now, what would it be?
I’m not 100% happy with the mix of the vocals.
What process do you follow during songwriting and recording?
Usually Simon comes up with an idea or a riff and I jam to it. But we also use ideas and riffs from the other two guys for the songs. When the songs are done, we practice them until we are able to play them flawless. So we only go in the studio, when the songs are 100% safe. Otherwise you waste a lot of time and a lot of money.
How are things going in the German thrash scene? Are you aware of any new (or old) groups you’d like to mention to our readers?
Things are going great, there are a lot of bands and metalheads out there, so that it’s always fun and exciting to play or go out to a concert. Sure! Bands you maybe should check out: Cyrence, Toxic Waltz or Massive Demolition.
What is the relationship with your label, Punishment 18 Records?
We are very pleased with our label.
Do you like performing live? What is your biggest moment on the stage? Any future live appearances?
We want to be on the road as often as possible, but last year we got a bit of trouble with lineup changes and things like that. And also we’re writing on our next album, so we didn’t play that much the last months. But I think this will change the following months. For me the biggest moment on stage was the gig with Amorphis. That was unbelievable!
What are your future plans regarding your next album? Are there any new songs? Will you add something new to your music?
We are in the middle of the songwriting for the new album and it’s by far the best stuff, we have ever written! It’s hard to evaluate if there is a major difference or some kind of changes. Overall it will be a little different. Otherwise it would be boring, if we would do the same record twice.
Lemmy’s sudden death devastated the whole world. What are your own impressions?
First of all, I admire Motörhead for what they have done for the music we love. Lemmy and the Band are one of the most important influences and pioneers for metal and heavy music itself. But honestly I didn’t understand the reactions. It’s a miracle that he made it this far with his lifestyle and everyone may reckon that he could die anytime.
We’d like to hear your comments about the Syrian refuges’ situation in Europe.
We’re 100% supporting the statement: refugees welcome! Noone of us could rudimentary imagine how it would be to leave your life as you know it and maybe your family behind in case of a terrible war. That’s why we have to help these people!
Thank you very much for the discussion. Close the interview in your way, say whatever you want to Metal Invader readers.
The pleasure was all mine! Sure, stay fresh and metal! Maybe you will see us out there soon!