Sodom; a name heavy like History itself. They have been and will always be one of the most successful and beloved bands of the Extreme genre, so introductions are needless. Since Sodom have recently released their latest effort ‘Decision Day’, we had a little chat with Bernemann about the new record itself, we flashbacked a bit into the past and he threatened us with a brand new Sodom onset in the beginning of 2017. Open a beer and get comfy, you got reading to do!
Good evening and welcome to Metal Invader, Bernemann! Nice to have you with us! Hope everything’s good! So, your new album “Decision Day” has just been released! I’m guessing you’re proud and satisfied by the result and the final outcome justifies your efforts!
Hi. Yes, all of us are very happy with “Decision Day”. We worked really hard on it and never before the band was so much involved in a production. The result was absolutely worth it.
I noticed that you mentioned somewhere that it took you 4 months in the studio to make “Decision Day” happen. Does it always take this much time or was the material demanding and difficult to deliver?
We recorded the CD separately one by one. Makka and me are still working in a regular job, that means that we could only start with the recordings late in the evening and not every day. This time we didn`t go to an expensive studio for drums and guitars. Makka and our Producer Corny recorded the drums in our rehearsal room. I did the guitar tracks alone at home in my home studio. Finally Tom recorded bass and vox in Corny’s little studio. This way of working is not the quickest but we were able to do everything relaxed and we had the chance to try different versions and to improve the songs without pressure.
On your official website, you characterized “Decision Day” as a “diverse” album. Why? What has changed? Have you intentionally changed something in terms of sound, compositions etc?
In the songwriting we didn´t change that much. Usually I come to our rehearsal room with a guitar riff and we start jamming. Not in mind how the song should sound like, faster, slower… whatever. We try to write the songs as naturally as possible. Our only intention is, as always, to write diverse songs that don´t sound the same. And this time we take more time for everything during the song writing process and pre production, as well as in the arrangement and recording sessions. That is extremely important for good song structures. Also very important was our new producer Corny. He was a tireless motivator, inspirator and most of all, an experienced Sound engineer. He spent a lot of work to find the right sound for us.
The lyrical themes of the album elaborate on D – Day (June, 1944). Why did you choose this subject to dominate in your lyrics and what are your thoughts on that day in just a sentence?
The D-day marks the defeat of the Nazi regime and initiated the end of the second world war, this day gave the people hope to the end of Murder.
Joe Petagno is a graphic designer known for his collaborations with Motorhead (i.e. illustrations for “Overkill”, “Orgasmatron” and “Another Perfect Day”). He created the cover artwork of “Decision Day”! First, how come you joined forces, and secondly, is Joe a Sodomaniac too? Haha! Would you like to give us a bit of intel about the cover, as well? Is it just me or does your mascot resemble Motörhead’s Snaggletooth?
It was Tom´s idea to contact Joe last year. Sure the main theme should be, like always, our “Knarrenheinz” but this time we wanted a cover that’s not lost into too many details around him. We were surprised that Joe knows about some Sodom releases, he wasn´t a Sodomaniac but he surely was happy when Tom talked to him. He follows our band’s history and was willing to do the job from the first moment. He understood quickly our intention and added many of his ideas in the artwork. Maybe, people remember Snaggletooth when they see the Dday cover, but that’s Joe´s style. And we like it. After he got his own CD he was impressed by the music and told us how he enjoyed this cooperation. We are very proud about it.
“Decision Day” is your 15th full length release! Sodom has released many albums so far in this 35-year-old career! You’ve been with Sodom since 1997 and “’Til Death Do us Unite” until today, so that’s not a brief time period. First of all… Did you ever think that the band would keep going strong until the present day? Secondly, what keeps a band like you going on? What’s that feature that gives you the strength to carry on?
If you don’t believe in your music you should quit playing. We are, and have always been, hungry for writing new songs. I love to write new riffs and to work it out with the guys. It´s a fantastic feeling to hear people singing your songs during the shows and to see their reaction because of our ideas. All of us are healthy, we love what we`re doing and we want to have a good time with our friends, that´s motivation enough. I have always that feeling that our best song is still not written and I won´t give up to search for the ultimate guitar riff.
Over the years, the band’s lineup has been changed a lot. Contrary to our fears, those lineup changes didn’t reflect badly on Sodom’s quality of records. “Decision Day” now, is the second album with the current lineup and has already made a good impression to your fans. Do you feel that the addition of Makka to the lineup completed Sodom, considering you and Tom are a great duet as it is?
Yes, Makka completed the band perfectly. He´s a damned good drummer, motivated, hard-working and, most of all, an absolutely charming guy. I know him well since he was 16 years old. After he joined the band we felt the fresh wind that was coming together with him. He is living, more or less, in the neighborhood and we can meet often. You can hear, that now he is much more into the band as on “Epitome…“
Do all of you contribute to the compositions? Is the composing process based on teamwork or each of you composes individually and then you connect the puzzle?
I deliver the riffs and together with Makka we´re preparing the base for the new song. We´re collecting everything, recording the ideas and meet with Tom. Than we start to arrange the puzzle together. Sometimes the verse becomes a bridge and so on…. This time we spend a lot of time for arranging the material.
As time has proven, many bands of the past that still release records, suffer from a lack of ideas and a repetitiveness of structures and compositions. Sodom on the other have managed to keep the levels of quality high by releasing massive records! Where do you draw inspiration from?
That´s very simple, as long as you love what you are doing you are motivated. And as long you are motivated you always want to give 100%. As long as everything is ok in our environment, health, family, job… we find the strength to keep on going and we still can be creative.
Which of the songs included do you feel they’ll make an impact on your fans, become hits or can be added to your next live setlist?
Short after the release I watched the votes on Spotify. I guess “Caligula“ can win the race of the most popular new song. We really have a problem to pick out the new live tracks, we really like all songs and everybody has a different favourite. “Belligerence“ is my No.1.
Yet another of Sodom’s albums is being released under the wings of Steamhammer! It seems that this label has been on your side for quite a long time. I’m guessing Steamhammer resembles everything you wanted and asked for!
Yes, they´re doing a great job for us. There´s a rough wind blowing in the business and many companies sometimes cannot help their bands as they deserve. SPV always believed in SODOM and always gave it´s best to support us.
Is there going to be a tour supporting / promoting your latest release? Is there a chance of seeing you live in Greece once again?
In 2016 there are only a few more club shows but that’s just the quiet before the storm. Next year we will play many shows, that´s sure. At the moment we´re talking with our booking agency about the following gigs. A tour is not confirmed but will come. And we will definitely come to Greek soon!!! I guess in the beginning of 2017.
Well, that’s all from me for now! Thanks for your time! The last words are yours!
I like to say THANX to all our crazy greek fans. Your country was always and will always be a very special place for us. We know that you have a big heart for Sodom; that makes us very proud. You can start to take some “Mythos and Ouzo“ in the fridge.
WE´RE COMING MALAKA!