sexta-feira, 30 de abril de 2021

Sodom: Interview with Tom Angelripper - "We only work for our fans and not for the music industry."

Thomas Such, born on 02/19/1963, became better known as Tom Angelripper, a true Thrash Metal icon worldwide, leader, founder, vocalist and bassist of Sodom, one of the most integral and beloved bands of the style.  (Versão em Português)

Since 1983 on the road of Heavy Metal, crossing intact through different phases of the music scene, Tom never gave up on the band's identity, always working for the fans and forging some classics of the style.

Now the band have released the 16th studio album, "Genesis XIX", which marks the return of Frank Blackfire on guitars, and with the company of Yorck Segatz, for the first time Sodom recorded an album with two guitarists, which brings new possibilities and also allows to embody and reproduce their petardes more faithfully live. 

We have talked with Tom, to talk a little more about this new phase and the excellent repercussion of the new album, already acclaimed as a possible new classic in Sodom's discography. Check out!!

RtM: In "Genesis XIX" we can feel a Sodom that brings news, but it also has much of a return to its roots, including using analog recordings. I would like you to comment on that. 

Tom: I think the album can become a classic. When we wrote the songs, we don't worry about whether it should sound old-school or not. I believe that the production provides the crucial information. But I think the song writing process makes the difference. We still do everything according to old fathers' custom. We meet in the rehearsal room, start a jam session, have a few beers and it sprays out for us too. 

Most of the time it starts with a guitar riff and everyone adds their ideas. Then I arrange everything again to adapt the title for my vocal parts and to match the dimensions of the text. But there are also rehearsals where we go home without having achieved anything; you just can't get over the knee. 

Both guitarists are great songwriters but with different points of view. Frank is also very influenced by guitarists from the 60s and 70s, Yorck is also interested in modern bands. But these different songs make the new album so colourful. 

RtM: We really liked the sound of the album, which sounds organic and punchy, as many current recordings are, shall we say, very "clean", sometimes sounding plastic and tasteless.

Tom: I booked the engineer/producer Siggi Bemm and his professional studio to get the album mixed on his huge analogue desk. I my opinion the sound than getting more organic and authentic, cause the Siggi`s desk is working with tubes. 

I know, that digital recording and mixing is usual and payable nowadays, but it was a fulfilled dream to work in a real Studio with a long-time producer/engineer like Siggi. The new songs are more authentic and much more tailored to the listening habits of our fans.

RtM: The album has been singled out as one of Sodom's best works in recent years. How have you received this feedback, and in your view what are the main points that made "Genesis XIX" so well received?

Tom: We are very happy with the album. So far, the reviews and feedbacks have all been very good and positive. But what matters to us is what our fans think of the album. But I think it's a thoroughbred Sodom album and maybe new fans will join it. But our new drummer also contributed a lot to the success. He's a big fan of Chris Witchhunter and tries to adopt his style, but with a higher level of precision. Think Genesis fits perfect to the back-catalogue and will be an important part in out log history.

RtM: You are also very fond of having a line-up that can have regular rehearsals, an interaction and approximation of the band, avoiding composing, rehearsing and recording at a distance, there are many bands in which members live even in different countries. Do you think this is a factor that weighs heavily on sonority, creativity and rapport?

Tom: If musicians live in different countries, that's not a band for me. It's also about regular personal contact. It is important that new songs are arranged together by the band. We all live in the same region and can meet often. That was always very important to me

RtM: "Genesis XIX" also brings a new line-up, and with the return of Frank Blackfire to the guitars. How did this rapprochement take place?

Tom: Frank is still a cool guy and I am glad to have him back in business. I knew that he have his own solo project and also playing with Assassin. He told me, that they are not so busy at the time and he will spend enough time to join the Sodom for upcoming rehearsal sessions and live shows. That was amazing and it seems like a big chance for him to return into the international metal scene.


RtM: And talking about the addition of a second guitarist, something unprecedented in Sodom's career, how was the experience of recording in the studio with two guitars? When and why did you feel it was time to add a second guitarist?

Tom: Years ago I came up with the idea to recruit a second axeman when Bernemann was still in the band. But he seems not very interested and I thought that he never accepts a second guitarist by his side.  Later, we started rehearsing sessions with Frank for the first time after he left the band. And now songs like Nuclear winter, Sodomy & Lust, and Christ Passion sounded so amazing and authentic. I was so astonished that the guitar sound is exactly the same like on persecution mania or Agent Orange album. 

Now, we are able to reproduce the songs in an original way during the live sets. Yorck as well is a big Sodom fan, so he came up with a lot of ideas for new songs and upcoming setlists. With two guitarists we are able to perform songs which are not working with just one. Even my bass can`t replace a second guitar. The live sound is getting more brutal and dynamic.


RtM: And what is the expectation for this lune-up in the live shows?

Tom: We hope to be able to play live again soon. That's our job. With two guitarists we also sound fatter on stage and with Toni behind us nothing can go wrong !!


RtM: In addition to Sodom you also participated in the Dezperadoz project and its incredible fusion of Heavy Metal with Western. It's a pity that your participation lasted only one album, because “The Legend and the Truth” is fantastic and has several references to Sodom in its lyrics. Is there a possibility to return to the project someday?
Tom: I also think the first album is outstanding and I am proud to have participated in it. There is always something special in my career, but I will not return. As a guest on stage, however, I'll be seen one day. You have to know that Sodom is my life and that I have to give everything for it. There is no time left for other side projects.

RtM: What is it like for you to record something outside of Thrash Metal, which has been your life for over thirty years? Are experiences beyond Sodom, like the aforementioned Dezperadoz, Bassinvaders or Onkel Tom, a way to relax and recharge your batteries?

Tom: It is always very exciting to try something new. i have taken part in other projects very often. I still get a lot of requests as a guest singer, but I don't do that anymore. Sometimes my free time is too precious. When I'm free, I go hunting, that's the best place to relax.


RtM: Tom, you have always remained true to your roots, not having, let's say, that moment when you had to adapt musically to the industry or any trend. However in the 90s it seems that many Thrash Metal bands changed their musical characteristics, trying to fit in the direction the musical market was going on. What was your feeling at the time when you witnessed all this damage?

Tom: In the 90s a lot of bands changed their style. Sales fell. Some of them were forced to do so by the record companies. But we kept going and our records got harder and more uncompromising than ever before. Nobody tells us what to do, we only work for our fans and not for the music industry


RtM: The main approaches in the lyrics of Sodom are wars and the destruction of the world, catastrophe by the human hand. Speaking of the current moment, we are living in a worldwide chaos and a lot of it by the human beings themselves, who show themselves irresponsible and not very empathic with their fellow men. these decades of experience, do you feel a responsibility to bring some lessons messages to your audience, especially new generations?

Tom: Yes, the current situation is catastrophic. Everything is getting out of hand at the moment. I always think about how the generations to come will cope with it. As bad as it all is, it inspires me for my lyrics. I hope, of course, that my lyrics will make you think. Unfortunately, since I'm not politically active, I can't move a lot.

RtM: Tom, thanks for the time to answer us, congrats for the great album, and hope we can see the band on stage soon

Tom: Thank you! hope to see you all again soon. we are waiting for better times

Interview by: Carlos Garcia and Renato Sanson


Tom Angelripper: bass, vocals
Frank Blackfire: guitars
Yorck Segatz: guitars
Toni Merkel: drums

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