Markus Siegenhort (Lantlôs) interviewed

** When I cornered Lantlôs braintrust Markus Siegenhort (aka Herbst), I didn't expect him to be so un-German. Whatever that means. Like the meaning behind the word "lantlôs" Siegenhort is more like a global guy, his music unmoored from the traps of what has been and will continue to be German black metal. Not that there's anything wrong with German black metal. Lantlôs' new album, Melting Sun, is just a step in a different direction, more influenced by Hum and Deftones than anything particularly evil and/or Teutonic. The interview with Siegenhort appeared in DB #116 [HERE]. Here's the full transcript. There’s a pretty big change in sound from Agape to Melting Sun. Why is that? Markus Siegenhort: When I started this band I was 16-years old. I’ve changed so much as a person. With all my points of view, my habits, I’ve gotten older. I see things differently. Since my music is 100% connected with my personal life, it had to change. No conscious decision. It’s just an evolution.

It feels like an evolution, actually. Markus Siegenhort: Right. It’s change. It’s progression. It felt alright to change. I’m kind of glad we’re not recording the same album over and over again I guess we’re trying something new and innovative. For us.

Well, the big thing is Neige is no longer screaming or part of Lantlôs. Why is that? Markus Siegenhort: With the new material, I felt our old singer—Neige from Alcest—would suit it. He has a great voice. We really didn’t want screaming vocals on this album. It would feel odd. It didn’t suit the music. He also lacked time. So, we parted ways. I told him I wanted to do the singing. By experimenting in the studio, I eventually became more confident in my vocal abilities. It all felt natural. I felt confident enough by the time I was recording the vocals. Totally. That’s for certain.

What is influencing you at this stage? Musically. Markus Siegenhort: What has influenced me for a long time is Kayo Dot’s Choirs of the Eye. It’s such a huge production, there’s so many influences, it’s so flowing, the arrangements are perfect. It left an impression on me. Something I could take away, like different structures, slow parts. I know the album has aged, but it left an impression on me. The Deftones also left an impression on me. Two or three years ago. There’s lots of ‘90s stuff like Hum. Some of their songs. I like Smashing Pumpkins. Stuff from today is good, too. Like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. All the old shoegazer stuff gives me shivers. Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. The sunny and flashy stuff from the ‘90s. It finally reached me. Dreampop, shoegaze, and noisy stuff had an impact on this album. It’s kind of a ‘90s thing.

Melting Sun feels very organized. Musically and lyrically. Markus Siegenhort: I didn’t write logical things, actually. They’re just words that provoke strong images in me. If I get a feeling in my chest, I feel the need to print it to paper. They’re just words on paper. They give me feelings. They’re not logical though. They’re not physical either. They’re feelings I have. The words, or titles, reflect my feelings. I can’t explain why I chose the titles.

It’s a bright album. Much different from your previous records. The artwork reflects this, too. Markus Siegenhort: Some people told me it’s a very dark album. I was like, “Pfft!” I don’t see many dark moments at all. I was totally astonished when I heard that. It’s a 100% summer album. I wrote it about trips we had in the mountains, during evenings in the summer. We’d have BBQs, with great people, all those things. I sensed the energy of summer and sun for the first time when I wrote these songs. When I was younger I felt the world was shit. All of a sudden, the world brightened up. This album is a dedication to those days, to the sun, to this very ethereal way of experiencing summer. I think you know what I mean.

How much did drugs, or the after effects of drugs, influence you this time around? Markus Siegenhort: Well, sometimes I would get high. I’m not promoting it and I’m not too proud of it, but it had a strong impact. Look at the title. Look at the imagery. It’s all pretty spaced out. It’s pretty obvious what has influenced me.

So, this is your first full band, right? Markus Siegenhort: Sort of. It’s basically me writing the songs. My drummer [Felix Wylezik] didn’t help me with the songwriting, but he helped me a lot with the production. Sounds, arrangements, and those kinds of things. We produced the album together. We worked a lot together. It’s more me and my drummer. The other guys are more helping out with live shows.

Where did you do the production? It sounds great. Markus Siegenhort: We recorded this on our own, in my own studio. I did the mix and the production. I feel like the songs depend a lot on the production. We were going for something organic and thick. Nothing too over-produced. There’s some drum triggering, a tiny bit on the snare. The rest is totally natural. The guitars, there’s no digital stuff. No synthesizers. It’s a proper sound, coming out of an amp. We tried to keep it natural and powerful. The whole production took a year, with some breaks. I gave a lot for this. A lot of sweat to work this out. We were always enhancing, discarding things, putting vocal lines here and there. It was worth the work. It was a lot of fun. I’m very satisfied with the result. It’s our best production yet.

** Lantlôs' new album, Melting Sun, is out now on Prophecy Productions. It's available HERE. If heavy, dreamy, and awesome are things you dig, well, search out Lantlôs.

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