Since Gallows Pole has released their new album, we found it natural to get some comments and answers from the band, kindly answered by the frontman Alois.
Just one year after you started the band you changed the name to Gallows Pole, what was the background behind that?
Well, we just didn't like it. It was our first single and somebody came up with the idea to have a shorter name. For some reason nobody was against it so we made this one single under a different name. CBS Records liked it so we did it. Everything happened pretty fast, we hit the top ten, the guitar player left to the States and we decided to go back to our real name Gallows Pole.
About your new album Waiting For The Mothership... Did you start right away to make new songs for this album? After you have finished your last one or did you take a breath for a few months?
No, I did not have a break. We made three albums in a row. Gallows Pole IV, Revolution and Waiting For The Mothership. Before that we made a re-release of the We Wanna Come Home album. I changed all musicians of course on Waiting For The Mothership, because of musical reasons. I had the impression that my old musicians did not really know what I'm talking about. And as we can see I was right, the new album is the best we have ever done so far.
What inspires you to write music / lyrics?
I don' know. God? Some higher power? You are born with this. You cannot decide to make music, the music decides it for you. I can't help myself. It's my life. There are so many songs and ideas in my head, I write songs all the time.
By the way: what bands / artists made you start playing? And which bands / artists are you listening to these days?
Well, all the great bands of the 70s like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Stones etc. only the real big ones. All the bands who were able to write songs. And that is different nowadays. I don't listen to new bands. 99 percent of them are bad. No ideas, no feeling, they sound like who is the fastest on the guitar or drums and they have singers...... I mean, are they serious about this? And they don't sell anything of course compared to sales in the 70s or 80s. And look who's playing all the big stadiums and arenas. The old ones. U2, AC/DC and so on. The reason is, this guys are still much much better than anything else that is released nowadays.
How long did the recordings take? Where did you record Waiting For The Mothership? Who produced the album?
The recording took us about one year with breaks in between. We recorded it in the Dreamsex Studios which belong to us. Otherwise it would be to expensive for a whole year. I produced it alone this time. This is very easy for me, because I worked as a producer when I lived in the States. It's a small studio, but if you know how to make sounds it is perfect.
Who did the artwork? And how is it tied to the album title?
The album artwork has been made by Markus Vesper who has made a lot of covers for a number of bands. I think this is his best work. Brilliant. It was the idea of my record company.
With this record you go back to the musical style from late 70's, almost a psychedelic style. Is that intentional or is there any other background for choosing this kind of sound?
I always listen to my heart and I always play with all my heart. So if I start a record I don't really think about how should it sound or is there a hit on the record. I play whatever I feel. That was in some perspective always a problem for Gallows Pole, because we sound different on every record.
That's probably the reason we are not superstars yet. But with this album it could happen... Our hardcore fans don't have a problem with this, but for the masses it is a problem if you sound completely different on every album. But I think Waiting For The Mothership has the power to unite all our fans and people who did not listen to us yet. But you have to be aware of the fact that this record is not a thing for one time listeners. If you are unable to listen to the music, forget it.
In what way is the album Waiting For The Mothership a concept album? Can you give us more details about this?
It is a concept album in any way. It's about a man who was left on this planet one million years ago. His aim was to spread life. He saw all the species come and go and then came human race and he saw that it was a big mistake. He is here all alone and waits desperately for his friends to pick him up again, because he knows they are looking for him since ancient times. In the meantime he talks about his thoughts, the incident at Area 51 and a lot of philosophical things. And of course what to do with human race when his friends come back again. On the last song the Mothership finally arrives and he leaves a warning for the species. If they don't change their behavior the universe will get rid of them pretty soon.
Which songs do you think represent Waiting For The Mothership best? And why?
Every song. Every song is related to the theme. The music and the lyrics. To understand the whole album you have to listen to the lyrics closely not only to the music. The lyrics are written in the booklet, so read them while listening. If you do so I guarantee you listening satisfaction for the next 50 years.
Will you do a video? Which songs would you like to visualize?
That's a big problem. We don't know yet how to make a video as good as the record is. We wanna do a video, but as I said we don't wanna do just a video only to have a video. We don't wanna have a video like anybody else has. It has to be outstanding, so we are still planning.
You have been in the music business a long time and Gallows Pole have also had some pauses and breaks. Can you tell me a little bit about the background for these pauses? And what you have been doing in that meantime?
After we released our first album In Rock We Trust we went on tour and did everything necessary to promote a record. Everybody said it is a milestone in rock music, but our former record company CBS did not everything to help us. Even without them it sold pretty good, but it wasn't a millionseller what we expected to be honest. Beside that we continued to write new songs for the next album, but it never reached the level of quality of In Rock We Trust. So we decided to wait and went to the us played some gigs there and released the album in the States and all over the world as a picture disc. When we came back in 1987 we started rehearsing for the next album We Wanna Come Home and went to England again for recording which we had to do twice because the first time all our equipment and instruments had been stolen. Before we went the second time our drummer got sick so we went to the studio with John Lingwood from Manfred Mann's Earth Band. 6 months after we released the record our drummer finally died and we were in a state of shock. Besides of his musical qualities Reinhard was a very close friend. We decided to stop all activities until 1992. At this time we released In Rock We Trust the first time on CD because of the big demand.
We recorded Summerrain and In The End as bonus tracks which hit the charts again. And still we had the impression that In Rock We Trust is too good to be topped.
We decided to have a break and I started to work as a music producer which I did before in the States. Then in 1997 we decided to make a new album which has been released in 1999 and was called The Smile Of The Dolphins. And again, it sounded completely different. This record also is out of print. In 2000 we got in touch with Karthago Records, they were selling all our records in Europe and when we were sold out of all records we decided to re-release We Wanna Come Home in 2007. I was the last member of the original band still active.
When we saw that people are still listening to our records something strange happened to me. All of a sudden I was more active and inspired than ever before and we started to make 3 albums in a row. For musical reasons I changed all the members on Waiting For The Mothership. But I have still contact with my old friends from the beginning. And next year there will be a re-release of In Rock We Trust, a special edition for the 30th anniversary.
Have there been any controversy between you and your recording label, because there are difficult information about your recording situation, some says that you released the new album Waiting For The Mothership by yourselves, and others mean that you are still with Karthago Records. Have you any comments on this situation?
No, this are wrong information. I have a very good relation with the guys of Pure Rock Records and to Stefan Riermeier of Karthago Records which belong together. I don't think any musician in the world has as good relations with the company than I do. And we never released a record by ourselves. That was never necessary.
I guess you already got some feedback. Are you satisfied so far?
Even though it is just out two weeks we are very satisfied. Some critics call it a masterpiece which can outshine even our first album. And the sales numbers are great.
What about playing live? Anything on the way?
We are planning to play live next year. There are a lot of talks on the way which are difficult, because we are not a festival band. We don't play at 2 O'clock in the afternoon. Not because we are arrogant (well maybe a little bit, hehe), but because of the music. We need the lights.
Do you plan to record some live footage - not talking about Pro Shots - for YouTube or similar platforms?
Well, if we make live videos it will be on YouTube, even though I think it is pretty much overrated. But we are not planning it. No.
Talking about the internet..... Social network is both a blessing and a curse. What's your opinion about it?
The social networks are fucking shit in my opinion. What are they good for? Telling people I'm going to the toilet? What kind of shit is that? For musicians it is even more useless. When they started with MySpace and so on every band thought they gonna be stars. And you know what happened? Nothing. The opposite happened. If you are good you are on some illegal download sites instantly after the release. People are selling much less records than in the 70s or 80s. So the internet did not bring anything I think.
What's next on your schedule? Anything you want to add?
Promoting Waiting For The Mothership, re-releasing some old records and starting work on the new album.
Thanx to the powers of the universe for giving me the talent to make music like this.
Lars, thank you for the interview.