The Very End are back with Mercy & Misery, a strong 'comeback' album. Time to talk about their past, present and future! Thanks to singer Bjřrn Goosses for answering my questions.
Your debut was released via Dockyard 1 and it was well received. But then DY1 went bankrupt and you had to start all over again. A frustrating situation. Looking back, did it made you stronger as a band? Fueled the will to make it with the next album?
Every drawback leaves you stronger, I suppose. But the music business is always like gambling with your souls, haha. I mean, we offer the people something created with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. So the fact that Dockyard 1 went down after doing zero promotion didn't only frustrate us from the business point of view, but obviously the album simply didn't reach the people either. Thus, the mentioned passion we put into the album kind of vanished into nothingness to a certain degree. Of course the album is still there, its quality doesn't suffer from what happened and we probably will re-release it sooner or later or stuff like that. But yes, it's frustrating to know that only a couple of metalheads know your debut album. Probably The Very End could have made a much bigger impact on the scene, if the album was treated the way it should be. But in general we're not a band that looks back on shit like that. We try to focus on the here and now, and with SPV we got a strong partner on our side.
You realized Mercy & Misery on your own and then started looking for a deal. No offers? Or a decision to present a strong album to get more offers / possibilities?
Both. We couldn't present any sales numbers or other business references to eventual new partners, and because Dockyard 1 left The Very End more or less with the same status we already had before Vs Life, we surely were not offered a dozen deals. So we chose to take the hard way and produce Mercy & Misery on our own.
Probably a surprise to some, you signed with SPV, a label which almost shared the faith of DY1, but managed to come back strong. Why SPV? Do you think you kinda shared an experience?
We were totally aware of the fact that SPV almost went down the drain like Dockyard 1, but the fact that they totally re-build themselves indeed made us feel like we have something in common. After a few meetings with the label's executives we felt we should join forces. So we did.
Waldemar Sorychta is a renown producer, why did you choose him as a producer? Are you glad you hired him? And do you consider to work with him again?
Funny story. Our guitarist René and Waldemar had the same ride home after an alcohol fueled night at the Rock Hard Festival 2009. They talked about productions and finally came up with the idea to work together. So we didn't really have him on the map, as he is more famous for rather gothic-related productions. Except for his own albums with Grip Inc or Enemy Of The Sun probably. Waldemar really liked Vs Life and was up for the new The Very End album immediately. The next day at the Rock Hard Festival we already talked about details and made the deal, then started the pre-production in fall 2009 and the final recordings in early 2010. And damn sure we still are glad we hired him. It was a great cooperation, smooth and relaxed yet really professional and inspiring. He didn't only tune up the songs, he of course also gave the album a killer sound – not to forget his partner in crime, Dennis Koehne. Tom Angelripper for example was so impressed by Mercy & Misery's production that he immediately booked Waldemar for the new Sodom album! And yes, we consider working with him again!
Are you satisfied with the feedback you got for Mercy & Misery?
It's always fun to see the different reactions. You never can satisfy everybody, and this has never been our goal, either. First and foremost we write music to express ourselves, so WE have to like it first. To be honest I sometimes take a bad review personally, but fuck it. Usually the guys who write bad reviews about The Very End just display their shitty taste in music. Haha... after all the average of the so far eighty- something reviews is pretty good. So yes, we're satisfied with the feedback!
Why the title Mercy & Misery?
I wanted a BIG title, which also includes a certain duality or contrast. Something like Life & Death, War & Piece, but not as cheesy or dull. Both terms 'mercy' and 'misery' are reoccurring terms or at least feelings in my lyrics. The 'misery' part is probably the negativity reflected in my lyrics while the 'mercy' part is maybe the spark of hope that sometimes shimmers in between the lines. Finally I felt this is the prefect album title for this one!
Please tell us a bit about the lyrical inspiration!
It's a weird mixture of my views on the world, autobiographical elements and simply painting pictures with words. Creating atmospheres with colorful and cynic little poems. There's a lot of duality, and also a lot of irony & sarcasm. At least there's always something to be found in between the lines. Sometimes abstract, sometimes more concrete, but never plain. I mean, Three Zero Nine for example refers to a specific time – a shitty one by the way, haha – in my life and if you know what it's about it's totally obvious. For those who don't it's (hopefully) just a cool lyric.
You recorded 2 cover songs, even if Maniac is 'just' a bonus track. Why these tracks? Was it difficult to metalize the Michael Sembello tune?
To metalize Maniac was one of the reasons why we did it. René came up with that one and he found not only the riff, but also the solo pretty challenging, and I think he did a great job! Immigrant Song already belonged to a few live sets when we started The Very End some years ago, so we just kinda dug that one out haha!
You did a video for A Hole In The Sun. Why this one? Tell us a bit about the shooting!
We chose A Hole In The Sun because it's probably one of the catchier songs on the album and represents our style quite well. The video production was one of the biggest projects The Very End have been involved in so far. I was kinda pre-producing the whole thing together with the production manager and it was damn sure more work that organizing album recordings! After the concept was agreed upon, we started to scout various locations, so we drove throughout the whole Ruhr Area and beyond to find the right location. Then organizing all the gear, costumes, props, catering etc etc was a really hard job. Not to mention the business parts like getting shooting permissions, insurances and so on. The shoot itself was really awesome! We were up to 35 people on the set (plus like a dozen or so more people doing the post production later on) and there was a non-stop action between freezing cold band performances and exciting action sequences. Fire, metal, tits & explosions!! Usually we would never be able to afford such a video, which we basically financed ourselves for the most part. But everybody – crew, actors etc, worked only for the inevitable expenses like fuel, the pyros, equipment rental etc. It still wasn't exactly cheap, but damn sure worth it. The video is online for about a week now and we already have about 3,000 clicks. The crew from Filmefahrer Pictures (http://www.filmefahrer.de) were so dedicated and into the whole thing – unbelievable! I think it's not just another video clip, it's really more like a music short film and its plot doesn't only perfectly reflect the song's lyrics, but the album title as well! A big THANX to Marcus, Michael & Jan @ Filmefahrer and everybody else involved in the video production!
Will you do another video clip? And which would you like to visualize?
I hope we will do another video sooner or later. But I don't think we will be able to do another video for a Mercy & Misery song on the same level until we don't sell quite some albums haha... I mean, such a shoot – even if you can save some expenses when the people involved just get their expenses paid, costs as much as a whole album production. And even though it's a good promotional tool this also means you basically earn no money with the video, which doesn't motivate the record labels to provide big budgets for such a project. But I'm sure the next video will be a cool motherfucker like this one, and hopefully we will again do it with Marcus & the Filmefahrer guys!
Different topic, you have a new drummer. Did you expect him to leave? Or was it a surprise? The new one is Daniel Zeman. Did you already knew him? Or did someone suggested him?
Unfortunately we saw this coming for quite a while. Lars has a 2 year old daughter and started building a house for his little family. Lars founded The Very End together with René, is one of the best drummers I've ever played with and will always belong to the TVE family. But in the end he simply couldn't give the band what it needed anymore. He knew that, and we knew that. Luckily we pretty quickly found a good replacement. Daniel was recommended to us by Waldemar. Enemy Of The Sun don't really play a lot of gigs, so this was no problem. Daniel is a great guy, has already played a few gigs with us and we're looking forward to write songs or go on tour with him.
Mercy & Misery is like a re-start for you, so what about live shows?
Right now we are bit worried about our live shows, because René has been sick for about a month now, not being able to play guitar. The docs didn't really make a diagnosis yet, and this sucks even more! I mean, of course we have stand-ins for cases like this, but surely it feels better to perform with the actual band instead of session musicians. However, we're trying to get a good tour for fall 2011, but we're still looking for a booker. It's hard to get shows on your own, even though some offers are rollin' in here and there. But it's always great to perform live. Finally metal music was made for the stage!
And will you have some songs of the debut on your set list?
Sure! It's not that we got 37 albums and simply have to leave out this or that. Of course the focus will be on the new stuff, but we always play a few Vs Life songs!
Do you plan to record some live shows? I'm not talking about Pro shots, just something to share on YouTube or MySpace... Like the clip from Summer Breeze 2010 or the studio episodes.
Actually I try to record our shows as often as possible, but my mini-DV cam is rather old. Probably 90% of today's mobile phones have better quality haha! However we will most likely post some live stuff after the next shows – if we do a good job then haha...!
What are your plans for 2011?
Bringing the end to the people! The Very End, strictly speaking! This means, trying to get more shows, writing the next album. So far we unfortunately never played beyond German soil, but we at least just confirmed our first Dutch show for October. So hopefully more European shows, festivals or preferably a nice tour will follow ! See ya out there! And until then, check www.theveryend.net once in a while! Cheers!!
First of all, we hope René will get a diagnosis soon, so that they can work on it, and he will be able to tour with The Very End. It might be a little late for the upcoming festival season, but a tour in fall should help to get them booked for festivals 2012. See you on tour!