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  • Writer's pictureEryk The Strange

Interview With GRAU






Q: Tell the readers who you are and what you do 

A: I am Martin, also known as "M.K." from GRAU. I am a guitarist and a backing vocalist and a songwriter of the band. Honored to have this interview with you!

 

Q: How did you come up with the multiple vocalists concept and develop this unique sound? 

 A: It goes back a long time ago. K., the main vocalist of GRAU, joined our technical Death Metal Band, "Vintundra", we had at that time.

The main song writer was deeply invested into norse mythology, so he wrote the lyrics about it. I remember one song in particular: "Niflheim". The lyrics described some kind of underworld and there are rivers flowing through it. They were listed in the lyrics and our former bass player and I tried to scream and growl them as background vocals. At that time I realized I wanted to work with my voice and so the multiple vocalists concept became a staple of Vintundra.

When K. and I left the band in 2014 in order to found GRAU, we carried this concept over and that's how GRAU's unique sound was born.

 

 

Q:What does the band name Grau mean to you? 

 A: It's the German word for "grey". And for me personally it is often a state of mind: dark, undifferentiated and foggy. I try to push through it, find out what to do or say next. It's challenging and depressing but also very motivating because it keeps me mentally fit not to get overwhelmed by it.

On the other hand it's very exciting to find new ways and to remove the grey fog step by step and see yourself becoming something different.

I think everybody can interpret the name in their own ways. And maybe I'll give a different answer in the next interview ;)

 

Q:How has reception been so far for "Abseits des Lichts"? 

A: It's so much better than I anticipated! I presented the album to many labels, but most of them didn't answer or wrote "it's not my thing". It made me nervous and I asked myself: is there a place for our kind of music in the current metal scene? But then I found Tragedy Productions, a young label from Chile. Sergio, the man behind the label, answered me after a few days and told me how he listened to the album countless times. We vibed and he gave us a chance. And I think it pays out! I couldn't imagine that we would even reach 1000 listeners, but I was proved wrong! It's way more now and the numbers are rising. It really makes me happy and proud that this album already achieved some attention. People are writing DMs, asking for autographs and guitar picks. For some this may not sound special, but for me it's just unbelievable. 

 

Q: Is there a story behind the cover image for "Abseits des Lichts"? 

 A: The damned cover... We couldn't decide on it for years! We just did not know what we wanted. So we tried many different motives: forests, cities, animals. The latter grew on us: our other guitarist, M.B., shot some photos of boars in the woods.

At that time we thought we'd call the album "Fraß" (German for "grub") which is also the title of its last track.

For a long time we thought that it fitted perfectly. Except for K. He wasn't into it, so we postponed.

Months went by and we found a picture of a rotten bird on instagram and finally we said "That's it! Perfect!".

Unfortunately the artist didn't want to give us the rights to use it. So we asked a designer to draw us this motive. It was good, but not good enough for the main cover. It became the print on our CD, though.

So I continued and searched for photos of dead animals on instagram like a maniac. And finally I found this picture of the rotten goat. Its totally black eyeholes seemed bad ass and beautiful to me I bought the rights to use it. Beforehand I evaluated other covers on promotion channels on youtube. I wanted to make it stand out and realized: the cover should not be black and white. It would just blend with everything else. So our designer came up with this color. Some tweaking was necessary but it was worth the effort. It also fitted the working title "Fraß" (grub), but we figured that non-german speakers wouldn't be able to write the special "S" symbol at the end of the word, so we decided to go with the alternative title. And we think it fits even better. A rotten corpse, hidden in the woods next to a trail, slowly blending in with its surrounding. Just outside the light.

 

Q: "Wildnis" is an absolutely beautiful instrumental track. What made you decide to include it?

 A: Thank you! I also think it turned out beautiful! There actually isn't that much of a story behind it. I was bored and tried out some acoustic riffs and came up with this after an hour or so. I thought of it as an intro for a song at first. But I presented it to my band mates and the other guitarist wrote the harmonies on the second guitar. I had goose bumps and we decided to have it as a standalone interlude. It means "Wilderness" in German, hence the forest samples in the background. I always imagine the goat lying there, while the birds are chirping and thunder rumbles. It's very calming and I think I listened to this track the most.

 

Q: What was the most difficult part of making this album?

 A: Deciding where to stop and finding the right musicians. We refined the songs in endless iterations, discussed about them for way too long. Then covid happened. Band members came and went. Most of the album was written a long time ago ("Erinnerung" and "Niemy" were the first 2 songs and already finished about 6 years ago!). Then Covid came, made everything difficult. Then our personal lives became complicated, so the time just went on and on. But I was determined to finally release it. And here it is...

 

Q: If you were a salad, what dressing would it have? 

A:Balsamico. Dark, simple and delicious.

 

Q: Where can people follow you? 

A: You can follow us on instagram, facebook, bandcamp (Tragedy Productions), spotify, youtube, etc. You'll finde the links here: https://linktr.ee/grauband

 

Q: What message do you have for your fans?

 A: We hope you enjoy what we worked on, feel what we felt, have a good time with our music and maybe experience catharsis. And stop the fucking hatred towards each other and let yourselves try to heal from whatever shit you lived through. 


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