OBM: Cheers for your time. How are you guys doing?
Duende: We’re doing pretty good, thank you. A year with a lot of foreign countries to play and we finally got to release Post-Historic in Germany which was definitely one of the biggest things on our “to do list”, you know.
OBM: So you guys are back for your second release "Post-Historic”, fill us in on what the last year and some has looked like for you guys!
Duende: 2011 was a crazy year, so much has happened for us. Of course we released Post-Historic first in the Benelux. We toured our asses off and loved it. We toured America (twice), Norway, Finland, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Germany and we’ll finally be back in Germany this May. Our tour starts May 9th. This year, so far, has been pretty much (for Death Letters) only writing the new album for me, which I finished 2 weeks ago, actually. But we’re getting into ‘gig-mode’ right now. Everything from day one was always going so fast with us and it continues to do so. I think it’s just our nature, we’re very ambitious, so it makes kind of sense, I suppose.
OBM: Expand on your title "Post-Historic " for us. Also talk to us about how it correlates with your cover art?
Duende: Post-Historic is a title that just suddenly came to me. I was watching a history channel one day, which I’m always fascinated by, and at one point there was the word PRE-HISTORIC showing, really big, on the TV screen. At that point I was still looking for a title for the album. And for some reason it triggered something inside my head and I thought POST-HISTORIC! So, that’s where the title comes from. There’s this great chemistry between me and the guy that did the artwork (www.enchilada.nl). He always hit the spot. It all correlates with the artwork really well because it has this really ‘modern’ feel to it, the cover, everything in the booklet and our logo. But it also has a really classic feel to it here and there.
OBM: What are some of the topics that you’ve delved into in this record?
Duende: There’s a concept behind the title Post-Historic and behind the album/lyrics. That is that we have to move forward, we have to progress, but if we want to do so we also have to embrace the past. In music, love, death and religion, which are the main topics I wrote about. But I feel a lot of people don’t embrace the past and really don’t want to move forward but rather look back on the past and remain ‘standing still’. Which, again, happens in music, love, death and religion. We have to move forward!
OBM: What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in producing the record?
Duende: The thing is, I already had the record written before we went into the studio to record it. There was already a pre-production of the album with a track list and everything, which remained the same. But I think the hardest thing was to record the ‘softer’ songs on the record because they require so much concentration. I remember playing the acoustic guitar part of “When You Know A Name” and I had to do it over and over again because it’s such a fragile part to play, especially on acoustic guitar. So, I became really frustrated and agitated recording that song, haha.
OBM: What are your favorite songs on the new record and why?
Duende: It’s always hard to choose a favorite, cause it can be totally different tomorrow. But the songs that keep resonating to me the most are “Death Of The Sincere”, “Fear’s Face” and “A Silent Voice Destroys”. Because, all three, are really intense in their own way. “Death Of The Sincere” because it’s a really long and moving song, with in the middle, a little instrumental ‘dramatic’ feeling to it, you know. “Fear’s Face” because it’s so weird and fast, especially at live shows this song’s always insane to play. And “A Silent Voice Destroys” because it’s extremely personal and means a lot to me, but also because it’s such a ‘huge’ sounding song live, you can go a lot of places with that song.
OBM: I read that you guys recording this album in Austin (Texas). What was that like?
Duende: Yeah, that’s right. It was pure bliss, seriously. We recorded with Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith, who’s worked/working with artist such as …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Datsuns and JET. We spent a little more than three weeks in Austin to record the album (mixing was done after that). We literally started working everyday at noon and stopped at 2/3 AM. And we did that everyday for three weeks straight. But we had some time off here and there. It was amazing. We met Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) ‘cause they played in Austin when we were there and ‘Frenchie’ knew them. And we even did a couple of shows ourselves. And of course the city itself is amazing. It really was a life changing experience.
OBM: What equipment are you working with on this record? amps, pedals, guitars, etc…
Duende: Wow. It’s almost two years ago so I’ll probably going to forget a lot of stuff. But I used two Marshall amps one Plexi 50 watt, one 100 watt, a VOX AC30 and more but I forgot. Guitar wise a Telecaster deluxe, Gibson Firebird Reverse, Gibson Les Paul, Fender Jaguar, a really cool orange Gretsch hollow body and I forgot the rest, sorry. But these were definitely my main ones.
OBM: How hard is it to keep topping what you’ve already achieved?
Duende: When people ask me this I try not to sound too pretentious, you know, because I’d like to see that what I’m doing is an art form, it’s a skill, not everyone can do it. So, I’m not really thinking about it as “topping what I’ve already achieved”. I grow and grow and that’s the only thing what’s there to top.
OBM: A lot has happened/changed to the music industry over 10 years, do you think it is now a better or worse place for a band like Death Letters?
Duende: I think it’s a worse place for music/art in general. We’ve been a band for 5 years now and even we already see many things have changed in the last years, it’s insane. Everything’s going so fast. But at the same time I really feel the best music ever is being created right now. I could go on forever about this and there is a lot to say about it. But the most important thing I’d like to say is that the respect and values of people towards music is really bad. The most people don’t recognize how hard we have to work for it. And maybe that’s, at least for me, the most frustrating thing, that most people see it as ‘just a hobby’, and they don’t take musicians like us seriously. Those people have no idea how much effort, money and love go into everything we do. It’s really weird to say, but at the end of the day this is my job, it’s work, you know.
OBM: Your song “I wish I could steal a sunset” is a part of the soundtrack of the new NHL 12 game, how does that feel?
Duende: It feels amazing. Reality kicked in when suddenly that track was being downloaded on iTunes a lot and had a lot of views on YouTube and people started uploading their own video of “I Wish I Could Steal A Sunset”. Especially in America and Canada. That game is really big over there. We have a lot to thank to that game.
OBM: I have read that "I wish I could steal a sunset " your first single of the new album, entering the Netherland charts, that must be amazing for you guys!
Duende: Actually “Your Heart Upside Down” was the first single of the album, but when it entered the charts we were really surprised. We are no doubt the ‘oddballs’ and ‘loudest’ band (in the pop/rock format) in Holland, so it was really cool to see a band like us hit the charts.
OBM: So, what would you like to achieve with “Post-Historic”?
Duende: Right now, GERMANY!! It’s about time we conquer your country with Post-Historic. We’ve done a couple of tours before in Germany and we really feel this country is a perfect fit for Death Letters.
OBM: Thanks for your time. Anything else to say, plug, complain about, promote?
Duende: Go see us on tour in Germany this May! Starting May 9th. And check all our tour dates at www.deathletters.net and we’ll keep you posted on our Facebook www.facebook.com/deathlettersmusic.
OBM: Right on! We wish you good luck, and thanks again for taking a minute to talk with us!
Duende: Thank you! Really appreciated, loved the questions. Cheers!
Death Letters - Post-Historic
Death Letters - Your Heart Upside Down
Death Letters - The Death Letters 7
Duende - Gesang, GitarreGuitar
Victor - Schlagzeug
"We literally started working everyday at noon and stopped at 2/3 AM. And we did that everyday for three weeks straight. But we had some time off here and there. It was amazing. We met Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) ‘cause they played in Austin when we were there and ‘Frenchie’ knew them. And we even did a couple of shows ourselves. And of course the city itself is amazing. It really was a life changing experience."