German hard rockers S.I.N. have been around for some time now, but with their latest album "The 13th Apostle" they seem to have made all the right moves. They even scored a perfect 10 out of 10 rating from RockUnited.Com.... As Alan was so overwhelmed by the album, he had to have a chat with Alex, the drummer of SIN.
Give me some history on the band S.I.N
Our two guitarists Deddy Andler and Wolfgang Frank know each other for ages. They started playing together in a band called Tempest in the early 90ies. They stuck together in different bands since that time. I got to know them in 1999 when I joined the band Forever. Carsten Schulz, who also took over some lead-vocals on “The 13th apostle” was our singer back then. After Forever split, we founded S.I.N. with Jason Marks from the UK as our vocalist. With him we released two albums, “Somewhere Into Nowhere” in 2003, and “Equilibrium” in 2005. However, Jason decided to leave the band shortly after “Equilibrium” was released. This was a hard stroke for us, and we were really disappointed of the whole situation at that time. At that point, we were not sure whether to continue or not, but time told us, that this was more likely a lucky chance for us.
We finally found Patrick Simonsen to complete the band as our new singer. Patrick is also known and appreciated for his work with Norwegian rockers HUSH, and through him we got the possibility to go beyond our old limits we had with Jason. We were all for a sudden able to become much harder. More rock, more metal, much less AOR. This is what we always wanted to do, and this is were the old roots of Tempest and Forever come from. He is a completely different singer than Jason was, and while recording and writing with him we really found out that he is the frontman we always needed. On top of all that we never got so many good reviews and critics before, so we can now say that teaming up with Pat was the best thing that could happen to S.I.N.
Through all the years of S.I.N we always struggled with bass players. Shortly before we started recording “The 13th apostle” Jan Ebert entered S.I.N., but many bass parts on the album were recorded by Wolfgang Frank, as he is not only a fantastic guitarist, but also a very good bass player.
The album's story is religion based, but i noticed that none of you thanked "God" in the credits. Are you religious people?
Well, as far as I am concerned, and I think I can speak for the whole band here, I am not “really” religious. I believe in god, or a higher power, watching over us in some way, but I don’t need a church or a pope to believe and to tell me what is right or wrong. If you take a look at Africa, for example, there are millions of people suffering from HIV, and then you have the pope saying that condoms are kind of devil’s work and they kill lives. What’s that? I don’t get it…! So god, yes, but church, better not…
Whose idea was the story?
The story came up from a dream of Deddy’s brother. He once told him about a dream he had, that he was with Jesus, and he wanted to be his apostle. He did all he could to please him, but Jesus always said that the story’s plot is written. There are 12 apostles, not 13. So no chance for him to join the disciples. He fell in love with Jesus’ sister, so the wish to be with them all the time became stronger and stronger.
We started to like the idea, incorporated some more situations and made up this story. Then we teamed up with an old friend of ours, Ana Kugli. She really investigated in the bible and it’s history and digged deep into those old stories. She picked up so many details and finally completed the whole story and the lyrics. As she studied literature, she really knew where to start from and made an excellent job. We cannot thank her enough for all she did.
Were you nervous about taking on such a big task as this album?
Good question. We never really planed to do a conceptual album. Better said we never wanted to record one. With concept albums you’re always measured with such highlights as Operation:Mindcrime. And this is a hard goal to reach. With a concept, we had to create an album, that has to tell a story, there should be a “red line” through the complete record, but on the other hand, every song should be able to stand on it’s own. So this was the big thing we were nervous about. Can we manage this? Do we demand too much from ourselves? Deddy started to write songs for a new album. Then we came up with this idea about the story. We ended up with more and more songs, riffs and ideas, put all this together and as time went by, we came to the conclusion that it might work. From that point on, it was no longer possible to stop the train, and we finally recorded a concept album without any plans to do so in the beginning. It just happened.
Has there been any negative reaction from Christians, seeing as you basically correct the Bible's version of events?
Not yet, haha. But after the album is released on April 25th, we’ll see what happens. One important thing is that we never say “the bible lies” or that we question the story of Jesus Christ. There are many stories around the bible, the so-called apocryphics. We just added another one of those apocryphical stories, our own story about the life of Julian. I don’t think that we will get into problems with Christians as we never doubt anything. We just add some new thoughts to the whole plot.
Is this your first concept album?
As mentioned before, yes it is. And it was quite a battle till we were done with all the different aspects of a conceptual album. Hard work, but worth it…
I take it the band are happy with the final product.
Oh yes we are. As with our last two records, the guys of House-Of-Audio did a fantastic job. When I recorded my drumparts there we were all for a sudden sure that this album will better than we hoped it to be. Through all the recording-period Deddy and Wolfgang did a brilliant job on the production.
For ourselves, we found out that this way of producing really suits our needs best. We recorded the drums in a “real” studio as this is the most complex part of the whole thing. You are in need of lots of proper mics, the right room, and not to forget the engineer who can handle all those different sources of sound. Then we brought the drumtracks to our own studio and took our time for recording all the other things. When you record in your own rooms you feel much less pressure to finish, as budgets plays a minor role, so we think you can really hear this on the entire album. Then mix and master were given back to House-Of-Audio again, and Jochen Sachse and Jürgen Lusky really did their best.
Another aspect of the record of which we are very proud is the fact that we had the honour of working with great musicians. Carsten Schulz, Renee Walker, Conny Andreszka and Boban Milojevic, they all put so much effort in this album. We really owe them a lot, and without these friends, the album would never sound the way it does.
Do you want to do another concept album? If so, would you want to base it around religion again?
Right now we are not even in the planning state for a new album. We got some ideas, some new riffs and stuff, but the only thing that’s sure is, it won’t be a concept album. For the next one we just want to write some new songs, without having to think of a whole plot, the story, how songs fit to each other and so on. Don’t get me wrong, it was so much fun making this album possible, and we are all really proud when we listen to it now, but for the next one we will probably prefer a more relaxed way of writing and recording, haha. But you never know, maybe the time will come for “The 13th apostle pt. 2”?? We’ll see…
How have the reviews been?
We are pretty honoured by the feedback we got so far. Especially your review was fantastic, so at that point, thanks to you, Alan. To be compared with Queensryche or Rush is a big thing! Other reviews sound similar. People really like what we did, and they enjoy listening to “The 13th apostle”. And this gives us the power and strength to move on. When you’re sitting in the studio for several months working on your baby, it is always a hard moment to let it go. You never know if people like your little kid or not. And you’re always afraid that they might not accept it. But “The 13th apostle” is highly appreciated by all reviewers so far, so we are pretty happy how things are working for us at the moment.
What is your favourite concept album?
I don’t think there is a question about it and I feel free to answer for my bandmates, too, but this has to be Queensryche’s Operation:Mindcrime. This is one killer album and even so many years later it is really up-to-date. Big brother is watching you more than ever before. Savatage’s Streets or The Wake Of Magellan are also worth to be mentioned here…
How come you are with Music By Mail now? What happened with your last label?
Well, it was time for a change, and we are really happy to work with Seba and Oliver. We think that musicbuymail.eu follows a good way of releasing albums, and we are sure that this was the best way for us to go. So just support musicbuymail.eu and get your records there… ;-)
Will The 13th Apostle be taken on the road?
We would love to. It would be a blast to play these songs to a live-audience. But things are very expensive today. With a Norwegian singer in a German band you always have to consider flight costs and stuff, lots of things that make concerts more and more expensive. We are currently working out some things how we could manage this, but we would really love to hit the road. Normally you start making music because you want to go outside, you want to play life. When you record an album, you have the reviews, and you see how many people actually buy your release. But when you play live, you get immediate feedback of the crowd, and that is was a musician is living for. Be sure we’ll give our best to make some shows possible.
Would you want to do it as a full theatrical experience?
That would be great, too. All the singers, live, with a huge choir and probably also an orchestra… but here we are talking about production-costs again. I don’t think that this will happen, but the idea is brilliant I think, haha…
Well, thanks for your time Alan, and for the nice support on rockunited.com, and to all our fans out there, thanks for buying our records, please visit us on www.sin-band.com or www.myspace.com/somewhereintonowhere, and don’t forget to order Your 13th Apostle on www.musicbuymail.eu.