Originally Posted on: January 26th, 2013
After arising from his recent demise, Marquis found himself wandering the crowded streets of Nuremberg, Germany. Among the throes of locals and tourists he heard a sound that drew his attention... It was wretched and horrid yet lively, snotty and full of attitude, with a good groove and catchy riffs. Suddenly the crowd split and a tall black shape approached him, pitchfork in hand... "The Dr. will see you now", the black shape spoke. Marquis was led to a dank room at Nuremberg Castle, were the source of the music came from. Suddenly, the music stopped... "We've been expecting you", a voice behind the microphone announced. He then stepped off the stage, picked up a tray of crimson drinks and offered it to Marquis, "Bad evening to you, I'm Dr. R.U. Pickman, Pick your poison". Marquis, pleasantly surprised by the offering, assumed it was a glass of fresh blood, grabbed a chalice and slammed it back. BAH! he screamed! and spit out the foul tasting liquid. "This isn't blood! It's Koolaid! What is this, Hell!?" The Dr. laughed... "You tell me", the Dr. replied. Before Marquis stormed off in a hissy fit, he managed to ask the good Dr. a few questions.
H-P: First off, can you give us a brief history of the band and how you came up with your name? Is there a meaning behind it?
THEM!: The Band was founded mid of 2011 by Pickman and Killmore who were neighbors at that time often ending up drinking beer and booze together. Both wanted to start something new so one thing came to the other so the guys decided to found a Horrorpunk band as both liked the genre ever since.
Pickman suggested the band name "Vlad and the Hot Rotts" but Killmore thought the name sounded too much like Psychobilly... short and straight the name had to be so they came up with THEM! The first songs were composed and with Caterwaul and Maneat-Pete cool dudes were found to complete the band... was that brief enough? To provide more detail, the story was like this: both were pretty drunk when Pickman first suggested that "Vlad and the Hot Rotts" thing. Well, it sounded good when he was thinking about it before, but in that moment he realized that Killmore was right. It sounded too "Billy" and also was hard to pronounce when you’re drunk. So Pickman was thinking about it once more and went through the names of his favorite 50ies B-Pictures, remembered the one about those giant ants, but first he didn’t like it because the German title of that movie is "Formicula" which just didn’t sound… but then he remembered the original name… short, precise, catchy… and there has always been THEM!
H-P: How would you describe your music?
THEM!: Rocking-Bad-Ass Music with Horror Lyrics, Sex, Blood, Rock'n'Gore that hits you like a baseball bat
H-P: You have an unusual sound, who are some of your influences?
THEM!: Thanks. It's good to hear that we sound unusual and not polished. Often bands are compared that they sound similar or even equal to other bands so we can totally live with being "unusual". We guess THEM! sound unusual as each member has a complete different musical background. Metal, Hardcore, Electro, Rock, New Wave, etc. of course somehow these elements lead to a special mixture in sound. We never tried to copy or approach the sound of any other band. We do the songs we all like and dump the rest.
H-P: You recently released your debut album, '... risen from perdition'. Can you tell us a little bit about the album?
THEM!: Well the EP was recorded in May 2012 in a more or less rehearsal environment by Simon Hammer, who normally produces Death and Thrash Metal Bands. Killmore knew Simon as they worked together several times before and Simon was just the best choice around to get an affordable and good quality recording in a minimum of time. The whole recording, mixing and mastering took us not even 5 days. So both, Simon as well as the band were amazed how quick and fine things went... Setting up a band and recording an EP in more or less half a year shows that THEM! somehow works...risen from perdition in hellish speed!
H-P: That is quite the title, what's the story behind it?
THEM!: The story behind the title??? Hm, it just fits the 1st release of an unknown Horrorpunk band and the title somehow has a spooky touch...Only to Pickman the title means quite a lot. He was out of the music making thing for some years but once we started writing songs, he felt like an important part of him crawled out of that pit it was captured in… he felt like rising from perdition.
H-P: Do you plan to (or have you) toured to support the album?
THEM!: Well, you can't call this a tour what we did in 2012. We did 4 shows in 2012 to get live experience and to promote our music and that's it. More was just not possible but yes, THEM! plan more Gigs in 2013 and if there are tour requests THEM! would not say no. Contact us and we will find a way to play!!
Well, we are ready to play wherever THEM! could fit in… but there are a whole lot of bands out there so being noticed as a newcomer band is quite hard sometimes.
H-P: What's the song writing process for THEM!?
THEM!: Each band member brings ideas to the rehearsal and together the songs are arranged until their finalization. The songs are mainly lyric based - so first of all the lyrics are written and then the music is built around. That's so far the secret...
Also some songs where created by just playing around. Sometimes one of us just comes up with a new tune and Pickman goes through his lyrics to look for something that could fit. All of us participate in the song writing process, that’s why we have this unusual sound.
H-P: Now for a relatively new band, you've garnered quite the following and your first release was picked up by Contra-Light Records. That's gotta feel pretty good. What can we look forward to from THEM! in 2013?
THEM!: Yeah, luckily CLR liked the sound of THEM! so the owner "Soiche" offered to support the release of the EP which was a real honor.
In 2013 THEM! plan to release their first full length album. So we will be busy recording in the 3rd or 4th quarter of the year.
A few songs still need to be written until then but we're on a good way and we will manage. Give us 2 weekends in the studio and we're done. Hopefully finally we are able to release on Vinyl which was already our intention with the EP. But if you're an unknown band and you decide for an expensive Vinyl release then you have to deal with a high financial risk.
So vinyl is postponed until our album is released... can't wait for it and hopefully CLR will support THEM! again!
H-P: Now, you’re from Nuremberg, is there much of a horror-punk scene?
THEM!: Well, when we started we were not really aware that Horropunk bands or a scene exists at all. But yes, there are some bands but not really a scene! One of our future aims is to organize more local shows and to involve local bands as you cannot really talk about a concrete Horrorpunk scene yet in comparison to a Metal, Punk or Gothic Scene.
We already caught the attention of some people in our area and we’re not going to stop at this point.
H-P: There seems to be a lot of great horror-punk bands coming out of Germany, The Other, & The Crimson Ghosts to name a couple. Is 'horror' in general pretty big there?
THEM!: Well Horror in general and especially Zombies and the whole hype around this we think really reached a uncomfortable climax here and everywhere - it's a trend and sells like Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings! For Horrorpunk we don't think that it's this big thing, maybe bigger than 5-10 years ago because of the success of some more mainstream oriented bands. In general we think Horrorpunk is, was and will be a niche kind of music. But you're right there are some great bands out there and that's all that counts!
The scene in Germany, especially in southern Germany where we come from, is not too big. The genre is still not recognized as a genre of its own. But we’ve already played with some really great guys and yes, Germany can’t be ignored when it comes to Horrorpunk.
H-P: Are there any current bands that get your blood flowing?
THEM!: Yes definitely, the "Horrorpunks-Com" Sampler for example offers several great bands but let's not start to name bands... Jack for example really like's this Paradise Lost sounding band on Disc 1. Pickman desperately waits for the new DieMonsterDie album just to name one. To Mr. Caterwaul it’s rather single songs than bands that he like.
H-P: for the gear heads, what equipment do you use?
THEM!: Ha-ha, is that really important? With all the sound editing software and equipment nowadays I guess you can fart into a microphone and sound like Mariah Carey... What makes THEM! sound like THEM! - Maneat-Pete uses TAMA Drums and Paiste Cymbals. Caterwaul uses a Harley Benton bass combo and a Fender Squire bass. Killmore owns something looking like a GIBSON Les Paul guitar in combination with LINE6 equipment and last Dr. Pickman uses a Shure 55 SH Series II microphone he gently calls "May". So nothing special I guess and we don't think that equipment is all you need, experience, fun and a few beers in the blood still sound best...
H-P: When not doling out punishment and damnation, what do you do in your free time?
THEM!: Well, music and everything relating to music and an own band fits I guess the main part of THEM! We're always looking for crazy stuff, talking to crazy people and keep things going… Also we’re into movies of course, Horror and Sci-Fi. Dr. Pickman loves those old 50ies B-Movies a lot, but also modern stuff.
H-P: What are your thoughts about the current state of music as a whole?
THEM!: Well there is a really huge choice of music out there in comparison to the time 20-40 years ago. Sometimes it seems that almost everybody you know plays in an own band. Making music became quite comfortable and affordable but music became too digital and self-evident. Records don't sell as there are now downloads and I guess all you need is one big, fat hard drive to have the whole fucking music history stored and available... that's somehow sick and has nothing to do with enjoying music the story around and the art behind. A band normally spends a lot of time to practice and to produce good music and records but the audience is not willing to pay anymore...sometimes not even paying attention as music became so self-evident, always and everywhere available mainly for free! But THEM! and a lot of other people especially in the Horrorpunk and other Underground scenes don't care... to speak for THEM! - we anyways spend a lot of effort to present a good looking and sounding record to those people able to appreciate.
It sometimes drives us mad when to see that there is so-called "supporters" of the scene out there who offer links to illegal but free downloads on their webpages instead of encouraging the people to buy the music. Also we hate the fact that lots of the "successful" acts today are just not worth being called musicians. Most of them can’t do shit when it comes to music but they have a pretty face and some good producers. Too sad to imagine that a great artist like Janis Joplin wouldn’t make it today because she wouldn’t be pretty enough.
Hits are made by media today. Play the hook line of a song on TV and radio for 20 times a day and people will start buying the record. Also it is pretty weird how well known „stars" are boosting and promoting their own offspring.
H-P: What's currently on your playlist (or in your CD player)?
THEM!: Killmore is into Old-school Death Metal things, Dr. Pickman enjoys Joy Division and Bauhaus, on Mr. Caterwauls list you’ll find Springsteen, Combichrist and Motörhead (like mentioned before, rather songs than bands) and Pete is into Hardcore like Kylesa or The Bronx.
H-P: What's next for THEM!?
THEM!: Planning of Gigs for 2013 and writing songs will be the main thing and as mentioned before, concentrating on the full length release to get things done until the end of the year. Waking up the scene in southern Germany. Enough social networking, time to do something.
H-P: Any advice for anyone starting out?
THEM!: Go and fucking practice and have fun in what you're doing. …and don’t play that "rock star" game. You’re not better than anyone else, so treat everybody in a decent way. Eat more pizza, rethink the concept of "Free Love" and just party on!
H-P: Any final words?
THEM!: Not yet! We plan to be here still for a while...
H-P: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us...
THEM!: Thank you for giving us the chance. Support THEM! and all horrorpunks worldwide. Stay Ghoul