In an age where most bands are "progressing" into softer and more accessible forms, Germany's Fear My Thoughts have successfully bucked the trend and transformed from metalcore to full blown melodic death metal over the past few years. Their newest release, Hell Sweet Hell, has seen continuous spins in my cd player and easily one of my favorite releases of 2005 thus far. With a song called "Tie Fighting", I had no choice but to contact vocalist Matt Ockl, who shed some light on the goings on in the world of Fear My Thoughts and why Darth Vader isn't such a bad guy after all.
Wayfaerer-First, could you introduce yourself and your role in the band.
Matt-Hi I'm Matt and I do the singing in FMT.
Wayfaerer-How would you describe Fear My Thoughts to someone who has never heard the band?
Matt-I'd say that we're a band that plays melodic death metal which is sometimes more melodic and sometimes more metal. That whole thing is finally flavoured with some craziness and unexpected turns...
Wayfaerer-Congrats on the new disc, Hell Sweet Hell. How's the reaction been so far?
Matt-Apart from two not so good reviews, there have only been very good to brilliant reviews. This of course is a really cool thing to happen as the work we put in the album is rewarded in such a nice way...
Wayfaerer-Is the title supposed to be a take on the phrase, Home Sweet Home?
Matt-The story behind it is that we just took such a long time to find a suitable title. In the end we were so desperate that we just agreed on it. Apart from that we don't really put to much stress on the album title. It's just important for us that it can easily be remembered and can be interpreted in various directions...
Wayfaerer-You recorded with the famed Jacob Hansen this time around. How did that go; any unusual stories?
Matt-Let me think: I mean his studio lies sort of in the middle of nowhere. So we were there three whole weeks just focused on our work and on us... This definitely means that a lot of strange things happened. The minor things were that the heating and the power supply of our flat broke down quiet regularly (and it's just not funny to shower with cold water in winter).
We broke our own "I put much more garlic in the food than you did yesterday" several times (which again gave a very special note to the air in the studio).
As the whole studio lies sort of solitude in the countryside of Denmark, it was quite funny to get beer to this place (it always meant an hour walk with the crate on your back).
But I can say that we had a real good time there. The atmosphere was really relaxed. Jacob was such a pleasure to work with. It was really great. (ok in the last week there wasn't much to do for us, so we felt a little bored and watched a lot of real crappy films... but these are the things you have to do, I guess).
Wayfaerer-You'll be releasing Hell Sweet Hell to Japan via Soundholic. Any bonus tracks planned?
Matt-No. To us, all the people are the equal, therefore everyone gets the same.
Wayfaerer-There seems to be a clear progression from your last disc, The Great Collapse. Was there anything you particularly wanted to achieve on this cd?
Matt-We wanted to give the songs more structure than we did on TGC. And we focused more on my singing. Apart from that we started much earlier writing new songs (so we had a lot more time to rewrite some of them). And we wanted to get rid of the metalcore label, therefore this record needed to be real metal to not be mistaken as anything else...
Wayfaerer-I really enjoyed the cover art of the disc (the back of the liner notes with the woman wearing the skull was cool too). What would your very own "Hell Sweet Hell" look like?
Matt-My own personal hell? Maybe me alone on a planet full of nice women but being gay, or not having a dick? No that's filthy... A cheese sandwich without pickles? Women without breasts? I just don't know...there are so many bad things I can think about (that's why you should fear my thoughts).
Wayfaerer-Being a big Star Wars dork, what was the inspiration to make the song "Tie Fighting"?
Matt-It's sortof a fun song (with good old German humour, I guess). I just wanted to point out, that Darth Vader isn't such a bad guy as George wants us to believe: the story is, that he's sitting on the Death Star and actually wants to enjoy his day off. Unfortunately thats the moment when the rebels attack and he's forced to do overtime (which isn't paid).
Wouldn't we all get grumpy?
Wayfaerer-Going along with the Star Wars thing, I was asking bands around the time Episode III came out what the most "metal" SW character was, who's your choice?
Matt-Jar Jar Bings, I guess. He could bang with his ears (but to be honest, I don't like the new episodes that much). After him, it's definitely Darth: He's wearing leather all the time, has a very impressive voice and covers his sensitive innerself under that martial dress.
Wayfaerer-"Trying To Feel" has a more of a monstrously heavy, doomy vibe that separates it from the rest of the songs, is this something we could be hearing more of in the future?
Matt-It's always a very hard thing to tell what the next record will sound like. We ourselves havent decided yet. We just did this song, to set a counterpart against the rest of the record. Furthermore we wanted a slow and melodic song to end the record (and we wanted to show that we have a sensitive side in us, too).
Wayfaerer-"My Delight" and "Ghosts of Time" are probably my absolute faves of the new disc. Do you have any personal favorites?
Matt-I still like all of them. But my faves are "Windows for the Dead", "My Delight and "Sweetest Hell"
Wayfaerer-Do you have any touring plans at the moment?
Matt-There would be enough plans but no bands to tour with. So we have to wait until there's a band we can tour with. So far we just play a few shows on the weekends. And there'll be a little Germany tour around Christmas with Caliban, Maroon and Neara...
Wayfaerer-Everyone seems to be making videos nowadays. Do you think you'll be doing any for Hell Sweet Hell?
Matt-We're going to shoot the new video in September. It really does help to increase the popularity. I'd never thought that it would have such a huge impact. But we're planning on something untypical. I hope it's going to be a good surprise.
Wayfaerer-Quickly name the last 5 discs you've listened to.
Matt-IRON MAIDEN, Number of the beast, seventh son of a seventh son
DEVIL ATE MY SON, eyes of a dead man
IRA the body and the soil
Wayfaerer-Thanks for taking the time for this interview. Anything else you'd like to mention?
Matt-Thank you very much for your interest in FMT. If you guys don't buy our record or even download it, we'll eat your children or your parents!