Hier gehts zur deutschen Version dieses Interviews!
Before hitting the stage at Station Endlos in Halle on Nov. 20th, Pauly and Äxxl from STALLION kindly took the time to answer some questions! Why was their last album called Slaves of Time? How do you manage a band if the borders are closed and rehearsals are impossible? Why does Pauly want to go to China? Read that and more in the interview below!
Huge thanks, once again, go to lightinmirror.de for the awesome photos!
Shieldmaiden’s Voice: What should people know about you before they listen to your music?
Äxxl: They probably shouldn’t know that much about us and just take in the experience instead. We have the most interesting feedback from those who don’t know much about the music we’re making and who are even a bit foreign to the genre. I like it when people approach our music with an open mind and just listen to it. What we’re doing is quite polarizing and some like it and some don’t. There is nothing you have to know beforehand, don’t you think? [asking Pauly]
Pauly: No, I don’t think so. I personally like it when I, as an avid listener to music, discover things I don’t know and expose myself to new influences. That is why we would recommend the same to the people out there.
SV: Last year, you release your album Slaves of Time. How did you come up with that name?
Pauly: There is no connection to the album as such, we meant to relate it to something different than you might think after this whole COVID-19-pandemic-phase. It was released right at the start of the pandemic, which was one of the worst points in time you could imagine for us. We wanted to connect it to the political situation since we watch that carefully and noticed the developments in recent years and the years before that…
Äxxl: … It was just a spirit-of-the-time-thing. Trump was still in power, Bolsonaro came, there is a right-wing person in power in Hungary. It was just the feeling of everything crumbling down which was reflected in the cover as well. It really is a matter of the spirit of the time, at least for me. It even might have been some kind of foreboding because this pandemic has heightened that.
SV: Which effect did the pandemic have on the release and distribution of the album?
Pauly: We had to stop our release tour, we were able to play three gigs and had to cancel the rest. That really hurt us, just like it hurt everyone else. When you work so long and hard towards an album it’s especially hard because you can’t release a new album every year and there is a lot of passion and energy that goes into this. It just sucks when you can’t present and evaluate it. The fans were tougher and ordered a lot…
Äxxl: … Thanks a lot for that by the way! But for us it’s still a hard pill to swallow. You release an album which always takes long. Pressing the vinyls takes a lot of time and you work towards it, rehearse the songs, are anxious to play them and then you’re only able to play three shows. We were very well rehearsed after having played in Würzburg when the cut came. That was a shame! We are still licking our wounds and are still not at the point we once were, but we try our best.
SV: In addition, you also have members from Austria and Switzerland. Did that cause you further problems?
Pauly: „Problem“ is a relative term. We didn’t see each other for almost a year…
Äxxl: We weren’t able to rehearse, which didn’t matter all that much since we couldn’t play live anyway, so we didn’t see each other for quite some time. The borders were completely shut down at times so there was no way around it.
Pauly: Until July of this year. We started rehearsing again at the beginning of July and played the first together on July 16th.
SV: Did this involuntary break open up the possibility to work on things you otherwise wouldn’t have had the time for?
Pauly: We treated ourselves to some fun and released something last year what we wouldn’t have done without the pandemic: A little Christmas EP. Without the pandemic there wouldn’t have been the time and we just invested our energy in this instead.
Äxxl: We moved into a new rehearsal space shortly before and we equipped ourselves with new technical gear. The Christmas EP was completely recorded there. It was an experimental run if that really works which is why we produced it there. It was very fun! We were excited to make some music and it was an awesome intermezzo.
SV: Why is STALLION a political band?
Pauly: I wouldn’t necessarily call us a political band. It’s just something that is close to our hearts, something that is important to us. The metal scene mostly thinks that politics shouldn’t be talked about and that it isn’t necessary for a band to take a stand. We feel very differently about that and since metal is a field in which, in certain parts, political ideology play a role or in which certain schools of thought come together, it’s all the more important to us to position ourselves.
Äxxl: It’s really more about standing your ground and less about telling people what to do and what not to do. It’s about us having a certain position and that the people see that it’s ok to do that. This is why it’s important to us!
Pauly: We want to primarily take a stand and distance us from others, which makes us, in that very moment, a political band, but it’s not our main focus.
SV: How do people react when you communicate your stance during a live show?
Pauly: During live gigs most react positively, you receive the odd clap on the shoulder here and there but that is not the reason we do this. We do it for the people who won’t praise us for it.
Äxxl: There is more opposition online. There are these „Keyboard-Warriors“ who need to voice their opinion on anything and everything. There is a lot of noise from the United States. It is what it is, but it is why we do this.
Pauly: It’s nice that a lot of people like that and many express that. They come to our merch table and thank us for that which is crazy to me. Originally, as we said, it’s not intended for these people.
Äxxl: Exactly! We are in a bubble here. When we play, we play for our fans and they know and like that. This is also why this bubble is a safe space. It’s about the people who aren’t here today and about making a statement for the whole world to see.
SV: Today will probably be the last live show for you this year. What are you most excited for?
Äxxl: It was obvious that this might happen and that live shows wouldn’t be possible which is why it’s the las opportunity to really hit the shit. The line-up is amazing today with cool, young and exciting bands who all pull on the same string and move within same underground-context. Amazing gig today!
SV: What kind of feeling is it to be able to play your own music in a live show?
Pauly: The best! That is why we do it!
Äxxl: Exactly! We are a band that enjoys playing live. We all had bands before this and the highlight was always playing live. Back then, we often played cover versions and it’s all the more amazing to play our original material which the people enjoy. That is the greatest praise for a musician-
Pauly: If you get a bit back and people know the things you do on stage.
Äxxl: Yes! Totally! It’s the best when you stand on stage and the people scream back the things you scream at them! That is really special.
SV: Should people listen to STALLION live or rather on vinyl then?
Pauly: We think that we try to transport something. It’s one thing to decide if the sound is really to your liking and the other thing is what can’t be conveyed at home which is the live energy. We try to deliver a lot and that is something you can only get during a live show.
Äxxl: It’s two different categories anyway. It can be so different to hear a band live or as a recording. Both is important, naturally, but for me live is always cool. The noise, the feeling of the sound, that is just pure fun! It’s a matter of taste, if you prefer live or the recording. I would recommend seeing it live with everything you listen to anyway.
SV: What are goals you want to realize in the future?
Pauly: We aren’t a band consisting of random people, which means that we’re all friends within the band. In the future, I want to continue having cool experiences with my friends, I want to see more places that I don’t know yet. It’s an amazing option to do that with the band.
Äxxl: It’s the best thing ever to be able travel with your friends and then maybe you’re in Amsterdam and have a day to spare and can explore the city. We have also been to Dublin or Hamburg. It’s not a business-thing for us, we don’t have a partnership of convenience in which you have to do things, we rather do this because we want to experience things together.
Pauly: On that note, what we want to experience… Sure, there are nice things… We had to cancel a trip to China last year where we would’ve headlined two festivals. The market over there is just opening up, the people are really hungry for music and haven’t experienced a lot from foreign bands. I would love to bring them that, to simply give the people a good time.
SV: What is the best way to support you in that?
Pauly: Support has many aspects: come to the shows, buy the album and the shirts, if you like the music. That is what finances a band and the fans give the bands new opportunities by doing that. Making music is always amazing, no matter the reach. You need the people at a certain level though. If you’re not supported, then you’re nothing as a band.
Äxxl: When word travels and people say „ Hey! These guys are amazing live! Go watch it!“, then that’s the best for us. That is how we became big.
SV: What is something that we haven’t talked about yet but what you really need to add to this interview?
Pauly: Given the situation that we’re in for quite the rough winter, I think it’s important that there is not just talk about what you’re going to do but that you rather just do it. Had we done that in summer, as dictated, then we wouldn’t necessarily be in this situation now or it wouldn’t be as dramatic as it is. This will keep us company for some more time. My wish to the people is that they keep it together, as hard as it is, so that we manage to get through the winter und enter the next year as if nothing happened. To continue life as a society as if it never happened. That is not just a wish to the metal scene, but to society as a whole.
There you have it! Keep it together in the hopes that we’ll soon be back to normal. If you’re in the mood for some Christmas shopping, then have a look at the band-owned fan shop, which now has some more amazing Christmas items!