Interview with OLD MOTHER HELL
The Band: Old Mother Hell
Answers by: Bernd Wener (guitar/vocals)
OLD MOTHER HELL is giving their first steps as a band, although the guys behind it are not novice anymore. Their debut album “Old Mother Hell” is released by Cruz del Sur, which means something by itself, and offers classic stuff, good ideas and a sense of reality that is really welcome, what according to Bernd Wener’s words will do no other thing than keep growing.
Hello Bernd, the origin of Old Mother Hell is based on the thrash metal band Hatchery, how was the transformation?
Hatchery bassist Ronny (Ronald Senft, bass) and Hatchery drummer Ruben (Ruben André, drums) began to work on new material somewhere in 2015, together with former Hatchery singer Robert Hoffmann as guitar player. They wanted to try something different, leaving the thrash metal stuff behind. I joined in autumn of 2015 as a singer. After our first show together in March of 2016, Robert unfortunately had to leave the band because of his studies and so I took over the guitar as well. The current line-up exists since summer of 2016. So you could say the transformation went relatively smooth.
Sorry for Robert then New band, new album and new label, a good start I would say
Indeed a great start. We couldn’t be more thrilled. This all still feels like the wet dream of our 16 year-old selves. First the fuzz on social media, then being contacted by Enrico of Cruz Del Sur. Wow!
OMH was formed in 2015, 2 years to create your homonymous album or less than that?
As I joined the band, there were already quite a few songs existing, I added vocals and lyrics to. When Robert left we had to rearrange some songs so I was able to play guitar and sing both at once. Some other songs were trashed completely and some new ones written. So it really depends on how you want to see it. We don’t stress ourselves though. Even when a song is finished in the first version, we still don’t stop to refine it here and there. Good songs take time.
As good wines do yeah. How was the composition and recording of your debut album?
Our songs are normally composed together in our rehearsal room. In that regard we are a quite classic combo, meeting once per week and just letting things rock. The lyrics are nearly completely written by me. Sometimes I do it while we work on the songs, sometimes afterwards. There is no “given way” we are composing.
We recorded the debut in May 2017 at Rama Studio Mannheim under the supervision of producer/engineer Jens Siefert. He has the same philosophy concerning the way it should be done, namely: recording live the old-school way, not even doing a second guitar, grid-editing, drum samples, copy and paste or other “fancy” stuff. It was a hell of a ride and felt absolutely fantastic and authentic. Jens captured that feeling and turned it into exactly the sound we wanted.
That’s really awesome taking in account how music studios work nowadays. OMH is a power trio, not the first one either the last, three better than four or just happened like that?
We did try adding a second guitar back when Robert was still with us. But we didn’t like what it did to our sound. After Robert left we knew we wouldn’t easily find someone with the same mindset as we had. We three knew exactly which sound and which kind of music we wanted to do. So we tried to write some songs as a trio, realized it worked really well for us and so decided to continue on this path.
Demo Of The Month and Self-Produced Album Of The Month in Rock Hard and Deaf Forever magazines, how do you feel about that recognition?
It is exactly what we planned and deserved… Just kidding! We are – even today – totally blown away by all the accolade. Of course we thought before that our songs are good. But on the other hand: which band doesn’t? We realized starting to feel that this might be something special when the fuzz on social media started.
You have accomplished an interesting and addictive mix between heavy & doom, the ideas were clear from the very beginning or they were taking shape little by little?
I guess the truth lies somewhere in between. Ronny and Ruben wanted to do something different than Thrash Metal. We are influenced by traditional metal bands like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath. Especially Ronny and Ruben are also huge doom fans. We actually did cover Candlemass’ Solitude on our very first show. Ronny and me also like classic Hard Rock stuff very much. So one thing led to another and now here we are. There is (and was) no real intention like “Let’s do it exactly this way”. If a song has a good flow at the rehearsal, we don’t mind if it is more Doom, Hard Rock or more the traditional way of metal riffing. Feeling is more important than genre.
Old Mother Hell contains six good songs, no filler, but I have to complain because it ends too fast hahaha, you kept anything in the drawer for next releases?
Haha, then you can call yourself lucky: we had planned to do only a 3-song-EP at first. But we couldn’t decide which song to leave out, so we ended up with this mini album in the end. We are already working on new stuff casually but there is nothing final yet. So don’t nail us on something like a new release date. The debut is not even 6 months old yet.
We will take it easy then haha I love the wide sonic range of Narcotic Overthrow, any song you are more proud of?
Thank you very much. Interesting feedback because in my perception “Narcotic Overthrow” isn’t one of the songs mentioned a lot by our audience. With no doubt you can call “Old Mother Hell” the song we as a band are most proud of. I think it describes our band, the sound we want to create and the music we want to compose perfectly. It has a great flow and doesn’t feel – at least for us – nearly as long as it actually is with it’s 8.34 minutes.
It flows as water, indeed. Germany is a enough big market for most of the bands, enough to sell & tour, do you feel okay with that or you put no boundaries to your growth?
We don’t at all look at it this way. For us there is no market or something. We are not in music for the money nor the fame. We don’t want to be rock stars. We are just three guys creating music we love and would like to listen to ourselves. I guess that is the advantage when you are at a something older age and have families and jobs in your “real” life. The disadvantage of course is that we can’t just leave everything behind because there are responsibilities we have to fulfill. The boundary therefore is the time we can all spare. Everything has to be organized quite well.
Time is a merciless enemy and we are already facing the extinction of the big bands and names that set on fire the Metal for the past few decades, what will happen next?
Oh I don’t own a crystal ball, so I don’t know what will happen next, haha. But in my perception I see two different things: At first I guess there won’t be “legendary” bands anymore, because all of them are from a time when a new genre was born and formed over the years. You just can’t invent Hard Rock or Heavy Metal again. It is already there. Every new band formed is compared to that legends and that glory days, so they can only lose. Sounds depressing right? On the other hand I have the feeling that a lot of fans – and we three are part of that demographic – are fed up with loudness war, plastic metal, thousands of guitar layers and all that modern producing standards. They crave for authentic music. You just have to take a look at how successful bands like Night Demon, Blues Pills, Graveyard, Horisont and the likes are. Great music will touch people and gather an audience regardless of legends.
Any plans to tour around Europe?
Unfortunately there is no tour planned at the moment. As I mentioned earlier there are jobs and families to be juggled with every live show. Currently there are some shows planned in Germany, but we love to play live. So maybe in time there will be a possibility to do a small tour. It just has to be organized and planned well.
Thank you very much man for the interesting opinions and wish you all the best, if you wish to add something…
You’re welcome. Thank you for your interest and the interview. I won’t get tired to say thank you to all the fans out there spreading the word on social media and to their friends. Without you people we would be just three guys sitting in our rehearsal room, not even thinking about a label deal with Cruz Del Sur. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And to those curious: Feel free to visit our homepage www.oldmotherhell.de and/or facebook page www.facebook.com/oldmotherhell and leave us some feedback.