Concrete Eden interview

Hello Concrete Eden! Here we go with the serious conversation. When did you start writing / producing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

We started in 1995 as a school band. But soon it became clear that this would not be the end of our ambition. Skating and snowboarding were two of our passions apart from music. We were most influenced by KoRn, Limp Bizkit or Rage against the Machine. The first visit to the studio followed in 1999. when we created our first demo. 2 years later, the first album “Selftitled”  was created. Sometime between 2002 and 2004, the band broke up in its original formation. It was not until sometime in the summer of 2004 that Erwin (today’s guitarist), Hannes (the former drummer) revived the project “Concrete Eden”. In 2006 the album “Metropolis in the year 2006” was recorded in our own studio. Tom (today’s bass player) joined us in 2010. The album “Left” was recorded and mastered completely in our own, brandnew recording studio.

What do you personally consider to be the decisive moments in your artistic work and / or career?

The final of the “Austrian Band Contest” 1997 in Vienna. At that time we were only 18 and we were allowed to get on a big stage for the first time. Back then the concerts were even better – people still had fun and lived the music. There was moshing, Pogo dances and so on. Today you get most of the attention of the audience by their held up mobile phones while filming. There is no movment – the smartphone could fall down! In our new formation we also had our small victories and we always had fun. One of our biggest successes was of course the record deal with NRT Records. We hope that countless happy moments will follow.

What are currently your most important compositional and production challenges?

We want to preserve NU-Metal and stay faithful to your own style.

(So, for example, we will not to hire a female singer, just to attract the audience to come closer to the stage (mischievous grin)). We want to keep the balance act between mainstream on the one hand and the creation of technically sophisticated songwriting that still pleases the  audience on the other hand

What do you normally do when you work on a new piece?

We listen to our role models. Then the guitarist plays a reef. The drummer joins him and from this fireworks of ideas the essence of our style is extracted. There are tons of good riffs or song parts that we produce. But in the end we use only what we all like. It happens that we make several rehearsals on a song and then just forget it because it does not inspire us anymore. Each band member actually comes from a different music genre. Everyone then lets these influences come into the songwriting. This produces our unique interpretation of the NU-METAL.

How strictly do you separate improvisation and composing?

Very rigorously. The arrangements are recorded on a flip chart and rehearsed and refined. At some point we do not improvise anymore but solely try to improve the quality of our game.

How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?

For us, space is a pomegranate of ideas in which the connective tissue of sound re-sees itself in the structure of the composition, and at last gives birth to something new, which then begins again in the creative cycle of being in space. (mental effusion from our  guitarist – just joking! ). But seriously, the sound is very important to us. We have our own sound and we want and we also ask for that when we play live. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. A band only gets to its peak when the sound is right and the audience joins in. Hard riffs, punchy drums, hammering bass and awesome hooks need space, which, of course, brings out the actual composition through a good mix.

Do you feel it is important for an audience to be able to deduce the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make it transparent?

Here we see a multi-layered listening in the foreground. Similar to a need pyramid, there are those who prefer hard music and enjoy it. Only a little later (maybe while enjoying our new CD, pardon streams) then the question arises about our musical concept and maybe an analysis. Only then does this concept have to withstand the critical judgment of the listener. Do we make music for us or for the masses? In the case of Concrete Eden, we tend to make music that we like in the first place. And that’s the toughest criticism (laugh). I think our music becomes transparent through the incorporation of old familiar concepts wrapped in a modern coat

To what extent do you think creative decisions are based on cultural differences – and to what extent conversely, the perception of sounds is influenced by cultural differences?

This we cannot say, since we all have the same cultural background but anyhow cultural differences would not matter to us. In fact, we need to simulate these related issues in some way. However, we also try to create some empathy here.

The relationship between music and other art forms – painting, video art and cinema – has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and to what extent do you feel, does music refer to other senses than to hear alone?

This is difficult, since working with other art forms in the early 2000s has rather been unsuccessful for us. Nowadys we focus more on our core business – music and authentic live performances.

Today, there seem to be two basic trends in music: on the one hand, a move toward full virtualization where titles and albums are released only as digital files. And on the other hand, an even closer connection between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation.Where do you stand between these poles?

The immediate availability of the media that operates today forces us to focus on digital distribution. The mere fact that we answer this interview for a foreign metal portal proves that we have chosen the right marketing step, which would physically not be possible.

What changes would you like to see in the music industry to live off your music?

We do not have the claim to make a living of our music, yet it would be nice to be able to positively influence the consciousness of the listener to give music more value. What actually would be also the task of the music industry.The main problem here are also the concert organizers who shy away from any risk and prefer to rely on cash – cows rather than giving news bands a chance. After all, we deliver a product whose expenses are quite real and should therefore be valued accordingly.An absolute NOGO for us is to do our own marketing. The effort would be too much and there would be no time for the really important thing – the music.

The role of an artist is always changing. What do you think of the (eg political / social / creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to achieve those goals in your work?

The role of today’s successful artist or artist is to meet the financial requirements by the organizer, so that they can get break even. Do what you can do well. We are musicians and, in a sense, entertainers. That is our task. Statements on various topics are included in our texts.

Music-sharing sites and blogs, as well as a flood of publications in general, present listeners and artists with challenging questions. How do you rate the value of music today? How does the abundance of music change our perception of it?

Music is constantly devalued. Just alone through the quick availability which results in an inflation which is perceived by the listener only in the negative aspect, especially, if a band can not deliver on time. We have great respect for bands like TOOL who do not submit to this trend and produce at their own pace. (And deliver according to quality).

How would you say that non-mainstream forms of music could reach a wider audience?

The problem here is that mainstream by definition can not be progressive, as the potential polarization would cause at least a significant fraction of the audience to be excluded. Mainstream is therefore not bad per se. The courage to take progressive approaches ultimately leads to new ideas being distributed to an existing fan base. Then the innovation transforms into mainstream. Let’s call it musical evolution.

It is usually assumed that the artist’s job is to gain an audience. But listening is also an active and not just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?

The listener has to get involved in our show completely. However, this does not happen with a mobile phone recording while uploading it on a social media platform.As an artist one is always judged by the performance but we suffer from of lack of public participation. It should be a give and take between band and audience, not a musical monologue.

To reach an audience, you usually have to contact the press and possibly work with a public relations firm. What is your perspective on the promo system? How to change music journalism and public relations companies the perception of music by the public?

Nowadays, we see the problem that marketing also lacks an economic principle. As a not well-known artists we would have to pay for PR, whereby in case of a success the PRs enrich themselves on the artist. In our case, we are very satisfied with the work of NRT-Records because it is a fair give and take. The label tries to get the maximum out of the project together with us. The band delivers the product, the label sells the product. There is a precise distribution of tasks and profit distribution. That’s how it should be, and that’s why we feel so comfortable with NRT records. Good PR is in the music biz nowadays indispensable.

Please recommend to our readers two artists that you deserve.

Any band that is really serious about achieving a goal deserves to be in the limelight. I like DED or Keychain right now.