The big Scream Your Name interview

We have all the details about their new album “Face To Face”.

Last Thursday, a day before the actual release date of Scream Your Name’s new album „Face To Face“ we met the band in their own four walls. They patiently answered all our questions – therefore, our interview turned out to be very detailed. Take some time to get all the interesting information about the creating process of the new record. It’s worth it, trust us!

Tomorrow is the day: Your new album „Face To Face“ will be officially released. How does that feel?
Micha: Somehow, October 24th came faster than I wanted it. You know, you waited for it for so long but the last couple days just flew by. I mean, the album was finished a while ago. In some way, it felt more overwhelming to hear the first mixes of the first few songs. I was more excited to hear the first mix than now, for the album to be finally released. That’s at least how I feel right now.

Miguel: I am happy to kind of finish one part of the process. The actual finish of the album was done a while ago, like Micha mentioned. Of course it doesn’t seem like that from the external perspective. However, we are already busy with the next few steps and couldn’t really focus on the actual release of tomorrow. Right now, it seems a little surreal that it’s actually going to be released tomorrow because I was so busy dealing with things that aren’t official yet.

Stefan: I can agree with the others. We are already thinking ahead. The release date was fixed at some point earlier.

Miguel: Yes, the date was fixed in February. Our whole time schedule was set up according to this date and we also set the release date ourselves. No one else had anything to say about it. The management wasn’t too happy in the beginning – however, eventually it all worked out perfectly for October 24th. I mean, in February, we weren’t sure if we were actually able to release it tomorrow, but as it seems, we are.

Micha: When we did the video teaser for the album we weren’t sure whether to mention the actual release date so we just said it will be released in fall 2014 – just to be on the safe side.

Stefan: At the time of the teaser we didn’t even finish the last song on the album, to be honest.

Micha: It felt, that we weren’t really fast in the whole process but eventually we did it in a shorter time than expected.

Miguel: For the fact, that we produced it ourselves and only started in January/February 2014, it worked out very well.

How long did the whole process for this album take? From the moment you decided to produce a new one up until now?

Miguel: About a year and a half. In January/February 2013 we had the first song “(Un)expected Ending” and then it took about another year until we started with the actual, final production which took around six months.

Stefan: In February 2013 the old album was re-released.

Miguel: Around the same time we started writing the new songs.

How does your song writing process look like?

Manu: The music itself is always first. I don’t think it was the other way around at any point.

Miguel: In phases where we didn’t have any important shows, we usually sat together around two to three times a week and just took our time to write the new songs. It wasn’t like an actual practicing but a writing process. A lot of the samples and pre-productions were led by Micha and Manu, then I wrote a great part of the lyrics and so we complemented one another. All the songs were done together.

Micha: Each of us gave input to every single song.

Miguel: Although it was all done together, each of us had its own role in the whole process. I think the influences and inspirations were much more diversified compared to the first album.

Stefan: It was also the first time, the songs didn’t develop out of jamming sessions in the practice room.  We realized that we are much more productive this time. If we had a guitar part, we instantly programmed the drum parts to it.

Miguel: We only actually played the songs together once they were all recorded.

Micha: We also had several versions for many refrains as well as the melodies for the singing parts. Eventually we had to decide which version we wanted on the final album.

Stefan: The decision process was sometimes kinda hard because it was two against two.

Manu: We almost had two different versions for some refrains.

Micha: Yes, but as soon it was three to one, the decision was made.

It would be good to have a fifth band member, right?

Stefan: Well, we kinda have a fifth person in the band: Räffu.

Räffu: Yes, sure, I listen to them and give my opinion.

Micha: If Räffu says, “yeah” then we know it’s all good (laughs).

Could you imagine writing new material out of a jamming session?

Manu: We tried to do it this way. But usually, there were evenings were we sat together and it was basically a waste of time because we, for example, lacked inspiration.

Micha: Of course, it can go wrong this way as well. You record something, and then you are unhappy about it, too. That happens.

Stefan: Yes, but sometimes you just let it sit for a night and the next morning you like it again. We also had this with the recordings of the vocals. Micha and I basically hated one recording of the song but the other two liked it once they heard it.

Micha: At some point, we all hated the voices on “The last call”. We even discussed whether we should take the song off the album or not. They even suggested, that I sing the song (…).

Miguel: But now, we really like and feel it. Sometimes, it’s the little details you need to work on to really dig a song. For example, “The Blue House”. We made it 5bpms faster and it was perfect. In the beginning, it just didn’t catch us, it didn’t have the necessary flow. That’s also a huge advantage if you record an album the way we did. You have so much flexibility and tiny changes can make the real difference.

You mentioned that the whole process took about a year and a half. In general, what highs and lows did you experience throughout the process of the new album?

Micha: The start to the actual songwriting was difficult. Manu already wrote a couple parts back in 2012/2013, actually almost a few whole songs. But we didn’t really feel it as a whole. We used some parts of it which we liked but it took a while until it started flowing. It was, in a way, quite exhausting.

Miguel: I think it was also difficult because it was the first time we wrote an album in this way.

Stefan: Yes, and we had no idea whether it would actually work once we play the songs together. Could we even play it the way we wanted it and would we even like to play it. So, we had no clue.

Manu: On the first album, the only song we recorded first before we played it, was 24/7. All the other ones we played together before. I think, the hardest part now was to actually finish the songs.

Micha: Yes, that took about two to three months. We intensely listened to each song and made lists what we wanted to change. A couple of songs which were basically finished were even removed again in the last phase of the process.

The album was recorded in this house, in your own practicing room. What was the reason that you decided to record it yourself and not go to a recording studio?

Miguel: It was more or less by coincidence. First, we always said that we’re gonna go back to the Principal Studios in Germany were we recorded the first album. The whole feeling in the studio is just awesome. I mean, you live there, too.

Micha: You feel like an actual musician! (laughs)

Miguel: Eventually, we weren’t really convinced of the sound and knew that we won’t go back there. Then we started looking at studios in Switzerland and wanted to record at the Vetterli Studios. Our budget an all was made to record it there. Before we went to the US for the Musexpo, we needed a new song for the media over there. They said, they know the old album but they need to hear something new. So we recorded something here, but really just the pre-pre-production and we sent it to Oly from Breakdown Of Sanity to mix it so we had something to bring to the US. Then, we heard the song and we were like: That’s it!

Stefan: Vetterli did another song and so we had the comparison to the mixing of Oly – and we liked the way Oly did it.

Miguel: We also sent the songs to the people at the studio in Germany to get some external opinions. Eventually, we said, our own intuition is the right one.

Micha: We had to realize that it wasn’t important what others say. We have to like it eventually.

Stefan: Yes, but the decision was a two-two thing again. Manu and Miguel really wanted to go to an external studio. Micha and me were like: Why? It sounds good so why do it somewhere else?

Was it also about being able to say: Hey, we were at the same studio like Eluveitie or some other bands?

Manu: No, it wasn’t about something like that at all.

Stefan: Well, maybe earlier we thought the reference could be of advantage to us. But eventually, I think nobody cares about that anyway.

Isn’t it even more interesting for people if you can say: Hey, we produced and recorded it ourselves!

Miguel: Yes, at this point, looking back, it is and we are happy about it!

Stefan: If you read reviews about the album, this was mentioned in a positive way.

Miguel: After all, it was just about the sound. We liked how it sounded and it was us, what we are. Another reason was also that it was extremely convenient. We know Oly very well and we work with the same sequencer. I could simply send him the project, he could work on it and send it back or we could just quickly see each other. We know him so well and swim on the same wave. He already knew how we wanted it to sound without us explaining too much. If we would have chosen to record in an external studio it would have been much more complicated. It just worked out perfectly and, as a bonus, we figured that we are actually able to record it in our own four walls.

Manu: I think my main concern was that we wouldn’t be able to do it on our own.

Miguel: We also learned so much during the whole process.

Manu: For the first album we needed so much advice and input.

Micha: We didn’t have a clue then.

Stefan: Yes, but it’s been four years since then.

Miguel: It’s way easier with the techniques nowadays. It still took hundreds of hours but we live together and you can just go downstairs to our band practice room and start. Even if you only work for two hours it was still worth the time. Back in the days, we had to drive thirty minutes each way to even get to our practice room. Then maybe one of us had a bad day, wasn’t it the mood or forgot equipment and eventually it was a waste of time.
Also, if you are in a studio it’s a lot more pressure. You have to deliver at that particular moment and the stress level is way higher. You need another kind of mental preparation. You have to be ready once your there, there’s no way of driving forth and back 800km. You don’t have the time and money. The most sensitive parts are the vocals – so now, if it just doesn’t work on one day for Stefan and Micha you can easily do something else and try the vocals again the next day. That’s the also the reason why it was musically better from the beginning because we could take this time. It was different on the first album – if you aware of that you might be able to hear it.

Sneak peek into the home studio.

If we are talking about time pressure: How much pressure did you experience from the label regarding the release of a new album?
Micha: At some point they said, well it would be good to release something new.

Manu: Yes, but if we would have said we wanted to wait another two years it would have been OK as well. But we all said it totally makes sense to release something new this fall.

Miguel: It wasn’t really a discussion. We do have a very good collaboration. Some decisions are fully on our side and there’s nothing to be changed about that. They trust us on these parts and on the other hand they know their business and we trust them with other decisions. It’s a give and take in the areas which either we or they have more experience.

“Face to Face”: What’s the message behind the name?
Manu: It’s about what we have gone through while producing this album. To face yourself as well as the other band members. We got to know us way better throughout the making of the album. We really had to get our shit together to be able to make it on our own – there was no one telling us what to do. We had to push ourselves and we got on each other’s nerves but we got to know each other much better, as well as yourself.

Miguel: Also the lyrics are about things like that. After all, it’s a non-planned concept album. The lyrics are kind of all about the same things but it wasn’t planned at all. All of us dealt with the same things at this time and so it just came all together, because of the whole process of writing this album. The lyrics are mostly about dealing with situations like that yourself, or how people around you deal with it. Time pressure, having a relationship beside the whole band processes – your own problems and the issues your surroundings have with it.

Manu: The album cover shows the same process. At some point, the mean face or side of you comes out – or just your real face.

What’s your most favorite song on the album?

Stefan: I have a few favorite ones but not a particular one.

Micha: During the writing process I usually thought the newest one is the best one. When the album was eventually done, I knew all of them.

Miguel: Mine is probably “With Or Without you” because I like playing it. I think it changed since we actually started practicing the songs. You look at the songs from a completely different perspective.

Manu: During the pre-production it was hard to imagine how it will eventually sound. And then one song after the other came back from the mixing and I usually liked the one the best which just came in.

Micha: When it comes to playing the songs I really dig “The Last Call”. But just listening to the album I really don’t have a favorite one.

Stefan: It’s interesting because we almost took this one out of the album but now we really feel the song.

In the recent reviews “The Blue House” gets really good response.

Stefan: Right, we don’t even really know why, it’s interesting.

Miguel: In the beginning, the song wasn’t quite that fast, like we mentioned before.

Stefan: You know, the song is about a friend who passed away. We wanted to have a slow song because of that sad reason but then we were like: You can’t write a song and just don’t feel it just because you think it should be slow. So, it turned out to be fast which is good.

Tell us about the recent video shoot. You drove to a lovely spot in the Wallis, hired a helicopter and shot that video.

Micha: We arrived there at midnight, after a long drive, it was up in the mountains around 2500 m above sea level and it was freezing cold. We got to the hotel room and in there it seemed even colder than outside. We slept a few hours, got up at 5am and brought our music equipment up to the spot where we wanted to shoot. The Austrian film guys had some more sleep while we set up a tent with a gas heating and a cooker for some hot drinks. Then we got the other guys and did some set up recordings from the front. Then our pilot got the helicopter and the weather seemed to get worse so we immediately did the material filmed out of the helicopter. Because the weather was instable we had to shoot it 6 times in a row which was really exhausting up in that height! I got really dizzy a few times and things turned black in front of my eyes and I almost fainted.

Miguel: We planned and practiced it for about two months. We had excel lists for everything which made the whole organization of equipment really easy but we didn’t take into account that the spot was at 2500 m above sea level. It was cold, the air was thin and when you perform for a video you have to exaggerate ten times so it looks good on the video. After five, six times of playing the song you literally just pass out. We didn’t take this into account. I mean, if you have no infrastructure you have several standby sets and you are worried about the weather and that the extra equipment isn’t seen on any of the movie material.
However, we are only acting for the performance parts in the video. All the actual story scenes are shot in Vienna by the Austrian video production company according to our screenplay.

Why did you choose this location? How did you find it?

Miguel: First, we wanted to shoot at the Creux du Van but the problem was, that the helicopter would have to fly around 20 minutes to even get to this spot. This was a matter of money eventually. So we checked with the pilot and he knew about that spot from a friend who shot video material in the Wallis before. We checked out the location ourselves and it was even better than the other spot we had in mind before. The helicopter basis was only located five minutes from this place so we could even keep the costs low.

On November 14th the album release show/party will take place at the Dachstock Reitschule in Bern. How do you guys get yourself ready for that?

Manu: Practice, practice, practice.

Miguel: Three to four times a week in the practice room and we had one day last week at the KUFA in Lyss to practice und real live conditions. We needed to check how the samples come across and volume issues. So if necessary, we can go back to the KUFA and practice it again.

How much flexibility do you have while performing on stage?
Miguel: To be honest, almost zero. We added a lot of samples for the new show which only come across effectively when everything is coordinated throughout the concert.

Manu: Between songs, we can still be quite spontaneous (laughs).

Stefan: That’s why we are usually very nervous before the shows. If a programmed sample doesn’t work for some reason, we’re screwed.

Miguel: We have a lot of experience with things that can go wrong. When it comes to technical problems I usually always have some kind of backup solution. Playing is always fine, you can handle any of your own mistakes but if the technique messes up – usually it’s dark, everyone is nervous anyway, that’s what stresses me out at a show.

Micha: It gets tricky if the crowd asks for a song which is not on our set list. Honestly, I don’t think we would be able to play it.

Stefan: Now it sounds like we are a playback band. (laughter)

Manu: However, it’s a good feeling if you know here’s the click when the song starts, and when it ends and it’s supposed to sound like on the album. If I go to a show I like it when it sounds like on the actual record. I am not a fan of varied refrains or expanded drum solos or whatever.

Miguel: We are aware that there is a fine line between over-planning and still being able to act spontaneously.  Eventually, we want to come across professional at our shows and that all the transitions between the songs are smooth.

Yeah, the interview was quite intense!

At the record release show, Breakdown of Sanity and All Faces Down are going to share the stage with you. Give us one word or one sentence about each of these bands:
Breakdown Of Sanity: Very good friends! No matter how successful they are at the moment, they are down to earth people.

All Faces Down: Austrians. We like the sounds and they are nice guys.

What are the plans after the record release show?

Micha: Christmas parties.

Miguel: Company dinner.

Stefan: Räffu’s (The Dude) birthday party.

Miguel: Let’s be serious. We would like to go on tour with a possibly well-known band which music is similar to ours. A few weeks ago, the first requests for shows came in. But, we don’t really want to rush into things. We want to give people a chance to first listen to the album, build their opinion about it and eventually book us if they like our “new” sound. It shouldn’t be forced on them. I think it just takes some time and we are not in a hurry with anything. It doesn’t matter if we go on tour in December or next spring. We just want to do what we think will be good for us and makes sense.

Manu: Maybe people don’t dig the album, you have a booked tour and no one shows up.

Do you think the new album is going to address a different crowd than the first album?

Miguel: Definitely. Some will find it too pop, too punk or to anti-genre. Some others might find a few songs good although it’s usually not their kind of music or genre. We hope to address people who are not just familiar with the whole metal core scene. I don’t think our music is typical metal core.

Micha: I think a lot more new listeners will like our music.

Alright, we are eventually coming to the end of our interview. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Well, we’re not taking it personal if some of you don’t like “Face To Face”. Just give it a listen, maybe a second one and take some time to make your opinion of it.