Thank you E-lane for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for me about yourselves and your music. --Dixie
What is the name of your band and who are the current members?
Sarah: Our current Line-up reads: Sarah (voc), Fabian (git) Chriz (bass) and Thommy (drums) and together we are E-lane
Let's get this out of the way...where did your band name originate?
Sarah: The first E in E-Lane stands for modernism. We all know words like e-mail, e-commerce etc… It also stands for the two main parts in our music: emotion and energy. And the Lane, is just a symbol for the track we’re following with our music.
chriz: Yes, and E-Lane is also an imaginary alley, where we are at home and where the people we like are always welcome. Some kind of hiding place, where everyone is invited to relax from everyday life in a comfortable dark atmosphere.
Give us some background and personal history about yourself. Birthplace, where you grew up, where you reside now, etc...
Fabi: I was born and grew up near Stuttgart in southern Germany. I started playing guitar at the age of eight. And I had my first band at the age of fourteen (it was an oldie- cover-band). Three years ago Sarah and me moved to Lake Constance for studies. Sometimes it is difficult because the band still rehearses in Stuttgart, but we give all, to keep things going on.
Sarah: I was born near Stuttgart too. I started singing at the age of four. I had my first singing lessons when I was fourteen years old. I sang a lot of classic stuff, but my love to heavy music succeeded in the end.
chriz: Well, as I’m the old guy in this band, this is gonna turn out a bit longer. I was born in Stuttgart and raised with a background, that was completely non-rocking. Jazz was the wildest thing my parents or grandparents could think of. But they loved music. So after spending some years with the recorder, I changed to cello at the age of eight, I think and learned it in a classical manner for nine years. When I was 14, I got a classical guitar, too and with 17 the 1st electric one. Besides the Cello Stuff, bands like Anthrax or Metallica had obsessed my musical mind. “Master Of Puppets” literally changed my life! Funny enough my first band wasn’t a metal band, but kind of a Punkabilly outfit called The Qazimodoz. I played guitar there for three years, then I moved north for studies and didn’t find any band as a guitarplayer, but a hardcoreband, that needed a bass-player. So this was the moment to change to the low frequencies. Throughout the following years I played in several bands with a broad variety of styles from Waverock to LoFi-Pop, From Folk to Crossover. When I had finished my studies (Social Studies and German Literature), I was searching for a job for about a year and didn’t get one, so I decided to go back south. Two weeks later, I had the Job. Some month later I had a band again: E-Lane.
Thommy: I was born in Altenburg (Thuringia) and enjoyed the youthgroups of the GDR from the pioneers to the FDJ. Well, the socialist reality had its advantages and disadvantages like almost everything in life. It’s all about being surprised;-) When I was 15 I entered a drumstool first. The results where loud and clanging, but it was fun and within the following 13 years I had the chance to improve. I went through Metal, Rock and Punk and other different styles. Then I left for southern Germany, because I couldn’t find a job in Thuringia. I’m feeling at home there, too by now, due to friends, some bands I played in and E-Lane, my second family.
Thommy is your newest member. How did you find him (drums-Mortal Intention & My Fault)? Hows that working out?
Fabi: After separating from our first Drummer, I spent days and weeks in the Internet, looking for some musicians and drummers, ready to join the E-lane. That’s where I found him. I gave him the music, he locked himself up in a studio for a week, just practising and then we came around for jamming. Working with him is great. He brings his refreshing spirit and creativity to the band and turned out to be a real friend, too. We are very happy to have him with us.
chriz: Yes. It was a stroke of luck, to meet him. He’s playing with much musical feeling than his antecessor. Actually, I heard my basslines for the very first time, while rehearsing, so the whole rhythm section is kicking even more ass now. And Thommy brings broad range of musical experience into the band. Metalcore, Blackmetal, but also some completely different stuff, that bring more life to the songs.
Who are some of your favorite bands and artists; past, present, now?
Sarah: At the beginning my singing was affected by musicals as Cats, Phantom of the Opera etc… later I was listening a lot to singers like LeAnn Rimes and Celine Dion. With my first boyfriend I discovered the heavy sounds, like Soulfly, Slipknot, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson and so on. And I really liked it. My parents could not understand this musical change. It took a while but my mother likes my music now.
Fabi: The first band I listened to was ZZ Top at the age of 5. Then several band followed: AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Slipknot, Machine Head, Rammstein etc. That’s why I want to thank my father who introduced me to this great music!
chriz: This is a difficult one. I’ve never been the guy to be a big “fan” of any special band or artist. I am a music-freak, but my taste is to diverse to give more than some examples. Early Metallica were very influential to me. Especially “Master Of Puppets” and the “Garage Days revisited EP”. On the other hand I loved the Ramones or the Sex Pistols with their energetic and simple approach to music. The Cramps were a revelation and the whole Psychobillyscene really blew me of. Bands like Demented Are Go, Mad Sin or Guana Batz… the 1st Rammstein-Album was groundbreaking and I was really impressed by the Krupps. Besides I’ve been into Goth-music from Sisters Of Mercy to Frontline Assembly since the eighties. PJ Harvey and Tori Amos are completely ingenious, as Nick Cave is and I can’t miss to mention The Cure. And I really love the Horropunk- Deathrockscene with great bands like Nim Vind, The Other, Shadow Reichenstein or Blitzkid. Ok, I’d better stop this… As a matter of fact, I’m the one in E-Lane, who’s least metal, which doesn’t mean, that I wasn’t into bands like Cradle Of Filth, Fear Factory or Machine Head…
Thommy: Metallica, Iron Maiden, The Doors, Slipknot, 36Crazyfists, Die Toten Hosen, Rammstein, U2 there are to many good bands, but if I tried to make a complete list, I could publish it a s a book. With artists it’s just the same: Jim Morrison, DaveGrohl, Sting, Thomas Lang, Mike Portnoy etc. ....
What single band has inspired you the most and why?
Sarah: That’s a very difficult question. There are so many bands just making great music. And as I said before, I was affected by so many different musical styles. But I think I have to say Andrew Lloyd Webber, without his music, maybe I would never have started to sing.
Fabi: Metallica! Because they have been my favourite band for several years, mainly in my teens. I simply liked their style, because they had everything in their music: speed, heavy riffs and melody
chriz: Oh my God… This would take a whole book, because I could even name single songs, that were very important. For example “Black Sunshine” by White Zombie. Sean Yseults bassline on this one is astonishing. It opened my eyes. I also absorbed the basslines of Patricia Morrison on the Sisters Of Mercy Album “Floodland”. “King For A Day… Fool For A lifetime” by Faith No More” or “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure would be other influential albums, just to name a few. So once again: No single band in sight. I picked up the pieces of everything I liked and tried to understand such different bass-players as Jason Newstedt (Metallica) or Simon Gallup (the Cure), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth/Soulfly), Tony Canal (No Doubt), Sting (with the Police) and find my own way.
Thommy: I really don’t know. Maybe I just didn’t become aware of being influenced. I hope, that if this is the case, the influences were good - Hahaha
Tell us about E-Lanes unique style of music?
chriz: In metal-bizz most bands with a female singer tend to play rather traditional stuff like Doro or Gothmetal with a lot of opera in it, like Within Temptation. Our approach is to melt the emotional female touch and the energy of really heavy musical parts to recast dark shimmering pieces of music, that could please the open minded Goth-Community as well as open minded metalheads. That’s why we call it Dark NuMetal. Power for the Darkness!
Thommy: Well, I only want to add, that our style is not designed theoretically. It is music how we feel it. For me, the music of E-Lane is life, feeling and family. If you wanna give it another name, go for it. It won’t change the music.
Can you describe how the people in your music scene relate to each other? And is there a real strong sense of community?
Chriz: Well, actually there is not one particular music scene at all, when you visit an E-Lane-concert. But this is why I’d say, that there is a strong sense of respect and community. You can be a goth-chick or a metalhead, you can be the nice guy from the neighbourhood or a horrorpunk-fiend. Have a drink, open your mind, enjoy our music running through your veins. Concerning special music scenes, for example the Gothscene, there’s always loads of nice people and some arrogant assholes, that would look down at you, if you don’t wear the right pants. That’s why I’ve never been interested in scenes. Of cause I like to see Goth-ladies in the audience, though – Hahaha.
Pick one of your latest songs and talk about everything from writing it, meanings, the challenges of recording it?
Sarah: Our new song “Until I” is a song for an independent film, shot in august/september 06. Fabi, Chriz and me had roles to play in this movie. The director asked us for a song. So Fabi and me began to write. That’s how it starts most of the time. It wasn’t easy because we never had to deal with thematic guidelines before. I was not free in writing the lyrics but I think we did a good job in the end.
chriz: It was the first song, where we decided to get away from the live-sound, when recording it. And it was the first song we wrote in the current line-up. It went astonishing well. We worked out extra guitar-tracks, a cello-track and things like that to give it more atmosphere. This took a lot of work, but in the end it payed off.
What can we expect from the upcoming E-Lane CD?
Fabi: It will be a three track EP including our soundtrack “Until I” and two other songs called “About Control” and “Encircled”. There will be a Video of “Until I” if everything works out, it will be shot on January 07. And there will also be several remix-versions of all songs. Chriz can tell you more about it.
chriz: Yes I can… As I told you, I like dark music from classical Gothrock to EBM and Industrial-stuff. I own a lot of albums with very interesting remixes by other artists. So I came up with the idea to get some people I know going with some more dance-orientated, electronic versions of our material. I hope this will emphasise our interest in coddling both – the goth and the metal scene, without losing our identity. And I really like the thought of networking with other musicians. There will be artists from Italy, Estonia or Sweden doing remixes, which stresses the idea of a creative community based on curiosity, respect and the love for music.
Where do you see E-Lane in the next 3 years? (next 1 to 3 years)
Sarah: Noone can say what will happen in the next three years, but I hope we will still play music together. We all are working hard for the success of this band. We hope to spread our music to everyone interested in it.
chriz: I’m not thinking that far. For the next year, my aim is to release the new material, raise some attention and play as many gigs as possible. Festivals, small club shows, support shows. We will work for it and at the end of the year, we will tell you were we have come to.
Thommy: Speculating what the future might bring is no good in my opinion. Things always turn out a little different, so it’s better to move towards them step by step. But I hope, we will reach the next level musically during the next year.
Describe what one of your live shows like?
Fabi: What can I say? We all are soaked wet after the show. We give our all and our best. We always try to give as much energy as possible to the crowd. If you want to get support, you have to show that you are worth getting it. In some concerts when the vibes are good, we leave the stage while playing and go down to the people to rock with them.
Sarah: The only one who can’t leave the stage in such situations is Thommy. Poor boy!
chriz: Well. As I‘m still not playing wireless, I am at least chained to my amp. I have the suspicion, that some people know the length of my cable by now and leave the critical radius during the show ;-)
Is music/guitar playing you full time job? If not, what do you to pay the bills?
Sarah: It is a fulltime job, but we can’t pay anything with it. We have to pay for this fulltime job because chriz and Tommy are about 125 miles away in Stuttgart while Fabi and I sit in Constance the very last city in southern Germany. You don’t believe what a car in Germany costs if you drive 3000 miles a month , but it’s worth paying. To pay the bills Fabi and me have jobs in a printing press. If we can, we work at night, because we get more money in the night. And we have to keep on studying, otherwise our parents would not help us with money and government aid for students would be cancelled.
chriz: Well, I have a half time office-job in the marketing of a company, that provides software for Supply Chain Management, Capacity management, Sequencing and things like that in Automotive Industry. The other half of my job-life is working as a freelance in the music-magazine-sector. Of cause making my living on writing novels, poems and articles and playing music would be a dream, but it’s not that easy and being a father doesn’t make it any easier.
Thommy: When I’m not sitting behind my kit, I’m doing the electrician for automobile industry. We’ll see how and if this will change.
If you could play with ANY music artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Sarah: Do you know how many great musicians lived in this world and how many are still living? You don’t have simple questions – do you ;-)? I was on a Stone Sour Concert in October this year. Corey really impressed me. It would be a pleasure to play with them. But there are so many other musicians. Freddie Mercury for example. One of the greatest voices in history. Imagine what you could have learned from an entertainer like him in just one evening on stage. Or some musical super-freaks like Dream Theater, I could name you a dozen artist in a minute.
Fabi: Hm difficult, isn’t it? I could name Jimi Hendrix, Kirk Hammet, or any other guitar-freak. But they play that much better then me, that I would become depressive. Despite of the fact, that it would be boring when two guitar-players doodle. That’s why I would play drums and on the guitar Wes Borland
chriz: Well, I have similar problems as the others, but I think I would go for dating PJ Harvey on stage, because her music is so intense, that I’d like to get deeper into it. Her albums saved my life, when I had a really difficult time and I always loved playing to the records.
Thommy: Jim Morrison! Well and E-Lane, but lucky enough I am really playing with them;-)
Tell us about the craziest thing you have had happen at one of your live shows…
Sarah: “Just do it” one of our oldest songs, also to find on our first EP “Awake your Senses”. Wake me up in the middle of the night and ask for the lyrics, I’ll sing it for you. But one day we had a bandcontest to play- a very important concert you see. The location was filled up with people, we had a very huge crowd. The concert went great until Fabi started to play “Just do it” in this moment I could not remember any word of this damn song. Verse one –nothing. Verse two nothing, Vers three still NOTHING I had a blackout the whole damn song through. But I needed to sing something, so I started to string some vowels and consonants together. This wasn’t a language, it didn’t make sense it was just pure distress.
Fabi: We played a song called empty. At the beginning I jumped into the air and started to bang. Suddenly I felt bad and I almost barfed on the stage because it was too hot…
Thank you gods of rock’n roll for helping me to handle this situation ;-)
chriz: Nothing spectacular yet. Just little incidents like drunk people entering the stage and trying to imbue (?) me with their beer. The craziest thing at any live show I ever played would probably bethe completely drugged guy, that balanced on a ladder before the stage on a festival until he and the ladder went down on stage. After that, he began pulling our cables…
Thommy: It’s crazy, when the heartbeat of a band has a complete blackout. As a singer you might start to repeat a verse, sing «nanananana..» or scream something like «let me see your hands in the air. But as a drummer…?»
If you could get the fans to take one message out of your music, what would it be?
Sarah: There is so much in our music. I hope that everyone can take his personal message out of our songs. My lyrics are very personal, almost all songs are based on situations or relations I lived or live in. And I hope that there are people listening to our music, realising that they are not alone with their feelings, but can share it with our music. Some things do not hurt so deep, when you can share the pain. And good things are celebrated best, when you celebrate it with music and friends.
Thommy: Stay as you are and love one…
chriz:… don’t be content with lamenting, that we’re living in a bad world. Try to make it a better one – at least for yourself and your beloved ones – or at least give us your money, you bastards – Hahaha!
Feel free to do any shameless self promotion here of you band, now is your turn to talk about anything you want about your band, ideas, or life in the band. (website addys, places to purchase cds and merchandise, mp3 downloads)
chriz: To get closer to the inner circle of E-Lane you should visit our websites www.e-lane-music.de, where you can find a shop and a guestbook and some more information about us and/or visit us at www.myspace.com/onlane. Please take your chance to get into contact with us. We like communicating, we’d love to learn more about your ideas, your favorite horror-movies, your lovesickness, your latest booze or the novel you’re working on. Forget about all those bands, that pretend to be there for you and have their secretaries writing answers to your mails. Our aim is to establish a circle of friends. So here’s our invitation. Spread the word!
Issue of Sonic Seducer magazine for Battle of the Bands, "fragments" is included on the CD (out of 50 total)....How is that going? the tracks are suppose to be voted on by listeners/viewers, what’s the bands standing currently?
Chriz: Well, Sonic Seducer is one of the biggest Gothrock and Underground Mags in Germany. Every year they pick 50 Bands that are featured on a CD that comes along with the december/january-issue. Unfortunately, I have no idea about our standing, because it is kept secret until the end of the voting in January. But it was good to be named in the mag anyway. To be honest, I think, votings or contests are overrated. The best way to enter the next level is playing till your fingers bleed. Not to mention, that this is more fun than waiting for people sending in papers for a voting. Music mainly should be is about interacting between band and audience. Period.
"Everlasting Hate", by Philip Polcar and Ulrich Hafen (www.pheaqol.movies.de.vu), zombie-horror flick that features a tune from E-Lane. You mention that the band had a small stint in the movie as well as one of your songs being featured. Can you tell us something about this experience?
Fabi: It was great doing something very different from music. I played an earth-zombie. I had to rise from forest soil. This scene was extreme, because it was very very cold and I had to lay down in a cold and wet duff hole and Philip and Ulrich began to bury me alive. After coming out of the ground I just wanted to take a shower and wrap my cold body in warm clothings, but I had to stand in this forest for another two hours, because there where several other scenes to be shot.
Sarah: The self-made blood was also extreme. It was disgusting to have it in your mouth and even more disgusting to swallow. It was made of juniper sirup and cocoa. It was so sweet everything was gluing. It was weird getting in those sugar-stiff clothes. I was so happy at the day I was dying, because I could get rid off these clothes.
But it was also a lot of fun.
chriz: My part was only a small zombie-appearance, but it was fun though. As a dedicated horror-fan it was always my dream to die in a horror-flic. Well, this was a first step towards fulfilling, though but my death wasn’t that spectacular. Most spectacular was trying to remove the traces of artificial blood and the fights the next morning. Watch out for the english version of our report concerning the shooting on www.e-lane-music.de. It will appear within the next days.
Thank you for your interest! I hope, we’ll stay in touch and maybe talk again, as soon as you received our new EP, which will hopefully also include a Video. We’re going to shoot it in the middle of January, if everything works out…
The “Until I”-EP will be released in the beginning of March I think. Well, you will come to know it, when it’s time! Best wishes from southern Germany
Chriz + E-Lane
Thank you so much for giving me your attention and time!! Again, thank you so much!!!
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