Leaving DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT
This is a picture from Summer Breeze 2017. It’s DWEF and I in front of the audience. Thank you! When does a single crew guy get thousands of metal horns? On summer breeze. just after he left his main band. I love you all! This felt incredible. I was checking something on the drums right when Nikita made a shoutout for me to the crowd. I didn’t hear anything because there’s no stage sound for vocals. I just heard my name and you all screamed. Thank you very much. You are amazing and unique fans!!! Picture by Vincent Grundke
If you are a reader of this blog or overall consumer of my content ( Podcast, Blog or Youtube ) you are probably familiar with me playing guitar in a band called DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT. If you’re not — I played guitar in a band called DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT.
So there you go. I left this band. And you want to know why. That’s why you’re here.
Towards the very end of the year 2011 I found myself in a rehearsal space in Würzburg, Germany with Nikita Kamprad (Guitars, Vocals), Tobias Schuler (Drums) and Simon Schilling (Drums Belphegor). Simon was replacing Tobias for three shows in January 2012 and i was replacing Nico Rausch (who is now replacing me again, funny, right?) for these three shows in January 2012. So this wasn’t at all a stable line up. Anyway. We were rehearsing. It wasn’t really clear who was going to play bass on those shows but it turned out that one of my best friends in the world — Giuliano Barbieri — was hitting the lower register on those gigs.
Said shows happened and it was awesome. I have never played three shows in a row in my life. It was Frankfurt — Berlin — Bautzen. (All of those cities are in Germany).
So after these shows we agreed on playing more shows together and Giuliano and I ended up being the live musicians for DWEF. We communicated this when i was traveling in Australia in February 2012. I was at a point where i didn’t really want to go back to my life in Germany and i already cancelled my return ticket. I instantly rebooked it to be there one week before the next show on April 7th 2012. (I had to return anyway. My visa was only 90 days and i would have never gotten a work permit with that visa.)
Fast forward to the end of the year 2012 the singer Tobias left the band after our very first tour. Everyone made a little money on that tour. We almost exploded. I quit my job for that tour.. so…… You think about how that was in the following weeks. Let’s move on.
We realized that we didn’t really want a fifth guy in the band so we set up a rehearsal, brought some beers to get comfortable and everyone sang a song. I was the worst extreme metal singer. Tobias refused to do it. Giuliano has a sick voice anyway. But when Nikita sang to his own songs it was kind of magical and clear that he should be the new front-man for this band. There was just no doubt and it really worked. To this date he is my favourite metal singer in the whole world. I believe everything he sings and does when he sings.
In March 2013 we played our first tour with this line up and it was our first time traveling on a big bus with beds. It was alcohol and crazy shit madness. We were direct support for Agrypnie through Germany, Austria and Switzerland. After that i knew that this was what i wanted to do. For ever. At the age of 22. Of course I was stupid.
I do not want to tour in a nightliner for a living and drink every day. I would have to be on that bus for at least 200 days a year. And i would be very unhealthy by now if we wouldn’t have gone home after that tour. Just no. But at that time it was just the best thing ever.
Over the years of 2013, 2014 and 2015 we achieved a shitton of cool shit. Nikita wrote and recorded all the music and we were presenting it live. Travelling the world together and bringing people blast beats and fast picking melodies and melancholy and brutal music while having fun traveling and experiencing all of Europe and Israel. We’ve been at award shows, played the major festivals, met cool people, became friends with cool people and all the stuff you can imagine. It was really cool and i’m eternally greatful for everything i achieved with this band.
It is the foundation for everything i’m doing professionally and creatively now. This blog/podcast/youtube wouldn’t exist if I didn’t do this.
But there was a home life to this as well. I have always struggled financially just to be in this band. Just as a lot of other guys do too. I had shit jobs for the past years and i was ready to quit them right the next second.
Don’t get me wrong.
You make money as a band at this level. But it is very far from “making a living”. It’s around the amount that your dad makes a month. But in a year. Sometimes not. Sometimes more. You can’t generalize it. Every band is VERY different in this!!! I won’t tell you what we have made per person after that first tour in 2012. It would be unfair to the other guys.
So please never think that we are rich, “made it” or that our instagram followers put food into our fridges and money to our landlords bank accounts every month. It’s definitely not the case.
I didn’t leave this band for the money. In fact i now have less money than when i was in the band. Starting a business is very similar to being in a band. Except — You’re on your own most of the time.
I love playing extreme metal live. I love it to death. And i love making music.
The music industry is the only thing i actually know and i wouldn’t ever leave it. I’ll probably sit at a desk at the age of 80 and write a song into whatever we’re using for that in the year 2070 and then talk something into whatever is the equivalent of a camera in that year and then post something to the equivalent on facebook so everyone can see it on their contact lense. Or inside their brain or however that will work.
I left the band for my own sanity and for persuing my own path of happiness and artistic freedom.
Slideshow of random pictures from 2014.
In September 2015 we were scheduled to go to the United States of America to play our first ever tour there. We were hyped as fuck. Like as FUCK!!! I was ready to celebrate my 25th birthday in Atlanta, GA. We played our asses off to save up for flights and visas. And the release of Stellar in March 2015 did really well. That contributed the most money to this adventure.
This totaled in roughly 8000$. We played festivals without sleeping. I remember sitting at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris with barely any sleep and just hating everyone. It was a sunday morning and i haven’t seen this many people in one room ever. I may be exaggerating because i just hated my life at that exact moment.
But it was okay. We were doing it for this US tour.
So guess what. We didn’t get the visa. Money was burned.
There’s no refunds in this game. So in September 2015 my enthusiasm kind of shrunk a little. But i didn’t really realize it. I was still playing shows with my loved friends and i had fun. I had fun through all of what you’re reading here.
Over the course of the next 1,5 years i became less and less happy on stage and at home. I really couldn’t point my finger on it and it was a real personal struggle. Although i finished my part time studies for my Audio Engineer Degree in that time. That was really cool. I somehow winged it and turned out to become a halfway decent engineer. Yay.
So this emptiness was still there. I began drinking beers again before shows because I wanted to be enthusiastic about going on stage again. This was all going on in my subconscious mind. I wasn’t at all aware of all that. But my other half at home of course was. She’s my soul-mirror. If she wouldn’t have been there i think i would have started to do weird shit at home. So thank you.
I love you.
Sorry for my moods ?
(I still have moods.)
Fast forward to the Moonspell Tour in December 2016.
Moonspell are amazing people. I love them. They shared everything with us. Their crew helped us with everything so we barely had to do ANYTHING on that tour except playing sick black metal. So we played and talked to the lovely french and spanish fans on that tour a lot. This is one of my favourite parts of touring. Talking to french and spanish people at the merch booth. Just talking about life, tv-shows, holidays and other stuff. I love you.
So later on that tour I found myself in London on December 13th 2016 at around 7 AM waking up on the tour bus in the middle of Camden. I brushed my teeth and WALKED.
I walked away from that part of the city. I walked 11km’s before soundcheck. (Click here to see my walk on a map) Around half of that walk I realized that something was seriously not okay inside of me. I always was an explorer on tour. Like getting up to find a coffee and then see some stuff in the area before I have to do stuff. But that was a whole other level and it was extreme. It had nothing to do with exploring. I was literally walking away. Although I took some cool pictures of London. And i still saw London. After playing there 3 times without seeing it. So. Yay for that!
I was still not really aware of what was going on with me. I did everything I thought I wanted to do. So whats the problem, asshole?!?, right? Go back there and soundcheck. Took the underground tram and went to soundcheck.
Then I just stood there. Watching Moonspell’s crew doing stuff. Just doing stuff. Checking stuff. And I was jealous. It was a really interesting observation of myself and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for pretty much the rest of the tour.
I was already doing Backline, Sound and Tourmanagement for other artists for years at that point. So it wasn’t anything new for me and i technically knew what i imagined myself doing. I wasn’t dreaming. But i just really wanted to be a technician and tourmanager at that point. So we finished that tour and we had 3 months off after that. But i didn’t mind thinking about what i was feeling at all on the road. I just pushed it away. Just going on with life. Writing music for my new band. (Yes i have a new band. But it’s still pssht…) Until we were meeting up for new band pictures and rehearsing with Nikita, Tobi and our new Bassplayer Nico in February 2017.
I subconsciously didn’t really want to be there when i was there. When we were making these shots i stood there and didn’t really know why I was doing it. When we were in the car driving to a location i said i would never play a four week US tour ever. Like i really didn’t feel good on the inside. I said stuff like that without a four week US tour in planning.
Picture by Sophia Weißberg — Auras & Impressions
This doesn’t sound like i had ANY fun EVER. This is not true. (I’m listening to very sad music while writing this)
I had a great time through all of this but something was off. Something just didn’t fit. Like walking in shoes that are too small. But JUST a tiny bit too small.
Like when you buy them you’re like “Nah… i’m gonna keep em. My feet will make it work” — But it’s never a good decision to buy these shoes. That feeling. Great shoes though!!! Really great shoes just a little too small.
Just a little analogy here.
During our next tour with Heaven Shall Burn, who we have a very friendly relationship with and shared a drummer with, something extreme happened. Something that was really crucial for what I do and did for the past five months.
During this tour we were scheduling the Finisterre-Release Tour for 2017 and we were looking for a Tourmanager / Backline Tech (This is valuable information here) as there is more and more stuff to do on this production now.
We played the 2nd-last show with HSB and finished the set. It was packed. Beautiful venue. I of course felt a little off in my heart but still couldn’t point on what the problem was. When i talked to Nikita the next time he said that he felt that i wasn’t really happy with what i was doing and he wanted to talk to me after the tour.
So for the first time of this tour i was watching the entire HSB set from the side of the stage. Drinking a Fanta. Just watching the insane live show. People going crazy. The band making fun on stage. You have to understand that HSB and DWEF are very very different bands. HSB is more Live entertainment and explosions and fires while DWEF is more of a beautiful orchestra driving your guts into a deep blue sea of emotions and giving you goosebumps while you’re being mindblown by our light designer giving you eye candy for an hour. I love both to death. But watching HSB that night, it really hit me.
I had a deja-vu. Okay. Kind of a deja-vu. I saw live in front of my eyes why I actually started making music. Explosions. Driving through peoples faces with a tank of riffs and double bass and fire fountains and elephant stampedes of downtune guitar riffs. But smiling and jumping while doing it if i want and watching people throwing themselves against eachother.
I didn’t really talk a lot the rest of the night. We went back to Würzburg and i had to catch my train back to Düsseldorf the next morning. I had 4 hours of sleep between arriving at our Bassist’s place and leaving for the train.
I did not sleep at all. I had one of those weird half-sleep-half-awake dreams in which you do not know whats real and whats not.
In that dream i was tourmanaging DWEF in Budapest. We were going out for a swim to the Szecheny Bath before load in and i counted if everyone was there and ready to go. I woke up soaked in sweat and it was like 1,5 years of emotions pouring over my head. Everything made sense now. It was really extreme. There’s no way I could express these feelings in words.
I realized that i didn’t really want to leave these guys or something. I just wanted to travel with them in a different form and be able to do it in a freelance style and help them play a sick show. I didn’t want to quit playing live. I just wanted to be in a different role in the DWEF-Context.
When i arrived at home, i picked up the phone, dialed Nikita’s number and applied for being Tourmanager. That’s literally what i did. Of course i walked up and down for a couple of hours before doing that. I’m human.
I’m just not built to be the member of a black metal band anymore and it took me a long time to realize. But I eventually processed, realized and executed it earlier this year.
I have an even closer friendship with the dudes now as I can just be myself 100% of the time. Playing guitar in this band just wasn’t me anymore. If there’s one life advice i can give it’s this: Be yourself at all times no matter what. You will regret it if you don’t. Other people’s point of view does not matter. Never.
At this point (August 21st 2017) i have already tech’ed three times for them during the summer festivals. Unfortunately i can’t join them on their big tour in fall. But i’m going on a month long vacation to asia with my lady. Which is fine as well. Actually way better for me at this point. Recalibrate. You should backpack too and get to see and learn a new culture and analyze your home life with another pair of eyes.
Sorry if this seems to be a really sad piece of text. I have been thinking about HOW I want to release or write my statement of leaving the band on this day after Summer Breeze Festival for five months. I didn’t really think about just writing the true experience in it’s entirety. But here you have it.
I just can’t be small about this kind of thing as it is just my truth. And people barely talk about the dark sides so i thought why not break the ice.
So now i’m focusing on this blogger thing (new for me), running my Mixing and Mastering business, releasing the new Fuck You And DieRecord and writing Music for this new band I started and to perform with it next year around this time. If you like metal you may or may not like it.
If you need a guy for something maybe I’m your guy for it. I’m looking for cool stuff to work on.
You might see me return to the stage way sooner than you think.
Thank you if you have read it until this point. If you liked my style of writing (is that how you say it?) feel free to subscribe to this blog at the very top to the right of this page. If you’re on mobile please keep scrolling down a little more.
Hit me up if you want and introduce yourself. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please have a great day.
(BUY FINISTERRE and GO TO A DWEF SHOW.)