Interview by Si Smith

 

Rooted in 60s DC comic culture, the idead of the bizarro world has long fascinated those with the time to wonder; a place where everything has its “perfect imperfect duplicate”, a world of topsy-turvy superheroes and supervillians. Since then there have been numerous references to the concept, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the American sitcom Seinfeld. But now the metal world has its own take on the Bizarro theme: German melodic death metal/metalcore band Deadlock bring it straight into the 21st century with a new album tinged with the very antithesis that gives Bizarro its identity. Rough and smooth, demonic and divine, silence and noise, fast and slow, this album has it all. I spoke to superheroine Sabine Scherer for a healthy dose of alternative reality.

First, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us, and a warm hello from all at Femme Metal.

In 2011 Deadlock can truly be said to be established as a metal force to be reckoned with, now that you have five full-length studio albums behind you.

How has the journey been across this time for you personally?

It’s been a pretty cool experience so far! We’ve been on the road with so many cool bands and played great shows, visited places I would never have dreamed of, like Japan, Ukraine or Russia.  

It’s now been almost three years since the release of the remarkable “Manifesto”: what have Deadlock been up to in the three years since the last album?

We’ve played many shows and went on tours with All That Remains and The Haunted, Soilwork, Lacuna Coil, played the X-MAS Tour with Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban, played some festivals like With Full Force and Summer Breeze, as well as these great trips to Japan, Ukraine and Russia. Those were some fast three years 🙂

Not only a new album but a new logo and from the paintbrushed lines of the first through the intricate angular etching of the second, now we have the futuristic minimalism of the third. A deliberate attempt to forge a new identity, or just coincedence?

We all think that with the musical progress which we went through, it was time to underline the musical evolution in the look. We’ve had this idea earlier, but never really felt it was the right time. But with the new album, I think it totally fits.

“Bizarro World” is an album firmly rooted in its concept. For those who are not aware of the concept, would you take us briefly through your understanding of the phenomena of Htrae and the Bizarro Code? How important are these to the album?

“Bizarro World” is a place where all good is bad and all ugly is beautiful and vice versa. Sad but true, we often find that this “Bizarro World” often corresponds to the world we actually live in, way too often. It has become quite common not to question the things we’re confronted with and we’re accepting the presented solutions in a non-critical and non-constructive way. For example, we’re trying to heal so-called diseases by poisoning ourselves, states go bankrupt but spend a horrifying amount of money on weapons and the war industry, everybody is talking about saving the environment but who’s actually doing something? This is Bizarro World.

“Virus Jones” is a strong opening song: not only do you start the album with the longest song on it, it also showcases your vocals at the very start; how do you begin to prepare your voice for recording a vocal like this? Could you take us through the recording process as you see it?

I usually don’t really prepare for recording sessions, voice wise. some times I do voice excercises, sometimes I’m drinking a beer before recording 😉  one day we’re done in 5 minutes, the other day we need 5 hours, it simply depends on how much we’re going with the flow.

No rapping or guest vocals this time – just the grandiose concept! And the sharp contrast of Johannes‘ death metal growls with your crystal clean melodics. There are a couple of ballads here where you can show off your voice to the full – namely “You Left Me Dead” and “Paranoia Extravaganza”. Of all the styles that you sing, have you a favourite style? What is your MOST and LEAST favourite thing about singing for Deadlock (if you can tell us…:-))? 

There is no bad thing about singing for Deadlock, and no bad style. Of course, there are songs that are more exhausting than the others, but all of them are fun to play, sing and perform.

I notice the techno breakdowns are still there intermittently – eg on “Renegade” – has there been any temptation to leave these out to satisfy some of your critics? Or are they an integral part of the Deadlock sound? 

I think that if we would have felt that we needed more of these electronic styles in any of the new songs, we would never have hesitated to use them. We would never just not use something just to please other people.

I would definitely say that “Htrae” works up to a great climax for the album. Some bands use up all their good material and by the end you are left with filler, but not Deadlock : it is one of your most powerful vocal moments on the album I think. How does it feel when you perform tracks like this live?

I love this song, but we have not yet played it live, and we’re currently not planning to play it in the future.

The band appears to be very tight musically, and all the parts join together to create something so much more than the sum of its parts. How do you all manage to stay “in sync” with each other when playing a Deadlock song? Are the relationships strong between the band members?

We do rehearsals before tours and everything and we know each other and the way he uses his instrument very well.

Personally I would say that on this album your vocals have become more prominent than on previous offerings and you have been given a wider range of vocal acrobatics to perform. How has the change affected you, going from guest singer on the first album in 2002, to becoming basically one of the focal points of the band’s sound in the present day?

Well I got more things to do on stage 🙂 I think it’s a cool balance on the live set and both Joeand I are giving our best to transform the songs from the album into an enjoyable live experience.

It has been great as an onlooker to see you progress through the five albums, becoming stronger each time. Have you any advice you would give to up and coming vocalists who wish to be in it for the long haul like yourself?

Thank you! I’d say that it’s most important to always be yourself and never try to copy others. Of course, it’s good training to cover songs, to find out what’s easier for you and what’s more difficult, but in the end, you have to put your own soul in it.

Finally, looking to the bigger picture, do you feel you have found your “niche” with Deadlock? Or do you have any ideas for other projects or vocal avenues that you could explore in the future?

I guess that we’re always on the move. We might as well put out an electronic album next time, without guitars, haha. Just dance. Call it Dance-Metal. I don’t know, we have been doing so many things and our heads are full of ideas, I’m excited myself about what will come out the next time we hit the studio.

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