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So, this somewhat informal Q&A isn't exactly an interview, but it is very much an engagement with all of the creators of Estatic Fear's considerable Doom legacy. We're presenting this as a guest, but nonetheless authoritative, exploration of that...so read on...

Interview with Estatic Fear.
"This Q&A is a factual summary of an Estatic Fear fan pilgrimage to Linz in Q3 2019. It aims to spread previously unknown details about the bandís history, learned through informal interviews with Estatic Fearís composer, the bandís founding members, 'A Sombre Dance' drummer Markus Schickerbauer, and CCP Records owner Claus Prellinger, who also mixed and produced both albums and recorded bass parts for the album 'A Sombre Dance'.

For further information, see also: The fullest band biography of Estatic Fear (English) on this site, and The biographyís Russian translation on doom-metal.ru.

Please note that this interview will be translated into the following languages, and links made available as and when the translations are complete:
Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

The fan pilgrimage to Linz was initiated by the biggest online Estatic Fear fan community; it took place on August 29 - September 2, 2019. The pilgrimage consisted of pub meetings/walks in Linz city center, a visit to CCP Records, and a trip to Castle Stauff, recorded in four parts:

In the interviews we prioritized non-obtrusiveness; the questions asked aimed to explore the "inputs" of the "black boxes" of musical creativity which bore "Somnium Obmutum" and "A Sombre Dance" - the sources, inspirations, as well as various trivia about founding of the band and recording of the albums, without intruding into the musiciansí lives or plans.

We want to express our sincerest gratitude to all these amazing Estatic Fear people who were so open and so kind and so eager to dedicate several evenings to chilling with us, four 35-40 year old fanboys from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Israel.


The pilgrimage had the following goals:
  1. To settle the copyright matters for releasing the forthcoming international tribute to Estatic Fear:

  2. To deliver questions and fan messages collected from the international fan communities on Facebook and VKontakte
  3. To offer all possible fan support in every aspect of producing a possible future Estatic Fear release."

For information, the following participants were involved in answering these questions:
All: a general answer, unspecified source
Matthias Kogler, aka Calix Miseriae, composer, co-founder
Markus Miesbauer, aka Beowulf, bass, growling vocals on 'Somnium Obmutum', co-founder
Herbert Heckmann, aka Stauff, Nemesis, Pulse SETI, guitars on 'Somnium Obmutum', co-founder
Milan Pejak, aka Astaroth Magus, drums on 'Somnium Obmutum'
Claus Prellinger of CCP Records, mixing and mastering, production, bass on 'A Sombre Dance'
Markus Schickerbauer, 'A Sombre Dance' drummer

Estatic Fear Q&A Session

This Q&A article complements and further expands the extended Estatic Fear biography published in 2017, most of which was kindly contributed by Stauff (Herbert Heckmann).

1. [This question was not the focus of the visit, but this is the #1 question repeatedly asked by many Estatic Fear fans]. Will there be a new Estatic Fear album? Perhaps we, the international Estatic Fear fan community, could help you with completing and releasing it?

Matthias Kogler: I might get back to this matter some time... my job is rather intense. And I will consider this offer, thank you.

Claus Prellinger: Matthias Kogler is always welcome in CCP Records studio for making a third album.

2. Would Estatic Fear ever play a live show?

A: Very unlikely. But you could check out Shadow Suiteís live covers of "Somnium Obmutum" and "Ode To Solitude". They did a really amazing job!

The forthcoming tribute to Estatic Fear produced by the fanclub is also very impressive.

Tribute cover.

3. Estatic Fear albums feature sophisticated academic musicÖwhat musical backgrounds do you guys have?

All: All original Estatic Fear members, as well as Matthias Kogler, are self-taught musicians. However, many of the guest musicians (Markus Schickerbauer, Claudia, Marion, Petra, Franz Hageneder, etc.) have full-fledged musical education.

Matthias Kogler: Many of my relatives are musicians and artists in various areas, I was always surrounded by music and arts and poetry and literature since the early years.

My father is an academic guitarist; when I was young, our house was always full of music and musicians, fatherís friends. Besides, father often took me to musical concerts and festivals, both classical music and free jazz ones, which I loved (and I still do).

Also, there was always J.S.Bachís music in our houseÖ for father, there was the great Bach and there was the rest of music.

4. Estatic Fear albums also feature rich lyrics in genuinely classical style, in three languages: English, Latin, and Old German. What were the inspirations for writing these?
Also, does your music carry a specific message?

Matthias Kogler: Since I was young, I would sometimes read parts of Goetheís "Faust" from parentsí library. Besides that, I was inspired by Baudelaireís "Flowers of Evil" and by Percy Bysshe Shelleyís works.

And you deduced it correctly that "On A Cold Winterís Morning" lyrics were inspired by H.P. Lovecraftís stories. I still adore Lovecraft.

"Somnium Obmutum"'s title actually means "Suppressed Dream" rather than "Muted Dream", a lost love and praising solitude...

As for the contents of "A Sombre Dance"'s lyrics, this interpretation is also a good one (though not entirely what I put into the album).

There is no specific message in Estatic Fearís songs; they are reflections of strong feelings.

5. A lot of popular gothic metal bands tend to use the same old set of cliches throughout their lyrics and imagery, how do you manage to avoid these, staying unique and fresh?

Matthias Kogler: Thatís not something conscious or intentional, just expressing what I feel.

6. Some bands, Empyrium, for example, and also Bach or Mozart, applied some "music maths" in their compositions, to create great harmonies or structures. Do you?

Matthias Kogler: Same answer as above.

7. And what were Estatic Fearís musical inspirations?

Markus Miesbauer: Anathema, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Cathedral were the key inspirations myself and Matthias Kogler were listening to during those years. As a vivid highlight: My Dying Brideís "Sear Me", also its MCMXCIII version.

I learned extreme metal vocals by listening to these bands as well as brutal death and black metal from the late Ď80s and early Ď90s.

In the early '90s metal bandsí cassettes and CDs were not easy to get in Linz, we were ordering them from a limited catalogue, checking out one band after another. And thatís how I discovered My Dying Bride and we fell in love with this music.

Matthias Kogler: Some "A Sombre Dance" metal elements were also inspired by Bolt Thrower.

8. Any other inspirations, and sources?

Markus Miesbauer: In "Somnium Obmutum" times, Matthias Kogler was depressed most of the time, thus his pseudonym "Calix Miseriae" (Chalice of Misery). Yes, we could tell that the album was emotionally and atmospherically rooted in his depression.

Matthias Kogler: Well, yes. The aesthetic side of melancholy. Melancholy - not a hopeless depression but a state based on nostalgic aesthetic sadness, as observations of gloomy beauty from a side, a background of darkness contrasted by a ray of light piercing it. I know some musicians which would get too deeply into depression, this abyss, as part of their musical expression, and some would never to escape it.

I was also very much inspired by the area around Linzer Schloss, the Linz castle on a hill on the bank of the Danube: the garden, its ancient walls covered in ivy, statues, the sunsets and sunrises over the river. Itís so pity this area was so much changed by construction of the glass-and-concrete Schlossmuseum. I was living right near the fortress during my childhood and teenage years, walking around it, musing and dreaming. Thatís where the "Somnium Obmutum" statue used to be located, and two weeks after album release it was decapitated by some nasty vandals and later removed altogether.

Fortress and Danube.

9. The second albumís CD has a print of Hanz Holbeinís "Old Woman" gravure, from his "Danse Macabre" series published in 1538. What was the connotation? We also used it on the D.I.Y. Estatic Fear fan t-shirt design.

Matthias Kogler: I found Holbeinís "Danse Macabre" series quite inspiring. Thoughts of death and dying, in an artistic sense akin to Holbeinís, were also among both EF albumsí sources. The same grieving aesthetic feeling as one that inspires artistic tombstone statues.

T-shirt design.

10. Matthias, do you mainly compose music for yourself or for other people to hear?

Matthias Kogler: I compose music as it comes to my head, and I still play lute and guitar and piano for my own amusement. Itís deeply imbued with my feelings and experiences, itís intimate. However, sharing it with those who can truly appreciate it is also great. And several pieces were dedicated to a very special person I knew.

11. What images do you envision when composing or listening to your music, if any?

Matthias Kogler: Itís the scenes of nature. A dense dark rainy forest, or a severe snowy winter landscape (it is such a pity that global warming has killed the real winter in these decades). And ancient castles, like Castle Stauff.

12. What is the most challenging thing about composing music?

Matthias Kogler: The hardest thing is to tell when to finish elaborating a song further, to stop adding more parts and lines, not to overdo a piece.

13. Both 'Somnium Obmutum' and 'A Sombre Dance' demonstrate high structural complexity and unexpected shiftsÖ were some parts stitched together in an improvised manner or was every passage and every note thought through and planned?

Matthias Kogler: The latter. Every shift and every note in a composition was well thought through. Which also did not exclude some further embellishments and additions "in the heat of the moment" in the studio.

A related matter, itís a pity I had to use a synthesizer instead of engaging a real violinist, oboist, organ, etc. Real live instruments always sound better.

14. How did Estatic Fear start? From the extended biography we know how you guys met and rehearsed, but maybe there are some more details you could recall, about the 'Exit' demo and 'Somium Obmutum'...?

Markus Miesbauer: Pity that our earliest tape "Wotanís Army" is nowhere to be found, that was some cool stuff. As you know, there was the "EXIT" sample compilation partially funded by the Linz Municipality, and all the bands also had to pay something to get featured. I was in charge of organizing the practical matters about Estatic Fear. We were in our early 20s and it was not easy to collect the money.

And it was a big thing for a band from Austria to get spread abroad through this compilation, we got noticed. Back then international promotion was much easier for black metal bands from Norway or death metal bands from the US or Sweden, while Austrian metal was totally unknown.

And indeed the sampler opened the opportunity to get signed with CClaus Prellinger Records. Haha, I remember back then Matthias Kogler was going to record a demo EP in Vienna, but I convinced him to make a full album, and in Linz. And again, it was rather expensive to get things going, took us some time and effort to collect the money. We didnít have many resources. Milan Pejak: Markus Miesbauer had a computer and Matthias Kogler would use it to work on "Somnium Obmutum" material, and sometimes we had to split the time working on it with Markus Miesbauerís wife playing games :)

Markus Miesbauer: We all werenít very skilled with the instruments, some were better at one technique, another at another technique. So besides bass I also recorded some electric guitar parts.

Matthias Kogler: Yes, and our esteemed big brothers Mortus, who were at the very roots of the Linz metal scene along with Sarcastic Murder, and whose live shows we loved to attend, helped and consulted us on various guitar matters.

Claus Prellinger: I remember how the Astaroth guys introduced Matthias Kogler to me, and the recording sessions. Iíve recorded and mixed a hundred albums since then, but some things I remember well. About Somnium Obmutum, only Matthias Kogler had the whole album "picture" in his head (and on the computer), while all other musicians recorded their parts but didnít know how all these puzzle pieces would be assembled together. It took 12 days in the studio to record "Somnium Obmutum", and getting the long tracks together was a special experience.

And later on with "A Sombre Dance", it was even more challenging, as we felt a responsibility to deliver the maximum mixing and mastering quality to impress the fans after "Somnium Obmutum". Another special task about "A Sombre Dance" mastering was to unite all tracks together in one flow, according to Matthias Koglerís concept, you know, these smooth transitions between tracks.

Markus Miesbauer: Indeed, Matthias Kogler would give the scores or lyrics and then consulted every musician on what sound was required; all parts were polished through this kind of dialogs.

Also, during the recording sessions Matthias Kogler would sometimes come up with another thread to be added to the structure, for example an organ chords part. And when the album was ready, it was the first time we heard what we had recorded all together.

Milan Pejak: I remember the "Somnium Obmutum" parts' recording patterns were rather irregular; for example, recording drums passed smoothly and quickly, while guitars took a lot more effort and time.

15. Markus Miesbauer, your vocals on 'Somnium Obmutum' are so rich and so varied, you sound like two (or more) different vocalists. Can you recall any special moments about the recording sessions?

Markus Miesbauer: Oh yes, the growls and what we called the "demon voice". The vocal recording sessions were a unique experience. We booked a day at the studio especially for the vocals, andÖ I had a dentist appointment on the same day and I could not cancel either of these arrangements! In the morning the dentist pulled out my wisdom tooth, and right after that, bleeding from the tooth socket and partially anesthetized, I came to the studio to record the vocal parts over the instrumentsí lines.

When I was growling and shrieking, it was a real pain in my voice and I was constantly spitting blood out into a bowl standing in the studio. And Matthias Kogler was directing me how the lines would sound best.

16. Can we hear Matthias Koglerís vocals anywhere on the albums?

Markus Miesbauer: Yes, all the recited lines in Latin. My Latin pronunciation was not good, so Matthias Kogler recorded these himself.

Matthias Kogler: Yes, also on "A Sombre Dance".

17. How did you find all these wonderful guest musicians - Marion, Petra, Claudia, Franz, Ö?

Matthias Kogler: Petra ("Somnium Obmutum" flute) was Markus Miesbauer sisterís friend and she agreed to record with us. She was not fond of metal at all. So after the album was released and she heard it, she said that the classical parts were great but the metal parts were too extreme.

Marion ("Somnium Obmutum" vocals) was invited from my brotherís band.

Franz ("A Sombre Dance" flute) is a friend of my father, from his academic musicians circles.

Claudia ("A Sombre Dance" vocalist) was my fatherís student (guitar classes), and I invited her because of her truly brilliant voice. All musical family business, as you see :)

Musician photos.

18. Which acoustic guitar parts on the albums were recorded by Klaus Kogler?

Claus Prellinger: I remember Matthias Koglerís father in the studio, a solemn academic guitarist. He recorded "A Sombre Dance" Intro and the beginning of Chapter I, and Chapter VII, maybe more.

19. Who composed "A Sombre Dance"'s Intro piece? That is not specified on the CD, and the academic lutenists we asked pointed out that itís certainly an Irish or Scottish style ballad, much like Ronn McFarlaneís compositions. As for "Des Nachtens Suss Gedone", it was said to be a modern composition imitating the ancient music style.

Matthias Kogler: And indeed it is. I composed both these pieces. The Intro was inspired by O'Carolan's "Farewell to Music" (celtic harp).

20. How many days did it take to record the albums?

Claus Prellinger: 12 days to record "Somnium Obmutum", 9 days to record "A Sombre Dance". Overall, the duration depends on the bandsí preparatory "homework". With "A Sombre Dance", we first recorded the classical parts based on Matthias Koglerís scores and notes and then proceeded to the metal parts.

Also, while Matthias Kogler composed the entirety of "Somnium Obmutum", in an ideational form, other guys shaped these scores into realistic metal drum, guitar, and bass parts.

The same concerns shaping of "A Sombre Dance" - for example, much time was dedicated to reworking of the drum parts which Matthias Kogler composed on his computer into realistic metal ones, by a guest pro drummer Markus Schickerbauer (Conspiracy, Sarcastic Murder, Spearhead, PULSE, Darius Mondop, Vipera).

Markus Schickerbauer: Yes, it took us some time. The sample-based drum parts which Matthias Kogler had written on computer were not realistic; you know, when a guitarist or keyboardist writes drum parts, they donít follow playable patterns. Also, the original drum parts he wrote were very black metal ones, with a lot of blast beats. So, had we retained his original drum parts, "A Sombre Dance" would have been heavier.

I had not played doom metal before, only the faster extreme metal subgenres, but it was not a problem to adjust and record "A Sombre Dance"; I played some fills and Matthias Kogler gave feedback if that was what he needed. I truly enjoyed recording drums for the album, and Chapter IV was my favorite. Sorry I cannot give any information about other guest musicians and the recording sessions in general, except on my bandmates and friends Jay Lalik and Thomas Hirtenkauf, since all "A Sombre Dance" recording sessions were carried out separately, supervised by Matthias Kogler and Claus Prellinger.

Matthias Kogler: Thatís right, the original "A Sombre Dance" "demo" drum parts were more extreme (Bolt Thrower style) and extensive, plus they also carried some melodic elements.

21. A question to CCP records, any chance to get 'A Sombre Dance' released on vinyl?

Claus Prellinger: Yes, that is doable. But I need guaranteed 220-250 sales of each album's vinyl [that is 250 copies of "ASD" and 250 copies of "SO"], since a minimum batch is 300 pcs. Also, the question is whether the fans would prefer a remastered version or sound identical to the original. We have all the studio tapes stored and a remaster would feature augmented sound involving the latest generation equipment we have here at CCP studio.

Editorís note: Join the polls regarding these vinyl releases on Facebook: 'A Sombre Dance' and 'Somnium Obmutem'.

CCP studio, where dreams are made.

22. What software did you use to compose 'A Sombre Dance'?

Matthias Kogler: "Audio Logic". Now itís called just Logic, acquired by Apple.

23. Do you still keep the lute used for recording 'A Sombre Dance'?

Matthias Kogler: Yes, and I play it sometimes at leisure. Music never leaves my life, I play and compose at home for my own amusement, and I record these raw drafts and sketches.

Kogler with lute.

24. Do you play computer games?

Matthias Kogler: I did, and a lot, when I was young. RPGs - Ultima and Bardís Tale series in the Ď90s.

Herbert Heckmann: "Dead Space" was one of PULSE's atmosphere inspirations. I also like "Assassinís Creed", "Red Dead Redemption"

25. What do you think of stage diving?

Matthias Kogler: Donít do that. That can be very traumatic.

26. Whatís your favorite Burzum album?

Herbert Heckmann: "Filosofem"

Milan Pejak: "Filosofem"

Matthias Kogler: "Filosofem"

27. What are your occupations now?

Matthias Kogler: Software development.

Markus Miesbauer: Software development.

Milan Pejak: Management and administration.

Herbert Heckmann: I. Am. Pulse.

Markus Schickerbauer: An importing business.

What are your favorite bands now?

Herbert Heckmann: Leprous, The Kovenant, Pink Floyd, Queen, Klone (no specific order)

Milan Pejak: Abigor, ThirdMoon, Mortus

29. Do you do sports?

Matthias Kogler: Swimming, gym/weightlifting, boxing, hiking

Milan Pejak: Gym, jogging, sport bikes

30. What do you think about music piracy?

Matthias Kogler: Itís all good. When album copies are downloaded from torrents or P2P, the musicians donít lose anything.

Herbert Heckmann: Agree.

31. Did other Estatic Fans reach you?

Matthias Kogler: Yes, some guys from Turkey reached me, and I gave them autographs. However, I generally prefer to stick to privacy and isolation, sorry.

Also, guess which countries have the greatest proportion of EF fans among Google search usersÖ Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil. This is also confirmed by this Facebook thread, there are many EF fans in these and many other countries, your music is global now.

International interest (click to expand).

32. What is music to you, in a broad sense?

All: Music is a curious form of multisided communication. Thereís always a dialog between instruments and voices in a piece of music, thereís always signal generation and transmission from a band/composer, and there are the recipients, the listeners. The musical "signals" invoke various reactions: emotions, thoughts, memories, images, messages, ideas, moods. Different recipients may interpret (and react to) the same set of signals in different ways. The signals can follow meaningful patterns, invoking a series of different feelings, in case of metal these might be quite contrasting. Like other forms of communication, music is not tangible, but its effect is very tangible. A musicianís fingers or vocal chords effectively get connected to the recipientsí minds, inner worlds, and if a recipient likes the reverb music produces, he/she will both transmit it further (also through sharing on the internet or playing on radio) and possibly generate something akin to the original signals, through composing and performing. And a composer always benefits from getting feedback from the listeners, which reflects their interpretations and reactions to his/her music.

33. About Hrossharsgraniís "Schattenkrieger" album (2002) that features Estatic Fear (the track 'Wenn Winter Sang Und Klang Verstummt', was the song actually quickly composed on a restaurant napkin?

Matthias Kogler: Haha, well, it was a quick musical sketch. Hrossharsgrani is Claus Prellingerís own musical project, and I was glad to contribute a small neoclassical piece to it.

34. Your music has affected our and other fansí lives considerably and in so many great ways... Did Estatic Fear have a significant impact on your life?

Matthias Kogler: Releasing two Estatic Fear albums was an essential life achievement for me; I also often discussed the music with my parents and brother. Certainly it matters a lot to me.

35. Would you like to see a ballet performance based on 'A Sombre Dance'? What would be its story?

Matthias Kogler: Well sure, I enjoy arts embodied in various forms. The story is up to you, your interpretations.

36. Many fans would love to play covers of your songs, and fan-made GuitarPro tabs are not enough for that. Would you consider sharing your albumsí scores?

Matthias Kogler: Possibly, why not, but it would require time to put them together.

37. Many of the fans started listening to Estatic Fear when they were 16-18-20 years old, and now they are in their 30s-40s, still as charmed with your music as a decade beforeÖ what was your metalhead life like when you were 16-20?

Matthias Kogler: It was crazy metal hangouts time; back then the metal scene of Linz was represented by 3-4 cool bands and the big metal bands would very seldom tour in Linz or in Austria.

38. What do you think of the international Estatic Fear fan communities, on Facebook and VKontakte? We are around 8000 fans now in total.

Matthias Kogler: The community is amazing - never ceases to amaze meÖ Moreover, it never had the feeling of something artificial, made up by some band management; itís 'just' a group of people organizing and doing the things they love. It's a true honor to be a part of such a community.

Sorry there are no video messages and very little fan community activity from my side, but this is how it has to be.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Estatic Fear bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-12-19 by The Estatic Fear Fan Comm.
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