Today we’re talking to our friend, guitarist and songwriter ACHIM SCHREINER!
We haven’t talked in a while so we’re basically touching base and see how Covid-19 affects his bands BLOOD RED SOUL, WOODLARK and all the others and him personally as well.
Rick spoke with Achim last week on the phone. Here is a transcript of the conversation.
SR: Achim, you brought out an abundance of music in the last 12 months and I’m not even trying to get into that now but first let me ask you how you’re doing?
AS: Hey man, thanks a lot for having me! It’s been a while indeed. Well, it’s safe to say that I’ve already seen better times. Just as of recent my therapy has been finally continueing. I am now getting my regular antibody infusions again but it will change very soon anyway. I will be switching from infusions to these “pens” then where you can inject that stuff into your body yourself. Similar to the pens that Diabetic patients do use. A lot more convenient.
Aside that, recent months had been a real drain as I tried to stay inside as much as I could. You know me, I’m pretty much the center of the demographic and among the ones who have to be extremely careful. Especially with a massively surpressed immune system and some other crap I have.
SR: Could you at least use the time to create new music?
AS: I did to a certain degree. At least until it became really hot here and I hate that (laughs). I cannot work when it is too hot, I just hate it. (laughs)
However, I have recorded some bits and pieces and even some entirely new tracks. One of them could serve as an opener for a potential BRS 3 album. Also I was doing a lot of work at home.
SR: You have also moved house.
AS: Yes, I now live in northern Germany and the climate is very different here. Also I have to deal with some person who is stalking me for about 2 years already. It is annoying but I do start to work with police now to finally put an end to this. There is no other way.
SR: Stalking can be awful indeed. We had a case in our company once too.
AS: That’s sad to hear. I had one already about 10, 11 years ago and it took years to stop it. So I know what it means. And now again. But well, police will take care of it now.
SR: Good luck in that. Another question, how did Covid affect your bands so far?
AS: Well, probably not as much as other people’s bands, I guess. I mean my band projects are not touring bands anyway and we all live not only in different countries but also on different continents. Technically spoken, nothing much has changed in that regard. But it changed things in other ways, also psychologically. Which can have an even greater impact on some.
SR: Meaning …
AS: Meaning that some of my musician friends are massively suffering from all that and it adds up an immense metal pressure. Not necessarily physically but mentally and also financially and this again adds up even more stress and pressure as it threatens your livelihoods. So naturally they worry about sustaining themselves and their families during this crisis. It can hit people really hard and some end up even with writers block and other things.
SR: That’s true. We’ve heard that from a lot of musicians already. Do you suffer from it yourself too?
AS: No, I have always been lucky. I have never encountered writers block in my life, thankfully. But I suffer in other ways, more personal ways.
What brings a bit of comfort is that we are all in this together somehow. Whatever you are going through, you know that you’re not alone in this.
SR: Do you have any specific album plans for 2020 so far?
AS: Well, I have already brought out a couple of albums including the new CRAVE FOR DAWNING album “Vanitas” and my solo album “Ruins Of Life” and the TIMESHOCK album “Rear Vision“. I don’t see anything else so far.
I do have a lot of material, really great material for a third BLOOD RED SOUL album though. But if it ever materialises? I dunno. You have to find the right people and this means not only finding great singers but also people who create some magic and who are something special. Because this is what mutually inspires you when you work with people. The chemistry is so important.
I know some female singers who would love to guest again on a BRS 3 album, including Clare Butterfield, Andra Ariadna and one more. But I need to find a new main singer again who is a perfect fit for the concept of the band. And that is no easy task. When we did BRS 2 (“River Of Melancholia“) we painfully noticed that things just didn’t work out on the personal level eventually. And as people from the outside increasingly started to interfere and started to try to manipulate things, it somehow fell apart for me. At least emotionally and on a personal level. Technically, BRS 2 “River Of Melancholia” was a solid album. But it lacked all the magic and all the special vibes that BRS 1 “Symphony Of A Memory” had so much of. BRS 2 was certainly a much better production than BRS 1 but the songs of the first album stood out for me that it would be impossible not to notice that.
Ellie Kamphuis sang the majority of songs on the first album and we really were a perfect writing duo. I would send her songs I had written and tailored for her voice and she would add the most amazing melodies and lyrics to it that left me speechless time and again. Unfortunately, a year later or so we had a bit of a fall out and we haven’t really talked ever since. It is often like that and at some point other people come into play and also egos come into play. It is all not new but it was a shame as we did some really good stuff that I am still immensely proud of.
BRS 2 had none of the spirit of BRS 1. I had a lot of songs for BRS 2 that would have been in a similar kind of vein as BRS 1 but these were rejected at the time by the (then) new main singer. However, we had some amazing tracks on it anyway. “Neverland” with ANDRA ARIADNA on vocals is really great and also the song that LISA RIEGER from HYDRA was singing. A beautiful ballad called Giants“. I really loved that one.
If I will really convince myself to walk the extra mile again and do a third BRS album, I will have to make sure it captures the spirit of the first record. BRS is very dear to me for a lot of reasons and I am very protective of it.
SR: Yeah, I can tell. You really put a lot of hard work into BLOOD RED SOUL. I remember doing a review of “Symphony Of A Memory” in late 2017. My favourite song was “At The Waters Edge“.
AS: Which was the second song Ellie and I had worked on. On bass was my dear friend LEISL HEATH from EVENTUAL FATE, by the way. A great, great song.
SR: Do you have any plans for WOODLARK in the future?
AS: Well, Woodlark is a different animal. Last summer we brought out the 4th album called “The Ascension” and it was great for what it is. It came together under rather difficult circumstances as I was under heavy stress at the time as I also was in the final stages of producing the second BLOOD RED SOUL album at the time.
Einar McCarthy did a great job vocals again though as he always does. Well, things have changed dramatically this year and also personally. Einar and his wife had a new baby in the meanwhile and as Covid19 has hit Argentina really hard, they have to deal with a lot of hardships in life now. So WOODLARK is certainly not on top of the priority list now for him. And you can’t blame him for that. Honestly, I don’t know if there will be another album. Einar and I brought out 4 albums with this band and we both have moved on a bit, musically. We know each other since 2008 and we are still great friends and like brothers and this will never change though. We’ve gone through a lot together as friends and bandmates. But as far WOODLARK, I dunno.
SR: What are your main focusses right now?
AS: Well, I still enjoy working on my funeral metal project CRAVE FOR DAWNING. There is still a lot to explore for me in this atmospheric, doom, melancholic kind of vein. I love this sort of music. TREES OF ETERNITY with Aleah Stanbridge was a massive influence for me in that. Also DRACONIAN with Heike Langhans.
Also I have restarted my electronic synth project and will bring out a second album with it this year. The project is called “Rainbow Walker Project” and in 2017 I had brought out the first record already.
Another thing I currently do are the TIMESHOCK albums. It is my latest sort of “projects” with some progressive, modern metal instrumental music. It is remotely similar to stuff that Rabea Massaad is doing with TOSKA. So if you like that stuff, there is a good chance you will also like TIMESHOCK.
Currently I also try to find some new inspirations, something that gives me some sort of a new kick, you know. I can relatively quickly get bored of styles, so every few years I need to discover something new that inspires me. It keeps me alive, creatively speaking. It also helps you to develope and to still make progress as a person and as a musician.
SR: Thank you so much for this interesting chat Achim!
All the best and stay safe.
AS: You are very welcome! All the best and stay safe too!